Even though Thanksgiving is in the past, it is still very much on my mind as I continue to consciously remember all I am thankful for.
Being thankful is something I try to cultivate each and every day. Before I get out of bed in the morning, I stop to remember all I have for which I am grateful. For the past few weeks and on Thanksgiving especially I have been particularly thankful to be alive. Along with that, I am thankful that I am glad to be alive and that I no longer wish I were not.
Praise God, The darkdark days of depression are mostly in the past. Like everyone, I still have those days when I feel sad and melancholy, but for the most part, my days are good and my outlook is positive.
Some of that may be that all of my medication is stablized. I have been weaned from most all of the heavy narcotics that caused side effects of fatigue and depression. At this point, the only prescription medications I take are for depression, pain, and seizure prevention. I do take a couple of over-the-counter medication according to my doctor's orders. These are minor, things like aspirin and medicine to prevent heartburn and stomach upset that can happen because of all the other medication I have taken in the past several years.
It feels great to live life clearly and without the fog caused by so many of my previous medications.
I am also very thankful for the Rocky Mountain Stroke Center; it is located not too far from our home, and is the place where I attend art and craft groups as well as where I do physical therapy with my physical therapist and a small group of other people who have had strokes and, as a result, have many of the same physical limitations I have.
We do a lot of stretching and core strengthening exercises in a group and also work individually or one-on-one with atherapist on things like balance, stability, and specific muscle strengthening. I spend a lot of my time in physical therapy working on balance and transferring my weight evenly from my right leg to my left one. My balance is improving quite a bit and while I am at home, I walk without my cane for the most part. I do use my cane outdoors and when we are away from home. Being able to walk without my cane at home frees my right hand from holding the cane to be able to carry things. This means I can carry my Kindle to another room and read by the fire. I am also able to walk around my bed in order to make it, though the bed fairy still comes by each morning to smooth out any wrinkles I may have missed. After I get up, I can now walk to the kitchen and pour my own coffee and even carry it back to my room! Having more freedom and independence to move around the house feels good. It allows me to do more for myself, and thatmeans that I don't have to ask Mom and Dad to wait on me quite so much. Showering is another thing I'm doing more independently, though Mom hrlps dry my back where I can't quite reach. A big goal of mine is to learn to dress myself. Undressing is easy as pie and quick too, but managing sleeves and multiplelayers with only one working arm is a work in slow progress...One-handed shoe tying is something I dohave down pa--if my shoes are specially laced. Doing my own hair and makeup is not too hard. As always, using the bathroom independently and alone is near the top of my thankful list. I dont miss those re-potty training hospital days at all! Sorry if thats TMI...;).I alwaysdo want to be honest with you!
Since Thanksgiving, we have attended of number of holiday programs and concerts. I have checked in and documented each of them on Facebook.
My favorite program so far was definitely the performance of Messiah at Village Seven Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs. The choir and full orchestra presented the entire work and its quality was simply incredible! That church performs Messiah every other year and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is well worth the drive from Denver and if you live in anywhere near the area, you should definitely go in 2016 when they next offer the program! We will be there andI am already looking forward to it!
My second favorite program was the Home for the Holidays show at the Lone Tree Arts Center this past Saturday. The talent represented was phenomenal. Unfortunately, this is the last year this show will be offered. I am disappointed that we will not get to see it next year....:(
One of the featured dancers in the show on Saturday reminded me so much of Audrey, and I have been missing her badly ever since! I wanted to find the dancer after the performance just to hug on her, but I didn't see her nearby. I'm sure she's glad that I missed her because she would have been sure I was a crazy stalker weirdo! ;)
Naturally, I am missing the girls as Christmas approaches. At this point, there are no plans to get together over Christmas or New Year's. So many of you have asked me at one time or another if I get to spend time with them. I do not. And I have not seen them since April. I do think of and pray for them each day, and long to see how much Audrey and Emma have grown up and changed in the past nine months...
Tomorrow we will attend the Christmas Eve service at my sister's church to see her children in their Christmas program. We will all have dinner at her in-law's home before Mom, Dad and I go to a Christmas Carol sing-along at a church here in town.
We will be athome for Christmas morning; two of our neighbors who are both widows will come for Christmas brunch midmorning, and later in the afternoon, we will head over to Kristen's house for dinner and to exchange gifts there.
We are planning to attend our neighborhood New Year's Eve party at the clubhouse; the party uses East Coast time to celebrate, so we should be able to stay awakeuntil "midnight" and be home in time to get to bed well before the actual Colorado midnight!
In January, my regular schedule of activities at the stroke center and counseling each week in Colorado Springs will resume and Mom and I will begin the spring semester of Bible study at Cherry Creek Presbyterian church, where we attended Bible study this past fall.
The day after Thanksgiving we decided that getting away from the cold and snow in March would be a good idea so we will be relocating to Arizona for the month of March. We are staying at an RV park in Casa Grande (south of Phoenix) with some friends who go there every year. It will be quite a drive on Sundays, but we will be able to attend my church in Gilbert. I am excited to have the opportunity to reconnect with dearfriends there, whom I only see on Facebook these days...
I am also excited to play horseshoes, shuffleboard, and bocce ball.and to hang out by the pool, of course!I have completely adjusted to life in a retirement community and I love it!I still dont know how to play bridge, but there's time! The other big plan in the spring sometime will be to visit Oklahoma and pick up my new puppy from the breeder when she is born. We are not sure of the exact timing since her mother is not yet pregnant. She is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and poodle mix--a Cavapoo, just like our favorite neighborhood dog, Maddie, whom we frequently dogsit and love like crazy!
I am super excited to get a puppy and to train her to be my very own snuggle buddy and friend!
Have a very Merry Christmas!
With great love,