Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My world has changed drastically since my last post. A new year has come, along with new challenges. My father had a stroke nearly two weeks ago. It came as a huge shock, as he was in perfect health, exercised regularly, didn't smoke, had his cholesterol under control, etc. In recounting the event, I have been trying to push the painful details away. I no longer want to remember the moment of sheer terror, paralysis, fear of the unknown.... the emotion is so strong that I can't even pinpoint the words needed to express myself fully. Instead of allowing my mind to continually focus on that image of my father, in his weakened, helpless state, I have been focusing on the images of him in the present. The images of him getting stronger, looking healthier, talking with almost no slur, discovering the new movements of his hand, foot, leg. There has been huge progress over the past two weeks. I am so proud of the determination and strength my dad has found in himself.

This whole occurrence has often felt surreal, like I'm walking around in a blurred vision, waiting for my eyes to focus. I have been keeping things from tearing at the the seams. I am slowing starting to feel better, as I engage with different activities; discussions at school, reading, writing, being creative, watching TV, relaxing - the normal things that I take solace in. I am trying to put the guilt behind me and tell myself that such things are needed to be stress-free, and to become my optimal self. I am no good when my reserves are low; I have nothing positive to offer. I need down time, I need to feel good about myself before I can make others around me feel good. If that takes a few moments, hours, or a whole day, then I can allow it to myself. We will all be better in the long run.

I am working on engaging with things this year. I no longer want to simply go through the motions. I want to read more, especially for school, and actually value the things brought up in class. I will not let myself skip classes to the extent that I have in the past. I do feel that my classes are more worthwhile than ever this semester, because they are focusing on classroom practice, and that is what I have been craving since the very beginning. I was so inspired in my English Language Arts class yesterday - we had a book exchange/discussion day. We all talked about the books we are currently reading, our favorite books, books we want to read, and so forth. There were many books that I was dying to get my hands on. Some books were brought up that I had forgotten I had read! It made me realize how important it is now to keep a reading record. I'm also excited about the book that we're required to read for the class, as it has so many great, hands-on classroom tips on teaching effective reading and writing skills.

On top of that, I have created 4 new word documents on my computer: books I'd like to read, movies I'd like to see, quotes that inspire me, and music to look into. And of course, I'm still inspired to scrapbook, but haven't found much time to do so lately. There are so many wonderful and inspiring challenges going on at the Scrapbook Centrale site! It's great to know that there are so many things waiting for me when I have spare time. I also signed myself up for the birthday tag list this year, which should be really fun.

I'd been thinking about Ali Edward's word of the year challenge. For the longest time I couldn't figure out what I should select, but finally a word came to me that felt appropriate:

sted-ˌfast also -fəst\
Middle English stedefast, from Old English stedefæst, from stede + fæst fixed, fast
before 12th century
2: firm in belief, determination, or adherence : loyal

I just feel that in light of recent events, this word just describes it all. It's not only about belief in my dad's recovery, but belief in me to be able to accomplish it all despite the challenges. To adhere to my goals, to go about my day with a sense of purpose and knowing. To live knowing that I am strong, unwavering, and loyal to my family, my love, my future profession, and my hobbies and passions.

On another note, I'll admit that my workouts have been quite slack lately, but I just don't have the energy to put into them these days, and my body is telling me to take it easy. I get my cardio from walking up the Education hill 4 times per week. I have been doing weights here and there, and abs and a bit of yoga, but in smaller increments. I'm feeling okay with that. I'm not going to go overboard, as I feel there are more important things right now. Of course I know that my physical fitness is a key part of my life, but right now I'm not obsessed with exercise as I have been in the past.

Alright, well, my morning's almost gone, but I think this post was quite necessary and therapeutic for me, as I haven't written anything of this nature for some time now. I realize that I need to write more for myself, and not just journaling for my scrapbooking pages. Patrick, thanks for always knowing this and believing I would get to it in due time (love you).

I will leave you with this quote. This quote I have loved for years now; I first read it in a tiny book of quotes that a friend had given to my mother after my aunt passed away. I remember reading it and thinking, how true. It just touched me, and made sense. But of course, life goes on and we tend to forget, and this quote had long since retreated to the back of my mind. But today, when I reread it, I remembered its utmost importance.

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return." Mary Jean Iron

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