Monday, August 1, 2022

Reviewing How Others Impact My Life and a Thank You to Melanie Ham

As I have moved physically to a peaceful location I have begun to move to a more peaceful emotional place in my mind. Over the past 6 months I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on who and what is important to my life and health. Since January 2022, when it was announced that Melanie Ham left this earth, I have focused even more on how we impact each other and who I should choose as mentors.



Who Was Melanie Ham

Melanie Ham was most known for her YouTube crochet and quilting tutorials. If you are a quilter or crocheter and have searched for help on the internet chances are good that you've come across her name. That is how I became familiar with her name and her gentle and affirming approach.

I would like to add to the heart-felt tributes to her life but I cannot imagine writing an adequate tribute. I do not have sufficient words. Prior to her death, Melanie and her husband began to prepare a documentary of her life. Made With Melanie - A Feature Documentary by Robert Ham went live just a couple of days ago. While I cried much of the way through the video, it was ultimately encouraging.

Life is cyclical. Life is a never-ending group of connections. I never imagined that I would find a crochet pattern to help comfort my friend during her battle with cancer - a pattern written by a woman who was ultimately taken from us by cancer.  

Jenny was a co-worker and friend who was battling cancer in 2019. The loss of her hair was devastating and we worked together to find a pattern for crocheted hats that would work for her. You can see my blog post about how I tweaked a pattern by Melanie Ham to suit Jenny's needs. Before Jenny passed, we worked together to mail off hats to a cancer treatment center. Even during times where she felt terrible physically, barely able to stand and concentrate, it was important to her to continue to give to others. 

I hope Jenny and Melanie are hanging out in heaven crocheting together.

How Those Around Us Impact Us

My dad was wrong about a good number of things. And while I thought he was wrong when he said "you are who your friends are" I now know that there is nothing more true.

If we choose to be around those who are cruel or angry, we will be cruel and angry. If we choose a mentor who says "I knew feelings would be crushed" with a gleam in their eye, we too will be pleased to crush others.

Now, the conundrum is what to do with those who are close to us but who have a negative impact on our peace. Do we cut them lose and end the relationships? Or do we work on improving the relationships?  The easy thing is to cut ties. The right thing may be to work on the relationship in a way that can move the relationship to a peaceful, productive, and good thing; as Robert and Melanie did.  

Whether we decide to cut ties or work to improve the relationship, we must do our own work. Moving from one person (or one group) to the next without doing our own work will do nothing to improve our lives.

How Will We Choose to Impact Those Around Us

Moving from a chaotic address to a peaceful address and from an extremely chaotic place of employment to a less chaotic jobsite has done wonders for my own peace of mind. I want to continue to broaden that peaceful feeling enough to be able to share it with others. 

Melanie Ham is a wonderful example of teaching and supporting others in a kind manner. And in a manner that spreads positivity.  She ran a highly successful business without cutting others down. Yes, sex and drama sell and there's a good chance that those business plans can bring in more dollars - at least for a period of time. But is that who we want to be? Profit via big drama? Some people want that in their lives. I have realized that I don't. 

"Pay It Forward" is often a tangible action; paying for the coffee of the person in line behind us. But it can be an emotional gift also. We can teach, donate, comfort, encourage, volunteer, and give with a kind and happy spirit.

I am a work in progress. There were long periods of my life that I was lost and struggling. And angry. I had a lot to be angry about but I truly didn't need to carry it with me for that long of a period of time. It's a bit sad that I am approaching my 6th decade of life before starting to live a peacefully. I imagine all I could have done with my life if I had found peaceful living sooner. But... I'm finding it now.  I am finding it by surrounding myself with good, peaceful, and faithful people who give of themselves. 

I wish you peace. And the ability to pay good things forward. Thank you Melanie for the shining example of living a best life during our time on earth and the crochet patterns that gave us comfort.






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6 comments:

  1. What an insightful article, Dawn Rae, and what a sweet tribute to Melanie Ham. I may not have remembered her name from her tutorials if not for your reminder. I DO remember your article about your Jenny Hats and the sweet/sad story of your friend you made them for. You are so right - the people in our lives can have an impact in a good way or in a bad way and it is our choice in how we deal with each one. Keeping close the ones who have a positive influence on our lives is increasingly important the older we get. And hopefully I continue to be the same positive or good influence in other people's lives. This 'From the Heart' story is a lovely reminder and way to begin a new week and new month. Thank you, Dawn Rae, for brightening my Monday morning with these good vibes.

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  2. Oh my goodness, I think I needed this right now more than you can imagine. While I'm dealing with some raw emotional issues right now, this review and Barbara's review yesterday, have given me a new direction. Thank you for sharing a beautiful life and an even more beautiful way to make mine more like that! Life is good, we just need some help sometimes to see that and friends that don't give up on us!

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  3. I just finished watching Robert Ham’s incredible documentary about his amazing wife, Melanie, and the grace, courage and generosity of spirit with which she lived and died. What a beautiful legacy she has left! Your post is also extremely thought provoking and inspiring, my friend. I admire your commitment to living in accordance with your values and paying forward the kindness, generosity and inspiration you have received. Thank you for this exceptional post and for introducing me to the Hams and to Robert’s documentary about Melanie.

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  4. Dawn, I need to start here by saying, I have worked with you now for over 8 years. In that time, I have found you to be one of the kindest, most considerate, most thoughtful and caring individuals I have ever known. I believe you are too hard on yourself, my dear. You are who I want to be when I grow up :) I don't know anyone who has daily given more of themselves for others (even to their own detriment) than you have. It doesn't surprise me that you admire Melanie Ham. The qualities who saw in her are the same qualities I see in you. We all need positive, encouraging people in our lives. As for negative people in our lives, I rarely cut anyone off, but it does happen. Most often, I will limit my exposure to them, choose my own timing to deal with them, and pray daily for them. I am so very glad you got to move to your mountain. You have worked hard to create your peaceful place. You deserve it!

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  5. You are an inspiration. I've watched all you've built over the years, and I'm in awe. That took courage, and unresolved commitment and strength. My heart goes out to Melanie Ham's family - what a beautiful person. What you've written about what to do about negative, challenging people in our life is a conundrum. I'm torn about whether being around challenging people is the wise thing to do, or is it best to surround ourselves with someone who helps us keep our inner peace in tact? I think the way Sylvestermouse above put may be the best way - to not cut anyone out if we can avoid it, but rather to limit our time with them.

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  6. I believe you are right where you are with perfect timing. Wishing you much peace now and always. May we all seek out, and surround ourselves, with peacemakers. Thanks for sharing your heart and soul. It is beautiful.

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