#reverb10 – Community

So what exactly is community? My interpretation is a place of nurturing, a safe zone – somewhere I feel comfortable. Now Merriam Webster has a slightly different take, but it is a definition with many variances. I will recount a few of them here: “a unified body of individuals: as a :state or commonwealth; b : the people with common interests living in a particular area; broadly : the area itself ; c : an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location.”
My reflection of community is best associated with example ‘c’ – an interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location. That I believe is a good definition of Facebook, and remarkably I have found a definite home on this social networking site.
This year as I dealt with the passing of my mother the many messages and heartfelt sentiments received from both near and far acted as a healing balm and made this most difficult time more bearable. During and after this time the many messages that were meant just to bring a smile achieved their goal. I also reconnected with many people I had not heard from in more than 20 years, so I would say that social networking sites have become a community of support for me.
Additionally, in the last several weeks I have participated in a number of classes online that have opened up many new communities. In particular the participants in two classes over at Big Picture Classes – “The Gift of Words” and “Picture the Holidays” have been inviting and represent a true interacting population of various kinds of individuals. Primarily women, but I have noticed a man or two in the forums, we all hail from various corners of the world and have been brought together in support of an art with all love.
With all of this online activity is there a face-to-face community I am hoping to join or re-engage? I would say that the passing of my Mom has left a huge void in my family and that sense of community is something that I am longing for particularly during this time of year. I will pray, meditate and contemplate the best ways to remedy this situation.
In the meantime I will continue to value my new online communities and nurture the face to face communities I belong to and call home.

#reverb10 – What is the Last Thing You Made?

So on my second day of participating in #reverb10 I am happy to say we have a happy topic, or one that does not dwell on any sadness. The topic today is what is the last thing you made and this works well with my previous post on feeling a little scatterbrained because I have been doing so many things. So technically, the last thing I made was one half of a pair of foot warmers. These are hand knit and made first and foremost with love, because I love the person who will wear them and I hope that each time they put them on the depth of our friendship will come through and warm them both physically and emotionally. The yarn used to knit these warmers is Artful Yarns Circus and it is 95% wool and 5% acrylic so they are nice and warm and you can toss them in the laundry – making them convenient.
I have knit these over the last several years for a number of friends and I receive rave reviews after the fact. It is such a joy to knit something and then have the recipient genuinely enjoy the gift. This is something that really brings a smile to my face!
The completed project are a couple of hand knit hats, again they are made with love, but t
he fiber used was Cascade Lana Grande a bulky yarn – also a mix of wool and acrylic.
I can’t wait to pass on the love!

Reverb10 – "What (or whom) Did You Let Go of This Year? Why

Today is my first day participating in Reverb10. If you’re not familiar, this is an annual challenge held during the month of December and you – the writer are given prompts each day to tell the story of the year and look forward to the new year. That’s my interpretation and I think I’m on point.

So I’m five days behind and I would start on the day they pose the tough prompt. So herei it goes!
February 27, 2010
Have you ever woke up and gone through the day without a clue as to the devastation and pain that was quickly approaching? Well that is the only way I can describe the day I had to say goodbye to my mother, Chris Shockley. I’ve never felt so much pain.

The day started at my parent’s house where I had spent the night with my Mom. She was having a difficult time at night, but I never thought the end was this close. Mommy was restless Friday night constantly going from bed to chair, from bed to chair. It was almost as if she didn’t want to sleep, and now as I reflect I wonder did she know the end was close and she wasn’t quite ready? I think maybe. I now know that she was telling me the time was near, but I continued to hold on to hope that she would continue to fight.
At one point during the night she would wake and ask me to hold her as she went back to sleep and then a few hours later she woke with a start and yelled “I’m leaving” and I quieted her and said I was there and everything was okay. Today I know that she was letting me know that her journey was coming to an end.
I left my parent’s house the next morning with my Mom seated on the side of her bed. She said “I love you,” and I told her the same and that I would talk with her later. When I got home I went to bed and slept for most of the day. That evening I was to attend an American Legion dance with my husband so I got up and got dressed to spend a night on the town.
Less than an hour after arriving at the Party Center I received a call from my sister saying Mommy’s pulse was thready and weak and I needed to get to the house. I grabbed the keys from my husband and began the fifteen minute drive to my parent’s house. We were in the midst of a snow storm and I traveled as fast as I could – praying all the way “Lord, let her hold on until I get there. Lord, please don’t take her.” The snow was coming down thick and heavy and the roads were becoming slick, but I made it.
I drove into the driveway and ran to the back door where I was greeted by my aunt, and I knew before she said anything that I was too late. The pain grabbed me deep within my stomach and a scream of “Noooooo!” could be heard throughout the house. I slumped to the floor and cried before going upstairs and laying with my mother and saying goodbye.
Cancer had once again knocked on the door of my family and taken a cherished member away. My world is emptier and I am regularly reaching to call her on the phone and recount something special, interesting or funny going on in my life.
A piece of my heart has gone, but I now have my own personal angel watching over me. Below is the tribute I wrote in honor of my Mom.

The Birdie on My Shoulder

From the beginning you fought for me

That fight would continue for many years in many forms.

Your strength was always present even when we were apart.

You assured me that whenever I had trouble all I had to do was look on my shoulder

On my shoulder a little bird sat watching – that Red Robin was you.

You watched over me as I spoke my first words, took my first steps and ventured out into the world.

As I ventured into the world you assured me that you would be there, “I’m the little bird on your shoulder” you said.

With every step I’ve taken since I’ve paused to think “What would my little birdie think?”

My birdie said “Reach for the sky, there are no limits if you work hard at it.”

When the ceiling seemed short and I couldn’t see my birdie. You said take your arms, wrap them around you and squeeze.

That ever present hug is what I’m holding on to, because my birdie still watches over me, but she has taken flight and is perched on the right side of God.

From that perch on high she will guide and protect me.

Picture the Holidays

The first assignment/challenge was Gratitude. Here is my shot on gratitude.

So you might wonder why am I grateful for myself? Well I am grateful for each day the Lord has given me, but I was also grateful for the opportunity Big Picture Online Classes and specifically Picture the Holidays has given me to reignite by love of photography and to capture this shot!

What A Busy Time of Year

Wow, it’s been a very hectic couple of weeks around here lately! I’m feeling a little scatterbrained lately. I have so many things I’m trying to focus on, and it appears as though something is going to be missed or come up short.

So why so busy? Well I came across this great website Big Picture Classes Online and it has really rekindled my interest in photography, which of course led to many more sites and reading as well as admiring the work of many photographers from all over the world.
Then there is Jessica Sprague, who you can find here. She had a wonderful free class, Inspiration Everywhere and of course I had to sign up because I’m always looking for inspiration! Add to all of this the routine Christmas knitting and Holiday cards to make, and you have a woman with a whole lot going on.
So am I accomplishing anything? I think I am to some degree. In a recent conversation with one of my sisters she asked what was going on and my response was “oh just doing too much,” and her response was “as usual”. Sometimes I do have a tendency not to say “no” to others when they are in need of my assistance but this time around I’m doing things for me. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself, but I really believe this hyperactivity is a coping mechanism. I’ve also added the reverb10story challenge to my plate.
You see this is the first holiday season without my Mom, and I am trying to cope in the best way possible – stay busy. Now this doesn’t mean that she doesn’t creep into my mind and my activities, but boy are the days more bearable.
I’ll be posting details of all of my new adventures. I hope you will join me on this journey!