"I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." — Laura Ingalls Wilder

Friday, April 25, 2014

The other day we had this class that was focusing on end of life.
I think it is impossible to feel good during or after a class like that.
Our professor told us her own story of her husband dying.
You are probably thinking her husband was old.
That is what I usually think when I hear that someone has passed away.
But you are wrong.
Her husband was young, with young children, one being 2 years old, the other only months old.
My professor was pregnant when she found out her husband had stage 4 cancer.
I just kept thinking as she was talking, "how do you prepare for that? How do you prepare your kids for that?"
I wouldn't be ready to let go.
She shared experiences, and special memories of their last months together.
How she tried to keep him her husband, and not someone she was just caring for.
She told us how she created a secrete admirer through notes for him while he was staying in the hospital,
The game went on for a couple of days until she revealed herself as the admirer with a special evening planned of movies and dancing to their wedding song.
She said "I got my husband back for that evening and it was worth it."

During the lecture she stopped and had us write a list of the top 10 things we would do if we had 6 months left to live. Her are a few of the things I put in order of importance.

1. Create a community garden
2. Sail the Mediterranean
3. Spend time with friends and family
4. Take a french cooking class
5. Complete a triathlon

Then she told us to write a list if we had 6 weeks left to live.

1. Spend time with God
2. Spend time with family laughing
3. Spend time with friends laughing
4. Wake up to meet the sun by walking
5. Leave gifts and memories for my family and friends

My list changed.
My professor challenged to me compare my lists and evaluate what is important, and you know what?
I like the second list better.
I don't want to live like that quote, "live like it is your last day."
That seems like a frightening way to live. I don't want to think that I will be dead the next day.
But I do want to live surrounding myself with people I love and doing those simple everyday things that I appreciate.
Yeah the things on the first list I would like to do at some point in my life, but when it comes down to what I want and will remember, it is the everyday things I love.

I love walking in the morning.
I love watering my plants.
I love leaving notes for friends.
I love bike rides with friends.
I love drinking my coffee in a coffee shop surrounded by people.
I love checking the mail to see if I have gotten anything.
I love a really satisfying meal.
I love seeing my sister and Bella's excitement to see her favorite aunt.
I love playing frisbee with Kent in the parking lot at night.
I love catching up with friends over breakfast.
I love a clean pair of sheets on my bed.
I love sitting on porches as the sun goes down talking with friends.

These are the things I don't have to try hard to do. It just comes naturally.
I think that is what makes them so enjoyable, the ease of it.
Simple things that don't take a lot of planning, but leave my heart feeling peace and contentment.
These are the things I want to pop up in my day.

"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience" — Eleanor Roosevelt

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I have finally reached the graduate year of my Occupational Therapy program and although that means no more tests (besides boards)… it does however mean a pile of research articles to read. It can get monotonous reading articles on the same topic. The words start to crowd, start to stack high where I can no longer tell the difference between an “a” or a “z”.  This usually leads me to use the “skill “of skim reading where I look for sentences and words that catch my attention. Probably not the most effective method for learning.

I arrived at Stell Coffee Shop this morning to find that the Internet was down. I was already settled in my corner and since I couldn’t get distracted surfing the Internet I decided to actually read the last article I had due today. I am glad that I did.

Sometimes I need re-assurance that I am doing the right thing and that I didn’t pick a career that is going to leave me feeling dissatisfied or without a purpose.
While reading the article something hit me, what I read made me really excited to be doing the work I am preparing for in this final year of schooling.

The quote I read is what I needed to remind me of what I am preparing to do. I am not just preparing to help patients with their physical disability but also considering all of them, not part of them, all of them. Taking all aspects of their life or the life they once lived and getting them back to their center, to where their heart beats strong, to who they really are.

“Just as our heart beats in a rhythm, so do we respond to the greater rhythms of day and night, sleeping and waking, and hunger and satiation, all centered on the fundamental activities of human life: work and play and rest and sleep. – Adolph Meyer, explaining Occupational Therapy's role. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

“I've been making a list of the things they don't teach you at school. They don't teach you how to love somebody. They don't teach you how to be famous. They don't teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love any longer. They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind. They don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying. They don't teach you anything worth knowing.” -Neil Gaiman

Monday, April 7, 2014

I have this fascination and love for children's books. I would love to write and illustrate my own children's book sometime. Which has become funny to me, because when I was younger a book was probably the closest thing to an enemy my 8-year old self could have had.
I don't know if it was the large box of books my sister and I received every Christmas from my aunt that lightened up my sisters face, letting down my hopes of something worth my time being in that heavy box.
I was repulsed by books.

It wasn't until I became a nanny, in college, that books started to intrigue me. I am a bit embarrassed to say that out loud. I mean, I would read an occasional book here and there but only if everyone was ranting and raving about it.
I remember while I was a nanny, Timmy, a 7 year old, and I would have about 30 mins to waste between dropping off Frankie at the YMCA and picking up Owen up from tutoring. We would go to the public Walla Walla Library, each of us would pick out two books and sit on two primary colored wedges that overlooked the busy street.
It soon became one of my favorite spots.
Timmy and I both agreed that Steven Kellogg was our favorite author and illustrator.
It was the fantasy, the hope, the morals, the imagination that drew me in, something I didn't catch, or was too busy playing to catch when I was younger.
I re-visted the lessons of sharing, manners, friendship and overall being a good person.
My own children's book collection has started to grow, but there is something interesting I have found,  there are lessons that aren't taught or shared within these books. Lessons I think would be valuable for kids to learn at a young age, lessons of loss, stress, multi-tasking, and other grownup obstacles.

I have always struggled with stress.
I hold it all in.
I hold it close and tight in my chest.
I hold it till I can't hold it anymore, and then it all just comes out in tears, a big mess of tears.
Where was the children's book that taught me how to deal with stress, or the different things I will face in life?
The book that explained that bad stuff happens, that at times life can be really hard, like a battle that doesn't seem to have an end...
but to hold those people who love us close and not push them away,
to take a deep breath of air and realize that everything will eventually be ok,
that stress is a part of life and ignoring it never helps long term.

There may not be a children's book that teaches us how to deal specifically with stress.
But there is still power in those tiny books, telling us to embrace challenges and keep moving on.
They have this ability to distract us, invite us, remind us of compassion, and to put a smiles on our faces.
Children's books bring my heart back to center, helping me focus on what's important.
So in a round about way I guess they do help with stress.

A song that has recently filled my home and car...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

thanks ash for sharing this with me. 

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