Family Roots

Having placed a child for adoption, changed my life and changed me. It formed the way I think about things during a very formative part of my life. Maybe changed isn’t even the right word; maybe germinated things inside me is a better way to say it. I think, as a young person, it was not something I thought about a lot. Family was family.

It has given me new insight as I watch my daughter figure out who she is and explore her roots. The stories that I have heard my whole life about my ancestors, were not taken for granted by her. She, in fact, has a whole group of ancestors not even related to her by blood but rather by the heart. Because she has ancestral stories from the family who raised her as well. This does not makes these stories any less powerful or any less important on her journey.

I was recently having a discussion with a relative, where I stated people who are adopted need to find their roots. She shared with me that she was adopted. I had never known this about her. She told me she had completely bonded with her adopted family and felt no need to look for her birth family. I am so grateful that she shared this with me. It has taught me that the need to know blood ancestral stories is completely individualized. She does not have that yearning, that so many other people I have spoken to seem to have.

Since I grew up with my birth family, I cannot even begin to guess how I would feel. My grandmother used to talk about the importance of blood and family. I do know though, that family is much more than blood. There are soul families, who are not blood in this lifetime but may have been in past lifetimes. There are friends who feel like family. There are non-blood relatives like aunts, stepchildren and adopted parents that are every bit a part of who we are, without the blood connection. The face of what family looks like today is constantly changing and evolving. Who shows up to holiday meals can be a wonderful, changing, eclectic group of people that we call our family.

Family roots ground us. They hold us deeply to the earth. They can be like a blanket telling us who we are. However family roots, whether blood or not, do not define us. Allow yourself to be more than your story. Your story formed you but it is not you. Your story contributes to your view of the world through the experiences you have had, but allow that view to be ever changing.

I am blessed in my family heritage stories. They are full of examples of strength, comedy, and lots of love. They are not without their share of times of struggle, but it is that pressure that makes us into diamonds. As the parent of a child placed for adoption, I have spoken to many other birth parents over the years and it has been my experience that placing a child for adoption is a gift of love. Myself and other birth parents think about that little soul out there in the world. We send them love, wish them every happiness, and wonder how they are doing often.

However you define your family or who you chose to claim as your people, remember that those stories are a part of who you are, but you are much more than your family roots. Just as the roots of the tree hold it to the earth, nourish it, and allow it to grow; so do our roots. However, a tree is so much more than it’s roots and is shaped by so many things that have nothing to do with the dirt in which it’s planted.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your roots give you comfort, as if by magic.

*photo was taken in Bellingham, WA

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Who Inspires You?

I was with a friend yesterday and she was talking about something her dad used to say. “A friend or a partner should make you a better person” ~ Don Ortmann. That struck me as some very wise advise. Do the people you surround yourself with make you a better person? Do you help your friends and lovers be better people?

We all touch other’s lives. Although no one can make us behave a certain way, we all have those friends who challenge us to be a better version of ourselves. These magical people inspire us, not by telling us how to be, but by just talking the talk and walking the walk. My husband is one such person. His kind and generous soul inspires me to be the best person that I can be. He never criticizes my behavior or says I need to step it up. He inspires me just by being himself. I am also blessed with other friends who, simply by living their lives, have inspired me to be and do better.

My elementary school had a secretary who had reinvented herself with the name, Henrietta Peach. She was a peach! This was back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. She would make copies for the teachers to use as worksheets in the classrooms. The “Ditto Machine” had a round drum where the original was placed. As the drum circled it would copy the content of the original, in purple, onto the waiting papers. As the drum circled it made a rhythmic “chuchunk, chuchunk” noise. Henrietta Peace would do deep knee bends to this, saying she was “exercising”. This woman would not have said she was a role model. She was just living her life and having fun at work. She played the organ in the balcony of the church. She climbed those stairs, often multiple times in one day, even into her 80’s when cancer was sucking the life out of her. She was an inspiration to others. She would sing out loud in the school office and even had a song just for me. Sometimes at the end of mass I would hear that song being played on the big church organ. A little secret sign between the two of us. When I left that school at the end of the 6th grade, I named her as the person I looked up to. I am sure I was not alone. Ethel Mohn aka Henrietta Peach, was an inspiration. Knowing her made me a better person. She taught me to have fun at work. She taught me to share my talents with others. She showed me how making a difference in the life of a child leaves a mark on this world that grows and grows. I am a better person for having known her.

Think about the people in your life. Who are the ones whose actions pull you up to better yourself? Do you think you do this for others in your life? I am sure in many ways you do. Perhaps you would be surprised to realize how your actions inspire those around you. Whether you realize it or not, people are looking to you to inspire them.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you inspire others to be the best version of themselves, as if by magic.

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You Are Beautiful! Yes You!

I hear so many commercials on the radio and then see them in magazines for various ways to become beautiful. This magical weight loss pill or that amazing muscle building goo. Cool sculpting (I will be honest, I have no idea what that is or how it works) and laser hair removal. Why is it these types of products and services are so plentiful? Because we don’t feel like we’re good enough and those products cater to that. We are trying to win the favor of others and ourselves by how we look. I know that when my hair looks just right and I have on a snazzy outfit, I feel at the top of my game. But this is not what I am talking about. I am talking about how we try to change ourselves physically to feel better about ourselves.

I want you to know that you are beautiful just the way you are. You are! Beauty comes from the inside. I do not care if you have a scar on your face, a few extra pounds , or a unibrow. You are beautiful. Your radiance comes from inside. It has nothing to do with your outward appearance.

I can understand how easy it is to believe that loosing weight will make you feel happy. I was there once. I had gastric bypass surgery and lost over 100 pounds. I thought this would solve all my problems. It didn’t. I had to dig deep inside of myself and find the truth about me. That I am valuable as a person. That my beauty comes from the divine light that radiates from inside of me.  That loosing weight or another outward change would not make me any better of a person.

If you “fix” whatever it is you think is “wrong” with you, you will still feel the same about yourself. It won’t magically fix what is hurting inside of you. My recommendation to you is to work on healing that pain inside you. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love you! (I know it feels  and sounds funny – but it is worth it). Make a list about all of the things you really love about yourself. They can be physical but should also include your character as a person. If there are things in your character that you do not like,  work to change those. For example, I am on an adventure to stop complaining. It is a part of myself that could use a tune up. Other parts of your personality may not need to be changed but rather reframed. You just need to look at them in a different way. For example, many people might say I am pushy and bossy but I have come to understand this as being assertive and driven. I now love this aspect of myself.

Yes, I still diet. I am not, however, doing it because I think it will make me a better person or that people will like me more because of it. I am doing it because it is healthier for my body. Staying within a certain weight ensures that I can do the things I love to do, like kayaking, traveling, and riding roller coasters. Also having an awareness to when I eat and what I am eating, helps me tune into if I am eating to cover up some emotion that I do not want to deal with. It allows me to process that emotion rather than burying it under a pile of candy bar wrappers.

I really want you to understand that you are beautiful. You are worthy of a magical and  joyous life. You are enough just the way you are. You are capable of greatness. It matters not what you look like. Be proud of who you are. Embrace yourself and know that you deserve the best that life has to offer. If you feel the need to work on something, do so, but do it for the right reason and in the right way.  Because you are beautiful, exactly as you are.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you see your beauty as I see it, as if by magic.

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A Story of Remembering

I want to tell you a story. This might be a story of old or it might be the story of now. It is likely a story that has occurred countless times throughout history. It is a story of trust and a story of renewal, but most of all, it a story of remembering.

There was a young woman. She was a mother or she wasn’t. She had responsibilities as we all do. One day, as she was walking through the forest of life, she saw a path. This path was not into the light but rather was a path into the darkness. This path went deep into the forest and it looked very dangerous. It was jagged and had many curves. It would have been impossible to learn were the path would take her by simply looking. The darkness of this path called to her. It called to her and it pulled at her, although she knew pain and betrayal waited for her along this path, she felt oddly intrigued by it.

Now I have to tell you, this young woman had always been responsible. She had always done what had been asked of her, what was expected of her, and even more. Everyone in her tribe felt she was the perfect young woman. Every mother wanted to call her daughter. The older men all wanted to call her daughter and the younger men chased her to be their bride. She cared for the young and learned from the elderly. She was the definition of smart and responsible.

Despite her history, as such a stand up member of the community, the young woman felt she must walk this path. She had to voyage into the darkness, even though it meant walking away from her responsibilities. She had to risk being hurt and had to hurt those who had placed so much trust and pride in her. She stepped onto the path, dropping the baskets that she had brought into the forest, leaving them where they lay.

The path was arduous. She stumbled and fell many times. She met scary creatures who pretended to be her friends or help her, but in the end, they we leading her farther into the darkness. They hurt her, physically, emotionally, and separated her from the light. Sometimes she tried to find her way back but they kept pulling her deeper into the darkness. They kept pulling her further from who she had been. They caused her to feel like a completely different person. It did not take long before she forgot who she was. She forgot she was from the light and she believed she was a creature of the darkness.

This went on for many years. The village mourned her. They felt that she was lost to them forever. They feared she would never find her way back to the light. But one day, she stumbled into the village. She was wild and untamed. She was a mere shadow of the bright young woman who she had once been. The darkness hung all around her and her “friends” from there, watched from the shadows. They called to her and pulled at her.

There was something about the village that felt like home to her, although she could not really recall. The community did not trust her, they avoided her. They would not let her care for the young or spend time with the elderly. They did not want to claim her as they once did. When they tried to give her responsibilities she would wander off or never fulfill them. Even though she was back, they felt she was still lost. They still did not recognize her as the brave and ambitious woman she had once been.

One day the village wise woman (the witch) was working quietly on something. She had been watching all of this. She saw how the darkness pulled at the woman, but she also saw how the woman tried to resist the darkness. She knew something deep within the young woman wanted to live fully in the light again, but there was so much baggage from the darkness, she couldn’t seem to step away from it. It had become a part of her identity.

The witch touched her finger to the young woman’s brow. The place in front of where the third eye resides. “Remember” said the wise old woman, “remember who you are”. The young woman blinked at her elder. The darkness seemed to fall away. Her “friends” let go of their holds on her and slunk back onto the treacherous path. Light beamed all around the young woman and she suddenly did remember who she was.

From that day on she worked to gain the trust of her community. She became who she had been only better. She was wiser now. Having known the darkness and living among the darkness helped her better see how she belonged in the light. It helped her embrace and enjoy her responsibilities. She become one others looked to for wisdom, for she had lived what they could never imagine and returned to the light.

Time would pass and worlds would change. The young woman would become the witch in the future. The wise woman would become the young woman again. This story would continue to unfold throughout history over and over again. Is this your story? It is my story. It is many peoples’ story. Forgive yourself for the time in the darkness. It was a part of your journey. It is done or nearly done now. You are wiser for it. Remember who you are! Remember that you are of the light!

Thank you for ready no my blog today! May you remember your true nature, as if by magic!

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Feeling Great, Improved Health, and Being Proud – That’s what doing “it” can do for you!

I have done it with lovers, I have done it with co-workers and friends, I have done it by myself, I have done it in a group, I have even done it with family members. My husband told me of his plans to do it today. It made me reflect on times in the past when I would do it on a somewhat regular pattern. What is it? Donating blood! After I would make my donation, I always felt like a hero! Have you ever felt like a hero? When my husband told me what he was doing today, it reminded me of times in my life when I felt like a lifesaving hero! I congratulated him on his hero status but he just smiled and laughed it off.

Blood donation is not just good for those receiving your blood but it is also good for you. According to OrganicFacts.net; blood donations improve your health by reducing your risk of cancer, decreasing risks of diseases cause by iron stores (building up in the body) and decrease risk of some heart and liver diseases. It also stimulates your body to burn calories and can help support weight loss efforts. Additionally it stimulates your body to make nice fresh blood. I would also add the “good feeling” you get in your heart for making a donation is the best benefit of all!

Another type of this kind of donation is Plasma. Connectusfund.org has an article that lists the pros and cons of plasma donation. Many look down on this practical because of the financial reimbursement for the donors time. This has health impact for the donor as well and many lifesaving medications can be created from the plasma. It is used for patients who have suffered burns, are fighting leukemia as well as a number of other illnesses.

Plasma donations can be made up to twice a week, where blood donations are limited to once every 8 weeks. I personally have no issue with the reimbursement for these donors. If they are giving up some of their precious time and a part of themselves to help others, why not allow them some help too.

Whether you donate blood or plasma, I think you are a hero! I don’t judge. I currently cannot donate either one. My veins are too tiny for the plasma donations and my iron to low to donate blood. My hat is off to those of you who give of your time as well as of yourself, to save the lives of others this way!

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you have the opportunity to feel like a hero in your life, as if by magic.

I love you!

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7 Common Meditation Myths 

When I was talking about the 90 day meditation to release weight challenge, people mentioned things to me that were just not true about meditation. So I thought maybe I should showcase some of the these myths to help dispel them. What is important to know is meditation is accessible to everyone of every fitness level, from the very young to the very old. Here are some of the myths that I have heard of.

1. You have to sit Criss Cross Apple Sauce! – Many people do meditate in the Lotus position or Easy Pose, but is is not necessary. You can meditate sitting in a chair or on the couch. Even while laying in the bed it is possible to meditate. I met a lovely woman in India who would meditate while she was doing the dishes. 

2. You have to have a lot of free time – Meditation can be done in quick 3 minute intervals. There are longer meditations if you have time for it, but a quick 3 -5 minute meditation while you are in your car waiting to pick up your child or before a job interview, can be very beneficial. Just as people come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, so does meditation. 

3. There is only one “right” way to meditate – There are many different ways and types of meditation. Some include chanting a mantra or phrase while some are silent. There are sitting mediations as well as walking meditations. You can meditate with your eyes open or  closed. Watch for a upcoming blog, I intend to write, highlighting several different types of meditation. 

4. You have to be able to quiet your mind – Our minds are not by nature quiet. Our monkey minds jump all around, from planning what we will eat for our next meal to thinking about what we still need to do at work. What meditation does is help you be more present and learn to bring the mind back when it wonders off. 

5. It is religious – Mediation is not about any particular religion. It is about being in relationship with yourself. 

6. It is something only “hippies” do  – Anyone can meditate. Athletes, celebrities, spiritual leaders, children, and everyday people turn to mediation for stress relief and to improve their life. 

7. It takes years to receive benefit – There are so many different ways to meditate. There is no one right or wrong way. There is better or more improved meditation, which comes with practice but even if you are new to meditation and your mind is very busy, you can still receive benefit from the practice of it. 

You are the perfect person to receive benefit from meditation. Give it a try. Join us on our 90 days of daily meditation. We would be glad have you join us. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. I wish you a lifetime of beneficial meditation to help you get to the next level with your goals. 

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Transforming Your Life

Do you have aspects of your life that you are not okay with? Of course! We all have parts that we could take out and shine up. There are certain practices that we can leave in the past, to step into our future as a better version of ourselves. There are probably many ways that you have ready done this on some small scale and if you look at how you did, you will begin to see how you can do it on a larger scale.

During my lifetime I have done many things that have transformed my life. When I look back at these things, I see the common factor being my belief in myself. I am a high school drop out. How did I move past that to have a Bachelors of Science in Nursing and several credits in a Graduate program? How did I keep moving on forward to a place of a successful career? I believed that I would. Never once did I think that decision defined me. Perhaps I was lucky to not know the statistics about the future for high school dropouts.

When I was young, I smoked. It had a two pack a day habit. I quit this unhealthy practice 28 years ago. Once again, I quit because I believed I could. I did not allow the term “smoker” to define me. I did not care if the statistics said if I could or would quit. I saw what I was capable of and I worked to make that vision of myself a reality.

I was morbidly obese. Once again, I did not allow this to define who I am. I decided to become a runner. I had never been athletic as a child but why did that have to define me? I have completed 3 half marathons and countless shorter events. I also completed a 150 mile bike ride for charity, done a lot of hiking and kayaking and enjoy an active lifestyle. Once again, it was believing in myself and wanting something better for my life that helped me to pull myself up and push forward.

Whether the aspects of your life that you want to change, are big or small, involve a career goal or creating more healthy habits, you can accomplish it!

You are capable of amazing things! This capability comes from deep within you. There is a strength that lies coiled inside of you. Call on this strength to become more than you are today. Call on this strength to incorporate a new healthy habit into your life. Call on this strength to live the life of your dreams! I believe in you! You should believe in yourself too! You see stories all around you of people improving their lives. No one is more captive of improving your life than you are!

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you and I believe in you! I wish you a lifetime full of positive changes.

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