Caravan Sonnet: February 2013

2/28/13

Thursday Health Thought: Resources for Chronicittles

{Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.}




Chronicittles (def):health tips, support, and encouragment for those who are in their twenties and thirties and struggle with chronic illness

As I mentioned last week I wanted to pass on some W.O.N.D.E.R.F.U.L. resources for "chronicittles" (those who have chronic illnesses in their twenties and thirties). Being diagnosed with a chronic illness at any age can be extremely difficult but for those in their twenties and thirties when life feels like it is just beginning it can bring with it a HOST of different emotions, feelings, and different issues. I have found my faith in God is what helps me through each day. I am also thankful for the resources that others have suggested to me. It is always encouraging to know that you are not alone. Listed below is in no way an exhaustive list but I hope that you will find the following a helpful! If you have any resources that you could share~ please do in the comment section!

Books:
1. "Life Disrupted: Getting Real about Chronic Illness in Your Twenties and Thirties" by Laurie Edwards  - This book is wonderful. It is a must read for anyone who has a chronic illness in their twenties and thirties. It is packed full of encouragement and great resources. On the back cover it states: "Reading Life Disrupted is like having a best friend and mentor who truly knows what you're going through". Well stated.

2. "Being Sick Well" by Jeffrey H. Boyd. - This book has been such an encouragement and while it is not specifically written for those in their twenties and thirties it will encourage and challenge anyone struggling with chronic illness to find joy despite having a chronic illness.

3. "Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips" by Kris Carr. - She was in her late twenties when she was diagnosed with cancer. Her tips are wonderful no matter the illness.

4. "God on Mute" by Peter Grieg. - This book is wonderful especially for those who are struggling with the the silence of God with chronic illness. Grieg shares his wife's story of struggling with severe epilepsy.

5. "Coping with Chronic Illness" by H. Norman Wright & Lynn Ellis. While this book was not my favorite I did find that it had several different pages with very useful information for chronicittles {especially pages 84-86, chapter 6 ("dealing with loss" which is especially helpful for chronicittles), chapters 10 &11 ("rebuliding your life")}

Websites:
1. Chronic Babe - an online community for younger women with chronic illness

2. Rest Ministries- a christian organization that works to encourage those with Chronic Illness (at any age). One of the things that I have found incredibly encouraging about this website is that there are opportunities for a number of different including on-line support groups, articles, and daily devotions that can be sent to your email. The founder, Lisa Copen, struggles with her own health issues and gets it.

2. Sick Girl Speaks - Tiffany Christenson who has cystic fibrosis and has had two double-lung transplants has a wonderful website and has written several books.  

3. Chronic Illness Coach - is a resource for those who have are balancing work while having a chronic illness. 

4. Laurie Edwards - this website is filled with great information and hosts her personal blog

5. Kris Carr - has a website with a ton of different information!

6. Invisible Illness Week - hosts a yearly invisible illness week

Helpful Articles:
1. Impact of Chronic Illness on College Planning - this article will be especially helpful for those who are balancing education and chronic illness.


3. Too Young for Chronic Illness - This is a wonderful interview with Laurie Edwards





I am so excited to share that over the next several months I have lots of EXCEPTIONAL women and men who are going to be sharing their own stories as chronicittles. They have inspired and encouraged me with their different stories and I am confident that they will do the same thing for you. Each story is unique and different with a variety of different health issues and challenges that hopefully will encourage you or a family member or friend. In the month of March I am excited to share with you two dear friends ~ one who suffers with diabetes and one with a heart condition. I am confident that you will be challenged by both. Next week I also look forward to sharing with you a little bit about my own story. If you are interested in sharing your health story please contact me (caravansonnet@gmail.com)

2/26/13

Perplexed to Pretty {or, goodbye plastic baskets}

So as y'all read last week I was perplexed on what to do with the plastic baskets that I found so cheaply at Goodwill. As I mentioned in my post yesterday , I had a lot of great suggestions on my facebook page of what to do and after tweaking some of these suggestions I am THRILLED with the final product!

For the background of this project you can read of my fun overwhelming adventure at Joanns fabric here.  After I got home I made sure that all of the baskets were washed and dry.
My next step was to cut out the muslim that I purchased to cover the darker baskets. Just so y'all know I measured approximately a 14inch by 14inch piece of muslim (and later fabric) for each of the baskets despite their different sizes. (As you can tell by my perfect uneven cutting I was obviously eye-balling the measuring!)
The tape that you see in the lower left hand portion of the picture above is actually a tape called "U-Glu". It looks like duck tape but is a speciality tape that attaches to both plastic and fabric (something that was difficult for me to originally find). I chose this over the spray adhesive that I had read about on another blog simply because this was not temporary (like the spray adhesive was).

The next step was to place pieces of the tape around each part of the basket. After this I covered the baskets (with color) with muslin.
After four of the baskets were covered with muslin:
I cut out the fabric to approximately 14 inches by 14inches and then was ready to cover all of the baskets. {Yesterday I mentioned how expensive alot of the fabric that I found was. I was thrilled to find that this fabric was adorable and cute and was only $9.99 per yard and was on sale for 20% off! {As an fyi, these seven baskets only needed 1 yard of fabric.} For those of you who are interested in this particular fabric it was from Studio and the fabric name was: "beloved".
After repeating the same process as with the muslim I covered each of the baskets. And here are some shots of the final look:
Once again, here is a comparison of before and after! I am so happy with the final outcome!

2/25/13

a lovely tennessee weekend

Hi y'all! I hope that you had a wonderful weekend! Tennessee brought with it some of my favorite "winter" weather (aka: low 60s) ~ it was simply gorgeous. And during this "winter" month I was reminded that Spring is truly on its way.
It was such a lovely weekend. Scamper was even able to spend sometime "outside" "talking" to his friends.
Hahaha... it was a weekend filled with rest, crafting, and quiet (aren't those sometimes the best?) and it was perfect.

One of the things that I wanted to do this weekend was to try to solve the basket problem that I mentioned last week. I received several wonderful suggestions on facebook and ended up modifying a solution that I read about.

 I needed to find fabric to cover the plastic baskets so I headed to Joanns Fabrics. That sounds simple right? Oh.my.word. Have you been to Joanns recently? It is FILLED with TONS of fabric. And tons of beautiful fabric at that.
After looking through rows and rows of fabric I thought I would look at the "remnants" section for some cute and cheaper options. I thought I was in luck with this cute ivory fabric but then I saw the price tag! $31.11 for less than a yard is not in my price range!
And I thought this blue fabric was incredibly cute but I couldn't believe the price tag of $19.99 PER Yard!
I was feeling overwhelmed by the time that I got to the larger material section.
I After searching for a long time I was thrilled to finally find cute material (in my price range)! I then went to buy the supplies I needed to attach the fabric to the plastic baskets and was again amazed at the selection.
FINALLY it all came together!  I am loving the final product and can't wait to share it with you! Check back tomorrow for the final product and instructions!

2/19/13

smitten: Derma e Vitamin A Cream {review}



smitten: {adj}: infatuated, charmed, captivated, beguiled, betwitched, enamoured

There are certain products that I use or have that I am just smitten with. I love discovering great products on other blogs and hope that these items that I talk about from time to time on here might be a wonderful discovery for y'all!

One of my favorite products that I am completely smitten with is my face cream.

www.dermae.com

For most of my life I did not use much on my face in the way of cleansing or cream products. Since my skin is so sensitve and I have only had two pimples in my life {yes, I can feel the hatred stares across the internet waves :(} I didn't start to consider face creams until a couple of years ago. I began thinking about the future wrinkles (*smiles*) and researched natural products that could be used. Since I try to use all organic or natural products I wanted something that would be gentle but also good for my skin. My grandmother who looks many years younger than her age and my mother who has beautiful skin both use derma e.
I reasearched the cream and the company and was very impressed. I chose the Vitamin A Creme which I now have used for for several years and have loved the results.

Interested? Here are a couple of facts about the Vitamin A Cream:

(1) It is: Cruelty-free, Paraban-free, and Eco-friendly!
(2) The key ingredient is Vitamin A (10,000 IU) which encourages cell renewal {and helps you look younger!}
(3) It also contains Vitamin E which brings an extra-rich moisturizing treatment to your skin!
(4) It is Gluten Free!
(5) There was NO animal testing done to manufactor this product!

The great thing is that derma e products are relatively inexpensive (approx. $13) and can be found at health food stores, grocery stores, and even some drug stores. One container of cream lasts several months and is well worth the money. I use it nightly on my face (and hands) and am smitten.

What face creams are you smitten with?

2/18/13

perplexed. anyone have any ideas?

I am perplexed. I love pretty storage. I love making everything look neat and organized and beautiful. Some of my favorite types of storage are pretty baskets, shabby chic bins, and awesome vintage pieces like old library card holders. Don't these all look so pretty?




all pictures above are from google images

I also love "updating" old pieces that I find at thrift stores. I even have encouraged people to do this on this blog. And for those of you that have seen me on pinterest you know that I love seeing what everyone does. I am also very inspired by all of the different projects that I see happening on different blogs.{Seriously, so many people are SOO talented!} So when I came across these plastic baskets:
picture from www.amazon.com



I was THRILLED because (a) I need storage, (b) they were so cheap ($.10 each- I paid a total of $1.00 for all 10!) and (c) while they were not a pretty white (some are purples, some are blues, and a few are white)  I was confident that I would be able to transform them into something very pretty. I mean people do that all of the time with things right?

Wrong.

Or at least I can't find any ideas. :( I have searched pinterest and blogs and so far am coming up with nothing. Anyone have any ideas or thoughts for a basket-shabby chic-vintage-pretty lovin 'girl on what I could do? Please?

2/15/13

the february fifteen

I have loved reading posts by other bloggers that share random personal things about them. To me the ones that have done this make their blogs that much more friendly. I was inspired so starting this month I thought it would be fun to share fifteen random facts about me and life on the fifteenth of every month. For March fifteenth I am happy to answer questions if there is anything that you would like to know! Just feel free to email me!

(1st) Every summer photo album's title on my personal facebook page is phrases from the song "the water is wide".

(2nd) In this month alone I will write, edit, and re-write over 100 pages of writing for grad school and for the book I am writing.

(3rd) After number two you might be curious to know if I like writing. I love it. And I love grad school and learning.

(4th) I am allergic to chicken. Yes, I can imagine your look... I had the same one last year when I found out. *smiles*

(5th) Yes, I am tall. NO I did not play basketball. (Well, ok not completely true. I played for thirty minutes when I was in high school before the coach kicked me off the team for being to nice.) I can still play a mean game of horse. *smiles*

(6th) I think that writing out numbers is prettier then just putting the number symbol. See what I mean? hahaha


(7th) Even though I dream about being on the Amazing Race, I think that the Biggest Loser is one of the most inspirational shows on television. I am so honored to have gone to school with Michael Dorsey from the Biggest Loser. Cheering you on Mike to win the at home competition!

(8th) I LOVE mail. Seriously love it. So I was saddened to hear that starting in August mail is not going to be delivered on Saturdays.

(9th) A great thing about my life right now is having a schedule that matches my sisters' so we get to talk every morning. SO AWESOME.
(10th) I admire those that can memorize tons of scripture every day and month. That is not me. I do best when I focus on one verse or a small series of verses and really imprint this on my heart. Psalms 41:23 is the verse that I am memorizing this month.

(11th) Less then four months to camp. I am sooo thankful!
(12) I drink at least three bottles of SMARTwater everyday.

(13) Yes, I do have a crush on Prince Harry. Yes, I did have his picture set as background on my visionboard when I was teaching. And yes, I LOVE when my lovely former students give me calendars as gifts like this: {Thank you FFS!!}
picture from www.amazon.com

(14) My favorite book that I have read this month is "God on Mute". It was suggested by a dear friend and it is wonderful. I can't recommend it enough.

(15) The best decision that I made this past month? To start this blog. *smiles*

2/12/13

the single journey during valentine's week

 As I have mentioned before I had the privilege of teaching a senior girls Bible class for a couple of years at the Christian school where I worked. During the week of Valentine's Day I always would spend a couple of days on a subject close to my heart. While some subjects were "easier" to teach for me (choosing a college, finances, etc.) one theme cut right to the core of something that is a constant surrendering point to our Lord: relationships.

I spend countless hours praying for my future husband, but last year I felt that I was reminding myself of some of the same points that I was sharing with the girls. The pain of singleness can test the faith of the 18 year old and a 32 year old alike. I want and desire to find someone who loves God more than then they love me. That= THAT is a man that I can joyfully submit to. I want and desire to never settle for less than God's best for me! Trusting that HE knows better than I do- I can confidently wait with expectation that my Heavenly Father, the one who loves me more than life, has the best for me. With this hope I can confidently wait. Wait until God's time. NOT my own. I want and desire to know how to guard my heart but yet lovingly embrace those that God has put in my path to love. I want to guard my heart in a way that only the one that the Lord has for me will know the intimate treasures of my heart, but not guard it in a way that keeps me locked up. I desire to wait... to remain pure... to keep the promises that I made to God and myself when I was 14 years old because obedience does bring blessing. 

Obedience does bring blessing.

As 18 years have come and gone since I made those promises to God and myself, I choose to continue to trust Him for His best. I choose to continue to pray daily for my future husband. I choose to continue to fast for him once a week. I choose to continue to write him love letters every week with prayers for him and thoughts for the future. And as I joyfully live each day, I choose to remain confidently hopeful that the Lord's blessings are right around the corner. I choose to trust in the one who loves me more than life.

Through laughter, straight talk, and beautiful words that came from God alone that week of ministry was one of the sweetest ministry weeks of my entire career. The Lord opened up conversations and thought provoking times of prayer and reflection that was obviously ALL about HIM. Nothing I could have done could have arranged for such a week. The Lord truly blessed and answered prayers beyond my imagination and my faith was once again encouraged in the trust of what the Lord has in store, as I trust in Him.

Encouraging someone to remain pure and wait for God's best at 18 years old is as complicated as telling someone at 32, or any age the same thing. The waiting gets harder the older you are. The temptation to settle gets greater. The temptation to manipulate and orchestrate gets worse. 

And I run back to the Lord. I ask the Lord, no I beg of the Lord to bring my husband to me. 

I have learned that waiting is the hardest anguish. Waiting is the difficult anguish of my deepest longing and desire (to be a wife and mom) being unfulfilled and the knowing of the bewilderment of unanswered prayer. In their book, "Captivating", John and Staci Eldridge have a beautiful quote regarding the subject of waiting:

"Living in true beauty can require much waiting,much time,much tenacity of spirit. We must CONSTANTLY direct our gazes toward the face of God,even in the presence of longing and sorrow. It is in the waiting that our hearts are enlarged. The waiting does not diminish us....God does not always rescue us out of a painful season. He is after something so much more than our happiness. Much more substantive than our health. He is restoring us and growing us in an eternal weight of glory."
In the unanswered prayer days I have also learned that God is in each day. God is truly in the waiting (Psalm 62:5). As I surrender my hopes and dreams the Lord grants me the strength and courage to face another day joyfully as I wait. And in that strength and courage it doesn't matter what day or week it is. 

Even Valentine's Day and week is a small reminder that the Lord is in the CONFIDENT hopeful waiting. He knows the desires of my heart and He PROMISES to answer. That is enough for today. I trust that the Lord is still in control and is going to provide beyond my wildest dreams and imaginations. (Romans 15:13) I know and am confident that I will confidently rejoice with scripture that states; 

“I asked the Lord to give me this boy and He has granted my request!”
- I Samuel 1:27-

(This post brings a smile to my little heart. It was written in 2013 back when this blog first began and when I was first exploring this issue. In the almost four years since then the Lord has guided and blessed and I remain confidently hopeful in the Lord's plan and goodness. I have written a book, "Prayers for the Single Journey" and have written on the topic of singleness numerous times. You can purchase my book where books are sold and find it on Amazon HERE. I have also created a list on all topics discussed on the blog related to singleness HERE! May you be blessed in your own journey as we confidently and hopefully wait on the Lord.)

2/7/13

Thursday Health Thoughts: Organized Health Notebook- Part 1

{Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.}

As I mentioned before my hope on Thursdays is to share some tips and thoughts that I have learned and am still learning that may help you or someone you know. Today I just wanted to share with you about making an organized health notebook that may be helpful to anyone (whether you are struggling with illness or not!). 

One critical thing that I have learned over the years is the importance of keeping a health notebook that is well organized. It took me many years to get this "down" to a system that worked well for me and that was easy to get out papers quickly if a doctor or a nurse needed to copy information. If you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness you know that you can feel that things are out of control with the vast amount of information that is thrown at you (from doctors and from your own research ;)) and the hundreds of questions that you have. In addition to this a variety of different doctors visits, medicines, insurance information, etc. brings with it A TON of paperwork that needs to be well organized. I have found that since I implemented this simple decision of having an organized this medical notebook that I have received even better care.

Why have a medical notebook?
If you have a chronic or serious illness it is a good probability that you will have to see many doctors and there is the real possibility of emergency room visits and hospitalization at a somewhat regular occurance. Because of this it is very important to have a medical notebook that has all of the vital information that has your condition, history, and current care. I would suggest that you bring this notebook to every doctors’ visit, emergency room (if possible) and hospitalization. I also make sure to have this notebook with me whenever I travel. As y’all know I love things to be organized and to be pretty! *smiles* This entire project cost me less then $2.00!

First, I used pretty scrapbook paper to cover old manilla folders.
Before:

After:

Second, I used tabs to label each of the sections and added a few details to the back of the folders:
Front:
Back:

Third, I using the same scrapbook paper as I did on the inside folders I put pretty scrapbook paper in the outside. {Yes, if you look closely you can see that the paper on the front of the notebook says: "dwell in possibility". I love this!}


Fourth, I took my HUGE stack of paper and organized it by putting it into clear protecive covers. Then, using post-it-note tabs I labeled some of these protective covers so things could be easily located and seen.

Here is the final product which I am THRILLED with! :)


So what are the different sections that I have included? Stay tuned next week for part 2 of an Organized Health Notebook.* smiles *

2/6/13

Sunset Hope

Sunsets to me always are filled with hope and promise of light breaking through the darkness and light offering hope in brilliant colors as the night closes in. There have been so many times where I have felt the presence of God so clearly as the beautiful colors in the sky reach out and illuminate the night. As an artist and a person who loves nature I see hope so clearly in these moments. Last night I saw a beautiful sunset. Stunning. This was especially comforting as I am on the edge of some new adventures and decisions. I was thinking back to key moments in my life when I have been reminded of God's incredible love, hope, and promise of his faithfulness. {Don't worry! I have literally hundreds thousands of sunset pictures but I have only picked six to share! *smiles*}

This first sunset picture was taken on the way home from one of my favorite "sister trips" that my sis and I took to Disney World to celebrate four years of being endo free. It was such a beautiful time and this sunset was the beautiful end to a wonderful trip.
This 2nd picture was taken at the end of the summer of 2010. This picture is precious as I took it on the last night of the summer and was a beautiful reminder of God's love.
This next picture was taken on the final day at Ellerslie out in Colorado in September 2010. That weekend trip was a life-changing trip for me and this picture truly illustrated the light breaking through the darkness.
This fourth picture was taken on one of my final senior trips. On a night where I questioned my decision to leave teaching to pursue the next season that God was calling me to this beautiful sunset was a clear confirmation of His direction.
To say this past summer was peacefully perfect would be an understatement. This peaceful sunset was one of many that I enjoyed in the month of August. C.S. Lewis was right: Truly God shouts to us in our pain.
And that leads me to the 6th picture of last nights sunset. Truly gorgeous. And honestly this next picture won't do it justice but it was beautiful.
It truly is the simple things in life that are so beautiful. And as the sunsets come I am reminded of a quote from the end of the movie "Soul Surfer"....
"the end is just the beginning..."