Maribeth Doerr

Shades of Healing ~ Creating a Wholehearted Life

A New Challenge and Gratitude Revisited

If you’ve followed my blog for the last year (or tried to – I know the postings have been sporadic), you’ve been aware of a very stressful period for my family along with my deep-seated need for gratitude. Now, 12 months since my mother’s death and 8 months since my father’s, I’m finding myself looking towards gratitude with almost a sense of desperation . . . It’s my light, here in the middle of the tunnel, where the end isn’t really in sight yet.

I am still working on closing my parents’ estate. It’s been complicated by many factors that I’ll share at another time. My husband hasn’t earned any commissions since August 2010, and my business income goes down every month. How can a business thrive with such a lack of attention? In short, my family has been caught up in a lot of STUFF that sounds rather like a bad country western song. We ALL have a lot of STUFF from time to time; I’m certainly not unique in that but it’s been a year I don’t care to repeat!

And then when I felt like I was about through that tunnel . . . I woke up one night in mid May feeling like I was having a gallbladder attack. My gallbladder had been removed 8 years ago so obviously that wasn’t the source of the problem. It was painful but I didn’t get sick and it didn’t escalate. I was that way for two weeks. Just as suddenly as it came on, I woke up one fine day with NO pain, NO bloating, and an amazing joyful attitude. I was thrilled because I had planned a little retreat for the upcoming weekend – 4 days and 3 nights on the beach at Lake Tahoe. I haven’t spent more than one night away from home in over 12 years!! Waking up that morning feeling great meant I could really jump into catching up my business work and home chores so I could go on my getaway without any guilt. Oh the cheap thrills that gave me! I started answering emails and updating content, feeling SO productive . . . and then I started to feel some pain. I ignored it and kept working. Within 30 minutes, I was in so much pain I couldn’t sit still. I asked my son to call my husband. By then, I was moaning and starting to cry. By the time my husband got home, I had one terrified son and I was screaming. It’s a good thing the hospital is only 10 minutes away from us when the lights are all green.

I had lots of tests, the doctors had lots of theories which were all disproved by the tests, the massive amounts of medication they gave me irritated my liver and made me sicker, and they sent me home three days later with no diagnosis and a prescription for heavy duty pain medication. It’s been two months, and I’m still having pain attacks followed by days of nausea and vomiting as my body works out the pain medication. It’s a vicious cycle. I haven’t been able to work very much, and that is ruining my little business of 16 years. I feel exhausted and nauseated much of the time while trying to cultivate patience with myself and those who keep nagging me to update this or do that. I’m sorry StorkNetters . . . I’m really doing the best I can and I am SO grateful to the many many of you that understand and tell me to take care of myself first! I’m a staff of one and I don’t have the funds to hire the work out so . . . it is what it is.

That’s a lot of whining and complaining, isn’t it?! And that is why, in the midst of this additional upheaval in my life that I have to remember what’s good. It would be so incredibly easy to get sucked into depression right now. I don’t need that on top of being sick.

To keep me reminded of my gratitude attitude, I decided to take this year’s November gratitude month and make it into a separate website. I had the domain name picked out and when I went back to register it two weeks later, it was taken. So what did I get? What I most need now – healing and gratitude. So sometime this fall, look for! Thinking about and working on this website will help me focus on what’s good in my life, and there are many things.

Truly, there are positive things arising from this challenge as well, and I’ll be talking about them soon. It’s an amazing learning opportunity but I won’t lie – I’d rather not go through this. The pain attacks suck the life out of me, I’ve lost 30 lbs, and not knowing when the next one is coming is scary. I’d rather be caught up with my StorkNet work, starting my creative grief coaching practice and spending time with my family this week enjoying Reno’s Hot August Nights classic car festival. But as I said before, it is what it is and I have a tentative plan as I take my health into my own hands. My business work will all get done at some point. The timing isn’t really up to me so as I cultivate patience for this, thank YOU for being patient with me.

He who knows patience knows peace. ~ a Chinese proverb


The choice is mine

My dad died on December 2, 2011. I was with him as he passed from this world into the next. He struggled and fought hard. I held his hand and told him it was okay to go to Mom. I told him I forgave him for everything and I hoped he forgave me. I combed his hair because he was so very fussy about his beautiful hair; he wouldn’t have wanted to die with messy hair. When he died, his struggle ended; mine gave way to a different struggle, one I will need to walk through in order to heal.

The trauma of Dad’s accident affected him physically and in an elderly person with dementia (even the mild dementia Dad had at the time of his accident), trauma will upset the brain in ways that we cannot fathom. Dementia truly is a terminal disease and it does its deed very insidiously, inch by inch. Physical compromises are not easily seen because we all focus on the mental changes and how to work with those. Trauma ramps up those physical changes which in turn causes serious mental changes which in turn . . . . you get the picture. Trauma can be mental or physical and it might not even look like trauma to a younger person.

In my dad’s case, his trauma started when he lost his wife of 65 years and leaving his home of 20 years. The three months from the time my mom died until Dad’s accident were challenging but we were all adjusting and learning how to live together. We were “growing” into the situation and that is quite amazing for an 87 year old man with mild dementia. He could still learn new things even when he didn’t really want to. It takes a lot of patience and we were just at that point of figuring it out. At the time of his accident, he was settling into his new digs, laughing, eating well, and still enjoying golf three times a week. We’ll never know why he took off in his truck without telling us or where he was going. He did remember his accident and praying someone would find him (he probably laid outside his truck for several hours before anyone saw him in that ravine), but he had no idea why he was where he was.

My parents died 4 months 2 days apart. Mom died two weeks before their 65th wedding anniversary. I believe they were always meant to be together and things are as they should be. This doesn’t mean I don’t grieve. I miss my mother terribly, and I have a lot of challenging thoughts concerning my dad and his hospitalization to process and release. During those first three weeks of his hospitalization, he bit me, slapped me, balled his fists up to punch me several times, threw a filthy bedpan at me, screamed at me constantly, and flipped me off and other assorted hand waves. Even the things he’d say to me in a calm voice were ugly. I’d run home from the hospital and cry, have my own tantrum, or beg my husband to take me to a restaurant where people were laughing and having a good time. I needed to be where there was positive joyful energy!

During Dad’s last week, he had calmed down except for a few hours in the late afternoon when he’d be sick of laying in bed and being restrained (and who could blame that!). This is when his body began to shut down bit by bit. The trauma of being his object of rage changed to being the decision-maker for him and every day was filled with it. In December 1982, I made the decision to terminate life support for my 5 day old baby son. The week before Dad died, I was once again discussing end-of-life options with doctors—and during the holidays. It seemed an impossible choice for my own child, and yet, it was more challenging with my dad. He wasn’t on a respirator, there were no machines breathing for him and he wasn’t brain dead as my son was. Dad was still very much alive and talking to us (and to many people we couldn’t see!). There was no clear cut choice so each little medical decision was discussed with me and I would constantly ask myself what Dad would want. I found his medical directive and that helped a great deal as it took the much of the onus off me; I wasn’t truly making the decisions but speaking for Dad based on his wishes. And yet, not everything was totally written down in that directive so there was a lot of guesswork and assumptions. I hope I assumed correctly Dad . . .

It’s now been 8 months since Mom died and 4 months since Dad died. I am stuck in family trust executor hell. There is so much to do to settle Dad’s bills and legal issues, sell his house in a lousy real estate market, and sort out the extra furniture and “stuff” we acquired when we moved him in with us. Trying to manage his trust has been a comedy of errors, and the way things have worked out, I cannot legally fulfill my parents’ final wishes. This pains me greatly.

Some days I feel those angry thoughts grabbing hold of me and shaking the sense out of my brain. I’m learning to notice this pattern and go with it, rather than against it, remembering to breathe life into my hurting heart and overwhelmed brain. My husband hasn’t had a commission in 20 months. My business has been neglected since Mom died and it shows terribly in my monthly income. My business server went on the fritz yesterday and I will need to spend an entire weekend with an OS reload and reconfiguring my sites. We are on some seriously shaky financial ground. We have health issues, stress issues, and our poor house is falling down around our ears. We’re feeling assaulted on all sides except one . . . we’ve grown closer through this and closer with our sons. It’s a blessing we’ve accepted with full grace because something positive MUST come out of this chaos.

Last week, someone who heard my story of loss for the first time (5 babies, both siblings, both parents 4 months apart) asked me how it is that I’m still standing. This question always surprises me because I don’t think I have a special trick for it. My answer is simply because I CHOOSE to be. It’s a conscious choice I didn’t have a choice in losing those 9 significant people in my life but I have a choice in how I live the rest of my life. I can choose to wallow in self pity or I can choose to remember them with love and joy and incorporate their memories into my life in a loving joyful way. When the difficult feelings consume me as I deal with the family trust mess, I try to remember that my attitude about it can make it easier or harder. I can chronically live in flight or fight mode through this or I can remember to breathe, do what needs to be done, be thankful for my blessings, and keep in mind that this isn’t forever. The choice is mine.


When the Going Gets Tough . . . or How I Became a “Bootstraps” Woman

I think it’s a common denominator for those who have had multiple losses or tragedies to feel as though a Pandora’s Box opens with each new loss/tragedy. No matter how much we resolve or work with our wounds, there is always a bit more healing that needs to be done and these things tend to gather together in Pandora’s Box just waiting until the scab is picked at.

When my mom died nearly six weeks ago, the box opened again but it hasn’t – and won’t – swallow me whole. My Reiki attunements and training have kept me out of the box this time. I’m better equipped to deal with the scab picking and allow healing rather than resisting the waves of emotion. However, when my brother died five years ago, I was swallowed by the box for awhile. I got out of that box, finally, because I’m a bootstraps kind of gal . . .

I spent my teenage years in Wyoming and one of my favorite expressions from that time is when the going gets tough, pick yourself up by the bootstraps. You know those straps on each side of the boot that you use to pull the boot on with? Those are bootstraps and it can take some work to get those boots on – one at a time. When you think you can’t go on, pull on those boots and trudge through the muck to the other side. I became a “bootstraps” woman in 1983, and I’d like to share my story . . .

On December 11, 1982, I gave birth to my second son. My first was premature and stillborn three years earlier so I was naturally scared of losing another. I went nine days overdue before I went into real labor with an infection. Everything went wrong during labor and Mark Adam was severely asphyxiated due to birth trauma. We made the decision to terminate life support which is a horrible decision to make for your own child. Two minutes before the respirator was scheduled to be shut off, Mark died on his own in my brother’s arms; he was 5 1/2 days old.

During the gravesite service, each of my brothers had a hand on the back of my chair. They were shaking so much I was sure I’d fall into the grave with the baby! I was struck by how wrong it was to be burying my own child when he should be burying me. I really wanted to just fall into that hole with him. My mom, who thought she was being helpful, told me I probably wasn’t meant to have children since I’d now lost two.

After the funeral, my family went home (all in different cities and states), and I was alone with my ex-husband who got drunk the day before the funeral and stayed that way. He was a violent drunk at times, and I was too afraid and ashamed to tell my family.

Within nine months after baby Mark died, my ex-husband’s alcoholism (and physical abuse worsened), I was raped by someone I knew, and I had an early miscarriage. The day after the miscarriage, I just didn’t think I had it in me to go on living. It was too much, and my coping skills were non-existent. I was 24 years old, and I just didn’t know how to make it better or go on.

I gave up, called in sick to work and planned my death. After sending my goodbye note as a telegram to the ship my husband was on (he was in the Navy), I hung up the phone with incredible peace and was prepared to do it.

At the exact moment I turned away from the phone, there was a knock at my front door. I was going to ignore it but something in me made me go to the door anyway. I answered it and there stood a co-worker who had heard about my miscarriage. I will never forget the look of concern and compassion on his handsome face.

I should back up and explain that four months earlier, I had started a new job. On one of my first days, I passed by a man in the office courtyard and instantly KNEW without any doubt whatsoever that I would marry him some day. I clearly remember shaking my head and telling myself that that was nuts because I was already married–unhappily so but still married. I later learned that this man worked for the same office and we became friends. It was this co-worker who stood at my door with a single flower in his hand saying he thought I could use a friend. How could he have known?

I let him in and we talked. He let me go on and on and cry my eyes out without trying to fix anything. I felt completely safe which was amazing considering I’d been raped a short time before and my comfort zone with men was nil. He listened and he cared; he cried with me. And I forgot all about my plans to end my life. Why would I want to when there truly was goodness in the world? You see, that was all I needed to know – that there truly is goodness in this world.

I know an angel sent him to me that night – or maybe he’s really an earth angel – and we’ve now been married 25 years.

That was the night I decided to pull myself up by the bootstraps; that was the night I decided to LIVE; that was the night that giving up was no longer an option I cared to entertain.

The way back wasn’t easy . . . I had another miscarriage four months later. I left my ex-husband and telling my family was HARD. There was shame involved. I felt like a failure, but I honestly couldn’t live with someone I was terrified of. I deserved better than that; we ALL deserve better than that. He refused to get help so I had to help myself.

I flunked that semester of college, and I nearly lost my job with so many absences. I decided to stay in San Diego instead of running home to my parents. I worked harder at my job, talked to the Dean at school and got the F’s removed from my record, I found an apartment I could afford which was in a horrible part of town but I survived it, and I worked hard to pay off my share of the bills I got from the divorce (my ex charged thousands of dollars while he was deployed). I started to feel better about myself because I was taking care of myself for the first time EVER. I didn’t need a man to do it for me; I didn’t need my parents to do it for me. Those boots were carrying me through the muck and it sucked while I was doing it but it was the best education in the world. I learned that no matter what, I could take care of myself and that life is absolutely worth living.

So for me, when the going gets tough, I pull out those boots and yank ‘em up by the bootstraps. They carry me through the muck until I get to the other side. They never let me down because they were sent by an angel who knew my shoe size. 😉 They’ve carried me through losing both of my brothers, some serious injuries and illnesses with my sons, financial woes, a near death experience . . . they’re a thing of beauty, those muck covered boots! Sometimes I forget them for awhile, as I did five years ago when I lost my last brother, but they appeared when it was the right time. That’s the thing about my boots, they have divine timing too.

If you’re a bootstraps woman, I’d love to hear your story. Shoot me an email and let’s chat!

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Please Don’t Run Away

Way back a gazillion years ago, my son was born with severe asphyxia due to birth trauma and died at 5 ½ days. He was my second baby, my first was stillborn at nearly 20 weeks due to a variety of pregnancy related issues. I was fortunate when Mark died to have access to a wonderful support group in San Diego called Empty Cradle. I went to the monthly meetings for about a year until I realized all the parents who had started when I did were pregnant again and some had already had a new healthy baby. I was still losing babies and my marriage with it so I started to feel like the group freak. No one else at that time had experienced multiple losses, and I could see eyebrows raising and eyes looking away when we started the meetings by introducing ourselves. People didn’t want to hear my story; in a nutshell, I was scaring people. No one wants to think it could happen again and I was proof that it could . . .

At that time in my life (I was 23), that was cause for a pity party. Whooooo baby, what a pity party! I’ll spare you all of those sordid details today (I’m sure they’ll come forth at another time) but eventually, when I remarried and conceived again, I knew I needed support and I wasn’t going to be pushed away from it because people were frightened of my story. So, I created my own support group that was nationwide and international where I matched parents together by the types of loss they’d had so they could write to each other for mutual support. This was before the internet and people actually wrote snail mail letters. Lo and behold, there were hundreds (probably thousands) of people out there who had had multiple losses, some never able to have healthy babies of their own. They were all feeling like freaks too, and like me, looking for something better than the pity party routine. Just knowing there were other people out there like ourselves was wonderful; we really weren’t freaks and all alone.

I didn’t mention that to toot my own horn. Pen-Parents worked because so many people contributed to making it work; it was a team effort from the beginning. I mention it because it’ an important reminder to me that when my story gets overwhelming for other people, there will always be folks out there with a worse one. And there will always be someone out there looking for support or with support to give that will connect with me. I just have to get out my own way and reach out for it.

In 2006, we had another one of those overwhelming years. My brother Michael (last remaining sibling having lost my brother Mark in 1999) was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He fought it HARD and in the middle of his struggle, my youngest son went through some scares. In February, he was hit in the face with a baseball during practice which broke his sinus cavity and crushed a lot of cartilage in his nose. Two weeks later after making the varsity team, his teammates shaved his head and found a lump on his head by the ear. After a few more doctor visits, we were referred to an ENT mostly for his nose because the pediatrician thought the lump was just a cyst. Long story short, the lump was a tumor and the ENT thought Chad had lymphoma and scheduled him for surgery the next day. It was terrifying especially given my brother’s diagnosis. The surgery went well although the tumor had grown quickly into the shape of a thumb and was invading the neck muscle and ear canal. The diagnosis was a dermoid tumor (benign), most likely remnants of Chad’s twin who died in utero.

It was the second time a doctor thought this child had cancer and it was traumatizing for all of us. I’ve lost five babies; I don’t want to lose any more children! (I know – who does want to lose a child?!) I was trying to move past that while helping my parents prepare to lose their last son and so I was off my game when it came to work (and most things honestly). I was distracted, slower than molasses and my decision making skills were not their best. I was dubbed Martyrbeth during this time – and that’s a story best left unsaid – but there was a lot of pain and sadness attached to that. Why couldn’t people empathize with what I was going through? Had they not lost someone they loved or been traumatized in some way that paralyzed them for a time (and how blessed they were if that was the case)? What kind of society is this that can’t relate to someone grieving or someone going through a difficult time? If you whine about getting ripped off at the grocery store, people jump up in righteous indignation with you. Complain about gas prices or the horror in Somalia and they’re right there with you. Cry about losing a brother and they wonder why in the hell you aren’t over it (in 15 days or less).

Fast forward to 2011 – my mom has died, my dad with early dementia has moved into my house, my husband hasn’t had a paycheck in a year, I need to finish sorting out my dad’s house to put it up for sale and in combining their house with mine, my house looks like a candidate for an episode of Hoarders. I need to find time in there to work to keep my business going. It’s a lot and there are times when it’s overwhelming like Friday night when Dad asked me where my mother was. And now . . . I’m beginning to scare people away again. Some people are avoiding me, and some only respond to the positive tweets and Facebook statuses. A lot of people are staying away from this blog now after loving the first few grief entries. Sorry folks; I can’t always be positive, and it’s not my job to make you feel better right now.

I’m not taking it personally this time and if someone wants to dub me something stupid like Martyrbeth, that’s their prerogative. That kind of thing reflects more on their state of mind than mine. Instead, I’m embracing those who aren’t scared of my story, those who have gone through much worse than I could ever dream of surviving, and those who will take my hand no matter what. I’m not the only one with a lot on her plate, and I’m not sitting here having a pity party. I’m putting one foot in front of the other and doing the best I can. And that’s certainly good enough for now.

So please don’t be afraid of me or my situation . . . and please don’t run away either. Let’s sit together for awhile and just be.

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Gratitude Month – Day 26 –The Love More Project

Over the summer, I was looking through the shows on Blog Talk Radio and found one on eating intuitively.  I clicked it on and was so impressed with honesty of the hosts.  When the show was over, I looked at the host information and discovered The Love More Project.  This simple discovery was Angel-sent . . .

Several years ago when I was the director for Pen-Parents (a support network for bereaved parents), it was common for members to send me gifts of angel statues, ornaments and books.  I started reading a lot about angels and was fascinated with books by Joan Wester Anderson and Terry Lynn Taylor.  When I moved on from Pen-Parents, the angel gifts stopped and as I got busy as a work at home mom and StorkNet, I moved away from the fascination with angels.

I’m certain now that my angels have been trying to get my attention for years, and it was their guidance that brought me to that radio show on a hot summer morning when I was procrastinating something I needed to do.  That show wasn’t even about angels although the hosts—Megan Gala and Gabe Hanson—certainly mentioned angels.    When the show was over, I noticed that it was produced by The Love More Project and that they hosted several shows throughout the week.  I had to know more.

The Love More Project was founded by Megan Gala who is an Angel Therapy Practitioner® certified by Doreen Virtue, Ph.D.   The Love More Project radio channel on Blog Talk Radio is just one aspect of The Love More Project.  Check out their website and read their monthly magazine.  They have a page on Facebook, and other offerings.  It’s all truly beautiful, and wouldn’t you agree the world needs more love?  LMP is working on just that by helping us love ourselves more so we can spread that love around.

The early morning show Monday through Friday is called Angel Awakenings, and we are blessed for 30 minutes with Tana Newberry.  My husband calls her the Angel Lady and if I oversleep, he brings me my laptop so we can listen to her show.  We’ve gotten into the habit of dedicating our day together as Tana instructs her listeners and the end of the show.  It’s amazing what a difference dedicating your day makes, and it’s become something special and even intimate for my husband and me. ♥

At 11am, Megan hosts a variety of shows, (currently The Healing Perspective with Sunita Newberry, Everyday Wisdom, Updates from the Realms and The Angel Hour with co-host Tana Newberry).  I have learned so much from these shows and I’m so grateful to be back in the warm embrace of my angels, this time with my husband sharing that embrace.  I could go on and on about what a difference this has made in my life!

And I have to give a big shout out to the LMP radio channel chatters.  It is THE best chat room on Blog Talk Radio with warm, compassionate, funny and amazing listeners.  There is truly nothing like it on the internet!

Thank you Megan, Tana, all the other LMP radio channel co-hosts, and the amazing chat room chatters.  Your love and compassion is making the world a kinder, gentler place. ♥

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51 Things . . .

Mari Unplugged

Mari Unplugged – no makeup, wrinkles showing, the REAL me

As my way of being authentic and opening up my voice, I decided to follow the lead of several bloggers who have taken their age and used that to come up with that number of things to tell people about themselves, either things they’re too shy to tell you in person or things you probably don’t know about them.  I thought it might be fun until I realized I’m older than these incredible bloggers so my list is longer and more boring!

And yes, I’m a boring girl.  I haven’t done a lot of exciting things but I don’t aspire to.  I find joy and delight in simple things; I don’t have to travel far and wide for excitement.  So, here it is in no particular order of preference . . . my list of 51 things I’m too shy to tell you or things you may not know about me:

  1. I am shy and introverted.  I have about a 3 hour limit of being with a lot of people and then I have to be alone to recharge my batteries.  I’m somewhat of an emotional empath, and according to the Myers Briggs testing, I’m an ISFP – introversion, sensing, feeling, perceiving – which seems to sum me up quite well.
  2. I’m neither left nor right brained; I’m down the middle which explains why it’s hard for me to make decisions at times when my logic and intuition do battle.
  3. I am hearing impaired and may be completely deaf at some point.  I also have constant tinnitus in both ears.  It’s a real trip when each ear is playing a different tune!
  4. I was married the first time at 19 and a virgin – I don’t recommend either (getting married that young or being a virgin).
  5. I gave birth to a preemie stillborn son one month before my 20th birthday.  I gave birth to an overdue son 3 years later who died at 5 1/2 days.  It took me 8 years to have a healthy baby.
  6. I was a baby sister with two older brothers who have both died.  I hate being an only child after being the spoiled baby for 40 years.
  7. I’ve had a near death experience.
  8. I find something to be grateful for every single day.  I’ve experienced a lot of loss and struggles in my life.  The best way for me to go on is to be grateful for all that I do have rather than dwell on what I don’t.  Life can be very hard at times, but it’s also very very good!  Yin–yang!
  9. I went to 5 different grade schools, 2 different junior highs, and 1 high school (although we moved to a different house while I was in high school).  All of this moving disrupted my ability to make and enjoy friendships.  I vowed not to do this to my kids.  My sons have gone to 1 grade school, 1 middle school, and 1 high school and lived in the same house during that entire time.  Mission accomplished!
  10. The first time I saw my 2nd husband, a voice in my head said I would marry him someday.  We were just passing by in a courtyard at work, and I had no idea who he was.
  11. My parents didn’t give me a middle name.  I always felt weird without a middle initial so when I got married, my maiden name became my middle name.  My middle name is Wilder than yours 😉
  12. I hate talking politics and religion with anyone, including my family.  I’m registered non-partisan just to prove my point.
  13. I was born on my mother’s 31st birthday and every now and then, our birthday falls on Mother’s Day.  My poor dad living with two Taurus women!
  14. I’ve had a crush on Al Pacino for years.  YUM!  My nephew used to tell my husband when I had a bad day that Aunt Mari needed a margarita and an Al Pacino movie!
  15. My biggest regret – I never finished my Bachelor’s Degree.  I have an Associate’s but big whoop.  I do have to admit that not having a Bachelor’s hasn’t held me back in any way.
  16. At age 10, I prayed to God that I would wake up a boy.  The first time I wore panty hose, I climbed a tree and ripped them to shreds.  No wonder I ended up with all sons!
  17. My husband and I were married at Waimea Falls, Hawaii with 200 people watching.  We didn’t know any of them; a tour bus stopped as we were saying our vows and they all got out to watch.
  18. I started a non-profit organization for bereaved parents in 1988.  I matched parents by the types of losses they had.  I was the director for 8 years and during that time, we had separate groups in Canada and Australia.  In my group we helped over 2000 grieving families.  It’s the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.
  19. I used to do a lot of public speaking.  Yes, this shy girl!  I once gave a speech at the National Black Nurses Association’s annual conference.  It was an amazing experience.  I’ve also spoken at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC – another amazing experience.  I was also interviewed on the old Home Show with Gary Collins and Beth Ruyiak which was just weird.
  20. I’ve never broken a bone.  I’ve cracked my tailbone and sprained a few things but never broken anything.
  21. I was a band geek!  I played the flute for 7 years in school and was in the high school marching band.  I wish I had continued playing in college.
  22. My favorite Mother’s Day activity is driving to Oakland and going to an A’s game.  See how lucky my men are 😉
  23. I’ve been a Denver Broncos fan since I was a teenager.  Long live John Elway!  I may be a calm quiet girl until I watch the Broncos – then I’m LOUD.
  24. One of my sons is named after Eric Clapton and a Hall of Fame baseball player.
  25. I have two butts . . . according to my sons when they were little.  My cesarean scars run from belly button to pubic bone, separating my stomach muscles so it looks like I have a butt in front.  My poor boys thought that’s how all women were made.
  26. I had a hysterectomy at 32, and that scar runs from hip to hip.  Now it looks like I have an anchor on my stomach or the cross, depending on which angle you’re looking from.  It’s easier to take if I think of it as the sign of the cross (or a blessing as a nurse once told me in a Catholic hospital).
  27. I make the best chocolate chip M&M cookies in the world.  I hate to cook but love to bake and those are my specialty.
  28. I tear up every time I hear the Star Spangled Banner sung live.
  29. I was addicted to pepsi and coke until 2004 when I developed pancreatitis and was the sickest I’ve ever been in my life.  I haven’t had coke or pepsi since and my teeth are thanking me.
  30. I’ve had long hair for the last 15 years and I don’t care that people say women over 40 shouldn’t have it.  Pfft to you.  Sure, I’d look younger and more hip with a short do but it’s too much fuss for me.  Long live my ponytail and French braid!
  31. I’ve lost 40 lbs two different times in my life.  It’s probably time to start on #3!  I’ve had eating disorders for a good chunk of my life and was addicted to exercise for awhile.  Hard to find balance!
  32. I love road trips but hate flying.  I haven’t flown since 1999.  Hubby and I hope to travel the country with a camping trailer when we retire.
  33. I have a zany sense of humor and love to laugh.  Life is too short to be cranky all the time.  I’m blessed to have a silly family!  I love hearing people laugh and noticing how unique everyone’s laugh, and even giggle, are.
  34. I believe one of the keys to good parenting is respect – you have to respect your children as the unique individuals they are instead of trying to make them into whatever you think they should be or clones of yourself.  Respect your kids and they’ll respect you!
  35. I envy people who can pick up a pencil and draw.  I used to be able to sketch quite well when I was a teenager and somehow along the way, I’ve lost that completely.
  36. I love to spend rainy days curled up with a quilt and good book.  Love to read!
  37. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving – family and food!  I always cook and for 2 days, my house is clean and the fridge full.
  38. I was a waitress for 5 long days in high school.  I was terrible at it.  After trying to make a milk shake and having the metal container fly off the machine slopping chocolate shake all over a table of customers, I left and never tried it again.
  39. I’ve lived in the same house for 20 years (after moving constantly as a child and in my 20’s) and I hope I never have to move – EVER.  My house is old, cluttered and falling apart but I’ve raised a happy family here.  It has good vibes to it.
  40. I am an obnoxious gum chewer.
  41. I’m a fabric fondler.  Anyone who quilts knows what I mean.  🙂
  42. Yoga makes me feel new.  That’s a damn wonderful thing when you’re 51!
  43. When I get hungry, I have to eat NOW.  My youngest son wants to get a bumper sticker for me that says, “It’s not road rage; she’s just hungry.”  My husband used to carry crackers in the car for emergencies and called them anti-bitch biscuits.
  44. I love techy gadgets but no iphones, smartphones or whatever for me.  I have a cellphone for emergencies and I usually forget to turn it on.  I’m just not a phone girl!
  45. I have to live in an area with mountains.  I actually feel panicky when I’m in flat places and can’t see hills or mountains.  I need something to visually break up the elevation for some weird reason.
  46. I collected TV Guide covers from 1972 until 2004 – 32 years worth of covers.  I stopped when they went to the larger size and it was more of a magazine.  I have no idea why I started this bizarre collection.  The funny thing about it now is I rarely watch TV.
  47. I don’t watch the news or read newspapers – too depressing.
  48. My favorite reason to go to the movies is to eat tons of buttered popcorn.
  49. I taught Sunday School to 3 & 4 year olds for 5 years in a Lutheran church.  Taught is probably not the right word; we did a lot of craft projects and eating snacks.
  50. I love to plant container gardens in pots.  Mixing different flowers and plants makes me feel like an artist.  I had 120 pots one summer.  I like to dig in dirt!
  51. I hosted an internet radio show for StorkNet Family for 7 months in 2007.  It was exhausting but fun.  I really loved it!

So there you have it – Mari unplugged.  It’s a huge leap of faith to write all of that, baring myself so that you all know how boring I am – but I’m a happy person and one of my next posts will be about finding delight.  I’ve been inspired by Jen Louden‘s August topic in her Comfort Cafe.