"This illness is to fatigue,
what a match is to a nuclear bomb.
It's an absurd mischaracterization!"
~Laura Hillenbrand

December 27, 2008

And the Show Goes On!!

"Winter Sunset"
(c) M Pruitt 2008

Hurray! There is still a ton of snow, and because they plowed our street we can't get the car in and out of the driveway without also shoveling. But the freeways are clear and Nutcracker is ON this weekend!!! Bill and I volunteered to help out on Tech crew because they are short quite a few people and many newbies are working tech.

It was a slippery ride down the side street to the theater yesterday, but we made it and had a long fun filled day.

I filled in for a missing dancer during the morning dress rehearsal for the Party scene. What fun to be on stage again. But after that, along with the rest of ACT I tech work in the wings, I felt like I'd gone to the gym twice! Thankfully, everyone could tell, and they moved me to the lightboard, where I can sit in a nice comfy chair and even put my feet up if needed. (pictures of me at the light board and headset coming tomorrow)

I spent several hours laying on the floor with my ipod, but I made it through the day and the first performance went very well, with one particular dancer looking absolutely awesome! (pictures coming tomorrow)

The biggest problem for me is this, uncontrollable, exercise intolerance. The new injections I've been doing the past two months have given me a little more energy and stamina, but my cells still don't seem to be able to handle physical exercise.

I'm going to do some research so I can write a knowledgeable blog on this concept of exercise intolerance, because I know that hardly any of you reading this can understand it. I even had a friend today - who has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - say to me, "Well of course, in time, you will feel better after exercising."

That is sweet encouragement, but in my case, just not true. Unless we figure out the cause and treat the cause, I am never going to feel better after physical exercise. It's a very different thing than being "out of shape". That's why it's called "intolerance". Not everyone who has ME/CFS also has exercise intolerance, but there is some excellent research proving how the body reacts differently to exercise in a subset of ME/CFS compared to normal people who are out of shape. I obviously fall into this subset.

Thankfully, we were able to come home early today and I am about to put on a horse movie I got for Christmas and just relax. (Hopefully I can stay awake until bedtime... we picked up hamburgers on the way home and I fell asleep in the car waiting for Bill to bring them back out to the car!)

With all this snow, I keep painting snow scenes... go figure! The painting up above is an ACEO that is currently for sale in my Etsy store (click here)
I hope you'll come by tomorrow and check out some of the pictures I have to share from Nutcracker!

Many blessings to you all at the during this last week of 2008!


December 21, 2008

My Frist EVER White Christmas!

The beginning of our Snow

Many tears were shed last weekend, as we received our first bit of snow and Vancouver School District decided to close their buildings and would not allow the Dance Company to hold their Nutcracker Ballet in the Art School Theater that they rent.

For all of you who were planning on coming, it is scheduled for this next weekend (26th -28th) same schedule - though there may be some casting changes... that's still being figured out!

But, to our amazement, it was a good decision on the school district's part. Our typical little snow storm had turned to ice and several inches of snow by Sunday.


Snowing at Dusk


Notice the path lights and the fountain... compare to the next pictures!

Even more amazing - we now have 2 ft or more and it's STILL snowing!!!! This is going to be my first ever, truly "White Christmas"!!!


Notice the path lights... this was first thing this morning and since then we've had 2-3" more.


This is just amazing... we weren't done with our shopping.... Ellen is scheduled to open Starbucks - which thankfully has changed her arrival now from 4:00AM to 6:00AM due to the conditions.

Ellen and Bill digging out the cars so Bill could skid to work... skid back to get a shovel and skid back to work and dig out the parking lot so he could park!!!

**notice the fountain?***

But Friday, Dec 26th, Ellen must be in Vancouver, at the Theater all day. The exciting part is that we ALL may be at the theatre! I might get to be Mother Ginger, or a Party Mom, or run the sound or oversee the props.... we've all volunteered to help out with tech crew and empty spots.

So... we'll see if it clears enough to get to Vancouver on Friday. If it doesn't... another round of tears is bound to burst out all over the Vancouver area as dancers have been rehearsing since Sept for this very professional production.

But as for Christmas? What fun it is to have all my children home... the gorgeous snow outside and plenty to keep us busy... our computers (LOL), games, movies etc. (I'm being summoned to a game right now!)

I'm keeping warm, and I now understand my friends in the Midwest and East who get really tired of snow!!! I wouldn't want this all winter long.

Praying you all to be warm inside and out!

December 17, 2008

I am deeply honored!!!


Today, a fellow member of VAST (Visual Arts Street Team) - one of my online art groups, featured me on her blog titled "What Shoes I Wear".

It's a wonderful blog and I always enjoy reading her posts and interviews. With an artists creativity, she interviews other artists and features a few of their art pieces, a picture of the shoes that represent them and a full length interview!

Please come read and comment on this blog that has just featured an interview with me!

http://www.whatshoesiwear.blogspot.com/

And thank you Janyce!

December 15, 2008

Zazzle - my newest adventure

My newest pastime, when I'm not painting or jewelry making - is creating fun items printed with my original artwork on Zazzle! I really prefer it to CafePress and have even created a 2009 Calendar! Come check out my shop there... rate a few items... leave me a message!

And I'm just getting started... adding new items every day. Have a request??? Let me know!




create & buy custom products at Zazzle

December 13, 2008

Ups and Downs and Motorcyles go 'round

I used to love teeter-totters - especially this really huge one we'd play on when we went camping in the redwoods!! (if you fell off when you were at the top... you were in serious trouble!) I loved the feeling of flying high!!!! And when I hit the ground - it just about knocked my teeth out, but with all my might I'd push and fly high again!

Have you ever heard the quote from Anne of Green Gables?

"I can't help but fly up on the wings of anticipation. It's as glorious as soaring through the sunset. Almost pays for the thud."

Well... that is the perfect description of my past week! I've flown high - like on the teeter-totter... I've also thudded down to reality - but it's all worth it!

On Friday - flying high - I did a workout on some weight machines at the gym AND I walked through three stores Christmas shopping with Bill! Wow!

Then I hit the ground... but with all my might, I pushed and I soared again. On Sunday, I actually drove myself to Ellen's dance studio and spent the day with her. AND... I even took about 20 min of ballet warm-up class with the company! Wow again! (this is Ellen stretching at warm-up class)

The next day, however, I hit the ground and just couldn't find any strength to push myself up. My exercise intolerance got in the way, plus whatever else throws me low and I had several days of not feeling very well.

Slowly, I'm regaining some strength and again worked out on the weight machines yesterday. Wow do I hurt!!!

And with all my strength - I'm going to push hard to fly again and spend some time at the studio, watching Ellen and her friends in their final weekend of studio rehearsal (in costume) before they head to the theater on Monday.

Now... with all this up and down.... I'm afraid I brought up a topic to Bill at the wrong time. I decided I'd ask if I could get a little motorcycle to ride around town - so I could have some freedom on those days I feel so much better!

He laughed!! My kids laughed! Everyone has laughed and Bill has given me a definite NO WAY!

Ok... so he has a point... motorcycles are pretty dangerous - but there's no way we can afford a second car. I wouldn't have the energy for a bike and I don't want a motorized wheelchair!

He asked me what happened to wanting a convertible Miata. "I'll take it!" I told him! I looked up Miata's on Craigslist... HA... right... that's not even worth putting on the wings of anticipation for! (said laughing)

So... hitting bottom at all the teasing and laughing... I pushed with all my might to fly up on the wings of anticipation... and I changed my request. How about just a scooter (yuk - looks like an old person) or a moped??? Way easier to ride and I'd only be riding in town!!!!

Someone who has never been chronically ill for a long period of time has no idea how wearing it gets to always have to rely on others to get you places, do things for you, etc. And it's been almost more than I can bear being stuck at home in those moments when I do feel well enough to run to the post office, or the library, or to Starbucks! I can't even go by and visit Bill at work (just a mile from here).

But... though soaring on anticipation is glorious.... alas... Bill wouldn't even let me go look at a scooter I found for sale on Craigslist. I wasn't ready to buy... but I just wanted to look at it to see if it was something I really thought I could ride!

So are you all laughing too??? Well... I suppose I don't blame you! It does sound a bit silly... a 47 year old woman - who's been sick for 7 years - riding a scooter around town.

Ah... but the freedom it would bring!!!

Up.... down.... Up..... down..... sigh.

**I've put a poll on the right side of my blog... tell me what you think of my scooter idea! Be honest! :-) **

December 2, 2008

Back to Questions - Favorite Holiday

I'm finally getting back to those questions I said anyone could ask about me! That was way back in September and I only answered one out of the three that were posted! (BTW- you can still ask questions about me and I'll do my best to answer!)

I'm going to jump to question 3 from Linda - because it's that time of year.

Question: "What's your favorite Holiday and Why"

My favorite Holiday runs for a whole month! It begins on Thanksgiving Day when we spend the day as a family, eating chex mix, watching Miracle on 34th street and making a meal that lasts for a week!

At the Thanksgiving table, we not only give thanks to God for the many things from the past year, but we also begin Christmas. We always play a Kenny G Christmas CD during dinner and the kids each get a new Christmas ornament for their collections. I put them, wrapped up, on their plate. A few years back, I discovered a wrapped gift on my plate! And the past few years, they've chipped in and bought me an ornament too! (since they are beginning to leave and take their ornaments with them) :-)

Usually the day after Thanksgiving we go out looking for that perfect Christmas tree to cut down. Though, with young adults who have to work, the past two years we've had to do it on Sunday afternoon instead.

We decorate the tree together and we must have fudge and a special CD of music that I grew up with - but my kids now love - The New Christy Minstrels!

Then, the month holds those special times when we gather to watch our favorite TV specials, eat goodies, play games and.... for the past 12 years, the month of December also included The Nutcracker Ballet.

One of my friends recently asked me about Ellen and I am thrilled to report that the Nutcracker is still a part of our Holiday month! She's dancing in the Company this year, as well as working at the new Starbucks in town. She's dancing Demi-solo roles in both Snow and Waltz and she has her own Solo that is a brand new dance which is being added this year! She's also dancing my old role, Mrs. Walbridge - Clara's mother - so her Saturday's are very busy.

This year, we will try to be around the theater as much as possible - watching and helping. On the last day of performances, Bill's Dad flies in and he will join us for the last performance and spend the week with us. We'll talk, nap, take drives to see Christmas lights, eat and enjoy the week. We'll also have another special friend joining us again this year on Christmas Day.

So... why do I love Christmas so much??? Because it's family. To me, it's what family is all about, love and acceptance, playing and relaxing in each other's love. To me, it's the perfect representation of God's family and the great gift we have received as we have become a part of His family.

I have always loved this time of year. My heart has always been touched by the story of the Nativity, the lights, the music, the sounds and smells. But most of all, I love the family times!!! And the memories. The memories will last forever!!!

So there you are... my favorite Holiday!

And this year, I am feeling the best I have in over a year. I even skipped and jumped through the Christmas tree farm this year. And yesterday I went swimming! My body still has "Exercise Intolerance" (a proven fact for Chronic Fatigue patients -it's not tired from exercise - the body actually, physically reacts in litteral, negative ways to exercise.) But I don't care. I'm able to exercise again and that's the important thing. And if all goes as I plan it (hee hee) I'll be taking the first 10-15 min of ballet class on the stage during Nutcracker week!

I hope and pray that each of you are able to find this family joy that I experience every year. This feeling of acceptance for who you are, the joy of being with others, and the comfort and stability that comes from tradition. If you don't - I hope I can be the connection to help you find the fulfillment found in God's love and invitation he offers to become a part of His family.

Peace to all,

November 27, 2008

It's Tradition!

It started in 2003. I had been sick for over a year and then had a hysterectomy just weeks before Thanksgiving. I was stuck on the couch while the family took over the job of cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

While the preparations were going on, Chris sat down and we started holding the camera up and taking pictures sitting together. It was a fun for us both and It helped me keep my mind of not being in the kitchen.

We've done it every Thanksgiving since!!

This year, was the first year since 2003 that I did anything more than make the gravy (my family says I'm the only one who can make the gravy) :-) But Chris and I found a few moments to keep up our yearly tradition - though, it's amazing to see how old we've both gotten in 5 years!!!

Today, I was very thankful for my family. Very Very Thankful for each one of them - Bill, and Marie, and Ellen and Chris!

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving too!


November 26, 2008

CPAP



Well, I was nervous, but last night I finally completed my CPAP fitting and sleep study.

I was scheduled last Thursday and ended up really sick, so it got postponed to last night. I was fitted with this very high tech, quiet and newest of the new CPAP masks! I am so thankful that I landed in such a quality place for Sleep help.

Not only is the Study center comfortable - with "Sleep Number" beds (yes I played around with the numbers again LOL) but they have a qualified technician who helped me pick the mask - will be available for questions and help without cost, and will automatically send me what I need to keep my machine clean and running well!

So... for the next four to six weeks.. I will be wearing this - every night.

Part of me feels disappointed - I had hoped my dysautonomia wouldn't come to this. But on the other hand, God has so richly blessed me that I can't be discontented and worry about the future.

So... as I am writing this blog very late - as a way of CPAP avoidance... my very tired eyes say "It's time". So goodnight - and may we all have a great night's sleep!



(and NO!!! You will not be seeing a picture of me wearing this! LOL)

November 18, 2008

Fortunately ... Unfortunately


Do you remember that children's book "Fortunately, Unfortunately" ? This little boy goes through his day with "Fortunately" - a good thing.... "unfortunately"... a bad thing. I don't remember the whole story, but I do remember...

Unfortunately, I had to jump out of the plane.... Fortunately, I had on a parachute... Unfortunately, it had a hole in it.....

And on an on!

These past two weeks I've been living this... let me give you a few examples!

Fortunately - the doctor I saw in NY had one more idea to help with my severe fatigue.
Unfortunately - it meant I had to give myself a shot everyday.

Fortunately - it doesn't really hurt and I can do it!
Unfortunately - my whole family runs when they see me preparing for the next injection.

Fortunately - IT IS WORKING!!!! Whoooo Hoooo!!!! I've had the best week and half I've had in years! I'm not healed, but my brain is more awake, I feel more like myself and I even have less fatigue!
Unfortunately - I had to have a sleep study in the middle of that time - and I sure didn't sleep well... which has thrown me backwards a bit.

Fortunately - The sleep center is such a high quality one, I got to sleep on a "Sleep Number" bed and it was as comfortable as possible with wires glued all over your head and face and things up your nose and on your finger :-) (yes... I did play with the numbers LOL)
Unfortunately - The sleep study showed that I have sleep apnea - a common development in dysautonomia.

Fortunately - It is very MILD sleep apnea.
Unfortunately - I have to try a CPAP mask - and I HATE things that go over my nose.

Fortunately - I have a daughter who works with ordering home health care items and she showed me that there are some great options that only go IN your nose - not over it!
Unfortunately - I have to go back this week for another sleep study to calibrate the CPAP. (more guk in my hair)

Fortunately - It's not til later this week - so I've had a lot of fun painting this week!!!
Unfortunately - I had a sudden and severe flare of my gasteoparesis... the delayed gastric emptying that causes stomach pain and nausea.

Fortunately - I have medications to deal with this.
Unfortunately - it's a really bad one and the meds are only lessening the pain and nausea, NOT taking them away.

Fortunately - Just as I was tempted to despair - I received a very special gift from one of my husband's co-workers. I was reminded that God remembers me and cares about me even when life takes it's down turns.

"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.
~Isaiah 49:15-16

November 8, 2008

Pondering Lifelong Dreams

(c) M Pruitt 2008
TheCreatorPalette


Autumn Song by Sarojini Naidu
Like a joy on the heart of a sorrow,
The sunset hangs on a cloud;
A golden storm of glittering sheaves,
Of fair and frail and fluttering leaves,
The wild wind blows in a cloud.

Hark to a voice that is calling
To my heart in the voice of the wind:
My heart is weary and sad and alone,
For its dreams like the fluttering leaves have gone,
And why should I stay behind?


I found this poem about Autumn and I loved the first verse. It seemed to describe the windy fluttering of the colorful leaves I was trying to depict in this, my newest painting.

But then, as I read the second verse, I was launched into deep thought. There are many times my heart is weary and sad and all alone because my dreams have blown away - like the autumn leaves.

And why should I stay behind? Ah... that's the challenging and intriguing part of this poem... what is there to stay behind for? What is there to persevere for?

Some would say - flee... escape... winter is coming!!!!

But I say - No! After winter comes spring. Death of a dream is only the beginning to new life!

With the Autumn winds blowing away all of my dreams, it makes room for the blossoming of new dreams. I have a choice... will I cling to the old dreams? Then there is nothing to stay for. Will I embrace the new dreams? Embrace new ways, new thoughts, new relationships... embrace LIFE!

I choose to persevere, discover and embrace new dreams. And if those are blown away, I know that they too will be replaced with new.

Do you think this is why God made Autumn so colorful and beautiful? So that we wouldn't despair over winter and loss, but instead, would be reminded through the beauty of Autumn, that even when our dreams are blown away, new dreams will begin to bud?


November 4, 2008

I voted!


I voted today... how about you?

I filled out my mail in ballot - but to tell you the truth, I really like going in to the booth to vote! But, with the lack of physical energy I've been having, it was a lot easier to take my time and fill out my mail-in ballot.

But, as, as it often goes in my life, I didn't get it ready in time to mail. So today Bill and I both dropped off our ballots. All it required was a short walk into the Community center and I proudly put on my "I Voted" sticker!

It was fun seeing so many people out voting - and even with that quick drop off, we ran in to several friends!

So if you haven't voted yet - go do it! If can get it done you can! :-)


October 10, 2008

Walking on Water

It's time I finally write this blog!!!! (and it's taken a week to get it done!)

I need to get this blog out because so many of you prayed for us and are waiting to hear how things went after the loss of Bill's Mom.

Secondly, I need to write this for myself - to remember and record what amazing things God has done for me! (especially for those hard days - it helps to go back and review the goodness and graciousness of God in my life!)

We had all been preparing and yet not really knowing how or when we would need to travel back down to California.

When Mom passed away Monday night, we quickly began making plans. We decided Bill and the kids would head out on Wed morning for the 11 hour drive. They arrived about dinner time on Wed. I stayed home, trying to carefully use one more day to rest. I would fly out Thursday morning and return Friday night.

I was hoping I would feel better, but instead, I felt worse on Wednesday. I sat in my recliner, with my PJ's on all day, trying hard not to cry (crying messes with my ANS system and makes me feel even worse). I knew I was so bad, that not even my special meds were going to make a big enough difference for me to survive the travel and all the energy I would need for all the "people time". I needed a miracle.

*****
I have always enjoyed and identified with the disciple Peter in the Bible! His faith challenges me. But he also gets himself into trouble with his strong opinions, quick speech and his instant responses. It reminds me of myself.

But Jesus loves Peter and even calls him a "Rock" - a solid person, whom he can rely on. Jesus uses and refines these characteristics, that often got Peter into trouble, and turns them into useful strengths.


One such moment, was the night that Jesus needed some "alone" time, so he sent his disciples off in a boat ahead of him, to cross the lake. After his time of prayer and solitude, Jesus, walks across the lake to catch up and meet his disciples on the other side!
But they see him and begin to freak out thinking he's a ghost.
He calls out to reassure them, and Peter's instant response was "If it's really you, then tell me to come out of the boat and walk on the water with you!"

Jesus does! and Peter does!!! For a few seconds.... and then the reality of what he's doing gets the better of him and he looks down and begins to sink instead of having faith! But Jesus took his hand and lifted him up and they walk back, on the water, to the boat together!"

*****
You don't know how many times, as a young child, I attempted to walk on water! I would run to the edge of the pool and see how many steps I could take before I sunk! What a silly sight I must have been!

But, last week, I walked on water!

Well, not literally - but the miracle I experienced was just as good! Read on!!!

Wednesday night, as I pulled myself to bed, I prayed for God's mercy to give me strength for the two days ahead - whatever that meant to Him. I put my hand in his as Peter did and I went to sleep, feeling a bit nervous, but also very peaceful. I had the best nights sleep I've had in months.

I awoke to my very early alarm at 6:00AM. (Now to fully appreciate this miracle, you must understand that, not only was I at my worst physically, on a normal morning I can't get out of bed until 9:00 at the very earliest and that's if my Sweetie has brought me tea and lots of fluids to drink! More often I'm in bed until 10 or even noon.)

I awoke feeling refreshed. (this never happens on a normal day) I got up and started the water for my pot of tea. When it was made I took the tray back to bed and spent an hour drinking a whole pot of tea for the fluids and then I took my extra meds. I was amazed how good I felt! An half hour later, when the meds should begin working, I took my shower, (it had been a week since I'd been able to wash and style my hair) got dressed and was fully ready to go when my ride arrived!

I took my wheelchair with me, but when I got there, I was going to miss my plane if I waited any longer for the airline to provide someone to push me. So, I put my bag in my chair and pushed it myself all the way to security. Then I sat and wheeled through security, then walked all the way to the gate! I got there just in time to get some coffee for breakfast and board the plane!!!

I was tired from the walk, but I thought, "Wow! Thank you God for such a miraculous beginning to a hard two days!" Little did I expect that he would hold my hand and we'd walk on water for the next 48 hours!!!

I could go on and on with details of each and every miracle I experienced. We had good times with Dad and sad times. We cried, we laughed... we gathered as a family and even enjoyed an early breakfast at an Austrian pastry restaurant just before the service on Friday.

Then, we all separated to do our last preparations before the service. The kids and I stopped by a florist (one I had delivered flowers for when I was in college) and I bought one blue Iris and one Yellow Rose. They wrapped them separately for me, and without knowing what they were for, they put pink tissue around the blue iris for me. I had bought it for Mom's graveside service. The yellow rose was for a High School friend, who is buried at the same cemetery. (a yellow rose for "Friendship Forever")

Then the kids and I headed to the church. The service was wonderful! We sang some of Mom's favorite hymns, three family members shared - Bill's oldest sister, one Grandson, one Son-in-Law and I had the pastor read a tribute I had written out. The service ended with a fully kilted Scotsman playing "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes. We followed him out and then the rush of greetings came!

The best part of the whole greeting time was seeing our best friends, John and Lieschen. Lieschen and I have been friends since 6th grade and were roommates for 2 years in college. But as friends do, we had all become lazy and busy and lost touch. I just soaked in the warmth of their presence and, for me, it was one of the best parts of the day. (I think I stood up for over a half hour talking... You KNOW how miraculous this is for me - "walking on water")

Then the family headed to the graveside service. I was getting a bit tired and took hold of Dad's arm, and sat up in the front with him. On the other side of me was one of Mom's sisters, whom I've only met once, but we instantly connected and held hands through the service. (a very special piece of this miraculous day)

I left the blue iris wrapped in pink tissue on the casket as people began to leave for the meal that would be served back at the house. Then, Ellen and I began to search for Brent's grave. My memory did not serve me well in finding it, so I'm glad they had a map.

Brent was a good friend through High School. He challenged me in my tennis game and taught me a lot. He was my favorite TE for our HS football team. He was the first person my own age who would sit and talk for hours about deep spiritual things. His Dad became very special to me too - as the Young Life leader in our town. (we called him Papa-One-Kanobi... it was the original Star Wars era *smile*) One summer, Brent, my Uncle Ted (who is 10 mos older than me) and I had more Table tennis competitions than I can count. Brent died young. After serving four years in the airforce, he was studying at the ministry school in Texas, started by Melody Green in honor of her husband Keith Green. One night, there was a car crash near the school. Brent ran to help and in the dark, stepped on a downed power line. I look forward to seeing him in heaven... I bet he has a tennis court reserved for us! (*smile again*)

I found his marker - Daniel Brent Buchanan - and cleared the weeds from the stone, stuck the rose deep into the ground and thanked God for the memories and for the hope (knowledge and confidence) that I have that I will see him and his Parents again. (Bob and Nancy Buchanan,- his parents, died several years ago in a car accident) Then Ellen and I headed to the house for the family gathering.

The house was packed!!! Family, friends and relatives!!! I really enjoyed seeing my Nephew's baby son and another nephew's beautiful little girl, and a very special niece that I hadn't seen in a long time. It all whizzed by too fast and the next thing I knew, Chris and I were leaving to catch a flight home.

Chris flew home with me because he had an important Retreat that started Friday. He missed the bus, but two of the leaders waited behind to pick him up and take him to the retreat!

It took a bit of winding down before I could sleep that night, but once again I had a fantastic nights sleep and in the morning.... I awoke... and the miracle was over. I was back to my same sick self.

But somehow, it didn't matter. God had done more than I had asked or expected. I will always cherish the memory of those two days and all that they held.

I love my husband and I love his family - which is, and has been, for a long time - my family!

Thanks for letting me share this huge journey with you, in what is probably the longest blog I've written yet! *smile*









And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.
For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
I Thessalonians 4:13-14

September 30, 2008

Mom - Ada V. Pruitt - We loved you with all our hearts!

Thank you to all of you who prayed for Bill and I and our trip last weekend.

With two days of IV fluids and the help of extra medication, I did make the trip. And I am very glad I did.

It was hard seeing Mom so ill, but she put her last effort into our visit - pushing herself to talk and whisper and even ate some potato soup and chocolate milkshake for me!

We saw a few moments of the real mom behind the Alzheimer's and the sick body, which was a joy. But when it was time to leave, she had spent it all and we were not able to communicate with her. It was hard to say goodbye.

We did have some good time with Dad - took him out a few times and he got a great nights sleep that night.

However, when we left she was unresponsive. By the next morning she was running a fever and Hospice said her organs were in the process of shutting down.

Mom passed away last night. It was peaceful and painless and she is now in charge of hospitality in heaven! :-) We're all glad for our hope in Jesus and our confidence of her eternal life with Him.

Now, we face the trials of traveling again this week, facing and talking and serving the many people who will be grieving her. Bill was born and raised in that church and I attended it from the time we moved to Davis, so there will be a lot of people to talk to and a lot of work to do.

And of course, the whole family is tired and emotionally drained already. Dad needs your prayers. Bill is so good for his Dad, and I know Bill's presence will bring him comfort. But he's still grappling with letting go.

Please pray for all of our plans and travels. Some or all of us will drive the 11 hour drive. I may fly and shorten the trip as I am still recovering from last weekend. And we'd like to get Chris home for his High School retreat if possible so we are looking into Alaska Airlines Bereavement fares.

Yes, I will get back to the questions when I recover from all of this. But for now, let me leave you with some words from Isaiah.

Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return.
They will enter Zion singing,
crowned with everlasting joy.
Sorrow and mourning will disappear,
and they will be filled with joy and gladness.Isaiah 35:10

September 24, 2008

Crash

I'm sorry for my slow answers to the questions that have been posted.

I've had a sudden and very deep crash this week. My whole body system is "off" but most of the fatigue is like nothing most people can imagine. Even I forget how bad it can get until it does!

I get some IV fluids today and tomorrow. Our plans were/are to fly down for one day and one night to see Mom and Dad P.

Mom continues to hang on, but they say it will only be a couple weeks at the longest.

I hope so much to take this trip, and maybe with the IV's and lots of meds I'll be able to do it - but I know that will mean a major crash again when I get home.

Pray for us to have peace over God's direction. I think of one of my favorite verses from Question 2: It is Psalm 23. I've never been very good at memorizing, but my 3rd grade Sunday School teacher was patient with me and I memorized it and earned my pack of lifesavers. That Psalm has stuck with me all my life.

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.
We are walking in a Valley right now, but the LORD is my comfort. He is rest for my tortured soul! I am so thankful for this Psalm of King David's and for these reminders of who and what I really have!

Thank you for your prayers.

I will post soon. Either when I get back, if the LORD is willing to get me to a place that I can travel, or while Bill is away. Because he needs to go and see his Mom, whether I can go or not.

Much love to my readers!
~Melanie

September 20, 2008

Question #1 - Artists who inspire me the most

"A Tribute to Van Gogh"
(c) M Pruitt 2007


Question: "What Artists inspire you the most?"

Great question!

I would have to say - the number one artist that inspires me is Vincent Van Gogh.

I had never been all that interested in his art - he often went a little too unrealistic in his impressionism for my logical brain.

But it wasn't until the day that I visited the Toledo Museum of Art that I really became interested in Van Gogh. I am a fan of the impressionists so of course, I insisted we start there - not knowing how my energy would hold up!

I knew I would be seeing a real Monet, several Cezanne's and a Van Gogh among other famous artists. But I did not expect the impact that Van Gogh's painting would have on me.

I walked up to it - a simple painting of a wheat field, with harvesters and rolls of wheat - but as I looked at that painting - there was so much feeling in this beautiful simple, yet complex painting, that tears began to well up in my eyes. I eyes were glued to that painting and I returned to it several times that day.

Later, I learned more about Van Gogh and his life. We remember him as the crazy man who cut off his ear. But he was really a man who couldn't find his place - partly because he was different and partly because society rejected the beautiful gift he was able to offer God and humankind!

I was really touched by the story his life. His father was a preacher, and he too went into the ministry. He loved and wanted to serve people, but he was a quiet man - and not well spoken. Yes, he was gifted, but not with the gifts that were valued by the church of that time. He was let go from his position and was set adrift. He spoke through his painting - calling out to God and mankind through his art.

I could go on with more of his story - but this last thing is what inspires me from Van Gogh's difficult life as an artist. He spoke to God and he spoke to people through his art. I knew it the moment I saw that first painting! That's what brought tears to my eyes.

Someone can be a good artist but not give a care about God or people. And we stand and look at that art and are interested and even amazed at the ability.

But an artist that paints speaking to God... an artist that paints with a deep love for people... his/her art moves the heart and soul of the viewer!

And that's the kind of artist I want to be!

I may come back to this question, because there are several more artists that really inspire me... but this is a long enough blog for now! :-)

Watch soon for the answer to Quest #2!

AND ... I added a new gadget to my blog! You can become a "Follower" . What does that mean? It means that my blog will show how many people like to follow up on what's happening on my blog and, if you have a blogger account, you get to see snippets of each blog you are following so you know when you might want to read them! So if you'd like, add your self to my Follower's list!

Thanks for stopping by!!!

September 16, 2008

What would you like to know about me?

Leave a message with a question and I will answer as many as I can!

"What would you like to know about me?"

Ask away!


(c) M Pruitt 2006

To begin with, I'll share with you one of my favorite poems (but it's not my favorite of favorites so if you want to know that.. you'll have to ask):


The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


~Robert Frost

September 12, 2008

Update on my MIL

Thank you to all of you who have known of, and prayed for, the recent pain and difficulties for Bill's mom. I thought you all might like a little update on how to pray - and for all my friends that I have not yet contacted - a bit of an update as well.

Bill's mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and though progressing, we didn't know how long or how fast it would develop. Then she was diagnosed with cancer and underwent surgery to remove a tumor. The Alzheimer's began to quickly progress.

Against the better judgment of their children, they took a last trip to Hawaii. Mom had found a lump on her head, but didn't tell anyone because she really wanted that trip to Hawaii. As it turns out... it was a good choice. They had a wonderful time and the lump, though cancerous and diagnosed as untreatable, may have kept them from enjoying this last trip together.

Mom and Dad P. have been married for over 60 years and have enjoyed traveling the world together so this really was a blessing.

The cancer found on her skull, has spread through her body and now shattered her hip. She had surgery yesterday and we were unsure if she could even survive the surgery. But she did! Thank you to all of you who prayed for her surgery.

Now, you can pray, as the children all figure out what facility to move Mom to from the hospital, and how to best care for Dad.

They're both in their 80's, and have lived good long lives. They have enjoyed world travel many times, opened their home over and over again to strangers and newcomers, were blessed with children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Thank you for your love and care and prayers!

September 8, 2008

Art Sweet Blog Feature

Today, I am the featured artist on Art Sweet - a blog that features ImageKind artists!!!

If you have a few min, come by and see the blog and leave a message! I feel very honored to be chosen!

ART SWEET Blog click here

September 4, 2008

What do I do with my time???

I've been able to get out a bit lately and it's been wonderful to connect with a few friends and say Hi to many of you!

One of the questions I've been asked the most is "What do you do with your time?"

I'm sure it can be hard to imagine what a person like me actually "does" all day!!!

As I've told a few of you, it greatly depends on the type of day I am having. It can range anwhere from just sleeping and watching a couple movies, to a good day of painting!

And even better, yesterday, I was able to make it out for the whole morning (with the help of extra meds) and attend all the parent meetings and preparations for Chris' classes.

Today, though, is my payback day. My body pays me back for taking a day like yesterday. I slept til 9:30, stayed in bed til noon (drinking tea and doing a few things slowly on my computer) then got up and finally got dressed and had made a quick sandwich before collapsing into my recliner!
My body hurts everywhere. I feel OK if I'm just sitting here, but my concentration is shot. No multi-tasking for me today!!!!

But it's not a sad today though. I am so happy I could do the things I needed to yesterday, even if my body does have to pay for it today!

Well... I thought you might enjoy seeing a recent painting I was able to complete on one of those good days!

In my Etsy store, TheCreatorsPalette, I have listed various sizes of customized paintings! (4x6, a 5x7, an 8x10, an 11x14 or a 12x16)

I had a customer who contacted me and asked if I could paint her house with her two boys sitting on the front door step. I had her email me a few pictures to evaluate and then gave her the thumbs up. So she purchased an 8x10 custom painting while I had them on sale this summer!

She gave me permission to put it on my blog and share it with all of you!

After she purchased the custom painting, we began emailing back and forth - confirming how much of the house to show, the colors of the siding, roof and brick and so on.

I had quite a few reference pics, but here is the reference picture I worked from the most.


I began painting, and emailed a few questions as I went. She helped me with the real color of the house, told me what was in that dark shadowed corner etc. It all came together quite smoothly! My customer was thrilled with the completed picture! In fact, after seeing the scan I sent for her approval, she began talking to me about a second commission - even before she had received the actual painting! That is the best compliment she could have given me!!!

Here is the completed painting.




I'm finding that I really enjoy doing commissions. I really enjoy the interaction with my customers and I'm looking forward to the next commission with this customer!

Well, thanks for reading my rambling today. I guess I'm off to watch a movie. But first I'd better heat up a rice bag ... my feet are freezing!!!!

Cheers!
~Melanie

August 27, 2008

My Hope


I want to blog - I want to keep in touch. But my brain is empty. What should I say?

The quote above says it all....

Laura Hildebrand wrote Seabiscuit during the deepest fatigue just like I now experience. She says some days it was all she could do to write one single paragraph in a day.

I know that feeling.

This is the quote I have on my desktop right now, that I read to myself several times a day - reminding me of the truth - my reason for pressing on!

"God delights,
not in the strength of the horse,
nor is his pleasure in the legs of a man.
But the Lord delights in those who fear Him,
and in those who hope in His steadfast love."

Psalm 147:10-11

In the midst of nuclear bomb sized fatigue, pain and sadness... I DO hope... I cling to the steadfast love of God! And I know in return, no matter what I do or don't get done today, He delights in me!

What a beautifully comforting reminder that is!

August 12, 2008

Catching Up

(c) M Pruitt 2008


It's been so long since I've really blogged. A couple of things have kept me from it! I'm usually too tired to think up a good quality blog (you'll probably notice this one is kind of a ramble). When I'm not, I have had many art projects keeping me busy. When I'm in between, I'm spending my time on Etsy - chatting with new friends and playing games called "Tag" and "Secret Shopper" where I am basically trading items. I'm getting a lot of Christmas shopping done! :-)

I also don't have any news to report on the health front, except that this is the longest time that my deep fatigue has not given me a 4-6 week reprieve. I've had ONE day since last December were I really felt normal without filling myself with medications. That is discouraging to me.

The ME/CFS specialist I saw a few months back, let me know that the continued decline I have experienced is not a good sign. I think he meant that I will not recover spontaneously, but what it means will happen, I'm not sure.

I have really been enjoying my painting and jewelry making lately. Though, I don't sell much of the Jewelry, it still keeps me busy. I did however, get a special order for two medical bracelets last week and she bought a third! AND - I've received two painting commissions with a third in
process.

The first commission was from Etsy and the customer wanted me to paint her house with her two little boys sitting on the front doorstep! I finished it this week and emailed her a scan to give her OK and she was thrilled. So thrilled that she's contacted me about a second commission - even before her painting has arrived in her hands!

The second commission is from a customer in Australia! She bought one of my paintings during my YART sale and really loves it. She wants two more complimentary paintings! This is the project I'm working on now!

And so far, all of my customers have been so understanding of my limitations with illness and my need for flexibility! I know this is a blessing from God to keep me going - giving me something to keep working for.

I've been yearning to escape - Tuscany has been my focus lately. But escape is not an option God has given me at this point... so I keep pressing on... toward love and godliness (as it says in Philippians) and to face each day and keep working on the beautiful and fun projects that have been dropped in my lap.

Well... enough ramblings for now... I'll try to at least come and ramble some more in the next week. Thanks for visiting and reading and keeping up with where I am in life!

Oh... and my apologies to all of you who subscribe to my blog. I accidentally posted a blog meant for my my art blog- onto this blog. I've deleted it, but some of you may have received it through email. Sorry about that.

(looking up at the top to make sure I'm blogging in "Melanie's Journey" now! LOL)


~Melanie

July 28, 2008

2 year ETSY Anniversary!!!

(C) M Pruitt 2008
Digital Art ACEO available on Etsy!


Today is my two year anniversary of selling on ETSY!!!!

As a special celebration I have a special offer!

Right now I'm at 69 sales, so Sale #70 gets:

10% OFF their sale + FREE SHIPPING on their whole order!!!
*** this includes all sale items... so you can get an extra 10% if you purchase a sale item***

AND... for the rest of the day, every sale that is an even number (72,74,76 etc) gets FREE SHIPPING on their whole order too!!!!!

This will last all day long today - July 28 - until Midnight PACIFIC TIME!

So come shopping and enjoy some great savings on me! And while you're at it - sign in at Etsy and click this link to leave a message on my promotions thread!!!! CLICK HERE

WHOOO HOOOO!!!!
click here for my store

July 4, 2008

Streams of Water

(c) M Pruitt 2008

Blessed is the one whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law she meditates day and night.

She is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever she does prospers.


My paraphrase of Psalm 1: 2-3. I hope and pray that I would be this person - delighting in God's word, meditating on it day and night.

This painting - done with watercolor on Yupo reminds me of the bubbling stream I imagine feeding this tree full of life. Like God's word, continually bubbling over me, feeding me, and keeping me alive.

It's hard to feel alive with this illness. This has been a tough week physically and I must admit, I haven't felt very prosperous. But as I look back, every single day, God gives me at least one thing to do to show Him my love and to show love to the world... something valuable... something prosperous.

And so... I keep pressing on... drinking up all that fresh water bubbling past me.



If you'd like to read more about the process of making this painting, you can visit my art blog - click here.

June 15, 2008

My Dad

I thought, instead of sending my Dad a card in the mail, I would blog about him!

Here's my Dad in his teens - isn't he handsome? :


He was a wild young thing. His High School Stories sound like they came out of a movie. One day, he drove me past the road outside his High School where they held their drag races. He's also told me about the day there was an earthquake, so the kids were all let out of school early. Everyone was sitting out on their lawns, so my Dad, with his great sense of humor, drove around with Elvis Presley blaring loudly over the radio "I'm All Shook Up"

He's also told the story about the day he picked up 15 girls and gave them all a ride in his convertible '50 Ford! Wish I had a picture of that!

But when it came to really making his choice - he was naturally attracted to this shy, sweet, beautiful girl... my Mom! This is her beautiful SR picture! No wonder he fell in love with her!


They've been married for 47 years, through thick and thin. Through years of my Dad's education at Stanford, through moves, and changes, through more than we ever imagine when we first say "I do"


He always loved his two little girls! One, was so much like his wife - she was his pretty little thing! The other, so much like him (me) - I was his "Let's Go!" buddy!

My mom tells stories about how, if my Dad even touched his keys, I ran to get my bonnet so I could "Go" with Daddy. I also remember Dad coming home from work, getting a diet soda and sitting in his recliner watching the news. As a little 3 year old... I would find a way to climb up on the counter and get myself a cup, pull up my little rocker and hold my cup up for a little of his soda. We'd watch the news together... for all of about 3 min until I couldn't sit still any longer!



I remember Flood's Flying Service and our many flights together. I remember picking out my own log book and Dad would let me fly and log in my hours! I loved those super fast incline take-offs! And we'd do roller coasters in the air... ah... what fun.

I remember the day Paul Flood died. It was a sad day. We listened to the service on the Radio. I never saw Dad cry, but I know he did.

I also still remember the day I finally finally finally, beat Dad in a hundred yard sprint. I was in sixth grade. Poor Dad... he probably had to face that time was passing - but for me - it was one of the best thrills of my life to that point! I got my competitiveness from Dad! I KNOW he didn't let me win. I worked hard for that day!!!!

The first dates I had were our Father/Daughter dates. Sometimes we'd go out for ice cream, but each year, we'd be sure to see the Boat Show at the Cow Palace in San Fransisco. Why a boat show??? I don't know! We didn't own a boat, nor did we ski. We did love to fish together and maybe Dad dreamed of owning a fishing boat - but mostly, I think, it was a place for us to "Go".


I loved those Saturdays that both Dad and I got that urge to "GO"! It was always spur of the moment and we almost always headed to San Fransisco! We had our favorite spots we'd hit and just make a fun day of it! Sometimes we just needed to get away and smell San Fransisco!

Dad and I loved to bike together, and I'll always cherish the day we rode the Wilder's tandem and we worked so hard together that we made it home first (it was always a competition to see who arrived home first - even after a 20 mi bike ride!) I also remember the 60 mi fund raiser ride we did together. Wow was I tired! I remember the first time Dad rode The Davis Double Century (200 mi in less than 24 hours) He and Roger looked like ghosts as they arrived back into town! But as the years went by, Dad's race time for the 200 Miles got better and better. He had a drawer full of t-shirts from The Davis Double Century and a variety of Century rides!


Dad brought one of my top - lifelong dreams to life. In May 2000, just one year before I got sick and couldn't have done it, he took me to England. ENGLAND!!!! The place I had dreamed of since I was a child. It was one of the most wonderful 2 weeks we ever spent together.



My Dad has one amazing aspect that most Dad's don't have. He has a way of getting to be a part of or doing things no one else gets to do. Here you see us having dinner in the Bath House in Bath England. It's only open for dinners once every year... and of course, we were there for that one day! Our hosts treated us to a special dinner overlooking the Roman Baths - lit by torches. Then we walked to the Cresent and watched the fireworks.

Dad could tell you a hundred stories of amazing things he's done. Like being the first civilian to get to fly an F-16. Or being the first non- airline employee to get trained on Boeing's 757. He met the Dodgers Manager AND went onto the field of a Giants game while his mother received special honors for her volunteer work. He was invited to privileged seating at a space shuttle launch - and even better - he had the privilege of getting to land the Space Shuttle Simulator!

I could go on and one about memories and accomplishments. But I must finish this Father's Day tribute with one important fact - THE most important fact about my dad!

When he was a teenager, he gave his life to Jesus Christ. And he has clung to that faith through all of the years since - including the most difficult days he's faced. This is what I admire most about my Dad. This is what makes my Dad special and the thing I will always brag about - no matter what else he accomplishes or does in his life.

Love you Dad!

xox,
Melanie

May 28, 2008

Friendship

If one falls down, his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
Ecclesiastes 4:10

(c) M Pruitt 2008
for sale on Etsy


I've been thinking about friendship a lot lately. Being so isolated due to my illness has changed the the way I can relate to my friends and the type of friendship I can have. But it hasn't changed the fact that I need friends. And it hasn't changed the fact that I have friends.

But the friendships have changed.

I have new friends - very close friends - though we only talk over the internet and never meet face to face (well... I met one face to face last year! ) :-) Some, are sick like me so we can go a long time without talking depending on how each of us is doing physically, but when we do get back to our emails and chat - we pick up right from where we left off.

Some of my new online friends are artists, some are Christians, and some are both. Some are older than me, many are my own generation, and some are much younger than me! None of these friends are stuck at home, in a relciner chair like me, but we network, and chat and have a good time together! Sometimes they get busy and we don't talk for quite a while, but when we do get back to our emails and chat - we pick up from where we left off too!

Some friends loyally send me mail. Some say "Hi" on MySpace and Facebook. Some call me and tell me they will be out and about today and ask if I need anything from this or that store. One friend brought a whole teatime to me! Some email me pictures of their ultrasounds, some buy my art, some leave me messages here on my blog.

The other day, a friend did something unexpected and very touching. In the middle of a busy room, she detected my distress as I tried to act normal going through the process of my parental responsibilities. She quietly walked up from behind, and whispered "It doesn't look like you're doing very well today." I tearfully admitted I wasn't. She didn't say anything, but quietly bowed her head and softly prayed for me. Then she went on with her work. I was deeply touched.

Many of my friends write me emails and ask for prayer or advice. I love that. Friends share their good news and their bad news. Friends serve each other - in whatever ways they can. Friends recognize the efforts of the other - even when it falls short of what they had hoped for. Friendship is giving and receiving!

And distance - either time or physical - never destroys friendship. I have a friend who is very near and dear to my heart, but she and I haven't spoken in, probably two years. Not because of problems, but just because of our life's circumstances. I sent her an email the other day, and immediately, we were back to the same friendship we'd enjoyed years before!

No matter what... a friend is a friend forever! Friendships may have huge times of separation, or change as life changes - but a true friend is always a friend!

To all my friends from long past days - friends I haven't talked to in a long time - to my newest online friends, I want you to know that I love you and value your friendship and the memories we share.

This piece of art I created this weekend is dedicated to you!

May 5, 2008

Light vs. Dark

I looked out my bedroom window and saw this gorgeous moon, sitting upon golden glowing clouds with the silhouette of branches. It stuck in my mind for days until I just had to try and paint it.

It's a very representational piece to me. The brightness of the moon casting a new light - a golden light upon the darkness... the two foreground trees creating a cross...

Jesus is that light in my, sometimes very dark, world. I'm thankful for the physical and natural reminders I have of this truth.

It reminds me again of the words to that David Crowder song "Stars" - here's just the first verse:

You should see the stars tonight
how they shimmer shine so bright
against the black they look so white
comin down from such a height
to reach me now, reach me now

you should see the moon in the flight
cuttin cross the misty night
softly dancin in sunshine
reflections of this light
reach me now, you reach me now

and how could such a thing
shine its light on me
and make everything beautiful again

God makes things beautiful again - even when they are dark and lifeless and scary.

I was talking to Bill last night about how badly we want me to be healed. But even more than being healed I want to be a person who reflects HIS beauty and shines beautifully, even in the darkness of life. That's what I really want most.

Right now, that darkness is my illness. I haven't had much to post. Haven't done too much in the past month - except I've tried to take each day as it comes, I try to bring joy and light to anyone God brings into my little world. It may look and feel dark, but his light shines on me and makes my life beautiful... again.

Pray that I will bask in his light, that I will shine in reflection and that I won't let the darkness around me frighten me, but instead - keep my eyes on his beautiful light.

April 14, 2008

The Deer Return



The deer returned - unfortunately, they did a little munching on their way to my back yard (roses are in the front and side yard) I'm dreading going out this morning to see what damage they have done.

BUT... I did get pictures this time! LOL

This time there were only 2. One hid behind the Oak Tree - looking very suspicious at me. The other decided it was a perfect chance to pose for pictures!

I wonder if there is a fawn hidden up on my hillside?

Any Huntsmen/women interested in guarding my roses? Oh... wait ...we're within city limits... sorry Carla! (wink)