Nothing feels as good as a project seen through to completion. But how many of us can report on more than a handful of projects “in the works?” Part of being a person with so many interests is having to endure the “work in progress” state of the many facets of one’s self. I normally consider myself to be an organized person. Yet, so many pieces of me just get started on a project or thought only to be assigned a back seat to something still yet more interesting or important. Who orders such an incomplete existence? Yet it is very much the reality of everything around us–
Lives of children~always learning, reaching, growing
Road construction~patching, filling, rebuilding, reconstructing
Seasons of the year~gloriously in full bloom, fading, transitioning, dying
Careers~Curiosity, Education, Training, performing
Health~vibrant, weakened, nurturing, strong
Finding happiness/satisfaction in the journey of life in all its states of existence is where I have learned to accept and find peace. I’ll never live long enough to accomplish all that I desire, but I will endeavor to live fully in each moment pursuing what my heart finds intriguing. Somehow, along the way…my hope is that a little of my joy, excitement, and fascination for creativity will spark the engine of possibility in you.
I don’t make resolutions anymore, because proclamations tend to be as fleeting as fireflies of summer. Rather, I now invest in the planting of seeds, starts to new beginnings that will come into harvest in their own season. I find treasure and happiness in knowing that across my landscape, there will be many surprising blossoms revealed as I pour my attention towards the heart’s desires.
I hope this posts finds you in pursuit of the joys and interests your heart is trying to show you. Time is short and waits only for the next moment….with or without us. Be joyful in your living.
I received feedback from those on my Facebook page that the picture I’m including here should have come with a warning. So, if you’re eating something, you might want to wait to read this.
Back on January 10th, I slipped and fell on black ice in a parking lot at work. A couple hours later I was in the hospital getting x-rays due to the enormity of pain & swelling. Because initially, there was no indication of a break in the bones…I was released with pain meds, told to elevate & ice and I should recover in time.
A follow-up appointment in February yielded another x-ray due to continued pain & swelling. Finally, around April, due to no explanation for continued swelling I received a referral to a podiatrist! After examination, I was given an appointment to have an MRI. After a whole month, at last, I received authorization through the VA health care system for a surgical consult from downtown doctors.
This appointment with a foot/ankle specialist at Ortho West revealed that not only had my ligaments been ripped off my ankle back in January, but on that day I received a fracture to my Tibia, as well as a 3cm vertical tear in my right peroneal brevis tendon. Because the fracture was never diagnosed or treated (getting off of my foot long enough for the fracture to heal), scheduling myself for the tendon repair would give me the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone! So, finally, on 8 July I was scheduled for the procedure~a couple of hours and 16 staples later, I was on my way to begin recovery. If you want to take a look at exactly what happened in my case…I’m pasting a url to a YouTube video of the procedure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU7e669fZLA. If you have a weak stomach at all I don’t recommend you watch it.
Picture of the finished work on 8 Jul
What it looked like at home until 11 July!
Freed from the bandage 12 Jul
Today, 15 July is the first full week post op! I’m thankful to be home in my own environment, but this procedure took a lot more out of me than I ever could have predicted. I’m thankful for a great family who has catered to every need…and to everyone out there on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ & LinkedIn who’ve sent messages and posts of encouragement and support!
OrthoWest, the Orthopedic specialists, and the Nebraska Orthopedic Hospital staff were fabulous. I haven’t ever encountered a hospital workflow system that put people first like these two health care establishments do. Their business processes, Information Technology and automation solutions were designed with the patient’s needs in mind. If you need orthopedic consultation, I highly recommend this team of professionals!
I have spent my recovery time using distraction techniques like reading, being deeply engaged in social media, listening to my wife read to the family during lunch times, watching a few videos with the kids, listening to Pandora and sleeping! I am so thankful for my family and the network of friends across the globe who’ve taken the time to inquire about my status and post notes of encouragement. Many of these friends I’ve known for a couple of years now but have never met in person (thinking of a lot of #UsGuys pals). This is just one example of how social media can be extremely helpful to the emotional well being of individuals.
Apologies if this post was a little disturbing (pictures/video) but when you have many people asking what happened…how’s it going…a blog is the best way to speak once~inform many! I thank you for reading! Hope you all are well and in great health!
This is a short post about some of the activities I do to help me relax and feel connected to the parts of me that aren’t complicated by logistics, obligations, and “have to’s.” These are things that while producing output for others (and myself) give back to me in some way….on a meditative and soul-replenishing level.
I generally have two cycles….a spring and a winter cycle. The winter cycle comes around when the temperatures dip down and there’s a chill in the air. Decorations throughout the neighborhood indicate that candy and scary movies will pepper conversation. As the temps forewarn of snows to come, the itch and urge to pull out all of the craft supplies blooms in me until I start noticing patterns and colors in great detail. Before I know it, I’m looking at my faithful illustrated library of blankets and quilts, potholders and wreaths, canvases and rugs.
The spring cycle begins very nearly at the end of the winter cycle when the seed catalogs come pouring into the mailbox. The sun begins a deliberate thinning of the snow blankets, melting icicles tap out a tempo to accompany the early Robins, and the scent of moist soil hits your nostrils. This time of spring sets my imagination going on where to plant this year’s crops, what new vegetables and fruits I will attempt planting and how I want the yard color palette to look from different approaches to our home.
This year, just like the weather, my rhythm is all mixed up. But its okay, because its helping me get through this ankle surgery.
On the left I have a small row of mixed lettuce growing in front of a row of green beans, and behind it are cucumbers. I can go out and look at them every day and never get tired of what I see. The lettuce has been growing and picked from since April without bolting and turning bitter. Tomorrow we will pick from this short row for the 6th time! The picture on the right is one of eight ever bearing strawberry plants that have just now started sending out runners. These runners grow inches every day, and if you don’t get out and help their growth direction you can end up with strawberry plants where you don’t want them. This is just a small sampler of this years produce. I have jalapeno, banana, and Anaheim peppers; eggplant; peas; onions; tomatoes; basil; beets; radishes; and much more to plant before the growing season is over.
While the yard is overflowing with edible landscaping, inside I have finally completed a project that took me years to complete. I finished piecing together a small quilt top (suitable for an infant’s car seat) years ago and finally decided to try my hand at tying a quilt. Its the easiest/fastest way at putting together a quilt. You tape the backing to the floor, place your quilt batting on top of that and finally, place your quilt top on top of that. Once you’ve safety pinned the sandwich together, you can begin tying through all three layers. I finished this project because I wanted to prove to myself I was capable of piecing together and finishing a quilt project.
The two skills I lacked were the tying of the quilt and the binding process. Thanks to a couple of books from the library, and YouTube, I was able to gain adequate instruction and practice on scraps to achieve a finished project. It’s not perfect, but I wasn’t seeking perfection–just completion. The binding job I am most proud of because I made the binding, attached the binding on the front side by machine, and hand stitched the back all the way around with mitered corners. This quilt is my first and has given me the confidence to begin my next project which is a King Sized quilt for our bed.
Below are a couple of pictures to show you the beginnings. The larger quilt block will have sashing bordering it in a color that will have continuity throughout the quilt. I hope to start on twin sized quilts for my twin daughters to last them through their college years. These activities are things that I enjoy because not only does it keep my hands busy, but results in a worthwhile keepsake that leaves a mark behind and keeps older traditions and skills alive. I hate to think that someday any of these activities will become novelties only due to mass production and automation. There are still quite a few people who enjoy quilting and gardening, and I hope it continues on into our future.
So, in addition to the above, I enjoy learning more about what interests our children, anticipating things to come as they plan their future, wondering what my wife will choose to do when homeschooling the kids is no longer a daily part of her life’s routine, reading and creative writing, cooking, wood working, social media and a myriad of other things. There’s never enough time in a day for me to attend to all of the projects and activities that I’d like to get around to.
A quick recap on life before I delve into the subject of my post. Since my last post much has changed–as is inevitable in life. Circumstances beyond our control mix and mingle with those that we can exercise control over. As one of those American‘s beginning furlough yesterday, I chose to spend it on the operating table & recovery. Yes, finally, I was able to have the operation to repair my tendon which suffered a vertical tear on my right ankle back in January when I slipped on black ice. One of my challenges is to determine what to do with my furlough days (one day off per week for the next 11 weeks!) besides recovering.
I found his article well thought out and extremely thorough in navigating through the thought world of priorities one faces as a parent. The challenges he addresses are especially important for the entrepreneurial sort of parent(s). If you are married and one of you has or is planning to operate your own business–be “the boss” then there’s a lot at steak and many choices to weigh. Here’s an excerpt from his post: “For me, at least, the hardest part of being a working parent is not the long road trips or long hours or frustrated clients. It’s the internal struggle I fight between two equal and opposing forces – the time I invest creating shareholder value and the time I invest building family values.”
Considering now the thoughts you might have about the circumstance/situation, what are “WE” doing about the circumstances, the questions, and what choices are we making to bring these thoughts into social debate; and useful assistance to those faced with the challenges? Michael ends his post with the following: “Ultimately, the best present you can give your kids is your presence. Your full and undivided presence. And, just like earning $100 million, that’s not always easy. What decisions would you make differently if you truly valued your children more than $100 million?”
As believers in a faith, we “attend” church to congregate with others who practice their faith in similar ways to us. As writers; we join reading a writing groups; as collectors, we join stamp clubs, auto clubs, quilting guilds, and others who share similar interests…..but where oh where is the group for Parents in our day-to-day rhythms? Online seems to be the only place where this topic gets the attention it deserves, but its too often a one-to-one relationship (the individual reading the article or post–and the author) Child Care facilities are hardly the place to meet the need, however, a modification to the model would be ideal if psychologists and other family care professionals were to facilitate.
For those that do work for others, parenting issues are water cooler and lunch room discussions if at all. Besides your co-parent, who do you talk to, ask questions of, and share these experiences/challenges? It can only be that much more of a challenge to those who are single parents.
This topic is what I believe a LOT of men could really use. Parenting isn’t traditionally attributed positively in association with men…. unfortunately our society places topics/activities into gender categories. A movie with a great plot, relationship intense dialogue, and focused on an individual struggling with a major life issue is put into the category of chic flick. Ask a group of married men their druthers whether to spend a Friday or Saturday evening watching a chic flick or watching/attending a sporting event or online gaming…most will NOT choose the chic flick–especially if asked in front of a group of guys.
For years I have hoped for/wanted a men’s group that meets to help each other be better men, fathers, and husbands. I have felt in order to even get attendance, it would have to be a covert operation whereby I started a monthly night our for guys with our home schooling or back in the day when our daughters were younger, at the Twins Club. I’m going to give it a try with our current home schooling group when I’m back on my feet–but, I just wonder if anyone else out there sees the same thing that I do? There is power in numbers! Parents (both men & women) should be able to join a group “FOR PARENTS” without having to pay a “family counselor”…to discuss and share things that work, things that didn’t work so well, and just be able to provide general support for each other. Most groups that exist are for individual aspects of parenting (La Leche League–for breastfeeding; special needs, troubled youth, etc.) Support groups need to exist for those without a chronic medical or mental issue, where parents can encourage each other to make better choices!
My wife has done an excellent job as a home schooling mother at creating some family traditions. Reading aloud to the children during meals has helped to distract the kids from normal “Mom, he’s looking at me!” spats that normally arise from close proximity. It has worked well and she’s continued the habit–the twins are now almost 18 and our son will turn 14. It has helped them develop a voracious appetite for reading on their own. Each Thursday, the kids go to the library and check out new books–they get through and read almost everyone they check out! They all enjoy the reading time! So, being able to share something as simple as that little coping mechanism a mom has during lunch times adds to the quality time spent together and teaches many important lessons.
These are the types of exchanges and ideas that can be helpful to new or struggling parents. Fitting time into life’s schedules to create new/better habits and develop deeper relationships with our children beyond the logistical or parallel entertainment (TV watching) is what parents crave/need. You don’t know it until you experience a pocket of it here and there…but when you have those moments, its like a “I could’ve had a V-8!” moment. But we must consciously chose to reprioritize HOW we spend our time and then develop consistent habits.
Children need and find structure comforting, even if they don’t seem to be appreciative, boundaries are what gives children a sense of stability and trust for their environment and caretakers. If we don’t provide it for them, they will seek it out, even if it comes with great risk. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts about choices you’re making to improve your quality time with children/grand children; or even with establishing a group for the purpose of becoming a better parent.
The practices we put in place (or don’t), the traditions we build (or don’t), the value we create (or don’t), the choices we make (or don’t) all end up being the legacy we leave behind. Whatever you do (or don’t) are behaviors your children witness and observe (learn) internally as a way to do life–most proudly pass on to their children these behaviors and choices (both good and bad). What example are you setting? Whether you like it or not, parenting is teaching, and what is taught, is learned and carried on to the next generation!
Cheers All! Again thanks to Michael Lazerow’s post about parenting to help trigger this post!