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Revisiting Possessions

Revisiting Possessions

Two years ago I blogged about Possessions and how difficult it was for me to think about parting with my boxes of files, my dad’s vinyl LPs, and even my children’s stuffed animals from childhood. Over the past couple of months, I’m happy to report that I’ve made major progress. As you can see, it took time to get to this place of actually doing something about them. Perhaps embarking on Personal Safety Nets has given me the push I needed. Another thing that has helped is taking the time to lay things out, recall some happy memories, and sometimes post a photo on Facebook to see if anyone wanted anything (including my children). So, I have not tossed out everything, but pared down and picked things to save in a more intentional way. I want my life to be full of people and relationships and enjoyable activities, not burdened by the “stuff” that has accumulated. Making getting rid of the stuff more about remembering people, relationships, and enjoyable activities has helped enrich me and motivate me along this...
Back to Personal Safety Nets… It is a Journey

Back to Personal Safety Nets… It is a Journey

It was almost two years ago that I started this blog on my journey of Personal Safety Nets. In some ways, I did not get very far. In some ways I did. Life intervened. In December of 2015, my purse and cell phone got stolen out of the front seat of my car while I was getting gas. (Yes, watch out for people sneaking into your car while your back is turned at a gas station.) It was a shock and big inconvenience, but because I had done a pretty good job of consolidating my critical documents (credit card information, cell phone insurance plan, etc.), I was actually able to get up and running again within about 2 days. (I think the cell phone replacement arrived about 24 hours after the event.) Yes, we did have to change our locks, but our locksmith is located near our house and was willing to make a late call that very evening. The next morning I went into the bank and got a brand new checking account and debit card. The visa replacement card arrived before Christmas. I was able to order a replacement driver’s license online and print a temporary copy immediately. Fortunately, I had a spare credit card that was not in my purse so I could continue to pay for things as needed online. I mention this now to contrast it with my latest experience with a stolen purse. Unfortunately, on the morning of Memorial Day this year, my 90-year-old mom’s purse got stolen out of her house. Fortunately, her keys and cell phone were not in it, but, unfortunately, check books, credit...
Doing my homework

Doing my homework

October 3, 2015 Dear …., I’ve been attending a Train the Trainer on a program called “Personal Safety Nets.” It has a lot in common philosophically  with LifeSPAN, but is not about helping your loved one with a disability; rather, it’s about helping yourself. In the spirit of “Please put your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others,” I am working to get my own life in order. I think I’ll be better able to support my sister Kari then, as well as all the other loved ones in my life. (And I’ll have time and energy to “save the world” too! :))  Of course, there are many elements to this, from getting my will in order to tracking down my possessions and knowing what I have (and where it is), but our homework after the first training session was to fill out our “Personal Safety Nets Emergency Card,” something I will carry with me always. On the front of the card, it has a place to indicate: – My Name, Phone, Date – Medications/Conditions: – Allergies: – Person with a house key & contact info   On the reverse side, it has: – Medical Contact Info: – Insurance Info:   – In case of emergency, or if I cannot speak for myself, please call: [    ]  Contacted  1. Name    Phone [    ]  Contacted  2. Name    Phone [    ]  Contacted  3. Name    Phone (in other words, have I actually contacted these people for permission to be on my card?) [   ]  They know how to reach one another   (so I need to connect them) [   ]  They have info, access,...

The Eight Pillars of Resilience (and where I’m starting)

At the training on Thursday night, we learned about the eight pillars of support. Not everyone has all eight in place, but even with six, or four, or possibly three, you can “bounce back” when life throws you a curve. (As trainees, we received from Judy an experiential activity to use to give people we might be working with in the future a more illustrative sense of what that means than simply reading or hearing the description.) I think I’ll explore these eight pillars and think about where I “am” right now in regards to each. As it happens, the one that stood out for me today was Possessions. In some ways, Possessions doesn’t seem like the most important pillar (and I really don’t think it is), but it is the one that seems to be my biggest barrier. I, like many people, seem to have so much “stuff” and no time (or discipline) to deal with it properly. Some of it is not really my fault. I still have four shelves of LP records (I think they call them “vinyl” nowadays) that my stepmother gave me after my father died and she decided to downsize and move back to Waldron Island. That was 19 years ago. And they’re still in the garage. I have not listened to even one (although… we did recently refurbish our turntable, so maybe they’ll be a part of my future listening pleasure…). Then there’s the box of stuffed animals that had to be stored in a bit plastic tub after my daughter started having trouble with dust mites. And there’s boxes of Legos and K’nex (from...

Why Blog?

You may be wondering why I decided to blog about my journey of Personal Safety Nets. I guess there are two main reasons. The first is that I enjoy writing and writing helps me think. It also helps me hold myself accountable. When it comes to Personal Safety Nets, I think I’ll need all the help I can get. And mainly I need to decide that it’s important enough for me to commit to doing it. And let my friends know that this is my commitment. The other reason is that I’m thinking that maybe if other people read about my journey they too will see that it’s not too difficult (but not too easy) a thing to do. And they’ll be encouraged to embark on their own journey of Personal Safety Nets. We’ll...

Personal Safety Nets – Michele’s Journey

I attended the “train the trainer” session with Judy Pigott last Thursday night on Personal Safety Nets. As they described it, “the two-day, two-part workshop will enable you to not only move your own personal safety net forward, but also work with others in your family, community and organization to assist them with learning how to create and use a personal safety net.” A number of us in LifeSPAN have been following Judy Pigott’s work for some time. It’s not difficult to see the connections between it and the work we do in LifeSPAN. In essence, we in LifeSPAN work to create personal safety nets in a slightly more formal way (we call them personal support networks) for individuals (our loved ones with a disability) who might not be in a position to create and maintain the safety net on their own. Of course, what I’ve learned from Judy, even after just one session, is that none of us really creates — or maintains — our personal safety nets on our own. We are all interdependent. Today at LifeSPAN’s annual Salty’s Fundraiser: Community, Contributions, Connections, Judy gave LifeSPAN a huge gift on the occasion of our 15th anniversary: a copy of the Personal Safety Nets book for each attendee. As I pondered Thursday night’s session and picked up my extra copy of the book at the brunch today, I could see the writing on the wall. It is time for ME to work on MY personal safety net. For all that I love helping everyone else out, perhaps the place to start is really with myself....