The kick-off to OUR NEW BLOG CARNIVAL!!

OKAY EVERYONE…. HERE IT IS!!!!

THE VERY FIRST ROUND OF THE GRACEFUL AGONY BLOG CARNIVAL IS HERE!!

I just wanted to first express my thanks to EVERYONE who participated, and for all the support and encouragement I have received…. IF you have hosted a blog carnival in the past you know that there is a bit of work that goes into it.. but does the ‘work’ ever pay off!  It has been a pleasure and MY honor to get to know all of you better, read your ‘introductions’, and share in your experiences, your perceptions, and most of all the wonderful and raw parts that make up YOUR human spirit… THANK YOU for sharing with me, and now I GET TO SHARE WITH ALL OF YOU…..

So without any further adieu…. I now present to you the first round of our brand new blog carnival!!!!!

– Sheila is a wonderfully strong woman, and the moderator in our Graceful Agony Facebook group.  Her introductory post, Who I am now? Introducing….ME! will give you some insight to her strength.  From single-mom struggling and almost homeless, to her struggles with her health – Sheila keeps putting one foot in front of the other…. I admire her greatly, and thank her for all the support and time she puts in to our group!

– I haven’t known Dana for long, but I must tell you, there is a wonderful energy about her – and you will immediately know what I mean when you read her post,  A tsp of sugar, a tsp of spice, a dash of everything nice…. Dana has Avascular Necrosis, Fibromyalgia, Sjorgren’s… yet she also has a ‘get up and go’ mentality, living a purpose driven life.  Her spirituality and her family motivate her to live the best life she can… that is VERY clear.. but what else is clear is that she is one special gal.  I’m honored to be in her circle.

– Kathy is someone I have been friends with since joining the online community.  She also lives in my city, and I cannot wait to meet her in person and give her a BIG HUG…  She means the world to me.  Her blog post, Introducing Kathy will give you a glimpse as to why she is so important to me.  With Kathy, what you see is what you get – and she lives her truth.  I have GREAT respect for her.  Although she deals with Fibromyalgia every day, she is always there for others, is truly an ARTIST in many ways (look at her photography – you will see what I mean), and is a true friend in every sense of the word.  She wants people to know that they aren’t ‘alone’ in this chronic life… and with her on your side, you won’t be… She has been there for me selflessly, as well as everyone else in our group who needs her.  THANK YOU KATHY!!  We NEED to do coffee soon!!

– Speaking of friends… Tammy is one of the BEST!!  If you have not yet read her blog, I suggest you get yourself a cup of coffee, a box of tissues, and jump in.  Her Introduction barely scratches the surface of who this awe-inspiring gal truly is… Tammy and I hit it off from the first second I met her, and I am proud to call her my friend.  Imagine going into the hospital for a routine surgery as far as today’s standards are concerned, and spending MONTHS upon MONTHS in the hospital fighting for your life… this is only a part of Tammy’s history – and I am constantly in awe of her strength and courage.  I am forever a better person for having her in my life… and you will be too! Love you my soul sista!!

– And speaking of soul… that is pretty much the start of describing Wendy!  I had the pleasure of getting to know Wendy through the world-wide web soon after I started Graceful Agony… and I can only speak for myself, but it was like talking to someone I had known for years.  Wendy speaks her truth, she is a great friend, and she is giving with her time and her energy whenever you need her, no matter what she is going through.  Her post, Introductions Again, YIKES! couldn’t be more candid and real.  What she does, and WHO she is are connected beautifully in her post – and she acknowledges that she is a work in progress… BRAVO!  Aren’t we all!?  It is about the journey, and not the destination in this chronic life… and Wendy relays this brilliantly.

– Selena is someone I really admire, and I know you will too.  She is someone who forges ahead, has a quiet courage that has changed the way I perceive myself, and defines herself – not letting her Illnesses define her.  That is what you will read about in her carnival post, I am not my Chronic Illnesses… She has been through so much with her health, but continues to inspire others to live an authentic life, and to not have those struggles define the heart of who she is.  I know her to be a sweet and genuine person, always helping others, and LIVING… and sometimes that is the hardest thing to do when you deal with pain everyday…  She is someone who doesn’t know exactly the impact she has on others… but I am here to say that she has had a great impact on mine.

– Phylor has a great blog, and she is one of those ‘chronic’ warriors who is ALWAYS motivating and supporting others!  That is how I found her in the first place, and she has been a kind friend and motivation in my life.  Phylor has insight that is so truthful, and I know it will resonate with you as well.  In her Introduction she points out that we don’t generally shake someone’s hand and include our illness in the “hi my name is…” greeting.. Isn’t THAT the truth!  Phylor is many things, and just like all of us, we are a sum of our parts – but isn’t it GREAT that we can include our online community in that?  Each of the people who touch our lives become a piece of us in some way – and we are blessed because of that.

– Rosemary is one of the most beautiful people I have known – inside and out.    She makes me laugh, makes me cry, and makes me want to be a better person.  Her writing is both candid and beautiful, and she gives me courage to be really honest when I have bad days… That is something that at times is still hard for me to do – but after reading her blog, you will know what I mean – you CANNOT be anything BUT real in her presence.  Her post, The Skippy Diaries will leave you nodding your head… you will be able to see yourself in her post.  As she reflects on the things that used to be a part of her world – high heels, a love of reading, and living without restriction – you will be able to relate to that ‘day’ when all things changed…  She might not think she is ‘dealing’ with this so well, but it is quite the opposite… She grieves over the life that once ‘was’ and in doing she gives her readers the courage to do the same.

– I met CJ through Rosemary a short while ago, but already she is someone I hold dear to my heart.  Like Rosemary, CJ is admired for her honesty… And for someone who has been blogging for a short time, she sure fits in to this community, and I’d be lost without her!  The picture CJ paints of puzzle pieces becoming lost in her Introduction really hit me to the core… Having a completed puzzle until chronic illness and pain smashes the puzzle could not be more accurate or profound… It is so VERY true… How do ANY of us start putting those pieces of ourselves back together??  I think maybe if the community around you stop and start helping you find the pieces that have rolled under the table and across the floor – just maybe we can get that puzzle put back together.  CJ might not think ‘graceful’ is a word that describes her life – but I beg to differ… Grace, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder.

– Krismom has a wonderful blog that has been mainly about her life as a Mother, and a wonderful Mom she is!  You don’t need to look farther than her main page to know that her family is the center of her universe… That is why I have a TONNE of respect for her that she maintains such a close-knit family in spite of her chronic pain.  She has taken a big step on her site and introduced herself, Underneath it all.  I laughed out loud as I read about others judgments on being a stay-at-home Mom.  ‘You are so lucky’ people say, but if they only knew… I can SO completely relate to this in my life, she could be telling my story, and the story of SO many Chronic Pain Survivors who have small children.  You will be a few sentences in and you will realize that she is SO much more than what she appears on the outside, and I think that is something we ALL can relate to!  I am SO happy she is part of our circle!

– Now if you haven’t gotten up and stretched yet.. please do so now… LOL!  Are you enjoying the blog carnival so far?  Have you found personal experiences that resemble your own?  Have you found inspiration in the these amazing posts?  I am SURE you have… I cannot begin to tell you how in awe I am of all of you….  Take a break, go get yourself an iced tea… grab the heating pad for your tushie…  make sure to stretch a little… and keep reading!!

– Have you been following the Fibromama blog?  If you haven’t then you this is one to definitely include in your blogroll!  Her introduction starts with such honesty, and in a place where I think we all have been… in bed… hair a mess…  in agony…  She is right, you cannot get much more raw.. and how many of us have been there?  She is one awe-inspiring gal, from graduating Summa Cum Laude to raising her children and being a wonderful wife – she is so much more than the Fibromyalgia that she struggles with… She might not think she has the gold star for being the ‘best’ any longer, but I think some of you will very much disagree… This Fibromama balances so much in her life and her words motivate me to keep doing the same… She definitely gets a gold star from me!!

– Michelle is an amazing Mom of a teenaged son who struggles with Chronic Pain.  I have had the pleasure of getting to know her this past little while, and I invited her to take part in this blog carnival.  She doesn’t yet have a blog, but her voice is JUST as important as ours… and this is her introduction:

Hi my name is Michelle, I am 45 years old. I am my son ‘s only parent living. My son, Josh will be 16 years old in a couple of months. Since he was 9 years old, I watched my son slowly grow in to dark spot of his life and every now and then I will see a smile. Since age of 9 he had three spinal surgeries to help with a tethered spinal cord. Nothing helped but all symptoms were worse including pain that is severe causing him to have to be sick to his stomach. Needless to say 6 1/2 years later, one very tired , heart hurting mother found this wonderful group of people who understands. I may never know what and how I found it. I was sad and needed someone to understand and not leave me. Over the last few years I found out who were my true friends the hard way. I do not have many. I hope to have found a few with this group. Who knew that it takes people to have to be in pain to be my friend..That is a very sad truth. Another reason my heart hurts..As you can tell I do have chronic heart pain and it will probably not go away.

* Please feel free to leave comments for Michelle on my blog, or she can be found as part of our Graceful Agony Facebook group.

Infinite Daze is a new blog to me, and I’m excited that we have a new online friend in this community!  I must say the quote on the main page is priceless… “Life is never quite like the brochure” – ain’t THAT the truth!!  As the writer struggles to find a proper diagnosis, and is housebound 80% of the time, maintaining a blog is something to be proud of!  And I think I speak from our whole group when I say that many of us have been where you are, and you are definitely not alone.  We have a facebook group, and so many WONDERFUL friends here… We look forward to getting to know you!

– Laurie’s blog is beautiful!  She has an amazing way with words, and she is also someone I consider to be a dear friend.  Although we lost touch for a little while (life happens), I am so glad that she wanted to be a part of this carnival!  If she only knew how much she means to me… her words have kept me going on a few really rough days.  But enough of that ;).  Her post – Feel Good, Eat Cake made a big change in me… I found it to be really profound in my life, and I think that you may feel the same way.  A life of illness and pain isn’t fun.. we all know that – but with it comes anger, depression, frustration etc. and often a change of perception.  Things that we normally didn’t react to – we do now, and sometimes our reactions can actually hurt us… I think because we can potentially swing from one extreme to another.  How about moderation? Laurie asks… Whether it be taking vitamins, eating cake, or even just MOVING some days… Mental and Physical health stems from internal balance… something this gal has, and I love her for it!!

So with that, If I can steal the last words on Laurie’s blog post… We are all in this together… And I must say that I am SO happy that we are.  I love all of you, and I am so honored to call you my ‘family’.  It has been a JOY to host the first round of the Graceful Agony Blog Carnival, and I am SO excited to see where this journey may take us.

I will let you all know when the next round will be as soon as I can, and I hope you will want to take part in it again!! ALSO PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE PREPARING A GRACEFUL AGONY CARNIVAL BADGE THAT WILL BE POSTED SOON! I hope that you will post this badge with pride!!

*If I somehow have forgotten to include your post, or you didn’t get it in to me on time PLEASE let me know and I will include it here… Accept my sincerest apologies in advance… I haven’t been so well as of late, and I am doing the best I can 😉

Oh and I forgot about ME… I was going to write a post to include in this carnival, but as some of you know I have been going through a bit of a rough patch the past few weeks.  My pain has been through the roof and uncontrolled for a few weeks now and my Nanny is in the final stages of her life and will be heaven bound soon… I pray she finds peace, and my Pappy waiting for her with a cuppa tea and his arms wide open.  Losing someone is never easy, but it is a time that we can reflect on our own lives…  The footprint we leave in others lives and on this earth – and how fragile life can be along with how our strength and courage can leave a legacy for others… Instead of my ‘introduction’ today I am asking you all to reflect on YOUR footprint in this life…

My life is an open book, and you are welcome to read through the archives to learn a little more about me.  I have many posts that I could probably include here – but Graceful Agony isn’t only about me… It is about ALL of you, and that is who I choose to honor today.

Thank you for being a part of my life…. I hope this is only the beginning….

**If you are reading this anywhere other than www.gracefulagony.wordpress.com it is because this post has been stolen.  Please click on the link provided to return to the site of origin

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19 thoughts on “The kick-off to OUR NEW BLOG CARNIVAL!!

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  1. Awesome Job Jolene! I visited and commented on every single blog that was part of the carnival! Awesomeness time 100!

    BTW – the last link (Laurie’s link) titled, We are all in this together, wasn’t working for me….

    1. Thanks Sweets! It was a really amazing experience for me, and I am excited to see the journey unfold as we keep taking part in this Blog Carnival.
      How are you doing?? I LOVE your new apartment!!! IT IS AMAZING!!!
      Please let me know when your package arrives… I would be SHOCKED if you didn’t get it today… we paid $26 for Express Post – so I don’t know why you are still waiting??
      HUGS AND LOVE… I cannot wait to see the wedding pics!!

    1. Thanks Kathy, and you are very welcome – but it was really a great experience for me to introduce all of you the way I have come to know you… and I was only stating the truth 😉
      My life is a bit hectic right now, but I would love to meet for coffee once things settle down…
      xoxo

    1. You are SO Welcome hon!! It was my honor to do it, and I am excited already for Round 2!! Thank you for being my team mate!!
      As I told Laurie, , it is ‘custom’ in a blog carnival to create a new post once that Carnival Round goes live, and blog about your experience taking part in that round – and link back to the article (so this time that would be THIS article), that way your readers can follow along if they choose to as well. I think I forgot to tell everyone that 😦 Sorry, my head isn’t secured tightly some days.. LOL!
      Lots of love to you chicky.. and I am SO proud of you starting your blog.. It is AWESOME already, and I hope it if as life-changing for you as this blog has been for me….
      XOXOXO

  2. You are a sweetheart Jolene. Sorry my last line didn’t resonate with Dominique, but for me, I would be lost without this group. let us know about the next carnival. Hugs to you, and THANKS for doing this!!!

    1. Thanks so much Laurie… so are YOU! I didn’t realize that you had been referring to me in your blog posts until now, and it brought tears to my eyes that you thought that much of me. I am a VERY lucky gal to have a friend like you. I absolutely LOVED your post, and now that I know who the ‘friend’ was in your post, I am amazingly touched… xoxoxo
      I remember feeling so alone for a long time.. but that really isn’t the case.. I’d be lost without this community – and I hope I can give back as much as I get from everyone in it.
      If you haven’t already Laurie, it is ‘custom’ in a blog carnival to create a new post once that Carnival Round goes live, and blog about your experience taking part in that round – and link back to the article (so this time that would be THIS article), that way your readers can follow along if they choose to as well.
      I will absolutely let you know when Round 2 will start!
      HUGS and MUCH love… thank you for being a true and wonderful friend…
      xoxoxo

  3. Just to clarify “We are all in this together” is just a statement in bold… there is no link attached to it… sorry ladies if I made that clear as mud in my post….
    XOXOXOXOXOXOXO

  4. Thank you so very much for your kind words and for setting this up. Its only been a day or two and already I have met some wonderful people who share in the pain that never seems to end. ❤

  5. Wow! Thank you so much for the kind words and for including my post into the inaugural edition of the Graceful Agony blog carnival.

    There are so many great posts featured … I can’t wait to dig in and read them all. 😉

  6. Hey! I’ve been having one of those let’s say not so great times…lol…but was lurking again….and spent much more time here than I had planed and you had perfect timing on the fanny break…lol…omg you were right on the money…. had to stretch….not sure what the carnival is but really enjoyed the reading….I’ll be coming back to read more….we got us a new baby I posted the photos on my blog so I’ll shamelessly plug my blog…but really see how cute this new one is….something about babies that make me smile….especially when I can give them back when I get tired…OK….really mean when they wet and cry and don’t sleep….I love the snuggle time…..get some rest and take care of your self as it looks like a real labor of love putting this together and well worth it I’m sure…..gentle hugs…Lila

  7. Thanx for putting this together, and the nice words of introduction. It’s been great getting to know folks through the carnival. Can’t wait for the next one!

  8. OK now I understand more how this works! lol

    thank you so so much for putting this all together for us (that must’ve taken a LOT of time and energy and we all know that those thing can really be lacking when we have to do so much resting and coping with the pain during our days).

    I look forward to going through all the posts in the carnival and I was so excited and touched to get some comments on my post as well.

    thank you for piecing things together for us, to help us see – and truly feel – we aren’t alone in this!

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