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Woods

Adventure takes a certain amount of bravery, so does staying the course. Life is chaotic, a perplexing trek through twists and turns, through silver tips, and underbrush intent on distraction. They work to ensnare us, intertwining our spirit – which should forever remain free – amongst the branches of its magnificent wood. Yet in this aiguillette, this thick of green, there is a clearing. A moment, in its solidarity, that is beyond perfect. It is a place called home.
You feel like home, the sure path through the uncertain wood. You harbor the light that entrusts safe passage, a beckon of what would be and what is. You are unbroken against the wind, an unfettered anchor rooted in the ones you love. You are all things; father, son, friend. Ever changing as the sunlight sieving through the sacred wood and wild as you ever were.
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Testing the waters

I have had so many things happen to me in the last couple of weeks I’d be an idiot if I didn’t take a moment to really reflect on it all.  Yesterday after signing my contracts and sending them off I had to work. I don’t mix work with my personal life so I had to jump around in the bathroom and walk around with a Cheshire cat smile on my face all day without anyone knowing why.

My quiet time is on the bus and that’s when it all really hit me- what a bad time! It takes me a while to process things. I have to do it in my own time and in my own way and maybe God knows this. Yesterday the day was perfect, gorgeous weather testing the watersand the sun shining down on me making this moment even more precious- God really knows how to deliver, doesn’t he? Do you believe in signs? Since you are still the couch I don’t expect an answer so I can tell you, I definitely believe in signs. Signs have changed my life; street signs, horoscopes, fortune cookies and the stars in the sky. Yesterday it was the advertisements on the bus; Museum Day is coming up, 1 October bus route changes and Nike’s slogan – Just do it, Now!

I had an A-ha moment. It should have been when I found my biological family, but it wasn’t. It should have been when my family openly talked about my adoption and all the feelings I was harboring since childhood but it wasn’t. It should have been when I was offered my book contract but again, it wasn’t. Fear still holds me back and doubt is still a good part of my life.

Sitting there surrounded by strangers (bus buddies at most) I was touched by the Spirit and it broke through all my reservations and self-doubt. There aren’t many moments in our lives that are like the one I experienced and I was reduced to tears. I was afraid I’d been in the well of fear too long and if the light ever did shine down on me I wouldn’t see it; I’d be blinded by darkness but I saw the light and the promise of all I could have if I just hang on. Have faith.

How many signs does a person need to change their life?!  (I’m sure that’s what God was saying) I need no other sign. This is it! THANK YOU GOD for everything you’ve given me. I won’t waste this chance and I won’t pass up another opportunity, I promise!!

I’m done testing the waters- I’m jumping in!

Taking a big Leap

take a leapMy mind was officially blown two weeks ago when I received an offer to publish my book. I didn’t quite believe it was real. I waited to tell everyone but until I knew for sure it wasn’t a bogus offer or the subtle offer to publish at my own expense (and as any hard-working author would agree- Never!) I self-published and it wasn’t as easy as everyone thinks.  When I received this offer I was hesitant.

When I first started writing (in 2009) it was to distract myself from my own pain. I wanted to fantasize about anything other than what I was feeling. No one really know about my private life because I didn’t share it and if I did, it was bits and pieces or I lied altogether but everyone could attest to the fact I was stuffing my face for some reason. They just didn’t know what.

In the midst of all this, a friend of mine told me to write the story of my life – for those who know me, it seems I am easily swayed by ‘friends’ – in truth, they can get me to do anything!  Just ask Karen! I got tased for a t-shirt! – My friend believed it would make a good book but when I started writing an auto-biographical story I would have gladly drilled a hole in my own head than continue writing. I was bored with my own story!  I’ve had an interesting life, I admit that, but reading it line for line, year for year it was killing me so after some thought I came up with Lara. She enabled me to relive my past enough to relay my feelings into my writing but not enough to plunge me back into my earlier depression.

Some people ask me what kind of books I write. I’m not really sure how to explain them. They are semi-autobiographical but I throw in some suspense with a little bit of mystery and wrap it all up with a happy ending.  Some authors start out writing romance novels (Iris Johansen) and other authors know their genre and write little else (Stephen King), I don’t know my genre yet. I want to complete the Lara Martin series and then write something different. What it will be I don’t really know but I’m excited to see what it is.

We are done with negotiations and I have signed the contracts. I have a deadline now.  It still blows me away! I was proud of myself when I completed Secret of the Kings and I certainly accomplished something when I wrote One Step Closer and followed up with Through the Darkness and published online, but in my mind (and probably others) I wasn’t a real author until I was picked up by a publishing company. I can now stand on the mountain tops and shout that it is real and it is happening!!

My sister says I’ve been writing all my life and it’s true. So let’s just see how far I can go!

If you’d like to read my books, follow the link below:

http://dmlvanheest.wordpress.com/

Rumors of war

be kind“Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it. What appears bad manners, an ill temper or cynicism is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen. You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone.” ― Miller Williams

DON’T GIVE IN TO fear

alone 5I’m saddened every day by the number of people who feel they are alone. When depression strikes where do you turn? The sad part is most of us turn inward and that’s the dangerous part. If you’re not expressing your feelings then too quickly they become dark and if we can’t stop the flow of negativity it will build until it’s overwhelming. Depression isn’t a problem for most people and how stunned are we to learn that people die every day from it? Gia Allemand from the Bachelor took her own life. She was beautiful, fun, shy with a perfect smile, her smile hid her distress. And how good are we at hiding our distress? Some of us are very good.

I’ve told this story to my children but it serves to remind me of what fear can do if we let it: When I was in high school my friends and I foolishly played with the Ouija board. We thought it was a game but eventually it was freaking us out. Now I’m not going to say that we were talking to a spirit or some wandering entity but we were talking to something and it scared the crap out of me. One night I was asleep in my bed and I woke to find a black darkness spreading across my bedroom, I turned on the light but the light did no good, the darkness kept coming. I remember I woke screaming in the hallway with my Dad shaking me awake. I had awakened the whole house- my sister said it sounded like I was getting murdered. I’m sure she still remembers that night!

My mother knows me very well (no matter how well I think she doesn’t) she asked me what was wrong and it all came out. Talking it out in the bright light of my bedroom it sounded silly to me but my fear was very real. I’m not sure exactly what she said but the gist of it was, there is only one force on earth that feeds on fear and emotions like it (depression, anger and negativity) and that’s the Devil. He’ll use any weapon he can to turn you away from light. Don’t give in to fear, face them.

That lesson back then is the reason I remain resolute in my decision to fight my fears. Listening to that negative voice in your head telling you that no one will understand, no one will listen to you, no one will be there, no one can ever understand what you’re going through- you’re listening to the Devil and as long as he has your ear the Lord does not.

Families were put on this earth for one thing to support each other and when family isn’t there you have another one. Every parent out there knows that children are only home for a short period of time and then they face the world and unfortunately they don’t face the world with you beside them, they go out on their own so they must be prepared by giving them the absolute best chance for survival. Arm them with everything you can so they are strong against the world because we all know the world can be an Ugly place.  Look at what happened at the Navy Yard and murders and abductions that happen every day.  The Church is your other family. Any church in any city will listen if a stranger walks in and needs to pray. That’s what they are there for, for you in your time of need!

You are Not alone! Don’t give in to fear and doubt! You have angels all around you so stop listening to that voice. I’m here and I- will- listen!

Disabled or Daring?

COL GadsonI got to meet a very impressive man today. His name is COL Gadson and he is currently serving as the Garrison Commander at Fort Belvoir, VA. In addition to this, he played football for West Point and looks like the toughest guy I wouldn’t want to meet in any alley! He is also a Wounded Warrior having lost his legs in Baghdad. I, of course, didn’t know this. I just recognized him from the movie ‘Battleship’ and asked for his autograph.

I was blown away by his accomplishments before and after the injury. He is an advocate for people with disabilities. I am not disabled but I have a very good friend who is, Anne. She is an inspiration having been born with Spina Bifida. She had to suffer surgery after surgery when she was younger and spent half her youth in hospitals. I can’t imagine what she’s gone through. But she’s not disabled, she’s daring! Today she can walk but who wants to walk when you can ride? She owns a Segway and you can see her racing up and down the hallways of the Army Materiel Command any day of the week.

When she tried to board the metro using her Segway she was almost arrested. Her case along with many others were key in reforming the WMATA. New guidelines have been established making it legal and safe for handicap people using Segways to enter the metro. She is awesome! If you’d like to read more about her read the article in the Washington Post:

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-257254.html

How best to show my gratification for our friendship than by placing her in my book as one of the main characters, Gina Grails. Which is why I asked COL Gadson to sign a copy of my book. It was great meeting him and it’s an honor knowing people like him and Anne- so brave in their every day challenges!

Higher!

hawkeyeIf you have crazy friends like I do you’ll understand this. I’m a little melodramatic. I’ve been stuck the last few days wondering if the recent events in my life forewarned an early grave.  I’m 42 years old, fairly healthy – I don’t know, I don’t go to doctors but I did go to the doctor for a full check-up about two years ago. I had to, I lost hearing in my left ear. After that I decided to get a complete physical, just in case.  It turned out to be an earache, nothing major, but I had built it up in my mind to this horrible possibility; I thought I had a tumor. I see clouds and I think it’s a storm where others simply see rain.

Friends sometimes take these short depraved opportunities in my life and run with it and depending on which friend it is will determine where I end up. Like the friend who propels your fear even further – it’s not a tumor, it could be a blood clot. Really? Or the friend who instills fear when you didn’t have any to begin with.

I worked as an intern for the Kansas City Zoo back when I was in college those two short years in the cornfields of Iowa. I got to work with each section of the zoo behind the scenes cutting  up food and cleaning cages. The fun stuff. There was this camel, a Bactrian, named Richard. He was beautiful and BIG. He was so tall and majestic, he could see me coming from any point in the zoo. He was beautiful. He was in a large enclosure but there was a part that only had electric wire between us. I met with Richard every day.

Camels grind their teeth and he would grind his teeth and grumble deep in his chest when I was near him and I just stared at him in awe. I was so close I often reached out and stroked his hair, shaggy and scratchy. I was told later that I shouldn’t go near him. Richard had bitten someone and he was considered dangerous. The next day I went to meet him and I felt something I hadn’t before, I was afraid of him and I wouldn’t have been if nothing was ever said. An incredible connection was broken and it really bothered me (as you can tell, I’m retelling this story 22 years after it happened!).

The good friends are the ones that encourage you. They aren’t at the bottom of the ravine yelling Jump Jump Jump, they stand beside you and jump with you. I have one such friend. Where I saw the end of my wish list, she saw the beginning and she felt so sure of this new venture in my life that she shared my blog on her Facebook and tagged You haven’t seen anything yet!

Her kind of support is dangerous. If she had my wish list, Las Vegas would be at the very top. She encourages me to fly and when I do she’s shouting at me to go higher, to break the ties of gravity and see just how high up in the sky I can go. I love her for that.

So I’m scrubbing my list and starting a new one. Am I going to Las Vegas, doubt it. I think I’ll land somewhere between Arkansas and Texas. I’m going home.

 

Where is my Voice of Reason?

life sucksTake my advice and Don’t self-diagnose with the Internet!  I am now manic-depressive, bi-polar with a touch of schizophrenia (haha my ex might agree). I’m sure I’m not any of those things but I definitely have some mixed up feelings. But that’s what I get for tooling around on the Internet drinking a 44 oz Big Gulp of Mt. Dew and crashing around midnight. My eyes feel like Berber.

I was trying to read about other adopted children and the feelings they might be going through after they found their family. The process is called ‘post adoption’ and feelings range from indifference to total acceptance of their new-found family. I am holding back, I know I am and asked myself for real, what is wrong. I feel disloyal to the family that raised me. My sister said something that I remember, she said my biological mother is just the woman that birthed me, she had no part in raising me or making me the person I am today.  I think my adopted mother would disagree. I know for a fact she’s said a time or two, this is not my daughter and she’s probably wondered why I am the way I am.

Sometimes answers aren’t definite, Yes means Maybe and sometimes Maybe means No (but always, always No means No- don’t get confused!). One thing I know is true, life is not black and white. Feelings aren’t easily defined and I don’t know why I’ve wanted to reconnect with my biological family, I just do.

Are my feelings disloyal? Does my mother want me to find these answers or would she be happier if I put this behind me? And if I can’t, will this affect my family. Just like my daughter said, I don’t want my family to change and I don’t want to hurt my mother or father by pursuing this (and my sister too, can’t forget about her).

I know I should live closer to home because only the people who really know you can tell you something you should already know.  My friend, who shall be nameless (F R A N C E S), told me to talk to my mother. She said, she is your voice of reason and dang it – it’s true. Whenever I know I should be doing something I can always count on that little voice in the back of my mind to speak up and blast it all, that voice is my mothers.

Where is my voice of reason? She’s in the north country. My parents have been on a six month expedition to Alaska but I believe they come home today.  I hate to admit that I can’t work through my feelings on my own and it takes a good friend / friendS to help me out.

I need my Mom. I need to talk to her and I absolutely need her guidance in my life. My mother is my mother and she is now the only mother I’ll ever have.

When does Alaska Air land? Anyone know? I’m off.

Making that Connection

being differntI’ve been busy reading emails and looking at the pictures my sisters have been sharing with me. It’s amazing to see their faces and compare the similarities in our features. You have no idea what that means to me. Being raised in a family where we all look different reinforced all those doubts I had about not belonging. When I was younger I was always searching and I think my mother feared I would never find inner peace.

Talking to them is even more enlightening because our thought patterns are also similar which is astounding because if you read any of my blogs you’d see my thoughts are pretty wild. I think that might be why I haven’t found a man. No one speaks Deborah. Being my friend is also a challenge. Which is why I don’t have very many. Don’t get me wrong, I have lots of friends but only a close few I share any details of my private life with.

These feelings I talk about (not belonging, feeling unworthy, unwanted) are feelings I had when I was younger. I don’t want anyone to think I still feel these things because I don’t but the illogical, implausible things we fear as children do carry over into adulthood but now I am old enough and wise enough to recognize them for what they are; childhood fears.

I’m not too proud to admit that I’ve had counseling regarding these feelings and that’s where I learned that adopted children have a hard time making connections. I never knew that. I knew that people passed in and out of my life without any real strife or concern but I didn’t realize there was a reason. The explanation was so simple but I never made the connection. It’s like trying to find your shoes in the dark. You’re scrounging getting frustrated and angry and then someone turns on the light- ah! Once I knew I made every effort to re-establish friendship and relationships with those closest to me. My real concern was when I had children. Would I connect with them?

I had no reason to worry because if you see my children, they look just like me. They might have my ex-husband’s coloring but they have my features and that bounds us in a very special way I never had before until now.  In these women in my life, my newfound sisters, I see the similarities in our eyes, the shape of our faces, the curve of their smiles, and in each of us I see our mother. With Season, Jackie, Tracy and LeAnn, I don’t have to make a connection, as a person on the outside trying to get in, I’m connected by blood.

Two days Ago

130824-123356For those of you who read my blog, you know I started it a week or so ago in the hopes of finding my biological family. I was given up as an infant and my records have remained sealed besides my best effort to open them. I had given up hope that I would ever find them but Wednesday afternoon I received a comment on my blog that literally said, I think you’re our sister. Please contact us!

My new sister called me the missing piece of the puzzle and she has no idea how accurate a description she gave me. Not only do I fit into her puzzle as the last remaining family member our mother gave up for adoption but they, my entire family, are the missing piece in my life. It overwhelms me beyond words and I’ve been speechless for 2 days!

Whoever it was that contacted my family, I will forever be in your debt. If you need anything, please contact me.

Sadly, the one person I did hope to reconnect with is no longer living. My mother died last year. A part of me is shattered but another part is so very happy that I will know her and see her in the sisters I have found. Five of us! It still makes me cry and I wish I could see them to hug them so at last I will know they truly do exist. I have had them in my mind and in my heart for years and one day I hope to have them in my arms.

Two days ago I was broken, today I am whole!