Starting New Holiday Traditions

Ah, the holidays. It feels like they came around mighty fast this year—even quicker than years past in my opinion. My husband and I will spend this holiday season in a new home and with that comes the possibilities of new holiday traditions. I look back fondly with love and joy at traditions my family engaged in this time of year. I want to re-create those meaningful and festive times and also create new memories for years to come. Well, let’s just say that’s always my intention.

One tradition my family carried out when we were young was Continue reading

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Holiday Tradition Inspiration

The holiday season is here, and what better way to embrace the holiday season than with holiday traditions. Holiday traditions, whether silly or sacred, can add special value to the holiday season and leave lasting memories that you will forever cherish. A holiday tradition that my family has is driving around our community to see all the colorful and brightly lit houses and we typically have holiday music softly playing in the background. My kids Continue reading

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Evelyn Hernandez – December 2019 Artist of the Month

Each year, MSAA features the work of artists affected by multiple sclerosis in the annual MS Ability and Four Seasons Art Showcases, including highlighting one artist each month as our Artist of the Month. This month, we are proud to feature Evelyn Hernandez of New York, NY:

Evelyn Hernandez - Against the Waves

“Against the Waves”

About the Artist Continue reading

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Medicare Open Enrollment 2020

As the year comes to a close, MSAA would like to remind everyone about two important upcoming deadlines. The open enrollment period for Medicare and the Health Insurance Marketplace is quickly coming to an end. Continue reading

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Busy Fighting Progressive MS

Woman peacefully sitting in blue chair with a dog on her lap

Over on MultipleSclerosis.net, we recently shared an article by Dianne Scott about fighting the secondary progressive stage of MS (SPMS). Her words generated a lot of discussion in our community about how MS looks from the outside compared to how it can feel from the inside! The many thoughtful responses added so much to the article and the conversation about life with MS that we decided to compile some of the comments and share them here. Continue reading

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Genuine Gratitude

As the leaves change colors and fall off the trees and the temperatures drop, most of us cannot help but think of what makes us grateful. Gratitude does seem to go hand and hand with turkey and mashed potatoes and all the other holiday traditions. According to dictionary.com, gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Being part of the chronic illness community, I feel this is one of the loveliest qualities we possess and need to hold onto.

A Genuine Feeling

Gratitude outshines all other emotions. So much so that when you experience it, your smile and eyes shine with genuineness. Hopefully everyone has experienced this feeling at some point in their lives. Close your eyes and imagine one time when you were so thankful and genuinely happy. You may have smiled so hard that your cheeks had gone numb from being so overwhelmed from your love and joy. That moment may have been so touching that even still to this current moment, you cannot come up with the appropriate words to express your thankfulness or gratitude.

Daily Gratitude

I would like to think that most of us experience gratitude daily in even the simplest of things. Some of my daily moments of gratitude are from my dog Lacie, my nephews and family, and when someone holds the door for me. When that happens, I light up and will very excitedly yell ‘thank you!’ out of my appreciation for them and their small act. That moment will usually make my day, and the person may never even understand why I shouted thank you so quickly, but I hope they do.

Tracking Your Gratitude

If you wanted to, you could keep a little journal to help track and find what you are grateful for. In the morning you could write down one or more things you are grateful for or how you will make today great. You could even include a positive affirmation. During your nighttime routine you can write down a good deed or two that you did that day or even some great experiences you had. Of course, you can mix and match or find even more ideas online for doing a gratitude journal if it is something that interests you.

I wish you all the happiest and warmest of holiday seasons to you and your loved ones.

About Me

*waves* Hi MS community, my name is Kelly and I am an intern at the MSAA for the fall semester. I’ll be graduating in the spring with my Associates degree in Human Services. I’ve been disabled now for about 13 years, since I was 17 years old. I am a type 1 Diabetic, and have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum, plus a few other diseases. I use a walker or cane daily. My hobbies include advocating for the disabled, playing video games, and lounging with my dog.

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Cracker Pecan Pie Recipe

Cracker Pecan Pie Recipe

I think we can all agree pecan pie is a must on Thanksgiving. This pecan pie can be made one or two days ahead to make you holiday stress free. This recipe is unique and a family favorite!

Ingredients Continue reading

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Holiday Assistance

The holidays can be a magical time of year. There’s a different feeling in the air—of wonder and joy, that feels unique compared to any other time of year. Though the season can evoke much happiness and excitement, it may also create stress and challenging expectations for some. Financial stressors and limitations can be especially difficult this time of year.

Holiday celebrations can symbolize something different to each person. Special traditions and pastimes may not center around gifts or feasts. The holidays can be what you make of them. But it’s important to know that for those who may need a little extra help in carrying out their holiday activities, there are resources available to help.

  • Salvation Army
    • Offers seasonal services and holiday assistance programs to help families in need with holiday dinners, toys, and clothing.
  • The United Way
    • Provides information and referrals for holiday assistance programs in the community.
  • Toys for Tots Program
    • Distributes new, unwrapped toys during the holidays to children in need through community outreach and support efforts.
  • Catholic Charities Services
    • This group and other local religious organizations may offer seasonal assistance based on location. Contact groups directly to inquire of services available.
  • Lions Club organizations may also have holiday assistance programs available in the community.
  • County department offices of family/social services may have additional holiday assistance and resources.
  • Local schools in the community may know of holiday assistance programs for families.
  • Community food banks may also be able to offer holiday assistance programs in the area during the season.

Many community assistance programs have specific application deadlines and requirements in order to receive holiday assistance by a certain time. Be sure to reach out to the resources to see what’s available in your area and how to apply.

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Attitude of Gratitude

By Scott Cremeans

I am a ridiculously nice man. I know this. Until… The following is a true story.

My Google Home device: *ding* I have a reminder for Scott
Me: Hey, Google, what’s up?
My Google Home: I have a reminder called you have a doctor’s appointment in 4 days.
Me: thank you, Google.
My Google Home: thank you for thanking me. I guess we are in a thanks loop…

I think I broke my Google home device.

I believe that the key to happiness is genuinely twofold. First, you must Continue reading

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Expressing Gratitude to Cope with Stress, Build Relationships, and Help Myself

By Stacie Prada

It’s the morning of my MRI scan and neurologist appointments. Leading up to them, I’ve anticipated needing to seek support and to allow myself time to process whatever I learn today. I tell myself that test results don’t change how I’m doing. They just give me more information to consider.

MRI stressThe rub is that I anticipate being sad with any possibility today. I feel worse than I did earlier this year. Eight months ago, I learned Continue reading

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