Sunday, August 20, 2023

Drawing on photos!

 Drawing on favorite pastime --- what's yours?

A birthday card I created for a longtime friend that LOVES Chipmunks!

Latest "Canva" challenge! Drawing on a landscape photograph. I love how this turned out. It's a photo I took several years ago on top of "Big Rock" in Dupont State son and my husband.

Happy Sunday! 

love and peace always ~ Kathy

Monday, May 15, 2023

Forest Bathing...

 Sometimes all you need is a walk in the woods to clear your mind and renew your spirit. Yesterday was one of those days. 

The forest is literally busting with newness this time of year, with lots of native plants and wildflowers just waiting for discovery. These "Jack-in-the-pulpits" are always super cool to find and, yesterday, I found several, including a five leaved plant that hasn't produced a "jack" yet
I can't wait to see if one pops up! But the best find yesterday was this very elusive "Hooded Warbler" --- I've been hearing it singing for a couple of weeks, but have not been able to actually see it, until yesterday, which was bitter/sweet, because I had a very difficult "Mother's Day" this year, with everything going on in my family. This beautiful bird seemed to say "just keep on singing, everything will be alright"

And I was even lucky enough to get a pretty decent photo of it, too!

And then I got to witness a pair of Carolina Wrens building a nest in my hanging "Angel Wing Begonia" that is in a macrame' hanger my dad made years ago

I thought it was pretty funny watching the pair pick out nesting materials...while one of them [assuming the female] made some very elaborate choices, the other one [assuming the male] would just fly down and grab whatever he could, not thinking twice about it. They were so much fun to watch!

I can't wait to see the little family! 

Happy Monday!

love and peace always ~ Kathy

Thursday, May 11, 2023

My Broken Mother

Broc & Kristin [1980]
 This is a long story, but something I just had to get out...I thought it would make me feel better, getting it all down in writing, but it didn't.

On May 11, 1987 my Mother broke. I was with her at the hospital when my little sister died. My own son was 6 years old. He and my little sister were best friends. They were so close. When I got the call that day, telling me my little sister had been hit by a car and she was at the hospital, I thought, okay, she's got a broken arm, maybe a broken leg, nothing anymore serious than that. I arrived at the hospital, rushed in and up to the nurses station and, in a semi-panicked voice, told them I was there to see my little sister, Kristin, who had been hit by a car. The nurse looked up at me solemnly and said "she's in ICU" upstairs --- at that very moment my life changed forever...I just knew. I don't know how I knew, but I just knew. Of course, I held out hope for everything and was still believing in miracles at that time. After two days of praying with the local Baptist preacher, I was done. I knew we were well past the praying stage. They kept praying, though. After a day and 1/2 of my sister being on life support with no brain activity, my Mother finally laid down and rested. The doctors gave her a mild sedative and she was able to sleep for a few hours. When she woke up and came back into the room where my sister was, she took my sisters hand and said, "it's okay for you to go, I don't know how I'm going to live without you, but I know you are with the angels and in God's hands". Within about 5 minutes, my little sister's heart stopped beating. I watched my Mother break. There was nothing we could do for her, nothing we could say to her, nothing. It actually broke all of us, somewhat, but not like it broke my Mother. It broke my Father, too...but he was already a little bit broken anyway, so this just finished him off. He drowned himself in a bottle of vodka until, at only 65 years old, he never resurfaced. 

My Mother tried to move on, tried to be happy, tried to pretend she wasn't broken. She met my step-dad, Sam, and he swept her off her feet. She was working part-time at a Hallmark store, just to keep her mind occupied and give her something to do. Sam would come in to buy cards for his daughters and they struck up a conversation and he ended up asking her out to dinner...just like a real life Hallmark story! Well, they ended up getting married and seemed to have a good, happy life together, until they both broke. Sam's son died of lung cancer in 2008 and he became broken like my Mother. Years of depression followed for both of them...using every penny they had to "buy" happiness, which was always fleeting.  But through it all, they had each other, loved each other and doted on each other. Sam loved my Mother more than anyone could and she loved him...and still does.

This past November [2022] Sam ended up in the hospital, really sick with sepsis and E.coli. The hospital said he was "on the fence" and could go either way. Since Sam has always been very healthy, very lean and athletic, he ended up getting better with some strong rounds of antibiotics. But the infection had caused some permanent damage to his brain and he became a different person. He started accusing my mother of taking things from him, hiding things from him, etc., and even accused her of having a "boyfriend" and was convinced she was sneaking this "boyfriend" through her bedroom window at night. He became so paranoid he bought a baby monitor and set it up in her bedroom, so he could watch her from his bedroom [I know, crazy stuff]. When he was sick in the hospital, my mother called Sam's biological daughter, Michele, just to let her know how sick her father was and just going on that "motherly instinct" of trying to do the right thing. I have never met Michele, but agreed that she should know her dad was very sick. Michele has been in and out of Sam's life over the last 20+ years, having been in prison for several years and in and out of jail numerous times in between. We all knew she had drug problems and money problems, but never thought she would do what she has done to my mother, her father and us. She came back into their lives and basically destroyed their lives. She may as well have just gone ahead and killed them, because she sucked every ounce of life they had left out of them. I'm not even going to go into details about the whole ordeal, it's to disgusting to even type. The bottom line is, she broke my Mother again. My Mother is broken, just like she was on May 11, 1987, but even worse this time. All she does is cry...EVERYTHING in her life has been taken from her. Michele destroyed her home, her husband, her entire world. There is nothing anyone can do or say to fix her. Sam is in and out of reality [mostly out], in and out of hospitals and facilities...he is broken. He is suicidal and doesn't want to go on without my mother, but they can't be together because of his mental illness, which he doesn't understand. 

All I do is and night, every day, every night. I'm right back to 1987 and I feel helpless, once again. I will get to face Michele in court and I don't know how that's going to make me feel. The depth of what she has done will never be known to us, since it continues on and on, day after day. I honestly have to say that she is the most vile, evil human being I have ever encountered and I wish she could be put away for the rest of her life for what she has done to my Mother and Sam. People like her don't even deserve to breath air, as far as I'm concerned. I will be at peace when she no longer walks this Earth...I know that's a horrible thing to say and a terrible way to feel, but she has broken me, too. 

Thanks for reading --- I know it's sad, but it still needs to be said. Kristin's spirit is living on in my son, Broc, and that's what keeps me going.

love and peace always ~ Kathy

Friday, May 5, 2023

Smudging vs. Xanax

I always forget how relaxing and healing "smudging" can be. Instead of reaching for a Xanax, I did a smudging ceremony, opened my windows, and did some meditation while listening to the birds. After I was done, I took a walk into the forest and witnessed two Cardinal parents teaching their baby how to fly.
Then I saw the first Mountain Laurel bloom of the year

 and a brand new Reishi Mushroom growing on a hemlock log. 
I realized then that I don't need pills to make me feel better, or make me grateful, I just need my own inner magic --- it's a win/win!

I always have to remind myself that negative energy fields can manifest as scattered emotional patterns, projects or goals which become delayed. Spiritual Influences, restless sleep behaviors, arguments or disagreements, illnesses, headaches, or visits from undesired guests, can result in us absorbing negative energy, sometimes without even realizing it – though we may feel uneasy without understanding the reason why. All of these times are good times to get out that smudge bundle.

Maybe you need to do some smudging, too! 
love and peace always ~ Kathy

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

The struggle is real...

Had to go sit on my "crying log" today, just so I can try to decompress. Counting out the remaining Xanax pills I have left that a friend gave me and wondering if I have enough left to even get through this day.

Have you had to deal with elderly parents that are hoarders? My Mom won't even answer the phone because she is so mad at me for throwing away her "stuff", even though I assured her the things thrown away were just trash and broken items that are not even usable...and 1/2 empty bottles of pills, cleaning products, beauty products, makeup, shampoo, etc. She even has boxes of things that belong to another family member that moved to another city and he hasn't even called her in over a year. I told her those things certainly need to go...she refuses. Even though she is excited about moving into an assisted living facility, where she will have a 1 bedroom apartment, she is convinced she'll have "room" for all of this garbage she refuses to get rid of. I'm almost at my wits end. She cries and cries and says we just want her to hurry up and die, so we don't have to deal with her anymore, blah de blah. I even asked AI what to do...this is what I got from that prompt:

 Tips and Strategies:
  1. Educate yourself about hoarding disorder: Learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for hoarding disorder. This can help you understand your parents' behavior and find ways to support them.
  1. Communicate with your parents: It's important to have an open and honest conversation with your parents about their hoarding behavior. Let them know that you are concerned for their safety and well-being, and offer your help.
  1. Seek professional help: Consider reaching out to a therapist or counselor who specializes in hoarding disorder. They can provide support and guidance for you and your parents.
  1. Set boundaries: It's important to set boundaries with your parents and establish clear guidelines for their behavior. For example, you may need to limit the amount of time you spend in their home or set rules for what they can keep.
  1. Get support: Dealing with hoarding behavior can be stressful and challenging. Don't hesitate to reach out to friends, family, or support groups for help and encouragement.
Conclusion: Coping with elderly hoarder parents can be a difficult and emotional journey. But with the right support and strategies, you can find ways to manage the situation and support your loved ones. Remember, you are not alone in this journey.

It's the very last sentence that I need to focus on, because I sure do feel alone in this journey. Even though my awesome Son is helping us so much, it's still a struggle. Any suggestions are appreciated! Thank you!

And, it seems as though every time I ask God for "sign" something shows up! Like this adorable little Buddha my daughter sent to me randomly in the mail yesterday! I needed this so's a sign that says, to me, "you got this" and "you are not alone". Even though today has been a struggle, there's always tomorrow! 

love and peace ~ Kathy

Sunday, April 23, 2023

What do you think about AI technology?


So what do you think about all this AI technology? I thought it was really cool when it first showed up and I use it all the time to edit photographs [like the one above, using Topaz software to create a "painterly" look], but now that it's actually "thinking" for us, I'm not too sure about it. When you can type in "a poem about frogs" and it writes this for you:

"Frogs croak and hop with glee,
 In ponds and streams, they dwell free.
Their skin may be slimy and green, 
But their songs are a joyous scene.

From tadpole to adult they grow, 
In nature's cycle, they flow.
 Their eyes bulge, their legs strong,
 A wonder to behold all along.

Oh, frogs, how you delight, 
In the day and through the night.
 Your presence fills us with peace,
 A reminder of nature's sweet release."

It makes me wonder what we are truly becoming...I spend a lot of time writing poems, writing stories, writing blog posts, etc., so this type of technology has me wondering what, if anything, is left to the imagination? What do you think? [and don't use AI for your answer 🤣]

And Happy Earth Day!

love and peace always ~ Kathy

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Bear Medicine

This whole year has been so daunting and depressing and feels like nothing will ever get better. Dealing with elderly parents, especially when one of them is having severe mental issues, is exhausting. One day they hate you, the next day they are crying like a baby and apologizing. Something just has to give. I went on a walk through our forest and pulled a few of the wildlife camera cards, just to see if there was anything on them to make my day. It has been a few years since we have seen a bear, so when I saw this big fuzzy wuzzy, I was so stoked! I said, Thank you, God, you know I needed this medicine today. And, ironically, I had been sitting on that chair the same afternoon and the day after that. It's a little chair I have set up by the little pond and I sit there and watch the tadpoles swim. And one of the websites I still get daily emails from is "DailyOm" --- it's amazing how often the messages in their emails is exactly spot on with what I'm feeling/going through. Of course, when I received the following email, it made me very emotional...if you don't think things happen for a reason, you need to think again! Thank you little Bear!! You have no idea how much I needed you!!
We can incorporate bear energy into our lives by remembering to take time to go inward, to rest and rejuvenate in daily mini hibernations.

"When the image of a bear enters our consciousness, we may first notice their size, strength, and power, but beyond their physical attributes lay many traits that can guide us deeper into our experience of life. Their abilities as hunters and powerful protectors of their loved ones are well known, but you may also envision them on a quest for variety as they seek out the flavors and scents of the world, first fishing, then enjoying berries, or braving angry bees to indulge in honey. But their hidden strength lies in the bear’s ability to travel between the physical and spiritual worlds, a talent that is recognized all around the world by those who live in harmony with nature.

One way that bears access their inner world is during hibernation when they find a safe and womb-like environment to let their physical bodies rest while their spirit travels. They travel through time, mentally digesting and learning from their experiences, but they also travel beyond the realm of mind and body into the dreamtime, where they are able to be rejuvenated by the source of all life. In this sacred space, they are connected to physical, mental, and spiritual realms all at once and can find the balance that they need to reenter world.

Polar bears don’t enter a deep state of hibernation like other bears, but instead fluidly cross between realms on the physical plane as well the spiritual. Their reflective, translucent fur makes them difficult to see as they move across the frozen ice, blending into terrain covered with snow, making them seem like they are shimmering between dimensions. They move as easily in water as on land, agile and able in both worlds. They can remind us that we are one with our environment, inseparable from it. They teach us that while we can take time apart to connect with spirit, we can also carry that awareness with us as we move through life, making the spiritual indistinguishable from the material. By aligning ourselves with bear energy, we fully embody the best of all worlds."
Then I found this clump of maple tree "whirly birds" and thought: Every day I'm challenged by more of what God thinks I can handle! Sometimes I wish I could be like a tree and just release everything that no longer serves me --- easier said than done. It's hard, but I'll get through it...I've gotten through much worse.

love and peace always ~ Kathy