In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Guilt Free

I had a fantabulous weekend with my girlfriends. Every second of it was purely amazing. We toasted with good drinks. We ate good food. We laughed. We sang & danced. We talked and talked and talked some more. We were loud. We talked all at once. We played a game. We watched movies that took forever to get through. We had moments of peace & quiet. We comforted and encouraged. We were silly. We laughed until it hurt. At one point, I literally felt like I was going to have a heart attack. At least I would have died doing what I loved to do most. Laughing.

I soaked myself in all the goodness that surrounded me and I did NOT feel guilty for one second. These women who have been my friends through births, deaths, divorces, abuse, marriages, child rearing, becoming a grandma and sickness are amazing women. These friendships make me a better person and how good to know that time nor distance can separate the bonds we share.

Each one of us is different and we each bring to the table our own individual flavors that together create an amazing feast of fun.The beauty of our friendship is that whenever we come together we each come to the table as we are…no fronts or pretending to be what we are not…no expectations…no facades…no judgments…no artificial words or actions…lots and lots of love and  pure realness that says you are always good enough… and lots and lots of grace that allows for us to come to the table to share what we have and are.

It was a complete guilt free weekend.

Now that I have soaked in all of that for almost 2 full days, I have caught my breathe. I am ready to continue seeking.

My husband and little’s were happy to see me when they picked me up Sunday afternoon. They survived without me, which I already knew they could but the crying and carrying on that took place on the trip to drop me off was almost funny. Being told that they would not sleep the entire time I was gone because “how can I ever close my eye’s to sleep if you haven’t kissed and hugged me?”

I had no expectations of what the house should look like when I got home and while I did want to dig in and start cleaning right away, I opted to leave it for Monday. Instead I played games with them and just enjoyed the kisses and hugs, while my husband made us a nice supper.

It’s a good thing they survived my absence because they will be getting to experience it again this coming weekend! Except this time, my husband and I are getting away for one night. We are going to go visit my sister and her husband and enjoy time with other adults, while my son and his fiancé watch them for us. I am looking forward to having another guilt free weekend.

Before I rush off to start my day, I share with you some familiar sights around my home these days. 


 This is a familiar sight at our house these days. They tell me they are writing on their own blogs. I ask what they are writing about. They tell me,“I’m writing about what it’s like being a kid.” They also tell me they have lots of really nice blog friends just like I do. Sweet. I would hope everyone could know the wonderfulness of people like you and you in the blog world.


Do they not look intense?




I find these 3 little monkeys in my bed on occasion. Most of the time they are jumping on it but they do call it the cuddle bed. They are pretty darn cute little cuddle monkeys that have themselves wrapped around my heart.





We have lots of snow and when it’s actually warm enough they love to play in it. Especially when their uncle helps them dig tunnels and builds forts with them.


playing in snow 004


Life with Riley is simply wonderful. He loves to cuddle and little lady takes every opportunity to do so with him.  This is a familiar sight at our home. I think Riley has a pretty good life.


Christmas 2010 013


Did you do anything fun this past weekend? What puts a smile on your face today?


Happy Monday!


Until next time, love & hugs, Lori

Friday, January 28, 2011

Inconvenient Truths

Seeking to embrace is a noble and good thing to strive for but the truth is, it is not an easy task. Putting myself out there and making myself accountable in order to meet this challenge means I must be open to the feed back presented to me. Giving people permission to say what I need to hear, means learning to shut my mouth and just listening instead of defending or making excuses. It is humbling to say the least.

Over this past week others have confronted me over my tolerating things I shouldn’t. I have had to listen to things I didn’t want to hear. I feel stupid. Even though I am trying not to own that feeling, I cannot help but wonder if I will ever get it?  


The truth is, seeking to embrace myself and my life is not necessarily convenient for everyone around me right now. But, if not now, when? My changing means I am no longer fitting into my old roles. This upsets the apple cart. It feels like apples are spilled everywhere and I am not so sure where to put them back. Finding my way on this journey of seeking means I must face the inconvenient truths and somehow find a way to get past them.

My standing up for myself and not tolerating things I shouldn’t, means others have to figure out a different way to address me. My changing means others have to learn how to function with a different me. My taking time for myself means other things don’t get done. My not getting things done can be inconvenient for everyone else.  My stepping away means others are having to be responsible and they don’t always like it.


Another inconvenient truth is that my thyroid is still an issue and could keep me from losing the weight I gained. Even though I am still eating healthy and watching my calorie intake and I have been given the go ahead to start back walking by my doctor, she warned me that it is common to have difficulty losing weight. I am trying really hard to not focus on that because it makes me sick to think of staying like I am now. I am just being honest here. I don’t feel good with the extra weight and I fear that it will be a stumbling block to embracing myself.


This past week I have been..


…replacing I can’t with I can

…believing instead of doubting myself

…speaking up instead of shutting up

…catching the self negative thoughts and words and turning them around

…affirming myself

…breathing through the high pain levels

…asking others to help around the house

…walking 2 miles each day

…paying attention to what I am feeling

…honest with my loved ones at risk of making them angry with me

…drinking a lot of water and mindful about what I eat

…trying to be more gentle with myself

…giving myself grace



To top it off this coming weekend, I am treating myself to a girls only weekend. The only breaks I usually get are when I go to work the two days a week, so I really need this time away. I am choosing to ignore the guilty feelings I am having. No matter how much the little’s cry and beg me not to go, I am going and I know they will be perfectly fine without me.

I will be getting together with old girlfriends at one of their homes not far from here. I am looking forward to reconnecting with these women I have known for a long time. While I jumped aboard the Mommy train again, they continued on the path that one takes when one’s children grow up and move out. Even though we have remained friends, my having little one’s again and them not having little one’s meant our lives went in different directions.

I am really excited about getting adult only conversation and beverages, getting to eat hot food and not being responsible for little one’s.

I plan to let loose…to laugh and talk and sing and dance and just have fun. I plan to embrace every single moment of this time with these precious women.

Before I end, I must say thank you for supporting my adventure of seeking to embrace myself and for believing in my ability to do so. Thank you for all your encouragement and for standing by me.


Until next time, love & hugs, Lori



Sunday, January 23, 2011

Our Messy Kitchen

A sweet angel blessed the little’s this past Christmas with their own kitchen tools, cook book, apron and chef hat.



If you’ve been reading here long then you know that the little’s love cooking and baking, so they were beyond thrilled about these gifts.

Just in case you didn’t know…Little man pretends he is Emeril. Little lady pretends she is Rachel Ray.

Cooking shows are some of their favorite shows to watch. How many 4 & 5 year olds do you know that ask to watch Emeril, Rachel Ray or Guy Fieri?

We want them to have a love for creating  healthy(for the most part) food that tastes good. We make most of what we eat from scratch which means we spend a lot of time making messes together in the kitchen.

Sometimes when we are working in the kitchen together, we pretend we are a cooking show on TV. We call our cooking show“Our messy kitchen”.


Getting more props for our show was just the thing to inspire us to get creating more messes.

After receiving the recipe book 011 ,


they went through it page by page, over and over again, trying to decide what they wanted to make first. 

They choose…

                          CIMG0022 I convinced them that it was too cold to make these even though it feels like we are Eskimo’s with our sub zero temperatures.


Little Emeril decided that he would make…010 for us.


Little Emeril worked hard in the kitchen preparing breakfast for us.


005 008009

The pancakes tasted delicious. 012


Little Rachel Ray decided to make 040 & 041 for us one morning.

She worked hard in the kitchen…



and had fun making a beautiful mess. I did not notice the bottle of wine on the counter until I put the picture on this post. No worries, little lady was not adding wine to the pizza, nor drinking it.


The breakfast pizza..028 was wonderful!


The strawberry banana smoothies were delicious.030


My grandson A-man loves to help grandma in the kitchen too. On Tuesday morning, while the little’s were gone to school, he got a chance to be a “cooker” too. He made monster cookies for our pet monster Franklin.  Who, by the way is still living with us and is responsible for most of the noise, messes and chaos at this zoo. Darn monsters.

We also now have a pet ghost named Felicia that lives with us and the little’s tell me that Franklin and Felicia might get married. Make that 2 weddings in our family this year.


Little A-man worked happily in the kitchen. Making messes is his middle name.


Of course he couldn’t resist sampling the cookie dough.


They tasted so delicious that the monsters have them almost all gone.013

We are having so much fun with our new kitchen tools that every day there is talk about what we should make.

We are going to be making these next.



Some day when I have a video camera I will tape one of our shows so that you can see our fun in action. The little’s talk about having a real cooking show some day. I have no doubt that this could happen.

This post is dedicated to the angel that blessed us with these gifts. You know who you are.

From all the cooks of “Our Messy Kitchen”

Little A-man…004 


& Little Emeril…007

& Little Rachel Ray…031 & the head cooks too…

…thank you for giving to us and for helping us to create memories and lots of messes in our kitchen. Look at the smiles you have put on their faces and you will know how much you have touched our hearts. Thank you!

Until next time, hugs & love, Lori


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Reflections in the Mirror

I began my year of “seeking to embrace” by taking the wise advice of a dear blogging friend, and took the first couple of weeks of this journey to just pay attention to myself. To stand still long enough to look in the mirror at my actions and words and really see how I treat myself, was difficult because I don’t like mirrors.

Before I started this period of looking in the mirror, I already knew that I didn’t always say the nicest things to myself and I’ve been known to give myself the finger upon seeing myself in the mirror on occasion. Nonetheless, these past couple of weeks have been eye opening for me. While I would never treat anyone else with such disrespect and meanness, it seems it comes naturally to treat myself in these ways.

I found that I beat the shit out of myself for the littlest of things. Not to mention for the big stuff and everything in between. My self talk of calling myself retarded, stupid, fat, ugly, worthless, mindless, a failure, and a host of other vulgar and less then kind words that I won’t repeat here, are things I would be hard pressed to call even an enemy,let alone a stranger.

I found that I don’t pay attention to things my body is telling me. Such as how much I am hurting or that an activity as simple as washing dishes  is irritating my neck and making the pain worse. I don’t use the bathroom when I need to and found that I hold it a lot. I don’t eat when I am hungry or drink when I am thirsty. I don’t stop and rest when I am tired or exhausted.

I don’t cry when I feel like crying. I don’t think about things that I should, in order to stay in denial.  I found that I feel a sense of shame and am usually clueless as to why. I discount when I am angry, sad or frustrated. Often times I feel like an inconvenience.

I rarely speak up for myself when I need or want to. I rarely ask for help when I need to. I found that I keep pushing through task after task when I shouldn’t. I don’t do much for myself beyond showering, combing my hair, putting on a little lotion and getting dressed because I cannot stand looking at myself in the mirror.

I found that I have perfected the art of ignoring the signs my body, mind, or soul are giving to me, instead of listening to them. I found that saying I love myself is more than just saying those 3 words and I’ve fallen quite short in showing this through actions towards myself. I found that I am even more of a bigger obstacle in my own way, then I previously thought.

I am ashamed. Admitting this to you, my friends, is embarrassing, but in order to keep moving forward with my seeking to embrace, I must leave myself accountable. The last thing I want to do is stay stuck “here” and beat myself up because of what I’ve realized in this long look in the mirror.

I  recognize that I have over come many obstacles in my life and I have come a very long ways on my journey of healing. In fact, I never dreamed I would be where I am right now. This makes me wonder about all the possibilities for my future. If I could over come all of those things, I can surely over come this.

I can embrace myself. I can.

Seeking to embrace myself is like entering a foreign country. I don’t know it’s language. I am looking at the road maps laid out before me and I am learning how to read the signs.

After a couple weeks of looking in the mirror, I am working on stopping myself whenever I catch myself expressing negative words towards myself. I am replacing them with more positive words. I am repeating affirmations to myself upon waking, and through out the day and as I go to sleep at night. I am visualizing embracing myself as I am right now. I still may not be spending a lot of time in front of the mirror but I am choosing to no longer give myself the finger when I look at myself.

I am spending more time in quiet prayer and reflective listening.

Each week, I am setting 3 goals for myself to focus on. This week it has been drinking more water, which is a habit I seem to have lost over this past year, saying affirmations daily and walking for 30 minutes each day.

During those weeks of reflecting I realized that I am constantly giving out and taking in very little. When I am at home I am in a constant mode of caregiving. When I go to work I am caregiving. Caregiving comes natural to me so it is hard for me to draw the line.  

I am giving myself “me” time by not doing any type of work during the little’s 2 hour quiet time, on the 3 days I am home during the week. Instead, I am allowing myself to write, read, rest or watch “The Talk” show. I am then walking for 30 minutes on the treadmill and then taking a shower in peace and quiet. I am giving myself this time and choosing to not feel guilty.

I choose to stand in front of the mirror and see the good. I know there are good things about myself and I seek to know them.  I know there are things I have done or do right. I know that I enjoy giving and that my heart bursts with love for others. I choose to believe that standing in front of the mirror will not always be this painful.

I started back at physical therapy for my neck and skull this past week. It is an intense therapy and there is only one therapist that does this kind of therapy within 100 miles of me, so I am driving an hour each way to see her and I am suppose to go twice a week. It’s been explained to me  that every cell of our bodies remember everything that has happened to them even if we don’t mentally remember. This therapy brings out strong emotions and causes my PTSD symptoms to flair so after one of my sessions each week I go see a counselor that specializes in PTSD. I know both of these are tools to help me move forward so as painful as they are, I choose to embrace them.

Between the snow, cold and pain I have been isolated and not leaving my home except for my 2 days of work and now recently the therapy. Even though it is below 0 today with a –30 wind chill, I will go to my kinship support group tonight and surround myself with people that understand what it means to raise your grandchildren. I will embrace this time away from all the “togetherness” we’ve been experiencing at our home.

I stand here in front of you and my mirror and I admit that I am feeling scared, ashamed and a little lost but I am finding my way. I am seeking to embrace this journey every baby step of the way.

Until next time my dear friends, hugs & love, Lori


PS Thank you to all of you that have given me affirmations and words of wisdom and support during this journey of seeking.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Middle Children

I had fully intended to write about each of my 5 now adult children back in December but then the holiday’s came and I got side tracked.  I’ve written about my eldest son here and my youngest son here. I’ve written about my eldest daughter here.  Since some of you know my daughter, Brittany, through her blog, Unexpected Surprises or her guest posting here, I decided I will write about her last. This way she can anticipate for awhile longer, what I will write about her. After all, she is the one that broke into my blog and blabbed about it being my birthday.

While I consider all my children, little miracles, my middle daughter, whom is also my middle child,  is in the true sense of the word, my miracle child. She is the one I never expected to hold in my arms. Ever. I was young and naïve when I went to visit my elderly country doctor about getting on birth control after giving birth to my eldest daughter. He told me that as long as I was completely breast feeding that I did NOT need birth control. He told me that once she started eating food and not nursing as much, to come back and visit him. Did I say I was young and naïve ?

It wasn’t long and I was feeling that deathly sick feeling that I only feel when I am with child. After experiencing this with my previous 2 pregnancy’s, I knew this feeling all too well. Still, I hoped I was wrong. Not that I didn’t want more children, but I was young and I still had a baby. I went to see that same country doctor and he said there was no way I was pregnant until he walked back in the room and had to tell me that I was in fact pregnant.

Trying to care for and nurse my baby daughter while throwing up all day and night was awful to say the least. Not keeping food or even water down meant my not producing enough milk for my daughter. When I got admitted to the hospital for my condition, I had to wean her once and for all. With every single one of my pregnancy’s I had to spend time in the hospital because of dehydration and was sick until I gave birth. I remember my grandma telling me that she got severely sick like this with all of her pregnancy's also and telling her, “Thanks a lot for passing this down to me Grandma.” I found out years later that there is actually a name for this condition.

It wasn’t long after I was released from the hospital, when I started having issues with my pregnancy. Immediately I was referred to seeing this wonderful Indian woman doctor. She put me on bed rest right away. I remember laying with my little girl next to me, reading books and talking to the baby in my belly.  It is not easy being on bed rest with a little one but my eldest daughter actually had fun with me for the most part. We would sing songs to the baby in my belly and I would cry with hope that some day I would get to hold him.

Since my stomach couldn’t keep down the medication to keep from going into labor, I had to go for injections. Since I seen her so frequently, she would hook me up to Intravenous fluids to help keep me from getting dehydrated. She also gave me some special Indian tea to help with the nausea. Most of all I remember how wonderfully she treated me in spite of me being young, (my prior experience before this was not good)and her being very gentle, kind and nonjudgmental of me.

On my last visit to her office, I had a little over 8 weeks to go before giving birth. It was early May and unusually warm for Minnesota and I was miserable. As soon as she seen me, she anticipated that something was seriously wrong. It didn’t take her long to access the situation and she calmly said, “We must transport you to Minneapolis right away.”

I was taken to a hospital where I could be monitored better by her and the technology they had there was better than the small rural hospital that would have been the other alternative. (She traveled to my rural community 2 days a week.) They worked hard to keep me from giving birth but the contractions continued to come. After 2 days, they couldn’t delay it anymore so with quite an audience( my doctor and  her nurses for the delivery, a team for the baby I was delivering, a team for me because I was showing signs of distress) I gave birth 8 weeks early to my middle daughter. What is ironic is through all the ultrasounds I had over my pregnancy, they had let it slip that I was carrying a boy. So, I was expecting a boy and so were they. To all of our surprise, I gave birth to a girl.

She was not breathing when she was born and a team of doctors whisked her away immediately to work on her. A short time later, a doctor came to tell me that they did not think she would make it. After days of all this, I was beyond exhausted but I kept saying “Please. Please let me see my baby girl.” An hour later, this same doctor returned to me and my heart stopped as he entered the room. I fully expected him to say that she had died. Instead he said she was still alive, that they didn’t know if she would make it but that every minute she stayed alive fighting was in her favor…he explained that she was on machines and that while I couldn’t hold her, I could go see her.

When the nurse wheeled me to this special room, and there lay my beautiful baby girl  with all kinds of wires running to her I could not help but cry. I wanted to pick her up and hold her but I couldn’t. I could reach my hand through a hole and touch her though and for now that was enough. They wouldn’t let me stay very long because of my own health but they promised me to take good care of her and that as soon as my own health stabilized I could come back and sit with her.  Miraculously, a day later, she was breathing on her own and I was stable, so I got to finally hold her. Every second of not getting to hold her or nurse her tore out my heart so what a joy to finally get to do this. The doctors told me that she was a little fighter and that they were amazed that she was still up for the fight. He encouraged me to breast feed her as this would help with her fight.

Little did we know, that this was only the beginning of fighting for her life.

She improved quickly so we were released to go back home to our local hospital. After spending a couple more weeks there, we were finally released to go home. Home felt so good.  What a joy to be home with my 2 sweet girls. 

That joy was short lived when I started to notice her turning blue all the time. I called my doctor and we had to go back in.  This time we seen her coworker, a pediatrician,  whom was also from India and he too was just as kind and nonjudgmental of my young age. The way in which they embraced me is why I continue to have a general fondness for people from India.

He ran tests and found that she was forgetting to breathe. He told me it was a miracle that I had even noticed her doing this and that she hadn’t died from SIDS.

She had to be hooked up to an Apnea monitor 24 hours a day and before we could take her back home, we had to take classes and be certified in CPR and the local ambulance crew came to see where we lived so that they would be able to make quick trips if she needed be to resuscitated. I was scared to death. The monitor alarm was a loud shrill sound that would tell her brain to breathe. If her heart was not doing what it should be doing it would give a different kind of alarm. The alarms were going off all of the time. I slept out of exhaustion and with the comfort that the alarms would wake me up. She had to be hooked up to this monitor for her first year of life.

The monitor was huge. It felt like I had twins except that it weighed more. Needless to say, we left the house very little and no one wanted to be left alone with her, so there were no breaks for me.  Thankfully the only time she had to ever be resuscitated was when we were already at the hospital because  my oldest daughter got this bad stomach flu in which she had to be admitted into the hospital.  I had to have my mother in law and Mom come sit in the waiting room with her while I went and held my oldest daughter while they put an IV in her.  Apparently the monitor went off and she didn’t start breathing and someone from the ER heard it and rushed her into the ER, where they resuscitated her.

Just after they got the IV in my screaming hysterical daughter, another nurse came to tell me what had happened and that they had to admit my baby to monitor her. My poor mother and mother in law were so traumatized that they said they would never ever  watch her again.

As I write all of this, it dawned on me how much of this I went through all alone and at such a young age. You may be wondering where my husband, their father was through all of this that I needed our mothers to come. Let’s just say that he was out having fun and couldn’t deal with all of this. To his defense he was young and had his father not made him get married to me, he wouldn’t have been.

Shortly after she was put on this monitor, I noticed a rash in all the areas that the monitor was connected to her body and where all her metal snaps for her t-shirts and diaper pins were. The doctor sent us to a dermatologist and came to find out that she had a severe allergy to all metal. There was a name for this but for the life of me I cannot think of what it was. We had to have everything plastic or non metal for her and if any metal touched her body she would have a horrible rash that would bleed because she would scratch at it.  I had to put little mittens on her hands to keep her from scratching herself. Even when she went off to school she could not sit at a metal desk and had to eat with special plastic eating utensils. We had to cover the snaps on her jeans or else it would leave a big raw area where that touched her stomach.

Through out all of this she rarely cried and was a content baby. She remained a quiet child and refused to talk. After her hearing was tested and they said it was normal…thank God…they checked for other things and found no reason for her not talking. She went to speech therapy for a period of time but still she remained quiet and didn’t talk much. At around 4 years of age, she started talking in full sentences and never stopped.

I regret that I am unable to share any pictures of her in her younger years as my scanner is broke and my old computer that holds a lot of these pictures is still getting fixed.

She was the sweetest little girl and had a smile that melted my heart. Her olive skin and dark hair were opposite of her big sister’s, blond hair and faired skinned sister.  Her and her sister, who is 16 months older than her,  were the best of friends when they were little(and they still are) even though they were so opposite of each other. While her sister was very neat, tidy, stayed clean and loved everything girl, she was messy, rarely stayed clean and acted like a tomboy. You should have seen the bedroom they shared.

When her school years started, she struggled with learning and that continued through out. She was a different learner and traditional public schools are not made for different learners. Things came hard to her and her being on the quieter side made it hard for the teachers to notice her and give her the attention she needed in a class of little hellions. Seriously, her class was known as the “class from hell” all the way through school because of the high number of trouble makers. 

She wished herself to be a boy and played rough and tough with the best of the boys.  Her competitive nature kept her active in sports all through her early years, junior high and high school.  She was following behind a  sister that was into those things most girls are into, like make up, doing their hair and clothes and she had minimal interest in those things. Instead it was more likely to see her throwing her long brown hair into a pony tail and playing tennis or shooting baskets in a pair of athletic shorts and t-shirt, sans make up.

I am sure it was difficult trying to follow behind a sister whom seemed as though things came easily to her. While her big sister did study hard, school came easier or natural for her big sister(which is why it makes perfect sense that she is now a teacher)while school was more of a challenge for her. Having a brother in the same grade, with whom school was easy and didn’t require much studying to get good grades was very frustrating for her. She persevered in spite of each challenge that came at her and learned that hard work didn’t always mean a good grade.

I am sure growing up in the middle of having an older sister & brother and a younger sister & brother came with it’s challenges for her. I am sure as she navigated through those years of adolescence she felt lost in the middle at times. Her competitive and determined nature kept her from going unnoticed. Throw in some mood swings each month and  I guarantee she was noticed by every single one of us. Yet no one hated those mood swings more than she did, except for maybe her brothers. I would tell her brothers that this was good training for them on how to live with a woman some day. Of course they both said they were never going to be married some day.

Since her older brother was in the same grade as her, they had many of the same friends. Over the years as the guys came over to hang out with her brother, it was evident to the rest of us that they were not just coming over to see him but her as well.  She really didn’t have a clue as to how beautiful she was but the boys sure did. She was oblivious of their attention and of them having more interest in her then just shooting baskets with her.

She put herself through college by working, grants and loans. I have met very few young people with the determination, hard work, and sensibility that she displayed. She had her eye’s set on the goal and she went after it. During this time, I really seen her blossom into herself as she became more confident and comfortable with herself. In a sense, she grew into herself and stopped trying to be like someone she is not. She created her own style and became comfortable in her shorts & t-shirts but dresses as well.  She started doing her hair and wearing some make up but never a lot. All of these things made her beauty shine that much brighter and still she did not have a clue.

After graduating from college with a degree in psychology, it did not surprise me that it didn’t take long before her wings took her far from home. In the year after college she had met a wonderful young man that you cannot help but love.


I could not ask for a finer young man to be in her life.  He has an adventuresome spirit also so it didn’t take long for the two of them to take flight from Minnesota to Idaho.  It didn’t take long for them to live there before they adopted a dog and named her Ida. She is one of the sweetest and best behaved dogs I’ve ever seen.

Listening to her tales of hiking in the mountains, canoeing and camping in the mountains, snow boarding, or mountain biking, at times made me worry but most of the times made me so happy that she was out living her dreams.





While working with kids at a hospital, she continued to take classes at the college, as did her boyfriend. I am very blessed in that I got a chance to take two different trips to visit them. Once with a good friend and then two and a half years ago with my eldest daughter, granddaughter and youngest son, which is the last time I seen her or spent any significant time with her, other than a very quick visit home for my brothers wedding in October of 09. She sure lived in beautiful part of our country.




Just before Christmas of this year, she finished up her classes and her boyfriend graduated. Then the week after Christmas they put on their wings and took flight once more.  They have landed in Oklahoma where she will be attending college for the next 16 months. Thankfully her boyfriend is up for this move and supports her ambitions. Who knows where they will fly to next.

She is a go getter and  adventuresome like no one I’ve ever known. She has the heart of an angel and would give the shirt off of her back. She cares and feels deeply. She loves adventure and takes the risks that many of us don’t have the courage to take. She is far more beautiful then she realizes and her heart makes her even more so. 

She has been through some tough things in her life and I know that those obstacles are likely some of the reasons she cares so deeply about others. As you all know, I wasn’t a perfect Mom and made my share of mistakes. She, like my other kids, has been more than forgiving and full of grace towards me. I am blessed beyond measure to have her as my daughter and now as my friend. 

This is the last photo I have of her and my other 4 adult children, which was taken at my brothers wedding.


This is the story of my daughter. She is my miracle… a gift that keeps on giving to me. I was expecting a boy but received a most wonderful extraordinary girl. She is one of the most remarkable people I know and I am honored that she is mine. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for this daughter of mine…for every day that I’ve spent with her…for every day she calls me Mom…for every joy she has brought to my life…for every day  she tosses and turns my heart with the love we share.


Until next time dear friends, love & hugs, Lori

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Seeking Less Tolerance

Through my years of searching and learning, I have discovered tools to help me in the quest for health, happiness and healing. Tools like my faith, resilience, confidence, belief, hope, and courage have helped to pave the way to this point of my journey. I am a work in progress and while I believed at one time that I would eventually arrive at a final destination, I’ve come to believe that no one really arrives completely & fully done. I do believe we each have a choice as to whether we choose to stay where we are at, play it safe, by stopping to take risks and  growing stagnant or whether we choose to expand or stretch ourselves by taking risks and living our true selves. 

I’ve reached a fork in my path in which I have a choice of staying on this same path or stepping out onto a new higher path.  A path that would serve me better and allow me to expand, yet means I will be walking into unchartered territory, thus risking falling on my face. I am choosing the higher path.This is one of the reasons I chose “Seek to embrace” as my words for 2011.

My quest of seeking to embrace myself is not an easy one by any means. I am attempting to tear down the remaining barriers that keep me from embracing my life. These walls, created by me, do not crumble easily. In spite of my desire over the years, to rip these walls down, there is a part of me that still puts up a fight. The thing with walls is that while they can bring a sense of safety, they at the same time can also keep the good out. They can barricade me from the very freedom I seek.

Some families come with the unspoken rules, “Don’t talk.” and “ Don’t feel.” Meaning you don’t talk about what is happening in front of you. You tell no one. You don’t feel emotions about it. You pretend you are not angry, sad, or scared.  You pretend there is nothing wrong. When you don’t talk about it or feel anything it means there is no problem. When you shut down your feelings to what is happening it makes it easier to get through. It is all a matter of survival.

On the flip side of numbing your feelings or not expressing them, is that happiness, joy or excitement get numbed right along with the sadness and anger. You learn to smile even though your hurting. You learn to shed no tears even though your heart is crying. 

Once you learn these rules they are very hard to break because they become  habits that you do without thinking. To practice these rules, you must learn to quiet your voice and numb your feelings, which means they will conflict with what is happening in front of you or to you.  Very confusing when you are a child but after awhile this is just normal.

For the most part, I don’t think these rules are intentionally taught but instead handed down from generation to generation as being normal.  Even though I no longer subscribe to these rules, they are still written in the deep cresses of my being. Even though I am no longer living in survival mode, there is a natural bent that leads in that direction. Unknowingly these rules can still dictate to my heart what it will feel and still keeps me silent about the junk that lies in hiding. 

There is a false sense of safety that comes with keeping silent and not feeling. Doing this with a smile on your face to mask what is within might even give the impression that all is well.  Staying numb was key to my survival for many years but eventually staying numb back fires and becomes the very thing that keeps me stuck. Keeping the vow of silence has been to my detriment as it has given more power to the people and events that dictated that silence. Being comfortably numb no longer serves me well nor does it solve what lies within.

 Breaking these rules is key to not passing these rules on to the next generation, which means feeling instead of numbing and talking about the truth instead of pretending it doesn’t exist. Defrosting my feelings was a painful process and while I have come far in doing so, I still find myself falling back into old habits or not recognizing my feelings.

I have worked hard on not passing these rules down to my children but I fear that my unfinished business could still negatively affect them. Breaking the chains of these rules that bind, is the missing link to moving forward and leaving the past behind. Over the years, I have come far from where I once was but I am looking to not stay stuck in the middle of that junk.

I personally believe that God, or as some of you might say, the universe, will keep bringing us through circumstances until we “get it”. I believe that He will keep sending us opportunities in different forms until we receive the lesson. I believe that He puts both difficult and good people into our paths to teach us and to learn from.  I believe that He is presenting me with another opportunity to be free of the things that have held me back from being who I already know I am. I believe He is saying, “It is time.”

Keeping the silence and numbing myself, taught me to have a very high tolerance for pain, people and the kind of treatment I would accept for myself. This high tolerance has followed me every step of my  journey and I am ready to change that.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to stop being tolerant because being or having tolerance is a good thing. For me, It means acceptance and respecting another’s beliefs, opinions and choices even if they are not my own. Tolerance means to be fair, objective and permissive in attitude towards those whose opinions, race, religion, nationality…etc..differ than our own. I am not seeking to change this part of tolerance in my life.

The kind of tolerance I am seeking to change is the kind that has allowed other’s to cause me harm without speaking a word of defense of myself. I am talking about the kind of tolerance that has allowed me to stay instead of leave abusive men or to be treated with such meanness, disrespect, unkindness, or any kind of negative treatment.  While I have no tolerance for meanness or abuse towards others, I have not held up the same standard for myself. The thing is, often times I don’t recognize that it is happening because my tolerance level is so high and there is a part of me that is still numb to recognizing that I am feeling pain or another emotion.

While I no longer tolerate being hit,  being called derogatory names or being cheated on, I find myself still tolerating things I shouldn’t. I tolerate without thinking. I tolerate without being aware that I am tolerating too much until much later. I tolerate and I tolerate until I am so hurt that I cannot help but realize that I have allowed things that I shouldn’t. I find myself choking down feelings and thoughts and yet I continue to stand in the boiling water.

I seek to lower the bar of what I will allow. This high tolerance is a barrier to my being able to embrace myself. It is a wall that keeps me from recognizing when others have crossed a boundary with me and to have the ability to stand up for myself. I do believe that we teach others how to treat us by what we allow and so I seek to teach others to treat me with respect.

I seek to break these rules of keeping silent and not feeling what I should when I am being mistreated. I seek to stop choking down my feelings and thoughts and to recognize when I am doing so . I seek to find my voice that stands up for myself and expresses what I am feeling. I seek to expose all these things to the light so that I can move on to having the same acceptance and tolerance for myself that I do for others.

I declare 2011 as my year to face the unfinished business of my heart and to embrace myself through the process.


I start this year of seeking by addressing my tolerance issues and completely breaking the rules that have silenced me once and for all. It’s time to face the secrets. It’s time to feel the emotions that I keep trying to avoid. It’s time to purge these things so they stop hurting my soul. It’s time to pull the weeds of shame and guilt so they stop choking out my life.

It’s time for me to blossom. It’s time.

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
-- Anaïs Nin



Until next time dear friends, love & hugs, Lori


Monday, January 10, 2011

Police Car Rides & A Beautiful Mess

My husband had his surgery this past week. The surgery went well and he is at home recuperating. The surgeon also said that it may not take him as long to recover as a previous doctor had told us, so we are hoping that he will be able to return to his regular job sooner then later. In the meantime, he is home until the doctor releases him to return for light duty. Then his boss will have him work in the milk bottling plant until he can go back to his regular milk delivery route. I think his boss is realizing how much he does since there are 2 people doing his job and they are taking 3 hours longer to do it each day. 

These past weeks leading up to the surgery meant me taking more of the load of parenting the little’s because of how my husband was feeling and now after the surgery, all of it. This time of doing it all leaves me very grateful that I have a husband that shares in parenting duty with me, as well as caring for our home. As you know, with my injury, my husband has had to carry the load more often then not. Now I am wearing his shoes and it has not been easy. Thankfully I have experienced being a single mother and that ability to rise above, kicks in.

It doesn’t help that it has been bitter cold, so I haven’t been able to send the little’s outside to play and if I do, it takes longer to get them all bundled up and then everything off and put back away when they come back inside ,then the amount of time they actually spend outside. The snow is so deep that the younger two don’t care to go out as much because they literally get stuck in the snow, thus leaving behind boots stuck in the snow, with tears falling.

Nonetheless, there are 3 stir crazy little’s creating beautiful messes and making lots of beautiful noise. I have been doing my best to keep it quiet and relaxing for my husband. Who am I kidding? It is a 3 ring circus at my house. How he is able to sleep through these circus acts is beyond me.

On Thursday, after getting my husband home and tucked away in bed, I received a phone call from little man’s Kindergarten teacher. Come to find out that he had missed the school bus that morning and instead of walking back to the house where my son would have driven him to school, he instead started out walking to the school. Granted we live in a small rural community but it is spread out and the school is on the other side of town, which is why he has to take a bus in the first place. Need I mention that it was below 0 that morning?

Our town police chief stopped him and asked him where he was going. After little man explained to the policeman that “Mommy took Daddy to the hospital to get his body fixed and that he had missed the bus so he just had to walk to school because he has always wanted to walk to school.” the policeman took him to school and delivered him to his classroom with little man leading the way.

My mind screamed in panic as I listened to the teacher. I had to remind myself to breathe. Just writing this makes my heart to beat faster. She reassured me he was fine and that both she and the policeman talked with him about it.

Once I got past imagining all the possibilities of what could have happened, I was able to be very thankful we live in a safe small town and that he had been wearing warm outside gear. I had approximately 45 minutes to get myself calm before he got home from school.

I picture him trudging along with his big back pack, and with that big smile on his face. What a sight he must have been. Even now I cannot help but smile at what he must have looked like.

I talked to him and tried to explain the seriousness of the situation. I explained over and over again why he can’t do this and what could have happened. I talked and talked some more. Of course at 5 years he is unable to comprehend the dangers and while I want him to “get it”, I don’t want to instill such fear in him that he lives in deep fear either.

Quite honestly, he was and still is quite proud of himself for “making it so far all by myself” and getting to ride in a police car to school and then walked to his classroom by the policeman. After much talking, I do think he gets why he cannot walk that far all by himself but no matter what I or anyone has said to him, we cannot make him not be proud or excited about his adventure. It really was hard to keep a straight face through out this because he smiled through out much of it because he was that happy about it.

I am pretty sure I gained at least a dozen new gray hairs over this.

Even after all that talking, he excitedly told his sister and cousin about his police car ride and long walk to school. Ugh! I guess I am not the only one seeking new adventures.

This is my year of seeking. Or so I thought. I guess someone else is seeking too and it’s my job to make sure that he seeks in safety.

Birkwood 2010 005-1

Seek and ye shall find.

I seek more peace and quiet yet my life is more like a circus act filled with beautiful noise. I seek order and for things to stay in their places, yet I am constantly surrounded by beautiful messes. And yet what would we do without these little creators of all things beautiful? Without them, we would have more peace and quiet. Without them we would have more order in our home and things would stay in their place.

Yet without them we would be without all the big beautiful love they bring to our table. Without them we would miss out on this big beautiful fun, which includes noise and messes. And lots of them.

This means I must be more creative in my seeking for these the moments of solitude. It means staying up a little later or getting up  a little earlier in order to capture the quiet. This means I must step back, take some deep breathes and accept the fact that I do not live in a home on display but instead a home that is filled to the brim with being lived in. Living with 3 active little’s and 3 other busy adults ensures that fact.

As much as I clean, and make the little’s clean up mess after mess, I will not have a spotless home, so the lived in look is going to have to do. I seek to accept this fact, that unless I want to drive myself completely insane in the attempt to keep it to such a high standard, it will not be. Embracing my beautiful messes and the noise that fill it, makes it much easier to enjoy the moments at hand because then I am not raging full force ahead to attain some impossible expectation I’ve created for myself.

Still, I seek to bring some order to the chaos and to slow this circus act down, so that when I come to the table, I am not sticking my elbows on yesterdays peanut butter & jelly. For my sanity, I seek to maintain some level of balance, peace and order in all of this chaos, without hurting little hearts and tearing out my own.

Our table is full. We have beautiful messes. We have beautiful noise. It may seem like a circus act at times. Love may have a dirty face much of the time but it sure is sweet to look it in the face and to be reminded that much of what I seek is already right in front of me. I just have to open my eye’s and see.

I cannot close without saying thank you for all the thoughts, prayers and support you’ve given through my husbands surgery. You are very much appreciated.

Until next time, hugs & love, Lori




Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Seeking to embrace in 2011

At the start of 2010 I picked the word Confidence as my word for the year. While I could stand to gain more confidence, I do believe that I am much more confident a year later. Starting this new year I am much more confident in myself and who I am and my hope is to continue down this road. I honestly believe that it’s out of this confidence I’ve gained, that I chose my word for this new year.

 I  pondered over and over what my word should be for 2011. ????????

Words I considered were  risk, expand, balance, unleash, dare, grow, breathe, mindful, listen, bloom and seek. I was leaning towards seek because really it’s these other things I seek more of. As I pondered and wrote about each one of these words, the word embrace kept coming up along with seek.

I looked up the meaning of embrace. The dictionary say’s it means…

em·brace take or clasp in the arms; press to the bosom; hug. take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly: to embrace an idea. avail oneself of: to embrace an opportunity. adopt (a profession, a religion, etc.): to embrace Buddhism. take in with the eye or the mind. encircle; surround; enclose. include or contain: An encyclopedia embraces a great number of subjects.

–verb (used without object) join in an embrace.


I looked up seek and the dictionary says…

seek go in search or quest of: to seek the truth. try to find or discover by searching or questioning: to seek the solution to a problem. try to obtain: to seek fame. try or attempt (usually fol. by an infinitive): to seek to convince a person. go to: to seek a place to rest. ask for; request: to seek advice.

7.Archaic . to search or explore.


This year I choose to “seek to embrace”. I seek to embrace me. And my life.

I seek to embrace  risk and to expand my horizons. I seek balance and growth spiritually, emotionally and mentally. I seek to be mindful of the truth and of living in the moment. I seek to listen more to my heart and to listen more to others. I seek to embrace the freedom to unleash who I really am and to be daring enough to actually do those things that are really hard. I seek to bloom wherever I am planted.

I seek to embrace my talents and gifts and to be willing to take risks with them. But first I must seek to find out what those talents and gifts are. I seek to embrace my dreams, goals and hopes and do something about them. I don’t want to cower in fear of failure any longer or hide behind what is safe. I seek to stop making excuses. I seek to start seeing the opportunities and to embrace them. 


I seek to embrace where I have come from and the lessons I learned along the way. I seek to break the power of the secrets and to stop letting those things dictate my path. I seek to expose those things I’ve allowed to have power over me and to embrace the lessons I’ve learned from them. I seek the knowledge that will help give me this freedom and embrace the growth that it will give me. 

I seek to listen to what my heart is saying, instead of ignoring that still soft voice within. I seek to embrace the daring part of me and it’s willingness to take risks. I seek to embrace the fact that I don’t fit inside of a box and that I dance to my own song. I seek to embrace myself so much that I believe in myself enough to take the risks necessary to live more my authentic self.

I seek to stop feeling so lonely and to take the risks necessary to find friends that are parenting young children or raising their grandchildren. I seek to step out of my comfort zone and seek a pain support group or other avenue’s of support so that I can embrace what others have to offer me. 


I seek to embrace the belief that I am enough. I seek to stop beating myself up and start embracing myself when I make mistakes or fall down. I seek to embrace the love and joy that are mine to the point that I believe that I deserve it. I seek to embrace myself as being worthy enough to be here and to believe deep down in my soul that I am not a mistake.

I seek to stop and just breathe…to just embrace the moment I am in, instead of thinking about what I should be doing or where I should be. I seek to be mindful of the truth and to not latch myself onto worries of “what if?” I seek to stop second guessing myself and to start listening.

I seek to embrace balance in my life. Since it is part of my nature to be a caregiver, I seek to embrace having balance with care giving and to open myself up to others caring for me. I seek balance so that I can enjoy more of the things that bring me enjoyment.

I seek to embrace better health through healthy living, choices and nurturing myself. I seek to pay attention to my body, mind and spirit more and to take the measures necessary to take care of myself. I seek to take time for myself to exercise so that I can embrace once again the benefits I once felt when this was a regular part of my day. I seek to make time for me and to believe that it’s not selfish to do so.

I seek to stop standing on the side lines and instead take the risk by stepping out and daring to do these things that scare the shit out of me.

I seek to unleash all the garbage inside of me once and for all. I seek to unleash all the hidden or known good from inside of me out into the light.

I know I have come a long ways in my life. If I am truly honest with you and myself then I would have to say my biggest obstacle in my life continues to be me. I still battle with shame and feeling unworthy. Shame runs deep and wide inside of my soul and I seek to be free of that. I often times forget that I am as worthy as everyone else and this affects ALL area’s of my life. Not to mention how this drives my husband and children crazy. 

Today, I  declare to you and the universe my desire to seek and to embrace myself and my life in 2011. I seek to stop standing in the way of myself, to embrace who I am, to unleash me and to bloom in 2011!