Find Your Way Back 7-19-18

As a teenager I was a big fan of Jefferson Starship. I used to love the band. “Find Your Way Back” was certainly a favorite.

This morning on my walk for some reason I thought of this song and listened to it while I was walking. As I listened to the lyrics I found myself relating to some of the words.

Like the song, for me, the past few years (seven to be exact) have certainly been a long road since I packed up and left home looking for a new life only to turn around, leave San Francisco and find my way back home. The place I left in the first place. I can honestly say I’ve carried a heavy load along the way. However, as I pondered where I’ve been, I realized I’m no longer in that space anymore. In fact, those dark days seem like they happened so long ago.

These past several months I finally began to feel the fog lift. Occasionally, I’ve even felt like a turtle poking his head out feeling things out to ensure it was safe to finally come out of my shell and begin moving forward.

I believe we all face trials in our lives. At times those trials bring you to your knees. If you’re not careful, you find yourself stuck in a cesspool of water feeling like you’re drowning. I’m embarrassed to admit, that’s what happened to me. I’ve been drowning for a very long time. Trauma, grief, finances, breakups, lawsuits, cancer, illness…..the list goes on leading to depression, anxiety and yes….PTSD. Through it all, somewhere along the way I realized I’m the same strong woman I always was before everything in my life turned upside down. I’m still funny. I’m still strong. I’m still smart. I’m still that crazy, fabulous me I’ve always been. My circumstances may have changed and maybe I’ve been lost for awhile but I realize I’m still the same “me” I’ve always been. Love me or not, I am who I am and I’m ok with being me. I saw a quote I had posted a few years ago. “Sometimes, in order to be happy in the present moment, you have to be willing to give up all hope for a better past”. Truth!!! I can’t change the past but I can certainly choose to be happy now.

On Saturday, I’ll be on an airplane flying far away from here for the next two weeks in search of finding the peace and healing I need to finally find my way back. I’m so close. I can feel it. It occurred to me this morning that despite all the “rock bottom” moments we experience in our lives, somehow, someway we always find our way back. Of course, when you’re in the thick of the chaos swirling around you it’s hard to grasp the idea that eventually this too shall pass. I can assure you that based on my experience whatever you’re going through right now, trust me, more importantly trust god, and know this too will pass and before you know it, you will find your way back. Until then, don’t get caught up in depression, feeling sorry for yourself and whatever you do….DO NOT spend three years in your bedroom at your moms house watching Hallmark Romance movies like I did. Lol. What a waste of so many precious moments!! My advice is find your happiness in the present. Enjoy the ride. It might take seven years but I guarantee you will find your back. Just ask me.

In the meantime if you can’t find some inspiration or joy today, I’m posting my favorite Jefferson Starship song as a reminder to stay in faith. Today is the first day of finding your way back. My comeback is right around the corner. I believe yours is too!!

Maui….My Paradise 5-26-18

I just returned from spending eight days in Maui. I spent the week with my best friend who happens to be my cousin. We had a wonderful time. It’s always fun to hang out with my cousin. We laugh, we eat, we sing….we do everything we did when we were kids. It’s so much fun.

Going to Maui was a blessing. I am so grateful for the opportunity. After all, Maui is not only my favorite place, it’s also my healing place. Something about that “Maui Vibe” always seems to offer a sense of peace and grounding for me. This trip was no different.

Since 2012, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a total of 15 weeks in Maui. What can I say, I’m truly blessed. My cousin and I spent much time exploring the island as well as enjoying some much needed bonding time on the beach. We even did reiki. We went to Napili Beach. Big Beach, Lahaina, Paia, The beach at Five Palms (my favorite beach and Hana. It was awesome. My last day I took one last walk on the beach and was blessed to see six turtles. Three of them sunbathing. Turtles supposedly represent long life and good luck. I saw six that morning.

Maui is my go to place when I find myself depressed, stressed out or even overwhelmed with this thing called life. I like to meditate on the peace of being on the beach or the sunsets Maui has to offer. My dream would be to live in Maui part time. If I could do that, I would certainly be one happy camper.

This trip to Maui marked a new beginning for me. A new start. I’ve been in a slump for the past seven years. First my dad passed away causing my life to spiral out of control. Add cancer, an abusive boyfriend, financial challenges, family issues to the mix and you have one big pot of crappy goulash. I used the time to focus on letting go, finding forgiveness, healing myself so I could finally toss that goulash that’s existed in my life and move forward.

There’s a Hawaiian bird called the Iwa. This bird is a very meaningful bird in the Polynesian culture. The Iwa is at times referred to as the “Storm Bird”. The Iwa is 43. inches long. It soars and glides gracefully with a wing span of seven feet. They often travel great distances but rarely soar further than 50 miles from land. This bird has the resilience to withstand storms in its search for food and travel great distances. They swoop down in the ocean and snatch their prey using their hook like beaks.

Polynesian fisherman look to these birds while fishing. If the Iwa is flying above them, they know they are in a fishing area. They also look for the Iwa to find their way back home when they are out at sea.

While I was battling cancer, I used to say to myself, “when I overcome this battle, I’m getting a tattoo”. Well I did just that while I was in Maui. If you have ever been to any of the Hawaiian islands you know that many Polynesians have tribal tattoos. What you may not know is the tattoos they wear proudly have meaningful significance to each person wearing them. I went to a local tattoo artist named Sampson. He’s located on Kehei Road in a small shop called Pacific Rootz. We discussed a tattoo that would hold a special meaning in my life. I opted for a small yet significant tattoo of the Iwa. Like the Iwa I have faced many “storms” these past seven years. I’ve soared great miles to find my way “back home”. The Iwa is a reminder for me that whatever life throws at me, I am resilient and will eventually find my way back. I’m at a point in my life where I’m ready to let go of my past and find my way “home” to where the good lord wants me to be. It’s my guess in a much happier space, soaring through life and living life to the fullest.

We all face hardships and trials. Some of us more than others. If you’re like me, at times I feel like God has abandoned me however I’m reminded in Mathew 6-26 that if God provides for the birds he will certainly provide for me. I hope so anyway.

Mathew 6-26 “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they.”

I was standing on the sand the last day of my trip enjoying the waves that would come in and cover my feet then would slowly roll back and go back to the ocean. It occurred to me as I stood on the beach that life is like the waves of the ocean. Just like the waves, trials and challenges come in and cover our feet causing us to feel like we are drowning. However, like the waves, our trials slowly but surely head back to where they came from and once again we find ourselves standing on solid ground. Maybe a little “sandy” from all the debris those “waves” left behind but we are standing nonetheless.

The trials I’ve faced these past seven years have been hard. They have caused me so much pain and suffering. I have the scars to prove it. Like the waves, I am beginning to see my feet again. I’m hopeful and I’m happy again. I’m looking forward to enjoying life until the next wave comes in. Until then, like the Iwa, I’ll soar gracefully through this thing called life and keep moving forward towards finding my place and the “home” and the solid ground or land where I need to be.

I’ll leave you today with one of my favorite Outfield tunes. “My Paradise”

Letting Go 4-12-18

I saw this quote this morning on a blog site called Random Writings. Jim has a wonderful blog site and I enjoy reading his page everyday. This mornings post really hit home. I couldn’t resist blogging my own experience of the importance of accepting that at some point it’s time to let go of expecting what we want and just move on and start living.

For me this quote is so true. In the weeks and even the night before my dad passed away my dad’s sister managed to transfer all of the property my parents had spent their entire life working for in to her name leaving my family penniless. The story that led up to this is long and even unbelievable so I won’t go in to detail. All I know is one day my parents net worth was well over eight million dollars and the next day my father was gone and my mother was flat broke and homeless.

For seven years we have been in a lawsuit fighting to get everything back. In that time I’ve battled cancer among other things including depression. This has affected my family in such a negative way. Despite it all, my aunt has fought us every step of the way. She made millions on the property while my mother and I have been broke. We found ourselves living in one of our rentals that she now owns.

We are grateful to have a roof over our head however it’s the circumstances that have been challenging. The home is old and needs much work. The septic tank overflows all the time. It’s over 50 years old and needs to be replaced. My mother and I have gone without water and even a toilet for days at a time. A month ago one of the pipes broke and flooded the basement with sewer. I noticed it when I walked downstairs barefoot and stepped in sewer water. I’ve been so sick ever since. Black soot comes out of the vents and there is mold downstairs. In short this home is a parasitic environment. Our attorney has tried to get my aunt to do the much needed repairs while we have pushed through this lawsuit but she has refused. We didn’t know my aunt before her arrival months before my dad passed away. In fact, my dad hadn’t seen her in over 40 years. We have since learned she is a slum lord as well, in our opinion, a manipulative, greedy thief.

We were set to go to hearing May 31st. Yesterday my mother and I dropped the lawsuit. We are walking away. We have no idea where we will go or what we will do but we have given up on expecting to receive what we think should happen and just move on. Life is short. This quote is a reminder that it’s time to just start living and hope for the best. We don’t always get what we want but who knows, maybe what we wanted is not as big as what god wanted for us in the first place. I hope so any way.

Reach Out To Others 12-20-17

“O Key of David, O Royal power of Israel, controlling at your will the gate of heaven: Come break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.”

At this festive time of year, when all our attention seems focused on gathering with loved ones, those who are grieving face a most difficult challenge. They may feel locked out of the brightness around them. Be the key that releases those who are grieving, while still respecting their own journey. Reach out to those who have lost special people in their lives. Be creative. Spending a quiet evening with a friend may be more consoling than an invitation to share in festivities with a heavy heart.

—from the book Advent with St. Francis: Daily Reflections by Diane M. Houdek

Crazy Train 9-11-17

Do you ever wake up in the morning and wonder “How in the heck did I get here?”  You find yourself living a life that seems like a dream and not a good dream at that.  Maybe more like a nightmare.  You’re lying in bed and the only voice in your head is Ozzie Osbourne belting out “All Aboard!!!”  Is your answer yes?  Yeah…Me too!!!

September 14th will be the anniversary of my dad’s passing six years ago.  What a journey it’s been. The only way to describe it…..It has certainly been one hell of a “Crazy Train”.  I have spent the past six years grieving.  When I say grieving, I mean for two years I cried every day.  I slept with my dad’s ashes next to my bed.  I had nightmares every night.  Up until a few months ago I stopped believing my dad was coming back and finally accepted that he was gone.  I’ve spent more days then I can count balling my head off.  I’ve spent six years trying to figure out how to live my life without my dad as my sidekick. I haven’t done a very good job at it either.  Three of those years I found myself fighting cancer among other things including a crazy boyfriend who I should mention was not only a freak, but he was 20 years older than me and made my life even more crazy than it already was. I have battled grief, cancer, abusive relationships, loss of work due to illness, memory loss, anxiety, depression, PTSD and the real clincher, I lost everything I ever worked for.  My life is in financial disarray.  I’m not only rock bottom, I’m even living with my mom.  How embarrassing.  Somehow, this life isn’t what I had in mind for myself.  I feel like George Constanza from Seinfeld.  I’m unemployed, a nut and I live with my “parent” and let me tell ya, living with my mother hasn’t been a cake walk.  I have often joked I’d like to throw momma off this “Crazy Train” I’ve found myself on.

For those of you who have followed me, you know my story.  My story is not your typical Hallmark feel good story.  No, my story is more like a VH1 TV Series.  The difference between my story and say… those reality TV shows on VH1, my story is the real deal.  You can’t make up this crap.  I’ve been on a Crazy Train since September 14, 2011.  Like the song “I’ve been going off the rails”.  The good news is as I approach my dad’s six year anniversary, I find myself coming out of this fog and I’m beginning to hear the whistle blow.  I am beginning to hear Ozzie belt out “Stop Ahead” opposed to “All Aboard”  FINALLY!!

Dying sucks!!!  Especially when the person that dies happens to be your dad, best friend and the only side kick you’ve ever known.  My dad was all of the above to me.  A week before my dad passed away, we were on our way home from seeing his doctor who had told us my dad only had a couple of weeks left to live.  I was devastated.  I asked my dad what I was going to do without him.  I’m not sure if my dad recognized that I was serious.  He told me I was going to be fine and asked me to watch over “Mother Superior”.  My dad’s nickname for my mother. My dad and I had a special bond.  He wasn’t just my dad, he was my best friend. Undoubtedly the most important man in my life.  Was my dad perfect? Hell NO!  Daddy was a rebel!!!  A fun rebel who always looked out for me.  My dad used to say “Velma, men are like greyhound busses.  There’s always another one at the next stop, going to the same place for the same fare”  I believed him which is why I wasn’t one of those women that cried for too long after a break up.  For me it was on to the next.  Unfortunately, while my dad’s words of wisdom came in handy when it came to boyfriends or even an ex-husband, his words of wisdom didn’t include living without him. My dad was and will always be the Greyhound Bus I will never be able to replace.

Today is a new day.  Life is getting better.  I am finally on the mend.  I am ready to start over.  I’m even eager to begin a new phase in my life.  A life without my dad, but a life with purpose.  People always say time heals all wounds.  These words are true, however I don’t believe there should ever be a time limit on how long it should take to heal from the loss of someone you love.  Many people have lost their parents.  Many of them have bounced back in a matter of months.  It took me six years.  My advice to anyone who might be grieving the loss of someone they loved, give yourself some time.  I don’t have a time limit. You shouldn’t either.  It’s different for everyone.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.  And if you find yourself waking up from what seems like a bad dream which is actually your life and you hear Ozzie Osbourne belting out “All Aboard”……Don’t worry about it.  In every “Crazy Train” ride, there’s always a stop and a new beginning.  As my dad’s anniversary approaches, I am ready to get off this “Crazy Train” and start living life again.  My dad is no longer with me, but he will always be with me in spirit.  He will always have a place in my heart that is hidden from the world.  My private place where the love for my dad will live on forever or until we meet again.

Father’s Day – Just Me And My Dad 6-18-17

Happy Fathers Day to all you dads out there. Especially to my son and son in law. In my opinion, two of the greatest dads ever. Fathers Day is a reminder of the void I feel missing my dad. It’s been six years since he passed away. There isn’t a day I don’t miss that wild and crazy guy who always made me laugh. Somehow, even on the worst days my dad had a way with bringing tears to my eyes from laughing so hard as he told one of his hilarious stories. 
On this Fathers Day, I’d like to reflect on the fun memories my dad left behind. As I look at this photo I’m reminded of the good times I shared when it was “Just Me And My Dad”.   

Today the tears are gone and the void in my heart has been replaced with the love and joy I have from my beautiful grandchildren but I’d still give anything to have just one more day. One more day of hearing my dad share one of his funny stories. One more day of just “hanging out”. One more phone call. One more day…..Just Me And My Dad.

Everyone Is Facing A Battle 3-12-16

On March 12, 2014 my ex and I were on our way back from Scottsdale Arizona after spending five days at spring training. I’m a huge fan of baseball and even huger fan of the San Francisco Giants!!! We had spend the week cheering on the Giants.  I posted this story on Facebook. It popped up as one of my memories today. I remembered this flight and the impact this young woman had on my life. I am sharing on my blog today as a reminder you never know what people are going through until you spend a day walking in their shoes. Be kind. Be compassionate and always try to bring joy in someone’s life, especially when they’re having a bad day. 

  
On the flight home from Scottsdale we had the same seats w a view of the engine as we did on the flight there. To the right of us was a young mother who was trying to console her screaming baby. It was very annoying to many people on the plane. I’ll admit I too was a little bit frustrated. I could see the young mother was frustrated so I finally got up and asked her if shed like some help. She was so appreciative. I sat next to the young girl. She was 21 years old. I was able to finally console the baby and he fell asleep. I decided to sit next to her for the duration of the flight. I didn’t want to wake the baby so I just held him for his mom. 

Sometimes in life you never know what the person next to you might be going through. At times we don’t stop to ask. As it turned out this young mother had moved to the Bay Area a few months prior after her son was born. Her baby was born that October. This young moms name was Stacy & her sons name was Jaiden. Stacy was returning from Arizona where she had gone to visit her daughter who had a birthday that week. She would’ve been 3 years old. The previous July while Stacy was pregnant she took her daughter to the pool. She turned around for a brief second. Long enough for her daughter to run off & fall in to the kiddie pool. Stacy’s daughter drowned. It was an accidental death that was not just caused by drowning but her daughter had asthma. Stacy shared how the paramedics had tried so hard to save her daughter. Like any mother she was devastated. 

The trauma she endured was hard on her pregnancy. She shared that her baby experienced colic & would cry  for hours. She had been told that the trauma not only effected her but possibly affected her baby. She moved to the Bay Area to stay w her godparents in the hopes of healing. She was in counseling and her family had been very supportive. 

As we began to land baby Jaiden woke up. He was screaming. For some reason I prayed & asked god to please console this baby. You’ll never believe this but the baby stopped crying. Stacy and I talked to him, rubbed his back until we landed. My heart went out to this young mother.

After we returned home I found  I couldnt stop thinking about Stacy and her baby. I certainly prayed for her & hoped she would overcome. 

I decided to share this story because often times we all become frustrated w other people. We don’t take the time to listen to the real story. Next time you encounter a frustrating situation take the time to ask the person if everything is ok & be sure to listen. I know I will do the same. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind always and take the time to listen.