Monday, 30 January 2012

What am I Weighting For?

I'm still feeling nauseas. For some people that would help with weight loss. For me, not so much.

I'm one of those odd people who eat more when they're feeling sick.  This time around, I'm trying to resist that, to keep reminding myself that binge eating doesn't make the nausea go away, it might settle it momentarily but then makes it a hundred times worse. (Peppermint tea is a much better option than tons of food.)

Weight Loss Group starts again on Thursday, and when I weighed myself yesterday, I weighed exactly the same as I did six weeks ago when we went into recess because everyone was going on holidays. I guess that could be worse, but it's not good either.

So, back to what I should have been doing all along: tracking everything I eat on Calorie King, and (when my nausea will permit me to get out of bed), getting properly back into my exercise routine.

I'm still struggling with problems of fluid retention - getting headaches again which suggests that the fluid tablets aren't keeping it under control. On top of that there's issues with a number of my medications being known to put on weight. This all makes it hard, but if I work at it, should not be impossible, to lose weight.

My next appointment with the GP is tomorrow - hopefully, she can help with whatever is going on with my stomach. (Otherwise, the rheumatologist is still three weeks away, if I need him to make major adjustments to medication.)

Saturday, 28 January 2012

I Have a Dream

With apologies to Martin Luther King, whose dream was far more exciting and world-changing than mine.

My dream, is to be able to support myself without relying on disability pension payments.  Maybe, I could even pay tax and feel like I'm contributing something to society. I dream this not just for me, but for all the other people with chronic illnesses, who are counting on pensions to make ends meet.

How does this work out?  Well, I'm working in ministry 30% time, and loving that. It's part of what keeps me grounded, and gives me a reason to get up in the morning, when I have endless reasons not to. And of course, I believe it's what God wants me to do. (Which I realise could be either faith or psychosis, depending on your point of view.)

So what I need is to earn 70% of an income, without expending any energy. (Or at least minimal energy.) To be able to have this income continuing to come in even at the times when I'm too fatigued to do anything at all. Well, that's an easy ask, right? Well, probably not.

More than that, I'd love to be able to help other people with Lupus or chronic illness do the same thing. (Not the ministry part, necessarily, but the being independent part.)  That's what the Lupie Business page on this site is all about.

For me, the one thing in life I love doing as much as ministry is writing. (You'd never have guessed, right?) So, ideally, I could make my extra 70% off writing - blogging, books, the Amazon shop and the shirt shop tied to my sites.

For other people, there are blogs and there's lots of those listed on the Lupus Links page - but please tell me about more. I'd love to list them. I'm not expecting to be listed on your blog in return.  I just want to be able to help increase awareness of lupus, and help promote the work of other lupies.

And there are an amazing variety of things that lupies are doing.  When you look at Lupie Business, you'll be impressed by some of the creative and interesting things there.  Again, I don't want anything in return for promoting other people's work, just want the opportunity to promote what people with lupus and other chronic illnesses are achieving. If you want your business (big or small) promoted on the Lupie Business page, just send me your ad, as if you were buying one (just without the payment).

This is my dream, not just for me, but for all of us: financial independence.  So come on lupies, give me your links, let's support each other in this!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Sick Again

Well buggernackles! (I learned this all-purpose word for rotten things happening from Brynn at Lupus Interrupted.)

I've been feeling well for about three weeks now - and my only problem was trying to make sure I kept to my self-care. I got a lot done, but not as much as I'd have liked. I thought if I pushed myself, I'd get sick again.

Well, I didn't push myself.

I'm sick again.  (As I said: Buggernackles!)

I start work again on Monday after my holidays (that have been mostly really healthy), but I'm not so healthy now.

Since about Monday, I've been struggling with nausea. I've been taking Mylanta and sipping peppermint tea. It's not settling. And starting yesterday, I've been incredibly tired as well. (That's definitely not a good sign.)

For a while now, my GP has been warning me to be on the look out for gut symptoms, because of the amount pills I'm taking that can cause stomach damage. I've been taking tablets to protect my stomach, and had hoped this would work. So now, the question is whether my nausea is just a stomach bug, or: something to do with lupus; or whether I've been eating gluten or lactose without realising it; or my NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories), steroids, anti-malarial, and immunosuppressant drugs have combined to give me an ulcer or something else.

I've just today read a theory that lupus is caused by a "leaky gut". I don't know whether I buy that, but if it is right, I guess that having my gut spring a leak because of all the pills I take would be a really bad thing.

I could try to get in to see my GP - but tomorrow's Australia Day, so the surgery won't be open - and my next appointment's early next week. I figure I may as well just continue to take Mylanta and peppermint tea until then. Hopefully, it is just a tummy bug and will go away. But just in case it isn't, and this goes on for a long time - you might want to buy shares in whatever company makes Mylanta.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Rewriting the Budgets

Well, it's the last week of my holidays, and I have a serious job to do before I add my work back into my schedule.

I have two budgets to rewrite.

The first is the financial budget. There's a government website which helps with home budgeting: It tells me I can't survive on my income. To be fair, I wasn't inputting my current income, but the income that I will have come the 9th of March.  That's the date my son turns 18, and my ex-husband no longer has to pay child support.  I, of course, continue to provide a home for both my offspring until they finish university.  It's going to be a big challenge - and I will have to find a lot of areas to cut back my spending in. I've discovered that Microsoft Money Sunset Deluxe is now a free download from Microsoft.  (I used to use an old version of Microsoft Money years ago and loved it.) So I've downloaded this newer version and have started inputting data.  Hopefully it will help me find a way to get by with the money I will have coming in.

The second budget is my energy budget. At the moment I'm really well, and I'm tempted to be always on the go, doing stuff.  The problem with that is, I could make myself sick really quickly by doing too much. So my energy budget has to work on the basis that I assume I have less energy than I have now, and work to that level. Of course, I'm not 100% sure what level that level is.  I've never stayed stable long-term, to know how much I can do without getting sick again. And of course, there is the question of how well I really am and how much of this current health is an illusion created by medications that are allowing me to do more than is actually good for me. I need to find a perfect balance of work, rest, fun stuff like writing, my own spiritual care, relaxation sessions, physical exercise. Getting that sorted out is vitally important, and incredibly tricky.

So that's my challenges for my last week of holidays - to balance the budgets, both of them.  Then maybe I can get back in control of balancing my diet!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Confessions of a 20th Century Superwoman

I admit it - I was one of those superwomen of the last century.

You know the type of woman I mean. I gave birth halfway through the first semester of my Grad Dip./Masters program (yes, of course I had to do both simultaneously) and didn't miss a lecture or hand an assignment in late. After having my appendix out a year later, and was still back at college within a week - and bushwalking,climbing up and down waterfalls etc, within a fortnight. I never failed a subject, and rarely got as low as a pass in all my tertiary studies.

Like so many women, I worked my fat rear off to "have it all", which most of us now realise meant to "do it all" - be the supermother, super career woman, super wife, super educated.  I was climbing up the ladder, aiming to join the crowd pounding on the "glass ceiling." When my (then) husband decided he didn't want to go back to work once the kids were old enough for school, I just gritted my teeth and continued to work, as hard as humanly possible, to support the family.

Now it's the 21st Century, and we have a female Prime Minister. There are businesswomen making news. The Uniting Church has had female leaders at state and national levels.  The "glass ceiling" doesn't seem all that tough any more - but I never even got close enough to throw a high-heeled shoe at it anyway.

Around the end of the 20th Century, some strange things happened. Some of it was good.

I began my "new career" in ministry (previously I'd been a journalist). "Career" is in inverted commas here, because ministry isn't like any regular career.  It's something people do because we feel God calls us to it - the hours are odd, the pay's not as good as most of us could make in the fields we left for it, and often we don't see any results for what we do. And most of us would not consider trading ministry for any other profession. This was one of the "good" changes in my life.

Another good thing was taekwondo.  You wouldn't think it to look at me now, but I was quite dedicated to my sport, and in 2002, competed in state and national championships, and in the Asia-Pacific Masters Games.

The next, very good, change in my life was my divorce.  It left me broke, and alone with two school-aged kids, but it also left me in control of my life in a way I hadn't been for years.  At last I could actually set a budget and stick to it. I could go on holidays (because I'd been able to set a budget and stick to it.) I could be free and not worry about always having to please a very intimidating man.

Then, everything went wrong. A horrible unexplained set of symptoms led to me having a hysterectomy.  Then there was arthritis in my thumb. (Yes, my thumb of all things!) It rapidly spread throughout my hand and wrist - which is when I saw the rheumatologist who diagnosed lupus.

Within weeks I was in the midst of a full-blown flare. From my reading, and from now knowing that these symptoms were lupus, I realised I'd had flares before throughout my life, but not necessarily as bad as this one.

Suddenly, I didn't care about the glass ceiling or whether I could continue my beloved sport, or my ministry or anything. Suddenly, all I wanted to do was sleep and just have the pain stop.

I got so sick I ended up taking a couple of years off work.

I'm not a superwoman any more.

I'm barely even a pretty-functional-woman.

Now, I work part-time, because I just don't possess the energy it takes to work more than that.  I write and blog, because those are things that engage my brain and my hands, but nothing else. I can write when I can't do anything else - as long as I don't have a serious headache and I can stay awake.

Is the glass ceiling still there? If it is, there's been some pretty serious assaults on it, and there can't be much of it left. Either way, it will stand or fall without me. I'm not climbing any more ladders.

Monday, 16 January 2012

The Cost of a Weekend Away

About once every three months, Mr Wonderful and I set aside a weekend just for us.

Most of the time, we've gone away somewhere. It's been great, we've stayed some nice places, seen some nice things - but after packing and planning and driving, I end up tired and spend a lot of the time sleeping.

This time, we decided to stay home, or at least at his home, and use that as a base to be tourists in our own city.

We had some board games and DVDs for "quiet time", but also went out. On Saturday, we drove through the countryside to Mt Mee, looked at craft shops and antique shops in the little towns along the way and had lunch in a really pretty restaurant on the mountain top. Sunday morning we went to some markets, and on Sunday afternoon/evening we went to the movies to see the new Sherlock Holmes and then went to the local RSL for a nice dinner and to listen to a local band.

For some people that's probably not a really big weekend. For me?  Well, given that I'm really well at the moment, I didn't get sick, just a bit tired.  Today is a day on the couch - half-watching DVDs, and half cat-napping the day away. I'm catching up on my messages on email and social media, that I've left to just build up over the weekend. Basically, I'm not trying to achieve anything much at all today. It's a recovery day.

When I'm well, one day on the couch is enough to make up for a couple of days of going out, pretty much doing what's "normal" for many other people.

If I were sick - well I wouldn't have made it through the weekend without morning and afternoon naps on both days. Even then, I might have needed a week or more to recover.

I really am enjoying feeling well, knowing that I can do most things that other people can do. When the energy involved in a weekend away only costs me one day resting on the couch, that's are really amazing! I hope it lasts!

Friday, 13 January 2012

What I Learned from Camping

I don't go camping any more. There was a time, however, when camping was the only way my family got a holiday.

I learned a lot from camping.  Well, I learned two things. First, I don't like camping. (I don't mean to be offensive to anyone who does like it, but what lying on the ground does for arthritic joints is indescribable. That's not in a good way.) The second thing I learned is that the solution to many of life's problems is a tarp and a bit of rope.

It's this second thing I've found useful just now.

Here is the life problem: I have lupus (surprise!) No, I didn't cure lupus with a tarp, but if I could wouldn't it be amazing? Having lupus, being out in the sun doesn't agree with me very much. This makes hanging clothes outside a bit of a problem, because usually the only time it's worth hanging clothes outside is while it's sunny.

On the other hand, using the electric dryer requires electricity, which is a drain on both the environment and my budget.  (Being more careful of both the environment and my budget, were items on my list of New Year's Resolutions.)

The solution, to this problem is: a tarp and a bit of rope. (Yes, really.)

Having put the tarp over my clothesline, I can now hang out my wash on sunny days, without standing in the sun. I can hang out my wash on rainy days as well.  With the line covered, the clothes dry a little more slowly than if they were hung in full sun but much faster than if I'd hung them inside the house.

I've unplugged the clothes dryer. The dryer's still there for times when I'm sick and can't hang things up, but I have fewer reasons/excuses to use it now.

Together the tarp and rope cost me $10 - I suspect I'll save more than that each quarter on my electricity bill by not using the dryer.

(Another tip for the laundry - this one saves your personal energy rather than the electricity. Hang your clothes on hangers. When you take them off the line, just carry straight to the wardrobe and hang.  Most things won't need ironing, and those that do will be much easier to iron.)

Pill Sorting Day

Pill Sorting Day
There's nothing like pill sorting day to check whether the "brain fog" is active or not.

I pull out the drawer full of drugs - and keep my chemist shopping list open on the phone beside me, so that as I notice I'm going to need more of something before next week, I add it to the list.

Then, remembering what each drug is for, how often I need to take it, what time of day I need to take it, and for some things on what day of the week I need to take it, is better than a Sudoku puzzle for making sure the brain is working!

I know it's possible to get medications pre-packaged, arranged in order already. But that only works for prescription medications (and my specialist has me taking fish oil and glucosamine as well, my GP added in magnesium for headaches) so I'd still have to sort the non-prescription meds every week.  The other thing is that my drug cocktail is often adjusted slightly when I see my GP fortnightly, and more dramatically when I see my specialist every couple of months. I don't know how flexible those pre-packaged systems are, when they're made up for a fortnight at a time. How much notice would the chemist need to make changes to the system?

The pre-packaged systems, with medications neatly sorted day by day are a great idea for some people.  They're great for elderly people whose medications don't change often, especially if they're getting forgetful and may not remember if they've taken their pills or which ones are meant to be taken when.  This has an added advantage, that the doctor and pharmacist know exactly what pills the patient is taking - so there's none of the problem of the patient not realising that now that they're taking drug x that means they were meant to stop drug y.  (Lupus patients learn very quickly to check this stuff out! My GP tells me I'm her most organised patient - I always come with my list, I know how many repeats I have left on every medication, etc.)

I've also known a teenager with a brain tumour who had the pre-packaged medications which worked well for him. This young man had a big enough challenge remembering to go to the chemist shop to pick his Websterpack up - a pill sorting day just would have been too much!

One time I think the pre-packaged system would work well for me is emergency trips to hospital. When you go to hospital, you have to take all your medications in the original containers with the pharmacist's label.  The pre-packaged systems have the pills all sorted, with a pharmacist's label covering everything in them. The last time I called an ambulance in the middle of the night, I was told to take all my medication. I looked at my drawer full of boxes and bottles. There was no option - I pulled the whole drawer out, and tipped it into two grocery bags. That's all I packed - I didn't bother with the nightie and toiletries in case I was admitted - family and friends could sort that out the next day if necessary. The Ambo who rode in the back with me, spent most of the journey to the hospital entering drug details on her computer, and reporting ahead to the hospital: "She says she has lupus - from the  medications, she's sure got something."

When I was a hospital chaplain, I was there when patients had the discussion with nurses about pills. If they'd brought their pills sorted in their own dispenser boxes (like the one I use), they weren't allowed to take them. The hospital was responsible for everything they took while there, and could only let them take medications that were properly identified. It's more efficient to take your own pills than it is to wait for the hospital to establish what your usual medication is, verify that, and dispense a whole new set. The pre-packaged system would be very useful for hospital admissions, rather than taking huge bags of pills in original boxes and bottles.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Keeping Cool

It's summer here in Australia.  And in South East Queensland, it's been hotter than usual. We've had two really hot days - and temperature is expected to come up to 33 degrees C again tomorrow. (Actually, I've lived in hotter places, but with air conditioning and not with this amount of humidity.)

On the plus side my portable air conditioner is working - not especially effectively simply because it's only a little air conditioner and the hot humid air is just too much for it.

So, how to deal with the heat?

One tip I got from an article about helping pets survive the heat: wrap an ice brick from the freezer in a towel and put it inside your pillow slip of a night time. It really does make a difference. A flexible ice pack is better if you have one.

Another is to keep a spray bottle of water in the fridge - just have a squirt from time to time to cool down.

Find a reason to go to an air conditioned shopping centre in the hottest part of the day. I'm meeting a friend for coffee tomorrow, then going for a walk in the shopping centre. Another good option (better actually, because it's free) is to go to the library and read some books or magazines for a few hours.

Eat cold. Eat salads and cold meat or canned legumes, etc. Eat fresh summer fruit straight from the fridge. Turning the oven on makes the whole kitchen hot, and the rest of the house hot as well. Even if you love baking, as I do, a very hot day just isn't the time.

Drink cold - iced water, iced tea, iced coffee.

Cool showers and baths can help.

Despite my need for exercise - I'm not working out until the temperature gets back below 30 deg C. I'm well at the moment, but want to stay that way, which means I'm not going to push myself too much at this stage. Working out when it's really hot just doesn't work for me.

I'm doing things in the early morning and late afternoon and evening. During the heat of the day, I lie on the lounge, in front of the DVD player, with an ice brick in my pillow case and a fan aimed at me. I could push myself to do housework or other things through the heat of the day, but I know from experience that I would pay for it later. So I'm saving energy through the hottest part of the day, because I don't want the horrible fatigue I know I would have if I tried to do too much when it's hot.

The weather's set to cool down a bit by the day after tomorrow. So I'm most of the way through the really rough patch. But in the meantime, my biggest challenge is to keep cool.

The weather's one of the things that affects lupus, and that we can't control. The best any of us can do is to find ways to minimise the consequences of extremes of temperature.

Monday, 9 January 2012

The Clumsies

I'd love to know how many people with lupus suffer from the clumsies, either during a flare, or as a warning a flare is about to start.

Our house is geared for the clumsies.  We use plastic cups instead of glasses.  There are a few glasses around still, but I'm getting rid of them, one at a time.

I have out the good china, and make a point of using it, because life's too short to leave the good stuff in the china cabinet and just look at it - but if I'm not well, I tend to use things that aren't so precious to me and are a bit tougher.

When I have the clumsies, things simply fall out of my hands.  I can break anything.  We bought a Correlle dinner set - the ones that are guaranteed not to break - specifically for when I have the clumsies. Correlle can and does break. (No, I didn't claim on the guarantee that it won't. It would be unfair to expect any company to guarantee anything against my clumsieness.)

The first Correlle piece I broke came as a complete surprise. It pretty much exploded when I dropped it - bits of breakfast bowl went flying in all directions across both the kitchen and dining room. My son and I just looked at each other in surprise and said, "Wow!" We swept up, but still found shards all over the place for days afterwards.

When I was a kid, I used to get the clumsies a lot. It's one of the reasons my mother labelled me as "useless", because I could drop and break pretty much anything, I would walk into walls (it helped when I got glasses and didn't miss the doorway so much.) At the same time, I would start to get a bit "vague" (what I now know as "brain fog".)  As a kid, that got me labelled as "stupid" and "slow". (My poor mother never could understand why her "dumb" kid got three degrees while her "smart" ones didn't finish high school.)

I haven't found the clumsies on any list of recognised symptoms in any book or website for lupus that I've read. It's certainly not on the list of symptoms that help lead to a diagnosis. But anecdotally, from reading other lupies' blogs, I find that I'm not alone with this problem. It's probably a great topic for some medical researcher to study in depth.

I don't have the resources for an in-depth study. But I am curious. Lupies, let me know - do you get the clumsies? If so, when? Is it a warning that a flare is coming? Or does it usually happen during a flare? Have there been times in your life when it has been more or less frequent?

Friday, 6 January 2012

Feeling Good

I'm feeling really well at the moment.

That sounds good, and it is. It also brings some challenges. The biggest challenge is not to overdo things and get sick again.

It also brings some opportunities.

The best of the opportunities is that I have time, without being distracted by fatigue and pain, to put a really high priority on taking care of myself. The better I do that, maybe the longer I'll stay feeling good.

So, at the moment, meals have lots and lots of vegetables. I've got the energy to cut up fresh salads, so I'm having lots of them, and making sure I use lots of different coloured vegetables. (Vegetables come colour-coded, the different colours tend to indicate different nutrients. The more colours in a salad the more good things in it.) I'm having lots of my protein from legumes and nuts, and only a little from animal sources. That automatically cuts down on saturated fats.  And I'm aiming for food that's got the least amount of processing possible. I always prefer to cook my meals from basic ingredients instead of having prepared or semi-prepared things, so I know what's in it. Now, I've got the energy to do that, and I don't have to think so much about whether it's food that can go in the freezer for the next time I don't have the energy to cook. (On the other hand, if I do cook a freezable meal - I will freeze the leftovers, because that day when I'm tired could come at any time.)

I'm walking instead of taking the car more often, and making the most of my workouts at Curves. Building a strong body now may well help me when I'm not doing so well another time.

I'm getting back into the habit of starting my day with my prayer time - something that slipped a bit when I was unwell, but which is a habit that is probably even more important when I'm sick. Spending some time in the morning, discussing my day with God, and doing some evaluation of what is going on in my life, what is important and what can wait, is actually very very valuable at any time. If I can get back into that habit, maybe next time I'm sick, I'll remember why I do it, and hang on to that even if I let something else that may be good for me slip.

I start holidays on Monday. I am going to learn to ride my bike. I bought a bike about a year ago, with the idea that when I need to go to the local shops for just a few odds and ends, a ride would be good. I also aimed to be able to put my dog in the carrier basket and take him for rides. (He's very old, and coughs and wheezes when he tries to walk, so the vet said no more walking for him. But he loves going out for walks, and I thought taking him for a ride along his favourite walking tracks would be the next best thing.) But, I've found I haven't had the balance for riding a bike. When I'm sick I get clumsy.  I think that while I'm well, maybe I won't be so clumsy, and will be able to learn to ride.

So getting my life back into balance - getting back in control of the things that have got out of control, or been lost all together while I was sick - is my big challenge for now. Doing it without over-doing things and making myself sick again - well, that's my even bigger challenge!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Lupie Business

Well, I've done it. I've finally made some money off my attempt at an internet business.

I received my first commission payment from the shirt shop. I've officially earned $40 from selling my shirts/mugs etc. That was from four sales. Two of them weren't even my own purchases! (Of course, my own purchases cost me much more than that - but we have to start somewhere.)

At about the same time, I received $30 from Rewards Central - which pays points (exchangeable for cash when enough points are earned) for doing surveys, reading ads, and has rewards points for shopping on the internet.

My blogs? Well, the way the advertising program works is I earn a small amount of money whenever someone clicks on an ad. (Lots of people have ad blocker programs and never even see ads - and lots of others just aren't interested in what's being advertised. Not many people click on ads. ) Those few cents add up and add up, but only get paid when they add up to something like $150. It's going to be a very long time before that happens. And books - I haven't sold any yet, but the e-pub version of one of them has gone as far as being accepted for ibooks and Nook.

I've got to say that in the December/January period, any extra money is a gift from God. And I'm grateful for it.

On the other hand, I don't think this month will be the time I can be free from depending on a disability pension.

Even if the whole internet business thing isn't making me huge amounts of money, I still think it's a great idea. What's good is that things like the shirt shop and the book shop is that I can work on them when I have energy - and they will continue to do what they do without me when I don't have any energy at all.

That's not just a good idea for me - there are other people with lupus and other chronic illnesses who have businesses (some on line, some in the real world), aimed either at making a living, or just at raising some money for the extra costs involved in surviving with a chronic illness.  They're finding ways to meet financial needs and obligations, while keeping some flexibility to deal with vagaries of illness.

While you're here check out the Lupie Business Directory and see who else has written books, or has on-line shops, etc?

You never know, you might find a perfect gift for yourself or someone else, or you might find inspiration for your own business.

(If you're a person with a chronic illness who is operating a business, please let me know so I can add it to the directory - I'd love this directory to become a really useful resource. It would be great, if we were going to buy something anyway, to check whether we could get it from another lupie first.)

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Year's Resolutions

It's that time again, when we all determine to be better people.

So here are my resolutions - feel free to hold me accountable, tell me off when I'm not doing well, etc.
It's enough! There will be no more pets... (especially little
dogs who decide to play in the mud and then refuse to go where they're
told when I'm wearing a white dress.)

  1. There will be no new pets in my household under any circumstances, no matter how much my offspring believe they need more animals.
  2. I will encourage my offspring to become independent adults, by doing less things for them. (In the same process I will save more energy for me.) The youngest will be old enough to vote in March - if they can be responsible for electing the government, they can be responsible for getting themselves out of bed in the morning. 
  3. I will get myself organised so that I'm not overdoing things, putting energy on the "credit card", and then crashing and getting really sick later. I will plan more, pray more, and waste my personal energy less.
  4. I will ask for help when I need it. (OK - that's a really hard one!)
  5. I will break big jobs down into smaller, more manageable ones, and will pay attention when my body needs rest. 
  6. I will eat a healthy diet, and do the exercise my body needs, whether or not I see any encouragement in the numbers on the scales or the tape measure.
  7. I will do things I love (like arts and crafts, writing and even baking), simply because I love them.
  8. I will put a high priority on spending quality time with the people I love.
  9. I will shift the focus of my ministry work from getting established in the congregation and getting to know people - to helping people develop their own faith, and their own gifts.
  10. I will stop complaining about my pills and just take the damn things.
  11. I will write a book to help people understand what it means when they ask to have their baby baptized. 
  12. I will be more energy conscious - drive my car less, turn off lights and power more.
  13. I will be more money conscious - recycle things, and make things rather than buy them.
  14. I will be more nutrition-conscious - avoid fast food, and cook with ingredients that have the least possible amount of processing. 
  15. I will spend time in the quiet on the patio.
Whatever your resolutions, I hope and pray 2012 will be a great year for you.