Friday, October 31, 2008

New Shop!

I know I haven’t posted for a bit now. I’ve been busy working on our new Etsy shop, which is a wonderful and huge endeavor for my mom and me. It means so much, and is such a fantastic feeling. When those sales start coming, it will be even more fantastic!!! The piece above is one of my mom’s beautiful sculptures. Meet Reggie, an English Bulldog puppy – is he cute or what? All sculpted freehand! You can click on the link in the right-hand corner to see our shop, and to read more about Reggie.

My mom is an amazing, talented woman:-) She’s a survivor who’s learning to thrive! The past years have been very difficult. If losing everything weren’t enough, she almost died, and had to have open heart surgery for her 60th birthday.

I’m getting ahead of myself on writing about our journey. However, I am so proud of my mom, that I felt compelled to share that here tonight. There was a time when I didn’t know if she’d live, or if she’d ever be herself again. I give thanks every day that I still have her, and that she is able to honor her creative side once more. I can’t tell you what a miracle it really is, but I hope I’ve conveyed just a little of it here.

I love you, mom, and I admire you so much!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Life and death

Well, I proved my point with my first post. I wrote a lot! It didn’t seem like that much until I uploaded it. It’s likely to happen again… and again, lol! When I actually do start writing, there are so many things trying to get out.

I was planning on writing about what happened five years ago – and it may still tie in some tonight. However, as I sat here, I was pulled back to the conversation that I had with a friend last night. We hadn’t spoken in some time, and it was so good to reconnect.

Not so good was hearing that in the past couple of months, there have been multiple suicides in the town where I moved from. Three separate suicides, no relation. Two were people I knew, although not well. It came as a shock, to say the least – especially the one woman I knew. I knew her as a strong, intelligent, vibrant woman. I thought she was well-to-do, and very successful. The side that she didn’t show to the public was apparently addicted to alcohol, and heavily in debt. Sadly, this is the side that won.

I can’t comment on what it’s like to be an addict, and how it alters who you really are. I haven’t been there. I can only imagine that when you give control of your mind over to a substance to escape – legal or otherwise – that eventually, your mind is altered to where it either can’t or doesn’t want to come back. Maybe addiction becomes the beginning of suicide?

Of course, as with anything, you can overcome addiction if you choose to. I know, from knowing others, that it’s so very challenging and a lifelong process. Heck, I can’t even conquer sugar or caffeine – I can’t imagine craving something so much more powerful…

Anyways, back to the woman above. At what point does it become too late? It doesn’t take alcohol to decide that things are too overwhelming to go on, though I’m sure alcohol “helps”. I believe that the strong, vibrant woman was who she really was. Where did that person go when she needed her most? Why does the voice of failure seem to scream so much louder than success?

So many questions… I have opinions, I have what is my truth, but I know I can’t answer for anyone else. In this case, I know I will never know, and that saddens me. If I could step back in time and share my perception of her with her…

If we could only see ourselves as good beings doing our best, and know that there can always be more to life. I say “can be”, because it is a choice – whether to live, how much to live… When you’re in the midst of a crisis, you forget that there is more. More doesn’t mean easy or hard, it just means more. Whatever we’re going through will pass and will change – no matter what we do. In that moment, we think we’re powerless. Really, it’s more that we’ve given up our power.

When we give up our power, life gets incredibly bumpy. You can sink really fast. My mom and I did, all the way down to rock bottom.

Looking back, I don’t know how we made it. The thing is, now we can look back. And, as I look back, I feel the pain and suffering – I have to be careful on that one, because I can still let too much in – but, as I look back, I am constantly awed and amazed by our journey over this time. There are still some bumps to get over, but we’ve really come a long ways. We’ve learned so much, and are still learning – still finding reasons to live and move forward.

As I said last time, I don’t believe death to be a bad thing. There are ways of living that are far worse than dying. However, if we choose life, it’s out there waiting for us. If we ask for guidance, we do receive. The answers may not be what you expect or think you want at the time, but if you ride it through, you’ll look back and see that the answer was what was needed.

Final thing to wrap this up, because I’ve just filled over a whole regular page – money isn’t everything. Heard that one before? ;-) Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy money, I want money, and I want it to flow into my life in a healthy, positive, ample way. However, having lost it all, having no credit – I know you CAN still live. You will make it back. And, if you do it right, you’ll have a whole new, improved way of life. The key is doing it right, because repeat lessons aren’t fun.

Keep on keepin’ on!

Dedicated to the memory of the strong, vibrant woman who didn’t make it back; in the end, she became a teacher…

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Getting Started

I’ve had this blog waiting for me to write for a while now. I’ve always hesitated, wondering how to get started. Knowing this, it’s hard to believe that I actually love to write! Writing was even a major part of my last career. Part of my hesitation also comes from the fact that once I start writing, I have trouble stopping. So the blog has been here, empty except for my photos running across…

I’ve had trouble on deciding where to begin, too. My mom and I are starting our business now, and I planned to integrate photos of our art and other things on here at the same time. I figured that would be a great way to get the blog ball rolling. Then I read an article, and that article moved me to start my blog now. That article made me believe that sharing some of my life might help someone else. Presumptuous? No, just hopeful.

So, what was this mysterious article? It was this article on Yahoo!: Suicides from financial crisis cause concern. I read this article with great sorrow in my heart for those that felt they had no choice but death. Mind you, I’ll state up front that I don’t think death is a bad thing, and I am not judging anyone who makes that choice – I will be writing more on this. However, I do have a problem with those that choose to take someone else with them – those “someone’s” might have chosen differently if they’d had a say.

My sorrow for the people in the article, and for others who have committed suicide because they are losing everything comes from a deep empathy. It comes from a place of knowing: knowing what it’s like to be there, and knowing that you can survive. Knowing that when you have lost “everything” that there is still something, and that something is way more important than everything. The everything I’m referring to is home, car, job – every material thing that seems like it’s the glue that holds us together. The something is what’s left when the dust settles; that little spark of hope or insanity that can keep us going through the darkest of times.

I’ve read more than once that you should write about what you know. When I write about the darkest of times and surviving, I know. I also know that each and every one of us will measure that time differently. To me, losing everything was and still is a very traumatic experience. The past five years have been a roller coaster ride that I have thought of jumping off of more than once. Yet I’ve kept going, even though I don’t always know why. I’m not afraid of death; I think it’s that I’d really rather get this life right:-) I believe that the Universe gave me gifts/talents and passions, and I want to know what it feels like to utilize them and live life to its fullest. It’s a work-in-progress, to be sure.

I know that when you lose everything that as hard as it is to lose the material things, in the end losing them isn’t what destroys you. What destroys you is the loss of self-respect, of “status” in this world; the overwhelming and seemingly impossible task of rebuilding your life from a lower point than you even knew existed. I’m not going to be Pollyanna and say it’s easy. It’s been almost five years since my mom and I became homeless (after a series of devastating losses), and there are still areas that we haven’t figured out how to make right again. However, five years, and we are still here!

To be continued…