Monday, March 3, 2014

Still Pursuing the American Dream

Part of the Amerian Dream: puppies in the snow
A small hiatus from your normal routine is sometimes mandated by things beyond your control. Such was the case for my blogging when yet another family tragedy struck my immediate family. I've been talking with a few close friends and surprisingly many have had similar experiences.

This event was worse than our house fire four short months ago and has rattled me to my core. It has forced me to rethink everything and focus solely on my immediate family. I'm not entirely sure that I want to post the details as it is easier on me to focus on the future than relive what happened one month ago.

Needless to say our family survived yet again and by the Grace of God. I cannot take credit for this one. Rather than wallow in what could have been done, I choose to focus on family and continuing to pursue our American Dream.

American Dream: remaking Grandma's homemade noodle soup
If you've been reading this blog for a few years, you know how we headed down the path to our dream of self sufficiency by growing our own food in our backyard, raising chickens, storing rain water in barrels...and the like.  You might have read about our attempt this past summer to start a new life on a farm in Oklahoma with dreams of owning cattle and farming land with the perfect little red belly tractor (1949 Ford 8N).

Our dream continued when we relocated to northern Arizona but was put on hiatus after a total loss house fire. Now in a rental and regrouping once again, we're focusing on our dream. To us, the dream is living on a few (hopefully lots of) acres of land that we can all our own. We want to raise our children with a multitude of animals and enjoy the outdoor life that country living has to offer.

Part of living self sufficiently is making some income from home. That's why I chose to participate in an "influencer program" and incorporate a given topic into my own post here. Hence, I must state "I participated in an Influencer Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for MassMutual. I receive a promotional item to thank me for participating."  

Fresh eggs are in my American Dream
Some of you have determined your American Dream through your own life experiences. As a self proclaimed Lifetime Student, I learn a lot through research. Researching topics, like American Dream, can provide some insight into what other folks might be dreaming about. In one research study (MassMutual 2013 State of the American Family) there are three statistics that resonated with me:
  1. Putting family first is top priority
  2. Educating children about money
  3. Making sure that our children aren't burdened by caring for us in our golden years
Number three strikes a little closer to home now that we have moved Wifey's mom in with us. She suffers from multiple strokes and has Huntington's Chorea disease. She is almost total care and has given me a perspective on life that I hadn't quite contemplated yet: who will care for me when I'm elderly?

Sure, I have six daughters and used to joke that I had that many so my chances were increased that SOMEONE would take care of me when I got old...but I didn't mean it.  I don't mention that joke anymore but that topic is for another day. This post is about staying focused on your dreams regardless of what comes your way. If you need help figuring out how to finance your American Dream, visit the MassMutual Family Finances Study or head to your local library.

As for our recent trials, I'll work on putting it into words soon. There's still a lot of grappling going on and therapists being multiple family members. I want to share what warning signs I learned so that other families might be able to avoid what we went through but also want  to respect the privacy of my immediate family members.



Anonymous said...

Glad to see you're back OJD. I've been thinking about you and yours over the last few weeks. You and yours have been on one wild roller coaster ride over the last year. Hopefully things will calm down for the rest of 2014.

Granny Miller said...

Hang in there OJ. Glad to see you're back :-)

Steve said...

Sorry for your troubles and wish your family well. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you will get there

Anonymous said...

I've missed seeing your posts and wondered about the silence....sometimes life just takes over and time is not available. So sorry to hear about your troubles. We'll be praying for you and your family. - Pamela

Anonymous said...

Glad you're back OJD. One day at a time.


Anonymous said...

Prayers for you and your family.

Sarah said...

Glad you're back. Hopefully things settle and peace returns to your family very soon.

Leanna said...

Sending prayers your way.

Anonymous said...

I am very sorry to hear about your MIL's health problems. The disease is heartbreaking for the family. I must disagree, however with your concern of having any of your children taking care of you when you are unable to do for yourself.

The reality is that no one wants to be bed ridden, and have 24 hr care. If a person said that they wanted this, we would be alarmed. On the other hand, no one wants to be forgotten and left to the whims of the Medical Industrial complex, either. In general, it will not bode well.

I was the main caregiver for my mother who needed total care. My husband willingly helped. Due to a series of "accidents," my mother could no longer function on her own. The trauma ICU wanted to withdraw food and water to end her life as she "Only had three days to three weeks to live." This was a flat out lie. After two days of "discussion," it was determined that we were not going to waver from our position, and it wasn't even five minutes after the last discussion, that the designated Dr. from the team told me that I would definitely be able to take my mother home. My mother was not in severe pain in any way. They withheld the food and water without our knowledge. She lived for another 13 months. As an aside, she knew my father, our family, our children who visited from long distances, could participate in small decisions (This movie or that movie?), was by a large window and could see the seasons and weather, had a visit from her nieces, heard her great grandchild play the violin, played with a great grand baby on her bed, and had, according to the MD that came the house, a quality life. She was in the hub of the house. She died a natural death.

I understand that many people think that they would rather die than be taken care of like a baby, but the consequences of this decision is usually starvation and dehydration. It is a very painful death.

I was glad to be able to take care of my mother because I wanted to honor her position as my mother, and she needed an advocate. God chose her as my mother;He had his reasons. My choice was not based on emotion. My husband was also supportive of this choice as well. Few, if any were interested in our care taking choices. My greatest reward, however, beyond knowing that I was doing the right thing, was the ER nurse who made sure she talked to me when my mother arrived at the hospital after her natural death. She was impressed how well taken care of she was. As an aside, I do have a sibling who not only refused to help (I didn't ask, but said sibling did not volunteer, either), but also did not visit. This did not bother me, and still does not.

I do not wish to be in the same position as my mother, but even with living as healthy a life as possible one can not predict the future. If necessary, I would hope my children would honor me as well.

Life is like a fire in the house. Many people have "fun" discussions as to what they will grab before they exit the house. Well, we did have a fire in the house when the children were young. We exited the house in sixteen degree weather, in bare feet, and skimpy sleeping garments. We did not grab coats. I did not grab my glasses or orthopedic shoes. I did not ask if the dog made it until we were all outside (he did). The point of this story is that you do not know what you will decide to do on just about anything until the time comes, and if you are too feeble to make a well balanced decision, your children could make the honorable choice rather than a rash choice because mom or dad had a discussion based on emotion rather than fact.

Miss M said...

I wish y'all all the best, and pray that things head up from here.

I took a look at the MassMutual site, but I'm too tired to really read anything on it right now. Maybe when I'm rested (that was little print!). I hope your association with them does well for you!

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