Category Archives for "Fibro Warrior Stories"

November 4, 2020

To Everything There Is a Season

Lately, The Byrds’ song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” (To Everything There Is a Season) has been playing in my mind.

Is it because we are actually going from the fun, family, sun-filled days of summer to the beautiful, cool days of fall, or is it because of my Fibromyalgia Flare, or is it because of the exciting new things I am developing for my business? I think it is a little of all of these and here’s why.

Summer to Fall:

Interestingly enough, when I look at the three Oola Fun goals I wrote for myself last December, I have accomplished all but one. The one I was unable to do was drive to St. Cloud, Minnesota (an 8-hour drive for me) to visit so many amazing people I had to leave behind when I moved back to Bottineau, North Dakota. Obviously, due to the pandemic, this had to be put off until next year.

The other two were making a point to spend time with my parents once they came back to North Dakota after spending the winter in Arizona and to have plenty of family time at the lake.

In North Dakota, the cold weather comes way too soon and often lasts longer than we would like, so making the most of the summer days is quite important. The lake is also where I can go and immediately feel grounded. We do not have a lake home, but we do have a beautiful state park – Lake Metigoshe (met-ah-go-she) State Park – with a wonderful public beach that we take advantage of. Additionally, my brother-in-law has a boat that he graciously has us out on quite often. Even if I only go to the lake for half an hour, it is sometimes all I need. Furthermore, we go hiking on many of the trails at the state park. Many laughs have been had in the middle of the woods! Of course, the family joke is if we get lost, we just have to make Nicole laugh, and they will find us! How RUDE!

I also like to go for walks with my family at a gorgeous park here in our town, the Forestry Park. Getting exercise while catching up on family news is the best way to stay connected while enjoying the outdoors.

My parents are in their seventies and both have underlying health conditions. The retirement community they are involved in Arizona has helped keep them young and active with all of the events and socializing opportunities available. They act like a couple of teenagers down there! Haha! Even though they act young at heart, I realize that every day I have with my parents is a blessing, and I want to make the most of each of those days. I don’t want to feel, when it is too late, that I should have made this more of a priority.


When the seasons change from summer to fall and then winter to spring, I get a rather lengthy Fibromyalgia Flare. There are many reasons for this. The major reasons include barometric pressure changes and extreme temperature changes within the same day and week. The “Fall Flare” starts when we begin to have frost at night and lasts until the first snow. Often, this can be a 2-month flare. The same thing happens in the spring. It happens for the same reasons but because of opposite weather patterns as the days become warmer. When the night freezes stop, the Fibromyalgia starts to abate or at least have daily pain levels that are easier to handle.

For those of you that are new to this blog, let me tell you a little bit about my flares. I have excruciating pain all over my body, headaches, migraines, and extreme fatigue. When I state that I have pain all over my body, I mean EVERYWHERE! I literally have pain from the top of my head, including my hair, to the bottoms of my feet and tip of toes. Often, my fingers cannot close up into a clench. My eyes have a hard time focusing which makes it hard to see things clearly and read. You can read more about my Fibromyalgia journey here.

Exciting Business News:

Even though I cannot do much during my Fibromyalgia Flare, one thing I can do is think and dream! And that is exactly what I do. The positive that comes out of the Fibro Flares is that I take time to reeallllly sloooowwww dooowwwwnnn and regroup.

With this said, I have had a couple of ideas floating around in my head but have not had the time to really think them through – that is until one of my flares. During one of my recent flares, I began developing a new business idea, and now, I am so excited that I am able to up-level my coaching options for YOU!

The first is that I have been wanting to develop another coaching program to meet your needs. I created a new, 10-week coaching program. I debated about the length of time for the program and realized for the best outcome you really need 10 weeks. I have also produced additional informational activity bundles to enrich your experience during this program. The program launched the last week of October so it is ready to go. Once you have completed the course, you will not only have all your goals ready for 2021, but you will also have the action steps needed to achieve them. What a great way to start a New Year!

Lastly, I am toying around with the idea of a Positively Powerful membership site as part of my website. There will be a monthly fee to belong to the site. If you purchase a full year up front, you will receive a complimentary Jalendar. In this membership site, I will have more videos, resources, positive affirmations and quotes. Things I am considering for this site include: 1. Money Monday, 2. Tricks of the Trade Tuesday, 3. Wednesday Wise (Positive Quotes), 4. Thriving Thursdays (Positive Affirmations).

As this would be a huge undertaking, I would really appreciate some feedback from all of you. Here are some questions continuing to swirl around in my head:

1. Would you pay a monthly fee for a membership site, knowing what I have given you this summer and turning the volume up on that information?
2. What would you pay monthly for this?
3. Are 4 days too much or too little information? If so, how many days would you like?
4. Any other ideas for titles for the weekdays?
5. Other thoughts?

Please email me below. This is private so you can be as honest as you want. I appreciate the feedback you all will give me. Afterall, I want the resources I develop for you to work for YOU .

Together, we are Positively Powerful!

July 8, 2020

Measure and Improve

What gets measured gets improved.

Have you heard this advice before? “What gets measured gets improved.”

It’s particularly applicable to your finances. When you focus on your numbers – your bills, your debts, how you spend your money, and how much you save for your future – those numbers tend to improve. It’s human nature. We want to “win” at whatever game or challenge we’re facing.

So let’s go . . . game on.

If you’ve been following my series on de-stressing your finances, you’ve already done some of the work when you took inventory of your debts, expenses, savings, and more.

Now it’s time to create a monthly budget and keep track of those numbers on a regular basis . . . making sure you find the money to apply to those areas where you want to win.

Step #1: Look online for a budgeting worksheet you like (spreadsheets and apps work, too). Then start inputting your numbers. This will take some time to find all the expenses, particularly if you do a one-year budget where your costs change month to month.

Step #2: Highlight one area where you want to focus first, such as: Creating a small emergency fund • Paying off your car loan • Saving 15% of your paycheck for retirement.

Step #3: Decide how you’ll get the money together to achieve that goal. If it’s a $1,000 emergency fund, for example, can you: sell unused sports equipment or other items? Do weekend projects? Take a second job for 90 days? And if it’s saving 15% in a retirement plan at work, calculate how much your new take-home pay would be – then budget other areas (eating out, travel, cable TV) accordingly.

There’s real power in focusing on one goal at a time until it’s achieved.

And what’s even more powerful is how many opportunities will appear unexpectedly to help you achieve your goal faster or easier.

I’m up for that kind of powerful focus . . . how about you?

In fact, focus is what the Oola lifestyle taught me, and it’s what I help others do as an Oola Life Coach. If you think working together to keep you on track and accountable for results is something that would get you to a balanced life (and finances) faster, I’m here to help.

Message me and we can jump on a call to chat about it. Or go here to check out the 10-Week Oola Coaching Program.  I deliver for clients who want more balance, less stress, and more happiness in their lives.

For now, drop a comment below and share the one thing you’ll be focused on as your very first “win.


Is change leaving you feeling unmoored?

Change is inevitable. Change is good. Nothing evolves without change. Learn from change. We hear these catch phrases all the time, but sometimes when a change happens to you, it can leave you feeling unmoored. I have had changes in my life that have been all of the above. And, I know I am not alone. I am sure most of you have experienced this type of change too.

I am on a new adventure.

To begin my series on change, I will start with my most recent one. As most of you who have been following me on Facebook know, I have the opportunity to start my own Life Coaching and Vision Board Facilitating business. Yay! I am extremely excited and blessed for this new adventure in my life. I am invigorated by all the new learning that comes with starting a business. How to do it correctly and just the DREAMING I am able to do with this venture. I mean the sky’s the limit here, and I’m anxious to get things rolling in order to help as many people as I can with their life changes.

Another part of this adventure is a Jalendar. I tease everyone that I am coining a new word – Jalendar – that will end up in the next revision of the Webster’s Dictionary. A Jalendar is a journal and calendar all in one. I have been looking for something like this for a long time but always come up short. I can find the Journal or the Calendar but not the two together. It has been thrilling to work through my ideas for this, and see it develop.   Click here for a free 1-month version, or here for a 7 month (2020) version or here for the 12 month (2021) version.

Change can also bring on mourning of a loss.

Along with all this high energy and excitement, there are some things I am mourning with this change too, as can happen with some shifts in life. I am mourning that my twin sister and I will no longer be working together every day. You would think that being with each other every day and working side by side, we would be sick of each other…well, we’re not!  I used to live in St Cloud, MN and that was too far, so I moved back to Bottineau, ND.  Now, we live approximately two miles from each other, and it’s still too far!! We keep joking, to our husbands’ chagrin, that we need to build a house where we have common rooms and then our own suites when we need time away. And, let’s be honest, that is probably only when the two of us are sleeping!

Major life changes are not always planned.

My sister was diagnosed with cancer and had a six-month check-up that wasn’t great! This led her to rethink her business. She wasn’t planning on the change just like those of us with Fibromyalgia aren’t always planning to make big life changes. It is just something we have to do. Although we have separate businesses, my sister and I are planning to work together in different capacities and will ALWAYS be together doing “our thing” which means I say or do something and Susan shakes her head and rolls her eyes. After all, that is how we roll!

Change is inevitable.

Sometimes change is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean change is bad. Take time to mourn what you will miss with the change. Then, take time to look ahead and get excited about the change. Great things happen with change.

I will keep you posted about my lively changes. In the meantime, if you are undergoing big life changes, let me know. Let’s work together to make your life Positively Powerful!



June 15, 2020

Why Does It Take A While For Gratitude To Become More Natural To Me?

Why does it seem like some people are able to always look at the bright side while standing in a pile of shit as the house burns down around them?
Well, here are some thoughts on that very subject.


Getting into the habit of focusing on gratitude in your daily life takes work. It takes time and practice for you to retrain your brain. When I was a teacher, I had a saying. As the class learned a new word and definition, I would tell the students, “Use the word three times so it goes in your Memory Box.” Now, I understand this isn’t just words you are learning but a habit. The premise is that you need to use and play with it in order to own it and really know it.

You will get there!

It could take up to three months for a more focused gratitude mindset to come to you – might be less, might be more. The bottom line is, you will get there. Trust the process and love yourself enough to go at your own pace. This isn’t a competition.
Do I dare say that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we went about our days not always thinking how grateful we should be just to be able to get up every day and be able to breathe? Or that we had a job to go to, or a place we could shelter for social distancing.Some people’s personalities are predisposed to being more positive.

Some people’s personalities are predisposed to being more positive.

Some people are just naturally more positive and developing the habit of writing in a gratitude journal will come more easily to them then it will to someone in the throes of a depression. Some people just have more grateful personalities than others. But it doesn’t mean you can’t develop it.

You are honing a skill.

You are honing a new skill. You are learning to be more in-tune with the world around you as you find things you are grateful for. You’re looking at life with a different lens. That is what Fibromyalgia did for me and what the pandemic has done for so many others. I could wallow in all the things I hate about Fibromyalgia. But, in the end, it ends up hurting me more and allows Fibro to take away from me more than it already has. I refuse to allow this. Instead, I choose to be grateful for what it has taught me.

Friends: Invest 1% In Your Inner Circle

Who Inspires and Supports You in Tough Times?

In times like these, we find out who our real friends are. Not our coworkers at the office or the moms we see on the school run—but true, stick-with-you friends who make up an inner circle of supporters who care about you.

Friends are awesome. And it’s the awesome ones that we need more of in our lives.

Apply the 1% Strategy to friendships.

If your friendships could use an upgrade, why not apply the 1% Strategy we’ve been talking about this month to nurture and grow your closest friendships—and work on also becoming a better friend yourself. You can use the same 1% Strategy to carefully consider which pals show up as no friend ever should: toxic, needy, envious or just too busy to know what’s going on in your world.

Could you take a small 1% step and . . .
• FaceTime friends for a change, instead of texting?
• Have a talk with that toxic friend to ask why?
• Plan a get-together of close friends once a month?  You can do this with Zoom.

What’s the best thing a friend ever did for you?

But here’s a question: what’s the best thing a friend ever did for you? Did they support you, cheer you, cry with you, or something else? Comment below and share what great friends do during good times and bad.

And don’t forget the mentors in your life who’ve helped you get ahead or make a difficult life decision. They’re friends, too, and deserve your recognition.

Being impartial and friends don’t go together.

Of course, here’s one thing I know friends don’t do well: be impartial. They love you too much!

The reality is we don’t always have someone in our life who holds us accountable for making progress on our biggest life goals—someone who can be our cheerleader, inspire us to keep going, and applaud us when we reach a milestone.

Loved ones, spouses and friends are rarely impartial. In fact, they’re far too close to our situation to be neutral. An “outsider” is really the only person who can be committed to your success over time.

As a Certified Oola Life Coach, that’s what I do.

In fact, the coaching process can help you turn your dreams into achievable goals—then provide accountability as you pursue those goals with enthusiasm. Together with my clients, we focus on ways to reach career milestones, personal goals and lifestyle objectives. We share ideas, unlock new paths, and celebrate wins. But most importantly, I hold my clients accountable for making progress in every area of their lives. And all it takes is just 10 weeks.

Why not message me and see if it’s right for you? Or, you can read more about it here (and even register online).

What’s the extraordinary thing in life you’re supposed to do? Achieve your best life with Oola Coaching. I would be privileged to work with you in getting there.

June 8, 2020

Gratitude: Don’t Overthink It!

It’s easy to get caught up in the “rules” of how to do something – even the rules of journaling. When do I write? What do I write? How long should I spend writing? Don’t overthink it, just write! Write down the first things that pop in your head regarding gratitude.

Look at even the smallest thing as gratitude.

After a few weeks, go back and read what you wrote in your gratitude journal. Are you consistently writing the same things? Then, it’s time to think deeper and look for even the smallest thing to put into a gratitude statement.

Ideas for thinking deeper about gratitude.

For example: I am grateful I noticed a feather on the ground. I see it as a sign from Grandma Fern that she is thinking of me. Or, instead of stating I am grateful for family, take time to dig a little deeper. Be more specific. Why are you grateful for your family today? Maybe you received a call from your sister. I am grateful that my sister called me at just the moment I needed to hear her voice.

Most important is that you start and allow gratitude to become a habit.

Habits don’t form overnight. They take time, and you may miss a day or two of writing in your journal. That’s ok. Just be sure to start again. It will also take time to learn to dig deeper in your gratitude.

Oprah Winfrey uses a gratitude journal. But, guess what. Even Oprah didn’t start out with masterful gratitude statements. She evolved into that. What is most important is that she started and made it a habit in her daily life. And, there you go – another statement of gratitude! I am grateful for starting to write down and be more mindful of what I am grateful for every day.

June 2, 2020

Where Do I Start?

There are several ways to start shifting your mindset to embrace gratitude, but sometimes people don’t do it simply because they aren’t sure how to get started. Many choose to use a notebook or a journal specifically for gratitude.

Here are some things to keep in mind if this is the way you want to recognize your daily gratitudes.

• Find a notebook/journal that really speaks to you.
• Find one that feels special when you look at the cover.  Make sure you like the way the paper feels and how it opens up (spiral bound or book bound). Choose a notebook that energizes you and encourages you to write in it.

Can a notebook really do that for you? Well, yeah! I might be one of those weird journal people, but when I want to feel encouraged to write, I find a notebook that is all of those things. And, of course, I pick the PERFECT writing utensil! Yep, you got me. I’m a nerd! It must be the teacher in me needing the perfect notebook and pencil or pen.

Some companies that have nice options are:

o Think and Ink Co.
o Erin
o Etsy
o Blue Sky

All of these options are small businesses, so if you purchase from one of these, you are also supporting a small business.

Find a way that works for you.

Everyone likes to do things their own, unique way. Gratitude is no different. If a notebook or journal isn’t your jam, no worries!
Other ideas that can help you stay consistent with honoring gratitude daily are

  • Post Its are a good choice.  The groovier the better.
  • There are calendar choices that have gratitude sections for each day.
  • Take pictures of what you are grateful for and add writing or an audio to that picture.
  • A binder that gives you the feeling of a journal is a nice option.  Some people like to have the ability to add pages as they go. This would also be a great option as you print your pictures off and journal next to the picture.
  • I also created the Jalendar.
    • A journal and calendar all in one that allows you to write down up to three things you are grateful for, a section to write how your “Pay It Forward”, and yet another section for additional journaling or brainstorming ideas.. Click here for a download of one month of the Jalendar.

Five minutes of your time.

Whatever you decide to use, start out with 5 minutes a day to write 1-3 gratitude statements. You will find as you develop this skill, you may need 15-30 minutes a day for this task. After all, what you put into this is what you will get out of it. Reread my previous blog about how this helps with positivity and allowing your dreams to become a reality. Click here for my previous blog.

Write your daily gratitudes when it works best for you.

Some school of thought is to start your day with this exercise. Others prefer to do it at the end of the day. My take is you do it when it works for you. Maybe it is during your lunch break. Focusing on positive things in the middle of the day can give you a boost to get through the rest of the day, or it will enable you to make a pivot. Maybe your morning was one-of-those-mornings. By writing down things you are thankful for, you can shift your mindset back into a positive way of thinking and end the day on a high note! In two previous blogs, I have written about how we can find gratitude in yucky situations.  Find them here and here.  The goal is that you are taking the time to acknowledge gratitude in your life every day.

Why Is Gratitude So Important?

Gratitude actually helps train the brain to look at your environment in a positive way, and it shapes how you react to the things happening around you. When you are focused on positivity, good things naturally flow to you.

When you are feeling down, things just don’t seem to go your way.

What do I mean by this you ask? Well, think of it this way. When you are feeling down, it seems like everything happening around you is negative. For example, you’re late for work…again. Your computer freezes while you are rushing to meet a deadline. You lose your job or are furloughed. You have to go to a job you hate. You are overwhelmed by the added responsibilities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. It just goes on and on. At the end of the day, you feel exhausted and defeated. This perpetuates the “hamster-on-the-wheel” state of mind. You find yourself on the spinning wheel of negativity.

Positive things seem to naturally come your way.

On the other hand, when you start your morning feeling grateful for another day, positive things seem to naturally come your way. You hear your favorite song on the radio. You have a pep in your step. You might even take a final look in the mirror before starting your day thinking, “Dang! I look good today!” You are easily able to interact with others clearly and compassionately. You have more energy at the end of the day. You feel positive and that anything is possible.

Gratitude is directly linked to the Law of Attraction.

When you are able to look at things in a positive light, you are more grateful; you tend to do more acts of kindness for others. Hence, when you state out loud what your dreams are, they will start to come true for you.

Start to consciously see blessings in your life.

There is so much information regarding gratitude. So, I have broken up the information into a series of blogs, just like I did for core values. Before diving into the rest of my gratitude blogs, I want to encourage you to do the following exercise. Each day, take 5 minutes to write down 1-3 things you are grateful for. Think about these things throughout your day. Now, be ready to start consciously seeing more blessing coming your way!

May 11, 2020

Finding Gratitude During a Pandemic

This is a continuation from last week’s blog. (Click here if you missed it.) I don’t need to tell any of you that life has changed for all of us – some more than others. But COVID-19 is an actual WORLD event that has affected all of us in one way or another. How can we find gratitude in something like this? Yes, there are a lot of negatives. We hear about them every day during the evening news, but instead of rehashing the negative news, I’d like to focus on the positive. I’d like to help you find gratitude in some of the things that may be happening to you during this pandemic. Here are a few mindset shifts that can help you turn negative thoughts into positive ones.

Furloughed or Loss of Job:

I did not like my job anyways. I now have the time to reinvent myself for the job of my dreams!

I realize I love what I do, so I am going to use this time to make myself stand out even more when I can get back to my job.

I CAN do my job from home. I can prove to my employer that I am more productive when working from home – a win-win for both the company and me!

Home with My Children:

I love being home with my children. I feel like I am a better parent, and I don’t feel guilty about leaving them at daycare. I will work on either reinventing myself for the job of my dreams or prove to my employer that I am just as productive, or more, when I am able to work from home.

I don’t have to feel guilty anymore about having my children go to daycare while I go to work. I am a better parent when I am able to work outside of the home.

I am grateful for public or private education. I know my children are cared for by their teachers.


I am eating healthier because I am not eating out all the time, and I am saving money – an extra bonus!

I am getting more fit because now I can’t say I don’t have time to workout.

I am able to get the rest I so desperately need.


I am saving money because I do not have to buy so much gas for my car or pay for maintenance since I am home.

Now that I am staying home, my family only needs one vehicle enabling us to save more money.

I am starting to educate myself on finances with David Ramsey so when the next crisis happens, I am financially prepared.

Family and Friends:

I am enjoying spending time with my significant other. It feels like we are dating again!

I have time to reconnect with friends I haven’t talked to for a long time.

I am enjoying time with my family and doing things we have never done or have not done for a long time by playing board games or card games, eating meals together or watching a movie together.


I am able to get back to my hobby, something I haven’t done for years.

I am able to get to the to do list I never seemed to be able to get to.

I am slowing down and finding I like living at this slower pace.


I am able to get back to my Faith by reading scripture or praying again.

I am grateful because I know I am not alone in this.

There is a plan; I am trusting in Him.

Lessons for All of Us Right Now:

I hope these were helpful to you. There are so many lessons for ALL of us right now. You just have to be open to listening to your wise inner self, your subconscious mind, to hear them. What you hear for yourself may not be what someone else is feeling, and that is OK. Maybe you are still in the grieving stages of all that you feel has been taken from you. I hope, when you are ready, this small list of ways to be grateful can help you come to the light of acceptance to grow and become someone you always DREAMED you would be.  Together, we are Positively Powerful!

What Is Your First Response When Something Unfavorable Happens To You?

So, I have a question for you, and I want you to really think about the answer. When something unforeseen or something bad happens to you, what is your first reaction? Do you automatically ask, “Why Me”?

Find the lesson each of these experiences can give you.

I’ll be the first to state that I am not perfect, but I always try, or at least have learned to try, to find the lesson in each of the scenarios in my life. I know many of you have experienced hardships in your life, so I will use some of mine to illustrate how you can find gratitude in difficult situations.

Showing gratitude in adverse situations does not diminish the hurt and fears you may be feeling.

I grew up in a home with an alcoholic father. Luckily, he went to treatment and has since been on the road of recovery. Yeah, there were some things I wish I did not have to deal with, but there are so many things I am grateful for because of this experience. While my dad was in treatment, we attended Family Week. At this event, we realized really how easy we had it compared to other families. That does not diminish the hurt and fears I had during his drinking years, but it could have been so much worse. I am incredibly thankful our situation was not as bad as it could have been. But, that is not the only positive thing I have taken from this experience. It is because of what I went through and how it shaped me that I am also grateful for the following things.

  • I have a husband who is present with me and our children.
  • I am a strong enough person to stand up for myself.
  • I did not repeat the alcoholism cycle.
  • I have never been a heavy drinker or bar crowd person, which has saved me time, money, and heartache.

What will you choose?

As you have been getting to know me, you have also been learning about my Fibromyalgia story. (Click here to read my Fibro story if you haven’t yet.)Fibromyalgia is definitely not fun and games. In fact, I had to show myself some tough love. I had a choice, stay where I was at emotionally, physically, and mentally or pivot. If I stayed where I was chances are I would, at the very least, stay the same, or I would get worse. If I chose to pivot, I would need to reframe my mindset. I would need to consciously look at the blessings in my life and look for ways to live a productive life even with Fibro. Obviously, I chose to pivot.

Blessings I feel Fibro has given me are:

  • I really know my body and how to read it.
  • I am not scared to be an advocate for myself.
  • I have met so many wonderful people along my journey, and I am honored to call them friends!
  • Now, I take time to stop and smell the roses. I have learned to be present in the moment and enjoy it.
  • I would not have found Oola.
  • I became a Certified Oola Life Coach and have the ability to work from home. If I did not leave my career as an Elementary Educator due to Fibro, I would never had followed my dream of becoming a Life Coach.

The choice is YOURS!

I could continue on with other examples, however, I think you get my drift. It’s all in how you view the world. It IS a CHOICE! Are you going to look in the teeny rearview mirror always yearning for something in your past, allowing anger or hate to take over your life? How about living by looking out the front window? A front window is so much bigger, with so many more possibilities open to you. The choice is YOURS. If you are scared, reluctant, or just need a guiding hand to help you to the land of possibilities, I am here for you. I will be your biggest cheerleader. I will help you with those blockers and turn them into accelerators so you can live a life you never dreamed possible. Together, we are Positively Powerful!