nurturing thursdays: …in adversity we find happiness

Recently I heard something which made a lot of sense…after I’d thought about it a little.

It was while listening to NPR radio, during a piece on a journalist who had spent the better part of his career in war torn countries. When he returned to the States and settled into a more mundane existence, he came to realize that he missed life in the war zone.

Like you, I was taken aback. “Is he nuts?” I thought. After hearing what he had to say, I totally got where he was coming from. And now, after living through my own personal war I am convinced the man is right.

My Easter posting was a very brief piece wishing everyone a blessed holiday. In it I asked that prayers be said for my daughter. At the time I revealed nothing except that she had surgery, not one, but two.

Hurriedly booking a flight to leave the next day, it would take more than 24 hours before my husband and I could reach our daughter’s hospital bedside. Until then we had no idea what to expect. The last bit of news we’d had…from her boyfriend…was that the ER doctor thought our daughter’s CAT SCAN showed internal bleeding.

And so began our war to win back our daughter’s prior good health.

Five weeks later, the battle is winding down. While I would like to declare victory, as the saying goes…”it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.” And this fat lady for sure ain’t singin’…not yet at least. Not until our daughter’s dancing a rollicking jig again…contemporary-style.

Our daughter underwent surgery to remove a fibroid from her uterine wall. Because it was a polyp, the gynecologist wanted to be certain it wasn’t cancerous. Fortunately it wasn’t. Unfortunately its removal proved tricky.

While trying to unstick the polyp, the forceps pierced the uterine wall. Realizing this, the doctor halted the procedure deciding not to attempt removal of a second, larger fibroid. Deciding that the uterine wall would self-heal, the doctor released our daughter allowing her to go home. A few hours later she returned to ER in excruciating pain.

Later that evening our daughter was admitted as a patient. The next morning the gynecologist consulted with a general surgeon specializing in bowel operations. It was decided that in penetrating the uterine wall, the forceps also pierced the bowel wall. Bile had leaked out causing the unbearable pain our daughter had experienced. Without being totally coherent about all that would occur, our daughter underwent the second surgery to repair her bowel wall.

Two centimeters of bowel was removed. Rather than perform the less invasive procedure, the surgeon opted to get in quick, probably to halt the spread of more toxins throughout our daughter’s body. Of course the abdominal incision meant a longer recovery time. Hence, her hospital stay of 6 days.

My husband and I were by our daughter’s side two days later. We kept a vigil for as long as we could each day. We took turns walking the hallways so as not to cramp up while sitting in the hard chairs.

Having us with her allowed our daughter to relax into her recuperation. She was the child again…reveling in the loving care of doting parents. Best medicine in the world. Just what the doctor ordered.

Lucky for us our daughter’s boyfriend, whom we had not met until then, proved an excellent fill-in. He was with her throughout the entire ordeal, right up until we arrived. Even after our arrival, he’d visit nightly after working a full day. It took him half-an-hour to get to the hospital and 45 minutes to drive home to his apartment. They’ve only dated 7 months and yet, it seems they’ve been waiting their whole lives for one another.

Wedding bells will peal in the not-too-distant future. We couldn’t be happier for our daughter and her awesome beau.

Happiness is truly where you find it, and often it’s under the least likely circumstances.  I wouldn’t question it…

…i’d just…go along with it.

………hugmamma.

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in the blink of an eye…

That’s all it takes to lose what you love most…the blink of an eye.

As we flew 3,000 miles to be by our daughter’s side as she recovered from a second surgery to repair her bowel wall pierced during a surgery to remove a couple of fibroids from her uterine wall, I prepared myself for the worse case scenario.

Death.

I thought how fortunate I was to have mothered such a lovely, loving, young woman. A gift from God for which I have always been grateful these last 29 years. I would mourn her loss, but I would try to focus upon the years I was so blest to have her in my life. I would not give in to anger. I would honor her memory that way because she rarely, if ever, showed anger towards anyone. She forgave much quicker than I ever could.

So much I have learned and continue to learn from my dear, sweet daughter. Fortunately, I will continue to learn from her.

Our daughter is recovering. The incision is finally shrinking; the wound not so red and gnarly. She just returned to driving again. The need to earn a living as a dance teacher, a strong incentive. There are still bills to be paid, after all. Including the hospital’s $50,000 charge for the 6 days stay. It’s almost certain the surgeons’ bills will amount to as much, if not more.

If not for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, our daughter might have been another liability for the taxpayers. Instead, she’s been able to afford the $89 monthly premium, instead of the $200+ our daughter would have had to pay without the government’s tax credit.

Money matters. It helps pay the bills. It affords us respite from life’s daily challenges. And yet…

Without those we cherish the most, life would hold little meaning. Not that we should end our existence. Only that we should love deeply, remembering that nothing lasts forever. That, however, doesn’t mean our lives can’t end happily.

Quite the contrary. Abandoning ourselves to love will guarantee us…

…a very, very…happily ever after.

………hugmamma.

nurturing thursdays: journeying towards her best life…#15

I can only imagine what went through Pat’s mind yesterday as she learned how her life will unfold going forward.

We all try to take each day as it comes.

For most of us it’s a simple undertaking. It’s the same old, same old. There may be a few variations on the theme, and some can be major…like changing jobs…retiring…moving to a new home…having a baby.

Life-threatening illnesses, however, takes it to a whole other level. One for which no amount of preparing, mentally and physically, can ever be enough.

Pat’s journey with multiple myeloma and amyloidosis is daunting, to say the least. 

It’s like walking through a tunnel, not knowing what the darkness holds in store along the way.

Holding onto hope and positive thoughts are like the light at the end of the tunnel. And that’s what human survival is all about. Hanging on with all of our might.

That’s what God intended when He gave us life. He meant for us to squeeze every ounce of goodness from His gift. 

Happiness is that warm, fuzzy feeling when something good lights us up…from the inside out. And that feeling occurs in small and large doses throughout our lives. 

Never give up on happiness. It’s there for the taking. We just have to accept it.

And why wouldn’t we? It doesn’t make sense to turn away from it.

Don’t worry! Be happy! As the song tells us.

Easier said than done. Perhaps. And yet what’s the alternative?

Letting life slip away without any say in the matter?

That’s not Pat’s style.

…and it’s never been mine.

………hugmamma.

(Enjoy other inspirational thoughts at
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/nurturing-thurs-boiling-water/

 

 

nurturing thursdays: choices…changes…part 1

IMG_1711I continue to learn from my 28-year-old daughter, the dancer.

As I write…she’s off living life…her best life.

This last year away from the sheltered environs of a ballet company, my daughter discovered, much to her delight and mine, that the dance world is bigger and more exciting than she ever imagined.

Auditioning for a few companies known for their contemporary repertoire, she met dancers from around the world as well as the United States. While competing for single digit job openings, there was not the subtle and not-so-subtle rivalry that can often accompany “cattle call” auditions for ballet companies. Yes, there were 95 auditioning for one or two jobs with a German company, but my daughter spoke highly of the amazing three dancers who were asked to remain, while she and the others were thanked and let go. Having made it to the last group of 12 was enough of an ego boost for her.

Earlier in the spring, my daughter again broadened her dance experience when she returned to Houston to work with the Grand Opera’s CARMEN. The director and a seasoned cast of NYC dancers were brought in for the production. For the first time my daughter was in the company of dancers whose careers ran the gamut from Broadway shows, to TV dance competitions and commercials,  to feature films, to videos, to award shows. She felt giddy knowing she was among an elite group of professionals, but she loved them even more for how down-to-earth they were off stage.  And they loved her as much it seems, for they encouraged my daughter to move to New York to join their ranks. 

Already committed to train with a former mentor and coach, my daughter returned to Nashville several weeks ago. Working with the woman’s small, fledgling contemporary dance company my daughter will decide whether or not she will remain after the summer. Meanwhile she is having the time of her life.

My daughter thrives when challenged. She yearns to learn continually; she never wants to settle…to plateau. During these last few weeks, she’s taken…pointe-counterpointe and aerial classes.

Isn’t it interesting how opportunity knocks when you least expect it? A couple of folks who have seen my daughter in these classes have asked her to work with their companies as well, should she return to Nashville on a more permanent basis. One offer in particular caught her attention…to learn a Balinese-type dance. Currently, only one woman knows the solo and the director of the modern dance company feels certain my daughter would learn the piece in no time, and to perfection. 

Talk about coming into her own. 

Ballet companies tend to be hierarchical. Only a select few are designated the leads or the soloists. Dancers can wait years for their break-through moment. For some the opportunity never comes. 

Happy to work where talent and hard work are the only criteria for being noticed, my daughter is loving the directors and dancers she has had the pleasure of being with as she grows ever more comfortable in her new skin as a contemporary dancer. 

It’s true what someone recently told me…

…i’m only as happy as my least happiest child…

………hugmamma.

(Stay tune for “nurturing thursdays: choices…changes…part 2)

 

friday fictioneers: …finding home…

AdamIckes-boardwalk

I’m taking a different path, and not settling.

It’s risky. I’ve bills to pay, a place to rent.

A friend once said “If you love where you are, you’ll find a job that you like. If you take a job and don’t like where it is, you’ll always struggle to make it work.”

Dancing is my passion. Happiness is my home.

Both are possible.

It’s mine if I remain true to what I want. 

There. Ahead. My oasis.

Home. 

I dance. I thrive.

...one of my favorite shots of my precious daughter...by martin o'connor photography

…one of my favorite shots of my precious daughter…by martin o’connor photography

nurturing thursdays: give up the martyr

Some folks continue to believe that suffering is a necessary aspect of living.Imported Photos 00428

It builds character.

Or so they say. They being Catholic school nuns. I’m sure of it.

Religion has a way of rationalizing everything. Nothing wrong with that. We all need spiritual stroking now and then.

However when spirituality hinders us from improving our plight, then it’s time to relinquish the ties that bind.

I believe in the God of my faith, who like a mother wants us to figure out the best use of the gifts we’ve been bestowed.

It may take some longer than others to find their way, but find it they must. 

I no longer buy into suffering for the sake of suffering, especially as a means of living happily-ever-after.

Why wait for heaven in the hereafter, when we can gain entry into something closely approximating paradise on earth.

With God at my side, I’m encouraged to make choices for a pleasanter, more positive life. And when I cross through valleys, She’s there to give me a hand across the precipice.

I wholeheartedly turn toward happiness, and turn away from suffering.  The two are not interchangeable in my book.

My God is one of hope and encouragement…

…for happiness on earth…and in the hereafter.

………hugmamma.IMG_0437

daily prompt: perspective (and…happiness)

I can’t think of anything that drives me absolutely crazy at the moment.

Age and experience seem to temper craziness.

You think?

I hope. 


Of course there are a whole host of things that drive me up the wall now and then…like


dishes in the sink that could just as easily find their way into the dishwasher…pronto!

being told “I can’t find it”…when it’s right in front of (ahem) his nose

not removing (ahem) his dark-colored work socks before walking around in a house layered in pet hair…and then jumping into bed with said socks still intact

when papers, papers, and more papers lay on the home office floor…for days and sometimes weeks

putting the kettle on to boil water for tea…and then leaving to walk the dog


But then when I think of the things that make me love (ahem) him…like


when he says…”because you’re my precious”

when he calls to ask if he can stop to get anything on his way home from work…every day, rain or shine

when he tells me to stay in bed, rather than get up to fix him breakfast…at 5:30 a.m.

when he lets me sleep in on the weekend…as long as I like

when the dog begs him to walk her…and he does


Perspective?


Forty three years married to the same guy…through sunny skies and turbulent storms…through job moves and house sales/purchases…through ballerina aspirations and dreams come true…through youthful, glowing selves and deteriorating has-beens.

When I survey all that our lives have been together from a perspective of happiness, what “drives me up the wall”…

…doesn’t amount to a hill of beans…

………hugmamma. IMG_4247

Other Daily Prompts on Perspective at http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/daily-prompt-perspective-3/

now’s the time…

...proud mother of 12...

…proud mother of 12…

In celebration of life…my mother-in-law died September of last year…Poet Walt Whitman says it best…

Happiness…

not in another place, but this place,

not for another hour, but this hour.

IMG_0672

…her laughter…was infectious…

…make the hours count…before the hour glass runs out of sand…

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…our beloved dad…and grandpa john…who went before…

...grandsome james is now in his 30s...and a father himself...

…grandson james is now in his 30s…and a father himself…

it takes a village…the punch line (read part 1 first)

This part of the yarn is not as long as the set up…true for most punch line endings.

Loving You

Image via Wikipedia

According to my husband, present throughout, I was happy…and loving…in the recovery room.

“You were very happy.”

“You kept telling everyone ‘I love you. I love you.’…the nurse who was there the entire time…the Asian nurse who came in for a few minutes to see how things went…and Dr. Patterson.”

“They all smiled and chuckled. As they did when you went on to say ‘This was good. I like this.’ “

“You asked Dr. Patterson if you could hug him. He said “yes” and leaned over for a hug, still in his scrubs and custom-designed cap. In fact when he left, about 10 minutes later, you asked if you could give him a second hug. Again Dr. Patterson let you hug him…smiling the whole time.”

“Then you announced that you would make him teriyaki meatballs. To which he laughingly replied ‘Okay! Anytime!’ “

Throughout my “loving everyone up,” my husband said I was lucid. When the doctor showed me the photos taken during my colonoscopy I was pleased there were no problems. That’s probably why I was so ecstatic.

Besides the colonoscopy, I’d had an endoscopy. Suffering heartburn for some time and having difficulty swallowing certain foods, like rice, Dr. Purdon, my general practitioner, suggested the procedure. Being a gastroenterologist, Dr. Patterson could do both at the same time. How convenient not to have to make 2 trips to the hospital and down nasty liquids twice…yuck! I’m sure Premera Blue Cross is also glad not to see my costs doubled.

Dr. Patterson had thought that there might be a thin membrane obstructing the passage of foods in my esophagus. If there was, the endoscopic tube would easily break the membrane. However the procedure showed no such obstruction. So the only conclusion drawn was that the sticky texture of rice might be an issue. No worries since I normally eat brown rice as a part of my high-fiber diet.

It seems I was focused enough, not totally la-la, to ask if Nexium might be something I should take for my heartburn. In response Dr. Patterson likened the drug to taking out the “big guns” to solve a little problem. Instead he recommended I use Pepcid AC or Zantac, as needed.

Not too long after my “pow wow” with the doctor, he and the nurses left me to get dressed to leave. When the time came to actually walk out I needed the aid of a nurse pushing me in a wheelchair. Even then I continued to say how I loved them all…and that I would be returning with the promised teriyaki meatballs.

I wonder if Dr. Patterson and the nurses have stopped talking about the babbling, Hawaiian islander who couldn’t stop showering them with love, hugs and food? A lot of yada…yada…yada…

…but I meant everything…i did…and said…right down to the meatballs…

………hugmamma.  😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

words…for the ages…

don't worry be happyBorrowed the following from fellow WordPress blogger…Mizz. She borrowed it from Glamour Magazine.

I added a little something of my own…a couple of youtube videos to illustrate the lesson in these words. One is cute and suitable for children; the other, I’d rate PG-13…for its bawdy showmanship. Have to give the “singers” credit…for their creativity…and fearlessness. No one I know would have that kind of hutzpah!

HAPPINESS FORMULA

Don’t Gossip.

Do Offer genuine compliments every day.

Don’t Slate yourself.

Do Be your own friend.

Don’t Focus on negatives.

Do Focus on the positives–the more uplift/inspiration, the better!

Don’t Fight back.

Do Remain calm–defending an attack–invests in the attack.

BE HAPPY!!!

…sounds good to me!…and now…prepare to laugh…

…can’t fail to…be happy…after that………hugmamma.   🙂

365 photo challenge: dull

while the skies outside are gray and dull…………………i’ve reason to celebrate

 …..my bff is coming for a visit…..during which there’ll be sunlight and moonlight every day…..because of her………………………………..hugmamma.  🙂

william and his kate…my wish for

Royal Wedding Will and Kates Story

Image by Pesky Library via Flickr

We are being inundated with coverage of the upcoming royal wedding between the future king of England and his queen, William and Kate. Ever since they announced their engagement to the world, they seem always to be smiling. They seem to wear their happiness well. Perhaps they have already learned what so many married couples take decades to figure out. If they have, then they may not need the advice of relationship expert, Leo Buscaglia. But it never hurts to heap on the well wishes for longevity in what already appears to be a solid friendship, and a grand love affair. Buscaglia writes in his book, Loving Each Other…

We cannot look for joy as we do a lost article of clothing. We make our own happiness. we define it for ourselves and experience it in our unique way. No one can be happy for us nor tell us what should make us happy, though people will always try. The sad fact is that we fall into Madison Avenue traps which convince us that happiness is the right drink, the flashy automobile, the scented deodorant, bursting-with-health cereal or the special snack food. Even the wisest among us are seduced by the exuberant TV ad or the seductive graphic into believing that we, too, can change our lives if we switch to a new mouthwash. We never stop to think that there is nothing in the world which can be given or denied us that will bring us happiness unless we decide it. In fact, the happiest people in the world would probably still be happy if stripped of everything except life.

Kate and Wills

Image by JeanM1 via Flickr

…Perhaps much happiness is lost in the pursuit of it. Hawthorne in his American Notebooks said that happiness always comes incidentally. “Make it the object of pursuit,” he added, “and it leads us on a wild goose chase and is never attained.” He suggests that we should lose our way and follow something totally unrelated. In that way we often happen on happiness without ever dreaming it would be there.

We are far too rational in our relationships, far too ordered, organized and predictable. We need to find a place, just this side of madness and irrationality, where we can, from time to time, leave the mundane and move into spontaneity and serendipity, a level that includes a greater sense of freedom and risk–an active environment full of surprises, which encourages a sense of wonder. Here, ideas and feelings which would otherwise be difficult to state can be expressed freely. A bond of love is easy to find in an environment of joy. When we laugh together we bypass reason and logic, as the clown does. We speak a universal language. We feel closer to one another.

Royal Wedding Flags Go Up On Regents Street, L...

Image by DG Jones via Flickr

…Joy and happiness are simply states of mind. As such they can help us to find creative solutions. When we feel joyful, euphoric, happy, we are more open to life, more capable of seeing things clearly and handling daily tensions.

…”Joy comes into our lives,” Joseph Addison says, “when we have something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”

Live fully and with abandon. Love totally and without fear. Hope splendidly and never relinquish the dream. These will help us but joy will only be ours when we choose it. As Abraham Lincoln reminded us, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

William and Kate Royal Wedding plates

Image by Ben Sutherland via Flickr

and may I add…

long life and…everlasting happiness…to sylvia’s king and queen…william and…his kate…hugmamma.