Archive for the ‘Blog Carnival’ Category


I know, I know… I have been a very bad blogger as of late… For those who are a part of the Graceful Agony Facebook community, you will know I have had a lot on my plate… For those who aren’t yet a part of our Facebook group, my sincerest apologies for being MIA… I have just had a lot going on in my life as of late, and stressors seem to got my tongue.  Yes, I think this is what you’d call WRITERS BLOCK… sigh… I am sorry.

My WONDERFUL friend Wendy has been gracious enough to offer to host this round of our Blog Carnival as I am bogged down, and ready to fly to more tropical climates… THANKS so much Wendy, you are a gem!  I don’t know what I would do without you!!

Here are the details, taken directly from her blog:

Since Jolene is preparing for her vacation, and is unable to host the Graceful Agony Blog Carnival this month, I will be hosting it here on Transform Your Chronic Life. The topic for the month will be “Holiday Gifts for the Chronically Ill” and is intended as suggestions for gifts that are helpful in managing life as a chronic illness/chronic pain patient. Please include anything you’ve found especially useful or that you would personally like to try out.

Our healthy friends and family members never know what kinds of things are the most helpful for us, and last year I noticed that there were quite a few questions about what to get for friends who had health challenges, so I thought that would be something that would be helpful for those who never know what to get us.

The deadline for entries is Saturday, November 27, and publishing will be on Tuesday, November 30. It’s a little late, but I was trying to arrange it so that trying to write a post wouldn’t interfere with Thanksgiving celebrations for those of us in the US (and honestly, there was a little fibro fog involved as well . . .)

To participate, please send an email including your name, the name of your post, and a link to the post to burnett.wendy7 at gmail dot com


I know a lot of us aren’t doing so well with weather changes, trying to recover from Thanksgiving (my Graceful Agony Family from south of the border), and feel under the gun already because Christmas is right around the corner.  So my HATS off to all of you who are participating in this round!!

Please show your appreciation to Wendy as well!! She deserves it!!!

All my love to all of you… I am very thankful that I have such supportive people in my life!!

P.S.  If you aren’t familiar with Wendy’s blog, Tranform your Chronic Life, please go take a look!


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It is time to announce the topic of the 3rd round of Graceful Agony’s Blog Carnival!

‘A Dream is a wish your heart makes’


The true definition of ‘Dream’ is a succession of thoughts, images, sounds, and emotions that the mind processes while you are sleeping.  But I believe our dreams are much more than that.  Whether it be a  quick day-dream, a wish made while throwing a penny into a fountain, or a driving thought that propels you through each and every day – a Dream has the ability to create hope, experience life, let go of feelings that are holding us back, and they can help us draw up a better blue-print for our lives.

Have you had a dream that has permanently changed your life? Do you have a dream that keeps you going when times are tough?  Or What would your ‘dream world’ look like if you had the ability to change anything you wanted in your life?

The actual topic this round is a very broad one – and the possibilities are endless.  What is it you want to write about?

Entitle your Post “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes“, and then take it in any direction you would like!!!

To participate: Write a post, publish it to your blog, and then email me the link at gracefulagony@gmail.com on or BEFORE October 31st.  I will then create an article featuring ALL of the blog posts that have entered and a link back to all of your sites.  The Blog Carnival will then be published here at Graceful Agony on November 5th.

Once the Blog Carnival is Published on Graceful Agony and you have read through all of the posts, please write a blog post on YOUR blog sharing your experience and a link back to the Carnival so that YOUR readers can follow along as well.


The first 2 rounds have been amazing!  And I cannot wait to see what you all come up with!!


**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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Okay Everyone!!!! It is time to announce the Second Round of the Graceful Agony Blog Carnival!!  Are YOU going to participate????

This Round’s topic is something I think everyone can relate to – it is a very real thing that some many of us who deal with Chronic Illness deal with… It is Depression.

The Topic for this round is “WHO TURNED OFF THE LIGHTS? – When depression hits”.  You may include personal stories of when you have had to deal with depression, if a partner/spouse/family member has been depressed due to your illness, share your strength and hope, words of encouragement… You can even make a wordless blog post and tell a story through pictures and songs if you like… be creative!!  How have you conquered that big ‘black hole’ in the past… What do you do when depression rears its ugly head again?  By sharing our own personal experiences we have the power to support and encourage one another!

Round 2 will go ‘live’ on Sunday, September 19th, and you must have the link of your post and pertinent info emailed to me by Wednesday, September 15 at Midnight… (gracefulagony@gmail.com)


Once the Blog Carnival is Published on Graceful Agony and you have read through all of the posts, please write a blog post on YOUR blog sharing your experience and a link back to the Carnival so that YOUR readers can follow along as well.


The first round was SO successful!!! Thanks again to everyone who participated!! I hope Round 2 will be JUST as successful!

**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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I received a letter today, and it touched me greatly, and left me in tears…

I don’t think that any of us in this amazing online community truly understand the power we have in the lives of others.  I ABSOLUTELY know the impact that all of you have made in my life – but as far as the ‘heartprint’ I leave in another person’s life… well…  I don’t know if I fully understand… and if that is the case, then it must be true for most, if not all of us.

The first round of the Graceful Agony Blog Carnival has been received amazingly well!  And I cannot wait to see where this journey takes all of us… But there is more to it than you might think…  Collectively, when we write about our personal journey through this life, and how we navigate  THROUGH chronic pain and illness – our truth and our raw emotions have a way of forging a path of healing not only for ourselves, but for other people as well.  We can find comfort, take solace, and maybe even find some healing when we know that our lives have a tangible effect on others…

Now, the letter that was sent to me not only made me EXTREMELY proud to be a part of this ‘circle’, it brought me back to a time when I didn’t have all of you… And it is just another reminder how blessed I really am…

I have asked to share this letter with all of you….

Dear Jolene,
I read the blog carnival last night and was in tears, not so much because of the heart wrenching stories, but because of the strength and honestly that I heard in those stories. And I also cried for myself. I always knew that there were other people out there living with chronic pain but I just was not able to connect. I have been isolated with this for so long that I just had stopped trying. My doctor wasn’t even of any help when I asked about a support group, which I think is really sad and shameful because I knew how many people are out there suffering alone. So I had this novel idea to start a blog that would be helpful, to teach, to reach out to others. I had never read many blogs and I thought they were mostly about cupcakes and decorating. I had no idea. I read those stories and I felt like I had been reunited with my long-lost family, these people are just like me, we speak the same language. I can’t begin to convey all that I felt. But I do know that this is where I belong. That I need to be a part of this somehow. Is it too late for this carnival or should I wait for the next? I am being long-winded I know but I am so excited. I also know that you are in a challenging place right now and I don’t want to intrude on that. But if you get a chance to let me know I would appreciate it. It’s time I found a place to rest these weary bones for a while and be around people who understand. Thank you for doing what you do and to the others bravely walking this same path….

I wanted to share this letter because it is not just for me… those words are truly for all of you, and a testament to how powerful sharing YOUR lives in your own words really can be…

And by the way – I couldn’t think of a better way to introduce Maryn to all of you… I think her letter serves as a great introduction, don’t you?

Her blog can be found here.  I am really looking forward to Maryn joining in on Round 2 of our Blog Carnival!!

**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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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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Can I just say, that I am absolutely BUZZING with anticipation over the VERY FIRST ROUND OF THE GRACEFUL AGONY BLOG CARNIVAL???

The topic and Date has been set, and we are READY TO GO!!  I cannot WAIT to read all of your submissions! We have a stunning group for the very first round, and I just wanted to say THANK YOU to each and every one of you for all the support and love… It is overwhelming to me – and I am SO proud to be a part of this AMAZING GROUP!!

The Topic for the FIRST ROUND was left up to a vote, and almost 50% of the votes went to “Let Me Introduce Myself”… This seems like a good place to start… and is quite a generic topic, so please run with it!!  Get creative!! What brought you to Graceful Agony in the first place? What is something that nobody knows about you yet? What makes YOU tick? WHO ARE YOU????

Please submit a LINK to your post to me via email (gracefulagony@gmail.com) on or before August 11th (before midnight) as I have a TONNE of submissions to go through. Also, please let me know in the body of your email if you would LIKE to host a round of the Graceful Agony Blog Carnival at some point.

On your mark, get set…..


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Hi Everyone!!

Sorry it has been a while since I posted last… I am sure you all know how it goes though… Tis the season to escort my little dude here, there, and everywhere 😉  I wonder why we always look forward to summer, when it seems to be MUCH busier than the school year…. I can tell you, I for one, really NEED A VACATION!!!

For those readers who are also a part of the Graceful Agony Facebook group, you may already know that I am starting up a BRAND NEW BLOG CARNIVAL…. Yes, we will have our OWN carnival – and I am so excited!!  The idea has already been received REALLY well!!  I think the first round is going to be AWESOME!!!

Now for those not knowing what a “Blog Carnival” is – don’t be embarrassed… I didn’t know what it was when I started blogging either 😉  Here is the Wikipedia link for the true definition… “It is similar to a magazine, in that it is dedicated to a particular topic, and is published on a regular schedule, often weekly or monthly”.

In other words… Every few weeks (yet to be determined, but I am thinking every 3-4 weeks), a topic will be chosen and sent to you… YOU write a post, post it, and send me a link to your post with a small synopsis or something about you that led you to write that particular post… and then I will compile them – and feature ALL of them on this site!  Once we solidify the group and I know that the turnout each round will be somewhat consistent 😉  then I will ask other people to host the Blog Carnival, and they will be in charge of compiling and featuring the posts on their site!

It is a REALLY fun way to get to know other people in the online pain community, it increases traffic to your site (and helps you make friends online!), and most of all it is really neat to read everyone’s posts each month – It so amazing what people come up with when given the same ‘topic’, and I for one, learn SO much about myself, others, and the human spirit each time I take part in a carnival!

Don’t have a BLOG?  Well then you have TWO options… You can always start one 😉  -BUT- if you do not want to make the commitment to have your own blog, you can STILL participate… I will open another ‘Tab” under this site, and I will publish you article here if you don’t have a blog of your own (obviously giving YOU credit for it).

So you’d like to participate in the very FIRST ROUND please send me a message including your email address and link to your Blog (if you have one)… I will be sending everyone an email before we start the first round… and speaking of which…. Do you want to have a say in what we will write about for our VERY first round??? (whether or not you are participating in the carnival, you can still have a say in what you’d like to read about!!)

If you have any topic ideas that you would like to see featured in our carnival, please let me know!!

Also, I need to ask a favor…. I’d LOVE for all participants to proudly put a Graceful Agony Carnival badge on their page.. but I have NO IDEA how to make one… Is there anyone out there who’d like to volunteer their time and design one???

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL OF YOUR SUPPORT!! I am so fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful community!!!!

Now… Are you going to join in on the fun???  LET ME KNOW!!! THE FIRST ROUND WILL BE STARTING SOON!!!!!!

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