Posted in Mental Health

Curate Your Life

Did you ever go into someone’s home and it was so clean, minimal and tidy that it felt like a museum? I have been in several. I have always thought that it just doesn’t even look lived in.

Lately, however, as I have been purging things from my home with extreme prejudice it came to me… I have never felt uneasy in a museum. In fact, I find them beautiful.

There is a quiet peace, and plenty of space to carefully curate what is beloved. There is room to walk all around it and enjoy the offerings on display. There are comfortable places to simply sit and observe.

And so it makes me think that my home being museum-like may not be so terrible after all. And why stop there?

As a Mom with ADHD to kids with ADHD and a spouse with ADHD I know we all tend to over schedule and over commit. In my house I am the absolute worst offender.

I want to curate my life, I want room for camping and coloring and reading. I want room for games with the kids and geeked out table top gaming with my husband and friends. I want room for naps and room for my businesses to grow. I want room to rest and room to work and room to play.

I want less so that I can have so much more. January is coming to an end, and resolution fever tends to end with it. This year, I vow to continue to remember that I am the curator of my own life. We all can be. What can you say no to, so that you can say yes to more of what you truly hope for?

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Unquieted Fearlessness

I’ve written and re-written this post at least three times. How do I tell you about the life changing impact the past two days have had on my life? How can I tell you about her, without telling you our story?

At seventeen I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I saw her for the one and only moment in her life that she was quiet. She didn’t cry when she was born, she didn’t cry much after, either. But she made up for it over the next gloriously heartbreaking two days in which I kept her in the room with me and by my side.

Even though I knew and the choice had been made, I fed her. I changed her. I held her. I rocked her and sang to her and loved her. I took pictures and told her stories and while holding her in my arms with tears streaking down my face, I wrote her the hardest letter I’ve ever had to write. How could properly express to her that “I want you” and “I love you more than anything I’ve ever loved before, ever” were not good enough reasons to keep her? I endeavored to explain it anyway.

Yesterday morning, over twenty years having passed since the day I left my heart behind in a hospital room, I held her in my arms again. I’ve kept her somewhat selfishly close these past two days since she’s come to visit. I must make more concrete plans for everyone in our family to meet her, too.

Friends and family alike are in wonderment at how easy it has been for us to be together. But that way was paved for us and by us.

I refused for one second to be silenced about my first child. “How many children do you have” is a very loaded question for a birth mother to one, a mother with two at home and a third with wings. I have four. But that simple three word sentence requires explanation.

And so, since she has always been someone I’ve spoken of, and I’ve always told my children they have two sisters, one who lives far away and another who lives in heaven, they greeted their sister with squeals of delight. She is their sister, they love her, and they have monopolized near every free moment she has when they are near to her.

We loved her before we met her because we have always known her. We did things unheard of in adoption twenty years ago–we stayed connected. My beautiful daughter was raised with the knowledge of my love for her. How blessed am I?

My beautiful daughter was, and remains, loved and supported in a stable and non-toxic environment by two parents who love each other and their children. She has healthy boundaries and a delightful sense of self. She is confident in her beauty and still kind, because there was never someone telling her that these two things cannot coexist. Her parents were absolutely everything I hoped they would be for her, and even better than my sweetest dreams could have ever conjured up in my own imagination.

Giving her up for adoption was the first momentous decision I had ever made, and I had to be taught how to do so. This decision was so thoughtful, so careful, and so deliberate that I never once questioned the validity of its goodness. It was right. And not denying her was just as right.

Even with many around me encouraging me to pretend she didn’t exist, I refused. I always refused. There is so much I want to say, but there is not enough room in one post to share the overflowing elated emotions of this beating heart.

If you take away nothing else I wish for you to know this: even a broken child who had suffered tremendous trauma made a perfect decision and knew in her heart for over twenty years it was right.

I know so many days can be dark for so many of us. The dark days can linger and be long but there is light waiting for you. Keep searching for it. Look within and find what is right and live in joyful conviction of it. You do have it inside of you. I promise.

Posted in Uncategorized

Be Still

Can you look at this picture without seeing that the person in it still needs to get dressed for the day, and their floor needs vacuuming, and those things on the floor need putting away? I can’t yet, but I’m working on it. I took a break and was still, and my little dog who is always hiding away from the business of life behind a chair, is peacefully resting on my lap. We are enjoying closeness without me having to do a thing aside from be still.

And when I noticed this I thought about how my children do the same thing. When I am still, and unoccupied, they will simply sit with me, put my arm around them, and continue on their own activities.

There is always much to do. Acknowledge it in your mind, “put a pin it” and tell your brain you know it’s important. So is being still. Even if it’s just for fifteen minutes, I hope you have time to be still today.

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Where Is My Why

When you think about your day, do you think about what inspires you? No? Have you been inspired this past week, the past month, or the past year? Chances are you have, even if you think you haven’t. It’s just that inspiration isn’t usually a huge thing. It’s found in a piling of many small things.

I’ve been trying to rediscover my spark, my “mojo,” my inspiration for doing more than just letting life happen to me. I found it last year and it was the best thing ever. And then I lost it. And I couldn’t find it. And I couldn’t figure out how I found it in the first place. So I did the thing you do when you lose things. I retraced my steps.

In April of last year I became a “bag lady,” and joyfully started my own Thirty-One business. I sell the bags (and gifts because we are more thuan just a bag) because I love them, not the other way round. When I first began, my up-line talked with me for hours; on the phone, on messenger and in person. She is still there every single time I need her. She tells me she’s proud of me and we need to hear that so much, it always lifts my spirits.

But the most important thing she said to me was that my VIP group should be my ministry. Heather’s Dreams in a Bag should be a place where people come to because they want to hear from me. The bags don’t need selling, they’re amazing and are simply the background that allows me to connect to others.

I searched myself to find what unique thing could I give to others. What I found was my past, my pain, my prior knowledge and my triumphs. My journey to learn to love myself. That’s what I have to offer. Intentional positivity, self-love, and a driving desire for you to know that you deserve that too.

Here we are in January of the next year, where I found myself desperately trying to find again what inspired me before. I retraced my steps. I started again to meditate every day. I countered my paranoid thoughts borne of deep anxiety and past trauma with acknowledgment and discernment. I started again to listen to audio books about finding ways to make life better. I even repeated the ones I loved the most. Thank you, Rachel Hollis.

And then I looked for all of the little inspirations that I had throughout my day. A post that touched me and made me cry. Laughing at my daughters nonsense ADHD chatter and basking in the glow of my son’s constant and exuberant exclamations of love. Seriously, don’t ever believe the nonsense that children on the spectrum are emotionally numb. My children are emotionally stunning. They are the burning bright stars in my sky around which I orbit. I want them to love themselves too.

I’ve rediscovered my why. I am inspired by this life, this world, and all the beautiful messes within it. I want to share what I see through my lense with you. And I want you to feel inspired and loved and purposeful too.