Set Your Lock Screen with Purpose!

How many times do you check your phone? According to an article posted by the Daily Mail, a New York-based screen lock app discovered that an average user checks their phone 110 times a day! This particular app (Locket) pays users in return for showing advertisements on their lock screens, but what if we used our lock screens to invest in our state of mind instead? What if we advertised well-being and positive thinking to ourselves 110 times a day?

I definitely don’t check my phone that often, but enough for me to feel that my lock screen can be a source of motivation, focus, and on particularly dark days, courage and comfort. If a quote really resonates with me, it has the power to redirect my thinking almost instantaneously. I’ve found great lock screen images and quotes on Pinterest and I’ve also created my own quote images on Canva (FF’s Healing Quote of the Moment graphic on the side bar is one example). This is what my lock screen looks like today:


Changing your lock screen is a small thing you can do to inject some positive thinking into your day. I know that getting on the “positivity train” can cause a lot of eyeball rolling, especially if you are feeling hopeless, sick, and in pain. Believe me, I hear you and I’ve been there. It doesn’t work for everyone, but for me, it’s an exercise in self-awareness. Through the simple act of changing your lock screen image, you’ve assessed and acknowledged where you are at, and you’ve thought about what you need that day to move forward. It doesn’t solve any problem directly, but at least you’re taking a step to address how you feel about it. Small victories, right?

That being said, I propose a lock screen challenge: Set your lock screen with purpose for one day. Do you need inspiration? Focus? Courage? Joy? Carry that positive mojo with you and let me know how it goes. I would love to know what your fav picks would be for top notch lock screen motivation! Since my American readers are celebrating Thanksgiving today, I’ll share my favourite gratitude lock screen image courtesy of They have a killer instagram account, posting tons of thought provoking quotes several times a day. I’ve used several of their photos on my lock screen – this one reminds me to change my perspective when negative thoughts start hijacking my mind:


And while we are on the topic of gratitude, I’d like to thank Lupus Chick for featuring my story as part of their Spotlight Series. Lupus Chick is a fun, stylin’ support site that is full of great resources – they even offer a college scholarship! Check out my Lupus Chick Spotlight Series interview here.

Oh, and I’m not sure if you can feel it, but I’m sending you healing vibes for a healthy and amazing week ahead! Here in Canada, we’ve already celebrated Thanksgiving, but I want to wish a very happy Thanksgiving holiday to all of you in the U.S.A. Till next post, my friends!


Book Review: Fabulupus – A Must-Read For Young People with Lupus


Authors Jodie Nimigon-Young and Jessica Kundapur wrote Fabulupus: How to Be Young, Successful, and Fabulous (with Lupus) in response to the lack of resources for young people despite the fact that “most people with lupus are diagnosed with this crazy, unpredictable illness during the craziest, most unpredictable time of their lives.” Amen to that, sisters! My diagnosis came to light not long after I turned twenty and with next to no guidance from my rheumatologist, I thought my life was over. If a book like Fabulupus had fallen into my hands 14 years ago, would my lupus journey have been easier? Reading the book in hindsight sounded like a fascinating task. When Jessica Kundapar contacted me, asking if I would be willing to review the book, I couldn’t say yes fast enough!

So, let’s cut to the chase, shall we? Fabulupus should be in the hands of every newly diagnosed young person with lupus. In fact, their loved ones should be reading it, too, and here’s why:

In their promo material, Jodie and Jessica pose the question: “Can you be a young person with lupus and still be successful and fabulous?” They proclaim a resounding “yes!” and go the extra mile to prove it. Fabulupus leaves no stone unturned, offering personal experiences, detailed examples, and tips on how to manage every aspect of a young person’s life including relationships, self-esteem and style, employment, finances, and spirituality just to name a few.

Fabulupus is inspiring, informative, and thoughtfully written with a supportive and caring voice. Jodie and Jessica are relatable, knowledgeable, and have created a resource that will give young people the tools they need to feel empowered about their self-care. Lost and afraid, I made many mistakes after my diagnosis that led to constant flares and unhappiness. If I had read Fabulupus, I think that much of that suffering could have been avoided. Even as one no longer termed as a “young adult,” there were many aspects of the book that could still apply to my life as I continue to learn how to be successful and fabulous with lupus.

I benefitted greatly from those who offered their unique pearls of lupus wisdom, who showed me that they came out the other side, who gave me hope that I could do the same. Let’s spread the Fabulupus love and support Jodie and Jessica in their mission to help all our young lupies out there! You can check them out on twitter @Fabulupus or at their website

Have you read an amazing lupus book? Let me know! I can add a Face Forward Virtual Bookshelf page to get all that vital information flowing to the people who need it!

What Would You Say?

CBC Wire Tap‘s bittersweet video compilation of life’s lessons stirred me to pose this question to all of you: What would you say to yourself at different points of your lupus journey? At diagnosis? After one year? On your last hospital visit?

As most of you know, my most powerful lupus lessons were learned almost exactly six years ago, during my last major flare. This month, my lupus cerebritis anniversary passed unnoticed until a friend mentioned it days after the fact. The shock of not remembering was quickly replaced  with elation. Memory has had too much power over me the last few years. To feel its grip loosening in this way is what I’ve been waiting and hoping for.

Thanks, brain! This is the best anniversary gift you’ve ever given me! 

That being said, I don’t think I should let six hospitalization-free years pass by without some kind of recognition! The video inspired me to come up with my “How to Age Gracefully with Lupus” words of wisdom for the Elena of six years ago. The perfect way to mark this milestone!

Dear 28 year old,

Don’t panic. Take it minute by minute if you have to. No matter how dark and full of pain your life feels, seek out gratitude – it will anchor you, it will keep you fighting. When in doubt, NAP. Saying no will give you more yeses. Seriously, you need to trust me on this one. And most importantly, there are people out there who do understand. FIND THEM.

Love, 34 year old.


One more message, before I go:

Dear YOU (yes, you!),

So glad we found each other.


p.s. Leave me a comment with your words of wisdom to your past selves – I’d love to hear them!

The Gift of Unconditional TLC

Happy Sunday! I hope you enjoyed Valerie’s take on what we can all do to raise awareness in Friday’s post. Since the awareness mojo is already flowing, I thought I would share the article I wrote for New Life Outlook that lists ten more ways you can help raise lupus awareness. Click on the screen shot below and let me know if you have any ideas of your own to add to the list!

awareness article

It’s Victoria Day long weekend here in Canada, so many of us are at the cabin, campgrounds, or settled in for a comfy and relaxed few days at home. Where I live, May long weekend is notorious for giving us heavy rain or as is the case this year, a chance of snow (shudder). Yet, regardless of the forecast, there remains this determination and will to unwind, come hell or high water. The drudgery of daily life can be a black hole, so we cram all that TLC into small pockets of time; long weekends, Christmas holidays, vacation time. Somehow we believe that our worlds will balance in that small amount of time, which is why vacations can sometimes feel more stressful than relaxing. Even in our leisure time, we put pressure on ourselves to achieve instead of letting ourselves relax without conditions.

I like the idea of unconditional TLC, but I am realizing that putting that into practice is another thing entirely. I’m currently on a self-gifted, extended break to recover from several energy depleting months. I am two weeks in and I filled the entire first week with volunteer commitments and the second week, I managed to assemble a schedule that was just as busy. It’s a different kind of busy, which I think is okay, but I need to give myself some time to unravel and breathe first. No avoidance, no conditions, no need for justification, just BECAUSE.

Do you feel like you have to justify the breaks you give yourself? Are you able to create space in your life for “long weekend moments” everyday?

I know my posts have been few and far between in the last little while and most have been around information sharing of various kinds. I’ll be jumping back into my storytelling-focused posts very soon, I promise! In the meantime, I hope you all create some space today for some unconditional TLC!