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Harmony Art Mom-May 2019

Harmony Art Mom- Just Breathe

Home is a wonderful place. We’ve spent so much time going back and forth to California that just being back in my own home with my normal routine has been so refreshing. I feel more like myself than I have in a long time.

The weather has cooperated allowing us to get outdoors to hike and to work in the garden. With my healthy hips making it easier for me to get around, I’m thoroughly enjoying my freedom to do things for myself again. It’s been a long time!

Mom Time

barb mccoy and amanda

My daughter was out for a five day visit and we fit in a lot of girl time. We hiked together, did crafts, got pedicures, and met up with my sister and niece for lunch. It’s always so much fun when she’s able to come back home but it goes by too fast! I’m already looking forward to her next visit in July….the tickets are all purchased!

mccoy may 2019

My 3 boys are always coming and going at our home. I enjoy every minute of it and try to appreciate that they still want to see their crazy old mom.

kayak may 2019

Last week we took a paddle down the river together. I love the way we all have similar interests and enjoy each other’s company. It made my heart happy when my middle son sent me lots of photos as he was vacationing in Alaska. He brought me home a rock he collected. Love it!

Me Time

I was in the mood for some spring cleaning so I organized cupboards and sorted winter clothes before boxing them up for the season… I washed windows and dusted knick knacks. Starting fresh just seemed like the way to go.


dave and dogs fall river

There were papers to shred and photos to print. I find such solace in being organized and even for a minute to feel like I’m in control of things. There have been way too many months of not being in control and feeling like at any moment we would need to react to someone else’s needs. My husband and I have actually started to make a list of summer things we want to do and places we want to go. I pray that we’ll be able to have a few months of summer to take in all the amazing things about living in Central Oregon during June and July.

Harmony Art Mom

Next time I’ll share some of our projects we’re doing here at the house…creatively using materials we have gleaned from the yard, gathered from friends and family, and purchased locally. Stretching our retirement budget is something I’m just starting to get the hang of after 2 years of living here.

sierra and kona

I don’t think I’ve shared much about our new Labrador, so that will be on my list for next time too. I forgot how much having a puppy is like having a new child. There is so much training to do, but lots of rewards that go along with it.

If you want to see what we’ve been up to during our time outdoors, you can read this month’s Outdoor Mom post over on my other blog, Handbook of Nature Study.




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.

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