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Finding the good…

never-all-bad “Find the good”… “Rise above”… “They go low, we go high”… I know these quotes. I love these quotes. I try daily to practice these quotes.

Today is -11 degrees with a wind chill that takes your breath away…but there are no clouds in the sky! The sunshine makes the snow sparkle and brings lovely light into my home in these short days of winter.

Kids are off school AGAIN. Seems like every Friday I am off – so are they. Now I love spending time with my girls, but I also like my day. We just got off Christmas break and now they have 3 days off in the next week and a half. But today – we will embrace it. Have a fun day and be together with limited screen time or arguing. (hopefully-fingers crossed!)

Busy schedules make for a harder time scheduling date night or even much needed time with the BFF. But texting, fun emojis and Snapchat filters keeps us close and laughing until we can. We have my hubby’s holiday party tonight…Yes, we will be with other people and not just the two of us, but still a date night…no kids. Been way too long and way overdue!

There is always an upside to things. Always a bright spot to a dark time. So here is where I continue to struggle. Our President. When he got elected (I DID NOT vote for him), I decided to have HOPE and prayed that he would do some good. It has been a year and I have yet to find the good. Believe me, I am trying…but no luck.

Last night he was reported saying “Why would we want people from shithole countries coming here?”. Appalled but not surprised. Scary to think we aren’t surprised by that comment.  WHERE IS THE GOOD TO FIND IN THAT??  TO YOU Mr. President it may be a “shithole country” but to the people living there it is not. I hate the idea of people who may struggle in their homeland – but I hate even more that our president would turn people away that want to come here and make a better life for their families.

statue-of-liberty-quotes-2

Perhaps Mr. President needs to ferry on over to the Statue of Liberty and read.

Yes, I can rise above his stupid and degrading comments, but he is suppose to be “Making America Great” – This is not how. America was already great. 

This is the first time I struggle with finding the positive, the upside, the joy or any kind of hope. It is hard to keep quiet. It is so hard to find the good. I am at a loss. I know I am not alone.

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Happy Hour and old men….

happyhour Sometimes life gets crazy, busy and routine. We keep saying to friends “We need to plan a night out!” or “Let’s get something on the calendar”. Months go by and we get too busy to make that happen. It’s normal. But every once in awhile it works out and comes together in a very spur of the moment way. Yesterday a crazy fun friend put out a text to a couple of us “Meet tonight. One drink. Let’s do it.” and two hours later we met at a local bar, had a couple drinks and made it happen. We didn’t wait for the perfect time, we didn’t over think it, we just did it.

We caught up – we laughed and we were all over the board with our conversations. We were being our true authentic selves. One friend pulled out a fall arrangement from her purse complete with a light up candle. (left over stuff from her work day) and we embraced it! (with laughter) . We talked of our ailments and crazy life change being in our forties with a couple of us approaching 50 and looking forward to it. We discussed family meals – husbands – kids – work. It was just simple fun.

But at some point during this happy hour – 2 older men – probably in their late 60’s came over to our table on their way out. We weren’t quite sure where this was going – but they surprised us and said “We have been sitting at the bar watching you. You brought so much light and laughter into this place. It was fun watching you gals have fun, laugh and just being happy without taking life too serious.” – I tell you – in the world today, those men made our whole night!! What a great compliment to us! They didn’t need to say anything, but they did, They were purposeful with their comments. It was refreshing and really meant a lot to us. We are still talking and texting about it this morning.  We have been friends 10+ years. It was such a testament to our friendship and not taking life to seriously. You need to stop, have a drink with a friend and laugh.

The take away: make time for friendships, don’t be so serious you cant make a fool of yourself, enjoy life and take the time to point out happy things to people! *cheers*

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Equality and Kindness….

stop hate

Like many of you, my mind is whirling and my heart is heavy with all that is going on in the world right now. But what I really am concerned about is all the confusion about being treated equal….I took to Merriam-Webster dictionary to properly define some words.

White Nationalist: one of a group of militant whites who espouse white supremacy and advocate enforced racial segregation

Eqaulity: the quality or state of being equal

Nazi: a member of a German fascist party controlling Germany from 1933 to 1945 under Adolf Hitler

Facism: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

Human: having human form or attributes

 

With those words all being defined, help me understand why is it that in 2017 we have people that fear the “white race” is being replaced or threatened??? Why are people ok with that mindset?? Why are people chanting “You will not replace us”?

This is wrong. wrong. wrong. Why can we not as human beings accept all races, religions, genders etc. WHY? It is not a political debate. It is a human decency debate. ALL of us matter. I struggle with freedom of opinion and acceptance to everyone. The God I know says “Love your neighbor as thyself” and “We are all children of God”.

This weekend the events in Charlottesville were so disturbing. One group was marching and chanting “We will not be replaced by Jews” and fighting to preserve the “white race”. The other side was every other race fighting to be treated equal. How can you say both sides were representing the same open opinion and one side was more violent? I don’t get it. We are all humans…I cant say that enough. Why cant we all just accept one another and be kind?

I have many close family members and friends that fit under different races, different religious views, different partner preferences and guess what? They are ALL human beings who I treat and respect exactly the same. I have Jewish friends, gay relatives, Muslim friends, mixed race families etc etc and for the love of God, my children are from a different country….a different culture. My husband and I vote differently, worship in different ways and guess what – we love each other. We respect each other despite the difference.  We don’t think one of us is better than the other because of differences. We respect the differences and learn from one another.

Someone please help me understand why. Why this world is so ugly that we cant accept one another. My heart is so heavy and filled with anxiety over this. We are falling apart rather than all coming together. How can people think one race or religion is the ultimate one? Over the century people have fought and lost their lives to be treated EQUAL. It is all so ugly…

I can be mouthy and have strong opinions….People have called me out on that. I feel passionately about things.  Its no secret I do not care for our president and cant stand the hate groups….but they are human beings and I accept them as human beings with different thoughts. I don’t push those thoughts on anyone else. And I don’t condone the violence of those who differ in opinion. Everyone has the right to their opinion…but when you start treating people as inhumane and like second class – that is wrong.

Be kind….always. If we all follow those 2 simple words….Be Kind…wouldn’t their be less hate?

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Mismatched China Patterns…

mixed china I attended a very special wedding this weekend with my husband and daughters. It was small, intimate and perfect. It was in an old small charming church that has become a place for artists to perform, art shows and gatherings. The pews have marks, fading and years of character – much like the couples who attended and have been married for 5 years, 20 years or 50+ years. Stained glass windows with marvelous colors. Strands of white lights, fresh peonies and love filled this small venue. The music played in the background while people mingled and met. Laughter and conversation in every corner. The ceremony was short and sweet and filled with God, words of love and tears from the couple. The young man officiating the ceremony was a lifelong friend of the groom. You could feel and see the love in the room as the couple exchanged vows. Something about a small intimate gathering that feels much more meaningful than an over the top large one. It was a family only wedding with the exception of a few close friends.

After the ceremony we made our way down to the basement – old brick walls strung with white lights…tables covered with white linen, a runner of burlap, slices of tree trunk topped with old blue Mason jars filled with light pink peonies and roses…very romantic and full of charm. The cake – lemon – favorite flavor of the couple….beautifully frosted and topped with Star Wars items – next to cake a framed quote from Lord of the Rings…couldn’t have been more perfectly matched to the couple. The groom a huge Star Wars fan and the bride a huge Lord of the Rings fan. It wasn’t a multi tiered fancy cake with the iconic bride/groom topper on it. It was elegant and PERFECT for the couple – anyone who saw it knew just how perfect it was.

The place settings were my favorite. They were a metaphor for this day. Each place was mismatched china patterns. These dishes were collected over the past year by the groom’s mom and sister. A dinner plate, then a salad plate and then a cup and saucer all layered on top of one another. Separately, you may not of noticed the beauty in a single plate or cup, but when they were all brought together it was a beautiful collection of different prints and designs.. As I looked at the place settings I couldn’t help but think of all the family that was there…all mismatched in a way. The bride’s parents who had been divorced and both remarried, The groom’s parents who have been married almost 30 years, and me, his birth mother along with my husband and daughters. We all have different roles in their lives – important individually but when we all came together it was a beautiful complete setting.

I never thought I would be reunited with my birth son let a lone be at his wedding. My family felt very welcomed given the circumstances. We could set aside any anxiety or uncomfortable feelings we may have had about the situation and come together for the couple. Such a wonderful day. I admire his family so much. Stepping back and watching his whole family laugh, love and be themselves kind of drove home the feeling of “This is all I ever wanted for him”. God is good. Life is good. Somethings just fall into place the way they are supposed to. We need to be patient. Love is patient and kind.

Congratulations Joshua and Hannah!

 

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Caribou Coffee…

caribou
Favorite mug

Do you have a favorite place? A place that reminds you of special occasions? A place memories were made? When you walk in to that place you are flooded with emotions? For me it is Caribou Coffee shops. While I am a HUGE coffee drinker, Caribou is special to me for something other than coffee.  My old neighbor – a young girl who I look at as a daughter used to work there. She gave me this mug and would bring me coffee. I use this mug when I want to write, sit on the computer and browse, have a relaxing afternoon pick me up coffee or reflect on why this coffee chain is so important to me.

Seven years ago I found my birth son on Facebook – realized we had a friend in common – my neighbor girl – they worked together at Caribou. Small world that of all the people in the world, our common thread was Jennifer…this young lady who baby sat my girls, who confided in me, who became like a daughter to me and lived right next door.

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Me and Jenn

After I found my birth son – we got to know each other a bit through email….then it was time for us to meet. He picked Caribou. I still remember it as if it was yesterday – the nervousness of meeting this young man that I had given birth to 22 years prior and had never held. We spent the afternoon there talking, getting to know one another – noticing the similarities between us. It is hard taking 22 years and playing 20 questions. It is a day I will never forget and means the world to me. It was the start of a relationship and the road to healing for me.

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May 2010

After a few years I decided to write my journey down – my journey of becoming a mom – including teen pregnancy, infertility and then adopting my girls. This slowly went from a blog to a book. One of my favorite chapters I wrote at Caribou. I was having writers block at home and decided to go there to write…I remember sitting at a table typing and crying. It was therapeutic for me. I needed to put into words 22+ years of feelings and thoughts that I had tucked away…tucked away thinking that I was ok. But the reality was, I wasn’t.

 

book with outline
My book

 

Flash ahead to present day….I have a beautiful relationship with my son. But in the back of my head and the top of my heart I think about his REAL mom all the time. How lucky that he was to have her as his mom. But also knowing that the idea of me is a constant reminder to her that he came from me. I can understand her pain and discomfort of my relationship with him – I have two daughters that both have birth mommas. But their birth mommas are a world away in South Korea. My son is getting married next month and I will be face to face with his whole family….not knowing how I will be received. It makes me anxious. We decided that the moms needed to meet before the showers and weddings took place. Where did we decide on?? Caribou Coffee.

Once again I was an anxious mess, so nervous, so not sure how it would all go. I am pretty easy going but this time I was a wreck! I would be meeting my son’s real mother….the woman who raised him, got to have all the important milestones with him, the person he called “mom”. I was ok with all that….I was so fearful she would not like me….that it would be a painful reminder to her….that she would be even more uneasy with my relationship with this young man we shared. I walked in…(we were dressed alike!!) She stood up and hugged me. I felt that was a good sign. I had only one goal for that meeting (after breaking the ice) – to have her leave there knowing that I respect her so very much, I know that she is his mom and that my choices and decisions back when he was a baby were because I wanted SO MUCH for him….and though my plan didn’t go as expected, he got everything I ever wanted for him. I wanted her to leave there knowing I am a good person, I know the boundaries and the undrawn line in the sand and respect that. We spent an hour talking, laughing and being nervous. We ended our meeting with a hug. I cried on the way home hoping she would find peace. I know I am a reminder to her of where he really came from….luckily I can understand that.

My story has come full circle….I still cant believe this journey I have been on. I thank God everyday that I can have a relationship with Joshua and be part of his life. Funny how a coffee shop chain has been part of this incredible journey!

 

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An open letter to a fellow Birthmom. 

This is so beautiful. It is written by a birth mom. I was so moved by it…I felt like her. I am her 20+ years later. I want to share it for all the other birth moms young and old. New in the raw, emotional journey or in a good place. Trust your self, feel the emotions, find the place to be happy. Love.

thisisimylifethisismytruth

Dear selfless soul,

Good morning. I woke up this morning happy. I woke up this morning smiling. It hasn’t always been like this; yet today I’m going to embrace it. Embrace this with me please.


I had a dream last night. I was walking on a nice path through the park with my son. I was visiting him. So you could say I was 20 years older than I am now. I must say I look good for being 45. It was a nice day out. He took my hand and told me had a surprise for me. He led me to this spot that was open. You could see the city below us. The sky was clear and flowers were starting to bloom. He held me and told me

“I understand the choices you made mom. I will always love you for being so strong and brave.”

I woke…

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Sweet 16…already?

maddie-16

Everyone always says “Enjoy your children, it goes by way too fast”. I think today is the day I fully feel it. My daughter turns 16 today and I cant help but feel so nostalgic. It seems like it was yesterday we were tearing open our envelope to see our first glimpse of this little Korean bundle that made us go from couple to family.

I cannot fully appreciate these amazing 16 years without thinking about a young Korean girl a world away that was also 16 and pregnant. The SAME AGE as her birth child is now. (that in itself is scary!!)  Being a birth mom I can understand how she must feel every year on this day. A confusing ball of emotions – hard to sift thru and process. I wish she could see this to know how beautiful this little baby has turned out to be. She gave us the most precious gift there is. I so hope one day we will meet. A piece of her heart is with our family and it makes me so emotional thinking about it. I have a beautiful 16 year old daughter because of her decision. Her loss filled my void…there are no words to give that feeling justice.

I have learned so much from this daughter of mine…how to be patient, how to let go, how to trust, how to love when you are angry, how to understand what my mom went thru with a teenage daughter (sorry mom!!). I have learned some battles aren’t worth fighting – so I will make a different meal for you – not everyone loves steak, I will let your room be messy to a point because organization is hard for you, I will help you with your laundry, I will let you wear what you want even if I think the other shirt looked better, I will let you make up your own swear words, I will let you have screen time BEFORE homework because I know you need that. I will be your biggest fan and your biggest protector. I will help you succeed in the way that works for YOU. I will love you when we disagree. I will love you when you say you hate me. I will always be your mom before your friend. I will check your phone, your social media stuff and will delete things I find inappropriate. I will not care what others get to do…I am not their mom. I am YOUR mom. I will stay up late when I am dog tired to help you get thru hard homework. I will let you talk non stop about a boy. I will hug you when you want to mad. I will hug you when you are sad. I will be hard on you because I believe in you. I will challenge you because I know you can do it. I will let you fail so you can learn. I will also love you more than anyone else on this planet can…

On this 16th year of your life I wish nothing but happiness for you Madeline Elizabeth…or Maddie as you prefer. You are beautiful, talented, funny, self confident, smart, loving and strong…I have learned so much from you. Always be yourself. Remember, you are a pink Starburst!!!