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

Archive for December, 2015

Gratitude: December 21, 2015

I love how Facebook  has the new feature to share memories from your time line from “this day” in years past.  I enjoy looking to see what I posted on this day, last year, and prior years which for me is often as far back as 5 years ago.

As I was preparing myself to write, rereading my blog post from last week, I discovered this Gratitude Blog from Dec 21, 2011.

Today, 4 years later, I will once again create a gratitude post.

I am grateful for…

My life– being alive and healthy with many natural health practitioners in my life for times when I’m not feeling my best.

EFT– Where would I be without out?  Who knows? – but I can sure see how far I have come with it!

My husband– Don, my rock, my ‘born-again reinvented self-made man, my best friend, my soul mate, my partner, the most amazing father of our three children, the one who lifts me up and keeps life going when I am stuck.  Love you, Don.

My career for the past 23 years as an Occupational Therapist– all the flexibility being an OT has allowed me to have more time with my kids and all the wonderful jobs that I have had in the field, the amazing bosses I have had, and all the experiences and  people who I have met over the years!  And.. It pays well to and has been our main source of income and at times over the years, our only source.

My family, extended family, friends near  and far-new and old- love all of you, everyone who has touched my life in any way, because you have  been a part of  my life, in any capacity, you have helped shape who I am today. Of course I could go on, yet  will save any other thoughts for another post. Deciding to focus on my immediate family for this past.  Mom, Dad, Darrin and Michele and families- love all of you!

And now, I share an excerpt from my four-year-old post:

From December 21, 2011

My three wonderful children- Despite my frustrations with them, I am grateful for their strong personalities and sense of who they are.  They have taught me far more than I could possibly teach them.  I love seeing the world through their eyes and witnessing their life and growth and being a part of their lives.  They all have strong passions,  feel deeply and have an amazing zest for life.  I can’t imagine life any other way than alongside the three of them.  They often seem so different from (who) I was as a child, yet, I do see myself in them often and also know they are their own person- each one of them.  I have learned to enjoy where they are more and more over the years. This is a good reminder to me to enjoy 14-year-old Harrison, 9-year-old Abby, and almost 3-year-old Jason.  For, too soon, they will be older,  grown up and no longer living with me.

I am grateful for my children:  Harrison, age 18.125;  Abby, age 13.875; and Jason, age 6.9583 years. 

(someone else recently shared their children’s ages this way and being the math-lover that I am, I had to figure it out for mine!)

I am grateful for finding homeschooling before my oldest  entered kindergarten and allowing him to continue to learn at home they way he had been learning since he was born.  I am grateful we began this endeavor and so his siblings were born into homeschooling.

Harrison will “graduate from high school” this coming spring.  He already has college credit for 4 classes with a 4.0 and another class CLEP credit.  He is taking 2 more classes this spring at our local community college, continuing his participation in the dual enrollment program, called “Career and College Promise” here in NC, where he takes classes without class fee and earns highschool AND college credit.  It is an awesome program and he had amazing  teachers for his first ever experience with school when he first enrolled last fall.

I brag about Harrison and his school success- yet the  true reflection of  his success is seen in the man he has become.  He is a responsible and  kind person. He is employed and already has an interesting resume.  He found a part-time job which will be flexible with school and doing something he enjoys (most of it).  The transition to adulthood  is a gradual process, or so it is  in my mind, happening in bits and pieces with much continued growth and learning along the way- into the mid 20s or beyond.

I am very grateful that he reaches out to me with  his personal life and is  open and honest with me.  This is how I raised him and am so glad to see it continue through the age of 18. We don’t see each other as much with his busy life and me working outside the home, yet  we text often, probably daily and when he is home, he  always makes a point to say hello to me. I see this as the . product of living and learning with my children since birth.

When Harrison was born, I discovered a whole new kind of LOVE!

I am grateful for Abby, my only daughter. I have always wanted a daughter from the time I was a child.  I suppose it came from my yearning to have a “younger” sister.  Her interests have changed over the years from all things pink, tailed, winged and horned to things supernatural, sci-fi and superpowers.  As a young teen, she does not like the kinds of shows and movies that I liked at her age, yet I admire her independent spirit and love of science fiction.  (I was a big Ray Bradbury fan in highschool). She can put on a tough exterior with her talk of superhero, supernatural and horror shows, yet she also has inspiration phrases posted in her room and loves drawing rainbow-colored drawings on her jeans and also her arms.  I enjoy connecting with her over the science fiction shows she introduces me to and enjoys re-watching with me.

It is amazing to see how far she has grown and progressed with her challenges over these past 4 years.  She was 9 when I wrote my post 4 years ago and a very difficult time in her life.  Things got much worse for her at age 11 and yet she persevered and- wow- when I see all she has done since then, it is truly amazing.

She has always been a strong-minded child, ready for the world.  Her older brother developed academic smarts quickly, but Abby always seamed more “street smart”.  She knew the names of all the Disney princess even though we only had basic cable and watched mostly PBS.   She was born into this world from a natural and quick birth.  My “easiest” birth and she latched on to nurse without difficulty.  I can still picture  her as a young toddler walking over the toys in the living room.  No need to go around them or move them, she just walked over them.  She always persevered despite obstacles.  

She had a personality change with her illness at the age of 8 which continued for several years.  Yet, her loving,  easy-going yet stubborn nature has been able to blossom once again.  She has spent several weekends over the past few years, working at agility trials at her aunt’s place of business/ home. And this year she spend two stretches of time with her aunt’s house alone, no mom or dad.  The last time, being 8 days. She worked for her aunt, helping to train dogs and with other business related activities and had some fun time with her aunt.  She managed her own meals with food we sent (dietary issues). She took care of herself.  If you had seen here Winter and Spring of 2013, you could  see how HUGE this is!

I admire her love for animals and passion to work with dogs.  I don’t think she ever met a dog that didn’t quickly warm up to her. She has such a loving, tender soul and is a true friend, and I even see this in her love for her brothers, her mothering nature  with her younger brother and even for her older brother.  Sure, my kids have  sibling squabbles, often, more than  their fair share- yet, they love each other and this can  be seen despite challenging times and a period of a few years when I didn’t know if it was possible for them to get along at all.

It is powerful watching her grow into a woman, and will enjoy seeing where she heads in life over the next four years.  And I look forward to reflecting back on this post when she turns 18.

When Abby came into my life, I experienced true EMPOWERMENT!

I am grateful for Jason, my long-awaited jumping bundle of joy!

I knew my family was not complete until Jason was born.  We waited a long time to grow our family, waiting until I could financially afford to be home full-time with a new baby.  I spent almost a year wondering if I would be able to have another child and worried that I would not.

I am so grateful that Jason came into my life.  My first home birth-born in our kitchen, yes, by choice! He began making noise before he was fully born and grew quickly doubling his weight sooner than expected as well as learning motor skills far more quickly then my other two.

We called him “Tigger”.  From a young age, he would start moving as soon as he woke up, even before his eyes were open. He had a bouncy seat that he loved.  I remember him learning to pull to stand at 6 months and quickly trying to climb onto the chair as he stood.  As he learned to walk, he would grab a chair, a laundry basket, whatever was available and use it as a “walker” to assist him in walking across the floor. He walked on his own before he turned 10 months old and soon after was running.  He gets a kick out of me telling him how he used to run through the library pulling random books off the shelves. 

The first classes we took him to were at a place called, “Romp and Roll”.  Yes, gymnastic type play for toddlers.  He prefered the free play time to the structured classes.  He has an independent-minded spirit which blossomed growing up in an unschooling family.   He easily  learned to ride a bike at age 5 after riding a balance bike for 2 years.  He learned to swim the same summer as bike-riding.  His growth happens in leaps and spurts.

Children are a reflection of honesty and truth.  And I believe in Jason, this experience is magnified. 

He is tough and determined as well as loving and playful. Like his older brother, he takes life and play seriously. He has never been a fan of people he does not know especially in crowds or at least not since the age of about one.  Yet, he too is growing and overcoming his anxieties and eagerly awaiting getting to participate in TaeKwonDo again.  Something he first did last spring, only participating in class after watching for 8 weeks.  He likes to watch and take in thing around him but if there is negative energy, it overwhelms him, as does other people’s energy in general, at least in a busy room or place.  Like me as a child, he is non-stop talking at home but quiet and slow to warm up around strangers.  Once he gets to know you, you may quickly become his favorite person to talk to!

Having Jason in my life has brought me more JOY!

I used to sign my name proceeded by the words: Peace, love, joy and empowerment.  As outlined above, I see how each of my children brought out the meaning of at least one of these words in a powerful way.  Meeting my husband and having him in my life has helped me find much Peace within myself.  

Today, I am grateful for Peace, Love, Empowerment, and Joy!  

 

 

 

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Don’t Look Back, Keep Moving Forward: Post 1- Reflecting on my depression

Depression

I have suspected since I was a teen that I have some issues with depression.  It became very certain to me last year when I found myself feeling really good with more energy to do things, engaging more in life and feeling really good about how I spent my time.  As I looked back over the past several years, I could see that I had been in a down slump for so long that i did not realize how depressed I had been. The contrast of how wonderful I felt last fall, in my “upswing time” allowed me to see how low I had dipped into depression. 

I do not speak of depression lightly.

Family History and OCD Defined:

There is a family history of depression, anxiety and Bipolar Disorder.  All three of my children have different degrees and types of anxiety.  One of my children is even on medication for what was a severe anxiety disorder, OCD.  No, not the quirky anal version of what people think is “OCD” the adjective, (it is NOT an adjective), but the actual DSM* classification for the anxiety disorder: Obsessive Compulsive DISORDER.  From the OCD Foundation website: “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder of the brain and behavior. OCD causes severe anxiety in those affected. OCD involves both obsessions and compulsions that take a lot of time and get in the way of important activities the person values.”

I also have professional experience with Psychiatric Disorders. My education in Occupational Therapy involved an entire semester of classes related to psychiatric conditions as well as a level I clinic experience (once per week for a semester in a Psychiatric setting) and a Level II clinical (12 weeks at 5 days/ week,  40 hours per week in a psychiatric setting.  I also worked a full-time summer job while in college at a state hospital children’s long-term care program.  When I was in college, I planned to pursue working with children with social and emotional disorders.  My career took a different path yet my personal life brought me back to this area with my own children.

Coping Strategies and Alternative Modalities

I have spent much of my adult life exploring spiritual learning, exploring my personal challenges affecting me emotionally and socially including attending 1:1 counseling, group treatment program and couples counseling, not to mention the self-help books and programs I have read, listened to and participated in.  I have also explored alternative modalities including studying both EFT and Reike and attending level I and level II training in both.  I participated in these trainings for my own personal development as well as to help my family.  I also found much understanding and growth when reading the Conversation with God series of books and participating in live discussion groups.  And I love receiving my daily  inspiration messages from CWG and Neale Donald Walsch. 

Maybe it was today’s inspiration message that inspired me to write this post:

“On this day of your life,

Gina, I believe God wants you to know…

…that it is time to stop hiding something from someone.
This is the day of your liberation.
Whatever you are keeping from another is not worth
withholding. It will eat away at you if you are not
careful. It can do more harm to you
than “telling” ever would.
 
Speak your truth, but soothe your words with
peace. Reveal what you’ve been keeping secret.
In the end, transparency is best, although it may
feel uncomfortable for a while.”
Last summer, I participated in a Financial Prosperity full day workshop with Jan Luther.  I first met Jan through mutual friends at Unity of Charlotte and began attending individual and group EFT sessions with her.  I later did my EFT training with Jan, attending her first ever Level I training session and later a level II.  It was the experience of this workshop last fall and the related reading material and exercises I continued after the workshop that helped me move forward out of depression.  It was a shift of energy.  I was writing and journaling regularly and found myself on an upward spiral of co-creating my life with a positive and empowered outlook.  In September, I created a two-day retreat for myself.  I arranged to stay at my parents new home that they had not yet moved into that was located merely 45 minutes from my house. They had a bed and some essentials at the house.  I packed my journals, lap top, reading material and brough some food and left Sunday morning and stayed until Monday night. It was a powerful and empowering experience for me and a much-needed alone retreat, something I had not done since my then, 5 1/2 year-old son, was born. It was the first time I spent a night away from him.

2 Day Retreat: rest, renew, refresh, recharge and write!

I created a Facebook Photo album  for the event and made posts. Most of all I did a lot of writing.  I believe the following 2 photos sum up the experience. The first was when I arrived at their house, taken in my car before I went into their house:

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And the second just before I got in the car to head home:

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When i look at the above pictures from my retreat, I see in the first picture, a tired yet relieved look.  A look of “Finally, time to myself!” yet, tired from the process of making this trip happen including securing a friend to come watch my youngest child because my husband had a Sunday morning event.  I had to pack- I don’t pack lightly especially for a special writing retreat in a near empty house.  I was overdue for the trip.  Arriving a little later than I had originally hoped, but still prior to lunch including a stop at the local grocery store to add a few specialty items for my  renewal menu.

The second picture, I see a more energized and rested me.  My eyes are more open, I am standing rather than sitting, even my hair looks more buoyant and full of life.  I love how the first picture shows some sort of fuzz in my hair.  My smile is similar in both yet I see a more forced tired smile in the first picture versus the more relaxed and natural smile with my left dimple showing only in the second.  I was rested after two days and ready to return home to my family.  I had planned a 5 day trip to the beach while on this 2 day retreat for myself and my family, something we had not done in three years despite owning a time share.  I had much to look forward to.

As I write this post, listening to Pandora radio: Fleetwood Mac station. A favorite but seldom heard song is now playing.

I will let the lyrics of the song finish out this post as introduction to this series of blogs.

 “Talk to Me” by Stevie Nicks.  With the lyrics:

 “A wound gets worse when it’s treated with neglect
Don’t turn around there’s nothing here to fear”

And:

“Dusty words lying under carpets
Seldom heard well must you keep your secrets
Locked inside hidden safe from view
Well, is it all that hard
Is it all that tough
Well, I’ve shown you all my cards now isn’t that enough
You can hide your hurt
But, there’s something you can do”

“You can talk to me
You can set your secrets free, baby”

 *”Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States.”- American Psychiatric Association