Tag Archives: celebrations

Challenges and Lessons from our 20 Week No Buy Challenge

19 Apr 16
Megan
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We’ve reached the end of our 20 Week No Buy Challenge and over the weekend Rach and I caught up to celebrate our successes.

In keeping with the No Buy theme, we celebrated with a homemade lunch of soup and sourdough bread with a glass of sparkling wine followed by homegrown peppermint tea and homemade peanut butter cookies.

Celebrating the end of our 20 Week No Buy Challenge with homemade soup and sourdough and a glass of bubbles...

Celebrating the end of our 20 Week No Buy Challenge with homemade soup and sourdough and a glass of bubbles…

As we ate we discussed the challenges we faced during the 20 weeks and what we felt we’d learnt.

My biggest challenge was sticking to the rule of not eating out if I was alone. There were several days where I found myself out and about longer than I had planned to be and in a position where I was contemplating takeaway food. Luckily each time this happened I either made my way to my mum’s and ate there, or someone was available for me to eat out with so I didn’t actually break the rules.

My second biggest challenge was accepting that some things that at the beginning of the challenge I classified as non-essential became essential purchases during the 20 weeks. The t-shirt I’m wearing in the photo above was purchased during the 20 week challenge but it was an essential purchase as I lost at least 3 of my t-shirts and 2 dresses to old age (they became see-through or massive holes that weren’t worth repairing were made while carrying big loads of things into the house). I also gave away a couple of t-shirts because I wasn’t wearing them (they weren’t comfortable on me or they didn’t go with enough of my other clothes). Thus the new t-shirt in the photo above…

Having said that, none of the old clothing went into landfill, I have either cut them up for rags (the see through and holey ones) or I donated them to charity or someone I knew who would get more wear out of them than I was.

Lessons Learnt

I’ve struggled a bit with identifying the lessons I’ve learnt during this challenge, mainly because I didn’t find it all that difficult to comply with and because a lot of what I ‘learnt’ I already knew (the challenge just reinforced it).

The main things it reinforced for me were:

Always prepare for the unexpected.

I could have avoided the unexpected needs for eating out by always taking at least a small snack with me when I leave the house. I did do this most times and it saved me a few times from having to buy something. I also took my zero waste eat out kit (straw, cloth napkin, bamboo spork) everywhere with me and used it on several occasions to avoid using disposables and most trips I took my keep cup as well.

If you can identify your values, it’s easier to say ‘No’ to the things that don’t fit with them but it’s also important to be aware of other people’s values as well.

The No Buy Challenge fit well with my values of being conscious of the impact my actions have on the environment and the wider community. There were several purchases we made as a family (E wasn’t participating in the challenge) that, if it was just me, I would not have made but that were made because they fit with E’s values. There were other purchases we considered that I said No to because they didn’t fit well with my values and I couldn’t see any long term benefit for anyone in the family.

Each of us are individuals and we need to make compromises at times if we are to maintain healthy relationships. We need to set our own boundaries about what is acceptable and what isn’t.

Buying is the cultural norm and it’s difficult to move away from these habits.

Although I’ve never been a big spender, participating in this challenge made me more aware of the times where, in the past, I would’ve just made a purchase without really thinking about it. Even most of my few purchases during the challenge (the earrings early on, a duplo set and a few children’s books secondhand, and the t-shirt mentioned above) were made without much thought about them before hand. It was only after I bought them that I actually considered what they meant in terms of the challenge.

Rach had a lot more trouble with this than I did, there were several times during the challenge where she contacted me because she was considering a purchase and needed to discuss the options and whether they were actually essential. She also found that she enjoys shopping and for that reason alone it was difficult to stop.

Not buying new things makes you appreciate what you have.

Both Rach and I removed things from our houses during this challenge. Rach gave several bags of clothes to charity and took the time to assess what she has in her wardrobe. I, as mentioned above, lost several items of clothing to old age and gave away a few items that I didn’t wear.

We’ve both realised that we have enough, and for some things (clothes in particular) more than enough, in our lives. We are grateful that we live in a society where we have choices for clothing, shoes, kitchen appliances and other household items. We are not living below the poverty line and don’t need to struggle to meet our basic needs.

I like making conscious choices that align with my values.

Although it takes more time, during this challenge I’ve added several more homemade items to our lives. As well as the laundry liquid, cloth napkins, peppermint and fruit we already make or grow, I’ve been trying my hand at making my own sourdough bread (so far no reactions) and other ‘old fashioned’ recipes that are better for my health and the environment.

Although there are a few purchases I now need to consider making (new underwear and sandals to start with) I’m still going to be conscious of my purchases and my allocation of my time and resources. This No Buy Challenge has helped me to progress my larger challenge of living a simple, sustainable and meaningful life.

Did you participate in the challenge?

If so, what did you learn? If not, would you consider a challenge like this in the future?


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

24 Dec 15
Megan
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It’s Christmas Eve and celebrations have begun for our family.

During this time of celebration and busyness, don’t forget to look after yourself. I know that, for our family at least, it is definitely a very busy few days and so over the last few years I’ve had to learn a few ways to manage this.

Don’t forget to pace yourself. For me, this means no more than one or two social events each day (if 2, then one has to be a very low energy event) but even this is much more than I normally do so I’ve decided that I’m going to take a break from here until the new year.

2015 in review

Over the last year I haven’t done as much posting as I have in previous years, it has been the year of Enough. This has meant focusing on getting life more balanced and accepting what I have and what I can do, not what I don’t have and can’t do.

The top 3 most popular posts this year have been:

Two of these were written in previous years but are still quite popular today.

During the last year I have begun working again (even if only a small amount each week) and it’s been nice to be bringing in some income of my own. I’ve also been working with my husband and close friends to get the Foggy Frog picture book finalised (we should be ready to publish early in the new year).

I haven’t yet taken the time to sit down and reflect properly on everything that has been achieved this year or what I’m hoping to achieve in the new year and that is another reason why I’m planning to take the next week off. When I get back I will hopefully be able to outline better what it is I’m hoping to achieve in the next 12 months.

In regards to our 20 week no buy challenge, I don’t believe I’ll have any troubles with temptation as I’ll be focusing on my health and socialising for the next week or so but I’ll report on weeks 4 and 5 in the new year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

I hope you all manage to find at least something small to be grateful for and to bring joy to you holidays.

Post #200 – a reflection on My Chronic Life Journey to date

12 Aug 14
Megan
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Thanks

Thank you all!

I wanted to take the time today to say thank you to all of you; those of you who have been following from the start and those of you who have just started following me here.

This blog started as a place for me to share my progress with my illness (at the time undiagnosed) with my family and friends who were interested but I didn’t see much. It has grown into so much more!

With the support and input of many of you, we have begun the process of setting up a campaign to help raise awareness of chronic illnesses that don’t have visible symptoms. The Foggy Frog picture book, which many of you helped fund, is on it’s way to being published either later this year or early next year. Once it is published we’ll begin promoting and considering what the next phase of this campaign will be. One thing I do know is that the campaign will be being run through LiveKen, a business we’ve established for this campaign and to help people discover how to live simple, sustainable and meaningful lifestyles.

Together we have defined what it means to be mentally strong when living with a chronic illness.

11 tips Mental HealthYou have been with me as I have been diagnosed, first with Pelvic Congestion Syndrome then Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS, and while I’ve been experimenting with different treatment options.

Looking back I can see that I have improved a little, and we have achieved a lot, in less than 12 months. For example, I am now able to do some basic housework and cooking and have been exercising daily. Both things I would not have been able to do when I first began this blog from my couch.

So, THANK YOU, to each and every one of you who have been a part of this journey and please continue following and sharing with me both here and over at LiveKen as we continue on our journey and discover how to live a life that is meaningful and fulfilling with multiple chronic illnesses.

 

Birthday celebration week

05 Jun 14
Megan
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Tomorrow is my birthday!

The celebrations, though, started today and will continue until at least next Wednesday (a whole week  of celebrations).

E is away at the moment and won’t be back until next Wednesday so I’ll be celebrating with him when he gets back.

Today I had afternoon tea with his parents and Amma and Uppa. We had a delicious cake and I was given some wonderful presents including homemade cookies and cake, a massage cushion for my office chair, a vintage leather satchel bag, home knitted cowls and some delicious teas.

Homemade Birthday Cake (Gluten and Dairy Free)

Homemade Birthday Cake (Gluten and Dairy Free)

I haven’t taken photos of all the presents and I don’t really have the energy to now but I’m definitely very happy and grateful for all the love and kindness that has gone into making the first day of my birthday celebrations so great.

Each of these gifts takes into account my needs and values. I am grateful for the massage cushion, as I have definitely found using my mums to be helpful, the homemade and vintage gifts for their thoughtfulness and sustainable use of materials, and the teas because tea is always a good thing, especially in winter!

Today I also had a delicious lunch out with my brother and got my own TENS machine (I have to return my Physio’s one next week). This has made the day very long but full of special moments for me, I just need to remind myself I still need to pace myself through the rest of the week.

It’s also one of my best friend’s birthday today, so I dropped a present off at her house for her as well.

Tomorrow is my actual birthday and for some reason I decided that would be a great day to see how I go with coping with a day at “work”. I’ve registered to attend a networking event that I would normally attend as part of my job. It goes from 9.30 to 3.30, which means leaving home around 8.10 am to get the bus! I’ve lined up my brother to come pick me up if it turns out I can’t make it through the day but my plan is to try and pace myself while I’m out and see how I go.

I’ll be having dinner and spending the night at mums that night.

Saturday will be about celebrating with friends. My birthday present to myself was a ticket to go see Jane Goodall talk that morning at the zoo with one of my friends and then a few of us will be having a quiet celebration at one of their houses.

… Given all of that, I believe next week will be all about recovery!

I’ll still be here and will aim to share some more about the exciting new ventures planned for the next few months but I will be taking it slowly and playing it by ear a bit.

Thank you to each and everyone of you who has, and will, make the celebration of turning another year older one of happiness, love and kindness. When I look back over the last year, to where I was at this stage, I realise how far I’ve come. Last year I was only just beginning to realise what this illness meant for me, I hadn’t been diagnosed and I didn’t really understand that it was chronic. Today I’ve accepted my condition and I’m learning, in leaps and bounds, how to live a sustainable and fulfilling life WITH my illness. I am no longer fighting, instead I’m going along for the ride and seeing where life takes me.Until next week, have fun and enjoy life but don’t forget to look after yourself!

How do you celebrate your birthday?

How do you manage to pace yourself when there are several events on?

How far have you come in the last year?

Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang – Making the invisible visible by Megan Schartner » Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang Launch Party — Kickstarter

03 Mar 14
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Please check out my update on the Foggy Frog Kickstarter page.

I have provided photos from yesterday’s launch…

Thank you to everyone who joined us yesterday for the launch of Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang here on Kickstarter.

Please check out the project and donate. Even if it’s just $1… that’s enough to say, yes this is a book that we need in our community. If you already have, please share it with your friends and encourage them to join us as well. The more people we can get saying that we need this, the better!

We had both an online launch party and an afternoon tea to celebrate the launch of this project and I just wanted to share with you some of my favourite moments from the day.

Afternoon Tea

A gift for the launch from a close friend: My own Foggy Frog!
A gift for the launch from a close friend: My own Foggy Frog!
Celebrating with afternoon tea on a beautiful afternoon!
Celebrating with afternoon tea on a beautiful afternoon!

To make sure I didn’t overdo myself organising the launch, three of my closest friends made the sweet food we had at afternoon tea. I’d like to give them a massive thank you! All the food was delicious and all was Megan friendly (dairy and gluten free). Thank you.

Continue Reading on Kickstarter

An Invitation from Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang: We Launch Today!

02 Mar 14
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In just under 5 hours the Foggy Frog Kickstarter campaign launch will start.

Foggy Frog FB Icon

It would be great to get as much support as possible in the first few hours of the campaign to encourage others to donate as well.

Please join us on the Facebook page or Twitter (#FoggyFrog) to gain access to the campaign page and be one of the first to choose the reward level you’d like to support us at. While you’re with us on Facebook and Twitter, why not join in our conversation?

We will have a series of questions available for people to answer or you can share your own stories.

On the Facebook page you can answer the questions as comments below each question and add your own stories as separate comments.

On Twitter make sure you use the hash tag #FoggyFrog and to answer each question include the question number (e.g. #FoggyFrog A1: your answer). To add your own stories just be sure to include the hash tag.

Foggy Frog Launch Questions:

Welcome to the #FoggyFrog campaign launch. 

Q1: How are you today?

Q2: This is a celebration. How do you like to celebrate?

Check out the campaign here: http://bit.ly/FoggyFrog and watch the video.

#FoggyFrog causes Brain Fog, Fatigue & sensory overload. 

Q3: How do these symptoms affect you?

The Pain Gang consists of Gnawing, Stabbing, Burning and Needling. 

Q4: Are there any other types of pain you’d include?

Q5: How do you explain your illness to those around you?

Q6: Why are you supporting #FoggyFrog and the Pain Gang?

Thank you for joining us today, I hope you’ve enjoyed the launch.

Please take this opportunity to contribute as much as you can and share http://bit.ly/FoggyFrog with others.

Join us from 1 pm ACST (around 9:30 pm EST for those of you in the US) to make it clear that those of us with invisible illnesses deserve to have our stories heard too!

Wisdom Wednesday: Benefits of spending time with friends

26 Feb 14
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Hi friends and family (and other readers).

Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted, I’ve been rather unwell over the last week. My body finally seems to be as happy as it seems to be with me again lately (no upset tummy anymore)…

image

On the weekend two of our friends got married and although I wasn’t feeling the best I had a wonderful time.

It seems that since being so ill the main time I’ve managed to see the majority of our friends has been when we were at someone’s wedding. This is something I’m going to focus on fixing over the next month or so.

Why?

Because spending time with friends is important for both my mental and physical health.

When I manage to spend time with my friends I feel so much better about myself. Even if I’m in a lot of pain and having a lot of difficulty focusing it’s nice to know that I’m still me here.

I may not participate in as many conversations as I used to (not that I actually participated that much anyway, I’ve always preferred to listen to what’s going on around me), and I may struggle to focus occasionally, but it’s nice to know I can still be there for my friends.

So I am going to begin to make more of an effort to spend time with my friends. I know it’s not going to be easy because I can’t do late nights and they all work during the week (and sometimes the weekend as well) but I’m going to try and organise more regular afternoon teas and lunches and any other day time activities I can come up with that I’m able to participate in.

If you’re one of my friends look out for more invites from me. The invite for the Foggy Frog campaign launch this Sunday is just the beginning. 🙂

The Foggy Frog Campaign Launch is this Sunday at 2 pm CST (Adelaide). If you’re in Adelaide, and you’d like to join us in person, we’ll be having afternoon tea at our house (just let me know you’re coming). If you’re not in Adelaide, you can still participate because we’ll have a conversation going on through Twitter (#FoggyFrog) and on our Facebook page.

Please join us on the day to learn more about how you can participate in the campaign.

With just 4 days left until the launch, please join our Thunderclap to help us launch with a bang!

Just click on the link below and choose “Support with Facebook” or “Support with Twitter”.

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/9038-making-the-invisible-visible

Thank you for your support and to all of you who already have an even bigger thank you for helping spread the word further!

How do you maintain relationships with your friends?

Wisdom Wednesday: Gratitude Jar

22 Jan 14
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Towards the end of last year I was sent a link to an idea to help reflect on the positives of daily life over a whole year.

This idea was the gratitude jar.

Image from Pintrest (click to see source)

Image from Pintrest (click to see source)

The idea of the gratitude jar is that you end each day writing down something you are grateful for and adding it to the jar. At the end of the year you go through it and read all the good things you have achieved during the year.

So on January first I found a jar and begun my own gratitude jar. I think this is a good idea as I don’t want to reach the end of 2014 thinking what have I actually done or achieved this year. By using the jar I am hoping to be able to celebrate even the small achievements that occur this year with everyone at the end of the year.

Daily gratitude reflections, like this, are a great way to maintain a positive outloon on life. This is one of many small actions/activities that I am putting in place this year to help me be the best I can spiritually.

As I have previously said, I believe that to be the best ME I need to find balance in my life and focus on the good things in life.

Remember to celebrate the small things in life as together they make up the big picture.

Do you have a practice of daily gratitude?

What other activities do you do to keep yourself positive?

Chronic Pain and Fatigue – Managing Special Events

11 Nov 13
Megan
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Photo (c) Megan S, November 2013

Photo (c) Megan S, November 2013

So this past weekend I had 2 major events in a row…

We had a friends wedding on Saturday and my father-in-law’s 60th on Sunday.

To enjoy both events and not increase my symptoms I had to carefully manage how I engaged with these events and the days surrounding them.

I have to say I didn’t do a perfect job at it, but it was my first try at this since being sick and over all I think I’ve come out fairly well.

Below are my tips for managing major events like these with chronic pain and fatigue…

  1. Decide whether it’s necessary to attend the event.
    I had several people telling me I should reconsider going to 2 events on the same weekend. However, I used the following questions to assess whether I thought the events were necessary (obviously the outcome was that both were):
    Are you, or someone very close to you, the reason for the event? (The wedding was for very close friends and obviously my FIL is a close relative)
    Would you be upset if you missed out on the event? Yes
    Are there any extra reasons for attending the event (other than the main one)? I hadn’t seen many of my close friends in the last 6 months, the wedding was a good opportunity to catch up with a large group of them at once.
    Is there some other way to celebrate without attending? Although I could have just sent E to both events with my well wishes, I felt it was important for me to be there.
  2. Have a plan and stick to it
    I did have a plan for both events, however I didn’t stick to my plan at the wedding and as a result I wasn’t as rested as I could be for the 60th.
    I had two days off from appointments before the weekend and planned to take it fairly slowly (spending time with my sister T on Friday but other than that just resting). I also had today (Monday) off to rest before my next appointments this week.
    I planned to rest between the ceremony and the reception (which I did) and leave around the time I would normally get ready for bed (8.30 pm) from the reception (this didn’t happen, I didn’t end up getting home and to bed until around midnight because I decided at the last minute I wanted to stay until dessert at least).
  3. Ensure you have time to rest BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER the event.
    I didn’t do so well on resting up before the events on the weekend. Although I had Thursday and Friday free of appointments and I did fairly well at resting up on Thursday, I ended up going out to lunch on Friday with T and dad. This ended up being a longer outing than I’d anticipated and so I didn’t get as much rest Friday as I should have had.
    During the wedding I did reasonably well, resting in the morning before the ceremony and heading to a friends house for a rest before the reception. However, plans didn’t go to plan (as mentioned above) and by the time we left the reception I knew I had definitely pushed past my limits for the day.
    I spent all of the following morning resting before the 60th and even went for a rest between the afternoon tea and the dinner. This seemed to help keep my energy levels stable and then I went to bed early that night.
    Today I’m planning to rest and do low level activities for most of the day.
  4. Ensure you have everything you need with you.
    Although I got comments from E, I made sure I’d packed everything I could think of needing into my bag for the wedding. I took a hot/cold pack, a blanket, cardigan, gloves, medicines, water, snacks, money, phone and tablet, lip balm, and meditation tracks. Apart from the hot/cold pack, the blanket and the money, I used all of these during the day.
  5. Relax and Have Fun!
    It’s a celebration, so enjoy yourself and participate to the best of your ability. Take the opportunity to talk to friends you don’t see very often and try to forget about your illness for the day.