Monthly Archives: November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, happy way of life.

Lately, my posts have had a recurring theme, finding freedom from stress, regret, remorse, depression and anxiety, instead I’m living my life as a grateful being. It’s really amazing. Today was my first major holiday since I attended the Heart Math class and learned the tools they taught. Typically, I would be very concerned with the meal, planning meals sometimes weeks in advance and making numerous trips to the grocery store. This year, my husband bought a white-meat-only-turkey. It only had breasts and the legs and wings had been cut off. I could NOT fathom this deviation from the tradition of a whole turkey with lots for left overs. I do recall that when he told me he had an idea about this new, weird, turkey, that I told him it was blasphemy. (What he didn’t tell me at the time we were “discussing” his idea that he had ALREADY bought it and it was at our home.) After he told me that he had purchased the fresh turkey and had it at our house, I said that we wouldn’t need to get the right turkey. I agreed that we could try the one he got. For such a control freak as I am about food and special meals, this was a really big deal. I made lots of jokes about the turkey and most people I talked to about said turkey, also found it strange. Instead of listing recipes and their ingredients and demanding that we needed all the stuff long beforehand, I gave the list to AJ and he went on Wednesday night after work. I am learning that I don’t have to do everything and being a martyr is b*llshit and does NOT suit me.

In addition to wanting to make Thanksgiving dinner, I knew that after work on Wednesday, I would need to drive 170 miles to my parents house where our younger son had spent 5 nights so I could drive him 200 miles home on Thanksgiving day. There was no anxiety or paranoia about getting all of those things accomplished. I did not overplan or obsess about checking the road conditions. It was enough for me that I know the road really well and have my winter tires on my fun & comfy car. This is like a whole new life for me! If someone would have told me that this would be me and my behavior, I never would have believed them. I made it to my parent’s house before 9pm and was relaxed and happy when I arrived, despite having worked 9 hours and driven 3.5. I had great snacks and sang a lot along the way. I kept checking in with myself to see if I was really as stress free and comfortable as I was. It was so strange. Typically, under those conditions, I would have a neck or head ache, maybe a gurgling stomach or be angry about the inconvenience of such a drive. Believe it or not, I enjoyed myself. Knowing that I was going to fetch my son who was really looking forward to seeing me, was a treat. I drive long distances with two comfort items. One, my One Touch snuggle pillow, tucked underneath my left arm and the two, Sniffy, a soft piece of fabric draped over my right shoulder. I’d be lost without my music. Living and driving much of the time in a rural area, I’m thrilled to have my satellite radio. Now that my self reflection doesn’t include berating myself, feeling guilty or being angry, I am almost giddy after these check-ins with myself. Some of these check-ins I share with you here on my blog and others are just for me.

Logan and I left Beaverton before 7 am this morning and made it home by 1030. I was looking forward to being home and getting on with the day so we kept on the road, only stopping for gas and make great time. AJ had gone to the grocery store as promised and had gotten the items needed for the menu I had planned to go with the weird turkey. I think I had been home about 15 minutes we had discovered that our turkey roasting pan was undiscoverable. AJ looked everywhere. I had mild panic at this point. When I stopped rambling on about it, I had a great idea. I asked AJ to ask our neighbor/family member, Owl, if he had a roaster and if he’d like to come to dinner. Fortunately, he did have an electric roaster that had belonged to AJ’s grandmother that we had given him. We didn’t think we would ever roast anything small enough to use the pan! Not only did Owl have the roaster, he did NOT have an invite anywhere for Thanksgiving. (This made me realize I was a JERK for not inviting him sooner.) An electric roaster saved the day. The turkey injector broke but I found a way around that. AJ and I had great teamwork and ironically, the only thing that didn’t turn out well was BOXED STUFFING!!! That makes me want to laugh my ass off. Hey, I am the chick that burned Jell-O once upon a time so it’s not that big of a surprise. The turkey was amazing and we will have plenty of leftovers.

Is there a point to this post? I think so. I think my point is that I’m not standing in my way anymore. I’m not carrying around anger and fear and letting them live in my body as depression and anxiety. Learning the Heart Math tools and then getting out of my own way to let it work for me, is the single biggest thing I have ever done for myself and my family. I’m not saying I was a pathetic loser, but this positive impact is huge and will have long and far reaching effects for my children. I can finally model the behavior of what I want for them. Telling them “don’t be like me” is ridiculous. Showing them how to not be like the me I was, is vital.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my God, health, family, friends and the many luxuries in my life, including this blog and the opportunity to connect with others. May God Bless you, today and always. Happy Thankful life…Rebecca

I do not miss being a martyr.

+This is a post in progress.+

Hey…HEY! The children are away and I’m not worried.

(Disclaimer: This hasn’t been proofread. I’m tired.)

The first 35 years and 11 months of my life, I perfected worrying. I was so good at it that my body learned to pour on the adrenaline with relatively little external provocation. From the September of 2012 until September of 2014, our family went through some very difficult times. Well, really the tough times improved in April/May of 2014 but it took me 4 – 5 months to start to unwind and stop living in fear. This post isn’t about all the sh*t that went down. Just believe me when I say I had plenty to worry about. The scale of worry went from sheer terror involving life-saving to the underlying hum of worry that was constantly present with a buzz that never went away. Even my nerve endings seemed fragile. I didn’t suffer without trying to curb the crazy. I see a mental health nurse practitioner that helped manage my severely disordered sleep and anxiety with medications. (Can’t tolerate SSRI’s. I have horrible side effects.) However, in addition to the medication I take for sleep, she prescribed a beta blocker to slow my heart rate, chop my adrenaline response down to side and thus, rid me of panic attacks. I’ve seen her at various intervals for therapy. Right now, I’m seeing her weekly. In looking back at the past few years, I know that I would have had to have a “Sageview (local psych unit) vacation” without her help. I did plenty of work, too. Don’t get me wrong that I am touting her as my hero. I’m not. Despite her intervention, I was still worrying and experiencing daily anxiety. That’s not happening anymore and it’s a new way of life for me. I mentioned a few posts ago that I had attended a Heart Math class that taught me about coherence and transforming stress. It explained positive emotions, negative emotions, cortisol and DHEA levels. I love the science but now, I love my life. I can’t say that I felt the hand of God reach down and shake me, but He sure got my attention. Since I’ve embraced the concept that I am going to be gratitude and have lived this new life with the intention of being grateful, several toxic things have left my life. Worry and resentment are two the toxic things that are gone. As the days pass by, I find that this new me is enjoying herself. I am happy and this person feels more like me than the person I was. If I want to be angry, resentful and anxious, I have to concentrate on conjuring those emotions. If I’m going to expend the energy, I might as well do relaxation techniques instead. I have more space in my brain now for other things. My focus and recall are better. I have more patience to offer, even to myself. I decided that I wasn’t going to beat myself about who I was and how I behaved before. It’s in the past and none of it has anything new to say. Rather than bash myself, I’d rather offer encouragement for who I am becoming and where I am going.

My children are the dearest people in the world to me. For years, Preston has gone to his dad’s house and I have made myself suffer. Every holiday that wasn’t mine, I’d be upset about him being gone. I would worry that something would happen while out of my reach. My frustration and anger and resentment and disappointment would overshadow everyone’s holiday. Well that’s just crap and I’m not doing it anymore. I am thrilled beyond measure that Preston is on this Earth to celebrate any holiday, I don’t care where he is. I can love him just as much from 200 miles away. The biggest gift that I can give him is the peace of mind knowing that I am just fine at home, doing my thing and I’ll be happy to see him when he gets back. It was the strangest feeling to drive him to the mid-way point on Saturday and not feel down or damned or depressed. We sang along to the iPod, some Christmas carols and songs and other songs that we enjoyed. Since little brother was riding along to hitch a ride to Grandma and Grandpa’s, we also listened to his audiobook. Even though I was driving to Detroit Lake over the snowy, mountain pass, it was an enjoyable ride. Logan was more relaxed about going away from home for a few days than I have ever seen him. (He’s had a few pouty moments since he got there but homesickness happens.) I wasn’t anxious when we talked to Preston’s dad. I found it much easier to be polite to him. We gathered up all their junk from my car, put it in his truck, they gave and got hugs and were on their way. It was amazing. I watched them drive away without a single negative thought. I turned up the radio and went on my way. I recall being grateful for my winter tires, iTunes, satellite radio and a fun, comfy car to cruise home in. I didn’t ruminate about them leaving or count the days until they will be back. I’m here for them if they want to text or talk but I’m going on with living my positive life until they are home. They don’t expect me to be sad because they are away.

I’m so blessed to be changing my life at 36 and not counting my regrets at 56 or 86. My biggest struggle now seems to be making sense of these positive emotions and expressing myself clearly. I was a Negative Nellie or Toxic Tess for so long, living a joy-filled life will take some getting used to. I pray that those who knew me, or think they know me, can allow me the room to be different. Already my boss has made assumptions about things I’ve said or done, while truly not understanding or appreciating my motivation and how I’m changing. I will remind myself that everyone is fighting a battle I know nothing about, and I don’t need to bash them over the head with my own quest for freedom. Thanks for being patient with my quirky post. It’s time for bed.

Love and hugs, Rebecca

Bloggers block

Very rarely to do I get this stuck on a blog post. Usually, I just think of what I want to say and it practically types itself. I considered writing today’s blog post on paper first, but even that hasn’t worked. I realize that much of what I blog about is something I feel passionate about and even angst-y. Is it possible that because I am mellow and happy and content that I can’t get up the feisty writer? I sure hope not.

Rather than dwelling on it, I got spiffed up and curled my hair for my date with AJ. It’s not often we go somewhere just the two of us. I’m thrilled with the birthday gift of a gift card to Greg’s Grill. Good times!

Have a beautiful evening. Love and hugs, Rebecca

Adoption awareness in November.

In my 36 years on this earth, having been adopted as an infant has been a theme in my life. Sometimes it’s invisible as I go through every day life. Other times, it has a lot of my attention. Yesterday, when my first mom was able to wish me Happy Birthday, I was reminded not to take that for granted. There were many years that we had no contact and thus, no birthday wishes. My heart hurts for all of those adoptees out there who are not in reunion, or are in broken reunions and for their mothers on birthdays. The anniversary of when they met and often saw each other for the last time. The first day of my life was my first day of grieving. That experience has shaped my life and every relationship to come since. I get frustrated with many of the things I see posted online and social media during the month of November. Some of the memes are sickly sweet and trite. How can the true ramifications of adoption be captured in an online slide? Adult adoptees who share their truth, and recognize and acknowledge the pain and trauma of adoption are often labeled bitter, even by fellow adoptees. I find myself being extremely careful of what I post online, even in my own blog, about my opinions about adoption so as not to hurt any of my family members’ feelings. I am bitter about some aspects about adoption. I’m bitter that our society puts so much energy into personal fundraising campaigns so people can adopt babies but much fewer financial resources seem to be put towards family preservation. I have not and will not ever donate to a request to cover someone’s adoption fees. However, if there was a fundraiser or request for mother with limited resources so she could keep and parent her baby, I would support that effort 100%.

Even though I am bitter with many aspects of adoption, I am not ungrateful. My parents are amazing people. They have loved me since the day that they first met me. Since then, they have provided for all my needs. They love my husband and my children and travel to come to our home to visit. One of the most selfless things they have done was supporting my reunion with my first mother and welcoming her into our lives. I am pleased that the family that adopted me, wanted me. My grandparents adored me. While they went to heaven too soon, the fond memories I have of them and their love, will ALWAYS be enough to overshadow my biological grandmother’s attitude that cannot accept the scandal my conception and birth created.

I don’t have any interest in debating adoption, it’s pros and cons. In fact, next month, on the anniversary of my adoption day comes around, I’ll be celebrating. This is one of those blogs where I just a few thoughts that needed to get down on “paper”. It’s not profound and pretty uninteresting. 🙂 Somedays are like that. Here I am, keeping it real and as always, reinventing Rebecca.

Gratitude, live it.

Gratitude is an important theme in my new found Heart Math tools. Literature from scientific studies shows that gratitude is one of the most powerful of the positive emotions that we can experience. I used to think that gratitude was a thing. Now and then it would be expressed, most often as a polite thing to be offered to someone else. I have very much changed my tune. More and more people have discussed, shared about gratitude in discussions, inspirational slides/posts on FaceBook or in other ways. After this last week, I have come to the conclusion that gratitude is a way of life. It’s no longer a brief thing to be offered to others but a life-saving way to improve my mental health by reducing anxiety, resentment and cortisol levels. I’ll admit that while being bogged down by negative thoughts or emotions, it can be a challenge to find something to be grateful. Where do I start when that happens? I start with being grateful for the luxury of being able to wallow in petty, selfish hurts and that I don’t have to hike miles for clean water. That usually leads to being grateful for living in a first world country with first world problems. My family is blessed to have health insurance, necessary medications and the income to afford them. I can afford groceries, even name brand if I want, and gas money and housing costs. Usually, at this point, my heart has swelled to the point where individual words or things that I am grateful for, all run together and I am filled with God’s light and love and I want to proclaim how amazing He is for all the world to hear. I have God, praise Him, and it all begins with him. This week ended without many of the things I brought into it. I am no longer quick to answer, resentful, overwhelmed or anxious. The hormone cortisol that comes with those negative emotions, is much rarer now too and I feel better rested and no longer depressed. Dare I say? I am happy, optimistic, positive and energetic? Yes, all of these changes within the span of less than a week? Why? I was miserable and needed a change. My bad moods and darkness was hurting myself and also my family. Instead of being frustrated with them, I am living in the place of gratitude that reminds me of how much happened in my life to bring these three precious people into my life. The Lord blessed me at 20 with Preston because He knew that we would need each other and be a dynamic duo. AJ, bless his heart, chose to love me. He took me on with all my baggage and after 11 trying years has helped me unpack most of it. I never knew that there would be a person in my life that could make me feel so special, safe and valued. Again, God brought the only man for me, into my life, and lifted the veil of misery from my lonely life, long enough for me to see him. I said something early on in our relationship that was hurtful at the time, but makes more sense now. I told him that I didn’t just marry him for who and what he was at the time but for his potential. As backwards and clumsy a statement as it was, it was true. Partially I was marrying his potential because I had so far to grow. We’ve faced many challenges as a couple and I am so fortunate that he hung in there with me. Logan. The baby. My younger son who offers his sweet hugs and unwavering support on my journey to be braver, stronger and more self assured. In his ten years, he has brought out a softer side of me that no one else ever has. He has torn down walls and healed much of my touch-me-not nature. I could leave all other blessings off the list of things I am grateful for and just those three and the list of the positive impact they have had on my life could carry me through to the end of time.

I know that many other people in my life found a life of gratitude before I did, and I appreciate them, especially my moms, Sharon and Caroline and my dad, Dad, for modeling this way of life for me. Life is what we make of us. Each and everyone of us has the choice to choose on our own focus and path. I’ve left darkness behind me, and while it will come and go, I will live my life with the intention that I will be gratitude. Thanks for reading. Love, Rebecca

What is thicker than blood? Love.

In honor of…recognition of…response to, National Adoption month, November, the month I was born and relinquished in, I’ve been dipping my toes into a section of social media and the internet I have trained myself to avoid; adoption related articles, blog posts and stories. It can be a dangerous, emotional bog. As it always done, it has my emotions kicked into high gear and the words spinning in my head, wanting to get out and be written and subsequently read.

One of my favorite quotes is, “When the past calls, do not answer. It has nothing new to say.” (I’m sorry I can’t credit the author of this profound statement as I do not know who said/wrote it.) I have spent much of my life attempting to give the past much more attention than it deserves. I’ve relived heartache over and over and over. Playing back episodes where I was the victim. Initially, the innocent victim of a young mother who could not keep me. That situation left me with the Primal Wound that those who came in my life were left to try to pick up the pieces of a tiny, shattered soul who had lost everything in the only mother they had known. Think about it for awhile and see that you don’t pick up a Kleenex. I thought for a long time that somehow looking back on that time would explain my misuse of food, insecurities, self loathing and hatred. In the older styles of therapy, figuring out what happened in the past was a key to wellness. I know believe that is bullshit, at least for my own needs. I am better served by the live as I go, manage external stressors with distress tolerance skills and most recently, Heart Math tools, way of processing my life.

I am turning 36 this coming Friday. I am enjoying my 30’s. I’m further away from, not untouched mind you, but further away from being that little child, than I have ever been before. Yes, that means more healed and experiencing a hope and wellness I’ve not lived before. I’ve had 15 + years of parenting under my belt and 11 years of marriage. Our family is blended one. My husband is our older son’s biological father yet he is his dad all the same. So we have a stepdad who is also just dad, a mom, half-brothers, sons and a stepson within the four of us. We don’t pay heed to titles and are Dad, Mom and brothers. Quite simply, we are the four of us, a family. Bonded NOT by blood, but by love. I don’t know that I have taught my husband many useful things since we’ve met but the one I know of, can move mountains. The concept that family is not just who you are blood related to. Family are the people that take you in when you are lost, scared, broken, longing, and. They can choose you, and you can choose them. One example, my adoptive parents who claimed me, a strangers baby and never tried to give me back. Two amazing people who have made me their own even when that caused heartbreak and pain. They didn’t run when I ran away or caused havoc and drama and sent our family’s life into epic chaos. They hung on. The weathered every storm. My mom and dad were there with me when as a young, single mom, I fought like hell to bring my beautiful son into this world. My mom offered hours of fervent prayer. They held him and welcomed him and claimed him as their grandson. They taught me my entire life that family is about who you love and make your family. Family can be about blood. Many genetic families are amazing, with loving relationships and incredible commitments to each other. Some are not. I’ve watched a mother, a grandmother forsake a family bond and move cross country without saying “Goodbye” to her only son. Unfortunately, the answers I have given to her grandson as he’s grown up to ask them, have been hollow and offer no reasonable explanation for her choices.

This evening, I took both boys to see Big Hero 6. I don’t want to spoil it for you but the main character Hiro, suffers the loss of precious family members. By the end of the movie, he has grown closer to his remaining blood relative and has grown his chosen family by four others. I know it was a movie and there were writers that chose that outcome but, I was proud of the people that reached out to him and even prouder still that he let himself be loved and came to love them back. It was a hard movie for my younger son to watch at times and came away from it saying, “It’s another sad movie, Mom”. As Disney and Pixar introduce more obvious deaths and loss into their story lines, there is opportunity for more discussion and teachable moments.

I’ve always been annoyed by the phrase “blood is thicker than water.” The better thing to remember is this line, “Love is thicker than blood.” from Thicker Than Blood, a song by Garth Brooks.

If this concept is new to you, see how you can embrace it and change your own life. Is there someone you go to church with who is alone or doesn’t have any local family? Can you do chores at their home or run errands? What if it were your parent or family member alone in a city? Wouldn’t you want someone to reach out to them? How about a single parent that is on 24/7? Can you offer to watch their child and be a surrogate parent to them or a grandparent to their child? None of these offers are meant to replace blood family, only to enhance someone’s love family. Sometimes these relationships bring the greatest joy because the recipient knows you chose them.

Just something to think about. Love, Rebecca