SEPTEMBER 2016
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Oklahoma City following my keynote to the Association for the Bladder Exstrophy Community with Exec Dir Pamela Block & her two daughters.

Happy Fall Y'all,

I'd love to say that I've been out enjoying my cool morning walk, but unfortunately we are still pretty hot here in Tampa and lately a bit soggy from the tropical storm that came through.

I do love fall though, even if the weather hasn't cooled off. How could you not love a season that is filled with football, pumpkins, trick or treat candy and, for me, a birthday! It just doesn't get any better in my book.

I hope that you are doing well as we begin the transition from what are usually the slower paced, longer days of summer to the busier season of fall when the pace seems to quicken a bit. It is the time of year when we always laugh on trips to the mall because, here in the South, half the shoppers have on flip-flops and the other half boots!
Hugs, Cindy
Featured Article| What Did You Expect?
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"Peace begins when expectation ends." 
~Sri Chinmoy

The majority of my personal and professional life has been connected in one way or another to education. Because of this, September always brings with it a sense of excitement and anticipation of things to come; it is like a little New Year to me. When I was small, I remember eagerly getting all of my new school clothes (and shoes!) ready, along with new notebooks, pencils and pens and assorted school supplies. Although we don't have a distinct change of seasons here in Florida, fall does bring with it lots of things I love, including my birthday, sweaters (cotton, of course), pumpkins and my beloved Florida State Seminoles college football.

Although fall is my favorite season, it's also the time of year I most often wrestle with poor health. I've spent a few birthdays in the hospital. This is one reason that, when I'm physically feeling good on my birthday, I'm all about celebrating. My anticipation of September's arrival is similar to the hope and expectancy many of us take into each New Year; I go into the season thinking this will be the autumn I'm healthy. Many years, my optimistic expectation of good health has materialized and I've celebrated like a child on my birthday. Some years, there has been a bit of disappointment...like the recent year when, post-surgery, I had to hobble to my birthday celebration with "the boot" on my recovering foot.

In many of my speeches, I talk about expectations. Did you know that three things can happen when we set expectations? 1) We can be disappointed if things don't work out as planned; 2) we can be stressed trying to make them work out; or 3) if all goes well we can be happy.  Expectations are interesting because, if we truly want to be happy, they must be managed. It's important to remember that the expectations we set should be realistic. Yes, day dreaming and wishing can be fun, and I've certainly wished many times that the lupus that is my constant companion would go away, but deep down I know, at least for the present, that is not likely to happen. Lupus can be managed with medications, but a complete Houdini disappearing act is highly unlikely. So, when I set my expectations for a healthy fall season, I'm realistic....no hospitalizations, no serious flares in my disease and the ability to enjoy most activities. Oh, and don't forget the birthday cake, I always expect that! Learning to set realistic expectations has been a learning process for me. By nature, I'm incredibly optimistic; throttling back those visions of perfect health has challenged me at times.

Over the past 30 years, I've learned to accept lupus. Rather than a life free of illness, I am able to hold expectations for a life filled with people I love and moments of happiness. Yes, there may be bumps along the way, but that is okay. With summer coming to a close and fall, with its football games and sweaters and pumpkins on the horizon, I'm focusing on all that makes me happy (Go Noles!) and the good days ahead.

Resources | Download, Connect, Tune-In with Cindy
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READ
Minimizing Stress, Maximizing Life
Cindy's 30 days of stress relieving tips.
 
 
SURF
Visit Cindy's website, chock full of resources to help you live life better with chronic illness.
LISTEN
Cindy shares her thoughts and offers advice about living with lupus and other chronic illnesses in this new audio podcast presented by LFA.
Create for Health | Cindy Wants to Hear from You!
Having recently taken up painting, I'm having a wonderful time exploring my artistic side. I credit my teacher, Beth Kokol, for drawing out (no pun intended!) my inner artist. Here, Beth and I hold my newest painting, based on a tropical bromeliad plant I pass on my regular morning walks.

Are you using the creative process to live better with illness?

I would love to hear your experience with using art to support overall health. Your story could be featured in an upcoming edition of "Live Beyond Limits" or on my website. Share your story with me now.
Books | What Cindy's Reading

The following fabulous audio versions of two books by Fredrik Backman, the author of A Man Called Ove, kept me company on my recent morning walks. Thoroughly enjoyed!

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry
by Fredrik Backman

This book reminds me of a child's fairy tale, but layered with the richness, complexity and depth of fleshed-out characters. Both heartwarming and sad, it's core message of acceptance prompts the reader to ask, How often do we really know another person's experience? How often do we judge others based solely on our singular perspective? This book makes it okay to be different and I love that!


Britt-Marie Was Here
by Fredrik Backman

In this touching story, the richly developed title character of Britt-Marie leaves her adulterous husband to start a new life. Through the story of rigid, no-nonsense Britt-Marie, we're shown the importance of seeing beyond the obvious in order to truly understand another human being. A tender story that delves deeply into the human character and psyche. Enjoy!
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Read Cindy's latest blog entries Visit our blog
Winning the Lottery
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Years ago our family of four had piled into the minivan and was heading home from a great vacation in the Florida Keys. We had driven for a few hours and decided that our two young daughters could use a break (meaning they were getting antsy and our patience was running low), so we stopped [continue reading]...»

 

06-06-2016 

I had the most wonderful experience yesterday. No, it was not a trip to Paris or a standing ovation after a speech, or even my favorite wonderful experience-a kind word from a friend or stranger. Nope, none of those. My wonderful experience started with a plastic newspaper bag and ended with clean, shiny hair. Let [continue reading]...»

 
Speaking | Book Cindy

SPEAKER BOOKINGS: Cindy Coney's keynote speeches for patients and healthcare professionals have inspired audiences around the globe with her uplifting messages of hope, optimism and overcoming challenge. To learn more about what Cindy can offer your group, email her at cindy@cindyconey.com  

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At left:
Cindy with her new friend and junior assistant (she volunteered to read a presentation slide!), 6-year-old Eliana, at the 2016 International Exstrophy Conference in OK.  
ABOUT CINDY CONEY Nationally recognized keynote speaker and resiliency educator Cindy Coney has assisted thousands in moving beyond "coping" with limitations to recapturing joy, balance and freedom through her speeches and pioneering educational training for patients and healthcare professionals. Diagnosed with lupus in 1980, Cindy has traveled the globe to share her story of thriving after a chronic diagnosis. Read more.