life is a long and difficult journey…be sure to stop now and then for a little snack

Soul Searching and Throwing Away Your TV

For about the past 18 months or so, I have been on a search…a soul search.  Yes, I know I have one, I just didn’t know much about it because for my entire life I have been “easily swayed” by what other people have said and done or listening to them tell me what I should do or not do.  All I have done is “stuff down” the things of life – the good, the bad and the ugly – and never really dealt with things or even ventured out into experiences I desire.  Oh sure, I have dipped my toes in the water a bit here and there, but for the most part, no.

In my search, I have been trying to purge all of this stuffing and not add any more to the internal work I am already doing (every once in awhile, I do learn from my mistakes 🙂 )  After reading this post, I just confirmed my choice.  Before 2010, I very rarely would turn on the TV, however, being sick so much of the past 3 years sitting here like a slab of meat, I have had little choice but to turn on



the TV, sometimes just for the white noise.  But make no mistake, what goes in comes out and I haven’t liked what has come out.  (And your energy bill will enjoy the break, too, just sayin’.)

I don’t want to do all of this purging only to fill myself back up with garbage, so my TV is going off again.  (No, I can’t throw it away and give my guys a stroke, but I am a big girl and am able to control my own viewing time.) This time, it won’t be hard to do because I have been searching and purging for awhile now.  It’s totally worth doing – I mean really….most of the shows anymore are “reality shows” that I believe are overly dramatic and not reality.  And really, why do I want someone else having an experience when I can do it myself (ok, maybe I won’t go alligator hunting anytime soon, but you know what I mean).  I want to experience life myself, not watch other people do it.

Living intentionally…I don’t want to waste another moment, life is too short, so here I go!  How about you? 


Where Have I Been?

Where Have I Been?

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.” ~ Anne Lamott

Aside from my previous post (about my recent “vaca”)  I have still been trying to physically recover (SO time-consuming)…and while doing so, I have been literally sitting on the edge of my sofa, intensely reading another blog; that of my friend, Deanna.   Such kindred spirits, we are.   She’s an amazing lady with an amazing story…HER story…why don’t you join me in reading what she has to share…you will never be the same – I promise.

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Reflections From My “Vacation” in Room 321

June 3 started like most any morning around here…lot’s to do.  I was quite irritated that I was woken early with tummy rumblings.  So I popped an antacid and tried to get on my day.  Well, that didn’t work.  So I took another.  And when that didn’t work and my symptoms quickly got worse, my son, Richard, took one look at me and quite promptly, my very smart 18 year old dragged my “in denial” self to the emergency room at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center.  When we arrived (about 40 minutes later), I was thankful that he insisted we go there immediately because by this time, I was barely coherent and in intense pain (which is saying a lot since I live every day in a “7” level or higher of pain).  You know, when the nurse asks you “On a pain scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst ever, where is your pain?” and your answer is 12…yup…that was me…the second and third time she asked me, as well.  Apparently she didn’t hear me screaming it, but I am sure the folks in the next county heard me and would have been happy to share the information with her just to get me to shut up.

Unfortunately, these symptoms and pain were all too familiar; this being the third, and worse, bowel obstruction I have had in as many

Photo:  Upper Chesapeake Medical Center

Photo: Upper Chesapeake Medical Center

years.  I will spare you the wonderfully graphic details of how they got rid of it (those who are squeamish can thank me later) but suffice it to say, I did not take the easy way out, surgery, which would have caused more scar tissue, which was the cause in the first place.  I have had so many surgeries, my abdomen gives Mapquest a run for it’s money.  Instead, I decided for a less-invasive procedure that uses an NG tube down your nose into your gut – and well, that’s all I’ll tell ya.  It took 8 “glorious” days for about 14,000 mg of crud to be escorted out (and 1 extra day for observation), so I had lots of time on my hands.  Granted, the first 4 days or so, I was still pretty incoherent, so I will not be held responsible for anything I may or may not have said or done during that time.  However, after that, things were on a slow but upward scale.  I had nothing but time on my hands; which for me, could always prove to be dangerous.  (Without a computer, I was going nuts and was willing to take everyone with me!) So there from my little doorway to the outside world of the very busy west wing I learned…

*  When asked how you are doing, do not answer “well at least I haven’t died yet” – as apparently most doctors do not share my quirky sense of humor.

*  The staff was great for so many reasons – but especially because of a guy I will call “Butch” and the fact that they were kind and loving to Butch.  He would walk past my door hundreds of times a day and gave me the creeps until I saw a staff member not too far away from him trying to “coral” him back to where he belonged, apparently in the psych wing.  But wait…wasn’t his room right down the hall from mine?

*  It took me about 3 days to realize that when my favorite doctor came to “wake” me every morning at 7:00 a.m. (after approximately 1 combined hour of sleep all night) addressing me as “hey there prisoner”…he was just kidding.  Apparently, I had no sense of humor the first few days of my visit **sheepish**…sorry doc

*  In preparation for my next visit, I am going to have my own special hospital gowns imprinted with my name and date of birth in BIG letters on the front, so I won’t have to say it a bazillion times a day whenever someone treated me – especially when they won’t let me have any water and my lips are stuck together.  Fun times.  You would think by now they knew who I was…or were the drugs that powerful that they were making sure that I remembered who I was?

*  Those drugs should come with a disclaimer against use by a parent in the presence of their children.  Apparently, I no longer have college-days secrets from my boys.

*  I missed my furbaby, Cody, so much while I was gone.  I was so thankful they had therapy dogs come to visit me; I waited for their



visits with anticipation and nearly lept out of the bed when they arrived!  My husband was insulted that I wasn’t nearly as excited to see him come through the door.

*  No matter how much you beg, plead, give “puppy eyes” or otherwise bribe, the nursing staff is strong and unaffected and will not give you food, not even water, unless your doc says it’s ok.  Trust me, I tried.

*  Of course, it didn’t dawn on me to actually shut my door but I felt like I was an animal at the zoo…everyone that walked by my door felt the need to peer in, especially Butch, as if I was on display.  I guess it’s not every day that you see someone with a big old tube down their snout sucking out their guts?  Geeze folks, get a life.

*  Don’t engage in a “walker race” with the 95 year old woman in the bed next to you; sadly, you will lose…repeatedly.

*  The most expensive vacation I have ever taken – and they didn’t even feed me until the last day!  But when they did, I would gladly put their food quality right up there with any restaurant in town; I was incredibly surprised!  (and no, it was not just because I hadn’t eaten in over a week)  However…their gelatin has got to be the worst stuff on the planet!  Think about it folks, you are talking to a woman who loves food that had not eaten in 7 days, it was the only food given to me and I threw it out.  Just sayin’…

*  I gotta tell ya, I had a grand time; I was treated like the “Queen of Everything” – I rang the bell and they came running to help; sometimes they came just when I was thinking about ringing the bell.   I’m thinking I really need to introduce my guys to this concept at home too.

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Wordless Wednesday – All About Crazy

Wordless Wednesday!

Since I am the oldest of 6 sisters, this becomes a very real and scary reality 🙂
(P.S. – you might want to pray for my 2 little brothers, too 🙂 )


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Just Call Me Momma Hen

Mother’s Day is just 2 days away.   Like many, Mother’s Day (in context with my mother)  has never been even remotely close to a Norman Rockwell picture, so I am ready for this weekend to be over.  Many have family situations much more difficult than mine (my heart goes out to you!)  All this emotion is going to send me to the Funny Farm for sure.

Getting married, I got an AMAZING mother-in-love, Carolyn “Mom” Battis.   She was the first Mom in my life to show me unconditional, Godly Motherly love; I truly love her and am always blessed by her.  When I became a Mom myself, my whole world changed in so many ways and  Mother’s Day is special for me and my boys, however…


My favorite flower – Shasta Daisies
Photo: wikimedia org

Having been adopted (and not having much of a relationship with my adoptive mom), and now in reunion with my first mom (since July 2011) with whom I have a great relationship, this day has become somewhat tangled.  My friend, Deanna, has summed it up best in her post, “Mother’s Day Weekend and What It Means to Me” .  Although I don’t blog often about adoption, if you knew me well, you would see that I definitely fit several of the descriptions she uses and it seems she always has such a great way to express what is on my heart.  (On a side note – Deanna & the Lost Daughters group have helped me walk through my reunion with my first family and one of the great things that have come from it has been this blog – re-creating Ree 🙂   

As a kid, I would secretly pray for my first mom, somehow knowing that she HAD to think of me on Mother’s Day.  As an adult, not only would I pray for all of my moms, but I would send something special to my mother-in-love (because sadly she lives so far away) and for my adopted mom,  I prepared the expected celebratory dinner either Saturday or Sunday (depending on when my sister has her because heaven forbid we all spend time together).  Last year, my first year in reunion with my first mom, I sent her a card.  I know, it sounds lame, but it was all I could muster in the midst of the furry with my adoptive mom’s never-ending emotions.    (Yes, I am always trying to keep everyone else happy – keeping the peace – like a good little adoptee.)  Unbeknownst to just about everyone, I always seem to be in an emotional tug-of-war between an angry adoptive mom (how dare you look for your “real” parents after all we have done for you, they didn’t want you!”) who wains between not talking to me at all (currently, it’s been a month without communication) and when she will decide to fit me into her life because she needs me for something…and a thankful first mom (with whom I just took an impromptu wild road trip with through 12 states).

This year, I wanted to do more, so I took my first Mom’s offer for the trip with her and I think it turned out pretty well (she didn’t kill me after spending 24/7 with me for 7 days, so that right there should tell you something 🙂 ) Unfortunately, I had to cut my trip a little shorter than we both expected; things were getting crazy at home and I had to go back to reality.    I was a bit disappointed because I was looking forward to having my very first Mother’s Day with my first Mom, and I know she was too.  However, it’s probably for the best, as I would not want it at the expense of my adoptive Mom, who would sadly see all of this as a direct knife to her heart (because my adoption is all about her).  Even though I cannot get my adoptive mom to understand any of this, she is still my Mom and I love her too.   Unfortunately, I am not the only adoptee that goes through this; adoptees feel like our life is like a continual  white water rafting journey without a life jacket.  There are many of us at this time of year (Mother’s Day and Father’s Day) that can feel like we are doing it without a paddle, either.

This year, I am jumping to shore, taking the chicken’s way out because of sheer emotional exhaustion, and allowing my boys to make Mother’s Day all about me…just call me Momma Hen.

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Chocolate Love


Richard & Cody

I am on a road trip to visit family and friends…just me and my Mom…first time ever.  It’s been great until 48 hours ago when I learned that my beloved, Golden Retriever, Cody, is very, very sick…and I am 12 hours away from home at my Aunt and Uncle’s house in Georgia.  My hubby and son are taking care of things at home, but my Cody is like another child to me.  At 15, he has loved me, protected me (even bit a man who was trying to attack me) and has always been by my side.  Many tears cried into his fur and his unconditional love and affection has always been there for me and my guys…technically, he’s my son, Richard’s dog, but yea, he’s a “Momma’s Dog”.  Richard, has always teased me saying that if he believed in reincarnation that he wanted to come back as my dog.  🙂

Cody started getting sick almost the minute I left and right now he’s still at the vet hospital.  They are still not sure what is going on but the vet has given me some peace  that she has stabilized him and that there is nothing else being violently expelled from either end of his body.  Peace enough that she said I didn’t have to hop on the first flight home, as was my intent.  He is getting the best care my money can buy and my son and hubby are visiting with him and I am learning to be “ok” with that I am not there.  My heart is still broken, but if he continues to improve, I can continue my once in a lifetime trip with my mom.  I am very thankful for the support my mom, aunt and uncle have given to me and their offer to fly me home.  Having supportive family is such a blessing, especially knowing that some people do not have one.  The icing on the cake, so to speak, is supportive furbabies…

DJ = Chocolate Love

My aunt’s chocolate lab, DJ, is apparently very “in tune” with me and my emotions.  Although Aunt Dee has 2 labs (one black, one chocolate), DJ has been snuggling with me, shadowing me, her fur has held my tears as she has been loving all over me since I got the news about my Cody and I have been upset – loving me through my pain like only a furbaby can. Nothing like having a 100 pound dog sit on your lap…now THAT is true love for you…:)


What Tried to Kill Me Made Me Stronger…

Three years ago today, my life was forever changed.  Many people get to have a life-changing day and each is unique.  As usual, since I can’t seem to do anything under the radar, mine was “right up there”.

Three years ago today, God saved my life; physically (spiritually, He did that back on March 21, 1989.)  The (very) short version of this day was that I went into the hospital with a major bowel obstruction and came out with open heart surgery, removing a very rare tumor that was inside of my heart.

Yup.  I felt like a celebrity; I was “the one with the tumor” that everyone in the hospital talked about.  Apparently no one, not even my renowned thoracic surgeon, Dr. Bartley Griffith, had ever seen someone still living with this type of tumor; he’d only seen it in a few folks in his 30+ years of practice and they were all in autopsy because the tumor killed them before it could be found.  There are no real symptoms to this kind of tumor; it was “accidentally” found when the MRI tech took a picture of my entire torso and not just my lower half, when trying to find out what was obstructing my bowels.  We all know that it was no accident  🙂  (side note – The bowel obstruction was caused by 2 very large tumors in my abdomen, which resulted in a surgery 4 months later, including a hysterectomy.)

So…now I am famous…in the medical journals at University of Maryland hospital and doctors and other medical personnel learn from the operation that Dr. Griffith did to my heart.  That is awesome and I am glad that others can learn from my experience. But, wow…I was the one fixin’ to learn the biggest lesson of my life…

God completely changed my life; inside and out.  Even with all of this trauma over a year of 5 hospitalizations, major surgeries, etc., I still felt a lot of inner peace like never before.   Jon had peace and I felt it from him; he is such a rock for me and the boys.  You can’t imagine how thankful I am for him.  God gave me exactly what I needed, who I needed and when I needed it/them.  No surprise since that’s what His Word says He will do; but for me, it was as if He was laying there right next to me that year – taking all the pain – physical and emotional – and that was not something I had ever experienced before.

Pain that I should have felt, I did not.  Extended medical issues I should have experienced, I did not.  Many, many signs of God literally taking my burdens from me.  Jon and Richard never left my side (and even though Tim was away at school, he didn’t miss a beat.)  Even my faithful Golden Retriever, Cody, laid right next to my recliner with me 24/7 and wouldn’t let anyone near me; my furry protector.  My friends stopping by (no small feat since I live in the boonies) bringing good wishes and meals to give my mother-in-law one less thing to tend to.  My amazing parents-in-law dropped everything and flew up from Florida to take care of me and tend to Richard, etc. so that Jon could go back to work.  My dear mother-in-law is a saint, that’s all I can tell you.  And my father-in-law, an absolute gem.  I don’t know what we would have done if they didn’t come for that first month to go through the worst of it with us; they are my angels and I love them immensely.

While I was living in my recliner for the year, God did some incredible work in me (I was finally sitting still long enough!)  In this time,  I went through psychological and spiritual steps toward healing, some quite painful, both inside and out.  Part of that healing included finding the rest of my family.

After finding out that my tumor was hereditary, and knowing how deadly it was, I just could not live with myself if I didn’t at least make an effort to find them and warn them – and yeah – would be incredible to “meet” them too.  Oh, I forgot to tell you…I am adopted!  Knowing what little I knew about my first family (born to young teen parents in 1964) in the past, I didn’t want to disrupt their lives, cause problems, etc.  Besides, I was not really anxious to open myself up to get rejected, again, from people that my adoptive mom told me didn’t want me.  But somehow, now I felt like it was time to open that door of my life, regardless of the outcome.  So with my husband and boys blessing, as well as love and support from 2 of my closest friends (who have always encouraged me to do this years ago), I started my journey…to find my former self.

My world was blown out of the water and will never be the same, in so many ways.  In a circumstance that I can only describe as God’s hand literally opening this door for me, I found them in about 15 minutes!  After the shock wore off and I stopped shaking, the subsequent months – and now years – have been full of love – and change – and acceptance – and rejection…nothing short of a Hallmark movie!  A great story for another day.


Although I usually wear the silver heart that Jon gave to me every day, this was taken on St. Patrick’s Day, and well, I was wearin’ my green 🙂

For me, today is a deep reflection of the chain of miracles that God did for me; beginning with the tumors, which satan meant to destroy every part of me.  Apparently no one told the evil man that I am 1/2 Irish and 1/2 Sicilian = very stubborn.  In more ways than one, God dug deep inside my heart filling a hole that only He can fill.  Now, I am stronger than ever, not physically (as I was left with some disability because of the tumors and surgeries) but more importantly, emotionally and spiritually.  To tell God “Thank You” is nowhere near sufficient…so I choose to thank Him by striving to make my life count for His Purpose even more each of these “borrowed days” that He has graciously given to me – to enjoy and love my husband, sons and extended family – and to love and serve others as I have always done but now with a new stride.  And I wear my “badge of honor” scar with pride.  I like to show it off because it gives me an opportunity to tell people what God has done for me…and I love to brag on my Heavenly Father ❤

(The words to this song bring on a whole new meaning for me know…I LOVE it…enjoy!  .  )

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How to Make a Baby…:)

happy baby pic - promotionalThese pictures are so creative and precious!  Thanks for sharing, Dan!

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The Little Free Library

I love to read.  I have always loved reading whatever I could get my hands on…a book or magazine…and let’s not forget blogs or Kindle books, etc.  But to me, nothing beats the feel of a book in my hands…the sight and smell of a collection of wonderful books on a shelf.  Ahhh…

Growing up, no one in my family shared my passion for reading; therefore I did not get much support.  The nearest library was about 25 minutes away and Mother didn’t like to drive and would not take me. Therefore, the only actual library time I ever got was the rushed “Library Class” in school.  The closest I came to spending time in a library was the weekly visit from the beloved Bookmobile!

A part of our county’s public library system, the Bookmobile would come to “remote” areas, like mine, that didn’t have easy access to any of their branches.  “Bookmobile Day” was the best day of my week; especially in the summertime!  I remember waiting at the curb for it every Thursday at 4:00 p.m. like most kids would wait for the ice cream truck.  When it turned the corner to my street, I could barely contain my excitement!  The inside was like a tiny library and I had a whole half an hour to peruse and carefully choose which books I wanted to borrow for the week!  It was like Book Heaven for this nerdy little girl.  But, alas…children were limited to choose only 10 books per week!  Such decisions!

After I gathered my loot (sometimes barely being able to carry all of the books), I would run home directly to my bedroom, close the door and start reading until I was bleary-eyed, not even wanting to take a break for supper because it was such a waste of valuable reading time.  I would usually finish all 10 of them in just a few days and have to suffer withdraw for the rest of the week until I could get more books.  It saddened me that I never owned any books.  It’s not because my parents could not afford them; we had a comfortable life with many extras.  It’s was more like my parents didn’t see the need for me to own them and didn’t value my passion.

As an adult, I think its Divine intervention that even though I live in the boonies, I am only one mile away from a brand new public library.  I love escaping to the library whenever I choose and no longer have to beg my parents to take me.  Maybe this is why my son’s room, as well as other areas of my home, has always looked like a library with so many books.  I don’t know who was more excited about the semi-annual book fairs at his school – me or Richard!  Until he was a teenager and wanted to “decorate his own room”, I filled his room with a lot of “night-night” books that I always read to him, classic children’s literature, like one of my favorites, “Charlotte’s Web”, as well as some of the books I would buy to bribe Richard to read, like “Captain Underpants”.  He obviously did not inherit my love of books.

Until five minutes ago, I had no idea what the Little Free Library was all about.  Now I am in love all over again!  Apparently, all over the country, people are building cute “Little Free Libraries” on posts in front of their homes. Children and adults can borrow, keep or donate a book, all free of charge!  This is amazing!  It encourages literacy, sharing, brain power, shutting off the electronics (yikes!) and reading a wonderful book!  Check out their website for all you need to know – even how to build one – or their Facebook site.  (I am thinking that one of these would make a wonderful Mother’s Day present for this Momma, don’t you? 🙂 )

Today’s discovery of the Little Free Library has just made this little nerdy girl blissfully happy in Book Heaven… all over again…


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What would you do?

Sometimes I wish I was still young enough to have children; I miss having babies to loveImage…What are your thoughts on this situation?

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