Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday ramblings

Monday, I started getting fearful that all my symptoms are in my head. Wow. Really? I must have some kind of power to raise my ANA level and cause palpitations and effusions by conjuring it all up in my head. I think after that, I took my husband's advice from a card he gave me and took a short nap.
Otherwise, it was spent having Brenna's eyes dilated and picking out new frames for her new prescription since her near-sightedness was slightly worse.

He also hung this in my art room so I wouldn't miss it. What do you think he is trying to say?

Dear man in the doctor's waiting room. (Today was dermatology) Please. Please turn off your phone. We can hear your ring tone down to the first floor. The high noon cowboy shoot off song is a little out of style. Oh. By the way. You are in a waiting room and even if you move away a few feet we can hear every word you say because you are shouting. (Which is something most people do on a cell phone-why IS that?) That said, I hope you and Danny have everything worked out.

Still Tuesday.
Benefits to oversleeping : more sleep. Otherwise it's not worth it. I'm still tired and the last thing I wanted at the dermatologists this morning was sleep lines on my face. At least I'm not wearing my paint clothes but I ran out the door so fast I neglected to see the hole in my sweater on the sleeve. It's  like when I was in fifth grade and I walked I to class with my new hair cut courtesy of my mom. I kinda thought something was off but she had me convinced that crooked bangs were a new style and that style was called The Ragamuffin. 
I realized it was hopeless when the boy I had a HIGE crush on took one look at me and asked if a lawn mower ate my bangs.

 I walked around all day Tuesday wondering if someone would tell me it looked like a lawn mower ate my sweater. I would have told them no it was a new style. See how fashion forward I am? It's called the Ragamuffin style.
Otherwise, I have to keep saying this to myself:

Maybe it should say, "Having a hole in your sweater guarantees adventures."

Forget it. Let's talk about shoes. While having my blood drawn last week, my husband commented on how many tubes the phlebotomist pulled out to fill. She laughed and said I  must be having "issues"  to which my husban replied," Issues? I think I would rather she have new shoes." Really? 

I took him up on it and got some new shoes. Which by the way are ALWAYS better than issues. Plus my new shoes counter balance my ragamuffin style that I am now rocking. I'm hoping people look at my cute new shoes instead of the hole in my sweater. See? It all works out in the end.


Wait. I do rock  the ragamuffin style. See?? Hospital gown + new shoes = cute. Really. I promise. No? Oh well. It's worth a try.
Yes, it is S.T.I.L.L. Tuesday.
By far, one of the longest days this week.

Ways to entertain yourself while waiting for doctor:
Write your blog.
Take photos.
Listen to people's conversations on their phone. Maybe it might be fun to stand right next to them while they are shouting and just watch.
 Wish I had thought of that sooner.
Catch up on all the magazines., beginning with the march 2009 issue of O. Then you might want to  work your way through princess Kate's pregnancy (again) and make sure you didn't miss any details. July 2011 was a good year, right?  Better Homes and Garden ideas for summer drinks might be a little more applicable than Kate's pregnancy right about now.

When you are finally finished at the doctor's, it's good to get a treat. Since they don't give out lollipops or stickers for adults, you have to go find your own treat. Which is necessary when the dermatologist is waving his can of liquid nitrogen around like it's air freshener. Don't let anyone tell you it doesn't hurt when they spray that stuff. Hence the great need for a treat.

Unfortunately, I opted for the tiny bag and not the big bag of real jelly beans. These just didn't cut it, but the sugar kind of met my needs for the moment. 

Good grief. It is STILL Tuesday.
Let's end the day with Brenna coming down with a cold and to really top it off in spectacular fashion, realize she ate cake during school AND pizza at youth group after she had all ready eaten dinner.
Which means I had two choices.
Take away the  Justin Bieber puzzle piece for the day that she had all ready put up and risk a major meltdown for about an hour or, at my husband's suggestion, wait until Wednesday. 

Brenna and I talked about her Justin Bieber puzzle piece for the day and agreed it was a "let's try and do better on the food choice front" kind of a day. Plus, she earned it back and everyone was happy. I can feel the week winding down in a good way.

I am breathing a huge sigh of relief. Thursday actually felt like a vacation day. Brenna is officially on Spring Break, my eldest is coming home, Brenna and I watched movies and went to the dog park and goofed off today. It's so sweet.

Good Friday.
Precursor to resurrection, to glory.
A day to remember, to stop and pause, to reflect. 
Even in the midst of family coming in, Easter preparations, an art show to get ready for.
Especially in the midst of fear and anxiety.

Have a beautiful Easter, my friends!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mid Week Hello

It's Wednesday...nothing new on the doctor front. Still waiting on blood tests. Brenna is getting new glasses, so I'll have to put away the Washi tape. How do I even begin to say that I am  so, so  thankful for each of you and all your encouragement. Truly, I am! 

I'm working on getting ready for an art show coming up April 13 called Red Dirt. It's in the park next to the old police station in Redlands. If you are around, stop by and say hi! If you do stop by and tell me you heard about the art show on my blog, I will have a special treat for you!!! Cause I just love you like that....

antique dictionary pages and vintage flash cards

My camera is still not well. You know, my beloved camera. That one. I went to the camera store to have it repaired and couldn't seem to find the store. I finally realized why. They have gone out of business. Now I'm having to figure out how to send it off to Cannon. I am once again relying in my iPhone.

With Easter drawing near, I think of my "giving up" fear and anxiety for lent and my thoughts can't help but wander to Jesus in the garden before Judas blew His cover. Talk about dealing with fear and anxiety. 
Now that Lent is almost over, will I take up my fear and anxiety with great gusto again?
Holy moly. I hope not. Rather, I think I'm onto something that will still take more time to drive home.

 At the moment, I'm reading a fabulous book my friend gave me called One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. She talks about having a life of thanksgiving and how it brings down fear and anxiety. I'm just into the first couple of chapters, but they are so thought provoking.

I'm off to get more work done in the studio...

Hoping your week is glorious!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Ramblings

I can tell this week is gonna be a doozy. Its Monday and I'm all ready writing down rambles for the week.

Remember those little heart palpitations I have had? Well, it seems they are just the beginning of trying to figure out a mess of symptoms: Off kilter labs, a "little fluid" around the heart and lungs. You know, just a couple of things. Hello, fear and anxiety. Hello frustration, anger, and plain 'ol sadness. I don't even know what else to say about this.

Why is it your child's glasses break one week before the appt with the eye dr.?
And how is it that I cannot for the life of me remember if I got those glasses from Costco or the eye place at the dr.'s office?
I chose to go to Costco and see if that was the golden ticket for fixing Brenna's glasses.
Could someone please explain the mystery of why everyone and their grandmother is at Costco 
at 5:15 p.m. On a Monday?
It's not the best place to be right after your child has finished with swim practice and there are TEN people ahead of you, your child is starving and is somehow falling asleep while standing up and her head is on your arm. It's a good thing to bag the fixing the glasses idea and go straight home.
All I can say is thank goodness for E-6000.
It looks much better than tape.

The glue holds for about twelve hours until your child has to actually wear the glasses. Then you find yourself living inside the book, "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie".
For, you see, when you glue your child's glasses back together, they will be crooked. The child will not be happy with them and will tell you on the way to school. In which case, there is nothing you can do other than say, "Oh. Sorry. Wear them if you can," wish them a good day at school and watch them stuff their glasses into their backpack as they walk up to the school doors. Once you do that, they will call you and leave you a message on your phone that sounds like this:
"Hi, Mom. My glasses broke again. Someone put them in an envelope for me. I just thought you should know."

washi tape from happytape.com

Once they do that, they will give you the glasses (in the envelope) when you pick them up from school. You, then, being the resourceful mom that you are, will haul out your soldering iron. You will attempt
to solder the little, microscopice piece of a hinge into place. Once you do THAT, you realize that the heat from the soldering iron has melted the cheap-ass glue that holds the hinge into place on the eye piece. Once that happens, you decide to try and glue and solder one more time, and proceed to get just a wee bit frustrated.
Well. Once that happens you think duct tape on your (did I mention disabled) child's glasses won't look so bad. Especially if you cover it with Washi Tape. So you haul out the ES 6000 again, shove the small piece back into the lens part of the frame and wait for that to dry. Then you go to the garage  and get the duct tape and hope to heaven that no one will see it under the Washi Tape-beCAUSE, have I mentioned you spend your child's life helping her to look "typical" and this whole ordeal has you wondering if it's about you or your child. By then you are wishing you had an entire package of gluten free cookies. BeCAUSE if you did, you would eat the whole box.
W.H.Y. Did I tell my sister to not bring me the box of gluten free animal cookies she found at Whole Foods. 
To top it off you take awful pictures with your iPhone because your beloved SLR won't hold a battery charge. Is it o.k. to use the word "beloved" in conjunction with a camera?

Somehow it is Wednesday, and I will begin chapter 2 of my version of the Mouse and Cookie book. 
Brenna and I woke up late today and I threw together an egg burrito for her to eat in the car on the way to school. It's a painting day for me, so I left the house in my painting clothes, no makeup and my hair flat on one side of my head, slippers. You get the picture.

An antique children's book and a duck named Waddles. He made me smile.

About 30 seconds into our drive, Brenna spits out her burrito and declares it inedible. I realize I have a choice of a. making her eat her lunch I packed for breakfast, b. tell her too bad, so sad or, c. stop at the grocery store and get a bagel for her. 
I really do like multiple choices, but none of these were my favorite. Not seeing an option d., I ran into the grocery store. Have you ever noticed how many women are put together at 7:30 in the morning? I was feeling pretty good about having brushed my teeth, but I really, honestly did not think I would be getting out of the car. Ah, well. At least the day started a little bit better because I did not step in dog barf like I did yesterday at 7 a.m.

I didn't mention that ? Huh. I guess I was just so grateful I had on my slippers and that Miss Party decided to empty the contents of her delicate stomach on my kitchen floor and not the carpet that it slipped my mind.
Such a good dog.

maybe not smart to put a painting of mine under the paragraph I just wrote, but it's a do-over kinda day. Have I mentioned I love gesso?

Today? Wow. Thursday all ready? My. Time flies when you are having fun.
 Today I read this from Jesus Calling:

"Instead of trying to fight your fears, concentrate on trusting Me."

It gave me a few thoughts. Do I fight my fears? Isn't that what we are supposed to do? Maybe I do more of the wrangling with them and telling myself to not be silly, just get it done. Ah. That sounds about right.
Trust, huh?
As in I have no control over some things and I have to/ it would be really good to trust?
As in walk away and pretend it's not there kind of trust? mmmm, more than likely the above.

So, today I choose trust. I choose prayer, even if it comes in the form of, "REALLY?"
Because after that usually follows, "Thank You."
I choose to smell the flowers that are blooming and be nice to myself. If I can find my Sharpie I might just write "trust" on my hand.

I choose to be oh, so grateful that it's going to be Friday tomorrow. I choose to be grateful because really? Today could have been a whole heck of a lot worse.
Now, it's time for bed. What a glorious time. My pillow is calling me.

Let's celebrate Friday, shall we? I have a doctor's appointment, but shoot. What else is new right now? I have all ready stepped in dog barf, ran in circles, taped glasses and struggled with fear. 
By the time I post this, I will have found my Sharpie and written trust on my hand.
How about you?

Friday edit:
sharpies are my friend..

Monday, March 18, 2013

Testing, Testing.....

Testing comes in many forms.
A test class, for instance.
My friend, Sue and I ran one more test class for our Courageous Women of the HeART class that involves art journaling and life coaching.
We had a blast with Robin, Becky, Tammy and Elena. 
These ladies gave us tons and tons of useful feedback and we formed some great friendships after our time together!

Sue, Elena, Robin, Tammy, Becky and myself.

In getting ready for this test class, I have made another new friend. Her name is Jill from Plaid Crafts.
You can follow Plaid Crafts on Face Book HERE! Jill was kind enough to respond to my email about using their fabulous Mod Podge product for our art journaling and sent us some amazing product to use. It literally got to us in the nick of time, and I appreciate her effort so much!

Love those people from Plaid Crafts-thanks, Jill!

I have not forgotten what I have given up for Lent. (Fear and Anxiety)
I just haven't written much about it because I have been busy and have had some wonderful days...but as always, fear and anxiety continue to show up in different ways.
As we discussed fear in our class on Friday, it occurred to me that I will never give up fear and anxiety completely.

Robin's brave girl.

Rather, my goal has changed and it is to not let them rule my life.
When dealing with fear, one goal is to focus on the NOW. 
Right NOW is pretty darn good.

I love photos of hands, don't you?

Another goal is to remember that we are NOT ALONE.
We are here to help one another.

When we keep it to ourselves, it's like fear is a sore and it gets infected and takes over, making us miserable.
BUT...When we gather together and say those fears out loud, they tend to loose their power over us.

Gathering. Together. Sharing Fears and ways to overcome.

It never ceases to amaze me what happens when women gather together.
We learn so much from each other.

I can't wait to see what comes of these classes.
Sue and I are putting our heads together and I will let you know when we launch the classes, which will be soon!

In the mean time, be courageous, find a friend, talk a mile a minute and write in a journal!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Friday Ramblings

I usually ramble about my youngest, or ridiculous things I notice over the week.
Today, I'm rambling about my eldest. 

all photos courtesy of my sister, Carol Shobert.

This girl is at the end of her college adventure. Four years have flown by. 
This last week we celebrated by hosting the reception for her Senior Art Show.

What has happened to the last four years? Truly, I blinked and they passed by. My girl has grown as a person, an artist, a friend, a daughter, a sister. She has blossomed and stretched her wings in ways I never imagined. She has worked hard, had fun, and loved these years. Well, with exception of finals weeks. 

Everything she has learned and worked toward culminated this week in her show.
It was....spectacular.

Hours and HOURS of hard work, thought and planning, her life pouring into her art.

What an amazing time to be able to join her in encouraging her to the very end, and then celebrating over the beauty she created out of different elements: wire. wood. wax. string. Each piece heavy with meaning of intercession, life, finding our way and letting go and releasing.

How do I explain four years of life that really has been twenty-two years poured into these pieces?
In each piece and watching her complete her gallery work, I see the ever determined young toddler, then little girl with the vivid imagination. 

Through this work there is the beauty of the young lady who has been to distant lands, and ever wanting to see more.

I turn around and I'm reminded of the girl who would laugh and play, wonder and ponder, trying to figure out different parts of life. She is there, in each piece.

And I weep at the wonder of it all, and with the knowledge that she is flying, destined for more.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Ramblings

We have spent enough time in doctor's offices and hospitals this week to choke a horse.
The outcomes have been so favorable and I am beyond grateful.
That said, I thought I'd ramble a little about what I have noticed out and about in the medical world.

Let's start with waiting rooms.
 Entire families join one person for their procedure. We do travel in packs don't we?
I used to wonder why someone would come with all 
their children, grandma and a sister or two for one person to be seen by the doctor.  Now I think, who the heck cares? It's pretty cool how much support they have and it gives me more to observe.

Doctors chairs are much comfier than waiting room chairs. I guess there is a good reason for this.

I do have a small suggestion for waiting rooms. 
Nix the junk t.v. And the news. 

Dear Lord, puh-leeeze turn off the news. Four solid hours of it aren't good for anyone.
Maybe put on nice movies that are full of fluff.  I would even tolerate kids shows instead.

Brenna and her 18 year old self was able to sign her name on athe admitting papers to the MRI for the first time.
My husband kept saying it was a big moment. The admitting person said we should have video taped it and how great it is that she can sign her way in and out of the hospital now. 
Like I got so excited over that prospect. 
No, my anxious self went all over the map in about 20 seconds. 

I will say that I remembered to write on my hand today and the word I wrote was "trust". Our nurse for the beginning of the MRI wasn't so sure about me. She asked, "And why would you write on yourself??" 
Silly girl.
 To REMIND me to be kind to me, of course!

Here is some advice for when your child or (adult type person) is released from the hospital after being anesthetized for two hours for an MRI and not had any food for a good 20 hours.
Grogginess is to be expected. 
Multiple trips to the bathroom on unsteady feet are not unreasonable.
Drinking juice and having half of a popsicle is a good thing. Encouraged, even.

When you go up the elevator to your car? Beware.
Barfing could be a possibility.
As in all over the parking structure. 
Multiple times.
Can I tell you how adept I have become at maneuvering these situations?
Oh, baby. I'm a pro. And proud of it.

Hellloooo Los Angeles.

When one has to drive two hours home from L.A. at 6:00 p.m., and with traffic it can easily stretch into three or more-DON'T start on the freeway. You cannot possibly pull over and open the door quickly enough.
Instead, find a crummy grocery store parking lot in Hollywood and hang out. Preferably away from the  store entrance. That way, you and your spouse can take turns running into the grocery store and find something to eat for dinner for yourself. 
Yes, you will be able to eat if you have dealt with this as many times as we have. It's rather amazing. Plus, when you buy dinner at the grocery store, you can use the plastic grocery bags for barf bags. Doubling them is recommended. 
So is eating your food outside of the car.

The barfing hopefully will have subsided by then and your child is wanting crackers now. Send your husband in for those crackers on his run. He will find them eventually. Probably they will be between the melba toast, matzo and smoked herring.
Your child will eat some crackers and pass out on the drive home.
 It's been a fourteen hour day, so Be Kind To Yourself when you get home and go directly to bed.

The next day is a new day and there are new mercies.
The ones that were shown to us?

I highly recommend ketchup served like this with your french fries.

The phone call during our lunch out from the cardiologist telling us the results from the MRI: that while Brenna's right ventricle is larger than her left it's not twice as big, which would determine surgery right away. So we happily tell Brenna her heart is in pretty good shape and she doesn't need surgery. (We will keep checking every six months, and another MRI in two years)
Her response?

She is fairly quiet, and then she says, "Mom, I feel like Jesus pounded love into my heart."
So help me, she did.
And then burst into tears.
And we joined her.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Be Kind To Yourself.

Today I learned something.
I'm much kinder to others than I am to myself.

I didn't really apply what I wrote last Friday to myself very well over the weekend, but I will save that for a Friday ramble. I'm still processing it.

processing with my art journal using chalk inks, old photos, copic markers and stamps.

But Monday, a little lesson hit home. 
I was sitting in the radiology department for a chest X-ray. One of those, "let's do this just cause we don't want to miss anything "kind of X-rays in the long road to figuring out my heart palpitations. Anyway, I was sitting, waiting for the nurse to escort back one other patient and as 
the patient was maneuvering herself  on crutches toward the chair next to me..she fell. One of those holy-cow-she's -going-down-without-anything-to-braek-the-fall kinda falls. Those are just down right scary. So what ended up breaking her fall was my wrist and her crutch. 

She took a few seconds to register what had happened and then said , " I'm o.k. Ohhhh, that hurt." and began to cry. The nurse and I got her up and all I could do was rub her back and say, "oh....oh. Oh... Oh. So sorry...oh.." you get the picture. What else do you say to someone you don't know that has splatted down in front of/on you?

As I went into the X-ray I looked over at my new friend and I must have looked concerned/still panicked, which must have still been enormously embarrassing for her because she shortly said, "I'm o.k."
 I totally get it. Don't look at her anymore, she has had enough humiliation.

Have you heard of Uppercase Magazine? Holy moly. So full of creativity and cool lettering for journaling.

But here's the deal-io, as Brenna would say.

A sweet friend said to me that I need to treat myself like I would  treat this woman in X-ray.
 I'm guessing this would be along the same lines as being kind to your best mental patient self, like I wrote about here.

Could I treat my best clumsy, awkward, I don't know how to maneuver crutches self nicely?
More than likely, I would tell myself some not nice things out of pain and embarrassment.

 Can you imagine to another and saying, "Seriously? You couldn't get yourself in that chair without falling all over a complete stranger. Oh my WORD."
Good Lord, I would hope we wouldn't do that.

So what IF we said to ourselves, "Oh. Ohhhh. I am SO sorry. That must have hurst. You'll be o.k., don't worry."

Once we start loving ourselves, it makes it oh so much easier to love others. I know
 this. Really I do, but its more head than heart knowledge.


the friends in this photo? they love each other. i can tell.

Oh, wait.
 Then there's the whole thing of accepting love from a God who says he will take me just as I am: falling down, clumsy -crutch needing me.

It's a tough thing to do when you are hell bent on getting yourself up by your own bootstraps.

I think the boots aren't fitting so well anymore...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Ramblings

Lent is hard.
Giving up on fear and anxiety is harder.


I have come up with some ideas.
Somewhat based on my most favorite Anne Lamott quote ever:

 "take yourself through the day as you would with your most beloved mental-patient relative, with great humor and lots of small treats."

Why, why WHY is it so hard to be kind to ourSELVES???
If I had a friend come to me and say what a hard day she was having, I would listen patiently. My heart would want to find a way to relieve her stress, to help bear her burdens.
Maybe, just maybe it would be good to treat my anxious, somewhat fearful, self like that.

wow, just looking at peaceful and serene photos are helping, too!

 I'm not fearful and anxious every day.
Some days I'm brave, and put myself out to see what happens.
Other days, I don't care much what happens and I relish the day.
But the days when fear and anxiety knock, I always open the door. And it surprises me every time I do.

So here are some ideas on small treats and being kind to ourselves.

A freshly squeezed pomegranate juice popsicle. 
That helps.
Just looking at the color makes me happy.

Meeting God half way in trust and giving thanks. 
That's always a good one.

Give thanks for everything.
I was sitting here, anxiously trying to put together this post (I have deleted two so far), and was interrupted (thank goodness) by a phone call from my eldest.
I looked up from my computer during this phone call and stared out the window.
It's not snowing here, and I'm so sorry for those of you where it is snowing.
But not here. 
For that I'm thankful.
It smells like new these days.
You know, the new smell that comes with trees budding and grass growing and flowers coming out to say hello to spring.

This might sound silly, but at least for me, crying is a kindness I can give to myself.
I tend to put my big girl britches on too many times and not release stress.
Like Tuesday, when we drove 2 hours to an MRI appointment for Brenna to get the dimensions of her (enlarged) heart, only to find out it was the wrong day. All together it was the wrong test that was scheduled. The cardiac MRI's are two HOURS long and will need to be done under general anesthesia next week.
I can't say I boo-hooed, but I had a couple of tears. That's progress for me. Instead of thinking I had epically failed because of being there the wrong day, we all ended up thankful that it wasn't another month before we could get the right test done.
Yes, we were a little stunned after the day (except for Brenna, she was cool with it all).
But I'm thankful I can talk through things with my husband and that he has a way with questions and can get to the bottom of things we don't understand.

I think I will put up reminders to be kind to myself.
Maybe little notes that I choose out of a jar that suggest things like eating lunch outside in the sunshine. Or a take a bubble bath and think of ten things I'm grateful for.  It could be a reminder to smell some flowers or take photos of them.

16x12 mixed media on old canvas from Goodwill

I especially like the thought of a reminder in the form tattoo, but I would want to change the word  every week.
Instead, I write a word like hope, or trust in Sharpie on my hand or the inside of my finger or on the inside of my forearm. I have had strange comments on them, but it makes me feel like I'm cool and anyway, it's a good thing to share with people.

Naps are the ultimate kind treat I can give myself. Even if it's twenty minutes. 

going back in time and remembering the good stuff that has happened. I was Brave at Brave Girl Camp, and I still am....

 a beautiful sky in Idaho.  Walks are good for the soul!

Hello, lightbulb thought...
scary=anxiety or fear.
working through it=growth, fun, new people, new experiences and maybe a failure but you learn anyway.

In doing these new things, It's important to leave time to let it sink in. To let it grow, percolate and become what it needs to be. Then, when the time is right, a call to action is heard and answered.
I have to remind myself of this every.single.day.

I can't answer the call to action every minute of every day. I may try, but I usually end up frustrated and anxious. 
Huh. How 'bout that.

I'm going to go let this post percolate in my head now.
And paint. 
Happy Friday!