Friday 17 September 2010

Blogging to bless and inspire

Today is the last day of the SITS Back2Blogging Event!!

Today, our assignment is to answer the question: “Why Do You Blog?” I thought long and hard about it as its taken quite a while to find the style and voice that I wanted to express.  I didn't know if I had enough to say, whether others would be interested or even 'get me'.  I have seen so many blogs that I have found a blessing and very much aspire to make my blog a place where others want to come back again and again, like visiting an old friend. 
I blog to share my views, my inspirations, my life with the ups and downs thrown in and my love of God.  I have felt honoured to read what others have shared and shown a part of themselves in their words. I have found it difficult sometimes to get into the routine of blogging fitting it around life and family -  but I'm getting there! I hope that all who have stopped by and left their generous comments have taken away a new perspective or an interesting insight, and I'm thankful to all the new friends that I have made.

Thursday 16 September 2010

Inspiring Women

There are many women who have for many different reasons inspired me. The one that has had the most impact on who I am today is my mother – Mavis

Throughout our childhood she supported and cared for her husband and 3 children whilst working part-time to make ends meet, cooking and providing a secure home environment. She sacrificed her own happiness and made sure that her children never did without. Growing up I never really appreciated or saw all that she did and it is only now as a mother to a teenager myself that I understand how many sacrifices she made for us, how she was being fair when we thought she was being unfair, when she was thinking of our wellbeing and not trying to spoil our fun, and showed me how she loved me enough not to judge me or label me or put me down.

As an adult I now have a different relationship with her and do sometimes have to remind her that I am a ‘big woman’ with my own responsibilities, and ways of doing things, but to her, I will always be her child.

I am now her main carer, she developed dementia and has been living with it for about 8 years and it is now in the severe stage as she needs 24 hour care. The remarkable thing about the illness is that she developed a whole different personality.

From being quiet she became out going and lively, she has a wonderful sense of humour and an infectious laugh and loves to dance! She knows what she wants and will tell you she is quite capable of looking after herself; after all she brought up 3 children! She enjoys going out and thankfully is still mobile. Where ever she goes she leaves an impression on people and they say they wish they had a mum who at 86 years old was still so outgoing and lively.

We can often take for granted those loved ones that are around us and it’s only when circumstances change that we realised what we had or have. Though caring for her I have grown as a person, I have understanding of the condition, and making the most of each and every day. As an artist I can also see how art, creativity and constant interaction can improve the quality of life. I have been able to work with others who have the condition and seen the benefits of remaining active in their lives.

I try not to let anything worry me, making the most of every opportunity and situation, and see the beauty in the smallest of detail, I also hope I can be an inspiration and a blessing to others.

I put together a short video giving you a bit more information on Mavis. Do let me know what you think.   also check out her riverdance attempt and forgive my laughing in the background and the messy front room!

As an added bonus, this week’s challenge is sponsored by Standards of ExcellenceWestar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances. One lucky winner gets to take home a new Electrolux washer and dryer set.

Dementia - Journey of a Carer

This post is part of the SITS Girls Back to Blogging Challenge – Day 3. It originally appeared on this blog in 2009.

I thought I knew all there was to know about dementia and what to do, but each day seems to bring new lessons and learning and insights that I hope to capture in the blog, but also as a means of unraveling my own misconceptions, guilt, joy, ahha moments, and look at a condition that so many people seem to be facing and effected by.

As a carer, my journey started in small ways that I wasn't even aware, but were excused by 'oh its just been misplaced' or 'shes just trying to make you feel bad', but very soon became cause for concern and action needing to be taken. Some areas have been sorted and taken care of quite easily but the social services and care system can be a mine field. Apart from the charities that provide advice there didn't seem to be one voice of information and help that didn't need unravelling, along side support for the carers.

We were assigned a social worker who had a mother who was going through the same thing, but rather than relating it felt as if to get a response or help my mother had to be totally isolated and a urgent danger to herself. There were too many departments to deal with, too many cut-backs and no one seem to take any notice of the carer and the experience and talk to us rather than talk at us.

Life for a carer is never the same, all the things you took for granted become a luxury, there are expectations as to what you can or should do. When your worn out from sleepness nights trying to convince the person that you are caring for that there aren't insects crawling on the floor or finding ways not to agree that there are insects but you will do something about what they think they can see, and then bit your tongue when they shout at you because you didn't do it properly - it can be hard going. Its vital and can be a welcome release to talk to someone else who is a carer.
Millions of carers and health professionals voice the same concern for more research on the condition and support for carers who are saving the Health Service both money and resources. I believe art and creativity can have an impact on their quality of life and currently looking into work being done internationally with creativity and how we can measure impact on mental health and well-being, and I am also working as an artist providing art sessions for the elderly with dementia. I regularly post on my YouTube Channel videos of working in your art journal to use it as a way to express feelings that you may have in a caring role.

I have learnt so much from those who participate in my art sessions who apart from the dementia and the way it manifests itself in their life are really lovely men and women with so much wisdom and experience. If you want to share your story, contribute or find out more information join my Arts in Health Network.

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Sun, Sea, Sand and Change

I'm back after a much needed rest from the Caribbean.  Barbados to be exact. I had a great time with family and friends, and spending time touring the island and swimming most days. Coming back to UK I felt very motivated and felt my direction was clear.

As I tried to dive into my creative persuits I found
that I hit what seemed like a creative brick wall, I felt very reluctant to even consider being creative. It has been quite a tough time, a long road to travel, and I couldn't see any reason for it, it became a real valley experience trying to convince myself that this would pass. 

6 weeks later I have come through and understand that these times are necessary, and its been a time for clearing out, weeding and cutting out the old dead wood.  We all from time to time need to allow ourselves to reflect on our journey and see what changes need to be made, and we need to recognise that this season will pass - 'there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven' Ecclesiastes 3:1.  I spent my time clearing out my clutter, eating healthier and reading (still a bit more to do) but making room will allow space for the new things in my life to start to take shape.  I would love to know how others have dealt with their creative blocks, so please do leave a comment.
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