Thursday, April 23, 2015

10 Things To Do For Yourself

On my wishlist for someday to help attain my photography dream.

I saw a list of "30 Things to Start Doing For Yourself" on this website.  That got me thinking of my own list. (I shortened it up some to get only10.) Here is what I came up with:

1.  Live in the present
     I sometimes have a hard time with this. I multi-task a lot and so I am not always in the present. I find myself later wondering if I had completed a certain task because I wasn't really paying attention. Obviously some things aren't getting accomplished the best. Really gotta work on this.

2. Enjoy the things you have
    So often we are always wishing for something bigger and better instead of being content with what we have. For me this is learning how to use my current camera equipment better before buying anymore lenses. 

3. Exercise and Get Enough Sleep
    Having both moms in the hospital needing care has given me a renewed sense of how important it is to take care of our bodies. Jerry's mom was attending exercise classes at her assisted living facility. The PT gal was impressed that she could move her legs and feet as well as she can and gave those exercise classes credit.  Exercising and sleeping are so important to maintaining good health.

4. Look for the silver lining
    This can be incredibly hard especially in a crisis situation. However in most other situations there usually is a silver lining if you look hard. For my mom, falling and breaking her shoulder could have been worse. The silver lining here--she didn't hit her head, she didn't break a hip, there were kind people to help bring her home after her fall. In caring for both of our moms our respective families have really stepped up to help out.

5. Surround yourself with positive people
    Nothing can bring you down faster than to be around people who are negative. Having people around you who can see the goodness in a situation and in others will help you do the same. My best friend is always upbeat and I love when that rubs off on me.

6. Set goals, have a dream, work on it everyday
    We all need to have a reason to get up in the morning. (Being retired now this has really hit home.) Having goals and dreams to work on doesn't need to stop when as we age. My dream is to someday take photos that look as good as my favorite photographer. (Lacey Mayers) While that is a pretty ambitious dream for me, I try to take photos most everyday, read photography tutorials and follow professional photographers' blogs and websites. I'm excited to be going on a Photography Walk this Sunday with some local photographers.

7. Be willing to forgive yourself and others
    I have done some things in my past I am not proud of. For a long time I would beat myself up about them. I can't change the past but I can forgive myself and learn from my mistakes. 
Forgiving others can be very difficult too. I personally know a gal who holds a huge grudge against someone and she lets everyone around her know this. It makes her a very negative person and I'm sorry she can't forgive and move on. It must be a heavy weight to bear.

8. Find time to nurture your spiritual life
    Whatever your faith I think it's important to nurture it. Especially in times of trouble it can be a source of comfort and help to lessen your stress/pain. I have seen both of our moms use their faith to help them get through these past few days. 

9. Pamper yourself
    I think especially for women this can get lost on the back burner
as we care for others. I feel it's really important to take some time to pamper ourselves. A hot soak, a manicure, a massage, time alone to read a book, going for a walk, eating some dark chocolate from a personal stash...something that is just for us.

10. Find some quiet everyday
     Our days can get quite busy with jobs, family, social media etc. Just as exercise and sleep are important for our body's health I think finding some quiet each day is important for our mental health. For some people meditation works well. For me I could never quite get into that. Instead I find quiet in working in my flower beds or even a few minutes working on a jigsaw puzzle by myself.

What kinds of things do you do for yourself? Anything to add to the list?
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Keep It or Get Rid of It

Spending time at my parents' house as my mom recovers has led me to the conclusion that I am SO like my mother. She is a saver and so am I. Looking around her home there is so much stuff! Certainly most of it is needed and used but really they still have a full set of encyclopedias in the closet. 

That is only one closet! Downstairs we found one closet chuck full of...all kinds of things such as holiday decorations. There are miscellaneous items in dresser drawers, closets in back bedrooms, china hutches...Some might be antiques, treasured heirlooms and some is just plain old.

So now I come home to my house and I see an enormous three ring binder of bulletins and files from when I started my Master Gardener program. Now I wouldn't think of paging through that stuff when I can look online. Have I gotten rid of it? Nope!

In back bedroom closets I have holiday decorations, photo albums, treasured heirlooms and a lot of stuff that is just plain old. In my personal closet I have three blazers that I wore when teaching but haven't worn since I retired. I have cowboy boots that my sister gave me for my 40th birthday. Why do I still have this stuff? Cuz I'm a saver!

Seeing what we will have to sort through when my parents die has made me realize my children will have to do the same when I go.  I should take the time to sort through my possessions and really decide if I should keep them or get rid of them. It doesn't seem like it should be that a hard so I will just have to set a goal and timeline to get it done. Maybe posting here will help keep me accountable.

Just to clarify--I'm not a hoarder! :-)

How about you? Are you a saver or a purger? 

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Sandwich Generation

I never paid much attention to that connotation until two weeks ago. That's when my almost 84 year-old mother fell and broke her shoulder. When taken to the ER she waited hours to be seen and then because it was late the orthopedist would not come down to see her. She was sent home with some pain meds. Long story short she wasn't able to get surgery scheduled for a week. 

 During that week she and my 88 year old dad stayed at my sister's house. Mary and her family took care of mom in the evening,at night and mornings.I helped take care of mom many days that week. My other siblings pitched in as they could. It was a long week seeing mom in so much pain. 

 After her release from the hospital mom needed round the clock care. Many of my siblings took turns staying with my parents at their home. During this week Jerry and I were in Alexandria, VA babysitting my two little grandsons. The day we flew back I came home, unpacked, then packed an overnight bag and headed to my parents' house. Now that we are back, I am taking my turns at staying with mom and dad. 

 Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and I know it is selfish. It has been unnerving to change my mother's diapers. (Thankfully this was only temporary.) I feel like a terrible daughter because I just didn't like having to deal with that. There were other issues she had that weren't fun either. I could never be a nurse and have a deepened appreciation for what they do. 

 There has been a lot of coordination to be done. Making sure mom is taking all of her medications.Scheduling who will stay with mom and dad. Who will take her to her doctor appts. Who can do their laundry, pick up groceries,clean, cook etc. Looking ahead who can we get to do their lawn mowing this summer. (mom still cut her own grass) Finances?

We have been keeping a journal on their iPad so all who care for mom and dad have a running record of how each day goes. One of the hardest parts is just being with two elderly people who don't do much all day. You can only watch so many reruns of Bonanza and Gunsmoke! 

 My sister Nancy is flying in from Georgia for a week. Another sister Annie is planning on coming from Florida to help a little later. This is when having a large family is truly a blessing! Mom's recovery we have been told could take up to six months. She has lots of PT ahead of her. She'll be needing all of us to be there for her. 

 This Saturday I am going to babysit my little granddaughter for the afternoon. Early evening I will be setting up a photo booth for another granddaughter's birthday party. In the midst of all the care-taking this is a bright spot for me!

Jerry has been feeling the pinch too. He is the executor for his mother's trust. He is also the one who helps with her finances--checks to see if the checkbook is balanced, monitors her savings, etc. He was instrumental in getting her moved out of her house into assisted living and then getting her house sold. He was extremely busy with all of this!

Sorry I just had to vent a little. I know we were blessed in that mom's fall wasn't any worse and that two kind gentlemen stopped to help bring her back home. I also know that my mother would do the same for me and she wouldn't think twice about changing diapers. 

 So I am trying to look at this time with mom as a way of walking with Jesus. What would He do? Definitely not complain! Guess I'll go spend some time with Him. I'll ask Him to pray for mom and for me! 

Sandwiched between my grandkids and my parents isn't such a bad place to be. I'm incredibly blessed to have them all. Just need to remember that.

Update: Jerry's mom had an acute stroke last Friday. She was blessed with a wonderful surgeon who removed all of the blood clot from her brain. She is recovering at a rehab center for a couple of weeks. So in addition to giving care to my mom, we have been spending our days at the hospital with his mom.

Praying for good recoveries for both of these special women.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015


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