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December 6, 2016

🎉 Katya Valera is FIVE! 🎉


Well, she will be on Friday, December 9th! 🎉


I started Katya Valera on a whim about a year after I got sick, with a name that wasn't even close to Katya Valera, and I can't believe it's been five years.

While I'm still sick (but getting better), Katya Valera is still with me and going stronger than I ever (and, I modestly think, better than ever), and I am so grateful! This little business has been the happiest creative outlet for me while I'm unable to go get a "real job" (though let me tell you, I work, as I put it, "an awful lot for a sick person..."), and I would want to keep it going even if I were healthy.

Of course at this huge milestone, I couldn't go without a massive celebration, so that's what I'm doing! There are FIVE huge events happening all week long in my shop/on Instagram leading up to the big day, and trust me: you don't want to miss any of them!

First up is a giveaway of my most popular piece. I first made this necklace in 2012, and it sold at a jewelry party. I was so bummed it was gone so soon that I decided to make another to list on Etsy, and I've been making and relisting it ever since! 


I more recently added bronze and gold versions to the shop, and you can see them all in the shop right here. And! You can enter to win your choice of the three

https://www.instagram.com/p/BNnfbRqgJdZ/?taken-by=katyavalerajewelry

The giveaway is going on on Instagram and on Facebook, so be sure to enter both places for extra entries! It ends on December 9th--of course--at midnight EST.

The second of the five big events is a special OOAK IG Sale of 11 brand-new, one-of-a-kind pieces not in the shop. They're all posted onInstagram and are priced at at least 15% off! Be sure to take a look, because the sale ends tonight, December 6th, at midnight EST!

https://www.instagram.com/katyavalerajewelry/

And the next event ... I can't tell you about, silly! You'll have to keep an eye out on Instagram and Facebook for it tomorrow! Plus, there's still two more big events after that--so be sure to follow along so you don't miss out on the madness! (Because trust me, what's still coming is definitely some more madness.)
 
And as if this week weren't already special enough, this shop (and my other shop too) is featured in the most special gift guide at MoreThan Lyme

http://www.morethanlyme.org/stories/2016/11/29/the-more-than-lyme-holiday-gift-guide
I was so touched to be included with so many other business-running Lymies, and the intro is the most beautiful, accurate description of what we do that I've ever heard. Be sure to check it out and maybe take advantage of a coupon code you may find in there! 

Thank you so much to everyone who has shopped and followed Katya Valera over the years. I am so thankful she's still going and hope you'll continue to #shopsmall and follow along in the future. Happy celebrating! :)



November 17, 2016

Prints and Gift Sets: More Ways to Encourage + Giveaway!

This has been a long time coming--back in August with the official launch of the Streetlights at Midnight shop I said all the printables would soon be available as prints. And two months is soon in chronic illness language! :) So here we are: 5x7" tangible prints of all the quote printables in the shop are now available!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/481800353/inspirational-quote-tribal-motivation?ref=shop_home_active_23

https://www.etsy.com/listing/466403708/inspirational-encouragement-quote-print?ref=shop_home_active_29

https://www.etsy.com/listing/484366375/do-the-best-you-can-inspirational-quote?ref=shop_home_active_20

https://www.etsy.com/listing/468297792/faith-light-of-the-world-inspirational?ref=shop_home_active_15

https://www.etsy.com/listing/484180699/happy-and-blessed-ampersand-christian?ref=shop_home_active_7

Plus, this development brought some new designs with it too!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/487691651/so-much-hope-romans-1513-inspirational?ref=shop_home_active_2

https://www.etsy.com/listing/466407848/inspirational-encouraging-life-quote?ref=shop_home_active_27

https://www.etsy.com/listing/487689149/the-best-you-can-is-perfect?ref=shop_home_active_2

https://www.etsy.com/listing/473025424/keep-doing-what-youre-doing?ref=shop_home_active_4

https://www.etsy.com/listing/487692609/just-trust-psalm-628-inspirational-quote?ref=shop_home_active_1

These are just a handful (pretty literally!) of the many designs now available, covering the broad categories of faith, life, and love. Of course all of these are available as both prints and printables, and several are also available as greeting cards!

In addition to this exciting new facet of the shop, I've now also added themed three-print gift sets!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/489416305/encouragement-prints-gift-set-of-3?ref=shop_home_active_9

https://www.etsy.com/listing/489417673/christian-faith-bible-verses-prints-gift?ref=shop_home_active_6

https://www.etsy.com/listing/475918420/modern-life-christian-inspirational?ref=shop_home_active_4

https://www.etsy.com/listing/489418747/college-student-quote-prints-gift-set-of?ref=shop_home_active_3

There are eleven sets available, ranging from chronic illness-focused to a new student/graduation theme, and any would make a wonderful encouraging gift. Plus, bonus: you get the three at a discount!

AND NOW! To celebrate the long-awaited arrival of prints and gift sets (and help a lucky someone get a start on their Christmas shopping), I'm having a giveaway of one print set over on the Streetlights at Midnight Instagram page and also the Facebook page! So please take a minute to enter for your choice of one of the eleven print gift sets--you can enter at both or either places, and the giveaway ends Sunday night. So don't miss it, and be sure to share it with your friends!

And while you're waiting to hear if you're the winner ;) be sure to check out all the new prints (and printables and cards!) in the shop here and all the unique print gift sets here. Happy shopping!



November 14, 2016

Please Listen

My husband was awakened by me crying last night. Do you want to know why I was crying? Because sickness is hard. Even though I am getting better, I am still sick, and it is still hard. And you know what one of the hardest parts of being in such a place is?

Watching scads of people around me getting sick and doing nothing about it.


Okay, some think they're doing something about it. They're trying to eat more salads and drink less pop. Or they're trying to exercise a couple days a week. Or they're taking whatever pill is the latest bandaid their all-knowing doctor has chosen for whatever symptom(s) is the most annoying. Or they're doing nothing at all but expecting God to up and heal them and save them the trouble.

Or they actually are doing nothing about it. Because at the end of the day, health is not really that big of a deal. Definitely not worth such drastic measures as giving up the foods or habits they can't live without or making inconvenient lifestyle changes.

And this leaves me in tears.


Any of you reading this who know me at all, in person or online, know I'm sick. You've gathered I rarely leave the apartment and I frequently don't make it to church. You know I have that whole Etsy shop thing but I don't have a real job and supposedly am not able to get one. You know I've mentioned how making dinner and doing the dishes on the same day doesn't always happen, and when it does it's my big accomplishment for the day.

You know I am suffering. And you maybe don't know but surely can guess that the accumulation of all of the above does result in a kind of misery. I am getting better, and I know and trust that God is using this suffering for something bigger than I can see. But in the mundane everyday and in the face of the gifts I was given and am currently unable to use, in a marriage where I constantly struggle with how much I think I should be able to contribute and how little I actually can, in the grand scheme of seemingly everyone else's daily productivity and success in any area of life and my own pitiful contrasting amount, you could say I am a kind of miserable. Not because I am depressed, not because I don't have faith, but because chronic. illness. is. freaking. hard.

So I have to ask, how do you think sickness of this level starts?

It starts a little at a time. One infection. One gene mutation. One virus that lodges itself in you. One food allergy. One accident. All of those things? They happen. That is life. There are germs, there are sicknesses, there are gene mutations, there are accidents. But add them all together over the course of even just a childhood, and they can team up to wreak havoc on your body and take you down. Slowly.

Until one day your body has all it can take. And you? You become me. You are left with a B.A. you cannot use. Children you cannot take care of. A job you cannot get out of bed to get to. Gifts with no ability to use them. Dreams that seemed hard to reach while healthy but that are now laughable.

Am I trying to scare you? Yeah, I am. Because I'm starting to think that's the only way, besides prayer, I might get anyone's attention.


Here in my kind of misery, my tears, I am wishing, hoping, thinking surely all of you who are aware of my suffering and either seemingly healthy or just beginning to witness a decline would take me as an example. That you would think, "Gosh, I better nip this _____ in the bud now so I don't get as bad off as Kacie." But I have seen no one do anything that indicated such a thought process. I have seen the opposite.

Can you please do that, for me? Can you do me a favor and care about your own health, for your own good? Can you make my suffering worthwhile, use my body's breakdown as an example to you of what could happen and do everything in your power to prevent that?

Prior to the day my body had all it could take, I did not know any better. I knew none of this, so even in maddening retrospect, there is nothing I could have done to start truly taking care of my body and to find the treatment I am doing sooner than I did. And I did not know how valuable health was because I hadn't yet experienced the loss of it.


I now sit here, on the far side of health, seeing in all its blazing glory how valuable what I have lost is. How miraculous it is to be able to go to sleep when it's dark, get up in the morning, get yourself ready, go to work or take care of your kids all day. Go buy groceries, make dinner, and do the dishes. Dust and vacuum the house and clean the bathroom. Make plans for the weekend or your birthday or Thanksgiving like it's nothing. Because when you have health, that's what it is to you: nothing.

But when you lose it, you realize it was everything.


In my tears, from the bottom of my heart, I am begging you: make my suffering worth it. Take my broken body as an example. Remember this post, remember my words, remember my tears when you are crushed under yet another migraine. When no amount of salads are making you lose the weight. When your stomach is unexplainably upset yet again. When your cholesterol just won't go down. When you keep finding yourself anxious for no reason. When mysterious skin rashes just keep coming. When your brain isn't quite as sharp as it used to be. When you find yourself having to nap every chance you get. When your body aches and screams through another day of work.

Remember me. Realize what you stand to lose if you don't try to win now. Find out the root reason your body is rebelling in the way it is rebelling. It's just trying to get your attention, just like I am.

Please listen.

{If you need someone to point you in the right direction of health and cheer you on as you reach for it, I'm here. Please feel free to contact me.}


November 10, 2016

Introducing: the New KV Wishbox

In October I mentioned that this winding-down year still holds a lot more excitement at Katya Valera. First, as announced a few weeks ago, came the brand new fabric birthstone line featuring six personalized designs. (Which you should totally check out if you haven't!)

And now it's time for the next exciting announcement: the new development of KV Wishbox! While Katya Valera's box used to be seasonal, it's now a monthly subscription box and it works a bit more simply.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/KatyaValera?ref=listing-shop2-all-items-count&section_id=18340880

When choosing a Wishbox subscription (yep, there are options to fit every preference!) you get to wish for three things:

1- Subscription length: one month (great for just giving it a try!), three months, or six months.
2- Jewelry type: earrings, necklaces, or both.
3- Metal family: gold (can include shiny gold, matte gold, bronze, copper, etc.), silver (can include shiny silver, antiqued silver, gunmetal, black, etc.), or both.

And you get exactly what you wish for!

Each Wishbox goes out the first week of every month, and the cut-off for each box is the 20th of the previous month. So be sure to order by November 20th for your first box to go out the first week of December. Buuut since it's that time of year and any of the above options would make a wonderful Christmas gift, please feel free to let me know if you would rather your gift subscription start in January! :)


https://www.etsy.com/shop/KatyaValera?ref=listing-shop2-all-items-count&section_id=18340880

You'll receive one piece per box per month, and you get to keep every piece of jewelry you receive! Each piece will be a surprise and can be a brand new design not in the shop, a one-of-a-kind piece, a variation on a design currently in the shop, a piece currently in the shop, or a past piece. You never know!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/KatyaValera?ref=listing-shop2-all-items-count&section_id=18340880

Sound like fun for yourself or a special someone? Find the best subscription option for you right here in the shop.

And yes, there's still one more huge hurrah before the end of 2016: Katya Valera's 5th anniversary celebration! And we're really gonna celebrate--you don't want to miss the craziness that's in store! So be sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram and keep an eye out the beginning of December!

October 27, 2016

Health Update: Not All Healing Is Instant

I know it's been a long time since my last health update, and that may be interpreted as "well, it's not working." But that could not be more incorrect. I don't update often because it would be a lot of the same: expected ups and downs but with our eyes still on the prize. Unless you hear otherwise from me, just assume no news is good news. :)

I'm sure that many of you who are praying for me and keeping up with my treatment are wondering why I'm not all better yet, why I'm not at church all the time now, why we aren't all done since we're going on more than a year of treatment. I know you're probably discouraged when Daniel shows up without me, again, and think maybe what we're doing isn't really working, maybe we need to try a different route, and wonder why God hasn't answered your prayers for my healing or hasn't just healed me instantaneously already.

Here are the answers to those wonderings.

Not all healing is instant--the Bible tells me so. If you're wondering any of the above, you probably have a different view of healing than I do. Many expect healing to be immediate or at least a fairly quick fix--none of this year or more stuff. In my mind, healing is something that I know and am prepared to take not just a year but two or even more. I think most people envision healing in terms of a cold or a broken bone, or even cancer with a set number of months of treatment. But this is not a month or even a year-long situation. This is a long-term endeavor, and it's going as both expected and hoped.


As far as God not having just up and healed me by now, it's true that sometimes God chooses to simply heal us in an instant; but sometimes He heals us slowly and requires, for lack of a better word, some effort on our part. You probably are familiar with the story of the blind man that Jesus healed in John 9 by mixing His spit with dirt and applying it to the man's eyes. But we easily forget about the step after that--Jesus then had the man walk to the Pool of Siloam to wash his eyes. This healing was not instant, even though in other miracles it was; in this case for some reason that only He knows He chose to make the blind man put forth effort to reach healing. I can't take credit for this observation, but I am so thankful I found this video (below) by Becky Isaacs (who has, after a few years and many walks to the Pool of Siloam, been healed of some of the same viruses, etc., I have been found to have). "Sometimes, friends, we have to do our part. Not all healing is instant."

God is answering your prayers for healing. The fact that I finally found a doctor (an alternative, holistic one, I must point out) who can even establish all of my true issues is a step to healing in and of itself.

I have now been knowingly sick for six years. (Unknowingly most of my life.) I was treated long-term by a family physician who told me I had Fibromyalgia and depression and offered me prescriptions to manage it all. I saw a rheumatologist who ruled out arthritis and really wanted to discover I actually had bi-polar but was shot down when my answers to his little diagnostic questionnaire did not match the answers I was totally unaware he was aiming for (which to this day is the most bizarre doctor happening I have ever encountered). I saw a gastroenterologist for my IBS (severe intestinal issues) and was told my issues were "normal" for people my age and to take Miralax. I saw a couple of dermatologists for skin and scalp-related issues and told they also were "normal" because sometimes odd things "just happen." I then gave up on mainstream doctors and saw a holistic doctor who pointed me in the right direction of treatment but only made a dent in my issues because I was much sicker than his average patient.

For four years I had thought there was no possible improvement, much less healing. I never would have dreamed I would even be writing a post to encourage others about my "slow progress" because I never would have dreamed there would be any progress to update on.

Then summer of 2015 I found out the truth that none of the above is just "normal," just "how it is," and definitely not just excusable as depression or Fibromyalgia: I have Babesia, a Lyme Disease co-infection, along with Bartonella, another Lyme co-infection discovered later down the road, each most likely gotten from an odd-looking but otherwise overlooked bug bite in elementary school. The chicken pox/shingles virus, which I had as a kid, is still affecting my body. I have many gene mutations, one of which inhibits my body's ability to detox properly, something our bodies should do on their own--chemicals in the air around us to things we come in contact with to EMFs (think wifi) are examples of toxins that load our bodies down, and I have to daily help mine detoxify and feel it if I don't. I have leaky gut syndrome caused by eating foods (like gluten, as I have Celiac) that my body cannot handle, causing my insides to not break down food and absorb nutrients properly and react to many foods like I am allergic to them only because of the damage. I have severe adrenal fatigue which affects absolutely everything, one of the biggest being my body's cortisol, which affects when I am able to sleep and explains why people have frequently seen me on Facebook at 4 am over the past few years. Those are just a few of what we've found that are the "easiest" for me to list. Because of autoimmune issues, my body has been unable to fight these things that other bodies would be able to, and the compounding presence of so many issues has just exacerbated my inability to fight any of them on my own.

Once establishing my true problems, my doctor started me on a treatment I'd never had before and hadn't even known existed. In addition to the expected dietary changes and constantly changing supplements to match my body's evolving needs, I began Field Control Therapy every month and a half, a homeopathic, immune-system-building approach that in essence enables your body to fight the infections, viruses, and pernicious agents on its own. And in the process of being equipped to fight, your body experiences detox effects: temporarily worsened symptoms due to the infections, etc., getting all stirred up and leaving you body. A misery that is so, so worth it. Such treatment takes 10-12 times for the average person to be hugely improved. I am just now to #10 and, as you should see clearly by now, am not the average person. And while we're definitely not done, we are actually moving forward, and that is huge.

No, we don't need to try another route. I don't think there even are "other routes." I've tried them all and they were pointless (which I now know all too well why). My current treatment may develop into other similar homeopathic treatments, but not because this one is not helping.

What we're doing is working. You're just going to have to trust me on this, a fact I am stating not out of blissful ignorance but because of the evidence that I know that someone on the outside of my day-to-day can't possibly be privy to.

In addition to the tiny, day-to-day, gradual changes, I have never before shown measurable progress in my years of sickness prior to that gained through the treatment I am now doing. I get a large amount of bloodwork done every few months to check our progress. Back in March I got the best results I've gotten in all these years of sickness. And this August, I got back even better results. As I've said in a past post, what is this thing called "progress"?? What we're doing is working. I am sorry if it's not at the timeline you've been envisioning, but it is working. And if it ain't broke....

If you're still confused why I'm not all better after a year of treatment, that's because you don't understand just how sick I really am and how much work there is to be done--which you're not expected to, as you don't live with me, and when you do see me, I am put together and, relatively speaking, functioning. You see me once a month or less. Those other days, I'm not put together. My accomplishments for the day are showering and/or making dinner, not usually on the same day. And many days neither of those happen. But those things are gradually happening more than they used to. Some weeks I can't even make dinner, but then some weeks I make dinner and do the dishes almost every day--that has never happened before and Daniel doesn't even know who I am at those times.

I know you may be impatient for me to finally be "all better," whatever the underlying reason for that is. If so I must ask, please be patient; I'm doing my best to do so and I need you to do the same. I need you to trust what you don't get to see: that this actually is working even though it is a very long process, much different than the average person is used to seeing and something not easily understood in a society of instant gratification.

As much sense as the kind of treatment I'm doing makes, I know that if God did not want it to make any difference, it wouldn't. It is up to Him if I stay this sick, improve somewhat, or get all better. And so far, He's allowing improvements and answering your prayers for me, all of which leave me so grateful and persevering in hope. God is healing me--slowly. I'm having to do a whole lot of walking to the Pool of Siloam for reasons I now can only see a tiny fragment of. But in the meantime, go ahead and rejoice for the healing He has allowed so far, because this is the first time I've experienced any degree of real healing at all.