22 January 2019: Patience

I learned a lot about patience in the last couple of years.

A little more than two years ago our nation held national elections. My preferred candidate wasn’t on the ballot; none of the names that were gave me any confidence. The stress was more than I should have allowed to build for me. I was, no doubt about it, a political animal.

For a couple of months before the election I tried to stay away from the relentless onslaught of political advertisements, requests for donations, and emailed threats of impending disaster from various PACs. It didn’t work.

My health was deteriorating although the decline was not attributable to any single stress. The usual issues we all face were there, too. Financial concerns, the effect of a bad economy on my family, and illness in my extended family took their toll.

On November 7th of 2016, I died. Three times. I think.

It sounds strange, I know.

My  memory of that day is so muddled and incoherent that I cannot swear to what did or didn’t happen. I know it took several tries to get my heart started again. They would succeed and then I was gone again.

I woke up in the hospital, barely aware of who and where I was. Staff was forbidden to talk about the election. I was grateful for that when I remembered that there had been an election. It seemed so inconsequential compared to death.

The day after the election, during an exam by my medical team, I had a stroke. I vaguely remember the trip from cardiac care to the neurology care unit. My husband’s face, when I finally woke, showed fatigue, concern, and a strange calm. I cannot imagine what his experience of this was. I know he stayed with me every step of this journey. For that I will always be grateful. I’ve always known he was a “keeper.”

Recovery is like battling an angry animal, one you can’t identify and have no idea how to avoid. It is an unending challenge; overcome one attack and a new one begins,  unpredictable and somewhat incomprehensible. From singing the “alphabet song” and my “1, 2, 3 little Indians song” to see if I could still speak intelligibly to tracing words so I could begin to connect the motions of my hand to the ones I could see in my head, I kept trying. When those were learned, I had to practice walking, not easy since my heart and chest were filling with fluid on a regular basis, making breathing difficult at best.

Baby steps are hard when you think of yourself as an adult.

Of all that I had to learn again, the hardest lesson was patience. It is, indeed, a virtue, not one that I have ever had in abundance. I needed the refresher course.

Yes, I would have liked to have found my inner calm, my patience, another way. I doubt that it would have had the impact that this failure of my body to cooperate with my impatience and conviction that I was in control of things that no one can manipulate accomplished.

My battles now are on new fronts. I work on endurance, distance, strength, and courage. I try to do things I haven’t been able to do physically, like looking over my shoulder while moving without getting dizzy. Mostly I try to live each day without fear of another heart attack or stroke. I try to overlook the obstacles that all disabled people face, knowing that most of them come from lack of empathy. Not all, but most.

I care less about most of the things the media obsesses about. I try to see the future. What do we need to do to get from here to there with compassion, hope, and love?

I try to focus on my strengths. I try to show patience.

CREATING A COMMUNITY

Rocking Horse Ranch Therapeutic Riding Program provides “equine-assisted activities and therapy to children and adults with a variety of physical, cognitive, and psychological disabilities in eastern North Carolina.” They train handlers and volunteers to work with their clients. Those clients include PTSD survivors, disabled children and adults, and community outreach programs in assisted-living centers and schools. Two of their mini-horses are now local sheriff’s deputies!

http://www.rhrnc.com/

 

WEBLOGS I LIKE

https://littlesundog.wordpress.com/

“This blog is about life on our little piece of land.  It’s about tapping into the farm girl ways I grew up with, and utilizing the best of what I learned; to enjoy life and live simply.  This blog celebrates my relationship with nature, and my appreciation for experiences that have changed me. The most influential teacher of my life has been Daisy deer, an orphaned fawn we raised. I still spend time with her in the woodlands… and I am still learning from her.”

DECEMBER 25, 2018

 

Creating a Family History in 2018

One of the most popular books for most non-professionals is a family history. Putting together a simple book that can be shared with your family members can be fun but it is also a lot of work.

Involving your kids, if you have any, can turn this into a family activity. Children and teens alike might like drawing family pets or houses where they’ve lived. Some will warm to the idea of self-portraits. Of course, the trusty cell phone can help them take pictures to include.

At some point, you can help them create a family tree. This can be helpful, but be aware that difficult issues can arise. Think of how each family member will react to the information included: divorces, deceased infants, suicides, adoptions, and other events may not be known by everyone who will see this information.

I will post this each month as a reminder to be cautious about information you share. Better safe than sorry!

Consider interviewing relatives, too; their stories are often treasures. Ask them for copies of old photographs of people and places. Don’t limit this to family. One of the things that makes these histories so interesting is pictures of friends, places of worship, schools, and favorite vacation spots.

I will be posting a suggestion each month for an activity that will help you focus your efforts. I think most of these can be done in less than four hours a month. You can spend more time if your interest is piqued.


Creative Spark

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”

(Mahatma Gandhi)

2015-06-24 14.36.22-6

Kittens Melanie Arrowood Wilcox

January 2019 Events

New Year’s Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

 

 

 

 

 

NOVEMBER 27, 2018

Creating a Family History in 2018

Organize all your collected information into one manuscript or scan to a file or storage disk.

You may choose to organize your files chronologically, by family generation, by specific families, or by individuals.

Make copies for the people you plan to share them with. Make abbreviated books for friends.

One of the most popular books for most non-professionals is a family history. Putting together a simple book that can be shared with your family members can be fun but it is also a lot of work.
Involving your kids, if you have any, can turn this into a family activity. Children and teens alike might like drawing family pets or houses where they’ve lived. Some will warm to the idea of self-portraits. Of course, the trusty cell phone can help them take pictures to include.
At some point, you can help them create a family tree. This can be helpful, but be aware that difficult issues can arise. Think of how each family member will react to the information included: divorces, deceased infants, suicides, adoptions, and other events may not be known by everyone who will see this information.
I will post this each month as a reminder to be cautious about information you share. Better safe than sorry!
Consider interviewing relatives, too; their stories are often treasures. Ask them for copies of old photographs of people and places. Don’t limit this to family. One of the things that makes these histories so interesting is pictures of friends, places of worship, schools, and favorite vacation spots.
I will be posting a suggestion each month for an activity that will help you focus your efforts. I think most of these can be done in less than four hours a month. You can spend more time if your interest is piqued.

Commitment to Your Art

 

 

Presentation and promotions. Edit/ spell check everything, including images. Credit others work.

 


 

Creative Spark

“One of the things my parents taught me, and I’ll always be grateful as a gift, is to not ever let anybody else define me; that for me to define myself . . . and I think that helped me a lot in assuming a leadership position.”

(Wilma Mankiller, Mankiller: A Chief and Her People)

Cougar

December Events

Christmas Eve (24)

Christmas Day (25)

New Year’s Eve (31)

 

 

 

Committing to Your Creative Life

 

Putting Ideas into Writing

 

 

Creative Sparks and Marketing Opportunities for +++month?+++

 

 

 

OCTOBER 23, 2018

Creating a Family History in 2018

Write a letter to future generations. Ask your children, parents, and grandparents to do the same.

Write one to past generations, too. What are you grateful they did?

One of the most popular books for most non-professionals is a family history. Putting together a simple book that can be shared with your family members can be fun but it is also a lot of work.
Involving your kids, if you have any, can turn this into a family activity. Children and teens alike might like drawing family pets or houses where they’ve lived. Some will warm to the idea of self-portraits. Of course, the trusty cell phone can help them take pictures to include.
At some point, you can help them create a family tree. This can be helpful, but be aware that difficult issues can arise. Think of how each family member will react to the information included: divorces, deceased infants, suicides, adoptions, and other events may not be known by everyone who will see this information.
I will post this each month as a reminder to be cautious about information you share. Better safe than sorry!
Consider interviewing relatives, too; their stories are often treasures. Ask them for copies of old photographs of people and places. Don’t limit this to family. One of the things that makes these histories so interesting is pictures of friends, places of worship, schools, and favorite vacation spots.
I will be posting a suggestion each month for an activity that will help you focus your efforts. I think most of these can be done in less than four hours a month. You can spend more time if your interest is piqued.

Commitment to Your Art

 

Keep a list of tasks to do when your muse is asleep.

 

 

 


Creative Spark

“I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give.”

(Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson)

November Events

Veterans’ Day

Thanksgiving Day

 

SEPTEMBER 25, 2018

Creating a Family History in 2018

Create a family portrait. Take photos outside to take advantage of autumn views. Cell phones are fine for this. If your phone has video, don’t forget to use it, especially if you plan to distribute this on digital media. Include both individual and group images.

One of the most popular books for most non-professionals is a family history. Putting together a simple book that can be shared with your family members can be fun but it is also a lot of work.
Involving your kids, if you have any, can turn this into a family activity. Children and teens alike might like drawing family pets or houses where they’ve lived. Some will warm to the idea of self-portraits. Of course, the trusty cell phone can help them take pictures to include.
At some point, you can help them create a family tree. This can be helpful, but be aware that difficult issues can arise. Think of how each family member will react to the information included: divorces, deceased infants, suicides, adoptions, and other events may not be known by everyone who will see this information.
I will post this each month as a reminder to be cautious about information you share. Better safe than sorry!
Consider interviewing relatives, too; their stories are often treasures. Ask them for copies of old photographs of people and places. Don’t limit this to family. One of the things that makes these histories so interesting is pictures of friends, places of worship, schools, and favorite vacation spots.
I will be posting a suggestion each month for an activity that will help you focus your efforts. I think most of these can be done in less than four hours a month. You can spend more time if your interest is piqued.

 

Creative Spark

“Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”

(A.A. Milne)

2015-06-24 14.36.28-4

“Golden Hearts” Copyright Melanie Arrowood Wilcox

October Events

St. Francis Day

Halloween (31)

 

AUGUST 28, 2018

Creating a Family History in 2018

What sports does your family play? Gather photos of different activities and generations. Remember that school pictures often include teams and practices. Are there band members in your family?

Don’t forget that adults played sports and there may be photos of them to include. Military, church, and community centers sometimes distribute photos to team members.

One of the most popular books for most non-professionals is a family history. Putting together a simple book that can be shared with your family members can be fun but it is also a lot of work.
Involving your kids, if you have any, can turn this into a family activity. Children and teens alike might like drawing family pets or houses where they’ve lived. Some will warm to the idea of self-portraits. Of course, the trusty cell phone can help them take pictures to include.
At some point, you can help them create a family tree. This can be helpful, but be aware that difficult issues can arise. Think of how each family member will react to the information included: divorces, deceased infants, suicides, adoptions, and other events may not be known by everyone who will see this information.
I will post this each month as a reminder to be cautious about information you share. Better safe than sorry!
Consider interviewing relatives, too; their stories are often treasures. Ask them for copies of old photographs of people and places. Don’t limit this to family. One of the things that makes these histories so interesting is pictures of friends, places of worship, schools, and favorite vacation spots.
I will be posting a suggestion each month for an activity that will help you focus your efforts. I think most of these can be done in less than four hours a month. You can spend more time if your interest is piqued.

Commitment to Your Art

One of the tasks I have set for myself is to update my profiles on social media sites. Many changes have occurred in my life over the last decade. Some of my experiences were life-changing. Some were developmental intellectually and emotionally. All have changed me. I consider that a good thing; there is something sad about a living creature that never grows, never learns, never becomes.

My priorities are dramatically different now. Family is foremost in importance. For a homeschool Mom, that may seem more of the same. The focus is different somehow. I cherish every moment, both good and bad. They are my past and my future. Most importantly, they are my present, the reasons I am happy to wake each day and the calm that lets me sleep at night.

I am blessed with many friends. A few disappeared during hard times; poverty and illness have a way of interfering with some relationships. For everyone I lost, more stepped up. Their patience and willingness to accept the person I am becoming has made difficult times seem surmountable. That has helped me to understand true gratitude and to recognize love in places I overlooked before.

Attempting to communicate all these concepts to family, friends, and colleagues is daunting. Who needs to know? And what should I say?

There are quite a few “unmentionable” topics: politics, religion, money, personal relationships, and illness. Strangely, there are some who want to discuss the taboo ideas and some who steadfastly want no mention of them.

I have decided to err on the side of honesty and trust. We took a hit in the Great Recession. So did many, many other people. I had major health issues. So did many other people. I have unresolved anger issues about where our nation is heading. Like many others I have no true solution to our problems; I choose not to share my opinions as much as before and listen to ideas that may enlighten my own.

My life is changing. I am still growing, developing, and becoming. What more could I ask?


Creative Spark

“Life is a lot like jazz – it’s best when you improvise.”

(George Gershwin)

Pyromancer

September Events

Labor Day

Autumn Begins