Tag Archive | Fibromyalgia

How God Used Floral Design To Save My Life…

Let me tell you about my gift from God…a hobby that gave me such a purpose and drive to greet every day. But first, I had to overcome a lot of obstacles.

When I was twenty-eight years old and first sick with fibromyalgia, it was very depressing to wake up in the morning not knowing how my body was going to feel when I stood up…and I mean waking up "if" I had been able to sleep at all the night before. The question always appeared at dawn’s first light: would I be able to do anything to make my day worthwhile?

Would I be able to drive my children to school? Could I really attend tonight’s basketball game? Would I be able to get in my car and run errands? For a while, no…I couldn't do any of these. Even accomplishing the simplest of tasks around my home, tasks that everyone else would take for granted, was not taken for granted by me. I have been sick for over 30 years with Fibromyalgia and Celiac disease, along with the various other health problems related to these conditions. I’ve chronicled this, along with my business failures and successes, in my book, “My Journey Through Fibromyalgia: Rumors, Ravages & The Rescue.”

For years, as my Fibromyalgia symptoms appeared and disappeared back and forth so many times, I felt like there were two different people living in my body. I tried to run retail shops in several locations. Considering the trying times along with severe pain I faced, I fought with all my might every single day to succeed in providing the finest of silk floral arrangements and wreaths to the most elegant homes in Anderson, SC, and the surrounding area. But, in order to run my business, I always hired more people to work for me than I really could afford to pay; you see, I couldn't depend upon my own body…so I had to depend upon others. There were times when I would have to leave and go home at a moment's notice — or even lie down on the floor until the severe dizzy spell would pass. I never wanted to have to close my shop because of my illness.

Later, after the economy started to change, my husband and I decided we could no longer afford to keep my business open. That was such a hard decision for me. I felt like I was giving up the only thing that had given me purpose — except my children, of course. There were then and still are the joy of my life. Our boys have married wonderful wives who have given us the five most beautiful grandchildren on the planet! I know, I know… just a little bit biased here! LOL

After closing my business, I was determined not to give up. It would have been very easy for me to give in to my pain and despair staying at home all day feeling sorry for myself. But, NO, I couldn't do that! Someone had mentioned eBay to me. Even though I didn't know much at all about it, I began to read and read and read. It wasn't easy, but I figured it out finally and after five or six months, became a power seller on eBay – before eBay began to implode. Now, I am a successful entrepreneur, teacher, writer, and businesswoman, selling my floral creations and educational products from my own website.

This all happened for me because I took a hobby that I was pretty good at and took a chance at making it something more. A hobby is something that makes you feel good about yourself, an activity that you can share with friends and neighbors and one that, hopefully, you are really good at doing – if not, you can learn! And when illness or a tragedy knocks the breath out of you and literally flattens you, that same hobby can be the support you need to climb back up and face your battles.

Floral design gave me joy, value, excitement, a reason to feel alive, and a reason to jump out of bed with such a start in the morning that even I was surprised.

Oh, can you just imagine? This hobby of mine can become your new hobby, too. Even more, this new skill can bring in much needed extra income, if you want to take it in that direction. Maybe you’re a mother with young children to care for and you don’t have a job outside of your home. Maybe you are a widow, who is alone and needs something to keep your mind and hands busy. My heart’s desire is to share this wonderful hobby that I love so much, but you must realize that you will have to accept the joy and excitement that comes with it…at no extra charge! Depending on what you do with this new skill, you may also receive bonuses, like confidence, pride, and some extra cash for your bank account!

You might be a young-at-heart Baby Boomer who needs the sense of accomplishment, inspiration, and joy that comes when you complete your first project with your own two hands – all by yourself! I honestly believe my floral experiences and business skills have equipped me at this point in my life, to teach, encourage, help and inspire you to do more than you ever thought possible.

I can finally say, and truly believe, that I am GRATEFUL for my illness, because God has used it for a greater good, to encourage me to spend time taking stock of my life. I focused on my skills and goals, which brought me to this point in my life where I now understand that one of my strongest goals is to follow God's leading and give something back to each one of you reading this.

What do I have to offer you? I offer you my care, my interest in your lives, my talent, experience, skills, and creative energy doing something that I love, and something that has changed my life in a very positive way. Floral design can turn your life around, too!

Our Hope Is Within God

Most of you know me as the lady behind Ladybug Wreaths. You may have even read my book or followed my blog posts as I’ve shared my journey through fibromyalgia. I’ve spoken about my successes and some of my failures. But rarely do I speak about the really dark years, the ones where God allowed me to sink to the bottom of the "pit" with no hope of a better life.

Or at least, I thought there was no hope. God knew better.

My husband Steve and I no longer had a life together. We were strangers in the same house growing further and further apart with each passing year. Neither of us could understand my illness with all of its debilitating pain and strange peculiarities. How could Steve understand what I was going through when I couldn't even understand it myself to explain it to him? And then God reached out His hand to us.

Only by God’s power did our marriage survive the attacks from Satan. God is using this experience now in both of us, not only for the sake of our marriage, but to encourage others.

So many of you are battling chronic illnesses, and even for those who aren’t, you still might be facing tremendous hurt in your marriages. Allow God to speak to your heart this Christmas. Be open to His plan for your life and your marriage, whatever it may be.

My blog, my website, and our story reach people from all over the world; people in pain and have no hope. Our hope is within God, and we gladly share that with you. He has poured His miracles down upon us by giving my husband a new heart, and a new understanding, along with an undying – cherishing, forever-after kind of love! And me – well, I have a healthier body along with courage built on a determination and strength that I never knew I possessed.

Ours is a very painful and personal story…but one that we feel God wants us to share with those who are desperately searching for the answer in their painful lives. I share the details in my book, My Journey Through Fibromyalgia. But for today, I encourage you to pray with your spouse, if they’re willing, for God to restore your marriage. Pray alone, if you have to.

God is listening and He cares about your broken heart. Mine was so broken at one time that I thought it could never be mended. But by God's own strong and tender hands, He did so. I believe He will do this for anyone suffering from a broken heart who puts their faith in Him. God's strong, gentle hands can change lives, molding the pieces of your life back together even while you are experiencing deep hurt. He can miraculously make us whole (and sometimes better than we were before) by reaching into our soul, making our lives more beautiful, more fulfilling, and more meaningful than we could have ever possibly imagined.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

My prayer for you this Christmas is one of joy, peace, and reconciliation. Life is short and peace is scarce in our world. May you rest in the supernatural peace found in the birth of our Savior.

God bless,



Foods That Help me Feel Better

What foods can I eat?
Maybe we better talk about what I can't eat first.

   Everyone wants to know — I get questions and emails all the time saying: What can you eat?  How did you do it?  How in the world did you lose over 110 pounds? 

So, today I thought it would be appropriate to talk about what foods I do not eat because this plays such an important part in living with Fibromyalgia.

The Three Biggest Problem Foods For Me!
Wheat – Soy – Milk

Below You'll Find Some Photos of Foods Which Contain Gluten
But… Unfortunately There are Many More!


Okay…. okay, I'll admit it.  At first this new way of eating was HARD!  I thought I couldn't do it.  I wondered what I would be able to eat.  Nothing?  Well, that's what I thought as it's what you are probably thinking too!  

   But… OH MY GOSH!  This has changed my life! 

Truthfully, God changed my life through my new "healthy" life style and through the marvelous doctors my husband and I found who knew immediately what was killing me (yes, you did hear me right), and who knew what immediate and major changes I needed to make in the foods I ate .

You see, I was born with Celiac and that is what caused my fibromyalgia.  Celiac is a severe allergy to many – well… most of the foods I was eating when I got sick. As I kept eating them, the sicker I got.

Celiac affects the large intestines.  There are little extensions on the inside wall of your intestines which are called "villi."  These villi stick our and move around to grab hold of and absorb fat, vitamins, nutrients, and minerals from the foods you consume.  With celiac, these villi are flat against the wall of the intestines, so they cannot absorb any of the nutrients you need to survive – to be healthy – and to flourish.  I was hardly surviving at all, and I certainly was not healthy in any way, shape, form, or fashion.

Thank You Lord!  I am as healthy as I can be while still fighting fibro and celiac – as I will for the rest of my life.  I began starting to to flourish at the "young" age of 60…feeling better than I had felt since I was 29 years old!  And, it is all because of what I eat (and some natural supplements). 

These are the foods that I COULD NOT eat when I started this new lifestyle!

NO Gluten (wheat, barley, oats, Aramanth and glue on envelopes – don't lick it!)
NO Lactose (milk, cheese, yogurt)
NO Soy (soy is in everything… even coating some of the medicines you take)
NO Dairy
NO Canned Foods
NO Processed Foods
NO Sugar
NO Eggs
NO Tomatoes – or only very little

I have now been eating this way for almost 8 years.  I have been able to add back some dairy, like cheese on salads, and sometimes in a casserole, or even in gluten free pizzas.  I have now added back an egg for breakfast every morning.  Before the diet, I had a stomach ache every morning of my life.  I didn't know it was from eggs until I left them off…

I do eat bread every day, but it is bread that I make in my $10.00 yard sale bread machine.  Pamela's bread mix which is made from rice flour.  I buy this from Amazon and make it a couple of days a week — because my husband is now wheat free also.  (His arthritis got better when he left off wheat.)  I eat pasta, macaroni, spaghetti, etc. made from rice flour also.  If you were to come to dinner at my house, you would not know that you were eating gluten-free!  We can eat pizza which I make using Kinnikinnick gluten free or Udi's gluten free pizza crust.

 I I now know that I will probably NEVER eat soy again!  Turns out it made me VERY sick.  This really didn't show up until I had been off gluten for a month or so.  That's okay…. I truly can live without gluten and soy for the rest of my life — more than happy to, as a matter of fact!  With some of these other foods, I sneak a little every now and then, and although I don't feel great afterwards, but I am not deathly ill.

Below You'll Find Some Photos of Foods That are Really GOOD for you!


 The above food are great to eat!  Fruits, greens, nuts, legumes and many more options can literally change your life!


If you have fibro or celiac… or even think you have this, try eating as healthy, natural, and organically as possible.  This was not a disease, or even a problem 100 years ago.  Do you know why?  They didn't have all of these chemicals, preservatives, and insecticides in their foods then.  A good rule of thumb is; if you couldn't find that food 100 years ago… then don't eat it now!  Simple, huh?

 The weight loss?  Well, obviously I was overweight from being sick for so long.  I didn't change my way of eating to loose weight.  I changed my way of eating to be happy and healthy and to be able to enjoy my life and my family again.  The weight loss was a plus…. an amazing plus!  When I first began this new way of eating, I went down to an 8 petit!  Never been that small in my life – even as a child.  lol  But, now I have gained some of that weight back.  There are starting to be too many gluten free cookes, cakes, and muffins on the market now which taste REALLY good.  So it is a constant battle for me to leave those off!

Until next time…. think healthy, happy, and be very grateful that you have a chance to change your health and your body just as I did! 

Blessings & Smiles… Nancy  



“He Touched Me”

"He Touched Me" By Nancy Alexander

God Answered My Prayer This Morning…

God blessed me this morning in such a way that I have to share it with you.  I have talked before about how fibromyalgia is such an awful, insidious disease.  It precipitates all manner of problems and I believe I have probably experienced them all.

I have also shared with you that I am getting well, I am being cured.  As a matter of fact, I am so much better that I have a totally and completely different life than I had for over 30 years! 

I can travel, which means we have been able to take some wonderful vacations during these last three years.  Before that, I went for so many years without a vacation, that I can hardly remember how long.  I can do things with my family and grandchildren that I would only have dreamed of before.  I can work many hours a day at my Internet business, selling wreaths and teaching so many of you how to set up an "online presence", so you can sell your products.

How did God touch me today?  Well, for the last four days, I have felt really bad.  I felt like I had gone back in time with my body and my mind.  I was afraid.  As a matter of fact, FEAR is so very strong in the hearts and minds of those who suffer from this.  It was so disheartening to me, knowing I have experienced the joy of revival and renewal in my mind, body, and spirit – I could NOT go back there!  I did everything I knew to do to figure out why… the relapse?  I prayed this morning for God's help, His peace, His leading in what I should do, and how I should handle this.

I take a lot of supplements.  Those vitamins and minerals have made such a difference in my life.  I fill week-long containers with them in advance, because I take so many.  This morning, as I got out my supplements, along with one prescription drug, I counted.  They numbered nine, instead of ten.  I wondered what could be wrong, and then I saw!  The most important prescription that I needed to take was not there.  I checked the other compartments for each day of the week; and it was missing from every single morning dose.  

This drug is one my doctor put me on ten years ago right after having surgery.  He actually switched me to it in the hospital without my knowledge, or consent.  It is Xanax.  After I got used to it, I found that it did help the pain.  It helped all of the fibromyalgia/celiac symptoms, so I kept taking it – not knowing that it is meant to be a short-term drug, and not taken for nearly as long as I have.  No one ever told me.  No one ever cautioned me — that is until I saw the wonderful nutritionist that I am seeing now.  She has been telling me for a while that this is detrimental to my health and has to go.  It does not mix well with many of the vitamins and minerals which I need to take every day to keep my body healthy and strong.  So, that is the next thing in my doctor's plan for me — to get me off Xanax.  It has to be done slowly and carefully since I have been on it for so long. 

So, back to my story…as I noticed what was missing from my morning supplements, I was overjoyed.  The fibro/celiac was NOT returning like I had feared.  My body was NOT regressing.  I was NOT going back into the life I had led for so long.  I was going through withdrawal after leaving Xanax off for 4 days.  Please… if you are taking drugs like this, talk to your doctors.  Maybe they can help you find something healthy you can take, so you won't get caught in the trap that I did!  But, don't try to do this alone; don't EVER try to do this alone!… only with your doctor's help.

After my discovery this morning, I sat down in my kitchen to eat break fast praising God for answering my prayer.  As I did, the sun rose over the hill in front of our home.  It was brighter and more beautiful than I ever remember it being from that spot sitting at our kitchen island.  As I tried to watch it, I was blinded from how bright it was.  I saw it shining through the antique stained glass windows which I have propped in my window sill. 

I knew this was a sign – a sign from God.  I ran and grabbed my camera.  I am posting a couple of the pictures here – but no matter what setting I turned my camera to, I just could not capture the majesty of that particular sunrise this morning.

God had really answered my prayer.  And now, only a few short hours later, I can feel my body coming back to where it should be. I know without a doubt, HE WILL ANSWER YOUR PRAYERS, TOO.

It’s Not About Me

"It's Not About Me" By, Nancy Alexander

Sing Until The Whole World Hears…

My heart is overflowing this morning.  We just got home from church a little while ago.  Our pastor talked about… "It's Not About Me."  And, it is not.  It is about you – everyone who has been sent into my path.  And something else was mentioned this morning during the sermon:  "Sing Until the Whole World Hears…"  That's what I want and need to do!  Well, not necessarily sing, because in spite of all the gifts I have been blessed with, singing is not one of them!  But, I want to use my voice, which is my God-given talent, to encourage you by introducing you to color, design, and the opportunity to learn to make something beautiful with your own hands. So, I will sing, so to speak, as I encourage many of you (who are burdened with chronic diseases, depression, and a lack of direction and joy in your lives) by singing as loudly as I know how.  This way I can get my message across to those of you who are in pain and need encouragement!  NOW, THAT IS WHERE I CAN SING! 

Lately, my husband and I have felt like God is definitely leading us on His path.  It is a very curvy path so we can't see too far ahead.  It is dark in places, and all we can see is God's hand reaching out to us motioning us to follow Him.  We are following with 'blind' faith, but we are DEFINITELY following.  And, we will follow wherever and whenever God leads us.  We thought by now that we would know exactly where this path leads.  We have some idea, because of the brokenness we have both experienced in these last few years.  God has reached down into "our pit" and has pulled us out of pain and suffering.  He has held us and has opened our eyes to such beauty, joy, and splendor – more than we could have ever imagined.  I feel it is now my/our responsibility to help those who contact me daily wanting to know how to do what I do while dealing with a chronic illness.


God has Richly Blessed us in So Many Ways!


Our own experiences with 'brokenness' are what we fall back on when we tell others:  "We understand, we have been there, we can help you."  Our 'beautifully broken' lives were put back together by His own hands.  In so doing, He has equipped us to be able to help and encourage others whose lives are broken right now.  But, sometimes, this means we need talk about our past problems and our secrets.  We need to share the circumstances of our brokenness – you know, the things you really never want to talk about with anyone else.  He is definitely leading us in a specific direction on this path of His!  He will give us strength, He will give us courage, He will reach out to us and hold on tightly as we put our 'trust' in Him.  We read His word, pray, and listen with open hearts searching for his voice – "His Leading".  But in spite of our searching, we have still not been able to discern exactly what His will is for us.

And…We are SO Richly Blessed With Family!

At 61 years old, we now feel like so many years of our lives were taken up battling the insidious diseases of Fibromyalgia and Celiac.  These diseases struck early in my life, which means I have fought them for over 30 years.  They not only attacked my physical body, they were also attacking our marriage and our family at the same time.  I researched and I was the first to diagnose what was wrong, after being sick for 15 years, but it was not until around 5 years ago that God led us to a marvelous, Christian specialist.  If I had not received help when I did, I probably would not be on this earth today — or, if I was, I would most certainly be in a wheel chair.  That is what my doctor has told me.  She literally said to me that 90 to 95% of people suffering what I have would be dead by now.  Hearing that has definitely made a difference in the way we both feel about life, and our purpose here upon this earth!

A desperate woman in tears called me at home yesterday.  This was like so many other calls and emails I receive — sometimes every single day.  She has MS, as well as another serious health problem.  Her grown daughter lives at home with her because she needs a kidney and is also in very serious shape.  This woman is married, her husband has a full time job, but he still will do all he can to help his wife and daughter enjoy happy, productive lives.  She says she and her daughter are just "waiting to die".  They have no hope, they have no joy, they have no happiness, they have nothing to look forward to.  She cannot work.  She thinks every day; "What can I do?"  What can I do to bring some joy into my life?  What would my body be able to do?  Anything, Lord, anything???

Oh… this touches my heart deep within my soul!  I was there!  I know how she feels!  I remember having hope for the first few years as I prayed day after day for healing.  But, year after year, as time went on, my hope and my determination were gradually disappearing.  I couldn't take care of my children.  I felt like such a failure as a mother and a wife.  I prayed every day.  I pleaded with God; "Please God, please…show me what I need to do!  Please lead me to a doctor who understands that I am really sick and is willing to try to find out what is wrong with me.  Please give me a heart that is filled with joy and happiness as I look around at my beautiful family wanting to enjoy a 'normal' life with them.  Please give me some way to make extra money to help pay our mounting bills.  Please help me to use my artistic talents to do something, or to make something beautiful.  When each day is over, I want to feel like I have been the BEST mother I could be.  I want to feel like I have been the BEST wife I could be.  And, I want to have been able to do something creative with my hands — something that brings a smile to my face as well as to other faces that is proof – proof that Nancy was here today, that she lived her life today as best as she possibly could, and that she created something beautiful that proves she was here!"

As I was talking to this lady on the phone yesterday, she told me she wanted every product that I offered.  She had just joined our coaching club (www.BestOfNancy.com), and she wanted all of my DVDs, my "Secret Vendor List", and my wreath-making easel.  She and her daughter were SO VERY excited that they had finally found something they thought they could do that would really bring joy to each day.  Her husband was willing to figure out a way they could each work standing and sitting as needed.

I say over and over in just about everything I write that my goal is to make a difference in the lives of others as I teach them a hobby that has made such a difference in my life.  I want to give to 'you' a reason to get out of bed in the morning…to wake up with such a start of anticipation that you just cannot lie in bed, no matter how bad you feel.  Your brain starts thinking.  This makes your body be energized as it is filled with thoughts of something special you can do that day!   YOU CAN DO THIS!  Even in my weakest, darkest times, I could find a few minutes, then a few hours, and then even days when I could got my mind on something fun and exciting, I then the energy followed!  YES, YES, YES… YOU Certainly Can do this too!

This morning as I sat in church, my husband and I both felt touched by God at the same time.  We then got a glimpse of the path we are supposed to be on.  That doesn't mean it will be easy — but we were never promised that life would be easy.  We were only promised that God would always be with us – beside us.  He has been beside me/us all along as we have been on this painful journey.  We now know that we have traveled this journey so that we could help, encourage, and sympathize with others who are now on this journey.

Technically, I still have Fibromyalgia, and will always have Celiac Disease.  I eat exactly what I need to eat on my Celiac diet.  I take the supplements my Dr. says will help and even cure my body.  We are SO BLESSED!  Please let me encourage you and teach you to do something in your life which will bring a smile along with a sense of accomplishment!  And, together… "We Will Sing Until The Whole World Hears…"