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!