Our Vacation Interruption. A Stroke. Surely Not Me.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado…photo by kindergartenknowledge.com

At least the scenery was spectacular when I had a stroke last week…no warning! One moment fine. One moment not at all fine!

 

Driving through the winding mountain roads near Winter Park in Colorado, the views were beautiful. Hairpin curves were prevalent…way too prevalent for the speeds of some of the other drivers! I’ve been to Colorado many times…on much more curvy roads at much higher elevations, but this drive through the mountains was particularly nerve-racking!

I had no idea how nerve-racking the drive would get. I suddenly realized that I could not bend my pointer finger when I tried to pick up my cell phone after I dropped it on the floor of our car. Within a minute or two, the entirety of my right hand was numb. Strange feeling. Odd feeling. Frightening feeling. My husband and I had no idea what was causing the problem, but we knew that it occurred just as we were entering the higher elevation.

 

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Before we received the stroke news…I was just enjoying the wonders of the Rocky Mountains! Evidently, I needed a hat to cover up my windblown hair!

 

We thought that surely the elevation was the culprit. Or was it? What had been unfurled upon us? I could not grip anything with my right hand. My cell phone felt like I was picking up a heavily weighted dumbbell. I would immediately drop my phone onto the floor of the car.

 

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My husband appears much closer to the edge than me…no way would I stand that close! He had the sense to wear a hat in the windy weather!

 

I could not pick up my purse at all. I could not pick up a small bottle of water. I could not open the glove compartment with my right hand. I could not even begin to retrieve a single sheet of folded paper from a side pocket of my purse. My entire right hand had unfortunately been rendered virtually useless in a matter of less than four minutes. I had no warning at all.

After we finally arrived at our condo, I found that I could not walk without help from my husband. As we walked into the building, I could not seem to lift my right foot and found myself sliding my right foot the entire way inside. So scared. This was real. This was an event that came about like a quiet wind that turns into a hurricane overnight.

 

I most definitely had a stroke. Thank goodness…I had a mild stroke. The result could have been so much more complicated. It has been one week and I still have difficulty with my right hand.

 

Currently, there is no way that I can write or even begin to hold a pen. I can type with one hand, but working the mouse is almost impossible. My hand gets very tired and it does not even seem like a real hand. I look st my hand and I am certain that it belongs to someone else.

 

My walking seems to be getting worse, but should improve quickly after I begin physical therapy. I will have occupational therapy for my hand. In May, I completed a six month stint of physical therapy as a result of my back injury from a car accident.

 

If I am sent to the same physical therapy facility, I might as well be given a public relations position! For sure… I should get a parking place with my name on it!!

 

The good news is that we are back in Texas and had a wonderful time in Colorado despite the stroke! After we returned home, I spent one night in the hospital for a litany of tests. The MRI showed a very small blood clot on the left side of my brain which can most likely be resolved without surgery. All of the other tests turned out very normal!

 

So…that is our vacation story for this year! I am so sorry for my absence from writing my blog…I will try to catch up. I have stories to tell and lots of pictures to share! Besides…I miss everyone of you…my special friends from around the world!!

 

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A double rainbow that happened to appear on our way back through West Texas…a happy and promising sign in the midst of our worry!

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/unfurl/

 

 

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Relax? Maybe Not At This Roadside Park!

 

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The sign on the side of the highway announces the much anticipated Roadside Park. Ten miles. Five miles. Finally. A little peace and quiet. Walk around a bit. Hey! There’s a playground at this one. Plus a visitor center. We hit the jackpot at this Rest Stop!

 

FAMILY VACATION! GOTTA’ LOVE THEM!

 

***So many hours driving through the relentless summertime traffic. Not to mention the construction. And that is before you even leave the city.

***So many hours listening to the chatter of little voices in the back seat. The metal toy car hitting your neck. Don’t worry. It’s ok.

***So many hours eating Cheetos and chocolate chips cookies from a Ziploc baggie. The M&M bag. Finished off that one.

***So many hours thinking about the so many hours that it will take to exercise away the quick fix energy treats. Just trying to stay awake and congenial at the same time.

***So many hours listening to music that you did not choose and would not ever, ever choose.  I know, I know…you can sing just like Bruno Mars. I heard you. Twelve long songs. And sure…you can shimmer and shake just like him. Really.

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No matter what…family vacations are fun. And crazy. And busy. And tiring. And exciting. Twenty years from now…you will look at the pictures and remember only the best of the best moments. I think. I hope. 

 

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AND THEN YOU SEE THE SIGN! YOUR’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING! EVERYBODY! GET IN THE CAR! QUICK!

 

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AND THEN…THE OTHER SIGN. JUST TOO MUCH INFORMATION FOR ONE DAY!

 

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/shimmer/

 

 

Fog in Shenandoah…peaceful.

 

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Photo by kindergartenknowledge.com at Shenandoah National Park.

 

I became mesmerized by the peaceful grace of the Blue Ridge Mountains when I was just a child. I will never forget the winding roads of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the hiking trails that seemed so mysterious to me. The almost constant fog…or so it seemed…was indeed a vision of mystery to me. 

 

I feel the same way today…even after visiting other mountain areas…much taller mountains…even more stunning and more magnificent vistas. The Blue Ridge Mountains, Smoky Mountain National Park and the Shenandoah National Park hold a special place in my heart. When I visit Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia…I remember my relatives who most likely walked in some of these same beautiful places. Places that offer an envelope of calm feelings for me.

 

A stopping point along Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park became the location for the  photograph at the top of this post. Closing my eyes, I can still feel the quiet atmosphere, the peace of the lightly blowing wind and the past intertwined with the present. 

 

The foggy weather will eventually disappear, but the memories remain intact. I remember the laughter of visiting Shenandoah with our daughter and close friends…hardly anything better on a summer day!

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/foggy/

 

 

And the thunder rolls again in Texas.

 

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Photo by kindergartenknowledge.com…Dallas, Texas…Summer, 2017

 

The thunder, the lightning, the clouds, the howling dogs, the cats hiding under the bushes, the rush of the wind, the bending trees, the falling limb on the roof… plus the brightest sunset…just another evening thunderstorm in Texas. Like the people we meet each day…every storm is different. Some loud. Some quiet. Some needed. Some not needed. And yet…amid the noise from the sky…we know tomorrow will be brighter because we surely learned something from the storm we encountered.

 

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Finding A Happy Disposition In A Sea Of Disparate Negativity.

 

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Your disposition, your attitude, your demeanor precede you throughout your life. It is true…people can sense a poor disposition by the scowl on a person’s face. There was a time when I thought that a sad and discordant disposition was an inherited trait. I believed that there was nothing that a person could do if they were born with a negative personality. They were stuck with it. They just had to figure out how to live with negativity, how to simply give in to negativity, how to accept that they were the inevitable complainers. I changed my mind in the years after college when I was working at newspapers. I really changed my mind after I began teaching elementary school.

 

Nature vs Nurture…the debate that has continued through generations.

 

Blaming nature may be the easy way to explain away your far from positive attitude and lack of motivation. A coworker at a newspaper where I worked was a prime example…temperamental to the point of throwing things off of his desk; curt and rude answers; never thought that he was at fault for anything; blamed the general population of the city for any complaints about his articles; argued and yelled during staff meetings; stomped out of multiple meetings. His overall negative disposition and blatant behavior caused havoc for the entire staff. What a downer of a person. He was lusting for control of every situation.

 

One comment that he always made was… “I act just like my grandfather. I am proud of it!”…followed by “I could easily act a lot better, but I like the attention!”

 

He eventually lost his job. He never went back into the newspaper business. His disposition preceded him at every location where he applied. What talent he had! What a very fine writer! What research he completed for each assignment! And yet…he could not succeed in a competitive environment. The fault was completely his own.

 

I wonder how his upbringing came into play. Was he nurtured by his family? Was he taught to accept responsibility for his own actions? Was he taught to seek happiness even if it took a huge amount of effort? Was he taught the critical importance of behavior restraint? Was he taught about kindness?

 

Craig Jarrow wrote an interesting article on his site, Time Management Ninja…”21 Ways to Define a Positive Attitude”. Jarrow states that productivity in a job setting is contagious and your attitude is also very contagious. A positive and happy disposition can be contagious, but a negative and poor disposition can seem like a virus. In other words…a poor disposition can be a corrupting influence in any setting.

A positive attitude works in tandem with  a positive disposition.

 

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“21 Ways to Define a Positive Attitude”

By: Craig Jarrow

 

  1. It is looking adversity in the eye…and laughing.

  2. Getting what you get, and not pitching a fit.

  3. Enjoying the unexpected, even when it’s not what you originally wanted.

  4. Motivating those around you with a positive word.

  5. Using the power of a smile to reverse the tone of a situation.

  6. Being friendly to those you don’t know.

  7. It’s getting beck up when you fall down. (No matter how many times you fall down.)

  8. Being a source of energy that lifts those around you.

  9. Understanding that relationships are more important than material things.

  10. Being happy even when you have little.

  11. Having a good time even when you are losing.

  12. Being happy for the success of someone else.

  13. Having a positive future vision, no matter how bad your current circumstances.

  14. Smiling.

  15. Paying a compliment, even to a total stranger.

  16. Tell someone you know that they did a great job. (And mean it.)

  17. Making someone’s day. (Not just a child’s…adults like to have their day to be special too.)

  18. It’s not complaining no matter how unfair things appear to be. (It is a waste of time…instead do something.)

  19. Not letting the negativity of other people bring you down.

  20. Giving more that you expect to get in return.

  21. Being true to yourself…always.

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Your choice…adjust your disposition and have a positive attitude!

 

Choose to be the type of person that everyone wants to work with, to talk to, to collaborate with…a positive and happy disposition is a cohesive force!

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/lust/

 

When The Crepe Myrtle Trees Wake Up In Texas…And The Beauty Begins!

 

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A group of Crepe Myrtle blooms at our East Texas farm!

Summer is the ideal time for Crepe Myrtle trees in Texas. They evidently need their winter sleep to deal with the hot weather. I have never even thought about Crepe Myrtle trees being dormant during the colder weather. No wonder that the grade I earned in my college botany class was far less than outstanding…I must not have paid attention to a word that was said. Too many other things were on my mind. I was far more interested in being on the college newspaper staff and taking pictures with an actual news camera. Learning to develop the film and then enlarge the pictures was a thrill!

 

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A Crepe Myrtle growing near the tractor trail to one of our barns.

The scientific study of plants was certainly not a thrill for someone who was still a teenager! No doubt…I would absolutely love that class now! We have so many Crepe Myrtles scattered throughout our farm. Some of these pretty flowering trees are hidden away in deeply wooded areas…to be discovered by sheer accident!

 

More Texas Crepe Myrtle trees at our farm!

A flowering tree discovered by a sheer and beautiful accident. A Crepe Myrtle quietly slipped into the woods to grow beside tall pine trees and delicate wildflowers. Such a sight to behold! And this feat of nature has happened over and over again!

 

 

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…and look for hidden flowering trees in the quiet of the afternoon!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/dormant/

 

 

Saving The Earth…One Step At a Time.

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Earthaven Ecovillage is an educational center and community living project located in a mountain setting near Asheville, North Carolina. Their basic belief is to take care of the earth through sustainable efforts to the make the world a more healthy, knowledge-driven and livable environment. These are my own words to describe a place where our son spent part of a summer learning more about the structure of sustainable living.

 

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Our son was involved in using the integral ideas of sustainable living and a program called Permaculture and had taken a variety of courses for certification. A system of agricultural principles as well as landscaping design principles utilizing the features of natural ecosystems, Permaculture and sustainable living were at the core of our son’s plan for his life. Earthaven was a natural educational extension for him and we are so thankful that he had the opportunity to take part in such a program.

The vision statement of Earthaven Ecovillage states…”We are dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning, living and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture.”

 

Sustaining the earth for our children, grandchildren and beyond…a vision that we all might want and need to consider. Earthaven has an interesting newsletter that you subscribe to at their website (earthaven.org). Their educational facility is named SOIL, School of Integrated Living. SOIL offers classes and workshops throughout the year. Think about another statement written by Earthaven…

 

“We envision a world where self-reliant, interdependent and ecologically aware people engage consciously in their land and global communities. These committed individuals will make informed and responsible choices for their basic needs, understand their impact on the world, forge real connections with themselves and others and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable world for all.”

 

We don’t all have the time to attend classes at a place like Earthaven or even have the desire to take classes. So…what can we do on our own to help make the world a better and more healthy place? In thinking what we can do to sustain the earth in our own individual lives, we might first consider the task of…

 

~~~Composting~~~

 

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Composting is a first step in making a contribution to sustaining  our planet. According to the television show, “This Old House”, the following are the steps to beginning to compost organic materials at home…

 

1. Sort organics to throw in the compost bin such as fruit, vegetables, coffee grounds and egg shells for carbon and dry leaves, newspaper, or cardboard for nitrogen. Do not use meat, dairy, oils or bones in compost.

2. To build your own composter, use a 32-gallon trash barrel and drill several 5/16-inch holes on the cover of the garbage can and up and down the sides for aeration. Use a cordless drill.

3. Add organic matter to the compost bin. It should be a 3:1 ration of carbon items to nitrogen.

4. Finished compost should be ready for use in several months.

 

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A video from “This Old House” that further explains composting…

 

 

 

 

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/soil/