Saturday, April 18, 2015

Summer is Coming

Summer is Coming

What are the 3 things you look forward to the most in the summer?
Whether it’s travel, the weather, family cookouts or another activity,
share with your readers why you’re excited for summer! #HAWMC
Oh Summer!
What do I look forward to?

What good is the warmth of summer,
without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.
~John Steinbeck

Not freezing

In summer we do not have to dress in layers, put on boots, or worry about where our hats and mitts are hiding. This is probably saying more about what I dislike about winter than what I like about summer. Really weather affects your moods so much. Longer days, with increased sunshine and warmth make for pleasant easy days. You can walk safely outside with less chance of slipping. Life is just so much ... umm warmer!
Spending time in our yard and parks

Jasper smiling in our backyard.

container gardens in the yard
Time at our beloved little island cottage

Watching ducklings by the dock

Basking on the boat with the wind in our hair.

Peaceful evenings in front of our Cottage

What should I do with this blog?

Health Tagline
Give yourself, or your patient experience a tagline. 
 Grab attention with your slogan.  Make sure it’s catchy! #HAWMC
 I wrote on this topic once before for the HAWMC challenge and I still think the ones I came up with  are pretty good lines.
 I thought back then that this would be a good tag line for my blog in general.
Leading a Healthy Life:
Moving Toward Wellness in our Community
 I thought that this one would be good line for my personal health concerns.
Stroke and Brain Injury:
Working on Recovery with Determination and Dignity
Those tag lines really do reflect the directions I have taken over the past couple of years. I really am concerned with what our communities have to offer people who live with health and wellness challenges and I truly believe that people need to reach out for help and work with determination to meet their own needs and the needs of their loved ones as well as others in their community.
What would be a good line for my new career?
Recreation Therapy is defined by the American Therapeutic Recreation Association as:
"Recreational Therapy” means a treatment service designed to restore, remediate and rehabilitate a person’s level of functioning and independence in life activities, to promote health and wellness as well as reduce or eliminate the activity limitations and restrictions to participation in life situations caused by an illness or disabling condition
 Recreation Therapy as a profession tries to facilitate individuals in reaching the best quality of life possible and we look at that in terms of the physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and  spiritual aspects of life.
I have been debating the options of sharing some of my recreation program information on this blog or the possibility of opening another blog dedicated to sharing ideas related to Therapeutic Recreation. I would be interested in hearing your opinions.  My personal focus has most certainly broadened from stroke and my personal health issues. My work has me talking and working with people with many different health concerns and I have learned a lot of new information.
What should I do with this blog now?
Maybe a good tagline for a new recreation blog would be:
 Recreation Therapy:  Discovering New Ways to Lead a Healthy Life

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Childhood Dreams and Adult Aspirations

Life Goal
What’s one thing that your 10-year-old self thought you would do?
Can you still do it?
How would you approach it to make it happen?

Childhood Dreams and Adult Aspirations

When I was a 10-year-old I think I imagined myself a ballet dancer, or a scientist or a zoo keeper or a famous pianist or perhaps I could be a helping people as a missionary in distant and exotic places. Even though I had never gone sailing, I figured that someday I would live on a sail boat in the Caribbean. How can choose only one thing when as a child I thought, like many kids do, that I was invincible and that I could do EVERTHING!

Can I still do it?  I think the bigger question is would I still want to make any of  my childhood dreams come true?

Ballet Dancer?
... all of me hurts at the moment and spinning  and leaping would make me nauseous. I can go in a few weeks and see my 7 year old granddaughter's dance recital and watch her dream of being a great ballerina someday.

... I did become a scientist and worked in that field for about 14 years. I can't do that job any more but that is okay - I am ready for new challenges.

Zoo Keeper?
... At some point I realized that is one really messy job and I wouldn't really want to do it. I do like to learn about ecology and all creatures that have ever  lived, from microorganisms to those extinct dinosaurs. I hope to have more amazing experiences meeting wild animals but I am happy watching the  Discovery Channel.

... I did about 7 years of lessons and it all went away when I got sick. I might be able to get better at playing the piano if I just tried again, but for now I will keep trying to make progress on the guitar.

Distant places?
... I have a daughter who travels to many exotic locations while learning about international health issues and she is doing a lot of good in this world. I can live that dream of mine through her adventures.

Live on a sail boat?
... I had a chance to go sailing on a tiny boat sailing.  I felt sick and dizzy, but loved it anyway. I have plans to go on a Caribbean cruise this year if all goes well.  I think I am okay with living on solid ground.

I have had new goals to work on. This blog, so far, is largely about how I have been working on making my dreams come true.  I am still working on gaining more skills and getting more competent at my older skills. I will just keep taking one step at a time while working on "Leading a Healthy Life".

As I write this I am realizing how many of my own childhood hopes and dreams have been fulfilled in some fashion by my children in their own unique ways. I am proud of my family and ever grateful to them for their patience and support.

 It's not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can't tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself. 
~Joyce Maynard

PS ~ I have already missed many of the "Daily" posts in the Health Activist Writers Month Challenge. Easter and hurting my back have made this a couple of difficult weeks and I have not been on the computer as much as usual. I plan to still do all the prompts, but they might not be in the right numerical order. I am learning to do only what I can, when I can.



Friday, April 3, 2015

Amazing Grace.

I work at the personal care home every second weekend and I have the privilege of leading a Sunday Hymn Sing with a group of seniors. Amazing Grace is a song that I always include because it means so much to so many people.

Today, on Good Friday, I wanted to share this beautiful song that reminds us of hope even in our darkest hours.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Key to Happiness - Truly Brave

Thursday, April 2:

 Key to Happiness

What do you think is the key to happiness? Is it being able to overcome a hard time? Laughter?
Maintaining a positive attitude? Tell us what you think and why. #HAWMC

I absolutely love this topic!

 I have spent a lot of time trying to figure this out. I have tried meditation, I have taken up hobbies and looked at so many ways to find the key to happiness myself.  I have attended a variety of workshops and eventually I got guidance from a life coach, Deb Dunn who promotes  laughter yoga, playshops for adults and encourages looking for JOY.

A pink paper Joy flower that I move around from time to time.
My daughter took my Joy flower and demonstrated fun for me.
I think my natural inclination is toward being a happy person (or I would not be singing crazy songs around campfires with Girl Guides and training to become a Recreation Therapist) but I have also experienced a lot of overwhelmingly sad times where I  found it very difficult to move forward with life. Lets face it, sometimes life can be really awful and as we experience these hard times we need to be sad and mourn for what we have lost. Some people become lost in the pain and the sorrow and have trouble finding their way out. The challenge is how to find a sense of  joy once again. 

I think we have to start with defining happiness. We all  know it when we are feeling it but what is it? Happiness can be defined as satisfaction with life and experiencing more positive emotions than negative ones. This can be very elusive state of being. Happiness or sadness impact your physical and mental well being, and that of those around you. It affects your ability to think, work, parent, sleep make choices and really just about everything about how you interact with your world.

Our Recreation Therapy courses including learning about the benefits of physical activities and mental stimulation but a big part of the training also consisted of learning how to meet all the needs of the individual. A recreation therapist tries to look at 6 different domains of life which are the cognitive, emotional, physical, social, spiritual and sometime vocational domains. This is considered holistic health and looking at the person as a whole results in an increased ability to bring health, peace and satisfaction to their life and yes, even happiness.

Todays blog writing prompt asks if  the key to happiness in being able to overcome
 a hard time. No I don't think so. Overcoming a hard time might give you pride and might make a difference in your circumstances but the sense of accomplishment is what is really making all the difference,-- It is an internal sense of personal value.

 I think happiness is not so much something to pursue as something to be open to. In the hard times you need to look for those moments of joy. You need to look for the adorable puppy, the smiling face, the sunny day. You need to be a person who look back on your life with forgiveness and remembers the happy moments. You need to be realistic and accept the bad things that have happened but you don't need to dwell on what that was like. You need to smile, sing, laugh, dance, hug, think new ideas and be a friend. You need to look for Joy and embrace it when and where you find it.

Here is the power of FUN!
Please look at this great video that features young cancer patients. When peoples lives are changed by an illness or injury what we need is to claim back bits of normal life, normal play!

Cyndi Lauper and Sara Bareilles, combine their songs 'True Colors' and 'Brave' to produce a song to raise money for the fight against pediatric cancer.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Daily Blogging during April

I decided to accept the challenge of blogging every day in April for the Annual Health Activist Writers Month Challenge. It is organized by WEGO Health which is an online hub for health activists.  WEGO sends out a list of daily topics to write about and I think most of them are very interesting. I did this challenge before and I learned a lot about myself and about blogging. I have had a lot of different experiences in the past couple of years and I think I will be writing from a very different view point this time.

Todays Topic:
Wednesday, April 1

Wordless Wednesday!
Since this is the start of HAWMC, post a picture that shows how excited you are for the next 30
days. We always love a good Health Activist selfie!  #HAWMC

So here you go!  This is what I looked like yesterday evening.  I was playing on my computer and our dog, Jasper, decided it was his turn to get some attention. Jasper and I are all settled in for a month of cuddling and blogging.

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