Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Keeping the faith, continued...

Click the below article link to obtain the background information to this post:

Examiner article

This article is near and dear to my heart. With each subject I choose to write about in my column, I research the topic after my written draft is complete. This helps either validate my article or I might choose to revise it and site particular sources or even link to it so others can benefit from the extra information. I learn from every post! And, each helps me to stay on track within my own life. I'm hopeful you are getting some sort of inspiration from my writings (both the column and my book) to help you continue forward.

It is really trying to go from a role leading a department of type A personalities, receiving a high level and very concrete payroll check, multitasking business challenges 24/7 and receiving instant feedback, to this new world I have embraced. Talking to you in this virtual forum, wondering if anything I've posted is helpful to anyone and trying to keep my faith considering my instinct is moving me forward towards something bigger than me that I haven't quite put my mind around yet. I know time will eventually let me in on this grand plan but meanwhile I'm trying to "keep my faith". What challenges your faith today and what has helped you to keep moving forward with it intact?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

She is grateful for his final years spent at home in hospice care, continued...

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This is the first "part two" article that I have offered to my readers. I feel Naomi's story is quite worthy of it! There is so much more to share about her strength and courage its hard to limit the words to just 2 articles. For example, when she was in treatment for breast cancer, Naomi drove herself to 38 radiation treatments and then went to work after each one! How often have you heard of someone doing that? (I discussed her breast cancer in the first article I posted) She is a hard working, warm and loving person with whom I'm very lucky to know and to have in my family circle. We can all take something from her story if we take a moment to take in the words. I've learned from both her and my Mom how forgiving and loyal they were in devoting their lives and honoring their commitments to the men they loved and married; until death do they part really meant something to them! I admire this type of loyalty. It is rare today. What do you admire?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Surviving hospice, continued...

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My Dad passed under VA Hospice care in Ann Arbor, MI. They were wonderful and caring under such horrific circumstances. He found out he had throat cancer on Good Friday, had a massive heart attack the 1st day of kemo (days after the diagnosis) and shortly after he went into hospice care. I couldn't believe it when the team of doctors told us, during a family meeting, he had too many major concerns and he wasn't strong enough to embrace any more life saving measures such as surgery. I had such faith in modern technology but in a moment’s time, my faith was shattered. We told my Dad, who had a tube in his throat and couldn't talk, that they couldn't do anything else for him and his only concern/requests were, would my Mom be able to handle the medical bills & could he just go home to die. With a room full of people telling him the doctors couldn't do anything and you're going to die, he asked about medical expense. I always thought he was a selfish person in my early life but when his life was on the line, he cared more about the impact on my Mom; pretty powerful stuff!

My Dad made it home for a few short hours where he suddenly pulled all of his tubes out frantically and at that time, the hospice nurse (we were going to try at home hospice) called 911 and admitted him into care at their center.

He passed on May 20, 2008; not even 2 months after his diagnosis although it took such a toll on all of us, it seemed like years passed during that short time. I feel like I aged 1 decade that spring!

We survived it and like I said in the article, once I crossed the dark line, I saw the light and embraced my spirituality which guided me through the rest of the way. It is the most difficult thing I've been through and my heart aches for anyone who has to go down this path. God bless you all!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Life emerges in the spring season, continued

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I am so ready for this time of year! Thanks to Uncle Sam I was just able to book a modest drive vacation to NC for Spring Break with the kids. I just love the feel I get from warm weather, blue skies, budding flowers (although I'm not a green thumb) and the sight of Robins in the grass again. It really does feel like the outside world takes on a life of its own. Its revigorating and it helps me tackle projects I've put off. I do push myself to stay active with "my to do list" but I don't have to push as hard once I've said good bye to winter and hello to spring. What do you like best about this time of year?

Man Writes Poetry as Medicine for Grief

Here is my latest Open to Hope article. If you follow my Examiner articles you'll find that I actually took 2 of my articles and combined them for this post. I met Ed through a mutual acquaintance. Like me, he has found healing through his writing. I can't stress enough the importance of finding a healthy outlet like this!

Man Writes Poetry as Medicine for Grief

Monday, March 22, 2010

Challenges of single parents, continued...

Click on the below article link for background information to this blog post:

Examiner article

Boy, this article really hits close to home for me! Both of my sisters and my niece are quoted in the writing. With exception to my niece, we've all been through divorce! Both of my sisters are happily remarried but although I've found a life-long partner, I have no desire to run to the altar and he is also on the same page with me. My boyfriend is a single parent too. We've been lucky to find each other and support one another's needs! I wasn't aware of National Single Parents day until my dear friend, Mary Anne Britton, told me about it. What, I could have been patting myself on the back and celebrating all of these years:) Any reason to celebrate the strength of a single parent is a worthwhile celebration. Do you know any single parents? If so, tell me about how you are helping them!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Patience, part of a life plan, lessons learned or just plain annoyance, continued...

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Wow, patience, what a concept, huh? I don't want to sound like I'm sitting on my perch looking down at everyone but I would GUESS that most people do not try to practice this virtue. I have not done any scientific research to support this statement but, boy, it seems like we're in a very impatient world! Most people are in such a hurry, what happened to breathing deep and just taking in the moment? If we could all just consider this from time to time it would be helpful to the world. I, for the most part, try to practice this concept. I do get irritated at times and perhaps this is part of the plan giving me the platform to continue to practice. Most of the time I give in and tell myself, "It just wasn't meant for me to get there at that time!" Most of those days, I seem to attract the slowest drivers in the state to my path.

Once when my boyfriend was caught up in a rage from delays, we we're sitting in our car in front of a store and just as he was trying to move forward, this very little, old man came creeping out in front of us and took several minutes to get across the path. It was like a Saturday night live skit. We, of course, started laughing because it was so comical it broke the tension for him! Do you have any stories of delay that ended on a positive note?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Do you feel lucky, continued...

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Many years ago I purchased a bunch of money rocks and passed them out to my family. I figured, it really couldn't hurt, right? I'm not sure if they actually changed any of our luck or not but the one I gave my Father has become very special to me in the aftermath of his death. It is my lucky charm and I carry it with me every where. He believed in the charm and used to carry it with him. It makes me feel like there might be a little bit of his faith left in the rock and it is really priceless to me! Do you have a lucky charm and a story you can share?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

She shared memories of her own daughter, continued...

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Naomi Cole is my brother's mother in law and a family friend. They moved into our neighborhood when we were growing up. She is a remarkable and loving person. I can't even imagine losing a child, as she said, "A parent shouldn't have to lose a child!" It's clear she embraced change and the spirit of survival which gifted her with strength and motivation to move on.

Her advice to others going through this life-altering loss, "Focus on something that will make it better for your family here, take it day by day; it helps you get through the sorrow. It makes you feel better to know your trying to help someone else. It doesn’t happen over night!"

Today, I'm grateful for the friendship she has with my mom. They are both bereaving the loss of their husbands and can better understand each other's sadness. Everyone needs loved ones and friends to help get through times of sorrow. If you don't have someone in your immediate physical life, you can find help in our virtual communities on line also, have you found your support?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dream interpretation can offer needed messages of hope and solutions to real life dramas, continued...

Click on the below link to obtain the background information to this blog posting:

Examiner article

I discovered this amazing tool when I was going through my divorce years ago. I had so many dreams, at that time, of driving on ice and spinning out of control. Once decoded, they all reflected the same message; the impact of my unhealthy environment on my body and the need to feel again with my heart instead of opting to "not feel" and staying numb. It really is pretty powerful stuff. I also had many dreams in which I saw myself die, time and time again. Pretty scary but until I realized I had a new life to embrace, I kept reliving the nightmares. I'm such a different and more peaceful person now. I'm grateful for my life and everything it has taught me! I continue to be intrigued by my dreams and their messages, how about you?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Resistance feeds your inner demons, continued...

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My voice in my head is really horrible at times. If I listened to it, I would probably stay in the house and hide from life. I'm finding as I'm moving forward in the community with my writings and art, I have to step in the forefront a bit more which causes me to have to speak in front of others. When I worked as a manager I didn't have any problem talking in front of any group but when it comes to my artwork and writings, it is so personal to me, I FREAK out and my inner voice starts creating a mess within. I'm forcing myself through it but it does feel very painful. I'm sure eventually (if it doesn't kill me) I'll get comfortable as I do it more and more but for now, I'm really stressed about it! Are you comfortable in front of a group? If so, can you offer any advice to those of us who struggle?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Being a celebrant was her calling, continued...

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Many people in this world are spiritual people and have a relationship with a Davine power but they might not belong to a church. If this is the case, a Celebrant like Bonnie is the answer to fill the need when a funeral ceremony is necessary. We all will be there someday hopefully in the later part of our life but in some cases this might not be the situation. Bonnie is a friend of a friend. She seems very passionate about her work and very comfortable in a public setting. I can tell, just through our little interface, she has a heart of gold. If you're wondering what you will do, give Bonnie a call and let her help you through such a trying time; she is more than qualified! God bless you.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Are you afraid of dying... continued

Click on the below link for background information to this blog post:

Examiner article

You might wonder how this article fits into my inspirational line up but I feel that it is appropriate. Any time we hold onto a fear and we're unable to discuss it openly, it eats away at you and your health; both physically and mentally. I'm not telling you that you have to run out and spend thousands of dollars on funeral preparation although if you have the money and you're able to, it makes it much easier for those you're leaving behind. I do not have my funeral planned and paid for but I am slowly researching the topic and I'm taking an interest into the local funeral homes within my reach. I do have life insurance which is a BIG 1st step. I do not want my children and other family members to have to stress over burial costs when my time has come! I urge you to look into this if you don't have insurance and if you can afford it. Funeral arrangement has made it on my list of "to do's" which I aggressively tackle on a monthly basis, has it made it on yours?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Discover meditation, continued...

Click the below link to get the background information to this blog post:

Examiner article

I've tried to sit and meditate many, many times in the past but I didn't feel very successful as I usually fell to sleep! I think I was just too exhausted to reach that "in between" state that I'm aware of now. It wasn't until a few months ago when I finally found this new place in my head that feels really peaceful. It is so hard to put into words but when I get there, I'm able to see this very vibrant purple/pink color. Once I see it, my focus switches from my breathing to this swirling, peaceful show going on inside of my head! It is funny because the last time I received a deep tissue massage, this same color came floating into my mind. It is obvious to me that both meditation and massage offer physical and mental benefits. Have you tried to meditate? If so, what do you see or feel?