Welcome to my Blog. I hope you enjoy your time here. Thanks to @honey_crunch_ for the sweet illustration.
November is a month of reflection for me. Recently, hubby and I took a walk thru the woods. I turned around to see what was behind me, I was surprised by what I saw. It was a whole different view. It occurred to me at that moment, that we shouldn’t be afraid of looking back at what happened in the past. You might be surprised at how far you’ve come. November is the month my boyo collapsed in front of me, I kneeled at his side doing cpr, talking to the 911 operator, praying. I stayed at his side thru ambulances, emergency rooms. He coded that day and survived. I stayed by his side thru a coma, thru years of pain and very little sleep. November is also the month of hope, he came out of the coma, he went into remission. He survived. It was 19 years ago. He has battled valiantly, he fought thru treatment, He fights thru conditions he has now, that were caused by the treatment. He continues to survive.
The important thing about looking back at what’s behind us is not to get stuck that way because then, we’ll never move forward. It’s been a strange year, so many feel stuck and frightened by what’s happening around us. I understand that fear. However, I also know what survival means, it comes from a great struggle. That word though, survivor, survival, survived, whatever the form, it has so much meaning. There is growth, joy and strength that comes from survival, many times there is trauma too.
The picture at the top of this page is special to me, it involves what it takes to survive. The earrings are a symbol of survival and healing. I found them thru @tiny_art1 she made them and explained the meaning behind them. It struck a chord with me. They are wings and a tear drop that have been bound up to heal. Since, it is a month of reflection for me, they hold a very special place in my heart. You see, when my boyo was going thru treatment, it was so very painful for him, I would hold him and his tears would stream down my back. Sometimes it felt as though they were etched forever into my back. And yet, we survived.
Really, it’s survival I’m writing about today. It seems fitting for this month and this year. Survival takes being strong when you think you have no strength. It’s not an easy thing to accomplish. The traumas become part of you. You must survive those too. Childhood trauma is a difficult beast to battle. the damage appears later in life. I look at my boyo now. I am so proud. He lost his joy a few years ago but he never stopped fighting to find it again. He’s been through so much, but he never stops fighting for his survival. It’s true I am an emotional being. I used to apologize for that, I do not anymore. If your child hurts you hurt, it means you are a parent. Isn’t it what we’re meant to do? We love, we guide, we help, we teach, we protect.
I have reflected on the past quite a bit the last few years. Did I do enough to protect him? Why couldn’t I stop the trauma that haunts him now? These are questions any parent would ask, when, they see their grown child in pain from the trauma he endured as a child. It took some time to find the right help, there are some wonderful people who specialize in childhood trauma, who also understand that there is damage done by the treatment itself, like the high dose methatrexate, the radiation to the brain, the coma and lack of oxygen. After much reflection, I know I did everything in my power to do what was best for him. There was so much that could not be stopped. And yet, there was so much I and his dad did stop. We gave him all the protection and love that we had. Survival means scars. Some scars take a long time to heal.
Little by little they are healing. When I paused to look back over the last few years, I saw how far we’ve come. We move in such small steps when we heal, sometimes we don’t realize what progress we’ve made. Scars will remain but they are fading. Survival means hard work, recovering does too. It’s a journey that is worth taking. Joy comes of it, love comes of it, gratitude comes of it. And those things are valuable to have. So, as we battle through this very strange year, let me tell you, survival is a badge of honor. We keep fighting to survive, to find joy in our day, to share love, to share some laughter. We are very grateful for what survival has taught us.
Take a moment and tell your loved ones you love them, you’ll never regret kindness. Don’t be afraid to look behind you once in awhile, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come. Sending love to you all.
Soooooo, well,…..um……you see…., let me put it this way….hmmmmm. Ok, how about this? It seems I’ve let so much time go by since I last wrote a blog, I may have forgotten how to do it. No, no, it’s not that(well, not completely at least). excuses excuses…,
It’s amazing how time can slip through your fingers isn’t it? Even when it feels like time slowed down to a painful crawl. The reality is, that time moves as it always has done. It’s our perception of it that changes. In my life I’ve noticed, that depending on what’s happening at the time influences how I perceive the movement of time. It will either feel like it’s flying by or slow as molasses. and yet… you will look back and wonder how did it all go by so fast? At this time, I find myself in such a quandary.
One of the reasons I stopped writing blog posts was that there were a lot of things going on involved in caring for my boyo’. Priorities had to be moved around and blogging had to be put aside for a time. Then, technology seemed to fight me, which can happen to a dinosaur brain like mine. Lastly, once I decided it was time to start writing again,….I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT to write!! OH!NO! Not writers block?!! So…once again I needed to take more time to figure out what EXACTLY was the problem! Was the writing bone in my brain broken? removed? never to be seen again? Oh dear, what to do, what to do? So…I did what any dinosaur brain would do….I went back to working in my gardens…. I thought and thought and planted and watered and grew things and talked to the camera in my vlogs, about art, gardens, dogs, painful things, happy things, plants grew, and life changed a bit. Then a pandemic came along…..That changed some things!
Time stopped again. We made adjustments, everyone made adjustments. We got scared, everyone got scared. We hunkered down and stayed in place, everyone hunkered down and stayed in place. We thought it would pass by quickly, it did not. Like I always do, I look at the challenge at hand, get frustrated by said challenge and then get to work on how to deal with it. So.. I did what any dinosaur brain would do….I went back to gardening, and built more gardening things, planted and watered and grew things. I talked to the camera about growing and planting and watering on my vlogs. I learned how to order groceries and many other necessities from home, I learned what zoom was and how to use it. The boyos’ dr.s told him for his health condition he must take all precautions and stay home until, we don’t know when. This also means me, I must protect his health with whatever I can, so again it was time to rethink how I do things. I paused shipping on my business because I had always gone out to the post office to ship. Then I purchased and had shipped to me a printer, my dinosaur brain could handle, labels and shipping supplies. I started shipping things to my friends using the pick up service the post office provides for practice, so I knew I could do it. Hubby helped me find a better camera to use, he gave me his hand me down computer since my old one was worn out and fighting me.
I rearranged my studio many many….many times.
and……I thought about what to write. This was the conclusion that I came to. There were actually several factors involved in why I couldn’t write. First, the technology I was using didn’t work anymore, second I had become overwhelmed with life in general, third my writing skills had atrophied. By not using them regularly they had weakened and I needed to exercise them again. Fourth and most importantly, I had too much to write about. I find that it’s the same whether I’m painting or writing, if too much time has gone by since I wrote or painted I have too much to write about or to paint. Once I had most of those problems figured out I was able to focus my dinosaur brain towards writing again! (As I just wrote that it made me smile.) What a relief! I’m grateful for the passing of time, it can heal, it can repair, it can refocus, it can change our priorities and it can capture beautiful memories and joys. As time passes you can see more clearly the laughter as the pain slowly slips away somewhere into time.
Now, it’s time to restart my business in a better, more efficient way, in a way that I still enjoy my work. This is the beautiful new web site my sweet hubby took the time to build for me. I am so grateful for him and the time that he gave me. I can now resume shipping. I can’t make any promises about being regular in my blogging, which is another thing that time has taught me. We never know what may be ahead, all we can do is try to be ready to face it with joy and strength. So, instead I will promise to write the blog when I can. It may be regularly you just never know! Molly and I are as always busy in the gardens and the studio, we still have mornings we hang out quietly. We’re so glad that you’re still here with us. We hope you enjoy all the new stuff on the web site and all the videos. Have a cup of tea and pull up a chair cause it’s going to be a great day!
Testing Blog Page, if you can read this it worked.
I love the seasons, their changes make me happy. The trees, plants, sky, temperatures and colors change from season to season. I tend to change along with it, inside my house I change out comforters, pillows and curtains. Once I’ve settled on the color of my walls, I try to keep them a neutral color, because I like change so much that I’ve tried to confine those to pillows and fabrics. Things that are easy to change, unlike wall colors and furniture! Inside the studio, my paintings tend to reflect the season outside, excepting when I’m super hot in the summer, sometimes I’ll paint a winter scene, in the vain hope it will cool me down!
This includes the walls outside in the yard as well! I finally settled on this wonderful wine red for the cement walls in the secret garden and the backyard garden spaces. I haven’t quite finished the backyard wall yet, but I’ll get there soon. I still have several projects going on as we wind down into the winter months. Here in Albuquerque we don’t get severe winters, for that reason I like to do some outdoor projects on the warmer days, to save myself back breaking work in the high heat of summer.
Molly and I have stayed so busy this summer, building raised beds, moving tons of gravel and rocks, planting trees, herbs, bushes, flowers, working on vegetable patches and laying sod, that it just flew by! It’s also been a difficult year for our super hero son, who’s gone thru and is going thru more after affects related to treatment he had as a child for his leukemia. We’ve been focused on being of support to him. I’m very glad that the year before we finished his apartment, so he’s been able to have his own space. He’s really enjoyed that. Now, it’s time for Stacys Art Studio to settle in for winter. I’ve been doing some videos for my you tube channel and fell behind on writing the blog. However, really, I find that it’s hard for me to sit and write during the summer. Sooo many things to do you see! Anyhow, now is the time to start catching up on the blog! I’ll be sharing more of my crazy idea projects! Some that have worked out really well and some that ended up so so, but I think I can improve on them. I hope your summer has been a good one! Here are a few of our summer pictures. The Sunflowers grew strong.
The garden did well..
Molly had fun in the cornstalks
No really, I’m just chasing the squirrels away from our food!
It was a big summer!
Love is a beautiful thing. Love can grow immeasurably, love can give you the strength to endure great pain, and love will help you do things you never thought you would, or could do. Love will keep you from giving up, when things are too hard to face. Recently, our sweet boyo started having a new after affect condition. If you’ve read my blog, you’ll know these are conditions that appear later in life from treatment for childhood Leukemia. I won’t explain what that condition is right now. He’s in his 20’s and I want to respect his privacy. However, it’s not life threatening at this time. It’s just another difficult after affect, that we didn’t expect.
The cure for childhood cancer comes at a cost. First they have to endure treatment and survive it, then there’s a lifetime of after affects. I know I’ve spoken about those after affects many times here, and yet, every time we discover he has a new after affect to deal with, we find ourselves unprepared. I feel like each time as soon as we adjust to the new challenge, we figure out how to support him, to help him have some quality of life, a new one comes along and takes my breath away.
Each time this happens without fail, love saves us. Love for our boy, love for each other. When we look at our lives, we remember all the love we have and for love, we will keep on in the fight. I remember, that I will use every breath I have left, to take care of my boy. Over the years, I’ve discovered that to keep up the strength to be a caregiver as a mom, I need to do some self care. There was a time when I didn’t understand how important self care is, I felt it was superfluous, but I’ve learned that if you don’t care for yourself, you have nothing to give to anyone else.
It took a long time for me to figure out how to care for myself, so that I could take care of my boyo. What I’ve learned is, that it changes with whatever is going on at the time. Now that it’s been 17 years since he got sick, I can look back and see what was useful and what wasn’t. Right now, I do different things to help me do what I need to do. I thought I’d share some of those things. While what my boyo goes thru is really too hard, and I marvel at his endurance, patience and strength. I can’t tell you how he does that, because that’s his story. What I can do, is tell you my story and how I try to keep up my strength to lend him the strength he needs.
The first thing is a good bed. Sleep is absolutely vital to keep up your strength. (and a sweet little doggie helps too)
As I sit writing this, I have to confess that it’s 2 in the morning because I couldn’t sleep from being worried. That’s ok tho. It’s important to be flexible about what you need. I know that I don’t have to go anywhere early tomorrow, so I can sleep in a little. Right now I need to express myself.
Back to sleeping tho…. I need really soft sheets, and a fluffy comforter. Of course, we moms respond,….. I can’t afford luxury linens! That’s where a little creativity comes in. Hunt bargain stores, you can find really nice linens at Marshals, Tj Maxx and Tuesday Morning. Also second hand stores, you can find nice linens there too, all you have to do is run them thru the wash! I’ve found one of the best tools I have, is a comfortable bed. When the kiddo was first sick I didn’t have a good bed, but I worked at getting one. I would take Sunday afternoons to sleep. While the kiddo was going thru treatment I slept only 3 hours a night. It was a grueling 3 years, and since hubby was always home on Sundays. I would crawl into bed and sleep for about 6 hrs. Honestly, I felt bad about that, not being present on a free day with hubby and kiddo, but if I didn’t get that sleep I wouldn’t be able to care for kiddo the rest of the week. I’m grateful that hubby was able to take care of the kiddos needs while I slept.
With the new challenges we have now, I still have to prioritize sleep. I’m older now, and I find my strength gets used up quicker than it used to, so sleep is very important. It depends on each person as to how you do that. I find that I have to find the time to get the rest I need. That’s my first tip on self care. I’ll be writing more tips on what I do to care for myself. I’ve found it’s not just one thing that works, it’s a variety of things that help. Also, our lives are super busy just like everyone else’s, so the things I do are small bits here and there, but I have to keep doing them or I find my strength waning and that is something I can’t allow to happen. There’s a condition called caregiver burnout, it’s when you’ve been doing it a very long time under stress and you haven’t taken care of yourself. It’s a condition I want to avoid at all costs. These things I do, are to help me to stay strong and care for my boyo who needs me.
I call these posts mornings with Molly, because I discovered that when I sit outside in the mornings with her I have a chance to meditate on things, and what I need to do next. Today, I’m grateful for a funny little dog who is lying by my feet as I write this. I hope my tips as I write more of these will bring you some comfort as well. I’m going to go get some sleep now and when Molly wakes up we’ll play again.
“Everything will be alright in the end, if it’s not alright. Then it’s not the end.”-John Lennon
Have a good night out there lovelies!
This was the second stage of the secret garden. I thought I’d share a few pictures of this part of the process.
I put in some fake grass just to brighten it a bit. I laid in a row of bricks around the edges and then thought that perhaps moss might grow along the little beds….we’ll see….
No furniture as of yet, except for the little foot stool, and the shelf unit that used to be in our old camper, that we were living in, when we were on the coast of South Carolina. I picked it up at Ikea. I had to cut the feet down on it to fit into the camper, but it works perfectly for a little place to put pots and things out here in the secret garden.
Snickers loves the secret garden. He continues to believe that I built it just for him! We need to take down the old satellite dishes that were on the roof when we moved in. We don’t use them and I feel like they’re and eyesore. We’ll eventually get those down.
Then, I started to lay these stepping stones that I found in different areas of the property. Most of them were in the front yard and I just moved them back here. I ended up having to buy about 5 more to fill it in all the way.
This was a temporary installment. I took an old canvas painting drop cloth and stretched it across to give us some sun protection. It really heats up that side of the house, so this helped give us some relief until I was able to build the pergola there.
This is when I discovered large tree stakes are quite useful and inexpensive, an idea began to form…..
The little honeysuckles are going to be fabulous! Later I ended up putting screen over them because the sun was burning them. Once they got larger I was able to take the screen down.
Of course, if you’ve been watching my you tube channel you’ve seen the latest video of the secret garden, however I thought it would be fun for you to see the process of how it’s gotten to where it is now. Next time I’ll post how I built the pergola and show pictures of the finished product. I hope you’ve all been doing well! Thankyou for stopping in!