ReeCreates

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

Photo:  picgifs.com

Photo: picgifs.com

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? 

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Golden Retriever Service Dog Left in Car for 2 Hours – Dies

I cannot begin to tell you how much this article upsets me; we are to be guardians for animals.  (And this sweet baby was groomed to give his life in service to help someone in need.)   It’s not bad enough that for some reason, the public at large doesn’t seem to use common sense and not leave an animal (or child!) in a car unattended, especially in the heat. But when a person who is well-versed with handling animals does it? It sends me into crazy Irish/Italian mode, for sure. Lord help me….Lord help our furry friends.

The Daily Golden

Carrboro, NC – I realize that there are many stories in the news of this happening, but apparently it is still not hitting home with some people.

The temperature outside is not relative to the temperature inside a vehicle, and it only takes minutes to reach temps over 100 degrees even when its only 75 outside.

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On June 10, Deb Cunningham learned this lesson the hard way.  Deb is a program director at an organization called Eyes, Ears, Nose and Paws.  They are a non-profit organization that trains and places service and diabetic assistance dogs.

On that particular day, Worthy, a 2 year old golden retriever, was suffering separation anxiety so Cunningham took him to the office.  Worthy had completed his training and was scheduled to be placed with his new client the following week.

Because it was only 73 degrees and she parked in the shade (at high…

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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

Photo:  AKC.org

Photo: AKC.org

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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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…

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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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Genuine Happiness Ahead

I saw this picture on Facebook and absolutely love it so I had to share it with ya’ll!  Out of all of these choices, which will you choose to start YOUR journey to genuine happiness?  Mine started with “J” for Jesus and I am always incorporating the others…and don’t you know my “R” would have said “ReeCreate”  🙂

(Hint:  I am going to print this out and put on my fridge as a reminder 🙂 )

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Photo: TheHappySelf.com

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Never be Ashamed…

I can’t tell you how much I love this saying!  Not only because some of our invisible “inner scars”…but our very visible, outer scars, disabilities, etc.

After I got all of my scars through my many surgeries in 2010 (my torso gives Mapquest a run for it’s money), I was very self-conscious of them because they start from my neck down and are very noticeable, as is the lymphedema, a side effect of the tumors/surgeries that without God’s healing, I will have the rest of my life.

My insecurities all started after my first shopping trip and I saw the cashier staring at my chest (and she even asked me what happened to me).  At first, I thought I should take the advice of many who suggested creams and lotions that would help “diminish” their appearance…and of course, no more open-neck shirts for me, no more shorts, or Heaven forbid, bathing suits.  It’s one thing to be able to hide my inner scars, but now, these are right out there for everyone to see.   I always wished I could wear a shirt that said “Yea, I am the only person ever that gained 100+ pounds having a body riddled with tumors and now I am left with lymphedema, so that is why I have the scars and body shape issues”.  How many of us want to wear a shirt that would “explain” ourselves so that we would not have to address the ugly looks, snickers, stares and comments of strangers, even though we know that it their problem, not ours, it doesn’t always make it easy to deal with.

Heart Scar

Where my visible scar starts…

After a month or so, it finally dawned on me that the visible scars on my body from the surgeries should not be something of embarrassment, but an opportunity to (literally) “show off” and tell folks about how God saved my life by sharing the testimony of my tumors!  I was able to share God with people in a way that I have never been able to do before and it was awesome – my own, unique witnessing tool!  I truly praise God all the time for what He’s done for me, my family and others through those tumors!  I no longer wanted to wear “cover up” clothing or miracle creams, etc. because I WANTED people to see them ask me about them!  Actually, I am sad that many of my scars have faded, even with my light Irish skin tone, but the one that is most visible to everyone has remained the darkest, the one in this picture.  I am so happy that God has allowed that scar to be so pinky/purple because I don’t want to lose my opportunity to share with others and SHOW them what He has done for me and give them hope….what tried to kill me only made me stronger and brought many blessings with it.  Go figure.  My hubby, Jon, said that one of the reasons that God allowed my tumor removal/healing to come through the surgeries (and not just merely a snap of His fingers or something) was because He knows what a chatty little chick I am and that I would share what He did for me to help encourage others; I have such a wise hubby.

But no worries, folks…I will still spare everyone the vision of me in a bathing suit 🙂

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Chocolate Love

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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…:)

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Love Makes it All Better

Yes…it has been a challenging week for many folks in our country…2 national tragedies that still need our prayers…for those who have lost precious loved ones…for the people who are on the front lines in search/rescue/medical personnel…and those of us who are “on the outside looking in”.  While in weeks like this, we might wonder where God is in all of this…well..His heart is grieving, too, and He wants to show us His Love.

I saw this Snoopy cartoon and it reminded me of our week…but how God would love to just love on us during this time…and not just with a kiss, but with His Love, Peace, and Compassion.  The question is…will you let Him?

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Photo: Charles Schultz – Snoopy

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If they only knew…

I love this for 2 reasons…one, is because I love fruit – de-lish!  The other, on a more serious note, is it reminds me that don’t we all think about ourselves this way, not realizing just how wonderful God made us – inside and out… ♥

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