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The Next Step



As I sit here thinking about the past seven months I can't help but feel that somehow I've lost my identity. When someone you love has a stroke or any life changing event which turns your life upside down you tend to forget all about yourself and focus all your energy and time towards that person.


I have a few notebooks that I either carry around with me or leave scattered around the house which are used to write down to-do lists. I'm not really good at remembering things so lists are a great way to keep me from forgetting the more important things and also keep me motivated for the long-term dreams in my life. I happened to stumble upon one of these little notebooks while cleaning out some paperwork and found a list that I had written late last year before my husband had his stroke. I've been dabbling in photography and artwork for the last couple years specifically photo art. Last summer my husband and I spent a week at Cape Cod where I took a class in digital art and he spent time golfing and photographing the gorgeous beaches on the Cape. The class was amazing and stemming from it I created works of my own. I had been focusing as well on Mandala art, a kind of esoteric circle artwork created on the computer but then printed and painted. It was a humble attempt and I certainly don't plan on becoming a famous artist but it's such a relaxing hobby which I love. I really was so excited about taking the next step which included finishing some projects that were laying around and possibly selling some of my work. My list is as follows:


Finish 20 x 20 mandala paintings


Finish mandala tablecloth (my sister made me a beautiful painted tablecloth and I was going to add artwork to it)


Frame existing art


Finish the painting of my cousins Liz and Marge (a happy photo of them at a wedding turned into a photo painting and will be a gift to them)


Set up the Artfire web site (I registered as a pro user of this web site and planned on uploading and selling my artwork here)


Take another painting class


Needless to say, none of the items on my list have been completed let alone started. Once the dreaded "stroke day" occurred all other items in my life were put on the back burner. It's been such a long journey and yet it hasn't been that long at all. Only seven months. In those seven months I've been scheduling doctors appointments, traveling back and forth between hospitals and rehab centers on a daily basis, working full time, organizing meds, filling out insurance forms, etc, etc, etc.


On this day my husband is in the hospital recovering from heart surgery (even after a stroke) and it's a Sunday early in the afternoon. I got it in my head this morning that I've got to do something for me. Another item on my list which was not written down but has been in my head for the last few months was to clean out our spare room upstairs, put a new coat of paint on the walls and then make it into an art studio JUST FOR ME! The room was pretty empty already so at 7:00 AM in my pajamas I moved the remaining items into the middle of the room and washed all the walls. Now I can go out an get a gallon of paint and start working on filling this room with my artwork. Will it actually happen? I don't know. My list of unfinished items is pretty long and soon my husband will be coming home again and will need alot of care. My husband was also my very biggest fan and the one person that kept me thinking that I could be good at this. Now he doesn't seem to really to care too much about what I do. It depresses me. But somewhere back in my mind I think he does support me and then again maybe he can take advantage of this room and make some artwork of his own. God knows it's good therapy.


One step at a time. First paint the walls, then put up some shelving and move all my paints and papers and supplies in. Maybe by the fall I can find some time for myself to play and doodle. Who knows, there may be a Picasso somewhere deep inside waiting to surface and then look out world!


If you're interested in seeing some of my digital art work or Mandala art feel free to browse the following blogs:






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Julie - your art and photography are breathtaking. I throughly enjoyed the pics of nature, but my favs were the Lake Zoar Mist and Playing in the Sand. It looks just like something my niece would be doing at the beach.


You definitely have the eye for photography, and I hope that you find the time for your personal self-fulfillment. I went through similar feelings and I had two bedrooms painted and turned one into a craft/library for me. It works as an indoor escape for me LOL.


Please keep us updated on your progress.



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Julie, your art work is truly inspiring. I was not familiar with the Mandala Art but it is really neat. I love the colors. Also, the photography is very nice. You are lucky to be so talented. You can do this. Once your hubby is home and stabilized you can continue in this wonderful project. I hope everything works out for you and your husband's recovery.



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Julie: your work is just breathtaking. I can't wait to show Bruce tomorrow. We have to go up Rte 34 to get to Brookfield and Bruce's close friends. That first summer he was home all his therapies were in the afternoon, so every morning we went off to another state park, forest, rec area. Kettletown was one of our favorites and my Mom's family is from upper New York State. As a matter of fact, my sister just got back from two days on Lake Champlain. I so do wish now that I had kept a journal of those trips but was still in the black hole that is year one post stroke. Something to think about as your husband recovers and is able to get out for a ride. I always insisted Bruce transfer to the WC, just to get out and some fresh air. We may have only picnic'd off the tail gate of the truck, but we were out. I think now of you. Our NE autumns are fantastic you could photograph right off most of the parking areas with him safely in the WC or vehicle.


I will say things ease up a bit when all the follow up appointments get down to yearly and hopefully that will be soon for both of you. With the Cardiac issue added in, may take some time, but if you have to take time off from work for the appointments, maybe can fit in a quick jaunt to a local park and then pick up dinner on the way home.


Good luck with the room. I commend your energy and need to get something going for yourself. Sounds like a great start. Best, Debbie

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Thank you all for the support. Debbie, we are definitely neighbors. Kettletown State Park is one of our favorite places to go and we've hiked there so many times. Ian would take photographs of the river that runs through the woods there. I'm definitely going to try to get us back down there if only for a short time.

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