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Harmony Art Mom- Stay Calm

Harmony Art Mom

Creating Calm out of Chaos

My last Harmony Art Mom post was one that shared how 2018 had been a twisting, turning road down uncharted paths and unpainted canvasses. Just a few months into 2019, our family has been thrust into more drama than we’ve experienced in a long time.

As often happens in life, things don’t turn out as anticipated. Our last weeks have been filled with moving my parents out to assisted living, emergency room visits, ICU stays, and now we’re in a period of hospice for my mom.

Not only was my mom in the ICU, but my dad took a turn and ended up on the other side of the hospital, being treated for multiple conditions he’s been ignoring. The stress of mom’s illness put him over the top. Our family has been moving between both hospital rooms making sure both of our parents are getting the care and the support they need that comes with serious illness.

hospice butterflyCompassion

Little did I know when I picked the word “compassion” as my word of the year for 2019, that I would be thrown into the fire of learning just what compassion means when it applies to the end of someone’s life. I’ve sat at my mom’s bedside as she has cried, been angry, and then reflective about happy memories of family and times from the past. For the most part, I just listen and rub her shoulders and offer liquids when she feels thirsty. She’s only eating popsicles and ice cream with regularity. I’ll never look at a popsicle from now on without remembering how much my mom loves the purple ones.

I feel very ill-equipped to keep her entirely comfortable and peaceful but my mind keeps recalling encouraging scriptures and songs. I see how the real healing of her spirit comes as each of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren come to visit. She seems to want to tell each of them she loves them, that they are good people and then maybe a little advice for the future. I listened as she asked my grand-niece about what she wanted to be when she grew up. This little 5 year old said she wanted to be a doctor, a baker, and a mommy. My mom told her that being a mom is the hardest job of all. We all agreed.

How much longer I’ll be here helping and encouraging is up in the air. I just keep thinking and feeling that this is where I’m supposed to be, even though it pretty much means the rest of my life is on hold. I explained in my Sketch Tuesday post this week that keeping a good routine is what’s grounding me. I begin each day with some spiritual encouragement, a little exercise, and then a bit of work and journaling. It’s a chapter in my life.

At some point I will write here about how I’m changing in my determination to keep things simple and to keep on working to have good, deep relationships with my close family and friends. Thanks for listening and for all of your notes and emails of encouragement….they mean a lot at this time and help me remain calm even in the midst of the chaos of watching a parent dying.

Harmony Art Mom – Catch Up For The Year

It appears I’ve only posted one Harmony Art Mom post for the whole of 2018. What happened there? I didn’t mean to be silent for so long, but I’ll fill in with the highlights of my Harmony Art Mom year.

Harmony Art Mom 2018
This has been a busy year of adjusting to living in a new place and to the comings and goings of friends and family. We knew when we moved here that we were starting a new chapter in our family, but nothing ever quite turns out as planned. I’m getting better at the twists and turns of life with four grown children and elderly parents.
Through the challenges of this year, I was introduced to a new way of looking at things. It has saved my sanity and kept my emotions in their proper place.

“Don’t let your highs be too high or your lows too low.”

We can plan and dream about how a year will go at the start of each new year but really it’s the unexpected joys that come along that make the time special. In my case, it’s been in the form of friendships made and deepened, the surprise of family relationships healing and growing, and then the taking on of challenges and seeing how we are supported by loved ones and the answers of prayers that highlighted 2018 as a memorable year.

Harmony Art Mom 2018 crater lake
Our four children, who are all of the Millennial generation, are continuing to be a big part of our life. No marriages or grandchildren yet, but all four are healthy and growing as adults. Continuing to be home base for the two younger boys, allows us to continue our close relationships. Whether it’s advice on careers, girls, or how to fix a car, both my husband and I treasure the connections and opportunity to see them continue to grow and take on life.

Harmony Art Mom 2018 summer family
2018 was filled with visitors who came to spend some time with us and see the wonders of where we live. Whether it was just a married couple or a houseful at a time, we enjoyed every minute! There were campfires, dinners made on the smoker, horseshoes, long walks along the river, kayak trips and floating, board games, and good conversation. Especially in the summer, it was sort of like a string of mini-vacations when friends and family came to visit. More than once we were told that it’s a joy to come and be quiet and still, gazing out at the landscape. We feel the same and so blessed to be here full time.

Harmony Art Mom 2018 with daughter
What a sweet chapter in our life.

Then the autumn came along and we made the decision to get both my hips replaced at one time. I am relatively young and healthy which made me a good candidate for this surgery. After much research, prayer, and conversation with family, it was decided. I’m now eight weeks post-operative and am feeling like I’m getting my life back. The surgery and recovery have not been too painful or difficult but it’s been the mental challenge of being at home and dependent on my family and friends. I learned to take it one day at a time and remember my goal of not getting to emotionally high or low….keeping an even keel and looking at the positive. I tried to make good use of my time spent confined in the house with a walker and cane by catching up on my reading, doing lots of writing and journaling, and reaching out to others through cards, email, and texts.

Harmony Art Mom 2018 hip surgery
Looking back on the last eight weeks, my sweetest moments have been the little encouraging texts and visits from people who truly care about me. My husband has been my hero and so devoted to my care. He continues to amaze me with his ability to be calm and encouraging even when I am in tears.

Harmony Art Mom 2018 wildflowers
A friend told me that soon this whole surgery and recovery will be a “speed bump in my rearview mirror”. What a great way to look at this whole experience! Next spring when I’m hiking up a trail with no pain, I know this time will seem a distant memory.

Harmony Art Mom 2018 kayak
Like I said in the beginning of this post, we can make a plan but then as the year goes on we see the path takes some unexpected turns and the plan goes astray. I think I’m going to change my attitude about yearly plans and view it more like creating a beautiful painting. As the year starts, it’s like having an idea for a painting. We can sketch it out on the canvas and have a vague idea of how it will look as we put the first bits of paint down. As the year unfolds, the painting becomes more vivid and full of life. There are always things to adjust and adapt to and perhaps even a “mistake” makes us paint over a section. But, in the end, the painting can be a masterpiece.

Harmony Art Mom 2018 family reunion
So, I am approaching 2019 as an unfinished painting. The canvas is spread, the paints are ready, and now we can see what will take shape.

Harmony Art Mom 2018 ponderosa pine
Thanks to all my loyal readers, those of you who take the time to comment or send a personal email from time to time. It makes my heart happy to hear how this blog and my work have helped you and encouraged you.

My message continues to be that there is life after homeschooling and those hours you spend with your children building relationships are some of the most important and treasured times you will ever experience as a parent. Don’t overlook the long term benefits of time spent engaged in enjoyable learning with your children.
If you are like me, you are anxious to see how their canvases will be painted.

“Pleasures of Winter”



“When there’s frost or snow on the ground, children have fun sliding, throwing snowballs and building from snow. But even when the snow is slushy and dirty, or the sky is gray, they should have interesting things to do outside so that their hearts are cheerful even when the day is cold and dreary.”
Charlotte Mason (in modern English) volume 1 page 85

I normally talk here on this blog about art and music and my love for both as part of my family life and my business. But, there is also the love I have for the great outdoors and the study of the things found there. This week I’m sharing a post from my archives that hopefully will give you some incentive to get outside even though it is the winter season. I’ve embraced cold weather nature study since moving to Oregon and have found the benefits of even a few minutes a day outside far outweigh the inconveniences of being cold.

Please click over to read my thoughts on “The Pleasures of Winter”.

Have you checked out my nature study website lately?


Handbook of Nature Study Logo

If you’re interested in an Ultimate Naturalist Library Membership, you can use the discount code NATURE5 to get $5 off a membership.

Winter Wednesday ebook

Here is one of the winter ebooks that you can find in the Ultimate Naturalist Library membership. We are currently working through the nature study ideas together each Friday. You can download a sample here: Winter Wednesday ebook sample. 


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