Waiting for the Light


Happy 2018 everyone!

It’s been quite a while since my last post. I hope you have missed me 🙂

At the end of the year people tend to take stock of what the previous year was like, and determine what they wish for the upcoming new year. Instagram compiled my top nine posts together in one display.

There were definitely some awesome moments captured. But, one memorable moment for me is not documented anywhere online, until now.

My family and I lit this Advent wreath each Sunday as we waited to celebrate the birth of Jesus-our light to shine in the darkness. Key words here are waiting and light.  

This homespun wreath is not the epitome of craftsmanship, but it is a reminder to me of my time in a holding pattern close to 17 years ago. After one of my hospitalizations, I needed occupational therapy to strengthen my hand muscles (atrophy as result of a medication reaction). Recovery was slow, and I was very impatient (shocking, I know). In September my physical therapist suggested that I choose a craft to strengthen my hands. She knew I loved using my glue gun. But did I choose something simple with the glue gun?

Nope. I chose to construct an Advent wreath that required using an ivy leaf stencil on two different colors of felt, cutting out that shape, stuffing with a little batting, and then hot gluing them together. I then used pins to arrange them on a Styrofoam craft wreath (btw, it’s not as easy to stick them in as you might think) and glued a little red pom-pom onto the leaves.

A time-consuming and arduous process to say the least. I didn’t just want to rehabilitate my hands-I needed to prove to myself that I could still accomplish something-something other than having the less than 1% reaction to most medications known to man.

To have it ready for the first Sunday of Advent, I knew I had to make a decent effort each day. Also, my daughter looked forward to coming home from pre-school and checking out the homework her Mom completed. I couldn’t disappoint her, especially with the guilt I had for being away from her so much when I was in the hospital.

Amazingly, I finished it in time-well barely, but finished. I learned that even though events were not happening in the time frame I wanted, I could still have something to show for it. As a side note-make sure you have someone carve notches in the Styrofoam for the candles before you cover it with the ivy leaves. Not that it happened to me of course, I had this friend…. 🙂

So, fast forward to this year. As I unpacked the wreath from the storage bin, it struck me that my life had hit the big ol’ pause button once again. This year’s moment in November when the ultrasound tech confirmed I had a blood clot, events from 17 years ago flooded my memory and anxiety floated to the surface. Once again, I’m up the creek without a paddle, although if a had a paddle, I couldn’t grip it since my hands are worse now, anyway—I digress.

After my new blood clot diagnosis, I dreamed about my hospital stay 17 years ago which brought back the feelings of isolation, fear, and the need to hoard cranberry juice (that’s a story for another day). That was the first of many sleepless nights and re-emergent panic attacks. It didn’t help that my recent blood clot diagnosis came the week of Thanksgiving. That same week three years ago, my Mom’s health began its downward spiral before she would pass away a mere 3 months later.

I guess you could say I was dealing with my own form of post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD). It prolonged the time that I couldn’t focus on any writing/researching my work-in-progress, reading for my own pleasure, or marketing The Last Cherry Blossom-which already were on hold because of my October surgery.

So, looking at the Advent wreath a couple months ago, I remembered the painstaking hours making it, and that eventually I completed it. So, I applied that to my writing and started journaling. Very rudimentary, sometimes just list of emotions I felt, and sometimes full sentences. A few days later, it dawned on me that my character, Yuriko will be dealing with PTSD.

Although I may have different reasons for mine, and my reaction may not be as intense, but I could understand some of the feelings her actions will be based on. So maybe I am accomplishing something after all and I’m not stuck on pause. That moment of revelation (this is where the light comes in) won’t show up on any top 2017 list, but it helped set the stage for how I’m approaching 2018.

Wishing you all peace and light this 2018!

Also sharing this post at


16 thoughts on “Waiting for the Light

  1. Hi Kathleen, I am always amazed at your strength. Do not feel guilty taking time to let yourself heal. I’m thrilled your experiences are making your writing even stronger- Enjoy each day and all things will fall into place. Sending hugs- Sheri


  2. There’s nothing like a health scare to throw all best intentions out the window, but don’t be too hard on yourself, we all do it. I like the lesson you’ve shared about the painstaking step by step completion of your wreath. I hope this new year will be a very healthy one for you, Kathleen.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. michelle mullen says:

    Kathleen your resilience is such a theme in your life. I just love that you pushed yourself to make that beautiful wreath, not settling for a baseline challenge. Thank you for being so pure of heart…it comes through in your writing! Blessed ’18 to you and your health.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michelle, thank you so much for visiting,your kind words of encouragement,and compliment. It means a lot to know my writing is conveying what’s in my heart. Your compliment inspires me to keep writing. A blessed 2018 to you as well😊


      • michelle mullen says:

        Thank you for your return blessings Kathleen.You’re a generous sweetie.💖 The Last Cherry Blossom is on my MG list this Spring! Can’t wait to read it. (Just hunkered down now with Picture Book Goals before moving to MG in March.) Keep writing and thank YOU for being an inspiration to me and many others. Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I did miss you! Happy new year!
    It’s so true that PTSD can be caused by the trauma of illness. We rarely consider health troubles a “crisis” because they’re typically acute and rarely so destructive😓
    You’re healing from so much now…
    It’s incredible how you’re always finding ways to transform your struggles into light, and creativity.

    PS, I hope you might share this on the Chronically Inspired group!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much my sweet friend. I so appreciate your encouragement and support. That is so sweet of you to say. I will post it there,thank you for suggesting that. Sending gentle hugs and love 💗


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