sharing my life experiences, reflections and insights as a mother, a writer, an Occupational Therapist, an unschooler, and and a spiritual being having a human experience

Spiritual Connections

When my husband was in the hospital after his massive heart attack, I had many spiritual experiences.  My husband experienced  near death as he went into cardiac arrest in our living room on May 4, 2011. He left the house in ventricular tachycardia, a fatal heart rhythm.  The medics had used the defibrillator several times before they wheeled him out of the house on the gurney. I remember his dark blue face as they took him.  I am forever grateful to the wonderful medics from Mint Hill Fire Department and Robinson Fire Department who took care of my husband and then stayed with me to help make a plan to get to the hospital.  And Lia Schwinghammer who came to my rescue and drove us to the hospital and stayed with us until I got to see Don like 4 hours later. She was one of my many angels and I had many, so I will just thank all my family and friends here.    I am also thankful for the cath lab at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte and the entire team who fixed his occluded arteries with stints allowing him to be with my here today, nearly 5 years later.

He spent 4 days in the CCU and then 8 more days in the step down unit.  I had family helping my kids at home and I would wake up usually before 4 am and head to the hospital each morning and spend the entire day with him and come home in time to put my 2-year-old to bed.  It was a crazy time and yet my priorities have never been so focused in my life as they were for those 12 days.  My husband was disappointed that he did not remember experiencing “seeing the light”.  I told him that I saw it for him.  I really do believe that.

I don’t even know how to begin to explain the spiritual experiences.There were many.  The first one was at home. I called 911 and 5 minutes after the medic arrived, my husband went into cardiac arrest.  The medics immediately moved me and my three children out of our living room.  I vividly recall taking the children to the stairs off our kitchen and sitting down with them and tapping.  I have since decided that the only way I was able to calmly sit with them and use EFT, was because Don’s soul guided us.  Later, when he was recovering in the hospital, I vividly recall being in the cafeteria getting food and hearing a song being piped into the cafeteria and I knew it was Don speaking to me.

The biggest experience was around day 8 or 9 after going with only 3 hours of sleep each night.  Because, the first night at home after his heart attack, I awoke after 3 hours with a horrible dream reliving the experience and I told myself I wasn’t going to do that again.  I did not consciously choose to not sleep more than 3 hours but that is what then happened. So by day 8,  I was very sleep deprived and living on adrenaline, and maybe even having blood sugar issues or just panic attacks.

 I had this one night at home where I  felt panicked and scared and I called my good friend and EFT mentor and therapist, Jan Luther. It was very early in the morning, too early to make a phone call, yet I decided to call her.  I heard the line pick up yet there was no one there on the other side, I began talking. I have no memory of what I said but all I know is there was silence, no dial tone, no one talking, just silence.  I think I tapped and talked.  Later, I talked to Jan about it and she told me the phone rang, she picked up and no one was there and so she hung up the phone and began tapping, because she knew someone needed her to do that.  She hung up the phone, yet I heard no dial tone.  We both knew that was spirit at work.

Just last month, my father had back surgery for his spinal stenosis.  He had the surgery on a Friday and I showed up at the hospital at 5:30 am to meet my parents to help my mom navigate the hospital system.  Surgery went well, took a little longer than expected because it was worse than the doctor had thought from the MRI and he took longer in recovery because of breathing issues. We got to see him for a few minutes in recovery area  but he was in a lot of pain but they couldn’t give him too much pain medication because they needed his breathing to improve.   An hour later, he was in his room and we went to visit with him.  He did well that day, he had to lay flat for 24 hours as a precaution but then the next day even got up with the nurse and walked to the bathroom.  I left after dinner Saturday night, with the plan to return in the morning again.  I woke up at 3:45am.  I have been waking up early for many weeks, most like from peri-menopause but usually after at least 5 hours of sleep.  I woke up and looked at the clock and said, “Why am I waking up now?”  I  had been asleep for like 3 or 4 hours.  I knew it was strange.  I should have gotten up.  I went on my phone like I usually do when i wake up early, using it in the dark in my room.   I got a text from my mom who had seen my posting on Facebook and so she texted me. It was 4:11am: 

 I’m in the family waiting room while they put restraints on Dad. Med Dr saw him then They gave him something for hallucinations and for blood pressure. Thought he finally fell asleep  when he awoke and starting lashing out violently. He is having some kind of psychotic meltdown. REally scary to see him like this.  

I immediately replied to my mom

Oh mom.  I’m so sorry.  I’m awake. I’ll just shower and come in.  It’s going to take time for the meds to clear out of his system. (We new he was reacting to anesthesia and/or medications.)

My mom was surprised how quickly I arrived, less than an hour after her message.  I showered and gathered my things for the day and drove to the hospital. It was 4:45 am, no traffic, easy drive and plenty of parking. I walked into the lobby at 5:13am.   She didn’t realize I had experience with this from the 12 days I spent going to the hospital to be with my husband.  I also had the strong feeling through my dads 5 day hospital stay that this was in part the reason that I became an Occupational Therapist.

It helps that I texted all of this on my iPhone and therefore have all the times of our conversation including the when she texted me, and I let her know when I got in the car to head to hospital and again when I arrived in the lobby.  As I read these posts, I see that she had also contacted me at 12:27am via text because my dad was asking for me. I was asleep and didn’t see those texts until morning.  I can share that in another post.  I talked to my dad tonight to get his permission to share this story and he is happy to sit with me and tell me more so I can share more of it. He believes he was talking to God and telling God to decide about leaving his body or staying.  I believe that he did experience that as well.  More on that for another post.

My dad slept all morning. They had to put him in 4 point restrains and  give him Haldol which is an injectable antipsychotic.  He had kicked a nurse.  It was weird seeing my dad in his hospital bed in restraints.  AFter talking to my mom when I got to the hospital, I had told her to get some rest. The waiting room had a couch.  I went to sit with my dad to be there when he woke up.  I was able to explain to dad as he was waking up that he was in restraints and he was calm.  Later when he was fully awake, he shared the experience with us.  He actually remembered the psychotic episode and described what he experienced. he also appologized to all the nursing staff that saw him for the next few days.   I will just summarize: he explained feeling like he was in a box and there were bad guys trying to hurt him and he had to get away.  He explained it with much more detail but I don’t want to misquote him. But he also told me he heard me laughing. He couldn’t see me or get to me but he heard me laughing.  As the day progressed, he continues sharing about what he remembered in detail from his Psychotic episode.  I wondered if some of what he was sharing was also from when he was under anesthesia for his back surgery (3 hours) as well as the 3 hours he spend in recovery getting his breathing back to normal before he could be moved to a room.

It didn’t occur to me right away, but then I realized some things. I woke at 3:45 am which is when my dad had his psychotic episode and I knew it was odd that I woke up.  Looking back, I should have realized it was my dad.  But then I got ready quickly and grabbed my things and headed out in the car at 4:45 am. I turned on the radio and “Crazy Train” was playing on the radio.  I laughed out loud.  I switched stations and heard, “Take a Walk on the Wild side”.  I had the instant feeling like I did when Don was in the hospital, that my dad’s spirit was speaking to me.  Hearing these two songs both playing at the same time on 2 different local stations tickled me.  I talked to my dad out loud in the car, laughing as I did.  And sending positive energy and love to my dad.  Cause, I am weird like that and I talk out loud in the car.  I really do, all the time.  My favorite thing to do is scan stations to find a song that fits my mood.  I never listen to commercials, ask my kids and Don, I am always scanning for a song, a good song.

Wow!  I was laughing out loud in the car and my dad heard me! 

Some would call this coincidence yet as a student of Unity, Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God books,  and just my own personal spiritual beliefs, I don’t believe in coincidences.  It all has meaning, at least the meaning we give it.  I believe on a spiritual level, we are creating our reality, all of it.

 Creation is energy and all of life is energy.  

Is this all a bad dream?

When I stop and think about the events of this year, I become angry and agitated. How the hell did life become what it is right now?

Living in fear of a virus

The country more polarized that it was a year ago. I find that crazy because I thought life couldn’t get any more bizarre than it was. Yet, here we are.

A presidential election three months away

People resisting government regulations and restrictions

People following the regulations trying to save lives and minimize the impact of this rapidly spreading virus.

This unprecedented virus that has killed so many people and left others with long term health problems and others out of work with business closing, the economy greatly impacted.

Black and white polarization

Life is not black and white, but many shades of grey.

I don’t like the government regulating where I can go and how close I can get to people.

I understand the need to minimize the virus and protect the most vulnerable, I work in a nursing home. My father is 78 and has respiratory issues and compromised immune system due to multiple health problems.

I believe that our bodies are able to handle illness and exposure to illness strengthens our immune system. If we spent as much time addressing our physical health with what we eat as we do slamming the other political party, than we would all be so much healthier and less likely to have complications with this virus.

Is that true? Does having a strong immune system lessen the effects of this virus or make us less vulnerable to becoming sick from it?

I understand the reasoning behind restricting all visitors to nursing homes, assisted and independent living facilities where seniors who are at highest risk for death and complications reside. Yet, the quality of their lives has been greatly impacted by these restrictions.

Imagine living in a community where no one can come in other than necessary medical personal and you are not allowed to leave. Routine doctor visits, dental visits, going to get assessed for a hearing aide, have all been put on hold…. It’s been 5 months like this.

I see residents in an assisted living building who have been cut off socially from others. They no longer have group dining, social activities, trivia night, exercise class, outings into the community for a meal or shopping. They are not even supposed to visit with each other and are told they should stay in there rooms.

The residents are not going anywhere, no one is coming to see them and so they are not at any risk to be around each other!

The lack of social activities and exercise that has ensued from being apartment bound is having a negative toll on their emotional and physical health.

I have also seen this with my own father who has had 2 back surgeries and still suffers with severe back pain issues along with having Parkinson’s disease. Before the virus, he would go out on his golf cart to play cards and participate in other social events. When his back was feeling better, he even played golf. We underestimate the amount of exercise one gets with that amount of walking. By being in his house, he has gotten weaker which has increased his back pain and further limited his activity. He couldn’t even go to physical therapy for several months and even now that he does go, it is not like he was doing before when the Physical Therapist had an office in the community and he could ride his golf cart to the appointments.

In my 28 years as an Occupational Therapist, I have seen regulations made in health care that have negative impacts that affect the very people the regulations are meant to help. From the privacy act meant to protect health information and changes in therapy reimbursement, to the current regulations restricting visitors at facilities, there are so many aspects of these rules which cause much harm to our seniors.

I get so worked up thinking about all of this….

And it is only one piece of the craziness that has enveloped our lives in 2020.

Our world is full of hate right now

Our world is full of fear…. fear drives people to do hateful things.

Making decisions out of fear never leads to a good outcome.

Politicians and the media are instilling fear in the American people and that fear is driving them to maddness.

We need more hope

We need more balance

We need people sending messages of love and shades of grey to bring people together rather than driving them further apart.

The world is not black and white and until we realize that we are destined for more of the madness that is 2020.

I am eager to fast forward to Wednesday, November 4, to be free of fear mongering political adds.

I am eager to be free of our current President who leads the country in spreading fear and hate.

What will life be like 3 months from now, 6 months from now?

Will the effects of this pandemic be different with a different President? Or will the negative effects of the current situation linger, and for how long?

When will more people come to work together and less people reside on the fringes with their beliefs of fear and hate?

Take me to remote island to live until our country realizes the world is not black and white.

Wake me up when we can live in the many shades of grey.

Ch ch ch changes…sings David Bowie

When we go through difficult things in our life, we say,”It’s a leaning opportunity”

“It is not the struggle we go through but how we handle it”

And so one struggle leads us forward

Another struggles comes along and when we get through it, we can see how it has propelled us onward…

Don’s heart attack, loosing his job, my job changes, pay reduction, children with anxiety disorders, lost hours…

I used to think I could not be a good writer until I had experienced more in life, gone through challenges…

Enough already!

I have had enough opportunities for leaning and growth!

I have more than enough experiences to write about!

Feel the feeling and let it go

In order to let go, we first need to feel the feeling

We need to stop and feel our emotions

“What are you feeling?” What are you feeling in your body?

Questions my EFT practioner asks.

I think…

NO! What are you feeling?

I spend so much time in my head, analyzing

Trying to figure it out

Make sense of it all

Even looking for the learning opportunity in the chaos

Yet, I forget to stop and acknowledge where I am

To acknowledge what I am feeling

I feel sad, disheartened, defeated, low

I don’t like living in a world wear masks and social distancing are normal

I don’t like watching my children struggle with anxiety and crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

I know I can help other families with the struggles we have been through… are going through

But… Why my kids? It is not fair to them!

When will life be calm and easy…

Again?

Was life every calm and easy?

Easier… I can recall times of lightness

Or at least when I reflect back, they feel lighter

It is ok to be angry

It is ok to feel sadness and sorrow

It is ok to be disappointed

It is ok to feel defeated

It is ok to feel… whatever we are feeling

Feel it

To get through it, we must first STOP and feel

Acknowledge where I am right now and my feelings right now

Before I can move forward

Before I can spread the love and light this is my soul

I am human

I am a spiritual being

I am both

2020…The Twilight Zone

Stranger than fiction

A bizarre land of multicolored masks

Social distancing

Distant learning

Shortened business hours

Families at home together

Testing

Society anticipating a vaccination

Political polarization

Societal upheaval

Rebellion

“I will NOT wear a mask!”

That’s just the way it is, things will never change

The “new normal”

I hate when people say that! I don’t want this to be our normal?

I don’t know what normal is but there is NOTHING normal about covering your mouth and nose everywhere you go and keeping yourself 6 feet apart from people, answering the same questions every day..

“Do you have a new cough, sore throat? “, …blah blah blah

Do you symptoms of anything because if you say yes, you won’t be able to work and could be subject to 14 day quarantine

Scanning foreheads for fever…how accurate are those things?

I called work when I had a 99.5 fever and was told I could still work unless it was 100.3

WTF?

I stayed home until I felt better and was fever free.

That was in March or April

Maybe?

Time is an arbitrary construct

I have to really stopped think what month it is

The world shut down in March of 2020 and we thought a few weeks or months of shut down could end this rapidly spreading virus

Here we are in August

The country more polarized that I have seen in my lifetime

I think this virus is more controversial than the Vietnam War

I was a newborn in 1969, so what do I know….

Listen to the winds of change

Thoughts of November hold promise and fear

The President declares there will be fraud in the election

Seriously

Is that a confession???????

These times they are a changin

What will 2021 look like

Surely it will be less bizarre…

Divine dichotomy

You can’t know happy unless you experience sad

You can not really understand love unless you have been a witness to fear

Did you read that?

I said fear, not hate

The United States citizens have voted like a sandbag on a swing

Bill Clinton……… George W. Bush

Barack Obama………………………….Donald Trump

………………………………………………..

Will the pendulum swing back again?

Jesus Jones sings as I ponder these thoughts

Or must we suffer another 4 years before it does?

I grew up during the Cold War and saw it come to an end

Germany brought down the wall

The USSR dissolved

I would hear these lyrics and it felt true to me

Right now, I am not sure…

Do I really want to be here , right here right now?

Do you?

A woman on the radio talked about revolution
when it’s already passed her by
Bob Dylan didn’t have this to sing about
you know it feels good to be alive
I was alive and I waited, waited
I was alive and I waited for this
Right here, right now
there is no other place I want to be
Right here, right now
watching the world wake up from history
I saw the decade in, when it seemed
the world could change at the blink of an eye
And if anything
then there’s your sign of the times
I was alive and I waited, waited
I was alive and I waited for this
Right here, right now
I was alive and I waited, waited
I was alive and I waited for this
Right here, right now
there is no other place I want to be…

Today: May 17, 2020

My office

It’s taken me 5 months to sit down and write again. I have created this cozy coffee house writing space in my basement. I have everything I need, a comfortable chair, my ipad and Bluetooth keyboard, iPhone and wireless earbuds. Water is heating in the tea kettle on the stove so that I can make a chai tea latte.

My cats run and play. Shadow darts down the stairs and jumps in to the hammock we created, hiding from his sister, ready to pounce when she returns. Sunshine is no where to be found…

Life ebbs and flows

March 26 the governor declared a state of emergency and issued a shelter in place order. The corona virus had arrived in the US and fear set in across the country. The virus was spreading rapidly and people were dying. COVID 19 became a daily headline.

I suddenly had increased hours at the nursing home where I work on an as needed basis. The following weeks, I had no hours. The facility locked down, limiting new admissions, limiting the therapy caseload, limiting the need for additional therapists.

Hope

I discovered that even part time employees can collect unemployment. New federal funding and orders also now made it easier for individuals to receive unemployment due to reduced hours from corona virus. It was not so easy to get an account set up but a week later, I had one and then waited. Four weeks later, I received my first unemployment check and then I figured out how the system worked and what was required to qualify for unemployment each week. Every state has different requirements and different maximum weekly distributions. NC is one of the lowest.

North Caroline is beautiful with mountains and beaches and bass-ackwards when it comes to government programs and policies

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’

Life will never be the same

We hear this phrase often now. I have said or thought this many times in my life during the many challenges my family has experienced. Yet, each day is a new experience and so the happenings of the prior day, render life Different.

I am both saddened and amused seeing adds on tv showing people connecting more… Parents teaching children at home, parents working from home, families spending more time together. I shake my head and wonder why it has taken a pandemic to get people to prioritize relationships and spend more time connecting.

My family has lived this way for a long time. My husband works from home and has since we decided to start a family. We have been homeschooling our children their entire lives. My husband and I have been growing a business together helping families… to connect.

Connection. And Balance

I have friends on both sides of the fence. Regarding this pandemic and government regulations and controls. We want to protect people and reduce deaths and we want the freedom to live our life. The dichotomy has contributed to the divisiveness that has been growing in the US. My personal.belief encompass both philosophies. And I wonder, why does it have to be one way or the other?

Some might say, you can’t have both.

I am hear to challenge the idea that we have to be on the side of Personal freedoms OR on the side of saving lives.

I have been concerned from day One about restrictions. I work with the elderly and confining them to their room in a nursing home or an assisted living facility can have a negative impact on their health. And keeping seniors in their homes can be detrimental to their health. Yet, these are the very people who are most at risk for complications from the virus and who suffer a higher mortality rate.

Are we merely delaying the inevitable spread of this disease?

I believe in boosting our natural immune system to fight illness and maintain health. The naturopathic medicine philosophy has been a part of my life and my immediate family for many years. Breastfeeding is the best way to begin building our immune system and far more effective than any vaccine. My younger two children never had an ear infection. I have been so much healthier since embracing this philosophy, including improving my diet and using foods to boost my immune system.

How do we allow for the freedom to live our life and protect the vulnerable population, minimize their risk for serious illness and death.

If we all followed a naturopathy philosophy of health, would a quarantine be necessary? Allowing personal freedoms means allowing people to make their own choices when it comes to their health, even if it means they choose things that diminish their physical health. We all choose things that are not in our best interests at some time in our life. We are human and living in this physical experience.

What if we looked at this pandemic from a spiritual perspective?

I think we might label it in a different way then by calling it a pandemic. From a spiritual perspective we could refer to this time as…

The time we became so wrapped into our physical expression of our body that we both lost sight of our higher purpose and also reconnected with our inner selves

It needs a shorter title, or does it?

We live in a culture of quick fixes, instant responses and fear inducing headlines.

From a spiritual perspective, I can see that I still have the freedom to live and be who I am even within the restrictions on entering the community. I can be my true self despite the government regulations and control. Yet, when I think of parenting and raising children, I see it differently. As adults, this is only a small period of time in our life but for our children, this is their childhood. How they experience life has an impact on how they develop and limiting their experiences can have a detrimental affect on their mental health.

Any drastic change, sudden change or disruption to our routine can have a detrimental affect on our mental health, for all of us, no matter our age. It can and does also impact our physical health as well as our mental health in a cyclical manner.

I invite you to share your perspective. I challenge you to find a blending of the needs of personal freedoms and protecting the vulnerable. Please share. I would love to revisit this idea with the input from others. Respond in comments or feel free to private message me if you prefer to be anonymous.

I leave you with these thought provoking lyrics as you contemplate. These words are even more powerful listening to Kenny Loggins sing them:

Where are the dreams that we once had?
This is the time to bring them back.
What were the promises caught on the tips of our tongues?
Do we forget or forgive?
There’s a whole other life waiting to be lived when…
One day we’re brave enough
To talk with Conviction of the Heart.
And down your streets I’ve walked alone,
As if my feet were not my own
Such is the path I chose, doors I have opened and closed
I’m tired of living this life,
Fooling myself, believing we’re right, when…
I’ve never given love
With any Conviction of the Heart
One with the earth, with the sky
One with everything in life
I believe we’ll survive
If we only try…
How long must we wait to change
This world bound in chains that we live in
To know what it is to forgive,
And be forgiven?
It’s been too many years of taking now.
Isn’t it time to stop somehow?
Air that’s too angry to breathe, water our children can’t drink
You’ve heard it hundreds of times
You say your aware, believe, and you care, but…
Do you care enough
To talk with Conviction of the Heart?

Many thanks to Bob Dylan, Kenny Loggins, Azlyrics, YouTube, and to all of you who read and share my posts.

December 4, 2019

Five weeks ago I was sitting in a hospital room waiting on results.

Five weeks ago my concern was that they were going to send my husband home from the hospital with no answers.

I left the hospital that morning to take my youngest to a therapy appointment.

I did not know I would return to find out he had failed his stress test.

I did not know the critical care ambulance would be driving him to the main hospital.

To Presbyterian main where he spent 12 days recovering from his heart attack 8 years earlier.

I did not know he would undergo coronary artery bypass graft surgery, CABG,

Open heart surgery

On November 1,2019, my husband had open heart surgery

His heart was exposed

His heart was stopped, his lungs were deflated, he was intubated and put on a heart and lung machine while they replaced his clogged arteries

The arteries that supply blood to his heart so that the heart can beat

So the heart can beat and send blood to the lungs and to the body

So he can live

Genetics,

And stress

Stress

Stress can wreak havoc on the body

He does not look like a man with heart disease

He never has

He is tall and thin

Unlike his cardio thoracic surgeon who has a large gut

Ironic

His surgeon was wonderful and even personal

We are grateful for him

Yet, it has been hard for me to look at all the overweight people

To see obese people in the hospital waiting rooms, in the cafeteria

Not the people in the hospital beds, but the ones visiting

And wonder why my husband is the one with heart disease

It is what it is

The past month has been a whirlwind

Driving, waiting, wondering

Juggling responsibilities as a parent, as a wife, as an employee

Driving my family members to appointments and making sure the kids were fed

Being there at the hospital most hours of the day to hear what the doctors had to say

Accommodating the lack of schedule in the hospital

Managing my two prn jobs, where I work as needed

Canceling work hours and trying to find work hours

The game is continuous

The flexibility is my life line

The flexibility is a must for being the mom I choose to be

For being a homeschool parent

For putting my family first, making parenting my top priority

I used to say, if I could only get paid to be a parent

Now, I have that opportunity.

Don and I have spent hours developing our program for families

We have given presentations and spoken to groups of parents

We have been growing our business

To help families who have challenges, where anxiety resides in the home

For families with children with behavior issues

For families looking for a better way to help their children thrive

On October 1, when I lost nearly all of my regular hours at my primary job,

I declared to the universe that I was ready

I said, “I am all in”

I knew it was time to give 100% to growing our business

To my writing, growing my blogs and working toward that book I will write

To spending more time growing our business, speaking and finding clients

I need to continue working at my “jobs” as we grow our business

Yet, the stress of finding hours and dealing with the latest change in reimbursement for therapy services at skilled nursing rehabilitation facilities

The second change of its kind in the course of my 27 year career as an Occupational Therapist

I declared the stress of all of this, the job stress, behind me

I have bigger and better things growing and am working toward

No longer depending on that income to support my family

Live is so unpredictable

When I was a child, I used to find my life

Boring

Most children declare that sentence often,

“I’m bored.”

My life now is anything but boring

I joke about wishing I was bored

I am going within

I am going within to find the strength and fearlessness that I felt on October 1

When I declared to the universe, “I am all in”

Maybe Don undergoing urgent, but not emergent bypass surgery

Is what we needed to dive fully into our business

Now his heart can function better

Now his arteries are free and clear

Now we know he has at least 10 or 20 years of life…or more

Now we can live more freely

I have gotten wrapped back into the stress over the past several weeks

As I have poured time and energy into finding work hours

Finding hours to make up for missed hours

Finding work hours to meet our expenses, or at least not completing deplete our savings

The savings we had build while I worked 30-40 hours all summer

Today

Today, I declare to the universe once again

I am all in

I am ready to dive back into my chosen life

I am ready to stop the life of getting through the days

I am ready to begin to live with more intention

I am ready to live the life I choose

I am a writer

I am a parent

I am a wife and a partner to an amazingly strong and resilient man

I am a parenting coach, a behavior transformation specialist

I am a business owner, a co-owner of

Focused Healthy Family

Even amounts the chaos that life can bring,

Our vision and intentions for our family have focus and purpose

We might lose sight of our core values and beliefs from time to time

Yet, we have done the work and continue to do the work

To be the best parents we can be, to empower our children to be the best they can be

Our desire and our mission for our business is…

To help other families find and achieve greater harmony and balance in their own homes

To live with intention, connection, and respect

To collaborate with their children

To have coping strategies to deal with anxiety and other challenges

To find the life that works best them, so that each member of the family can be empowered to be fully who they are

Life will still be messy at times

We will make mistakes

Life is unpredictable

How we handle life is the key

We can learn to respond to life challenges

Instead of reacting to the challenges,

Instead of reacting to our children’s behavior

We can choose our words and our actions

We can choose a new way of parenting

And live a more empowered and healthy life with our children.

Sneaking around at 5am

I used to be a night owl

And still stay up late on occasion…

Yet, now I wake up and feel like I was out drinking the night before

I think that feeling began to happen about twenty years ago when I was 30

Since my husband returned home on November 6, after open heart surgery…

I wake up early and am eager to get up to have time to myself

Some mornings, my youngest child has fallen asleep in my room

Her anxiety often flares up at night and can quickly escalate to a panic attack and a meltdown

Snuggling to sleep with mom, helps to dissipate or prevent the meltdown

I wake up and slowly move out of bed so as not to wake my sleeping child

If my child stirs, then I stand still in the dark, waiting…

There is a sound machine we use to drown out noise

I make sure the volume is turned all the way up

I move very slowly on the hardwood floor, waiting for the ocean waves to rise

Waiting for the sound machine noise to be at its loudest before taking a step

If I make too much noise when my child stirs, they might wake up

A child with an anxiety disorder needs all the sleep they can get

An almost 11 year old child with an anxiety disorder definitely needs more sleep…

Pre- puberty… oh my

Parents worry about “the terrible twos” and teenage years…

The real challenge in parenting is the pre-puberty years

Around age 9, 10, 11

That is when the most change happens, emotionally

My other child with an anxiety disorder, had a major flare of her disorder just prior to her 11th birthday and it continued to escalate when she turned 11.

She didn’t have a birthday party that year, the year she eagerly awaited her Hogwarts letter

We would have been happy to invite her friends over as we had done every year since she was 2

Having her friends all come over for her birthday is something she cherishes

And still does at age 17

Yet, the year she turned 11, she couldn’t even touch the birthday presents we bought her and didn’t want her friends over, she was stuck in the house for months…

She doesn’t remember much about that birthday

Much of her life when her OCD, her sever anxiety disorder, was flaring its ugly head…

…Is a blur to her

Now my next child who also suffers from this sometimes crippling anxiety disorder, is a few months shy of turning 11

It brings back tough memories

We know so much more now and have so much more help in place

Yet, the worry, the fears, the anxiety about our child’s anxiety is still there…

It is now 6am and I have made it out of the bedroom with my child still asleep

I have tiptoed down our creepy stairs to get my iPad keyboard and it’s stand

To return upstairs to my child’s empty bedroom in order to write

I have not gone to the basement where my comfy chair sits..

the place where I usually write, my office to be, a work in progress

Because my husband is asleep in the living room in the recliner

He is recovering from triple bypass surgery and is more comfortable sleeping in the chair

He wakes easily at any noise

He needs his sleep as well

Recovery from surgery is a slow process…

Recovery from open heart surgery is a very slow process

I sit with a desk top light shining

I am long sitting on the bottom bed of my child’s bunk bed

There are no pillows in the room for me to lean up agains the wall

Clothes are scattered about the floor, and tissues…

I resist the urge to pick up the clothes and the tissues and all the random things scattered on the floor…

My left foot is going numb

I reimposition myself

I now appreciate time alone

I never used to understand my husbands love of early morning hours in the quiet…

While everyone else was asleep

I always said, “I enjoy late nights when everyone sleeps”

Now, I understand

Now, i value this early morning time alone

Now, I look forward to being the only one awake

This is the best time for me to write

Before I dive into social media on my phone

Before I chat with my husband, which I do enjoy

Time first thing in the morning, to talk together while kids sleep is also wonderful..

I have found peace in the silence

I have my earbuds on but have not yet turned on my music

I am alone with my thoughts in the dark silence of six-thirty am

Writing first thing is the best way to begin my day

I now can see how much better my day proceeds when I take time to write first thing

When I take time alone with my thoughts before doing anything else

My day proceeded with intention and a sense of peaceful calm

I look up and see the sun rise behind the trees outside the window

The blind is drawn up about 4 inches,

Just enough for me to catch a glimpse of the sunrise

Getting up to raise the blind, I realize my left hip is sore from sitting crossed-legged

I am reminded that my body is fifty years old

the same age as my house

The cats who sleep in our basement, meow

And I know that will wake my husband

It is time to walk quietly downstairs to feed the cats, to quiet them…

Incase my husband can still fall back asleep

Getting up early and moving quietly through my house has been well worth the effort.

I am grateful…

I am grateful for:

Cherries, bananas, kale and hard seltzer and my Ninja

Gluten free zucchini bread muffins in my kitchen

Time alone when I wake up, with the lights on

Spotify premium

Friends

Venting to my brother

Earbuds so I can play music loud while at home with my family

Don being able to do a few things without getting so winded

Mint Hill Aldi and CVS…only 3.5 miles away

My health

My amazing husband, recovering and being present for our children

Patience to help children with anxiety and depression

Patience while my husband recovers from open heart surgery

Finding a way to work and meet kids needs while Don can not drive for 4 weeks

Grace Slick and Mickey Thomas

Job with flexible hours

Being an Occupational Therapist

Dance With Me, by Phillip Phillips

Centering myself, finding a way to take care of me

Grounding and accepting what is

Connecting and being present for my children

Consciously choosing my thoughts, words and actions

Respecting differences

On this day of your life

Dear Friend, I believe God wants you to know …

… that there is something ‘wrong’ with everything.

  
No matter what you are looking at, you can

find something wrong with it, something imperfect,

something that is not okay with you. Don’t worry,

if you look hard enough you’ll find it.

 

There is also something ‘right’ with everything.

No matter what you are looking at,

you can find something right with it,

something perfect.

 

There remains, then, only one question:

What are you going to look at? What are you

choosing to notice? What is your perspective?

(I’ll bet you already know what God’s perspective is…)

Such a powerful message

Each weekday, I received an inspirational message from the CWG Foundation.

I often find them so fitting for my current experience, especially when I am experiencing a challenge or a push out of my comfort zone.

Today, I have big challenges to face.

I have also been pushing out of my comfort zone as Don and I grow our business. And with him “out of commission”, I will be venturing out this weekend by myself for a new part of our business, meeting with a new client, having a family fun gathering for getting to know each other.

I am a writer and an introvert. The in person aspect of our business from speaking to groups has been a push for me. A big stretch out of my comfort zone!

Don and I make a great team. Speaking to a crowd comes easy to him, he thrives on public speaking. With him present, I have strength in the face of my fears and have surprised myself with how I am becoming more comfortable and more confident speaking to groups of people. Yet, I do get the same jittery nerve feeling each time.

We have added a new aspect when working with families. It involves us meeting with the whole family for what we call a “family fun meet”. It is a way to get to know The whole family, parents and kids and for them to get to know us. We have already met the parents and have a program in place for working with them. We gear our program to each client in an individualized way.

The family fun meet involves games and activities that include everyone in the family. It helps us to understand the personalities and dynamics of the family. It is also a way to begin to establish a therapeutic rapport.

We had to postpone our first family fun meet because Don was recovering from open heart surgery. We decided to reschedule the family fun meet sonnet rather than later. It is scheduled for this weekend, just 2 weeks after Dons surgery. He still has limitations and restrictions and is not yet ready to participate with me.

I am going to push past my fears and stretch out of my comfort zone to meet with this family. Sure, I have been an Occupational Therapist for 27 years and have worked with so many people and families. Yet, this is in a different setting and does not have the clearly defined rules and requirements that I have been following when I work within the healthcare setting.

When Don and I do a presentation and meet with clients, we have a prepared plan and also the freedom to go with the flow as is fitting to each particular situation.

With Don present, I have had the courage and confidence to follow my intuition and speak from my heart and “wing it”.

I now realize how I need this push to venture into an experience “on my own”.

Part of me is kicking and screaming, “I can’t do this!! Don and I are supposed to do this as a team! I agreed to do this as a team with him! I am not “ready” to do this alone.”

Am I doing this alone?

Is this a “new experience” for me?

I have run and led many groups in the past. Not only as an Occupational Therapist, but also as a La Leache League Leader. As I stop and think about it, I realize I have led groups and classes as a homeschool parent. I have more life experience than I often realize.

I love kids and young kids are in my comfort zone.

Helping to include everyone in a group is my strength.

Noticing if someone feels left out or is uncomfortable in a group setting is my strength.

Shifting gears from the plan and being spontaneous is a part of who I am, it is my strength.

I spent years in planning mode and following a structured plan, because it was required of me in school and in my job. It took me years to realize that being structured is not my personality strength, not my preference. It took me years to realize I thrive on spontaneity.

Yet, I still am in the process of convincing myself that it is ok to be spontaneous and not have an exact plan or to have a loose plan and modify it as needed.

Spontaneity is my strength.

Spontaneity is my strength!

I can do this.

Life is a journey. Our new business is a journey.

We learn through trying and making mistakes.

It is ok to make mistakes.

That is another challenge for me, accepting that mistakes are ok.

I have gotten better with age and my ability to work with families in our new business will get better with time.

Without a “first time”, there can not be experience.

I can also take my fears and worries and use them as strengths.

I also have resources of people to reach out to in preparation for the family fun meet.

I can now shift my perspective and more forward, excited for this new opportunity.

Excited for this new opportunity to use my strengths and be more of who I am.

Today is Wednesday November 13, 2019.

I am grateful that I have the cognitive ability to recall or at least figure out the date.

I am grateful for my big comfy “coffee shop style” arm chair.

I am grateful for Spotify and the ability to listen to my music as I type.

I am grateful for my ipad, my awesome ipad.

I am grateful for my two sweet cats who sit looking out the window as I type.

I am grateful for my husband and all he does as a dad, a spouse and my best friend.

I am grateful that Don, my husband, is sitting upstairs in a recliner chair right now.

I am grateful that he is alive, that I am alive, the my children are all alive.

I am grateful for Jan Luther and EFT and Jen and Reike and Unity of Charlotte.

I am grateful for all my souls sisters and inspiring people in my life.

I am grateful for moving to Charlotte and finding my soul mate, Don.

I am grateful for 27 years living in Charlotte, NC.

I am grateful for 50 years of life.

I am grateful for The Byrds, as they sing, “Turn, Turn Turn! (To everyone there is a Season)

I am grateful for fall even this very cold November.

I am grateful for fall and all the colors of the trees, birthday season

I am grateful for spring and anniversaries, new life and flowers.

I am grateful for summer and sunshine, swimming and all of life.

I am grateful for winter, that seams to be arriving early this year.

I am grateful for winter, snow, warm blankets, hot cocoa and cookies.

I am grateful for my life.

I am grateful for my family, my parents, my brother and my sister.

I am grateful for growing up in NJ, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

I am grateful for the experiences of moving and starting somewhere new.

I am grateful for the challenges and the adventure found in moving.

I am grateful for Facebook and reconnecting with old friends.

I am grateful for Girl Scouts in Bethel Park, PA and all the amazing people

I am grateful for my extended family who began life in NY and NJ.

I am grateful for in-laws scattered about the Midwest.

I am grateful for flying to St. Louis in 1993 and meeting the Grothoff’s.

I am grateful to Ken and Linda who welcomed me at the airport in Dec 1993.

I am grateful for the love and support from all of my family.

I am grateful for all the pets in my life, Coco, Lassie and Thumper and Oreo.

I am grateful for all of my sister’s dogs, too many to name…

I am grateful for all the cats in my life: Lassie, Thumper, Peanut, Sunshine, Shadow, Nox, Boomie, Dominoe, Grey, Cheesecake, Brownie, Mean Cat… and all the others

I am grateful for breathing.

I am grateful for Novant Health Mint HIll and opening just one year prior to our need for your convenience.

I am grateful my appendix is not inflamed.

I am grateful for taking time to sit and write before I do all that I need to do…

I am grateful for remembering to sit and write first today.

I am grateful for remembering to sit and write first each and every day.

I am grateful.

Saturday, November 2: I wrote the post below (at the bottom of this long addendum) on Facebook while updating friends/ family about my husbands status. He has been recovering from CABG surgery after a failed stress test.

It began as A midnight trip to the hospital due to mild chest pain (3/10) and mild shoulder/ arm numbness.….

**** Never ignore chest pains OR the atypical signs of a heart attack (or a stroke)!

*Seek medical help immediately and call 911 if you are alone*

*Do NOT drive yourself to the hospital*

*Call 911 if the pain increases or If the pain is unlike anything you have had before.

***There might NOT be chest pain. When my husband had his heart attack, *he had NO chest pain. He had *pain that began in the middle of his back and went up to his neck and then around his ear* He had numbness in his RIGHT arm which then became cold and clammy***

I have had healthcare provider CPR training many times in the past 28 years. Yet, It took ME almost too long to realize what was happening and to call 911.

It has been 8 1/2 years after he suffered that massive, nearly fatal heart attack/ cardiac arrest resulting in a 12 day hospital stay, 3 stints in his coronary arteries, home health services and then 3 months of cardiac rehab.

That “event” happened on May 4, 2011 in front of me and our children who at the time were ages: 2, 9 and 13.

It left scars on all of us that were reopened when I brought him to the hospital with similar symptoms.

Today is Tuesday November 5, 2019 and exhaustion got they best of me Saturday night and Sunday. Monday I had to stay home from the hospital because I was sick. Lack of sleep, emotional stress, and being spread too thin as a caregiver = an opportunity for a virus to invade.

It was a big slap in the face that I needed to take care of myself. Sure I knew that, but who was going to make sure my kids had clothes to wear, clean dishes to eat from, Provide then the Love and support they needed as their father was once again in the hospital for heart disease, AND establish plans for them to have help, AND be there for my husband as an advocate for his care, support for him in his healing and oversee his recovery, and be his wife and best friend.

Because I have written the post below in the context of my husbands recovery, I will add this additional information.

I have been working in adult and geriatric rehabilitation for 27 years. I have worked with people recovering from traumatic brain injury, strokes, falls, a variety of illness and all kinds of surgeries including open heart surgery. I have worked in an acute rehab center, subacute rehab, long term care and home health. I have worked primarily with people ages 18- 100.

Now that most post hospital rehabilitation happens at the sub-acute level in “nursing and rehab centers”, I see many people under the age of 65 in addition to those over the age of 65.

As an Occupational Therapist, I am the person, who helps facilitate their return to living all aspects of their life including Activities of daily living: bathing, dressing, toileting, hygiene, meal preparation, home management and anything they did before their illness or injury including return to community and their job.

My degree included learning all the aspects of physical and mental Rehabilitation. I had classes in anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, neurology, psychiatry, and normal and abnormal human development from birth through death. It included 3 different level 1 clinical experiences and 2 twelve week, 40+ hours per week, fieldwork/ unpaid internship working and learning alongside a supervising OT where by week 9, I was completing all the responsibilities of a licensed therapist. I took a licensure board exam and maintaining my license requires 15 hours of continuing education every year.

Yes, helping your husband in the rehabilitation process is much more personal and I rely on the professionals involved in his care to oversee his care. Yet, I know very well the extend of his recovery and how slow recovery is/can be. And I know what is required for him to return to living his life again.

The following is my unedited Facebook post:

Thank you family and friends for all of your prayers and thoughts, and healing energy.

Side note: I am a writer and my writing style is raw, honest and real.

I blog about my life For my own healing and to help others who might be having similar struggles in life. I get my family’s consent before sharing anything publicly. And these Facebook updates I put only out to friends and family.

I “tell it like it is” when I write and when I write in the moment it is just that, my in the moment thoughts. I also write reflectively.

I believe that we are all one and connected and we are more than our bodies. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. I believe in the law of attraction and a student of Unity principles. And a reader of Conversations with God.

I believe in being my authentic self and am so much more confident at being who I am not at age 50, then when I was younger. I had low self esteem issues from my teen years forward. Well …since I am sharing all… In case you haven’t read my blog. I have type 2 Bipolar depression and finally on a mood stabilizer after trying different anti depressants for a few years. The SSRIs helped maybe but then Led to hypomania. Hypomania is different than mania. This disease runs in family. Anxiety disease is as real as cardiac disease.

I believe in wholistic medicine and supporting the body to heal because our bodies are amazing and have remarkable ability to heal when supported. I believe in western medicine. I know ALL TOO well that my husband would NOT be here on this earth without it. I had that hard slam in your face lesson in 2011 and once again am FOREVER GRATEFUL for all the medical staff including EMTs, doctors, nurses, aids, therapists, etc. and hospital staff who have treated my husband, brought him back to life, and given him longevity for his life here on earth.

Don is my best friend and my soul mate.

I am so relieved that he had this surgery because now my worries about him having another heart attack can be eased some. in the past 8 1/2 years, I have always known he could have another heart attack any day, that he had 50% diffuse blockage in multiple distal arteries (ones that lead to the main ones) and that his 3 stints might not last forever. Sure, my worries and fears calmed over time. Yet never went away… when I woke up in the middle of the night and he wasn’t in bed, the fear crossed my mind more often than not.

I lectured him over the years on paying attention to his blood pressure and not ignoring any symptoms that were similar to his “atypical heart attack symptoms”.

And am so glad that On November 28 just before midnight when he felt some mild chest pain and arm tingling, he took a nitro and when I came up to the room about a half hour later, he told me he wasn’t feeling well. I told him to take another nitro and we talked to Abby quickly and got in the car. His pain level was never more than a 3. Our drive to the new hospital by our house is 2 miles away on 1 road- state highway. I watched him anxiously as we drove there. His symptoms were so mild, and as his tests came back all normal at the ER, I began to worry they would send him hime with no answers to his symptoms.

Everything tested “normal” until he did the nuclear stress test. And Tuesday afternoon sent him to the main hospital via critical care ambulance with 2 critical care nurses. Back to the same hospital he came to 8 years ago in May of 2011. The same hospital where Harrison was born nearly 22 years ago…

I also know that complementary and alternative medicine, modalities and support have added to the quality of life and have helped everyone in my family heal in many ways and with many issues.

I am so grateful for all of the doctors. Specialists, and practitioners of EFT, Reike and many other things as well as supplements and the myriad of things that have helped not only Don, but everyone in my family.

Life is not black and white.

I believe in embracing all that is needed.

Don and I have very similar spiritual beliefs as well as similar nutritional / medical beliefs/ opinions.

I have worked in health care for over 25 years and understand the pros and cons and know the value of traditional western medicine and it’s limitations.

I spent too many years of my life not wanting to offend anyone and focused on “doing the right thing” and being the person I thought I was “supposed to be”. Trying too hard to work within the system and taking care of other people, at work, with my family and friends. I thought I was taking care of myself too.

I have been writing and journaling for 40 years, since my first journal at age 10. it took me along time to start a public blog for my writing. It took me a while to share my writing openly for others to read… for anyone to read. …

This is who I am

I am a writer,

I am a mother, a wife, a sister, an aunt, a cousin…etc

I am a homeschooling/unschooling parent

I am an Occupational therapist

I am a mom who loves being a mom

I am a child-led learning coach

I am a behavior transportation specialist working with families in a new business created by Don and myself.

I am a spiritual being having a human experience.

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