January 20, 2016

Winter Reads, A New Magazine Feature & An Update

Hello!  One of my favorite things about this time of year is how the pace of life slows down and leaves plenty of time for one of my favorite things to do- read.  Today I am sharing a couple of the standout books I have read in the last few months.

I recently devoured Brene Brown's "Rising Strong".  Like many others, I first heard of Brene from one of her TED talks on vulnerability.  Her latest book has been on my list of books to read for a few months and it did not disappoint.  I found it to be both helpful and relatable.  So much so that even though I had borrowed it from the library, I went out and bought my own copy.  I appreciate that she applies her theories to her own life and is such a wonderful storyteller.  It opened up some fantastic conversations between Billy and I as well.  I highly recommend all of her books.  The other two books (both fiction) that I recommend are, "A Man Called Ove" by Fredrick Backman and, "Pretending to Dance" by Diane Chamberlain.  Both touched my heart and kept me thinking about them long after I read the last page.
A few months back I received an e-mail from an editor at BHG letting me know that they would be using pictures of our master bathroom in a new magazine in January.  It was a very bittersweet moment for me because it was when my mom was still in the early stage of her recovery from her stroke and my heart broke when I realized I couldn't call her immediately with the news.  My mom has never really understood this whole blogging world.  She's never read this or any other blog with any frequency because it just isn't her thing.  But that's not to say she hasn't been one of my biggest cheerleader (and still is). Whenever I mentioned anything about working with a magazine, that always gets her VERY excited. She has been a fan of home magazines for as long as I can remember and I am pretty sure she shared our first magazine feature with everyone she came in contact with. :)  So I think I subconsciously put the news of this magazine feature out of my mind.  Fast forward to Sunday night, when Billy and I were at Lowes picking up some new blinds for our family room.  I spotted the magazine title, "Before And After Kitchens And Baths" by the checkout and it rang a bell.  I said to Billy, "I think maybe our bathroom is in that magazine."  He looked at me like I was nuts.  So I flipped through the magazine quickly and THERE was our bathroom!  We both laughed.  This whole blogging ride has been surreal to say the least.  So of course we put a copy in our cart.
When we got to the register, we started chatting with the friendly cashier.  He said to Billy, "uh oh, better not let her buy this magazine, she will get lots of ideas" to which Billy responded, "our bathroom is one of the ideas in this magazine!"  The cashier looked at us skeptically so Billy opened the magazine to our pages.  It was a very memorable Lowes trip for sure.  It was fun to see more of the pictures that John Bessler took and to remember how the stylist, Jorge Arango, put his touches on our bathroom. Thanks again, BHG!

And the best part is that my mom has made tremendous progress since the days when I couldn't talk to her on the phone.  Not to say that her journey is over and things have returned to normal.  I would love nothing more than to tie up the whole experience with my mom's stroke in a neat bow and say, "well that was tough and thank goodness it is over."  It will always be an ongoing process.  There are good days and bad days.  She gets around remarkably well and doesn't need to use her cane in her own house.  She has gotten back to socializing with family and friends.  She has a very full life after stroke and I am so grateful for that. However, there are moments when she shares her discouragement about her disabilities and those are some very tough moments.  She still has little to no use of her right arm or hand.  Her therapy has ended for now, but she still works that arm in the gym in her building almost every day.  She remains hopeful that she will regain some use of it at some point.  Her aphasia (loss of speech) is still the hardest part for her.  Thankfully, she and I can communicate surprisingly well.  I have always been so close to her that I almost always know what she is trying to say.  But she has always been such a talker and she wants to be able to communicate with everyone.  I know she will keep working on getting better every day.  She is now 6 months post stroke and we have been told that recovery will move more slowly at this stage, but we are still hopeful for improvement.

Thank you again for following along with me on this crazy journey.  I so appreciate all of you that keep offering your support.  I didn't do any round-up posts from 2015 because I didn't really have a desire to relive any of it.  However, the greatest gift this blog brought into my life last year was the caring and concern from you guys.  THANK YOU!  

22 comments:

  1. Courney although we've never met only on here, you've welcomed me into your home & introduced me through pictures to your gorgeous family. As I read your post this morning it brought back such memories of my father who was a victim of a stroke, let's add heart attack & Parkinson's as well all before 69. But you so touched my heart with your thoughts about your Mom! She is working so hard & sounds so determined to regain strength & speech and I pray that she continues to.
    I would literally have fallen in my cart to pick up a magazine & get to show off my bathroom! How exciting & proud you should be...and it is awesome! Applause, applause!

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    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment this morning. I appreciate being able to share about my mom's journey and having readers like you that can relate. Thank you for your support!!

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  2. Courtney, so proud of your magazine feature and the progress your mom has made too. I know it's a tough journey with daily struggles and unexpected moments. You're so sweet to share your journey because I know it helps other families that are also dealing with this experience. I'm keeping you guys in my prayers and sending you big hugs. Keep up the good work! CoCo

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    1. Thanks CoCo! It has certainly been a struggle, but it helps to me to write about it, so thank you for reading. I know that when my mom first had her stroke, I was searching for sources online that could help me know what to expect. I hope maybe this blog can help someone out there. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers.

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  3. Thanks for the update on your mom. I know it must be so hard watching her go through her struggles but I am sure she appreciates everything you do for her. It sounds like she is progressing well. It's also amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it and it sounds like your mom is a very strong person.
    Congrats on the magazine! I will have to pick one up. I save the magazines whenever they do a feature from bloggers that I know. Well, actually I save most magazines because I am a magazine hoarder...but I do keep the blogger ones in a special pile! So exciting!
    Enjoy the rest of your week. My kids are hoping for a blizzard this weekend!
    Shelley

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    1. Hi Shelley,

      My kids are hoping for a blizzard too, although they wish it was hitting on a school day rather than the weekend. Thank you for your continued interest in my mom’s progress. I think of you living close by every single time I visit her! It really does help me process everything to write about it so thank you for reading :)

      That is so sweet that you save all of the magazines. I think your kitchen definitely belongs in one.

      Have a great week!

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  4. Good Morning Courtney,
    Congrats on BHG feature of your beautiful master bath. So happy to hear your mom is doing so well with her recovery. Strokes are such tricky events but the brain is also very resilient and can repair so I am happy your mom is working hard to get things working well again. Hugs my friend.
    Kris

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  5. The loving bond between mothers and daughters cannot be broken even by a serious illness. Blessings on you both.

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  6. I'm so sorry about your mom, Courtney - that must be so tough for both of you!

    On another note, did I ever tell you that your bathroom was the inspiration for my bathroom? In my searches online during my remodel I came across your bathroom and it was almost like you were IN my head and every single thing that I wanted for my bathroom was in YOUR bathroom!! It was so bizarre and I printed the photo and brought it back to my contractor - finally he got the 'feel' of what I wanted and was able to help me with the design! You should check it out on my blog - search for master suite and you'll see the photos!

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  7. Courtney,
    I am new to your blog so this is the first time I am reading about your mom and her stroke. I can relate to what you are going through. My father had a stroke while undergoing open heart surgery many years ago. One of the outcomes was aphasia. It has been a long road and to this day he still has problems with his speech and getting his words out. But he is doing well other than that and we do all get some good laughs over the funny words he sometimes comes up with and the way he always confuses "he" and "she". The best part is that he never lost his spirit throughout the ordeal. Hopefully your mom will continue to show improvement.
    Love your blog, your decorating, and the pups!

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    1. Hello Lori! So nice to meet you and so glad you have found my blog :) First off, I am so glad to have found someone that can relate to living with aphasia. So many people have never heard that term and quite frankly neither had I before my mom's stroke. Now, thanks to the internet and my mom's wonderful speech therapists, I know all about it. Oh, we have had some wonderful laughs as well. She often uses "big" words to say things, words even she didn't realize she had in her vocabulary. I think the most important thing is maintaining a sense of humor. I hope your father has continued to improve as well. I think you and I are both extremely lucky to have parents that are able to remain positive despite their illness. Thank you for your lovely comment.

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  8. Congratulations on being "published" - How thrilling! Blessings to your mother - sounds like she still has a fighting spirit. (And you can never have too many posts/pictures of your dogs - so adorable!)

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    1. Thank you! So wonderful to know that you love my dog pictures. I love posting them!!

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  9. It's so hard to watch your parent go through something and know that you really can't do anything but be there. I always feel very protective about my mom since I lost my Dad 12 years ago. About 4 years ago my mom was in the hospital for an infection in her leg and was diagnosed with A Fib. I was a nervous wreck. No there is definitely no putting a neat little bow around it. I guess I like to think of it as the new normal. So happy to hear that your mom continues to do well.

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    1. Hi Jeanette. I always appreciate when you share about your mom too. Always easier to know I am not the only one going through something like this. Hugs to you, friend!

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  10. Aww, Courtney, I am SO happy to hear your mom is coming along in her recovery. It really sounds amazing, but I understand her frustration with the speech. I remember my dad having the same issue after his stroke, and he would get very, very frustrated trying to find the right words, and even more so when any of us would try to help him long. Congratulations on the publishing feature - what an honor - and well deserved.
    Rita C at Panoply

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    1. Thank you so much, Rita. Since you have gone through it with your dad, you definitely know what we are going through. The loss of communication is the worst part of the whole thing by far. And thank you for your compliments on the magazine. Have a great week!

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  11. This is awesome Courtney { I love your bath }!! You're one of the nicest & most talented bloggers & it;s so WELL DESERVED!! Hope all is well friend.

    Paige.Rose
    from
    www.TheQuaintSanctuary.blogspot.com

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  12. I'm so sorry to read about your mother. It reminded me of my great grandmother. She also had a stroke and was paralysed on her right side, full body. She lost all her speach except for one word. But she didn't give up and after a lot of training, struggle and brave fighting she learned how to manage from her wheelchair. She did not regain her fully strength but with her left side she continued to bake, to weave and sow. She learned how to talk again and to wright with her left hand and we received postcards every holiday and birthday. It was a long journey and there was definitely bad days. But still, she was a remarkable woman and her fighting spirit is admirable. She lived a full life and was determinated to not have less.
    Praying for your family and your mom. Love from Sweden /Hanna

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  13. Congratulations Courtney on the magazine feature. When you first showed your master bath here on the blog I pinned it and told my husband this is what we're doing. We don't have as much space in ours as you do but I want to duplicate as much as we can. We haven't had the funds to get started as of yet but I am hopeful we'll eventually get there. I'm glad your mom is doing as well as she is and I pray for her continued improvement. I appreciate all you do for the blog and I look forward to all you have to share in 2016.

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  14. I'm sorry about your mom. I had a dear friend that died of a stroke nearly ten years ago. I held her as she took her last breaths. Over at my blog, we're doing a book challenge. You ought to come share what books you're reading. And congrats on the magazine feature. They should have sent you a free copy of the magazine. They usually do.
    Brenda

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