Monday, January 25, 2016

When life reminds you that things will be ok...

This last weekend I went to Bend, OR with my girlfriend, partner in crime from work, and overall awesome woman. The goal of the weekend was to sleep, do a hike, grade some papers, and enjoy spending some time together. There were challenges, like when our original hike ended with a snow covered dead end road, and victories, finding a new hike that was just the right size and at the end, a little gift that reminded me that I am on the right path.

As I have shared before, this has been a year that has pushed my limits, made me wonder if I was going to lose my mind. I had flashbacks of twenty years ago when I thought I would be lost in the crazy, and found myself deep in sorrow I couldn't express.  I have struggled to find joy, find strength, and find peace and worse, I feel that I have been walking the path alone. When you have always been the strong one and now you feel weak, where do you turn?

Asking for help has been uncharted territory, one that I am working on. Expressing my feelings has been frustrating and many times unsatisfying, but I continue to forge forward, knowing that if I don't, I will completely lose myself and all that I have worked for.

I don't know what the future holds. I don't know what is to come, but I do know that I am seeing knowledge, seeing joy, seeing solace from the anger and sorrow that, at times, is so overwhelming that it just brings me to tears. Every once in awhile, when I feel frustrated and defeated, the universe reminds me that there is an army behind me...people I know, and others I don't. I will make it through this one too...I have to believe it to be so, because believing is what has brought be through this is the thing that has given me hope. So this weekend I was filled with friendship, fresh air, and a reminder that the Timbers Army was there...complete with a license plate parked in front on me when we returned from our hike...This will be a year that I take "No Pity" on my sorrow from last year...I will be victorious and, at the end, I will put a star on my victory too! #giraffestrong #hikingforthosewhocant #giraffesforjavad #rctid #hike4 #52hikechallenge

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Time passes...where am I?

Time has passed. I realize that it has been almost a month since I have written. So much has happened, yet so little has happened. Things have moved forward and we have stayed in the same place. Someone reminded me the other day about how long it had been since I blogged...

There is no real reason for this...I'm overwhelmed, I'm swimming, I'm trying to stay afloat, I'm making it. It's been a weird time but a growing time. This has been one of the hardest years of my life. I know that you know because I've been open and honest about the struggle. I am grateful for the people that are in my life, those who have stepped up, those who have come out of nowhere, grateful that they kept me from falling off the ledge when it was so frightening.

I'll admit that I wish I could have been better, wish I could have handled things better. On the outside, to most, I seemed okay, not great, but handling. I really wasn't handling much...inside I was spiraling out of control, falling deep into a hole that was frightening. The holidays weren't great because I felt empty, hollow, and it's hard to find joy when you can't even find anything.

Don't get me wrong...I am working on it, I am getting better, day by day, moment by moment. These kinds of times don't just turn themselves around in a second, time is needed. I don't know what the next steps will be but, ironically, I am not too worried...I am finding some peace. I am focusing on my health, my wellness...I am finding it on the mountain, step by step, one hike at a time.

Javad is having slow improvements, tiny glimmers. I am working on getting him into rehab therapy to work on physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech...I want him to get stronger, get healthier because I know that his improvement will also foster my improvement. In these times I am intrinsically tied to him. In these times, others are also stepping up...his teachers at school, his people who are holding his healing in the light. I have a giraffe that is going on my hikes, a virtual Javad, of sorts. He is a part of this journey, even when he can't actually go. His spirit is there, his heart is with me...this is the year of growth and change, the year where healing happens. It has to...something has to give or it will crack open beyond repair. I am choosing better, I am choosing change. I am ready. #giraffestrong #giraffesforjavad #52weekchallenge #hikingforthosewhocant

Monday, December 21, 2015

Holiday Elf...

This fall has been filled with some dark times...times where I am peering over the top wondering if the light will come in and others where I am standing on the edge grateful that I am not at the bottom. Today a ray of sunshine arrived at our door...well, technically she arrived at the United Cargo bay from distant Puerto Rico. This sweet girl, being renamed Leia, has brought joy to my heart already. She is a part of my bid to get healthy and fit (can you say morning and afternoon walks?) and bring love and joy to my heart. Maybe not everyone is totally in love yet, but I am in love...and have hope that this is a sign of a new beginning.

I'm taking things one day at a time. I realize that I must create my own happiness and quit expecting things to come to me...I am hoping that, in time, she can be trained as a therapy dog or a companion dog. This will be a win for both myself and Javad.

Today, this sweet face is starting the steps forward...2016 here I come and I am bringing my own Force to awaken...Joy.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Memories like razors in the mind...

Recently I was asked to submit a story for a book around the subject of parenting a medically fragile child. I have been mulling around the story ideas for a few weeks and, frankly, I should have gotten my submission in some time ago. The focus of this book will be to give perspective to medical professionals as well as to parents, which helps to give a focus for my story. When deciding what to write, I realize that there are many events over the last fourteen years that I could write about, but trying to focus on one has been the challenge.

Clearly Javad's most recent episode is the one most prominent in my is the one that has made the most profound impact on our lives. So, today I began writing...I didn't realize how much everything is still in the forefront of my mind, even after nine months. It is almost profound what the mind can do, remembering the smallest of details. I mean, it took me over a month to learn the names of my students this fall and yet I can tell you exactly where I was standing last March when I received the phone call from home about Javad.

Memories are a strange thing, cutting like razors on the mind. Small little cuts, which together create a wound that is raw and open.

So tonight, I am struggling to finish the story, maybe because although the initial part of the story is done, we are still living in the repercussions. Our story is not done.

There are so many things about my life that have been altered with this story, directions that are being challenged, wounds that were opened. I feel that maybe continuing to write about it is one way for real healing to begin. It seems like it is the only's like walking into the light. It might be the only way to see.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Javad, the giraffe, and the MLS Championship...

This has been a crazy few weeks. For those who know me, you know that I love soccer. I met my husband playing soccer, met some of my dearest friends from soccer, and, this year, have made many new friends through soccer.

Last year, on March 16, our world changed forever. Our sweet boy, who had beat so many odds, had his first ever that was so big that it stopped his heart for almost four minutes and nearly cost him his life. It has been a year of lowest lows...Javad's seizure has blown a cavern through our lives. For the first months (maybe the first five), our boy just wasn't there. Snowed by drugs and the trauma of (let's review here...) a seizure, four minutes of CPR, three days of cooling (yep...a Javadsicle), then two days of thawing, two days of double the seizure medication, then three more weeks of sleeping. We brought him home after a month and had no idea what might happen. He was barely conscious and was being evaluated using the coma scale.

I was trying to find escape and, my love of soccer was where I found it. Although I was barely able to go to any games this season (although I am a Thorns and Timbers 2 season ticket holder), I went whenever I could with my dear friends and followed their progress. This was a season where things just didn't seem to be falling together, a feeling I both understood and related to. The Timbers Army, the fan base in Portland, never lost hope. There were good games and there were not so good games, but ultimately, the Timbers kept playing. Over the summer, things started to turn around, similar to what was happening at home. We were seeing glimmers of our boy.

The summer became a summer of "turn arounds" and a summer of hope for both us and the Timbers. I got my giraffe tattoo, in honor of my own little giraffe, Javad, and the Timbers began making a late season run (I am not saying those two things were related but maybe!) Each month we were seeing more and more of our boy. I am not gong to is hard...he still can barely move, but he smiles and his lips are ready for a kiss at almost all times.

The fall of dreams continued with the Timbers, and an unlikely bunch of practically no names, made the playoffs. We weren't surprised, although I think the league was. Playoff games led to last Sunday's MLS Cup Championship game. I knew they would win...I had seen the magic and believed.

Now I am going to ask for that magic to flow over my boy...The odds are not in his favor...I am realizing that, although I believe that we have plans for improvement, it will take a lot of work, by both him and the community around him. I believe that this can happen...why? Because I just watched it happen in Portland. A city, an Army, surrounded a group of players and a coach that had a star in it's eyes and said, "We believe in you..." The magic is real in the Rose City....I am taking some magic for us here in Happy Valley...I am ready for a change of the tide. I am ready for a full recovery...I am ready to bring my boy (fully equipped with headphones because the Army is waaayy too loud) to see the place where his mother got her hope back.

It will happen...I believe...I think I have an Army behind me too! <3 #rctid #onwardrosecity #giraffestrong #giraffesforjavad

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The power of passion...#RCTID

Let's just start this out with the fact that I love it. Although I didn't play as a youth, I began playing as an adult and totally found a niche. Although I don't play anymore, I love to watch it.

Today, the Portland Timbers won the Western Conference and are on to the MLS Cup. This is the big one, the one for all the bragging rights. Next Sunday, they fly to Columbus, Ohio and win their first championship.

There have been many times during the season where this did not seem possible...many times when we were barely at the redline or above the redline, but then something happened. Maybe it was the third kits, the retro green and gold that I fell in love with the first time I saw them, maybe it was the Timbers Army, the fan base that is so incredible in Portland that people talk about them around the world, or maybe it was that the Timbers are just a second half of the season team, but I believe that it is more than's passion and desire.

When you want something, really want it, and create a space in your universe that it is already true, then it will happen. You talk into your future as if it is already real...we do this exercise during Challenge Day, helping students see their future as a viable thing that they just haven't arrived at yet.

That is what happened with the Timbers...thousands of fans, and the players themselves, believed...believed that at the end of the season, they would be holding the Cup over their heads, champions.

That is how life needs to be...believing what you want to have and making it true. By speaking into your future, saying what it is that you see, you can make it happen. This is what the Timbers are teaching me this reach out and take what you want, don't sit back and wait, playing the easy game isn't the one worth playing, finally, never stop believing, never lose your passion...keep the fire alive...because that is what makes it all worth it...holding your championship cup over your head and declaring, "I did it!"

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Three gates...

This last few weeks I have really been focusing on saying what I feel and what I believe. I have been working to be more open and honest with myself and my friends. My hope is that a time will come when openness and honesty will be available in all areas of my life.

Part of this is being able to regulate not only my thoughts but what comes out of my mouth. Sometimes this can be a challenge. The last few days memories of my childhood have been brought to the surface. There were some rough times, times that I believe, helped to form the person I am, good, bad, and otherwise. Growing up the idea of the three gates was rarely considered. I often wonder if my mother had thought about the three gates how different things may have been. Kindness and gentleness was never a consideration, but power and control was.

When I am under stress, my sharp tongue comes out. My ability to regulate it is sometimes compromised. I think that this happens to many of us. Stress can be the things that sets us off balance.  The thing that takes us from a rational human being to one that can lash out with razor tongue not thinking about how our words may impact another. This is a life long challenge...and in these times, the three gates are crucial to remember..."Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?" These three gates will become my mantra...maybe they should become the mantra for us all.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Unbecoming what's not you...

As I am working to write each day, I am looking at it as a process of changing and adapting the person I am with the person I want to be. I am trying to meld together two beings, which should say to others, that regardless of your age and experience in this life, there is always room to grow and change and, maybe in this case, discovering who you are and unbecoming who you are not.

The journey to become who you are is ever changing, ever evolving. It's the beauty of being a human, you can grow and change over and over. There is a not a limit to changing, nor should there be...the evolution of the human spirit should be one that molds and adapts rather than being stagnant.

So, along this journey of yours, the challenge is to whittle away at the parts that aren't you...the real you, and find the elements of your being that are the person you were always meant to be. This is when you will find joy and happiness and finally be content. It takes bravely and strength, but so worth it!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankfulness or appreciative?

So many times over this last eight months, I have struggled to find joy, be thankful and yet here we are, on Thanksgiving when I am supposed to reflect back upon what I am thankful for. Isn't that what we are supposed to do? Be reflective?

I am trying to find cheer, find gratitude. One some days, I'll be honest, it can be difficult. So today, this day of thankfulness, I am going to focus on those things that I can unequivocally say that I am thankful for.

I am thankful for my family. There have been ups and downs and, even through the rough times, they have stood by me. I am thankful for my children...all in all they are good people and I am proud to have been a part of their journey and continue to be. I am thankful for Javad's spirit that, despite everything, he continues to approach life with a smile. He has all the rights to be angry, be sad, be frustrated and he still smiles. I am thankful that on that fateful day last March, his fighting spirit came through...because of that he is still here, still smiling.

I am thankful for the nurses we have that care for Javad, keeping him healthy and strong. These men and women give of themselves and have become a part of our family. We are lucky to have such love and commitment to him.

I am thankful for my job, one that I love, and for my students. They bring me much joy every day...even the days I am frustrated. I feel honored to be a part of their journey, one of knowledge and personal growth. I am reminded every day of the powerful position I have been given and I am thankful for their impact on my journey as well.

I have much to be thankful for, and for today, I will focus on those. I will brush aside my sadness and feelings of despair and remember that I truly have so much...for that I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Yesterday's blog, "Teach Peace" spoke of how we should be approaching the world with peace and love rather than hate and fear. It seems that our world just can't listen and needs to be pushing against the good.

At a #BlackLivesMatter rally in Minneapolis, a small group of White Supremacists came and shot five people protesting. This, my friends, is equivalent to domestic terrorism, if we want to throw the word around, the kind of hatred and fear that is causing lives to be lost. We must stop and reconsider what we are doing. It is time to rise up, humans together, shoulder to shoulder and say that we have had enough. We want the human race to move forward, in peace and harmony. If you are white, as I am, stand with those around us that are being persecuted. We live in the "Land of the Free" and shouldn't we ALL feel free?

This continues to be a concern. In the 1940's, we had a war that cause massive loss of lives. The Holocaust, driven by hate, killing millions. Japanese citizens, yes citizens, were placed in camps "as a way to protect them" out of fear, Jews were asked to "wear the star to identify them" out of fear. In our world, our free world, we have black mothers teaching their beautiful black children how to behave when police are around, something that I have never had to be concerned about. My friends, whose children have to be taught about a world I don't have to experience because of my whiteness, continue to move forward in hopes of a brighter future.

When is enough enough? When does the land of the free also become the land of tolerance and love and, let's be real here, the land of the free? When does having equal rights mean that you also have equal opportunity and aren't judged by the color of your skin, your gender, ethnicity, or religion. When, I ask...when do we finally say that #livesmatter? I believe it to be so and if you can't see me right now...know that I am standing!!