Tag Archives: inspiration

Marching Forth on March 4th

“What is the only day images-3of the year that commands you to go forward?”

This was the riddle printed beneath the cartoon that cradled the fragrant pink piece of Dubble Bubble chewing gum. I sucked up the sweet gum juice as I read the answer: March Forth. (March Fourth.)Then I proceeded to practice the art of blowing a bubble within a bubble. But that vital bit of gummy trivia stayed with me.

March Fourth always seems like an important date, an unsung holiday.

imagesI tried everything in my power to encourage my first daughter, due on March 7, to emerge on that auspicious day, including taking a long walk and going on a bumpy Jeep ride. Alas, she lingered until the fifth.

Now, I celebrate the day by creating a collage that proclaims how I want to  March Forth through the year.  This collage may sing with travel photos or contain inspiring words or picture a best selling book or depict meaningful family relationships:I try to put my vision for my higher self on the page.

As part of this year’s March Forth, I have gathered some quotes that inspire and guide me and that I’ll be using to go forward during 2015. Here’s to Marching Forth towards living your life’s purpose.

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Deborah Shouse is the author of Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey.

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Six Creative Thoughts on Acceptance

letting go of control

Recently we have had the pleasure of talking to people from various Alzheimer’s Associations. One piece of wisdom many of them have shared:   Accept persons living with dementia as they are, without trying to change them.

Here are a few quotes that remind us of the power of acceptance and an inspiring story from Annabelle Montoya of the Alzheimer’s Association, New Mexico Chapter.

Click here to hear a great story from Annabelle

accepting life as it isAcceptance

 

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     monkey with bird

 

 

Deborah Shouse is the author of Love in the Land of Dementia:   Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey.

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Four Reminders to Enjoy the Moment

images-1Every week, I have the joy of interviewing a couple and learning their love story. We talk about where and when they met, what they like about each other, and how they stay connected during life’s chaos and challenges.

Recently, I talked to a couple who met in their late seventies. Both had lost their spouses and both were amazed to fall in love again. When I asked how they kept their relationship strong, she answered, “Because of our age, we know we don’t have that much time left to be together. We enjoy every moment of every day.”

Since that conversation, I have thought often about her words: What would it be like to truly appreciate every moment? What would it be like to completely appreciate each person I spent time with?

Being present and appreciative were two of my goals when I spent time with my mom in her later years. One moment, I felt connected, holding Mom’s hand, sitting right next to her while pointing out interesting pictures in a magazine, and the next moment her head would be lowered, her energy drained and I felt alone and sad. But of course, I wasn’t alone; I was right next to my mother, still holding her hand. My task was to enjoy that quiet minutes as much as the time that Mom was interacting with me.

“Enjoy every moment of every day.” These quotes echo that important reminder .

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Deborah Shouse is the author of Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey.

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Many a Quote to Keep us Afloat

fantastiksPlease God, Please, don’t let me be normal!”

When I was growing up, my friend Susan and I often chanted this line from the Fantastiks. For us, normal meant mundane and we envisioned ourselves living daringly on the creative cusps.

During my time as a family caregiver, I often yearned for more of that mythical “normal.” Yet, I also wanted to be connected to my creative spirit. These are some of the words of wisdom that I used for infusions of inspiration. I’d love to hear from you: what quotes keep you afloat?

“Be recklessly generous and relentlessly kind.” Pam Grout

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” George Eliot

meditating“May all beings be happy. May all my thoughts, words and actions contribute in some way to the happiness of all beings.” Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu:

These two quotes remind me to open my heart and dream.
“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.” Maya Angelou

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” (Mark Twain)sail away

Deborah Shouse is the author of Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey.

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Six Spiritual Practices For Living with a Diagnosis of Dementia

Normally, you can put my friend Vicki Stoecklin in any city and she will easily get her bearings. From Paris to Dubai to Marrakesh, Vicki is used to working in and making her way around foreign countries.

So, at age 58, when she started getting lost in her own city, she knew something was seriously wrong.

Vicki had been plagued with a series of chronic physical ailments and she figured she’d deal with whatever this new issue was.Image 1

But she was caught off when the neurologist said bluntly, “You have dementia.”

“What am I supposed to do?” Vicki said.

“Live your life,” he said.

Learning to Live with Dementia

Initially, ”living life” was a huge challenge. She had trouble remembering where she’d put things; her feelings were disoriented. She could no longer drive and or do simple math. Her vision played tricks on her: she saw black holes where there were none. And she felt isolated from her community and friends.

But Vicki had a wealth of inner strength and resources. When she told me about her spiritual practices, I was inspired and moved. Here are a few of the ideas she uses to center and care for herself.

Learning Self-Compassion

“I learned to have compassion for myself,” she says. “If I’m having a hard time concentrating on a book, I stop and do something comforting, instead of pushing myself.”

Using Family Treasures to Encourage Contemplation Image

Vicki enjoys contemplating her grandmother’s hand made quilt, which hangs on the wall of Vicki’s meditation room. “She probably had Alzheimer’s when she stitched those squares together,” Vicki says.

Inviting out the Inner Artist

Vicki uses crayons, watercolors, and colored pencils to explore her own artistic process.

“My depth and visual perception is off, so my work is abstract,” she says. “I also find it meditative to color labyrinths and mazes.”

Opening the Heart to Spiritual Texts

Vicki has a number of trusted books she calls upon.

One favorite is Peace in the Storm: Daily Meditations and Prayers for Those Affected with Chronic Illness.  

“This book has been a great support to me,” Vicki says. “It’s about finding your relationship with God during the challenges of ongoing illness.” Another book that spoke to Vicki was Proof Of Heaven by Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon who writes about his near-death experience. She also frequently reads Psalms.

Praying With and For Others

Vicki has a small box that she puts little prayers in for her grandson and her daughter. She has become a chaplain at her church and often prays for others. She also finds comfort in using the 24-hour prayer service at Silent Unity

Documenting Her Life Story

She has created two memory books — one for her work and one for her life. “These books are also reminders of the many happy memories over my lifetime,” she says.

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Q 4 U 

What are some ways you incorporate spirituality into your life?

If you’d like to contact Vicki, you may email her at Vicki vickiwhllg@aol.com

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