Sunday, August 18, 2019

Pushing Past Panic to Find a Passion

June 17th marked 17 years of marriage with the Big Steve-O, yet the two of us never took/made time to celebrate. This summer has been fraught with a lot of heartache and anxiety over parenting Noah. I've lost weight, my hairdresser noticed my hair was thinning and I've felt extremely fatigued. Last month Steve signed me up for a one day, pet portrait watercolor class because he always seems to know what I need even if I don't always agree with him...kinda like that one time nearly eight years ago when he signed me up for a writing course.
Me: "Why would you do that? I have no idea what to write. I have nothing to say."
Steve: (no words - just an unwavering belief in me)

Steve may not be everyone's cup of tea, but he is honest and fair and his faith in Jesus is strong and has carried our family through tough times. While his words are few, his actions speak volumes. His passion is in making me happy...mostly -- though there's a reason, as a little boy, his mama called him Steven the Heathen.

I love you, Steve -- you big lug.

I began painting -- mainly out of fear... because I hadn't held a brush for 10 years and didn't want to look like a complete fool at the class. So, I practiced as much as I could and although I nearly had a panic attack during the class and had to leave early -- I have found joy in the process.

My first one I created for a friend who lost her beloved 2 year old Belgian Malinois this past spring.
Meet Indie

A few weeks ago my niece had to put down her 4 year old dog unexpectedly.
Meet Sadie

Last month my Barb, my sister-friend, celebrated another trip around the sun. Someone who over the years has talked me down from more ledges and lifted me up more times than I can count.
Meet Cocoa Bean

When I shyly showed my paintings to my former boss, Ellen Rohr, someone who I have always admired for her can do, glass half full attitude, she immediately offered to pay me to paint her own two pooches...a gift for her husband. My heart nearly burst...not for the money, but that I could bring joy to someone from something I created.

Meet Molly and Sox

Our Truvy dog's breeder, Theresa has been a lifeline and been available to us any time we have called on her with a question about our pup. For her, a rendering of her beloved, 3 year old labradoodle.
Meet Dusty

My latest rendering is for a lovely lady who lost the dog of her life to cancer.
Meet Rusty

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Changing Times

The summer season...
A time of growth when the days are longest and the nights are shortest. For Noah he has spent many of those long days worrying about the changes he will experience by attending a new high school this fall. The nights extra short as he's up before the sun because for him change is synonymous with impending doom.

Summer is also the time when kids seem to grow the most both physically and emotionally. With only two more days til the start of a new school year, I have begun examining the ways in which Noah has grown this summer:
* he held a part time job
* he can independently walk to and from the park near our home
* he has a "long-distance" girlfriend he face times every day

 However, some things do not change.
..Noah's desire for sameness. Keeping the status quo in a world of never-ending change, is near impossible and stressful. I try to control "unexpected" things by serving him foods he is comfortable with and can tolerate. Keeping up with routines and schedules -- even in the summer months.

...Noah's short term memory difficulties. I make him lists, but he refuses to use them. I try not to lose my patience when he forgets and brushes his teeth without paste or can't remember which trash can is for waste and which is for recycling or has misplaced xyz...again and again.

...Noah's love for repetition and imitation. He is not only good at learning piano pieces by ear, he is also pretty terrific and imitating inflections/mannerisms and phrases from people he has met or movies he has much so it sometimes feels as though there are other people living in our home.

...our need for support from Action for Autism St. Louis. This summer through AFA Noah received private occupational therapy twice a week. On Tuesdays he and his beloved therapist, Cindy, worked on sensory issues and keyboarding skills. On Thursdays the two of them walked to our local city center to work out or played Foosball. She helped him devise a simple exercise plan that included using the treadmill and other equipment. They walked to a local eatery to order, count out money and pay for an item on his own. Through it all she has been his sounding board and counselor and helped him work through frustrations about being picked on at the pool this summer or worries about attending a new school.

On August 24th our family will be participating in our 11th annual AFA Family Fun Walk. If you feel led, please make a tax deductible donation here. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select Family Fun Walk from the drop down list and type Felgenhauer in the Donation Notes bar.

Thank you to all who have supported us in the past and those who are able to help this year.