Art and Positive Thinking

Welcome to my Renee Loves Art blog!

My focus is exploring, creating and reflecting upon the positives of life and connecting them to my art whether it be photography, pen and ink drawings, watercolour paintings, mixed media, digital media or any other possible media I dive into!

I hope you join me on my art adventure!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Skies are Positively Going to Clear Up!

The skies are positively going to clear up! 

January has been my least favourite month for many years.  It should be a month of new possibilities and a positive new beginning to a new year.  It should be a time to look forward passed the trees and into the sunset, anticipating what great and exciting new things await us.  Instead, things that no one wants to endure seem to occur in January. 

 This year has been no exception. Our January began with a big scare that made our lives flash before our eyes in a big blurr.

New Year's morning, by husband was sick all day long, and stayed in bed the entire day and night except for about five minutes. 

The next day he decided that he should go to work because his boss sent a memo stating that if they miss work after a statutory holiday, they needed a doctor's note.  We both agreed that the doctor wouldn't want someone with the flu to come in and would probably the say, "You have the flu, stay home, don't come here and spread your germs." 

I argued with my husband that after 21 years, he has hardly had any sick days, so his word should be enough. However, my husband decided to go to work and felt about 50% better.  The next day, he went to work at about 60% better. 

Friday morning, at  3:30 am he awoke me to take him to the hospital.  He was experiencing extreme pain in his arms and in the middle of his chest! By the time we got to the hospital, he was having troubles feeling his arms and his breathing was very rapid and laboured. 

Suddenly our lives started to flash by us, the doctors declared that he was having a heart attack.  I am still haunted by the look in my husband's teary red eyes, when the pain was so intense and he thought that that could be the end.

The emergency staff and their quick actions and attention had us on an airplane and off to Calgary Foothills hospital by 7:20 am. 

By the time we arrived in Calgary and Jeff was admitted into the ICU, his pain pretty much had subsided.  They ran various tests, gave him an angiogram and stated that they couldn't find any blockage, if there was any, whatever they did in Medicine Hat may have dissolved the blockage.  Things were all settled, and at 3:00 we left my husband in the hospital and we went for supper.  When we returned, he was laying flat.  He had another attack and had a second angiocardiogram.  The doctors were baffled.  There were no artery tears, or clots.  What was causing the "heart attacks"?  He is young, not over weight, doesn't smoke, doesn't over drink, he exercises, eats relatively well, doesn't do drugs.  They asked if his job or home life were stressful.  He answered, "No, not really." 

He got the attention of many doctors and nurses, interns, specialists, and they could not find the cause.  They were very interested in his case.  Finally, on Tuesday, after many tests and an MRI, they declared that my husband did not have two heart attacks, but instead had inflammation of the heart muscles, myocarditis, due to a virus.
They declared him safe to go home and return to his life.

Can you imagine? So sick from a flu virus?  Needless to say, it was a very stressful time, and not much sleep met our eyes.

We had lots of support, thoughts and prayers from our relatives, friends and co-workers.  It is amazing how many well wishes Jeff received. We had volunteers we had willing to watching our place and feed our animals, putting us up for the weekend, driving us around, making us food, treating us so we could relax and celebrate that we had been given hope, and a new beginning to a new year and the rest of our lives to continue to grow, love and be with each other.

We had many anxious hours, and even had frustration, but the one thing that assisted us through it all was humour.  I could have dwelled on a few things that annoyed me at the hospital, but Jeff had such a positive attitude and made us laugh, that the issues seemed minor.  He was the one sick, but he was the one trying to make us feel better!  His roommate, a 87 year old war veteran, also showed humour and the desire to get back to work!  Yes, work!  Most of us want to run away from work. Not him! My husband never actually got to see him, until they were moved to a new floor, but this wonderful man's energy and positive thinking permeated right through the curtain separating them, and filled us with hope and happiness. That man touched my soul. Amazing!  I hope everything goes well for him!  He sure does have the fight left in him!

Many tears flowed from our eyes with worry, uncertainty, but also because of happiness, support and love. 

On Wednesday morning, one week ago today, we had another bump in the January road.  Our dog Lucky, almost at the age of 18, had two seizures and we made the decision to help her end her pain.  We had many great experiences with her.  She helped me to overcome the fear of walking through the dark to the barn on our acreage, as the coyotes howled in the distance.  She helped be to become brave and to explore new things.  She faithfully and happily joined me in my many walks and driving excursions to find that one great photo opportunity. 

She was always kind to others and wanted to hold paws.  She never hurt anything. 

Lucky had a great summer camping with us on vacation to Drumheller, Pincher Creek, Elkwater, Grassy Lake, Waterton and Rattlesnake Dam.  Everywhere she has been, she has brought joy to others.  Complete strangers would always walk up and ask if she was friendly and then insist that they had to pet her.  In Waterton, she had people from all over the world pet her and love her.  If only we could all have that impact on others!

She had had a seizure a year ago in November and we thought then that the end was near.  She managed to recover, and didn't complain about her stiff joints and other discomforts of age. 

There were times when we grew frustrated with her accidents, but the good times we have had together helped us to endure.  On the days leading up to New Years, we could tell she was getting weaker, she would shake and knock herself over.  She didn't eat and drink much when we were in Calgary with Jeff's sickness, but when we arrived home Tuesday night, she greeted us with excitement, she ate and drank and even was jumping around like a young pup. 

Instead of spending our first day home from Calgary in a peaceful, stress free way, we spent the day tending to and saying goodbye to our friend and family member, Lucky. 

I could have sworn the next morning I could hear her little whimper, even though I knew it was the wind whistling through the dining room sliding doors.  We still tiptoe around the house in the dark, so we don't step on her.  We still expect to hear her excited bark when we get home, and we definitely miss her big smile!

The first days home were followed by a lot of hugs, hand holding and expressions of gratitude, but also, sadness and condolences from friends and family about our Lucky.

Even though our year started off shaky, we feel very lucky to have Jeff home with us, getting stronger and very lucky to have had such a dog friend in our lives.

The past two days, we have felt more settled in and back into the routine of things, and have found time to go outside and appreciate the beautiful prairie sunsets.  They give us a sense of hope, and tell us that, "This too shall pass!" and the future is in front of us!

Even though skies have been grey, when looking towards the horizon, we get a sense of future, of hope, of gratitude to be alive! 

I hope the rest of you have had a great start to January.  If not, here is to a positive rest of the year. 

Good things can come out of negative... we learn we are loved and supported by family and friends, we renew our friendships and relationships, we remember the good times we had in the past and look forward to making new memories, we learn of the dedicated health professionals we are fortunate to have in Alberta, we rekindle our favourite activities, we treated each other with more appreciation, sensitivity and gratitude, we become more aware of a healthy lifestyle, we take a deep breath and enjoy the fresh clean air of our prairie and say, "Yes, there will be another tomorrow, and we are loved!"

Thanks everyone for everything!  We appreciate you!

Love, Renee, Jeffrey, Derek and Bryan

Keep promoting health care
 and pressuring your representatives
 to fight for modernizing and upgrading and improving it! 
You all deserve the very best health care!

Remember to hug your loved ones each day and tell them that you love them.
You never know when...

The images are soul property of Renee Dowling.

To use her images,
contact her at


  1. Wow Renee, you had a horrible start to the new year! Let's hope you've had all the bad things now and that the rest of the year will be happy and worry-free. I'm glad all's well in the end, although I can imagine it must be hard missing a dog who has been a part of your lives for such a long time. I hope you find strength in eachother and in the beautiful nature surrounding you! hugs, denthe

    1. Thanks for your support and hugs! We have found a lot of strength in many surprising places!

  2. Awww...hey Renee...thanks for visiting my blog and thank you so much for the beautiful comments you made:) I'm touched. I'm so glad that Jeff is alright now and that it wasn't an actual heart attack, although, what you all went through was just as scary. It makes you think about things and certainly puts so much into perspective doesn't it? We were all on pins and needles waiting to hear.

    As for your precious friend Lucky, I'm so sorry for your loss. I have been there so many times it's really difficult to find the right words to help you to feel better. It sounds as though you had a beautiful relationship with that dog and he was a loyal family member to the end. Bless him.

    Here's my email address...feel free to write me anytime:)


    1. Things have definitely been put into perspective! We have been changed in a many positive ways! Thanks for your warm wishes, hugs and support. Hope to hear from you more!


  3. OMG Renee ... I completely feel for you and your family! I can certainly relate to the stress and fear you went through while your husband was sick and the initial uncertainty of what was causing his heart attacks and the loss of your beloved 'Lucky' so soon there after. 'They say' the big guy upstairs never gives us more than what we can handle ... although, speaking from experience, like you ... there are days you question just how much more you can handle! 8 months pregnant and a 'Mom' to our then 16 month old, I found myself at my husband's side in the Foothills emergency with the Dr's giving him a 50% chance ... they determined it was meningitis. There's a long story that leads up to the Foothills hospital and a very interesting roller coaster ride there after! All I can say is I just told myself not to start crying ... I don't know if I could've stopped if I had started! LOL!

    From it all, we learned how to truly laugh because it is the best medicine and we realized how strong we can be when we need to be! We try to see 'beauty' daily and I know we certainly look around and are thankful each day. Please wish Jeff a 'get feeling 100%' soon' and please take a hug or three ... or more from me to all of you on the loss of Lucky! WOW ... 18!!! That is truly amazing! She had, without a doubt, an incredible life with her human family and is certainly watching over you all ... thankful all of you were in her life! Not many see 18, especially a bigger dog, so that in itself says she had a very happy, loving, healthy life!

    Thinking of You and Your Family!

  4. Thanks, Terri. We know your tale of the roller coaster ride. I had to be strong around others, but the tears sure did flow in private, in the wee hours of the night. I made a mistake of choosing two tear jerker movies and pretty much cried a big ocean! After a good cry, things started to look up!

    I so appreciate your wishes, your personal reflection, insights and virtual hugs!



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