Monthly Archives: February 2015

Photographs of the photographer

Last year at this time, Preston had been home from residential treatment for less than a month. He was a broken, shell of a human. His inner pain and turmoil made it difficult for him to engage and enjoy activities. It’s rare that I think about those times anymore, however last evening as he stood on the edge of a canyon, taking photos for his photography class, I was overwhelmed by the contrast.

Preston perched on the edge of the canyon above the Deschutes River.

Preston perched on the edge of the canyon above the Deschutes River.

While Preston’s depression was not my fault, the pressure that I put on him, certainly contributed to it. I was obsessed with grades and success and making sure that this start in life with a single mom, didn’t negatively impact him. I did things wrong. I admit it. I also admit that I learned from those mistakes and have done things differently. No longer do I focus on specific letter grades or grade point averages. I know that God intends to give him a future, I’m not obsessed about scholastic achievement, college or the like. I want him to have a well-rounded life experience with exposure to many activities so he can decide what he likes and who he wants to be. This term, Preston is taking photography. In my quest to stay involved and provide support and opportunities to him, I offered to drive him to Crooked River Ranch yesterday after school. He agreed and off we went. It’s a 45 minute drive, or so, from school. We chatted about all kinds of things on the way. It was a gorgeous day. 64 degrees in February with the sun shining brightly! Amazing. We parked at the trailhead at the Scout Camp Trail and took heed of the rattlesnake warning. They are likely hibernating but we were cautious just the same. The short hike out to the top of the plateau that overlooks the wild Deschutes River was nice. We did slog through some mud and pick our way carefully over rocks. What an adventure! Preston wasn’t disappointed. He appreciated the view and took photos down into the canyon as we made our way out the end. The moment that you can hear the sound of the rushing river coming up from below is one of my favorite parts about that hike. Of course he made me nervous as he got SO CLOSE to the edge but I tried not to nag. I still worry. I worry disproportionately to what is going on a good portion of the time. (My cells remember that day when he wasn’t where he was supposed to be and it takes awhile to let that memory fade.) Preston was respectful and didn’t do any daredevil moves to get the perfect shot. He had me stand “just so” and used me in some of his shots. When I wasn’t being used an unlikely model, I photographed the photographer.

Crouching to capture the sunset.

Crouching to capture the sunset.

It was exhilarating to be there on the edge of the canyon, with the breeze and the sunshine. With no other humans around, it felt like we were alone in the world. It was such an enjoyable time together. It took longer for the sun to go down that we expected so we had plenty of time for plenty of shots. When the sun did go down, Preston was able to get exactly the photo he wanted. I struggle to describe my emotions…Pride? Awe? Gratitude? Knowing that I felt so blessed in that moment, I believe I was overcome with gratitude. Gratitude that God spared Preston’s live and led him to be healed. Gratitude that Preston fought a hard fight and clawed his way back from the dark, into the world, filled with light again. Having the day off and making moments with memories like this is such a blessing.

As we walked out along the darkening trail, we discussed our time and photos we had taken. I nearly had to pinch myself for the perfectness of it all. I took this last photo as we came off the plateau and headed for the car.

Sunset 2/12/15 from the top of the Scout Camp Trail, CRR Oregon

Sunset 2/12/15 from the top of the Scout Camp Trail, CRR Oregon

Today, after starting the day with quiet reflection, I’m excited to take yesterday’s momentum and positivity and let it infuse today. This evening, I’ll be driving Prestont to Detroit Lake to spend the weekend with his Dad. I don’t feel resentful or bitter. Yesterday’s adventure was my time and no one can steal that joy. So blessed by the second chances and beauty in life.

Love and hugs, Rebecca


This is not goodbye, Ron!

Last night I took one of my all time favorite photos. It’s this one.

Ron and Preston

Ron and Preston

Sure, these are both handsome fellas. The one on the right is my older son, Preston. The one on the left is, Ron, the youth leader from our church in Bend. He and his family are moving to Portland where they have been given the opportunity to grow and reach more people. They will take their ripples to a larger pond and I know they will build an amazing life there. It does make me sad to see both Ron and his wife, Erin leave our church. Never have I seen two people with easier smiles, open hearts and radical acceptance of everyone. To fully understand the magnitude of the above photo, let me back up.

As some of you may know, if you’d read earlier blog posts, Preston experienced an emotional crisis in October of 2013. He had a major depressive episode with suicidal thoughts. A mix of genetics, environmental and situational pressures are likely what let to him feeling so hopeless. He was hospitalized at our local, small hospital. I winged it. One of the most important things I did during that stay was to call our church and get in touch with Pastor Chris, our main pastor, and Pastor Ron. They are both affable men with different interests and speaking styles. They compliment each other and are incredible people. During Preston’s hospitalization he was on a one-to-one hold in the peds unit. That is, a CNA sat at his door with eyes on him the entire time, unless he had to go to the bathroom. I spent a great deal of time with Preston while he was there. Sleeping at the hospital so he wouldn’t be alone and so I could complete his paperwork if a bed in Portland became available. I was stressed, to say the least. I had chosen to limit Preston’s visitors so that he encountered those who would be supportive and not say the wrong thing. This met his parents and the the pastoral staff who both have experience with depressed people. I’d met Ron before I rallied him to Preston’s cause and thought highly of him. My own social anxiety makes it difficult to initiate relationships with people, even platonic church friendships, so I hadn’t spend much time talking to him. However, I knew he was an answer to my prayers that week. From this man I felt no judgement. He didn’t assume that I had done something to Preston to lead to his hospitalization. After visiting with him in the little lobby on the 5th floor, I knew he was on Preston’s team. I’ve always been cautious about allowing adults direct, unsupervised access to my children. (Yes, I’m paranoid from too many years of TV and books.) I felt completely confident about letting Ron venture into Preston’s room, and sit with him, offer counsel or just hang out. I am proud of Preston for not shutting Ron out. He didn’t pour his heart out to Ron, but over a few rounds of Blokus, a quiet trust began to form. Due to the geographical constraints of where we live, there aren’t nearly as many people in Preston’s village as there could have been. In Ron, quality has made up for quantity. As a mother, to know that Preston has an another God-loving man in his life to lean on, I feel peace. It doesn’t hurt that Ron had ink, great fashion, and loves music. 🙂

We didn’t do a good job of taking advantage of all Ron had to offer while he lived here. Our schedule never quite worked out for the Bend Youth Collective, which I regret. Both Preston and I intend, however, for Preston to get to continue to be mentored by Ron while Ron is living in Portland. Preston spends a fair amount of time there while he visits his dad. None of us are willing to let the distance get in the way of a warm friendship that started in a stark hospital room, in the darkest days of a beautiful life.

As I write this post, I’m listening to my favorite song about goodbye. It’s by the Sidewalk Prophets called “This Is Not Goodbye.” The lyrics are as follows.

I can see it in your eyes that you are restless
The time has come for you to leave
It’s so hard to let you go but in this life I know
You have to be who you were made to be

As you step out on the road I’ll say a prayer
So that in my heart you always will be there

This is not goodbye
I know we’ll meet again
So let your life begin
‘Cause this is not goodbye
It’s just “I love you” to take with you
Until you’re home again

The stirring in your soul has left you wondering
Should you stay or turn around
Well, just remember that your dreams they are a promise
That you were made to change the world
So don’t let fear stop you now ‘cause

This is not goodbye
I know we’ll meet again
So let your life begin
‘Cause this is not goodbye
It’s just “I love you” to take with you
Until you’re home again

I know the brightest star above
Was created by the One who loved
More than we’ll ever know
To guide you when you’re lost

What started as a still, small voice
Is raging now and your only choice
Is to follow who you are
So follow who you are ‘cause

This is not goodbye
I know we’ll meet again
Oh

This is not goodbye
I know we’ll meet again
So let your life begin
‘Cause this is not goodbye
It’s just “I love you” to take with you
Until you’re home again

Dear Lord, Thank you for bringing Ron into our lives at just the right moment. Please remind him of all the amazing work he has done, if he ever has doubts. We will continue to lift him up as he does your work with his hands. Keep him safe. I know that you have plans for him, to prosper and to have a hope and a future. Amen.


What is our Legacy? LOVE

This sweet post is by my first mom, Caroline. Enjoy.

Meet Birthmom, Caroline K. Dixon, Author of Providence For A First Mom

I have been pondering this for weeks…What is my legacy? I can not seem to pin mine down.I can tell you, though, that Brian and I have a legacy together. We are living our 33rd year of marriage. We were just 19 when we married.
I was searching for someone to lessen the pain of adolescence and the feeling of abandonment. I sought attention from others, hoping to fill that void. God had a plan to bring a man into my life that was created to be my husband.
We were in the Marines, Fall 1981, stationed at Cherry Point, North Carolina, and in the same radio platoon. There were about 16 Woman Marines in the platoon and 3 times as many men. My roommate, Rona, and Brian’s roommate, Paul, wanted to go on a date. Well, Brian had a car, so Rona asked me, and Paul asked Brian, if…

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Adult reunited adoptee, mostly healed.

Lately, I’ve been put in the position where it’s been necessary to explain my understanding of where my perfectionism comes from. It’s old and has it’s roots deep in my past of being an adopted child. I’m hesitant to every write about being an adopted child. Yes, I’m 36 years old and should probably “be over it by now.” When I write about it and my perspective, it is NOT a slam against my first mom or my (adoptive) parents. However, the institution of adoption damaged me. Logically, I know that I had the life I was meant to have. No, I wouldn’t have been better off being raised my a first mom without support and resources. I firmly believe that we have a societal responsibility to pregnant moms that support and resources are the only things keeping them from being able to parent. That’s another soap box post for another day. I am hesitant to alienate folks who may interpret that I am anti-adoption. Really, I wouldn’t describe myself that way. I believe that foster children should find a forever family through adoption. The shading baby brokering, trolling for infants and other BS that goes on, is not ok with me. Alas, I digress. There are other factors that play into my propensity for insecurity. None of them has as much weight as being told “your mother gave you away.” My parents didn’t tell me those words exactly. I’m sure they shared a beautiful story of love and sacrifice, rife with adult explanations about why my mother couldn’t raise me. Except I was very small when they told me and all my poor, little, immature brain could understand was “Your mother didn’t keep you. She gave you away.” Please don’t misunderstand, my parents did the right thing by telling me that I was adopted. Keeping it a secret would have been so much worse. I remember years of feeling like the odd one out. Looking back, I believe that I looked for differences between us, rather than look for similarities. I have had for many years, 20+, issues with my physical body and being dissatisfied with it. I go to therapy regularly to learn to live with the past hurt that follows me around. I am a work in constant progress. The more I hide my feelings, though, and try to pretend that all my adoption trauma is gone, the worse I feel. Still eager to please and wanting to be loved unconditionally and kept, I do not share my true self and express the hurt, so that I can protect my loved ones. I could go on and on… I’ll be back to say more later. Thanks for listening. With love and hugs, Rebecca