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the darkness…

 

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Those who know me, know that I wear my heart on my sleeve, I am pretty open with my life through my blog and book. But sometimes a topic comes up that hits a cord with me and I wonder whether or not I should write about it. Then I think if my writing can make ONE person stop and think and if it makes a difference to ONE person – then what do I have to lose.

The events of this past week – suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain touched everyone on some level. We all know someone whose life has been touched by suicide in one way or another. I have a dear friend I lost because of suicide not too long ago – it was a shock.

The thing is – suicide and that “dark place” knows no boundaries – no income level, no success, no popularity, no race, no sexual orientation….NO BOUNDARIES. You hear people comment all the time “Its such a shock, he was so happy….he had everything going for him” etc etc. No one truly knows the power of that dark place.

I am an almost 50 year old woman. I am happy, have a great life I love, happy marriage, 3 beautiful children. I grew up in a good home with wonderful parents. I am healthy, close to my siblings…I have a wonderful circle of supportive and awesome friends. I have a fun little business that feeds my creativity and passion. We are regular old income with bills and a regular house – but need nothing. But guess what? I have seen that dark place a couple times. I started an anxiety medicine a few years ago – I was having anxiety and snapping at people without even knowing. That was not me. My doctor diagnosed me with anxiety and depression and soon I was taking a prescription daily.

I have now been on an anxiety medication for 5+ years. Seems like every year the dose has increased a tad. This past winter I wanted to try to ween my self off it or at least lessen the dose. I was beginning to feel less emotions but got through the day. I wasn’t liking NOT feeling. I missed sobbing at movies, crying when my children were hurting and slowing down enough to love my husband. I was numb to a point. But I was smiling and got through my day without losing my shit on people. That to me was a success. I am not patient, but needed to find a way to be- my daughter needed a parent with more patience with all her quirks and personality.

My doctor changed my dose where I could slowly ween down and find the proper dose that felt right to me. Now, this was a good idea in theory – see your body can take 4-6 weeks to get use to a dosage. I had forgotten that. In 2 weeks time I went from 150mg to 50mg. I thought this is great I feel better…then the dosage really kicked in. I wanted to sleep all the time, wanted to be left alone, cried in the shower every morning. The littlest bit of disruption had me a wreck. I felt out of control and falling down a rabbit hole. I cried on my way to work over my daughter having a cavities and knowing the anxiety she would go through to get them fixed.  I started worrying all the time about the future vs. enjoying the present. I literally felt like I was coming unraveled. I could not get a grip on my feelings, my anxiety and my world. I had actual moments when I was driving that I thought just one swerve and I could end this pain and anxiousness. I was starting to get a glimpse of that dark place when just that night before I probably was out with friends having the best time and lots of laughter. My dark place was so close to grabbing…but I still had the voice in my head that knew it was the medicine not being the proper dose. I needed that medicine because of a chemical imbalance that made me anxious and depressed. I wasn’t just sad, I was anxious and that lead to my depression.

I am back on my full dose and feel normal again. I will never go back to where I was. I need to be strong for my family…I also need them to see that it is ok NOT to be perfect, to have things that need addressing and to be honest with feelings and thoughts. No one is perfect, no one has a perfect life, not one person in this world is without flaws. It is ok. Sometimes you have to compromise things to be your absolute best.

I think of all these teens, adults, musicians, actors, chefs, designers – everyday people that struggle like this. It is a serious thing in our world – mental health, anxiety and depression…people who are one thread away from letting go because they aren’t healthy mentally. It should never be a stigma. It should be talked about in our homes, churches, schools and workplaces. If you have cancer or a broken leg people always ask how you are doing because it is a more visual thing…we need to be asking people everyday how they are truly doing.

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Your baby, my daughter…

Today my heart is full. My beautiful daughter has been with us 17 years. I remember the day so vividly… waking up, making sure we had everything just right, packing the baby bag, having camera ready and stomach full of anxiousness and love. We were heading to the airport to meet our daughter and hold here for the first time. It was all pre 9/11 so we were lucky enough to go to the gate and watch as passengers get off the plane. Then a Korean lady stopped right in front of glass window with a smiley chubby cheeked baby girl in her arms – our daughter. She was finally with us.

I think of her birth mother so many times. I too was once in her shoes, so I understand all the feelings she must go thru on a daily, weekly, yearly basis. I am sure on my daughter’s birthday she thinks of her baby, wonders about her and her where she is and how her life is. That once young 16 year old scared pregnant girl made us a family. Her adoption plan made it possible for me to be a mom. What a beautiful gift that is.

Someday I hope to meet her or at least be able to tell her all about the baby she chose a better life for. Make no mistake – she didn’t give up her baby. She chose a different plan for her baby. There is no giving up – she sent a piece of her heart away and that pain lasts a lifetime. I know how she feels. Exactly. But I want her to know that her baby, my daughter is beautiful. She is tall,  thick dark brown hair, pretty, smiley, funny and quirky. She can be stubborn and hold to her beliefs and choices almost to a fault – but that is her biggest strength. She loves babies. She will be anyone’s friend. She is smart. She loves to sing (altho not always on key – nature or nurture!?). She loves having freedom. Her favorite foods are carbs – pasta, potatoes and snacks. Her room is always a mess but that is her personality at times. Her bravery and confidence in herself awes me everyday. She is not afraid to be herself and doesn’t care what others think – I wish I had an ounce of that!! She is a typical teen – glued to her phone and social media. She fights with her sister but would be the FIRST person to throat punch anyone that hurts her.

Birth mom, your baby – my daughter is loved so fully everyday. We honor and think about YOU all the time. We pray for you, thank you and on this – 17th year anniversary of welcoming her into our family – want you to know how much she is loved, cared for and we hope someday to meet you. Thank you for choosing life and adoption for your baby…our daughter.

 

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What IS the answer?

AR-15 You hear that familiar Breaking News sound effect on the TV… “A school shooting has just been reported….”  – you stop and watch the details…you are saddened by the lost of life, you are thankful it is not your kid’s school – because “it would never happen at our school” and you go back to your day and shake your head in disbelief….not that it happened , but that it happened AGAIN. We kind of roll our eyes in disbelief and numbness because its unfortunately become a normal event. Normal in the way that it happens SO OFTEN.

I am all for Right to Bear Arms. I know many people that “conceal and carry”, I’ve shot a gun before and know many people that have guns safely put away  – used for hunting, target practice etc. I understand collecting guns as a hobby. BUT something needs to be done.

Why can a AR-15 and other automatic rifles be purchased? What is the use for them? I honestly don’t understand. What IS the protocol for buying this type of weapon? Being legal age and no previous run ins with the law? Every person who has been the shooter in these school shootings has had some type of mental disorder and had “suspicious” activity of some sort on social media, hurting animals, or making comments to others.

Yes, we as Americans have the Right to Bear Arms. Ok, I get it and understand that. Just like I have the right to express my opinion by freedom of speech. I get it, I really do.  I just do not understand How, What, Why etc of the countless shootings in schools and churches. Our school and district is spending all sorts of money to redo the entrances and the way they allow people into the schools – but why is no one making changes to the way people can get their hands on these type of guns? Schools struggle with money as it is, we beg and borrow for a referendum, grants, etc just for basic needs and to make schools safe. What is government doing to keep people safe?

If people see suspicious activity or comments by a kid…they go to the school or police….does it get dismissed? Does it get taken seriously? Are kids being treated like they are “calling wolf” – why not be safe than sorry.

Mental Health – do we need stronger measures in how we “screen” people buying guns? We didn’t have mental health screening back in the day – way back when guys would have rifles across the back of their pickup window and drive around and we didn’t think anything of it. We also didn’t have social media, we didn’t diagnose or even have the know how to diagnose most mental disorders – and didn’t have all these issues. We change so many things because of the changing times…why not the way we purchase guns?

I just don’t know what the answer is….I am a mother of two school age kids. One is picked on at school – treated poorly – When I brought it to the attention of the school a few years back – I got a blanket email for an administrator and nothing was done. Do they react this way with other kids reporting stuff?

I am rambling, talking out loud and trying to sort thru all the thoughts regarding yet again, another school shooting. I am sure I am not the only one with all these thoughts and feelings…

We try and say something and BAM! “We can’t talk politics!!!” God forbid we talk about something that is controversial and killing children…….

What IS the answer. SOMETHING needs to be done.

 

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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.

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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….

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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!