This week in meetings I am talking to my members about glowing…..Weight Watchers Glowments, those moments when you do something you are so proud of that you cannot help but glow. I love this!  And though I lead meetings now, I am still a member, continuing to learn and grow on this journey. 

This week has been another one of those moments when I go….ahhhh….YES….THAT is what I need to hear and do.

Taking care of me…..putting me first…….something that is hard to do in the best of times and even harder in the midst of chaos, heartbreak and fear.

The past couple of months have been difficult and the past few weeks found me falling back on old habits to comfort me….I even had a Peanut Butter day….just one day. What I learned is that the old habits don’t get rid of the fear or the pain.  Peanut butter does not heal what is hurting my heart and soul, instead it gives me heartburn.

I am finding my footing, finally, this week. I am beginning to find a way to take care of me, and find some happy moments, all while my heart cries.  I am finding that the new habits I formed while losing my weight and the lifestyle I have developed is now more comforting to me than the old ways. 

And this week I am finding some moments…those glowments that I encourage my members to find…the positives when negatives are all that can be seen and felt. And I am proud of me!

Slowly I am getting back to my life….. taking back my life. And that starts by taking care of me…..eating healthy, exercising (yes, I need to get to my training for that half-marathon) and doing things that I enjoy doing. 

A movie last weekend, a book to read, and dancing in the living room…all ways I have started to be kind to myself.

And Last night, an evening with my husband at the Bruce Munro Sonoran Light Exhibit was just that moment or glowment. The lights glowed, changing colors, drawing me in.  And I was glowing!

Taking care of me does not take away the pain and fear, but it does help me to grow and glow!


I Can Do All Things…..

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Phil 4:13

My favorite bible verse.

I have this verse, etched into a stone, sitting on my kitchen counter, a daily reminder that I CAN do anything with Christ beside me.

A reminder I find myself needing quite often lately.

The first time I read this verse and found that it really struck a chord in me was the summer of 1982. I had gone with two very close friends to a Christian camp for a week. That week, there in the mountains of Washington State, was a week of discovery and a week in which my faith and my relationship with God were solidified.  I had a wonderful, caring counselor and made new friends, ones who helped me find an even stronger relationship with God.

That week culminated in my baptism. I had been christened as a very young child, after my adoption and was told that baptism wasn’t necessary after that.  Yet, I made a choice to be baptized, there at the camp, by my counselor.  To me this was my way of letting go of all of the pain of the past, of forgiving and renewing my commitment to walk in faith with Christ.  It was an amazing, uplifting, life-confirming event for me.

From that week, through to my current situation, that verse carried me through the dark times and the wonderful times.

And now, I find myself repeating this verse daily as I tell myself to just breathe.

I am not alone.

I have Christ beside me, though at times I think He carries me.

And God made sure that I had my husband beside me. I have no doubt that God brought my husband and I together to help each other through the craziness that life brings—the upside down, cyclonic tornado that comes ripping through our lives.  I know that with my husband to hold on to, the winds of life will not carry me away, even when I am so weary that I feel I can no longer hold on.  God made sure of that!

And right now, in the midst of this current cyclonic tornado, the only way I can describe how I am feeling in this moment, I find this verse a source of comfort.

“I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me”

Yet, I am tired….exhausted from trying to find the good and trying to be strong. I am tired of learning, again, just how strong I can be.

As I tell myself to just breathe, I find myself dreaming of a life that is ordinary, boring and mundane……….

To Infinity and Beyond

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Looking up at the night sky, here at home, the stars seem so far away…..and so few of them can be seen with the city lights around us. Though, here we can see more than some of the other cities we have lived in. 

As a young girl I was fascinated by the night sky, imagining the “other” worlds out there, wondering if there was life somewhere else, and amazed by the twinkling stars in the sky, twinkling just for me. I used to love to lie in the grass at night and just watch the stars, letting them create images for me. 

And then I was told that science and math were “a boys world”, that girls weren’t smart in those areas….so I let go of my fascinations and my dreams of discovering what was beyond those bright stars.

Last night my curiosity was reawakened as I sat atop Kitt Peak and stared at the night sky.  It was dark there, really dark and I could see thousands of stars….all there to remind me of the dreams I once had and to spark my curiosity about the world I live in and the universe my world was in. 

This night was possible because my husband loves space and astronomy and he wanted to celebrate his milestone birthday at Kitt Peak National Observatory.  We arrived before sunset, had dinner and then we were taken by the guide to a viewpoint to observe the sun setting on the horizon.  Absolutely BEAUTIFUL!  The colors were vibrant, painting the sky in hues of red, orange and blue…..and even a green glow just as the sun disappeared.  Atop this mountain we could see forever.

Then it was time for the night viewing and boy was it dark. We were taken in smaller groups to view the stars through the telescopes.  We sat in an open air observatory watching as satellites, or maybe just some space junk, slid across the sky, sparkling as the sun glinted off of the metal and we were in awe of how many we could see while sitting there in the dark. 

 And then it was time to look through the telescope…..we saw star clusters, nebulas, and two different galaxies….all unable to be seen with the naked eye. I was amazed and somewhere deep inside me I could feel that excitement again….I wanted to see more, learn more, explore more. 

And when I thought it couldn’t get any better, it did. We viewed Jupiter and four, yes four, of its moons.  It was one thing for me to see photos of Jupiter and to imagine what it must be like when I see that bright “star” in the night sky.  But standing there, seeing Jupiter with my own eye through the lens of the telescope, I was thrilled, ready to go into outer space and explore all that we know is there and all that is still to be discovered. 

And then we saw the moon through the telescope lens……every one of us, as we stepped up to the telescope and looked through the eye piece, gasped excitedly…..the moon that we see every night with our naked eyes was huge through this lens…..the shadows, the craters, the terrain, all felt within reach. It was spectacular.  This was why man wanted to walk on the moon, to see it in person.  I can only imagine how exhilarating that must have felt. 

The rest of the night tour was spent finding the constellations and stars with the help of one of the guides and viewing some of them through binoculars….aiding us in seeing that some of the “brightest” stars are really more than one star.

This night brought back my curiosity about the earth, our galaxy and the universe. I cannot wait to see what more is out there, what new discoveries we make and am looking forward to more nights spent atop a mountain, looking to infinity and beyond.

Someone’s Life is on the Line

As I had written last month, my mother had been killed by a drunk driver. Sadly, that was not the only time that drinking and driving has affected my family.  My husband’s brother, his only sibling, was killed by a drunk driver in 1995.  19 months later, while we were living on an Air Force Base in Turkey, my husband was asked by his boss to write an article for the base paper that would share his story of how drinking and driving had affected his life and the life of his family

It was 21 years ago today that we lost Rob….my husband lost his only sibling, his parents lost their first-born child and my boys lost their beloved uncle.

Today I share with you the words that my husband wrote for the base paper—


Someone’s Life is on the Line

Drunk Driving destroyed a part of my life.

March 11, 1995, started out as a day like any other. I had just wrapped up a few things at work and was preparing to spend a casual Saturday with my family.

Then the phone rang. My brother, my only sibling, had been killed in an automobile accident. 

As my family and I made the long trip to Washington State, we called to tell my folks where we were and consoled each other as best we could over the phone.  During these calls, they shared the details of the accident as they came from the state police.

By the time we arrived at my brother’s apartment, we had learned that he and his fiancée were returning from a friend’s house after catching a late movie at the local theater. It was a little after midnight, and a pickup truck traveling the opposite direction careened off a guard rail, crossed the center line, and hit my brother’s car almost head-on. 

My brother was killed almost instantly, and his fiancée was seriously injured.

The other driver suffered only minor cuts and bruises. He was legally intoxicated and had been arrested just a week prior for driving under the influence of alcohol.  This drunk driver had taken away all that my brother had and all that he was every going to have—a wife, children, a long life.

On March 13, 1995, I spent the morning writing my brother’s obituary. March 13 is also my birthday.

To drink and drive is to risk losing everything you have and to risk destroying the lives of those who may have just begun to live.

Is this a simple matter of being responsible for our actions? Yes, it definitely is. And what about our responsibility to others?  Do friends allow friends to drive drunk?  No, not real friends.  Responsible people do everything they can to prevent others, even strangers, from driving under the influence.  When it comes to preventing someone from drinking and driving, remember that someone’s life is on the line.

 We miss you, Rob.img991 copy

Finding Adventure

Adventure can be found in the extraordinary and in the ordinary, it can be found in the day-to-day and in the once-in-a-lifetime. 

This week, where I work, we have been discussing “finding our adventures”, which has me focused now on just that and has me asking what “adventure” means and how to find it.

Most of my life I have felt that I am cautious….I am NOT a huge risk-taker and I am definitely not an adrenaline junky.  I have my fears and I often feel that those fears hold me back from adventures, maybe keeping me from the ultimate once-in-a-lifetime moment.  So, I found myself surprised at what I have discovered this week about adventures and how they fit into my life.

I have decided, for me, that adventure does not mean I have to jump out of an airplane, with only a parachute to keep me from death (really, I can’t think of any reason to jump out of a perfectly good airplane), it doesn’t mean that I have to ride the fastest and scariest roller coasters (I did that at Universal Studios in Florida in 2004 and I am good for at least 20 years), it doesn’t mean that I have to take risks at every turn.

For me, adventure is in the every day happenings of my life and in the special occasions, it is found in my travels, on date’s with my husband, exploring places near my home, in my day-to-day life–work, chores, hobbies, and it is found when I slow down to live in the moment, cherishing all that I am blessed to have in my life. 

I realized this week that I find “adventure” every day, in one form or another.

Earlier this week, my husband and I went exploring, trying to find the wild horses that roam the Salt River near us.  We didn’t find them…..but we did find the unexpected beauty that made us smile and filled our souls……an adventure we enjoyed together without any fear for me.

And this past week I found a new (rather an old) activity that I have been enjoying….another adventure for me.  I rediscovered how much fun the hula hoop can be.  And yes, that is an adventure!

Adventure, for me, is discovering new things to do, new places to explore and returning to explore previously visited places.  It is enjoying the songs that the birds sing for me when I am out walking.  It is the found in conversations I have with strangers that I meet.  It is watching the sunset turn the sky fiery red.  It is reading a book that I cannot put down. 

Adventure to me is finding joy in the ordinary that life offers and the extraordinary, and sharing it all with my family and friends.

And sometimes, adventure means stepping outside my comfort zone, taking a chance, taking that leap of faith and seeing where it leads. 

Some of my greatest adventures come from just trusting, taking the leap and being grateful for all that God has blessed me with in this life.

Your Voice Matters

I had read a few days ago that the “Play me I’m yours” piano art display was happening here in Mesa and I wanted to see the pianos…all 24 of them, decorated by local artists and placed in a variety of areas around the city of Mesa.  How exciting to see this kind of public art and have it invite me to play that piano.  I took lessons as a child and loved the piano…the sound is soothing to me.  And though I don’t play as well as I would like, I wanted to participate in this cultural, artistic event.  And then I read that the pianos, all 24 of them, would be on display at the Mesa Arts Center for one Sunday afternoon, the kick-off for the installation of the pianos.  Yay!  With my camera ready to go, my husband and I set out with friends to see those pianos.

I had every intention of going to the kick-off for the “Play Me I’m Yours” piano display and blogging about the pianos, which all inspired me. And it was lovely to watch others sit down to these works of art and create more art through the music they played.  My heart was loving this.  I even sat down at a couple of the pianos and just played a little, not remembering any of the music I played all those years ago.

I took many pictures, all in anticipation of sharing what I was seeing, but one piano kept calling to me, pulling me back to it many times. It was not the most colorful of the pianos…it was all done in black and white.  But to me, it was the most beautiful.  It spoke to my very soul and to my voice. 

Your voice matters.

And written on the piano was why the artists write. And it drew me in…..had me thinking about my writings now and throughout the years. 

Why do I write?

As a child I kept a diary to record for eternity the memories that I was sure I would some day forget.

As a teen I wrote to heal, to deal with the pain, to find my voice when I was not aloud to voice my thoughts, feelings or emotions. I wrote long stories that some believed were works of fiction but I knew they were the truth hidden behind the voices of made-up characters.  I wrote poetry, expressing all the emotions I kept inside of me. 

As I grew into adulthood, I continued to write, to record the memories of the many trips we took, to record my thoughts and feelings about the world around me, and to record the many things I wanted to tell my boys. And I continued to write poetry to express my emotions.   As I traveled my personal journey to lose the weight and finally deal with the baggage, I wrote to let go of the pain, to heal the child within me. 

And now I write again, to share my story in the hopes that it may help someone who is now or has traveled that painful journey through abuse and loss. And I write in hopes that my stories can help others to understand those who are like me, that what is shown to the outside world is not necessarily what is truly going on, that we all have our own stories, our own burdens and deserve love, understanding, and second chances. 

I write to record the memories of this life shared with my best friend, to remember the stories when we are old and our memories fade.

I write to show that you can come out of those dark days to the other side and have the life you have always wanted.

I write to celebrate all that is beautiful and glorious in this world we live in. What a wonderful life it is when our voice matters!


One Decision and a Life is Forever Changed

One decision can change a life.

One decision changed my life and out of that tragedy I have found the life I was meant to live.

One decision made by a man….a stranger…..irrevocably and drastically changed the course of my life and took from me, the one person who loved me unconditionally. At the time, I had no idea that my life would ever be “normal” again. I had no idea that anything good could come out of this tragedy.  Instead I felt as if I was being sentenced to life….life in hell and that God had abandoned me.  Despite all of that, my life today is exactly where I dreamed it would and so much more.  I have the life my mother wished for me and I would not trade any of what happened for the life I have today.  Good does come out of bad, though we may not realize it for many years.  I am where I am supposed to be and everything I have overcome in my life, all of the good and the bad, all of the life altering events, have led me here, to who I am today and where I am today.

37 years ago today, February 24, 1979, I lost my mother. The week leading up to her death was filled with fear, dread, anxiety and the unknown.  My mother spent one week in a coma, lying in a bed in ICU.  Exactly one week before her death, February 17, 1979, she was in a car accident… caused by the decision of a total stranger. This man made a decision to get behind the wheel of his pickup truck after a day of watching sports, hanging out with friends and drinking beer.  And that decision, to drive after drinking cost my mother her life.  One decision can irrevocably alter the lives of many. 

February 17, 1979 was a gray, rainy day….a normal winter day in the Pacific Northwest.  My sister and I were going to a slumber party for a friend’s birthday that night and I was so excited.  Earlier in the day I had argued with my mom about going and as she drove us to our friend’s house, I was still upset with her.  I thought the argument and my feelings were why, as we drove through the rain, I felt dread in the pit of my stomach, a foreboding that something bad was going to happen.  I shrugged it off and jumped out of the car, saying a quick good-bye to mom.  I was ready to have fun with my friends and would see mom the next day when she picked us up.

And then the phone call came. My friend’s mother had me come to her room to talk on the phone to another friend’s mother:

 “Terri, how did you get there?” was asked of me

 “Mom dropped us off” I answered

And then through the phone I heard her say to someone that “she doesn’t know”.

And then came the words that would change my world—“Your mother was in a car accident and is in the hospital. Your dad is on his way from Washington and your neighbor is coming to pick you and your sister up and bring you home.”

If they had called my dad, it had to be bad. We hadn’t seen dad in months and I did not want to see him now.  My legs began shaking; barely holding me up and the tears began to flow.  My friend’s mother took the phone, finished the conversation and she held me.  And she prayed with me for my mother.  This woman gave me comfort and it would be the last time I would be comforted for years.  I will never forget her hug, her kindness or how comforted I felt that night, sitting in her room with her.

My dad and my older brother made it to Portland in record time.  They picked us up and we headed to the hospital late that night.  After hours spent in the waiting room, the nurses finally let my sister and I see our mother.  I was scared…..really scared.  The nurse explained what we would see when we walked into the ICU…..but it did not prepare me enough.  Lying there in that bed, hooked up to tubes and wires, bandages around her head, was my mother….the strongest, bravest, most loving woman I knew and lying there she looked so fragile.  It took everything I could muster to not cry…..they would make me leave if I got too upset.  The nurse told me to hold mom’s hand and talk to her…..she said that even in a coma, my mother could hear me.  Holding mom’s hand in mine, I leaned real close and whispered to her that I was sorry—sorry for arguing with her that day.  I told her how much I loved her and how much I needed her.  And she squeezed my hand.  She had heard me.

That was the last time I saw my mom alive.

One week later, she was gone. She left me……

I have never again felt so deeply the pain that I felt when I lost my mother. I felt as if I was in a dark body of water, fighting to stay afloat as the weight of all that had happened was pulling me deeper and deeper under the water.  I knew I would never get out.  How could God let this happen?  How could God take my mother?  How could He possibly need her more in heaven than I needed her here on earth?  How could a loving God take my mother, knowing that doing so would mean that I would have to live with my abuser, live in a house that from the outside seemed happy….yet behind closed doors was a nightmare I could never wake up from?  Yes, I was angry with God and I did not know how to move on.

I do not want anyone to feel sorry for me….that is not why I share this. I share my story in the hopes that it will help someone, somewhere.  We all have our own burdens to bear.  And what we see on the outside may not be what is really going on…..behind closed doors life for some is very difficult.  And the events in our lives, the tragedies, the celebrations, the losses all lead us to where we are….shape the way we see the world…..and affect our choices.

And we can learn from those life altering events….years later I can now reflect back and see the good that has come from all of this.

Yes, I felt God had abandoned me. And I was very angry with God.  What I have learned is that God does not “let” things happen nor does He make good or bad happen in our lives.  Instead, God gives us what we need so that we can get through the trials and tribulations.  And God did that for me.  He never left my side.  He gave me those years with my mother, time where she made sure that I had a strong foundation in faith….a faith that would carry me through the abuse and a faith that carries me through life.  My faith is what gets me through every day.

I also strongly believe that good comes from bad. If I had not lost my mother, I would not have been back in dad’s house……that was more “bad”….. But I also would have never met my husband nor would I have had my two boys.  Knowing now how my life has turned out….living this adventure with my best friend, my partner and love of my life, and raising and loving my two boys…..I would not change a thing that led me to here.  Without ALL of those events I would never have known my husband, and my boys would not be here.  I cannot imagine my life without the three of them.  I cannot imagine a world without these two boys, now men, in it.  Yes, GREAT things come out of tragedy.

I have also learned through all of this that life is precious and short. That we never know how long we have someone here with us and we need to appreciate them while they are alive.  Saying good-bye without anger is so important to me….letting those I love know that I love them today because tomorrow is not guaranteed. 

The decision of that stranger to drive after drinking set a course for my life that I did not see coming. His decision and the loss of my mother is why I will not have even one drink when I am driving, something that I have been given a hard time about in the past.  Maybe now, others will understand why. 

I hope that by sharing my story, I can help someone. In the midst of our darkest days, it may seem as if we will never come out the other side.  Yet, here I am, on the other side, living a life filled with adventure, love, and joy….living the life my mother wanted me to have.  me and mom

I miss you, mom!