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Loyal Felines

Tiffy

Tigger

We have two loyal felines whom we adore!  Snuggled in a sweater as she likes to be babied, is Tiffy who’s an American Bobtail.  Her breed is known to be ‘dog like’ and she enjoys being carried around.  She will bring her toys to you.  She loves to be with us and talks all the time.  She has the fluffiest, softest coat and our home is a testament to her fine white fur.

Laying on my lap is Tigger who’s a rescue kitty, found under a well-known hotel nearby as a tiny kitten.  We got her a few years ago.  Although nobody could ever replace our beloved Chessie who looked similar, Tigger has brought her own brand of joy into our lives with her antics.  Tigger doesn’t meow very well, although as she’s gotten older she’s learned how to make small noises.  She lets Tiffy tell it all!

Tiffy:  Let’s just say I’m a diva, being a pure breed.  I’m ten years old now, but I did love to annoy my older sister Chessie when she was alive.   Oh my!  Now I know how Chessie felt when I first arrived at the house because when I was a little squirt, I was always trying to get Chessie to play with me.  I miss those days.  I had some lonely time when Chessie passed away until they brought home a tiny kitten named Tigger.  What a surprise that was!  That kitten was trouble from the first day, but I’ve grown to love her too.  We do have our ups and downs though since I’m older and set in my ways, but Tigger has kept me young.  She has trouble meowing, so I’m the talker for us both.  I remind Mom when our food bowls need refilling and when I think we should be given a few treats.  I refuse to stop complaining until she gives in.  I’ve gotten her well trained! LOL  I love to curl up in Mom’s big sweater like a baby.  Nestled in her lap and cocooned in her sweater makes me happy…until Tigger tries to move in on my snuggle time with Mommy.  Then I get aggravated, but I let her have her turn too.  I even groom my Mommy sometimes when I’m grooming myself.  The space between her eyebrows needs it most I think! ha ha

Both Tigger and I know that we are a special part of the family.  We have an important job to do and we do it well.  They call it fur therapy here.  That’s a code word for do your thing kitties and we do a great job of it.  We know when someone needs a little extra love and we give it freely.  We instinctively cuddle with them when they are sad.  We know just the right way to get into their laps and snuggle with them until they are happier.  Sometimes they even whisper secrets to us.  When they need extra healing we purr while we cuddle with them.  The loving vibrations help to heal them.  It’s a well-known cat fact.  You knew that already, right?

We love our humans and enjoy spending time with them.  When they leave the house and come back, we’re usually there waiting at the door to welcome them home.  Well, unless we’re catnapping which we occasionally do!  You know we need our beauty sleep.  How else would we look this good all the time?

We have excellent hearing so we can hear when the outside door opens and we run to the door to greet them.  At night, we like to hang out with them, sometimes even getting lap time as they watch tv.  Of course, when it’s dinner time, we like to investigate to see what they’re eating.  Our favorite is fresh pieces of chicken which they sneak us sometimes.  Of course, Mom knows, but we happily indulge when the time is right!

We like to sleep with Mom most nights, but we’ve been known to snuggle with the kids as well.  We’re really good watch cats and sometimes we stand guard as well all night if we hear strange noises outside.  We don’t miss a trick, believe me.  We see everything.  We even see things that our humans don’t see.

We are loyal subjects to our family.  We love them unconditionally and with our whole selves.  Sometimes our thinking is way ahead of you humans!

Here’s a little post on Chessie.

Shine On!

xo

 

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Sunday Musings

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I often wonder if those who have not learned of religion, find comfort in prayer.  Is it mankind who believes in a force outside of themselves, an ethereal being of the Universe who magically pulls the puppet strings on events or without prior external religious knowledge, do they believe that we ourselves, under our own volition and efforts, make things happen?

What do you believe?

Brought up a Catholic, I believe in prayer as a way of healing, of connecting soul to spirit and of bringing much needed energy, fortitude and possibility into my life.  I pray for others.  I pray for myself.  I pray in gratitude.  I find comfort in prayer, be it the Rosary or my own meditative affirmations.

When quietly immersed in prayer, I feel whole, complete and at peace more than at any other time.  But, I have also been known to cry out in prayer for help, a strangled beseeching to the ascended Almighty and the Universe Divine in supplication for aid, tears streaming down my cheeks as I beg forgiveness and for peace within my troubled heart.

Do you pray?

I have experienced lives exponentially changed through prayer, though mantras and affirmations, through meditation and through the most important piece –  asking for help.

On this Sunday morning, I sit here in my home writing to you.  All is quiet except for the occasional chirp and meow of one of the cats.  Peace envelopes us here.  With sunlight streaming through the windows, stillness surrounds our peaceful abode.  My children are nestled asleep, safely in their bedrooms.  I am ever grateful that they are with me today.  There is a mother’s peace when our children, no matter how old, are sweetly sleeping in their beds.  Watching their chests rhythmically rise and fall, their angelic faces void of any tension, I am grateful for how my prayers have been answered.

We raised two amazing children and even though we divorced, I am grateful for the union.  Gratitude is always part of my prayer.  Family is important and being alone is heartbreaking.  The bond I share with my children is like no other and our precious bond has only increased over the years.  It is solid.  It is full of trust, love, kindness and honesty.

My prayers have been answered.  Not necessarily the way I thought they should be, but in a beautiful way that is even better than I imagined.  Sometimes we need to let go and let God and the Universe work in tandem to deliver what we could have never thought possible when we were struggling.

I pray that yours and mine (prayers) are answered today.

Shine On!

xo

The Daily Prompt – Ascend

What Do You Believe?

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What do you believe my friends?  Our beliefs begin in childhood, nestling into our psyche right from the start.  Don’t believe me?  Have you ever heard your mother’s words coming out of your mouth for example?  Do you find yourself doing X (whatever example you want to use) just the way you were taught as a child, even when you know there’s an easier or better way?  But you can’t help yourself, and you continue to do it that way because that’s how it’s always been done?  Do you have limited beliefs in yourself because you were told that you weren’t smart enough or that you wouldn’t amount to anything?  Or perhaps you were told you could do anything, and you have?

Parenting before the age of 7 is paramount to a child’s self-esteem and belief system about everything, including themselves.  We may not even remember what we were told, but we know in your minds that it is true.  Even when it’s proven not to be true.  Why?  Because the adults in our lives told us so when we were children.

How’s that for mind-befuddling?

So the next time you are parenting, think before you speak or give yourself a time out in order to center your thoughts.  Your children are listening with minds of sponges and beliefs that you are creating for them for a lifetime.

Shine On!

xo

 

Inspired by The Daily Post prompt: Believe

Parenting The School Year

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Dear Parents,

As a former teacher, parent and even student, I’m here to give you some suggestions for the coming school year.  Yesterday I told you about how I gave an A at the beginning of the year and asked my students to keep it.  Today I want to remind you how to parent the school year better.  You can tune me out now, I understand.  But if you stick around and keep reading, maybe something will resonate with you.

While I’m giving your child an A, a fresh start for the school year, it helps if you do this as well at home.  Everyone deserves a fresh beginning of the school year and if your child has had tough school years in the past, now is not the time to remind them of their past failures.  Now is the time to encourage them that this is a new year and a clean slate on which to begin again.

Let me reiterate that important message:

This is a new school year!  Encourage your child! 

Elevate the possibilities in their head that this can be a good year because it can!

I hate parent/teacher meetings when you tell me, in front of your teenagers, all of their faults.  Time and again, I’ve heard, He’s lazy.  He doesn’t do his work.  I’m always telling him to go to bed earlier.  That’s why he’s tired, because he’s playing those video games, etc.  He’s not like me.  I was an A student.  I work so I can’t watch him all the time or make him study at this age.  He needs to want to do it.  My gosh, doesn’t anyone teach them how to study?  Back in my day….And so on and so forth…you get the picture, right?

Do you ever think to look at your child who stands there listening either belligerently or with his head hanging down with embarrassment or maybe even a mixture of both?  How do you think he feels after your tirade?

Because I’m standing there listening to a stressed parent whose guilt and myopic view is plain to see.  All I want to do is hug you and to assure you that with a few tweaks, you can begin to heal the relationship with your child.  Because I’ve seen what happens when the divide between parent/child increases.  The wounds grow deeper until there’s little left to mend a relationship.

I know you’re frustrated with how things are going with your child at school.  I know you are overworked and upset.  I know you don’t really mean all that you just said, but that you are at your wits end and you don’t know what you can do to change it for your child.  I know that you’re not telling me how ugly the atmosphere can feel at home and how you feel like you’ve failed as a parent.  I know.  It happens.  They’re called teenagers for a reason.  Don’t you remember being a teenager too?

Let’s look on the bright side.  A new school year means you get a fresh start too!  Enjoy the clean slate and all it brings to your family unit!  Elevate the expectations – share meals more often, take time to chat with your children one on one, be open and listen (keep your judgments to yourself), hug your child and tell them something nice everyday.

I have never met a child who didn’t want a good relationship with their parents.  Funny thing is, parents often tell me that the kid has rejected them, but it’s the other way around usually.  When you don’t act like you care or you put work or other responsibilities as a priority consistently above your child, then that builds resentment.  Innately your child wants to love and be loved by you.  They want that connection.  But when you break it due to other commitments or choosing another child over him, or only criticizing him and putting him down instead of elevating him or complimenting him, you are at fault.  I’m sorry.   Under typical circumstances, you are the one at fault and I’m willing to tell you.  Not to hurt you, but to help you to get your act together this school year and be the parent he deserves you to be and you deserve to be.

Carve out some time with your children.  Clearly list your expectations and what they can expect from you.  There is not always a dictatorship in parenting.  Sometimes a democracy works really well too and it doesn’t lessen your power.  It actually increases the power of the family unit!  More on that tomorrow in case you’re interested.

Shine On!

xo

Thanks Daily Post for the ELEVATE prompt today!

 

 

Sundowners and Alzheimer’s Disease

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One of the challenges with having a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease is sundowners.  Sundowners is a symptom of Alzheimer’s and Dementia whereby your loved one becomes more confused mentally towards the end of the day (hence the name).  There are wide variations of sundowners including utter confusion, wandering, aggression, shadowing (meaning they follow you around), repeatedly asking questions that they do not remember that they’ve asked and rapid mood changes which can range from crying (depression) to fear to stubbornness to restlessness and even to rocking back and forth in an effort to self-soothe.  Not all of the symptoms of sundowners occur every night, nor are they the same for every person.  I’ve written about it before here in case you are interested.

My Aunt suffered from sundowners which was hard on her and on her caregivers.  It always seemed to increase in intensity when the moon was full, when we changed to/from daylight savings time and when the seasons changed.  I think there’s more to outside forces than we may think!

My Mom has occasional bouts of sundowners as well, but confusion is her main symptom.  We were having a conversation recently after 6pm which was lovely when suddenly, her knowledge base fell completely out of her head.  We had been discussing my children, her grandchildren, whom she knew by name, by age and was interactively talking about them when suddenly she interrupted me,

I have to ask you.  Do you have children?

Yes, Mom.  I have children.  You have grandchildren!

Oh my, I didn’t know you were old enough to have children.  How many do you have?  Do they live with you?

I have to say that years ago, I would have been utterly distraught to hear her ask me that question right in the middle of talking about my children when she was fully cognizant of their presence, knowing who they are and having seen them recently.  But I have learned that Alzheimer’s is sneaky and can interrupt a loved one’s knowledge base in a split second, rendering them unaware.  So I simply continued the conversation with her, telling her about my children and reminding her gently of their names.

Suddenly, it was like she was back in her mind and she began reminiscing about them with memories of their childhood that she knew.  We laughed together and enjoyed the connection.  This went on for a bit when suddenly the blip happened again and we had to begin all over.  Then at one point, she was thinking that I was her sister and was asking me if I remembered certain things about her childhood.  But all along the conversation, one part was perfectly clear – my Mom loves me, trusts me and knows my name for which I am ever grateful!  That is the piece of peace that stays with me long after confusing conversations and even throughout them.  My Mom loves me and knows how much I love her – what more can you ask for?

I have to remind myself that it’s just part of the disease.  As I’ve written before, when we stay calm, we can flow with whatever comes up.  It’s taken me a long time to get to this place of peace and acceptance.  I had to get the belief that this isn’t how it should be out of my head and simply accept and be with what is.

I keep her sense of calm foremost in my head.  I keep conversations light and happy.  I do answer her questions with truth when she asks, if I think that they will not hurt her.  But as you have seen, Swinging With Mom sometimes we have to repeat the truth which is hard.  It takes patience, love and a sense of humor to love everyone and Mom is here to remind me to strengthen the bonds of love and acceptance for all who are in my life.  Thank you Mommy!

Shine On!

xo

 

On My Knees

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As you’ve seen in my last few posts, life has been hard these days.  For me, writing is my outlet, sharing what I think might help someone else who is a caregiver of someone whom they love who has Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.  I write in order to connect with others who are walking this path because we understand how emotional it can be and you just need support from others who get it.

There is no cure for this disease.  It is fatal.  As the mind shuts down, the body begins its journey as well.  It’s genetic as well, which means that those of us with relatives with the disease, can be subject to it in the future.

Think about that for a moment…what you may be witnessing as a child of a parent with Alzheimer’s, may be you one day.  It puts a terrible spin on the whole experience, don’t you think?  For then, with that knowledge, we wonder if we have it and every tidbit of forgetfulness becomes a full blown worry if it’s early onset of the disease.

Just because a parent has the disease, doesn’t necessarily mean that the offspring will develop it though, which is good news.  For it’s hard enough to watch a loved one struggle to hold onto information, recognize people and remember that loved ones have passed away.  The incessant questioning and cycles of repetition can make it hard to be patient, especially when we are hurting as well.  In truth, I’ve cried a boatload of tears lately in frustration and sadness in feeling so helpless.

The power of prayer and faith helps.  When I can’t stop trying to fix the situation or at least better it, I find that getting on my knees to pray helps quiet my mind.  Simply handing it over to God for the night, once I finally let go, let Him in and let God take it from here that is.  I’m a tough cookie.  I like to keep a handle on things so it’s harder for me to allow the Universe and God to hold onto everything while I sleep. But it helps so much.

Do you ever find yourself on your knees praying when all else fails?

Shine On!

xo

 

 

Sundowning and Alzheimer’s Disease

sundowning

Confusion, extreme confusion, often comes during late afternoon or at night for those with Alzheimer’s and so that’s why it’s called sundowning.  Lately, we’ve seen it come and go at all times of day, with no predictable time frame.

Watching a loved one fret and worry is exhausting for the loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia and for those of us who care for them.  As the mind whirls into a vortex of unpredictability, thoughts firing at random, words tumbling out nonsensically, a helplessness sinks in and an urgency to help in any way possible to allow for peace and tranquility.

When sleep can be encouraged, it seems to dilute the chaos in their minds, allowing our loved one a little peace.  Changing the subject to one of love and beauty helps as well, but sometimes that button cannot be unpushed, the channel cannot be changed and we all whirl in the frenzy for a bit.

Have you ever experienced this as a caregiver of a loved one?

It’s not easy to remain untouched by the emotionality of the situation, let alone what is unknowingly coming out of their mouth.  Thoughts flicker, reality surges and fades and my heart breaks wide open with sadness for I cannot even begin to fathom how hard this is for her, let alone for me.

This disease is just so hard and old age, as the adage goes, ‘ain’t for sissies.’

Shine On!

xo