Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kroger: May 29, 2009

I went to my local Kroger store yesterday and this is the loot I got: 2 Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce, 2 French's mustard, 20 packs of Kool-Aid, 4 containers of Country Time lemonade, 2 tube's of colgate, 4 frozen Green Giant vegetables, 3 Dial hand soap, 2 packs of Angel Soft TP, 3 bottles of Weber Grilling Spices, 3 Glass Plus, 4 giant Hershey chocolate bars (my all time weakness), a pack of Red Vines and a dozen eggs (not shown). Everything was on sale except for the Red Vines. I had coupons for everything except the Red Vines, Eggs and chocolate bars.

Total retail was $78.54 and I spent $16.88. That is a 80% savings!

I was so excited and tickled at myself. I think that diva thing is coming!

Friday, May 29, 2009

My very first Blog Award

My friend Loralee over at has graciously and lovingly given me this award. This award is all about gratitude and I am very grateful that she has thought of me to give me this award. THANK YOU SO MUCH, LORALEE!

You can read her post on gratitude here. She honored her husband as someone she is grateful for and she has encouraged me to write about what I am grateful for. So, this is my 25 things I am grateful for.

25 Things I am Grateful For….
1. My life
2. My Savior
3. My eternal mate and best friend...Victor
4. My three beautiful children…Meagan, Brian and Mallory
5. My three granddaughters….Cassie, Sophie and Emma
6. My Mom and siblings…all 7 of them
7. My heritage….Ukrainian, English, Cherokee and Norwegian
8. My friends
9. My deceased relatives who have shaped my life without knowing me….My grandpa and my Dad…Love you both so very much
10. My testimony
11. The Temple
12. My faith, strength and courage to continue to push through the stormy seas of life
13. Living in a free country…ok, maybe somewhat free
14. Music…especially my talent of playing the piano.
15. All the colors, sights, smells and sounds of Nature singing to us their life
16. The beauty in blue skies, the fresh smell after a rain, raging thunderstorms, pure white snow 17. All my material things I have been given to make my life comfortable and without complaint
18. My body….Eyes to see beauty, ears to hear symphonies, nose to smell a celestial white rose, my tongue to enjoy all the flavors and tastes of the food that is so available to me
19. I know how to cook…seriously, I would starve
20. Reading and writing and all the possible wonders on the earth that are available for me because I am literate
21. Driving…So, I can travel freely to places and people that enrich my life with endless adventures
22. Broken hearts, bruised souls and empty promises….how else am I to grow and be a better, stronger person
23. Doctors and physicians who are skilled in their specialties who help me when sick, suicidal or confused and depressed
24. Being Bi-Polar….My life struggle to conquer the disease, live a productive life and make a difference to others who struggle as I do
25. Finally….Loralee who nominated me for this award….THANK YOU!

The rules are as follows:
1. Put the logo on your blog
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs that show an attitude of gratitude
3. Comment on their blogs to let them know they've received this award
4. Share the love and link this post and the person who nominated you
5. Tell us how you have come to have an attitude of gratitude

My nominees:

Thank you to my nominees for uplifting me for sharing your life with me. Thank you again, Loralee.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Announcing.....Emma Nicole

Granddaughter #3 announced herself last Friday (5/22) to her proud parents, Brian and Cameron. Her name is Emma Nicole (don't you just love that name?). Isn't she just a doll? Cute little pug nose and looks to me like the 'Holder' chin. Little Emma is due 10/10/09.

Amazing how this will be my third granddaughter, no boys...just girls. Everyone was hoping that Brian would have a boy, but he wanted a girl so he is very excited. In those first few months of a pregnancy you are cautious and don't get attached very quickly, but now he is hooked and little Emma has her little pinky wrapped around his heart.

When Brian was growing up I always gave him legos for Christmas and Birthday's, so I was hoping for a boy to continue that tradition. I wonder if little Emma would mind legos? Anyway, I am excited about granddaughter #3 and I hope with this little bundle of joy I will be able to be apart of her life. My son is my hero and I know he will not let me down. So, a trip to San Diego in October is planned, but I won't go for the birth nor plan on staying long. I learned that lesson with granddaughter #2.

Packages are being sent, but unlike granddaughter #2 I won't be buying much. Emma has another grandma that will be buying a ton and Brian is able to buy things himself. Plus, I have learned to not try and take over and realize that it is his baby and not mine. That's where I screwed up with granddaughter #2. So many lessons have been learned the hard way in the past 2 months and although painful for me to admit my errors I do admit them and have vowed I won't make those mistakes again.

Granddaughter #1 is out of my reach completely. I hope that when she is older she may have a better understanding of her birthfamily and decide for herself if she wants a relationship with her birthfamily, maybe then we can have a simple relationship. Granddaughter #2 is still unknown on my participation in her life. I pray hard everyday that I will be able to be apart of her life. I have apologized and tried to reach out, but there is silence on the other end that remains deafening.

So, little Emma is coming and hope has been restored. Excitement is coming back into my life and with a new little person coming into the world a whole new outlook begins of freshness, simplicity, purity, grace and love. I love all my granddaughters, every single one and maybe one day a grandson will join the bunch. For now, I am content with my three granddaughters. However, my passion for being a grandma has diminished and I think I have a clearer picture of my role as a grandma and I am grateful for that.

So, follow along over the next few months on Everything Emma.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I am not a coupon diva.....yet!

I have been getting into couponing in the past 2 months, but not really serious until recently. I am inspired by many blogs (see my sidebar) that help me and others save money on their grocery bill and other things as well. I have been trying to find a coupon system that works for me and this is what I do and how I organize my coupons.

First, I do not cut out coupons from the Sunday paper. Instead, I have a three ring binder that I put the inserts into. Each sheet protector has that week's Sunday coupon inserts in them. I mark on each Coupon insert the date of the newspaper and file it away in my binder. For instance, this past Sunday we had Smart Source, Red Plum and Procter and Gamble. I get my papers on Monday and I always buy 2 papers, if not 3. I have learned that the Sunday papers that you have delivered have higher coupon amounts then the ones you buy in the stores. So, for this past week I marked all the inserts with the date 5/17 and filed them all into one sheet protector.

You ask why I get 2 or 3 papers. For instance yesterday's shopping trip to CVS. I bought 2 Xtreme Dry Deodorant regularly priced at $4.49. They were on sale for $2.50 each. I had 2 manufacturer coupons for $1.00 off of each and then I got $2.00 Extra Care buck to use on my next visit. That equals to I made $1.50 on that purchase alone. The limit was 3, but I only had 2 coupons. If I had had 3 coupons I would of saved more.

I use this system because it saves time from cutting all the coupons and then storing them all and keeping them organized. There are many websites/blogs that will tell you where to find the coupon for a particular item you are wanting to buy. You can also go to my favorite coupon database to find coupons for that item you are needing/wanting.

Second, I print coupons off the internet. These are accepted at most stores and although you are using a lot of printer ink, I find these valuable coupons. You will get internet coupons for items you want that you won't get in the Sunday inserts and vice versa. I keep these coupons in a coupon organizer that I bought at wal-mart and it's small enough that I can keep it in my purse at all times.

The next thing I do is send away for free samples. They will usually come with coupons also. Most people in the coupon diva world subscribe to All You magazine and they have a ton of coupons in it.

I also get the coupons out of store flyers and the last thing I use is Extra Care Bucks (CVS), Register Rewards (Walgreens) and Giant Eagle points (local store). How many times do you get those coupons at the end of your cash receipts. That is free money people....FREE. Don't throw them out, use them.
So, my shopping trip yesterday looked like this...
CVS: I bought 4 cans of Chef Boyardee, 4 packs of Chocolate Snack Packs, 2 Right Guard Extreme and 1 pack (3 bars) of Dial soap. Retail was $26.09 and I spent $4.64....That's a 82% savings.

Walgreens: I bought 2 Colgate Whitening Toothpast, 2 Bottles of Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner, 2 Skintimates, 2 boxes of Band-Aids, 1 Neosporin, 1 roll of Reynolds Wrap and 1 Bic Lighter bonus pack. Retail was $39.79 and I paid $9.38....That's an 76% savings.

Remember, I'm not a Diva yet, but I'm working on it!

Monday, May 18, 2009


Gosh, it's been awhile since I have posted my daily weight loss battle on my blog. I have no clue what week I am on, so I will start all over again.

My today's weight is 217. Not bad considering I haven't been watching my eating and I haven't been exercising. So, here I am professing to all that I am back on my weight loss adventure and I hope that I will be more successful this time.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I miss you!

Dear Best Friend,

It feels like forever since we have talked, but I know it's only been a month. The silence is deafening as I watch the calendar change it's days, day after day. My life seems empty without you in it. I miss the laughter, tears, arguments and the tender moments only felt between the two of us. I miss your beautiful smile, your bright eyes and your beautiful soul. I miss your sarcasm and your strong-will attitude. I miss all the things that make me love you and sometimes be angry with. I MISS YOU!

How long have we been best friends? I can see where in the past year we have gotten so close I could sense when you would call. I find myself getting ready to eat dinner and stop and think to myself that you will be calling any minute. Remember how you always seemed to have bad timing and call as I was just about to eat? Sometimes it got annoying, but I miss it now.

We have been close for many, many years, but you became my best friend in the past year. Over the decades we have had great times and horrible times. At times I wasn't very nice to you and sometimes you yelled at me. Sometimes I got so frustrated with you that I simply threw my hands in the air and screamed. Then there were times when you gave me so much joy that tears spilled onto my cheeks with happiness.

Do you remember how I love to play Harvest Moon? Well, I have it now and I wish that I could pick up the phone and ask you how do I buy a gift for my girlfriend. Where do I have to stand to throw the cucumbers in the lake? Do you remember how I would accidentally hit my animals with the axe, I don't do that anymore. I miss sharing those fun times with you.

Do you remember our camping trip to Mt. Hood and my secret spots? You where so shocked that you pictures. Do you remember 'What about Bob' and your famous line "I'm camping, I'm camping"? What about Dr. Mudd? I never did show you those postcards, I wish I had now. You would of loved that so much. What about North & South and The Thorn Birds? Some of our best times were spent watching those mini-series.

I could go on and on forever of all the wonderful times we have had, but also list many bad times we had as well. My dear best friend, I am sorry! Plain and simple, no other words are needed. I believe we were both hurt pretty badly and I hope there will come a day when forgiveness crosses our path and we can get back to our relationship.

I hope for that day when the phone rings at dinner time. I hope for the day when the phone rings and all I hear is tears on the other side. I hope for the day when I can call you with happy things and sad things. Mostly, I hope for you. Time has a way of healing our wounds, but I wish the clock would be in fast motion so that time would come sooner than later. Until that time comes, please know that I love best friend.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Yesterday I wrote about my Adopted Mother (AM) and how she transformed my life to who I am today (thank you Loralee). Today I write about another special mother, my birth mom (Mom) who has also impacted my life in so many other ways.

My Mom gave birth to me when she was 16 years old. She too suffered greatly by her own childhood and Mother (amazing isn’t it?). When she found out she was pregnant she was scared, but elated. Finally, she would have something of her OWN (much the same way I felt when I had my firstborn).

My Father and Mother ran away together because in 1964 unwed Mother’s weren’t really allowed to keep their babies. So, off on an adventure they went. Their plan was to get married so they would be able to keep me. After 6 weeks on the ‘run’ our time together was over. After this my Mother only saw my Father once, they were both heartbroken.

With an insistent Mother she relented and gave me up for adoption, a situation that still haunts her to this day. After I was born my Father was allowed back into the state of Washington where he was told I had died at birth. This momentous event in his life is the ultimate reason he ended his own life in 1974 (you can read about this on Father’s Day).

During my childhood I always knew I was adopted. How couldn’t I when I was introduced as my AM daughter, BUT I was adopted. I was labeled with that dreaded word that I grew to hate. However, this fueled my desire to only find my own parents. During the horrors in the night I would often think “this is not my Mother”, over and over again. I felt a bond with my Mother in the only way I can describe…Heavenly. Truly sent from God above I was instilled with the great love and sacrifice my Mother made for me. I never once had anger towards her. I somehow knew she loved me and that was all I needed to get by.

I put my Mother on a celestial pedestal and not a single person could touch her. I protected her, loved her and looked forward to the day when we would be together. This was my only lifeline and I enveloped into the four corners of my heart.

Fast forward now to when I was 27. I missed the target age of 18 to find my Mom because being a young mother myself I was thrust into raising a small family, which left little time for anything but that. However, I did start my search for her when I was 24 and it took 3 years to find her. I had tried on my own for years, but with no luck, or so I thought, I relented and hired a third party organization to assist me with the search.

That no luck, turned out to be my ticket to finding her without the 3 year emotional upheaval I suffered. In my own search I had sent away for my adoption decree. I knew that they would hide all the identifying information and I thought I was prepared for that, however, when those simple two pages arrived in the mail I was struck with a force so great to see that someone had taken the time to cut out all the identifying information, or so I thought.

On this devastating paper in the upper left side where it says who v. who it said “Infant Pardon”. Now, this confused me for some time because Pardon is a legal term itself, so I called an attorney and asked for some advice and he told me that it was indeed a legal term, He lied. With that question answered sufficiently I put it aside and proceeded with my search.

On that first meeting in October of 1991 I showed that paper to my Mom and when she looked at it she said the unthinkable “Debbie, its right here”. She was right, staring now at me with full movie screen lights that “Infant Pardon” was my true given name. Yep, that is my Mother’s maiden name. Now, at the time of my own search I had had a dream where my Mom called me on the phone and told me her name. I still remember that dream vividly. It embraced such confusion in my mind that I went to my Bishop at the time and asked him to help me understand this dream. He said that it could me my Mother’s name. So, with faith in tow I set out to write a letter to all the Pamela S. in the Seattle area at the time. I, of course, didn’t receive any replies.

However, at that time in Tacoma was the lone name “Pardon” who if I had written to was my grandfather and bingo she would have been found. I look back on that run of errors as simply it wasn’t time for me to find her. However, when we discovered that I had the answer all along I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

So, off we went to establish a relationship and in all honesty it was one of the hardest things we both went through. You can imagine all the questions from both of us, the vast array of emotions and the struggle to get to know each other as Mother and Daughter. We both gave up at times, but we have seemed to withstand the dark days of our lives and stayed true to that love that held us both up in difficult times in our life.

In 1994 my Mother was living in Tacoma (she moved to Washington after our reunion in 1991) and she ran across a non-profit organization called ‘We the People’. This was an awesome organization that gave legal advice for a fraction of the cost and after I had heard about an adult adoption my Mom pursued that matter for the two of us. What came out of that was a legal adult adoption in May of 1994 where she reclaimed her legal right as my Mom. All of their legal rights were removed from my adopted parents and were sent legal documents to prove it. We felt victorious and this is how we celebrated that day.

Prior to this day I had arranged a baby shower with some friends of hers to give her the baby shower she never had. That gift box contained the quilt Meagan and I made and the most soft, adorable teddy bear. I could see my grandfather give her something like that. I gave her a gift from Dad also, but at the moment that escapes me what it was.

While we were driving to the courthouse she put in a cassette tape of the song my Dad sang to me over and over again “Elizabeth” by the Statler brothers. One of the lines goes like this “Oh Elizabeth, I want to see your lovely face. I want to touch your lips; I want to feel your warm embrace. Don’t know if I could ever live my life without you. Oh Elizabeth, I’m sure missing you.” You can imagine the emotion I felt as sobs surfaced I could hear my Daddy singing this to me on the other side of the veil. The veil was very thin that day!

Our next stop was to Dad’s grave. There we placed a single yellow rose, both of Mom’s and I favorite color. The things that were said are private, but it was goose bump chilling. The spirit was so strong.

Our next stop was the courthouse. We waited what seemed like hours and then our time to see the judge. The outcome was the judge denied the adoption and we left the courthouse so distraught. Mom made a phone call from the courthouse to ‘We the People’ and they assured us that it would get done if they even had to go to a different county, which they did and it went through several weeks later. With that not dampening our day, we set out for the rest of it.

Because she had told me about my labor and birth I set out to make this day a day of symbolic actions to finally put that past behind us and move forward as Mother and Daughter. My oldest daughter and I made a blanket for her which symbolized the baby blankets she would have received. I then put together a ‘New Mom’ basket filled with everything a new Mom gets and uses during her hospital stay. Things like magazines, pop, candy, lotion, her favorite perfume etc.

So after the court hearing I told her that we needed to go to the hospital I was born at. She didn’t have any questions, she just did as I requested. Once we got to the hospital I told her to do exactly what she did that day she went into labor, which was she was dropped off at the hospital entrance. So, off she went and I told her that I would right behind her in about 5-10 minutes. I told her to go to Labor/Delivery I would meet her there.

In the meantime I got out my huge basket (it was in her trunk) and hauled it into the hospital gift shop. There I purchased balloons and fun pink new Mom stuff to announce the arrival of her baby girl. After that, I headed up to labor and delivery where I found my Mom sitting in the waiting area. Because of security they no longer allowed anyone that wasn’t family to go back to the area where the babies were, so we sat down content in the Labor/Delivery waiting area for our celebration.

In her basket of goodies I had also made adult size t-shirts that said “My daughter was born at Tacoma General Hospital” and mine said “I was born at Tacoma General Hospital”. This, of course, to symbolize the tiny t-shirts that new babies get after they are born. With pure love and enjoyment we opened our gifts to each other. Another one of those gifts I had made were ID bracelets, gold bracelets with an inscription on them for each of us. Unknown to me she gave me a similar bracelet that said “Beth” and the date of our adoption.

The other gift in that basket was an adorable brown teddy bear, ultra soft and just too darn cute. This was a gift from my grandfather as I could have seen him giving her something like this.

My parents were going to name me Elisabeth Ann, so they would have called me Beth. During that legal paper work was also a petition for a legal name change where I changed my name from Debra Jeanne K. to Debra Elisabeth Ann Cartwright. I took the name Cartwright in honor of my father. In special times between Mother and Daughter she calls me Beth and I cherish that name.

My mother had thoughtful gifts for me as well. The bracelet which I after that day I never took off until I lost it in Washington D.C. several years ago, I was heartbroken. She gave me a musical water globe with the most precious Mother hold a new born baby. The mother was wearing Peach, which was a similar color to the dress I was wearing.

We then left the hospital together. This symbolized us leaving the hospital together when she took me home, instead of her leaving by herself. It was such a great experience for both of us, but I wanted it to be for her to help ease her pain of that most horrible time of her life.

Our next stop was Sears, where we had our picture taken. Of course, another symbolic gesture of new baby pictures with the Mommy. After this visit we went to eat Chinese food, her plan and also one of our favorite foods. It was so delicious. After an emotional day we went home and rested.

That day was a pivotal day in both of our life. It saw us through some pretty tough times, which took years to work through. We made it through and now we are very close, something we both cherish immensely. She lives about 4 hours from me in a small town in Kentucky and even though we don’t see each other often, we talk on the phone and we both know we love each other. She is my Mother and today I honor her.

I honor her courage, her long-suffering, her strength and her unending love and devotion to me all those years apart. I love her not because she’s my Mom, but because she is a woman who has bruises on her heart for the heartache that happened that dreadful day in August 1964. I admire her ability to withstand the tests of time and how she gracefully pushes onward in her quest to keep her sanity when everything else is falling apart around her.

I delight in her free spirit, not afraid to say what’s on her mind and fights so hard that her enemy runs in fear. I love her for the intensity she loves all her children and for protecting them from scraps and booboo’s we each get along life’s path. I love that she has instilled in me the same strength she has at fighting to the end, for never giving up hope and for loving so intensely that it sometimes hurts.

Today, I am so thankful for this wonderful Mom I have. I am so eternally grateful for her and the massive part she plays in my life. I feel an abundance of gratitude this day for the two Mom’s that shaped me into the person I am today. There’s an old question in the adoption world “Environment or Hereditary?” both is the answer. I am blessed that I know where the blood that courses through my veins comes from and the entire heritage it holds. I am blessed to have been raised in an environment that gave me strengths I didn’t know I had until my post yesterday. Each gave me something priceless and I love the dramatic differences both have played in my life.

Today on the true Mother’s Day I honor my true Mom! Happy Mother’s Day Mom, I love you…Beth

This picture was taken during a surprise trip to Kentucky for Mother's Day

Saturday, May 9, 2009



HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to everyone!!!!

First, I am sorry that I have been missing in blog land. I have been working through some hard times and I really haven’t felt like writing or keeping up with my favorite bloggers. There are some days that are just so hard to get through and then there are days when I am productive (watch for this post on what I’ve been doing to keep my mind occupied) and happy.

With Mother’s Day tomorrow I feel like I need to post something and I’ve been trying to figure out what I wanted to write about. I have decided to write about my own Mother’s.

If you have read some of my older posts you will have gotten a glimpse of my adopted Mother and the horrors I faced as a child. However, this year I choose to honor her. After all, she was my mother and we are taught to honor our Mother and Father. I haven’t always honored her and at so many times in my life hated her for the trauma she put me through. I’m not making excuses for her because what she did do was beyond horrible, but I do believe she deserves forgiveness, mercy and grace. After all, she too is a daughter of God.

Her parents were both older and I don’t believe they had good parenting skills, so she was never punished, had to do chores and got everything she ever asked for. She was never taught domestic habits, so when she married she expected to be waited on like her parents did on her. I can fairly say her married to my adopted Father was not good from the start and so there was a lot of contention in their home even before they adopted me.

When I came along they had been married for about 5 years and unable to have children of their own they adopted me. My AF (adopted father, it’s easier then typing it out all the time) worked full-time for Boeing in Seattle and my AM stayed at home, again being waited on like she was accustomed to. When I came along they were not prepared to be parents, literally. They didn’t have baby items bought or set-up. After they picked me up from the hospital they had to go and buy a bunch of things.

Her mother was not maternal at all, so my AM didn’t learn about love, emotion, compassion. She didn’t have a maternal bone in her body, so from the start she was ill equipped to be a mother. She was uncomfortable with feeding me (I have pictures of this), changing me and nurturing me. My AF did most of that when he was able, but for those 9 hours each day I was at her mercy.

One of the things she hated the most was that my AF doted on my every minute he could. After all, he was my main caregiver, but other than that he adored me. This fueled her anger even more on me and she was threatened by me, an itty bitty baby, because I was taking away his attention. She made his life miserable from sun up to sun down, constantly demanding attention and doing all the household chores. She didn’t know how to cook at all and so he also did all the cooking.

Well, she decided that she wanted to adopt another baby, this time a boy, which they did 3 years after I was born. Now, this time she was a totally different mother to him than she was to me. She still didn’t take care of him, but he was given every single thing he ever wanted, even up to her death in 1989. She made it her quest to build a monster, which he was until he matured in his late 20’s.

Anyway, the years went along and they finally divorced in 1973, I was 9. This is when the substantial abuse started for me. After my AF was gone, I then became the care provider for the home and family. She was forced to work now that my AF was gone, so it was my responsibility to maintain the home, cook and watch after my AB. Not long after my AF left the sexual abuse started. She needed someone to take care of her sexual needs so sex school began in our home and unless we mastered the techniques she was teaching us we had to do it over and over and over. Not long after that men were brought home for me to earn extra money for the home.

My life went on like this until the age of 13 when I basically had total breakdown and then went to live with my AF and his new wife. I stayed with them for about a year and only went back to my dungeon because I was promised a car. What teenager wouldn’t go for that? This was the only time in my life that she promised me something and actually delivered. She, of course, needed me back to take care of her and the home. I didn’t see that part of it though.

The abuse was going to start again, but I was stronger now and when she went to do something to me I stabbed her with a pair of scissors. She never touched me again after that, but I was still the domestic goddess in the home. If she needed care or my AB needed care I stayed home from school to take care of them. One time she had to have surgery and I was kept home from school for 2 weeks to take care of her.

So, fast forward to today. I am almost 45 and I have not a single thread of hatred towards this women. I see her as a very sick (she had tried to kill herself several times), lonely person. She didn’t know what to do, she could have tried, but she didn’t have that strength inside her. To me her life was such a pitiful existence. When she died in 1989 I had the responsibility to clean up after her for the last time and as I was cleaning out her apartment I found her journals. I took them home and then read then late in the night with a fire burning and read the honesty she only admitted in private. There I learned that she did truly love me, but she didn’t know how to show it. She was proud of me, for the mother I became. She wrote about my AB and how she had created a monster and didn’t know how to handle him except to give him what he wanted. She felt that was easier. She struggled with the knowledge that he was favored and I lacked so much in all aspects. She had so many regrets and was heartbroken.

I burned each and every one of those journals. My way of letting go of the past and as I read her handwriting I developed a sense of peace and forgiveness. Today, I hold not a single ounce of hatred toward her. I don’t have much respect or love for her, but I have forgiven her. It was crucial in my own survival. I can forgive her because I know that she has been forgiven by our Heavenly Father. I believe that we can’t progress or let go of the past if we don’t forgive ourselves and those that have hurt us.

She was my mother for 25 years and yes I am grateful. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to find things to be grateful for, but there are some things. Like, I’m thankful I was potty trained. I’m thankful that we din’t move around. We lived in the same place until I left home at 17. I’m thankful for all the hours she ‘watched’ me at the pool in our trailer park. You had to be over 14 to swim without someone ‘watching’ you. I’m grateful that she allowed me to have a cat, she was my best friend (the cat that is). I’m grateful for the times she would play with my hair, I loved that. I’m thankful that I had clothes to wear. I’m thankful for birthday parties and Christmas presents. I am SO thankful for the 8 years she had me in gymnastics and other dance classes that was a huge escape for me. I am thankful for piano lessons and a piano to pound my sorrows away on.

Lastly, I am eternally grateful that she took me to church. Sometimes it was sporadic, but she did take me most of the time. Without her willingness to go to church I would not have the gospel in my life. I wouldn’t have that ability to forgive. I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to learn and love the Lord. I wouldn’t have had good young women’s leaders to love me and nurture me, one such woman was a Godsend to me. Without the church I wouldn’t have my children sealed to me for eternity, something I hold on dearly during my current heartache. Without her taking me to church I would have my loving husband with me for eternity. This she gave me. When all is said and done, she did give me the best gift of all. She gave me eternal happiness. So, on this Mother’s Day weekend I want to send a heavenly thank you to you Mom for giving me such a wonderful gift.

Watch for Part II tomorrow.
The picture of me washing the dishes was at age 6 and the Thanksgiving dinner was the first Thanksgiving dinner I did myself at the age of 14.