About Me

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I suffered a serious stroke 9 years ago (aged 43 at the time) and it's been a slow, often frustrating, recovery... I lost my speech and was totally paralyzed on my right side, but with patience and regular physiotherapy, I can now speak, walk short distances, operate the computer, but my right side is still paralyzed. I get botox injections 3 times a year in my right bicep and forearm, which relaxes the high-tone muscles and makes it easier to stand and walk. Last year I started weekly sessions of hydrotherapy, where I build up the wasted muscles by exercising while supported by the warm water. It's bliss at the time, but I ache like heck next day - but it's so worth it :)

17 November 2013

Sunday

Feel free to click on the photo to enlarge :)
 
Under the Full Frost Moon, allow that fresh chill in the air to wake you up to your dreams. Let creating your dreamboard be a clarifying act, bringing into focus the dreams that are in your heart. As you create your board, hold gently a request for clarity. Notice what is revealed.
So writes Jamie on today's Full Moon post...
 
I made this, my second Dreamboard, yesterday evening, and like my first one last month, I held the questions Jamie posed on the New Moon, 'What is clear about your dreams? What further clarity do you seek?' in my heart as I chose the images.
 
I find it so interesting that while I affix images with no clear plan in mind, you can see the two distinct pages - the left page all blues and cold winter images, the right page much warmer earthier colours. This wasn't a conscious decision!
 

Again, I used several pages from old We'Moon diaries - clearly the artists and poets featured there speak to me! And images from mail order catalogues, including a clipped quote by Claudia Black, 'Trust in yourself. Your perceptions are often far more accurate than you are willing to believe.'


These images - again using two We'Moon pages - and the image I made of the hand holding the spring leaf, under the star/sun, seem to indicate a flowering...

As the poem 'At This Time' by Margot Henderson 2004, says:

At this time we stand
upon the earth as winter trees.
We are called on to release.
To strip our branches
and to shed our leaves...
Till we are left reaching
our bare branches to the sky
surrendering,
only then
can the emerging buds be seen
only then can we bring light
to our unfolding dream.




 


18 October 2013

Friday

Feel free to click on the image to enlarge :)

Here's my first ever Full Moon Dreamboard!
(I share how I made the journal on the Libra New Moon here.)
I really had fun with this - gathering images from my stash box mindful of Jamie's question for the October Harvest Moon: What do I want an abundance of?

Starting from the top left:
Long awaited Autumn (a favourite season!), a cute typewriter (I want to write more), Inspiration (always want more of that!), handmade books *sigh*, and Sisterhood (image of some suffragettes for International Women's Day). Then, the words 'Growing confidence...' and 'Beauty and tranquillity combined', with a gorgeous image of a turn-of-the-century artist at her easel (I want to paint more), and an amazing quote:

Clear your mind, quiet your thoughts. You are a vessel.
What you need will come to you.
Christy Santaro (2006)

clipped from an old We'Moon diary. My 'word' for 2013 has been Be a Vessel :)

Then on the right: Jamie's prompt/focus, a card of a fabulous stained glass window where I've written October 2013 and Harvest Moon. Then the words: 'Exciting, watching, relaxing, haunted' clipped from a World of Interiors advert, the words 'Making Your Mark' and another gorgeous image of a Victorian writer/student/scholar.

Ending with another We'Moon page with these words:

Each Woman carries within her the medicine for her healing. Sometimes it is hard to see and feel the one who holds the medicine bag. She is there. We must never stop listening for her arrivals. Shhh... Silently she comes bringing what is now needed. Believe...
Shiloh Sophia McCloud (2007)

On which I've stuck a found, fallen leaf...

I've found making this dreamboard very healing... I knew I would, as soon as I saw Jamie's interview with Susannah Conway (I just took Susannah's Journal Your Life course), and she mentioned her Full Moon practice.

Now, each month, I will look for images for my own healing, for I know the Moon brings medicine and healing in all her phases...

Thank you, Jamie! I'm so happy I found you :)


07 October 2013

Monday

Today's journal prompts from Susannah were all about Spirit, what we believe and making altars...

Funnily enough (why am I always surprised by serendipity/synchronicity/timings??), I made an altar this weekend...


... on top of the dvd cupboard I sit opposite on the sofa.

The 'cloth' is a small wall-hanging a dear friend made last year as a birthday gift, it shows a haiku she wrote for me.

On the left is a coaster my daughter made in DT last year showing the deathly hallows (she's Harry Potter mad!)

Behind that is my Mary Magdalene statue I found on ebay from France. I'm fascinated by MM having read this amazing book, and believe she has been misrepresented/misunderstood by 2000 years of male-dominated Christianity.

Next to Mary are two artworks bought from Birdie Fincham. The monoprint (The Blessing of Water), I think perfectly shows one part of my soul (it's hard to get a good photo because of the flash glare).


The painting (The Pilgrims) shows another - I am a Taurean, and that white bull head scares me, but she is a part of me, as much as the calm, praying pilgrim next to it.


The canvas saying was given to me by a dear friend, and at the front right is a new purchase - a coconut offering bowl from Lauren. To me it's the perfect representation of my word for 2013 Be a Vessel, as I show on the right sidebar of this blog :)


Inside, I've put a wee murano glass heart, which I've had for years and truly cannot remember how I acquired it!

I think you can tell why these items are on my altar :)


01 October 2013

Wednesday

Can't believe it's been a week since I posted!

I have been busy since Friday, when Susannah Conway interviewed Jamie Ridler.
I was really struck by her Full Moon Dreamboards... I've never made a dreamboard as I don't really subscribe to the whole manifestation philosophy.

But I've always been aware of the Moon and her phases. So I made this...

... and I've done this so far...
It's the New Moon on Friday/Saturday. My plan is to make the Full Moon spreads double-paged, so this is to just set the tone of the journal...

By the way, the lunar calendars on the inside cover are from We'Moon diaries, which I just adore. I cannibalize the poems, articles and artwork from them when I'm finished :)

Like Jamie suggested, I looked for white space in the pictures I chose, so I could write on the  images. But I need to find an all-surface pen, as I struggle to write in pencil, even though I have these coloured all-surface pencils, bought before the stroke.

Also, I've added a new badge to the sidebar which links to this month's prompts from Jamie for the Harvest Moon, if you wish to join in :)

I'm really looking forward to this new practice - it just seems 'right' for me.

25 September 2013

Wednesday


Today is a special day - our Gorgeous Boy is 18!!

After 3 miscarriages and a stillbirth (Connie in 1993), we feared we'd never have children...

But the marvellous Prof. James at QMC Nottingham worked out what was wrong - I have Protein S Deficiency, i.e. 'sticky blood'. And when I conceived again, I was scanned every 2 weeks, until Samuel Dickson Sauer was safely delivered on 25 September 1995.

He grew into a beautiful toddler...


 ... then into a fine young man...


... and today he is legally an adult, and I am so proud to be his mama :)







21 September 2013

Saturday



Today is a grey, overcast, autumn day...

And I feel like this leaf, dropped by its tree.

I don't want to be morose, but the reality is that the stroke removed me from the workforce. I was a freelance proofreader and editor with several academic publishers, so not a great shaker and mover, I admit, but I was a tax-paying, useful member of society. I was connected to the great tree of society, albeit at the end of a rather obscure, little branch.

Also, I was connected to friends - we would meet up for coffee or a drink in a pub. I would give folk lifts to book group or a local craft fair...

But the reality is, these friends - many of whom I've known for decades - have just disappeared in the past 6 years, and that is sad. Many did visit me in hospital in those 3 months after the stroke, and some did visit me at home in the first year.

But now, 6 years on, the phone doesn't ring, and yes, I'm sad, and I miss them.

The faithful few do keep in touch, and for them I am grateful. But everyone is busy with jobs, with family, with ageing parents; and meeting up with me is time-consuming - they have to drive, pack up the wheelchair, then push me around...
 
*******

And so, I lie on the ground like this leaf disconnected from my former-life network, but unlike this leaf, I'm not passively waiting to be turned into mulch...

I am actively creating new connections, online connections with real people. Only this week, Eileen came for lunch on the train from Nottingham, whom I'd 'met' in an online class with Janet Conner a few months ago.

Currently, I'm 'meeting' people in Susannah Conway's Journal Your Life course, which is directly responsible for the creation of this blog. This week's prompts have been about connecting with our bodies, and asking direct questions, and this is what I scribbled yesterday
I know I look older than my 49 years with my half-paralyzed, unsteady body, but in my heart, in my soul, I am fully able-bodied and young and interested in life...

Every human being is always more than the sum of their parts, and the internet is at its best when it's giving people a platform, a voice; especially those who otherwise would feel disconnected and voiceless...

... like this leaf.




20 September 2013

Friday

Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness;
I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome
that one cannot walk away from it.
Soren Kierkegaard, letter, 1847
 
 
I was wondering how to start this first post of my new blog, but nothing came...
 
Then this quote appeared in my email. I subscribe to several daily emails including Gretchen Rubin's Moment of Happiness, as I love collecting quotes, and I'm always open to synchronicity :)
 
Now, I cannot physically walk far since the stroke, but I can walk in my mind...

In my mind, as in my dreams, I am able-bodied. I walk, I run, I skip, I dance. My body is strong and flexible - I have a dancer's body, at her physical peak!

The reality couldn't be more different...

Yes, I have regained my speech well enough, maybe, for strangers to not know it was lost for a year after the stroke, and when it did return, it was that of a Scandinavian learning English. (My speech therapist was soooo excited, as she'd read of this phenomenon, but not seen it!)
 
My 'normal, pre-stroke' voice returned a couple of years ago, but when I'm tired or under stress, I struggle to find words, to form sounds, especially r's.

My right side is still paralyzed, and my balance is poor. I drag my right leg, and tire very easily...

But, as the quote says, I can 'walk myself into a state of well-being'. This is a conscious choice, day by day, moment by moment...

On good days, the fact I'm 'Able at Heart' translates into my physical capacity...

I can type.
I can write left-handed.
I can draw left-handed (my profile pic was drawn last year for an art swap).
I can paint left-handed,
I have opened an Etsy shop.
I have sold a painting.
I can contribute.

And today is a good day.