Friday, August 12, 2016

~Lean In~


I asked my sister Jan for a Zentangle to post with the blog this week and this is the one she sent me. She calls this "Lean In" - Lean in to a challenge and you may be surprised at what you discover on the other side...

I liked the sentiment that goes with Jan's tangle. It emotes possibilities of overcoming any situation or circumstances. It also reminded me of my recent posts on Instagram and Twitter and I thought I'd share them here.


Instagram: 

The rest of the post says "Tears are also a beautiful reflection of love over a lifetime." If you are on the verge of tears - let them flow. They cleanse and release stress and emotions that may hinder us from giving our best on any given day."


Instagram:

The rest of this post says "Don't wear yourself out trying to fix everyone's problems. Be sensitive to your own needs while preserving your peace of mind."


My post from Twitter today. Dedication has everything to do with us staying the course, no matter how many trials and tribulations that may come our way. My mantra is "Do your best, no regrets!"

Jan's comments prompted me to think of these 3 posts. They all have a different theme, but are critical experiences in life that are universal. We all cry, we all love and we are devoted to those in our life that we love. 

Each of us has a choice in how we process and perceive life. Our perspective, perception, outlook and attitude have everything to do with who we attract in life and how our life unfolds. We may feel powerless in our life at times and experience having no control in how our life unfolds, and there is a lot of truth to that. The one thing we do have in life that we own are our thoughts and our actions. Both of those are very powerful choices that present themselves every day. Next time you feel like you are emotionally overwrought and weary, take a minute to observe how your are behaving and maybe you will lean in to life in a way you hadn't considered before.

To follow on Instagram: bit.ly/SanGenIG 

To follow on Twitter: bit.ly/SanGenTW

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Best Wishes,
Carole 

Copyright 2016





Wednesday, July 27, 2016

~In the Moment~


Jan's Comments in reference to this tangle:

Sometimes a light touch is all you need. I left a lot of white space on this tile and used some light shading, instead of filling it up with patterns.

Sometimes a situation doesn’t call for us to charge in and take over, but rather we need to sit back and reflect, using a softer approach.


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Our life is compiled by time stamps. We may use a diary, pictures, journal, calendar, planner or make notations to remind us of a certain time period. We keep photo albums, videos and other digital methods in this modern day to remember a day gone by. I was reminded of that when I went to Hope Grows recent Garden Walk/Zentangle Workshop with my sister Jan teaching the Zentangle Art method. I drove there with 3 of my best friends and we had a wonderful, summer day outside, from beginning to end, learning and creating. 

After touring the grounds, with business owner Lisa Story, we gathered together for Jan to teach us the Zentangle method of creating multi-layered designs/tangles, one stroke at a time. We left there rejuveinated and inspired by the experience of the day. We also all left there with a Zentangle decoupage small flower pot, a cutting from Lisa's philodendron, a bag of dirt and a new experience with the other attendees. Hope Grows is a great resource for Caregivers and offers events throughout the year. 


Back to the time stamp concept - during class Jan mentioned that since we've been tangling, each design she looks back on, reminds her of what was happening during that time in her life. I never looked at my tangled art that way, so to speak. I have a large binder of designs and thinking about it now, every single one of them reminds me of the time when I was creating that tangle. I knew that to be true, because, generally, most tanglers initial their tile and date the back. I have often looked on the back of my designs, notice the date and typically smile because even though life has been riddled with great ups and downs, I have found a way to generate a positive influence in my life through my art. And now I have a tracking system to refer to when I need to remember days gone by.


Whether it's a picture, a piece of artwork, a momento, a person or any variation of thoughts - the triggers of our thinking - have much to do with how our life unfolds. 
Time stamps are a reflection of how we have lived our life, from the time we can remember, back to our childhood.  Jan reminded me of this and gave me a fresh outlook on how I am perceiving my life. That, in itself, is a blessing. 

Overall, the day shared with Jan, Lisa, my friends and the attendees was a great day! Taking time out for you on a regular basis is one of the best things you can do yourself to meet the demands of your day. Take a class, go on a nature walk, meet some friends for an outing or read a book you've been meaning to read. Whatever it is, enjoy it and take time out on a regular basis to maintain your peace of mind and voice of reason. 



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A great resource of books by authors who understand and write about Alzheimer's and dementia and how it impacted their life. I was one of the featured authors for Brain Awareness/Alzheimer's Month in June. To read all the posts by these amazing and inspiring authors logon to:


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The Artistry of Caregiving, Letters to Inspire Your Caregiver Journey paperback edition is launching soon on Amazon with an updated Kindle version. Your daily companion to help you navigate the emotional journey of Caregiving. My Letters of Inspiration will comfort you, connect you and let you know you are understood and not alone. TangledArtBoutique.com has a special promotion for the book launch. Stay tuned!

Best Wishes,
Carole


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I've been posting lately about silver linings. I see them everywhere. That brings me peace of mind in the midst of the storm of life and living.

In the name silver linings, may you witness many this week!




Copyright 2016







Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Priya Soni ~ Special Guest


~Introducing Special Guest Priya Soni~

~The Caregiving Effect LLC~
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Soon after my father passed way, my life was full of constant observation. I was in a perpetual state of recognizing the roles and rituals my family and I were a part of. In her book, Our Secret Territory: The Essence of Storytelling, Laura Simms describes ritual as "an activity that evokes the sacred...ritual confirms our deepest human values; the presence of shared mystery; the magic of language; a knowledge or opinions; inspiration for growth; awareness of death; and the continuity of life." Rituals and ceremonies have always been a part of Hindu tradition as it bonds us to a higher power and spirituality which in turn grounds us in the humanity of life.

Within twenty-four hours of his passing, we had contacted a pundit (a person who has mastered Hindu rituals) to bless my father's body before cremation. This ritual along with a Tibetan prayer by one of our caregivers helped us sit with the grief. It started the building of a bridge towards acceptance of this momentous transition. We followed this occasion by witnessing cremation and holding a church service where others could share in the remembrance of my father's life. In an unexpected but needed next step, my sister and I designed our own mala beads that included a rudraksha (a common bead found on malas) from a necklace my father had worn for many years. It was our way of holding a sacred attachment to him and welcoming the new by the process of creation. Allowing myself to move through all of these rituals, sometimes gently picking myself up from the heaviness of it all, encouraged my healing.

Grief is universal but how we navigate it is not. Whether you are staring at the door of grief, placing your hand on the knob or moving through the other side, grief is unequivocally one of the most colorful terms we as a human force are a part of. It can roar vociferously, be quiet and withdrawn, accepting and nurturing or resilient and unwavering in its stance. In whatever way it makes its way to your heart, it is personal and uniquely yours which is ultimately what makes it universal.

Ritual is the lighthouse to grief.  Its voice summoned me to emote, to write, to create and to rise up in this world. Part of this exploration encompassed rummaging through my life's course. I wanted to know who I was and how I was capable of witnessing and caring for my father throughout his twelve years of illness. What had this experience of caregiving made of me? Essentially, I ruminated on the question of, "who am I?" I certainly was not the same young woman prior to my father's illness.

Story is medicine as many indigenous cultures believe. I grew up with stories providing the narratives for me to comprehend more about the Hindu customs and traditions, which was also a means to connect to the deep rooted nature of my parents struggles and fulfillments as well as my own. I have often reverberated back the power of these stories in moments of healing and reflection.

We have within us generations of stories that have survived and made its place within our families, communities and souls. As caregivers, we have critical influence in that the messages of our stories are passed down to the generations that will follow. As we care for the many in our lives, we also must devote care to how we share our stories with ourselves and with others. With that, we leave a valuable legacy in which our stories delicately and authentically serve a purpose in confirming the worth of persevering through life. Truly embodying this care is the genesis of ritual.

I am the Founder and CEO of The Caregiving Effect LLC, a platform and service launched to create a space for adult children who have cared for their parent(s)/parental figure(s) due to aging, illness and/or disability. My mission is to build a movement of mentors, Caregiver visionaries, who are utilizing the insights and wisdom from their stories as a tool to help the many who will or are walking the path of Caregiving. Through my coaching and mentorship, adult children turn their unexpected role as caregiver into a role of a lifetime—The Caregiving Effect (#thecaregivingeffect). 





Priya Soni, MA (Disability Studies)
Instagram: @priyasoni

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Zentangle by Jan Steinle

This was my first real exploration of the pattern ‘Yuma'. I spent some time on the shading and loved how it turned out.  I think Mom, an accomplished artist in her own right, would have loved Zentangle.  This one’s for ‘You Maw’ (Yuma)!  Miss you!

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"The Artistry of Caregiving, Letters to Inspire your Caregiver Journey"  Written from my heart to yours, to help you navigate the emotional journey of caring for another. The book has a unique format. Six chapters and 33 Letters, designed to read on the go, in no particular order. I wrote this book out my experience as my Mom's primary Caregiver for several years and now my Dads. My journey was difficult, stressful, lonely and I felt very isolated and withdrawn. I wrote this to bring comfort to Caregivers of all ages. I wanted to let you know you are not alone, you are understood and I hope this book makes you feel connected, appreciated and affirms all that you do. Caregiving is not an easy job. It can be quite demanding and stressful. I created this book to be your daily companion.

The paperback edition is due out this month, including a Kindle update at launch. The new version will have 40 images in it, 37 are Zentangles to affrim and support you. If you don't have time to read, nor focus, you can look at tangles that will inspire you and lift you up and help you meet your daily demands with energy, embracing all that comes your way.  

~Where Words Soothe and Ideas & Art Delight~

Best Wishes, 





Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Elizabeth Miller ~ Special Guest


~Introducing special guest blogger Elizabeth Miller~

~Happy Healthy Caregiver~
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10 Free ways to practice self-care this summer


Self-care can certainly be a weekend long spa retreat but chances are as a busy sandwich generation Caregiver, you don’t have the time or the money to make that happen on a regular basis.  Self-care on a regular routine basis is what we need.
Self-care is essential because it encompasses the overall short and long term health of your mind, body and spirit.  It’s a necessary function that is completely under your control.  It’s deliberate and self-initiated.  
Nowhere in this definition does it say it has be lengthy or expensive.
This summer, let’s get creative and find small and inexpensive or better yet completely FREE ways to practice self-care.

Here are a ten ways to get you started on your summer self-care quest:

  1. Go for a Walk


There’s nothing like soaking up some Vitamin D, smelling the fresh air, enjoying the colorful landscape and getting outside of your four walls to lift your mood.  Either listen to the sounds of nature or find a free playlist online.  Here’s a link to a couple happy & healthy playlists I put together.


  1. Breathe and Meditate


Don’t knock meditation until you try it and you may need to try different methods.  When my heart and mind is racing or just as preventive mental medicine, 10 minutes is all it takes to get back into a happy, healthy place.  Lately, I’ve been using an iPhone app called ‘Calm’ and the free version has plenty of guided meditations to get you started.


  1. Find a treasure on your DVR


You probably have it loaded up with some of your favorite shows that have been piling up.  I know I have many HGTV shows on mine that are my go-to for a short term commitment lounge fix.  No drama just a good before and after renovation is all I need.  Throw some fresh or frozen fruit in some ice-water and enjoy sipping on a summer calorie-free cocktail while you are learning some DIY.


  1. Start a Bible study


I have a student bible that contains many suggested self-paced bible studies.  If you’re Bible doesn’t have this, look for a bible study online or just pick a book and start reading it like Psalms or Proverbs.


  1. Enjoy a Power Nap


Sleep is so important to our vitality.  We need sleep to process and purge all the information and toxins we are collecting throughout the day and we often don’t get enough ZZZs at night so if you are feeling like you need a little boost, a power nap may be just what you need, especially if you need to hit the ground running again after you wake up.  A power nap is classified as a nap under 20 minutes with an intention to boost your energy and alertness.  Any nap longer than this and you may feel groggy when you wake up.


  1. Create a wish list by window shopping online


It’s like window shopping but you can do this one from the comfort of your own home.  The trick is not to purchase.  Many sites allow you to make a wish list so load up your wish list and you’ll have ideas to give your family when they are struggling for what to get you for the next holiday.


  1. Create a vision board


Clip out quotes you love from Pinterest or magazine clippings of places you want to go, things you want to have, or activities you want to try.  It’s a great reminder of the personal goals and dreams you have.  You can stick these clippings to a mat in an empty picture frame or make better use of a bulletin board.


  1. Escape in the world of books


Maybe you have a good book started that you can take a few minutes and read but the possibility of a new book is so much fun as well.  Head to your local library (or Barnes & Noble if you can resist the purchase) and find a new novel or audio book that peaks your interest.  Adding books to your online Goodreads ‘to read’ list is fun as well.  Goodreads makes recommendations based on other books you have read and enjoyed.


  1. Get in touch with your creative side


All you need is some pencil and some paper and you can journal or draw.  Don’t know what to write about?  There are plenty of journal prompts to get you started like ‘describe your happy place’ or ‘if you won the lottery what would you do?’  You can draw, doodle, or maybe you have wanted to try and create a zentangle.


  1. Watch some You Tube


There are lots of funny videos you can watch on You Tube or try an inspirational TED talk.  Just search for ‘TED talks happiness’ or just search for ‘funny’ and add ‘cats, dogs, babies, etc.’ We all can use more laughs!


So which of these ten self-care ideas appeal to you?  Have any other free ideas to add to the list?

Helping you become a happy healthy Caregiver

I created HappyHealthyCaregiver.com and the Happy Healthy Caregiver Community while being sandwiched between raising my two teenagers, working full-time, and being the primary Caregiver for my chronically ill and mobility-challenged mom.  My vision is for Happy Healthy Caregiver to be the place where overwhelmed Caregivers receive self-care permission, training, and support.  I administer a Facebook group for Caregivers.  The Happy Healthy Caregiver Facebook Group is designed for Caregivers by a Caregiver.  This private community understands how overwhelmed you are and is always there to answer questions, give feedback and provide support.  Most importantly this group is for Caregivers who want to live happy and healthy lives despite all the crazy!  




Elizabeth Miller
Instagram: happyhealthycaregiver
Twitter: @HHCaregiver
Site: www.happyhealthycaregiver.com


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"Tweet Tweet" by Jan Steinle

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My new book launched in April on Amazon ~  "The Artistry of Caregiving, Letters to Inspire your Caregiver Journey"  Written from my heart to yours, to help you navigate the emotional journey of caring for another. The book has a unique format. Six chapters and 33 Letters, designed to read on the go, in no particular order. I wrote this book out my experience as my Mom's primary Caregiver for several years. My journey was difficult, stressful, lonely and I felt very isolated and withdrawn. I wrote this to bring comfort to Caregivers of all ages. I wanted to let you know you are not alone, you are understood and I hope this book makes you feel connected, appreciated and affirms all that you do. Caregiving is not an easy job. It can be quite demanding and stressful. I created this book to be a companion for you and I hope you love it!


The paperback edition will be out in July, stay tuned. 

~Where Words Soothe and Ideas & Art Delight~



Best Wishes, 


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Pamela Atwood ~ Special Guest


~Introducing special guest blogger today Pamela Atwood~
~Gerontologist Certified Dementia Practitioner~
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Have you heard of the Daily Happiness Checklist by Dr. Timothy Sharp and the Happiness Institute? I use it every day– some days I veer off course, but usually it helps. The first affirmation is “I’ve reminded myself of my life purpose.” I’m one of the lucky folks with a well defined life purpose. I work every day to make a difference in the lives of people living with cognitive and neurological disorders. I’m blessed to be supported by family, friends and colleagues who encourage my learning and my vision: listening to people and creating systems that can meet their needs. How cool is that? I’m a gerontologist by training, and when people ask me what that is, my response is “I geek out about aging.” Why? My great-grandmother died at age 99, and she said, “Pamela, don’t ever grow old – it’s JUST-NO-FUN.”  I knew my life purpose was to make that untrue.

               One of my favorite things to do is to teach. I am a professional speaker and love going to other cities and teach using techniques that are uncommon in healthcare education (usually with a red nose and real-life stories). I speak about unusual topics (bullying in senior communities; intimacy and sexuality and aging; laughter therapy; using Improv to communicate with people with dementia). I love learning from my colleagues about their experiences too.

               My other joy is learning from my clients. As a Dementia Care Consultant, I get to spend time with families. My job is to cut their learning curve (which I do, substantially) and make them confident caregivers – but I get something out of it too. I also direct a “Forgetfulness-Friendly” choir, self-named Noteworthy Voices. I learn from my elders all the time. From Enid, I learned how to care for African Violets. From Ivan, I learned about the Hartford Whalers after-hours (he had a bar) and how to create a life after being a Jewish POW in Nazi Germany. From Jack, I’ve learned that having a fun personality gets you out of a lot of trouble, even if it annoys your kids. From Madelyn I’ve learned memories are tethered to music. From Molly, I’ve learned to take care of yourself as a Caregiver, because if you don’t, you may be paralyzed by a stroke and have to learn to function gracefully and with dignity – but it can be done. I’ve been given more than I could ever give. And I do it in the memory and honor of my family members who have lived with dementia and Parkinson’s – Lottie, Nell, Elaine, Pat, Dorothy.

               And yet, I cannot wait to be out of work. When our systems change, and stigma is a memory, and diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are cured, I’ll rest. Until then, I will continue to volunteer with the American Parkinson Disease Association (www.ctapda.org) and the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org/ct) and continue to educate Caregivers and everyone who is “aging” (www.youtube.com/Pamela_Atwood) (www.AgingCareAcademy.org). And I’ll work to make it FUN!




Pamela Atwood, MA, CDP, CLL
Instagram: pamela.atwood
Twitter: @PamAtwoodALZ

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"The Path"

When Jan submitted this tangle for the blog, this is what she told me, "The Path is not always clear, and often filled with serendipity." What a positive way to look at the crossroads in our life! 

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My new book launched in April on Amazon ~  "The Artistry of Caregiving, Letters to Inspire Your Caregiver Journey"  Written from my heart to yours, to help you navigate the emotional journey of caring for another. The book has a unique format. Six chapters and 33 Letters, designed to read on the go, in no particular order. I wrote this book out my experience as my Mom's primary Caregiver for several years. My journey was difficult, stressful, lonely and I felt very isolated and withdrawn. I wrote this to bring comfort to Caregivers of all ages. I wanted to let you know you are not alone, you are understood and I hope this book makes you feel connected, appreciated and affirms all that you do. Caregiving is not an easy job. It can be quite demanding and stressful. I created this book to be a companion for you and I hope you love it!

The paperback edition will be out in July, stay tuned. 

~Where Words Soothe and Ideas & Art Delight~



Best Wishes, 
Carole Brecht