Reflecting on the recent holiday season and transition to the new year in 2015, I am struck by the fact that the next blog needn’t automatically be about the relationship to early toddler years as anticipated. Stories and tales of my younger years will be shared along the way. What is even more inspirational to me today is writing a story about the present moment, pertinent reflections on the journey as they relate to today, and how this relates to living on this day, January 6, 2015.
Journey through a puzzle called life
A puzzle called life:
Life might be difficult at times
But it always offers you solutions
You have all the pieces
Build your life knowing that you are already a winner!
Represented by the images above, the puzzle of life is non-standard for any individual or family. Some match up with color, shape, size and others just have a hard time finding the right fit and spend a little more time alone at the table until the right fit is found. It is my goal is to share travel experiences in these next chapters through early childhood, primary and secondary education and transition to adulthood and college. Age however is not a perfect timeline and thus you may find me going back and forth between past, present, and future aspirations along the way. This is the best way for me to truly capture the moments effectively. There are many ups and downs, challenges, discomforts, and even some struggles along the way. Make no mistake, this journey of life we all travel (regardless of CHD in the family, other chronic illness, or other health/social constraints on your plate) will have exciting adventures, unexpected plans, and certainly tears shared along the way. My intent is to share this with you and demonstrate how our family “rolled with the punches,” if you will, keeping laughter, humor, a bit of sarcasm too front and center. Resourcefulness is a key character trait evident since on many occasions, the family was asked to rally all resources to cope in a positive way to whatever rolled in our path.
So how did this journey show its face for me and our family? We were born and raised in the heart of the valley with a strong catholic religious presence passed down from both my parents who attended parochial grammar schools. In addition, our family embraced the traditions of holidays including Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and the like along the way. My mother in particular has a truly strong heart, smiling face, and positive spirit. I honestly think some days that she still truly believes and has transferred that passion along to me. I am grateful for that gift, treasure watching and reading The Polar Express each year, and hope the bell from Santa’s sleigh always rings for me each year even as I near old age and beyond. Dreams, hope, faith, trust, and passion are key pieces to sustain the human spirit.
In concert with this spirit, there must be healthy lifestyle choices. Hot chocolate, staying up late, and even overeating on sweet cookies and Kinder treats are a seasonal thing. Done in extreme over time, these behaviors can truly impact health. Hyperglycemia, high blood pressure, overweight, lack of mobility, mental and physical fatigue, sleep deprivation, etc. Shall I go on? I am certainly not perfect, nor is anyone, and continue to fight with these behaviors even at 44 years of age. My vice is that I tending to eat sugary treats when I am anxious. Who doesn’t want to pick up a Grandma Geraldine molasses cookie passed down from generations to provide a “comfort fix?” Count me in!!! A handmade to perfection cookie by a makeshift recipe because of course Grandma never wrote down her recipe. Devine sweetness but at a price. What about chocolate? Dark chocolate is my favorite, so it is ok to indulge because it’s healthier than milk, right??? If you don’t use caution because certainly too many indulgences can add to the waistline, thighs, and our bodies physical boundaries. Every 5 years I ask myself, why do I have to keep relearning this lesson???
Well, of course we cannot learn everything during our years of childhood. We need something to learn, grow, and strive for as we get older in years. One lesson I have learned very distinctly a few years ago in 2012 by some strong family and nursing colleagues is the power of the breath, practicing yoga and stillness. I was at a point in my life very frustrated with the dynamics of a very high risk population, high volume of patients that were quite challenging to manage within the confine of my prescribed role as a nurse practitioner. In fact, I was exploring new adventures in and out of the nursing field. My sister-in-law, who happens to be English, shared a very inspirational and motivational quote from WWII (inspired by the British) that caught our attention as we strolled through New Hampshire on a sunny day trip. The quote was found in a British store on main street where she bought her tea. KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON, such a powerful group of 5 properly placed words.
If you want more history, here’s the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keep_Calm_and_Carry_On. This quote has now taken many forms on many social levels. You see it on shirts, hats, and social media everywhere with a different spin on the phrase from the original poster. None of them have the true meaning as it did that day and the many times that I am drawn to revisit and meditate about that day, how it moved me, and changed me. Having said that, it also has not taken all the spirit out of my drive for exploration and adventure and continued interest in connecting with patients and families for the betterment CHD. Risks are part of life and with them we cross boundaries we may never have dreamed of before. I never expected to be “smuggling” into the USA on a trip home from London a favorite family treat, but it was meant to be and was a risk worth taking.
We cannot do it all….even if we try REALLY HARD! Life is uncertain, we can change small nuggets along the way and need to figure out where those nuggets are in life and how to reach out, engage, and allow positive change to occur with you and all those involved and impacted. Change will always be a part of moving forward no matter what. We have to accept it, be open to ideas, consider the options and impact of the change, and work with the existing systems in place to provide the momentum to maximize the positive impact and minimize the negative. There will always be folks who are unhappy during the process. By trusting strong leaders (novice to expert) with heart, positive change will most often provide a win-win to strengthen the cause.
PEACE, MEDITATION, RESTORATION…Milwaukee, Wisconsin