Balancing Out 2017
~ Joelle Clark
Wow! What a year 2017 was. I think most people will

agree with me it's one that they are glad to see gone.
For me my spiritual beliefs and philosophy towards

life is to try and keep things in balance. That means

that I acknowledge that bad things exist and happen. What matters is how you choose to deal with them. 
Many of our readers know I had a insane year in 2017. First my husband was diagnosed in late 2016/early 2017 with a rare condition related to leukemia; less than 1% of the blood disorders in the world are of this type. There is no treatment or cure. No numbers for survival past fifteen years. 
We went through months of fighting with insurance on short-term disability, trying to pay our bills, unexpected medical bills. During the same time I was going through round four of fighting breast cancer.
People we had helped, loaned money to etc. were nowhere to be found. Small nonprofits we had worked for, donated our time, money and labor to couldn't even be bothered to take up a collection to help us.
But we were amazed at where help did come from. Friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, other nonprofits we support quietly behind the scenes  did  things to help us.
We chose to believe that our Creator, Ancestors and Mother Nature might have something to say on my husband's survival odds. 
Now he is back at work and I beat round four of breast cancer.
Then there was Standing Rock, with everything that went on with the Rock many people missed what was happening in Florida and the Southern end of the Black Snake. 
The Sable Trail and trying to build the first water protector camps in Florida were a nightmare. We had a family live in our home for a few months and in fairness while they were here they made an effort to somewhat carry their weight for the most part, in that they worked, cleaned up after themselves, bought food etc. He was supposed to be helping me set up the first camps, He did alright, and made use of my contacts to gain access to money, gas cards, anything he could gain once we found the first site. He had no hesitation in making use of my tents, popups and the like. 
My family wound up walking away after he brought in the Rainbow Family of Living Light and their fake Native Shaman which of course turned it into something completely different than the Native Prayer Camp our Elders had asked for and something we didn't want to be associated with. Of course we never saw most of our stuff again but chose to forgive, not forget and move forward fighting the Sabal Trail with other camps and in other ways.
One segway from that story was someone  we considered like family stormed out of my home screaming at me when I told them that I didn't understand how they thought they could be a Trump Supporter and a Water Protector, then decided to take the story of the Rainbow Shaman who did a Ceremony with an Eagle Feather and start asking people who are my friends how I can call myself an activist by not taking it from him?
The answer is actually simple, I wasn't present when it happened. The only way I knew about it was that they stupidly made a video of it that was up on Facebook for a short time. 
Again we forgive and don't forget. Move forward with our lives, learning our life lessons. 
We took in one of my adopted daughters and her family, which brings it's own challenges including financial, time and having to go buy a new mouse so I can copy and paste to do my job. It also brings blessings. Early morning hugs and cuddles from a two year old and your oldest grandchild bringing you morning coffee. 
Then there was the hurricane of 2017. My family weathered Irma well except that I had just survived a minor heart attack, then a heart catheterization. During Irma I started passing kidney stones. Loads of fun. Pardon the sarcasm please.
I had no way of knowing until I was in ICU a couple of weeks later for five days that one had blocked my right kidney sending me into renal failure, almost into a diabetic coma. So here I was leaving 2017 with four surgeries in a six week period on that kidney to save my life and one breast biopsy possibly beginning round five of the fight against breast cancer or not. We are still waiting on the results but either way we still know we are blessed.
 So yes, life is full of ongoing challenges and abundant blessings. We see it everyday. Our challenges come in every form from health to finances, a president determined to rape and pillage our earth and our water out of nothing but greed. And our blessings are abundant in unexpected forms.
Smiles from children when your heart is at it's lowest, a financial windfall when the checking account is about to be overdrawn. Coming home from the hospital to a home that has been scrubbed, a freshly made bed and family showing their love for you.
Simple things like waking up in the morning to having your bed full of grandkids, dogs and cats, or should I just say filled with love?
We will continue to love, forgive, try to walk through our life in a balanced way, accepting the good with the bad and with humor and joy. Understanding that it's OK to be angry, sad, resentful and even selfish at times, as long as you remember to be happy, forgiving, let things go, be generous and just try to be decent human beings. 
I hope that I have not shocked you with a little bit of insight into some of the realities of our 2017. From my family to yours we wish you a happy and balanced 2018!