Thursday, April 19, 2012

P52 - Things that Grow - Week 16

Growth through change.
Growth through loss.
Growth through challenges.
Growth in nature.

Growth -- some of it inevitable….some painful, yet necessary…and some welcome.

I’ve seen all of these in my life during the past couple of years, especially during the last 3 ½ months.

Chaos in the world brings uneasiness, but
it also allows the opportunity for creativity and growth.
~ Tom Barrett

Part of dealing with watching the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease in my father and dealing with the continual losses on a monthly…weekly…and then, ultimately, daily basis, I began using art as a way to express my feelings, document my life, and the effect caregiving had on it.

I have made monthly journal quilts (small 9” x 12” quilts that were accompanied by several-page journal entries); wrote poetry; made full-size quilts; blogged on a regular basis; took photographs; and embroidered.

These were all ways to creatively express myself, learn new skills, and grow despite the chaos in a changing world – the caregiving world – around me.

I think that our fundamental belief is that for us
growth is a way of life and
we have to grow at all times.
~ Mukesh Ambani

As my father was in the active dying process from late-November 2011 until the first week of January 2012, I still believe he was teaching me despite his ability to actively communicate with words or open his eyes.

I chose to be at his bedside from January 1st through January 5th (when he died). Being able to be with him, help care for him, ensure that he was receiving the medicines he needed, and giving people the opportunity to say “goodbye” to him all were emotionally challenging.

But I grew.
I was touched.
I learned.

He showed me – through the many visitors he had – the impact that he made by giving of himself. Of listening. Of genuinely caring for others.

Seeds of faith are always within us;
sometimes it takes a crisis to nourish and encourage their growth.
~ Susan Taylor

Because my father was a deacon, his funeral was attended by many deacons and their wives as well as priests. Hearing their wonderful voices in unison as they sang the songs provided healing comfort when I needed it.

Although I knew my father’s faith was strong, in going through his offices at home during the past few months, I have found countless Bible verses that were handwritten, homilies, and resources that showed how strong faith can be, and how it truly was such an integral part of who he was and what he believed.

He began his life in one religion and changed to another as a teenager. Within his chosen religion and throughout his entire adulthood, he continually chose to grow, learn, and inspire others on many different levels.

Education is growth.
Education is not a preparation for life;
education is life itself.
~ John Dewey

During the past week, I attended the annual homeschool conference. Most of the workshops I attended focused on special education and children who have special educational needs.

Being able to gain new ideas and methods of teaching along with thousands of other parents who are experiencing similar challenges with their children was invigorating and inspiring.

There are some basic changes to the way of teaching as well as feeding my daughters that may have a significant impact on their learning.  Truly, I am excited to make these changes and see the growth in their learning.

I am incredibly thankful to the workshop presenters who shared their knowledge so as a parent (and teacher) I can help my daughters learn and grow.

The garden is growth and change; and
that means loss as well as
constant new treasures to make up for a few disasters.
~ Mary Sarton

As the month progresses, the weather continues to be unpredictable – one week it is warm and in the 60s and 70s. The next, there are mornings with a light snowfall or frost. There have been calm days and days with extreme wind.

Yet, the bushes and trees are in full bloom and have sustained these setbacks – these challenges that the weather has put forth. They have held onto their blossoms and flowers. They have welcomed the bees and butterflies as they have drank nectar and spread the pollen.

The crabapple tree – with its beautiful pink flowers – provides a fragrant canopy over the walkway from the driveway to the door. Its other half – which fell over in an ice storm in November 2010 – has grown new shoots from the fallen trunk. Tiny white flowers are gracing the ends of the branches.

Then I look over at the garden – overgrown already with weeds and grasses. Yet within the mess, signs of sustenance – chives, rhubarb, lettuce, raspberries, and strawberries – all have begun to emerge.


So, despite the changes, loss, and challenges that – at times – seemed too overwhelming, it was (and is) important to focus on positive growth.

:: Recognizing good changes in myself, my daughters, and others.
:: Taking the time to be grateful for things and people I can often take for granted.
:: Making a commitment each month to give and serve others (especially those in need), animals, and the environment.
:: Using photography, embroidery, writing, and journaling to make it through an emotionally-difficult year.

project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge


Donna said...

This was such a moving post. Thank you for sharing from your heart.

sweet 7D said...

Beautiful words...and awesome shots!! I especially love the apple blossom.

Mandy Currie said...

Thank you for this post, I've been following you for a while and find something special in everything, but today I needed the comfort and it was there. Thank you again. Regards Mandy

Rita said...

So true. I think being involved with creative activities while dealing with inner and outer changes works very well. This was a very thoughtful post. I think the year will get better and better. :)