Saturday 31 March 2012

A is for Alzheimers

Today begins the month long A-Z blog challenge,  I will be writing about something that has been very close to my heart and in some cases still raw as it is an experience I face every day.

My topic for the challenge is Alzheimers and my experience being a carer for my mother Mavis who is 88 years and you will get to know more about her over the month.  She was diagnosed with having Alzheimers over 12 years ago and it is now in the severe stages.  When I first started my blog I shared in my post 'Journey of a Carer'

Alzheimers is the most commonly diagnosed form of dementia and the illness gets worse over time. Dementia describes a collection of symptoms including memory loss, loss of reasoning and communication skills and is an umbrella term to describe many other symptoms that occur when there is damage to particular parts of the brain.

There are so many emotions that you go through as a carer, and I believe the more we share our experiences the better placed those that want to be supportive and the healthcare professionals will be able to relate.  There needs to be an understanding of the impact that it can have on the life of the family as a whole and what it means to a generation of people increasingly suffering with the condition.  We also have to be aware of the individual suffering with the disease and how isolating it can become.  Statistics show that 1 in 3 of us either know someone who is directly effected by dementia or who is a carer.

As an artist I see the benefits that a creative activity can have on our health and wellbeing.  I currently use creativity in my role as a carer and share my experiences with those in healthcare settings.  I also run an Arts in Health network for anyone interested in finding out information about initiatives that are available, or want to connect with other artists in the healthcare setting. If you currently engaged in creative activities that impact on health it would be great to feature you in the network, so do let me know.

Over the course of the month you will gain an insight to my world as a carer, the one thing that has given clarity, peace and understanding is my faith and my creativity.  I do hope you join me for the rest of the month and over 1,400 other people as we take part in the A-Z Challenge it would be great to get your comments and feedback and I hope that you are inspired, encouraged on your virtual tour as you meet some great people.

Thursday 29 March 2012

A Friend Remembered

It doesn't feel like a year since my friend Barbara passed - 
Sunday 25th March 2011. 

 It's amazing how quickly the time passes.  I remember exactly what I was doing the day I heard, and sometimes not thinking about it makes it seem unreal and you hope will wake up from a dream....

Life is so fragile, we don't know when our time will be up, but we can make the most of today, be an inspiration, a blessing, make the seemingly impossible possible, and make the most of those dreams.  We also have to treasure the relationships we share with those we love!
All things are possible. As we step out in faith on a daily basis to make a difference we see how we can be better than we were the day before.  My prayers go out to the family and I know that Barbara would be proud of them, they have all continued to be an inspiration and a blessing.  

Here is Samara, Chanel and Jordan (Good News)
being a blessing with their voices...

Wednesday 28 March 2012

365 Days of Colour - Flower for the day 286 - 292

We can put down roots in many places, form attachements and links, make sure you they are built on a solid foundation and use discernment, wisdom and understanding.  For what once seemed like a really great idea today with all the support, can tomorrow look like the worst idea you ever had.  Knowing the why, what and the who of your decision needs careful consideration.....

....a tree is known by its fruit
Day 286

You can create abundance in your own life, the imagination is a preview of what is to come... 

Art can only be truly Art by presenting an adequate outward symbol of some fact in the interior life. ...Margaret Fuller 

Know therefore this day and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord He is God in heaven above and upon the earth beneath; there is none else  Deuteronomy 4:39

Day 287

What steps do you now need to take? 

We’re all stumbling toward the light with varying degrees of grace at any given moment. ...Bo Lozoff  

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires..Titus 2:11-12

Day 288

Lean not on your own understanding but on the word of God 

What you call freedom is still nothing but choosing how to steer straight into the heart of what chooses you. ... Kate Gleason 

We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:10

Day 289

Do not accept other people’s definition of happiness; carve out your own truth.

It seems strange that some artists fear a blank canvas, when it has been a major contributory factor to great paintings. ...David Louis 

I am the Lord; I will speak and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass...Ezekiel 12:25

Day 290

Expect the unexpected... 

Works of art are landscapes of the mind. ...Ted Godwin  

If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed..John 8:36

Day 291

All is well, all is at peace. 

I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. ...Frank Herbert 

Righteous are you, O Lord, and your laws are right.  Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.. Psalm 119:137, 140 

Day 292

Let go of that which is negative in your life  

I work in a meditative manner. My visual language is pulled from my unconscious and I express in my work what I cannot express with words. ...Pat Gentenaar-Torley 

So that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.  What shall man do to me?’  Hebrews 13:6

Tuesday 20 March 2012

A - Z April 2012 Challenge - Get on Board!

I decided to take part in the April AtoZ Challenge again this year, it feels like only yesterday that I completed the last post in April 2011 and I thoroughly enjoyed it, met some really great individuals through their blogs and felt that I had grown somewhat from the experience.  See my post reflections.

As a newbie you should definitely check out the Sommer's hints and tips for preparing and pace yourself, writing as much before hand as you can to give you the opportunity to visit as many blogs as possible.  As you can see there are over 1100 people taking part and you will connect with some very inspiring individual, it was an online feast!   All you have to do is add your name to the list!

Think out of the box as to what you will write about, maybe choose something that your interested in.  Over the next week I will be sharing my topic and try to get myself physically as well as mentally prepared for the challenge

You will definitely have an amazing amount of fun taking part and you might even surprise yourself in the process.  Check out the FAQs page.  You can go see some of the participants and check out their pages and their advice.  I definitely recommend that you step out of the boat and dip your feet in, you will definitely come out the other end with a different perspective on things!  Sign up below and start thinking about what you might blog about!

Stay Blessed and be a blessing!  Amanda

Some more useful information.....

2012 A to Z Challenge Sign Up List
The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenges to post the 
letter of the alphabet every day during the month of April, with Sundays off 
for good behavior. Since April 1 falls on a Sunday, that will be the day we 
start with A. Whether you go with a theme or freestyle, your post must match 
the letter of the alphabet for that day. Add your name to the list, grab the badge 
, and when the Challenge begins, start by visiting the blog immediately after 
your own. Set a goal – we recommend five blogs a day, more if you are able. 

For more information and to stay on top of developments, we recommend you 
follow the A to Z Challenge Blog and the hosts: Arlee Bird at Tossing it Out, 
Alex J. Cavanaugh, Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs, Jenny Pearson at
 Pearson Report, Matthew McNish at The QQQE, Tina Downey at Life is Good,
Jeremy Hawkins at Retro-Zombie, DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude, Shannon
Lawrence at The Warrior Muse, Elizabeth Mueller,Damyanti Biswas at Amlokiblogs, 
Karen Gowen at Coming Down the Mountain, and Konstanz Silverbow at
No Thought 2 Small. We also have a Facebook page,, email address, and the Twitter hashtag is #AtoZChallenge. 

This is a great opportunity to discipline yourself, grow as a blogger, and make 
new friends – come join us! 

Please enter code carefully so that it is accurate.  If you enter your link incorrectly please 
notify us so we can correct it.  You can find our emails in the CONTACT US tab on the 
A to Z Blog.  If you do not plan to participate in the Challenge during April or your purpose 
is to lure visitors to an advertising site, please do not enter a link as it will be removed

Monday 19 March 2012

365 Days of Colour - Flower of the Day 279 - 285

Say what you mean and do what you say.  They say that actions peak louder than words and it is vitally important that when we promise ourselves that we are going to do something creative that we stick to our word, no matter how small, no matter how little time we have.  Being able to find the necessary time to nurture our creativity is far more important than folding the laundry!...

Day 279
The hard times in our lives helps us to grow 

Art is not a pastime but a priesthood. ...Jean Cocteau 

For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even unto death

Day 280
We can start over and begin again, everyday 

All art, whether it pleases us or not, helps to add colour, excitement, joy, or sadness and, most often, a sense of awe to our life’s experience. ...Henry O. Dorman 

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 11 Corinthians 4:18

Day 281
Live life to the full every day, don’t take anything for granted. 

Grace has been defined as the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul....William Hazlitt 

....the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate, and will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him 11 Chronicles 30:9

Day 282
There are still questions to be answered 

I think the thing to do is to enjoy the ride while you're on it.  ...Johnny Depp 

As far is the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 102:12

Day 283
Tell your story 

Art knows. Art sees beyond. Art points us in new directions that make us think and question. ...Warren Criswell 

Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4 

Day 284
What are your preconceived ideas about yourself... 

Whether we name divine presence synchronicity, serendipity, or graced moment matters little. What matters is the reality that our hearts have been understood. Nothing is as real as a healthy dose of magic which restores our spirits. ...Nancy Long 

He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber...Psalm 121:3

Day 285
What direction are you heading to? 

There are no words, no paints to express all this, only a beautiful dumbness in the soul, life speaking to life. ...Emily Carr 

I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8:12

Thursday 15 March 2012

Be a Blessing

Sorry for the long absence, was missing in action, and felt snowed under with work, courses, and a whole host of other things that can sap you time.  I decided to give myself the time that I needed to reflect, and review.

I just did this mini video to remind myself that the many gifts and talents we are blessed with are to share with the world, despite how we are feeling in the moment there is always someone who is feeling worse and we are called to try and inspire and encourage each other. I hope you are having a blessed day what ever you are doing.  After much mist and a chilly start here in London the sun has come out, so I will be going to get my quota of vitamin D and get back on track.

Got lots to share over the coming weeks, will be resuming posting the rest of the 365 days of colour, been doing a few courses to share, new art work and more!  The video below was so easy to put together it would be great to see your efforts.... Water Cooler moment - Be a blessing by Realityarts

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