Friday, October 13, 2017

Let's Make Lemonade!!

I've had two exciting things happen this week! One was announced yesterday as our documentary went live (if you missed it, be sure to check it out!).

The second is that I launched a new blog!! I am excited and nervous all at the same time. Whenever I write and put myself out there I feel a bit vulnerable...are people going to read what I post? Will they like what I write? Can I succeed with this venture? I am going into this with the mindset that this is for me. Writing is something I have always loved to do and this new blog is helping me to focus on happy, light-hearted things while expressing myself through pen (or keyboard). Of course I am hoping and working for it to be successful!

Let me tell you a little bit about my new blog. Of course you all know that I've gone through my fair share of grief over the past several years (but then again, who hasn't?) I have really tried to learn and grow from my trials and make something positive out of the negative; to make lemonade out of the lemons. This thought has gone through my mind countless times over the years: how to make lemonade out of lemons. When I was thinking about what I wanted to write about, my mind kept coming back to lemonade, and about finding the sweet things in life. I thought about all of the sweet things that I do have in my life and how even through the darkest of times, we can find the light. There will always be struggles, but life can still be sweet if we search out those sweet moments and focus on the things that make us happy. I brainstormed lots of lemonade ideas for a title and domain name for my new site, but everything was taken! I wanted something to do with making lemonade but which also incorporated my family into the theme. I thought about "homemade lemonade" but of course that was taken as well, and then a thought popped into my mind: Jonesmade Lemonade ("Jonesmade" in place of homemade). I tossed the idea around for several days and finally decided to quit doubting myself and settle on a name. Jonesmade Lemonade it is!

I quickly got to work creating the site itself and adding some content to start. Let me tell you, it has been a lot of work! It has consumed much of my free time. However, I am really proud of myself. I have never considered myself a techy person; I tend to get intimidated by computers. I watched a lot of tutorials, joined a couple of free webinars and joined a blogging group to get help with setting up and getting my lay out how I envisioned it. I still have some things to add, but it's getting there and I'm really proud of how it looks!!

My son-in-law came up with the graphics for me. I wanted something simple and clean, but cute and catchy. I love what he came up with!

And also this cute logo for social media icons:

The niche I chose was family/lifestyle, which means I will be writing a lot about our family and adventures, as well as thoughts and ideas surrounding family life. I plan to share recipes and craft ideas that make me happy and I also plan to share inspirational stories of other people who are making lemonade out of their lemons.I hope that you will all come visit me at Jonesmade Lemonade!!
I also have a facebook page here and an Instagram page here.
Show me some love!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Documentary is Here!!

At long last, our documentary is here!!

Grab your tissues. It was a mix of emotions for me to watch the video. Part of it was filmed last summer (2016) while the last bits were filmed just this past July...only weeks before my mom passed away. It brought tears to my eyes to see her on camera, to remember those last precious moments that she was with us. For those who have been reading my blog over these past several years (particularly those whom I haven't met), this video really brings our family to life. I hope you will watch it and capture a glimpse of the love between my parents and our family.

I am now calling upon every reader to please take 10 minutes to watch this short video documenting our family's journey of dementia! When you are done, PLEASE SHARE the video! Share on facebook, share through email, share through word of mouth...just share!!

So, here's how it works. Zach, the filmmaker, is doing something a little bit different with our story. Usually, he breaks one story into several clips that can be embedded into social media outlets. For us, he decided to do our story all in one piece. He has uploaded it to be viewed on Vimeo. You can view the trailer to the short film, following which you will be invited to make a $3 donation to view the full story. The best part: all of the money paid to view the video will be split between My Alzheimer's (the name of Zach's project) and The DEANA Foundation. Can you imagine the possibilities of people we can help with our caregiving grants through this viewership? Many of my posts have a few thousand views. If each one of my readers views this video and shares, we have the potential of reaching thousands, of raising thousands of dollars!

Furthermore, if you missed some of my other posts about My Alzheimer's, you can read all about it on Zach's website. Basically, he is on a mission to compile the largest collection on the web of Alzheimer's and dementia stories. He has traveled all around the country, on his own dime, to document stories from people living through this disease. He has spent countless hours and dollars on this project but he is determined to shed light on the disease, bringing awareness to the many challenges that come with it. He is also highlighting different organizations who are trying to make a difference in the dementia world. I highly recommend checking out his work!

Please join us in raising awareness and in bringing help to families who need it!

Without any further ado, I present to you our story!!




Deana's Story: Dementia and the Middle Class from MyAlzheimers on Vimeo.

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Birthday Miracle

Last week was a better week for me, emotionally. I almost made it through the entire week without crying!

I decided to move forward and start writing another blog. Much of my week consisted of designing my site, writing content and watching tutorials on how to write a successful blog, with a potential of making money. I'd love to be able to contribute income to my family in doing something that I love-writing! I am still waiting on a couple of things before I am ready to launch my blog, but hopefully it will be this week!

Between writing, working on my new blog and working on some sewing orders that came in, my mind was kept pretty busy. I don't think a minute goes by that I'm not thinking of my mom, but I didn't have time to stop and focus on all of the detailed memories that usually bring on the tears.

Saturday was my birthday. It was my first official birthday that I haven't had Mom here. She hasn't understood my birthday in a few years, but last year I did serenade myself in a birthday song in hopes of sparking her memory. I was able to get a grin from her. Call me crazy, but I can't help but to wonder where she's at and what she's doing. Did she know it was my birthday...wherever she is? Maybe, for the first in years, she was celebrating with me, or at least thinking of me. It's a nice thought, anyway.

Jeff and my birthday are 4 days apart, so we celebrated both of us all weekend. Friday, Jeff took the day off work and we enjoyed a little day date while the kids were at school: lunch, shopping and a reflexology massage. That evening, my Aunt and Uncle took my family and me to dinner; of course Dad came along as well. It was really nice visiting with them.

I was determined to have a good day, and I did. Jeff and the kids spoiled me with presents, hugs and kisses, and we spent the day together having fun. We went bowling and stopped by to lookie-loo at some RV's (we still have our sights set on getting an RV!) Later that evening, my daughter graciously babysat her brothers while Dad took Jeff and me to dinner. My dad gave me a very nice card with a very sweet note, telling me that Mom is proud of me, and he signed it "Love Mom and Dad". It meant a lot to me and brought [good] tears to my eyes. Throughout all of this, he still signs every card with both of their names. It makes me feel like a part of her is still with me, wishing me a happy birthday as well.

On Sunday, Dad and I made our usual, weekly trip to the cemetery and we were pleased to see that her headstone was finally placed. It was a birthday miracle! I became very choked up when I saw it. The one thing they forgot to install was the vase, so Dad went back to the truck to retrieve an old cup and makeshift it into a vase while I sat by her headstone. I was thankful for a few moments alone because I didn't want my dad to see my tears. Why I am afraid of letting anyone see me cry? For some reason it was emotional to see her headstone. I don't know why I am surprised by anything anymore, but it did catch me off guard to feel so emotional about it, especially with how long we've been waiting for it. I love that it's there and it was beautifully done; I daresay it is the most beautiful headstone in that entire section. But it was probably the last thing to "handle" with her passing and it is another reminder of how final everything is. It left me feeling a little sad and emotional throughout the remainder of the day. But, today is a new day. This is the start of a new week. I have a lot to look forward to this week, if I can keep my focus!