Monday, June 26, 2017

An Open Letter to My Future Kiddo


An Open Letter to My Future Kiddo



Hi, peanut. 

Right now I don’t know who you are. I don’t even know if you’ve been born yet. I don’t know where you are, if you’re a boy or girl, if you have brown eyes like me, or eyes the color of the sky right when the sun breaks through after a storm. I do know, though, that I feel you in my heart. I already love you, and I have no idea what your name is, or if you get the hiccups a lot, or if you think that blanket forts are the best thing ever. 

I hope you like blanket forts, and if you’ve never built one, I hope you let me teach you. 

I know you’ve probably been through a lot, even if you don’t remember all of it. Things like that will stick with you, and I’m here for you to listen, or hug, or just sit and be quiet over a bowl of ice cream. Do you like ice cream?  

It’s okay if you don’t want me to hug you at first, or even if it takes a long time to trust me. While I’m adopted, I was a newborn and I don’t remember things. It’s okay for you to remember, and it’s okay for you to cry and hurt if you need to. This house will be a safe space for you. Can I tell you a secret? I’m scared, too. I know I’m the “grown up,” but my heart beats a zillion times a minute thinking that you are coming here to live with me, that we will be a family.  

Your grandparents are pretty cool people. You can call them by their first names, or you can call them Grandma and Grandpa, or Nana and Papa, or whatever you like. They’re really excited to meet you. They adopted me when I was a baby, and then four years later, adopted a cute little girl who became my sister. I’m sad that my sister isn’t alive anymore, but I have lots of pictures and stories. She would have loved you, too. She always asked me when she would get to be an aunt. Now she is one, and I know she’s happy wherever she is. My mom and dad live about 30 minutes away from us. Does that seem far? It really isn’t… I just put on  some good music in the car and am home in no time! What kind of music do you like? 

When you come home, because this is your forever home, I will have your room all ready for you. I don’t know exactly what you will like, but it will be fun for you to choose things to decorate your room with. You will have lots of choices, and I look forward to seeing what your personality looks like! Do you like teddy bears? Ladybugs? Butterflies? I have lots of butterflies in this house because my sister liked them, and I like to see them and think about her. I have two cats, too. They’re pretty old, but think they’re kittens. I call them Bandit and Bubba. Bubba takes a little bit to get to know people, but Bandit will come and meet you right away. They’re both very good cats and like to sleep a lot.  

When you come home, I will have lots of time off of work so we can get to know each other. I’m a nurse at a hospital, and I teach other nurses new things. I work with a lot of really cool people.  Do you know what nurses do? They take care of sick people and work with doctors to make them comfortable and feel better. I don’t know if you’ve been in a hospital, but I will bring you to work one day if you want to, so you can see that it’s not such a scary place. There is a lot of love that happens there, too.  

I hope one day soon to get a phone call asking me to meet you. I’ve been working hard on my paperwork and classes so I can have people come over and make sure my home is safe and ready for you. I can’t wait to find out about you, and have your home and room ready for you to come be in a safe space. I want you to know that I’m thankful for your birth family, because they brought you into this world. When you are grown up, I will support you 100% if you want to find them. It’s weird knowing that you have two families, isn’t it?  

I love you, Kiddo. I hope you’re well wherever you are, even if you haven’t been introduced to this Earth just yet. There’s a billion more pages I could write, and maybe I’ll keep adding on to this. You’ll have a novel by the time you arrive!

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Sometimes you feel physically tiny yet spiritually infinite - The Sedona Tale

I don't know if any of you do this, too, but I like to write about things that have changed me just as the magic starts to wear off, just as the memories start to fade... that way I'm able to write about it and rekindle those feelings, those emotions, that sense of expansiveness and holistic healing.

Earlier this month, only two weeks ago, I was in Sedona. I can't believe it was only two weeks ago. It feels like it was years and yet just yesterday. I think I left a part of my soul there, although my heartsong was reinforced and has left me with a sense of peace and wisdom. I put a lot of trust in this trip, as I wished it to be a journey of healing and release.

Okay, I know it sounds romantic, but being in that environment, amongst the Red Rocks which grew to be friends and mentors, I experienced another shift in my Self. I'm not sure who has been to Sedona, but I highly recommend it. Some go for the hiking, some go for the tourist attractions, some go for the shopping... I went there because I have felt drawn to that area for years. This was my first experience, and I wasn't prepared for what I learned.

My first day, I arrived early in Sedona. I wasn't to check into my AirBnB until about 4, however I had made a couple of appointments. My first appointment was with a BodyTalk practitioner named Caleb. I'd heard of BodyTalk, however had never experienced it for myself. Imagine psychotherapy mixed in with Healing Touch or other energy-movement modalities. I went in to my appointment not expecting anything, but hoping for emotional enlightenment. I had some preconceptions about what I was going to talk about, such as stressors over the past several years, however after a couple of hours, I had tears pouring out of my eyes as we pressed into issues that I never had considered. I left feeling cleansed, emotionally, and looked forward to booking another session.

Afterwards, I had scheduled a Spa day at Sedona New Day Spa, including a Turquoise Sage Mountain Arnica treatment. I was able to relax in their hot tub for awhile, and then rested in the sun until the therapist came to usher me in. Her name escapes me at the moment; it begins with an M... and she was highly intuitive as to what my physical body needed. After 90 minutes of pure bliss, I floated back to my car, feeling completely relaxed. As I had time to spare, I played in the Crystal Magic shop down the road and picked up some groceries at the Whole Foods before beginning the short drive to the AirBnB. My goal was to eat lightly and vegan, as I wished to purify my physical body during this journey.

On my drive to the AirBnB... I rounded the corner and was treated to this display for the first time.
I said, "Are you KIDDING me?"
 My AirBnB was a true retreat, very simple, with a bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bathroom. The homeowner had a pond in her backyard which was filled with trees and bamboo. It was just beautiful, and I slept very well that night after meeting the homeowner and taking a short walk around the area.

The second morning I explored Sedona, stopping first at the Amitabha Stupa. I circumambulated the Stupa, praying and chanting to myself, asking for peace and guidance for not only myself, but my fellow human beings. Following that, I sat at the feet of this gentle giant on the hill, and felt my remaining emotional stressors burgeoning to the surface. I was glad it was early, as my tears fell freely, and there weren't many people to witness this release.


 Afterwards, I spent a few hours hiking Thunder Mountain Trail... the views and rock formations were breathtaking. Later that day, I went up to Airport Mesa and hiked there, too. I think I had almost 17,000 steps on the ol' Fitbit that day!

 


 I spent the remainder of my days in Sedona hiking all over the place. Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock... (Oak Creek was SO purifying and beautiful...)




And Bell Rock.......

I spent more time back at the Stupa, and visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross where I spent more time in prayer... I did most of my praying on the trails, however.


I cried a lot of tears. They were tears of joy, such as those I shed each time a beautiful vista was opened up to me around a corner. There were tears of release, of sadness and anger and frustration. I shed those and washed them away in the cool waters of Oak Creek. For those of you who know me, I bottle up my emotions and rarely cry. I am happy that I was able to release those tears in such a pure place.

My last day, I happened upon a place called The Chai Spot. I wandered in to a lovely-smelling storefront with very few people in the room. All I know of Chai is what I occasionally buy from Starbucks, so I admitted as much to the sweet girl behind the counter. Savannah, her name was, educated me with great enthusiasm on chai and its origins. She suggested a drink for me, dairy free, and chatted happily with me while I enjoyed this beverage. She then handed me a magazine with an article on the owners of the Chai Spot, which told their story of falling in love even through cultural boundaries and family tensions.


I felt that I received a lot of messages in this journey. I know now that I don't have to be afraid of the future, that whatever happens is for a reason. I can be upset about something or I can search for the truth within the message. It's up to me to decipher what the internal words mean, not just to jump on the emotional bandwagon of what I "should be" feeling about it.

I look forward, very much, to my next trip to Sedona. I truly adored the region and the people, and of course, my Red Rocks.
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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Another beginning

The cool thing about being human is the constant opportunity to renew yourself. I was telling my "story" the other day to an interested party, and was again struck by all the shit that's happened over the past three years. Not all of it has been literal shit, but a lot of it was, and you know what? I'm using that as fertilizer for the good stuff that's coming my way.

Among the break-ups and my sister dying, and the 7 months of cardiac drama I went through, and fighting to get through school, and more break-ups, and association drama, and gaining 40 pounds, I figured that life was pretty much over, right? Nope!

I finished my MSN. I bought a home that's everything I ever wanted. I'm going back to school next month for my Clinical Nurse Specialist certification. I'm heavily involved in planning my first vacation in four years. I've discovered yoga and Pilates and meditation and renewal. I've started down the path to adopt a child, and will have the second phase completed in late June. I've made lifelong friends who have become my extended family. I've become closer with my parents. I've lost 10 of those 40 pounds.

I chose to eliminate coffee, alcohol, and most processed foods. I journal every night and every morning in the "5-minute journal" that I received at the SHARP Women's Health Conference in April. I've made self-care a priority for the first time in years. I have released my painful desire to be in a relationship, as I realize I can't be a functional part of a duo if I am not in love with myself.

That's my current journey. Finding my love for myself. I believe in romance, and that head-over-heels love that you read about and see on the faces of your Facebook friends when they post photos of their weddings and engagements. I am glad to know it exists. I may never find it for myself, but I'm at peace knowing that it does exist in this world. I am filled with the love I have for my family and friends, and thrive on the hugs and laughter and silliness that we share.

On another note, we're surrounded with so much STUFF, right? If love is so fulfilling, why do we have so much STUFF. We're covered in THINGS... even now, I'm surrounded by sofa pillows. Why do I need 7 sofa pillows? Earlier this month, I was in Sacramento at RN Day at the Capitol. I was introduced to several of the people there who were homeless. I was struck by their stories, the humility they show as they face such adversity that most of us would probably be a total  mess. One little lady was surrounded by umbrellas as she slept in the shade. She used one as a "gate," between her and a nearby planter, protecting her valuables from curious fingers. When I returned to her, bringing milk and pudding per her request, she presented me with two paper boats. I was immediately humbled that this woman, who has so little, took the time to make me these boats and then educate me on how they should be used.

I credit her for transforming my perspective on just about everything. We have a lot, if we just know how to look at it.



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Friday, February 17, 2017

Continued growth

Hello, loves. It's been awhile, hasn't it? I last posted in July 2016 after having my procedure to "fix" my heart issues. I'm happy to say that I feel well physically... I guess having oxygen will do that to a person. :)

I've started a new job as a nurse educator in a local hospital, and I love it. Continuing my work in palliative care and oncology has been a blessing, and I'm able to use my passion for this work every single day. While my job description is about three pages long, the focus is on patient advocacy, nurse advocacy, and working together as a team. I have been blessed to be included in projects utilizing evidence-based practice, facilitating Unit Practice Council meetings and projects, and getting our hospital ready for Magnet re-designation.

I do admit to missing my work with patients every day. I go into rooms to fix beeping IV machines and assist patients who are fall risks, yet I rarely have been able to sit and have conversations with these people who are undergoing rough periods in their lives. We're a very busy hospital, and I often observe my nurses running around, wondering if that's how I looked when I worked on the floor. We're expecting to have more downtime coming up, and I look forward to having the time to assist my colleagues with their patient care.

In other news, I have applied to return to school (!!!) for my Post-MSN certificate as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). I would focus on Adult/Gerontology and hope to have a specific focus in Palliative Care and ensuring comfort to patients on our Palliative/Oncology unit. While my MSN in Nursing Education provided me with excellent knowledge base, the addition of Advanced Pathophysiology, Assessment, and Pharmacology would renew my brain cells and allow for the simple power of additional knowledge to assist my nurses and patient population.

Personal plans include the renewal of my dedication to adopt a child in need of a forever home. As you know, I canceled my classes when my sister passed away in 2014, however I feel that the time has come again to open my heart to the possibility of a young person in my life. I look forward to this journey as well as any other that comes my way.

I hope you all are well. Live life freely and with love and light.

Back to work!

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

* Bloom *


I feel as if I've been given a second chance at life.

I had my percutaneous closure about 2 1/2 weeks ago and I feel amazing. It took me awhile to heal from it and get over the sore throat from intubation and another TEE, but I feel incredible. My left arm is still tender but I've found a compression sleeve really helps with that. My oxygenation is at 98% on room air so my tanks are sitting sadly in the hallway waiting to be picked up. I will admit I'm nervous to let them go, but it's settling in that I don't need them anymore.

I'm able to walk up stairs and hike around the block without feeling winded. I bought a treadmill and was able to knock out 2 minutes of jogging before my legs, not my heart or lungs, decided they couldn't handle anymore. I didn't feel dizzy or faint or truly out of breath, just out of shape. :) I find joy in analyzing my "new" wiring and seeing what has changed.

Yesterday I represented my nursing organization at the California Nursing Students' Association Membership South Meeting. It was an invigorating experience to be with the students again and out in the world. I didn't realize how much I missed doing nursey stuff until I saw those friendly, familiar faces and had more hugs than I have had in a very long time. The nursing world is so full of support and energy! Afterwards, I had an early dinner with a sweet friend of mine - we dove into topics that were quite personal for both of us, and I hope it was as healing for her as it was for me. It's always amazing to realize that you're never alone in the world; someone usually has been through what you have. Thank you, my dear friend.

I start my new job tomorrow, and am just thrilled for the experiences that I've been blessed with. I'm dearly hoping that I will be able to lead and inspire just as I will be inspired by my new team. If you had asked me five years ago where I thought I'd be, it would be very different from where I am now.

I couldn't ask for anything else. Life is good. I am grateful.



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