Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November 25, 2008 Chicago Mermaid blog

Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Artist Way
Recently I have been consuming books from the library. I have read
The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman's Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine by Sue Monk Kidd. I picked it up because I have been into dancing lately and I have read a couple of her other books and loved them. I was touched the core of my being while reading this book. I needed to see that others were fed up with the patriarchal thinking in the Christian church and how they danced this spiritual journey to freedom. I have always felt the spiritual part of my being in a strong way. Yet while in the Christan church I sensed that by being a woman I was a second class citizen I have felt it in society at times as well. The weekend after reading this book I encountered two former male pastors and I did not feel anything bad towards them. This was a true miracle.

I have read Sacred Contract by Caroline Myss. I felt led to it by my journey back to my spiritual being. In the first chapter she talked about the DVD The Power of Myth with Joseph Campbell. I had checked out that same DVD with the book. This sent sparkles through my body as well has some dancing feet. While doing the Sacred Contract wheel from the book I cast my artist archetype in my spiritual house. It is starting to make sense to me. My spirituality is connected to the artist in me. That is why when one is messed up it so strongly affects the other. Then I watched the DVD and Joseph Campbell says that artist are the myth tellers of modern day. Again artist intertwined with spirituality.

I noticed a book in my case at home entitled The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. Oh yeah I was going to read that book someday. Well Sunday November 23rd 2008 is that day. I knew meshing artist with spirituality was the stretch of road I am on now. While flipping through it I noticed that I had written the date that I had purchased it in the front cover, it was November 28th, 2003.

It came flooding back to me, this was the Friday after Thanksgiving 2003. This was two days after I had buried my18 year old son Andrew. I had gotten up the courage to go shopping or better yet to go out in public by myself. I could do this.... or could I? Just "go" I told myself. I did it. I wanted to say to people who were so busy shopping and going on with their lives that "what you are doing is NOT SO IMPORTANT...I just buried my son." It just felt so unreal. I was very proud of myself I did not disrupt any ones black Friday shopping experience. I guess I thought I needed some art therapy to heal through this experience. My intention with a degree in psychology was to do art therapy.

I am beginning this 12 week Artist Way program that the book takes you through. Starting today I am purchasing a new notebook to get started on the morning writing that is one of the requirements of the course. Another one is an artist date. Where you take the artist within you on a date every week. I already have an idea for one of the dates...going ice skating...aka dancing on frozen water...winter mermaid.

I will keep everyone updated on the journey. I will have completed the path to higher creativity course at the beginning of March. I was thinking about taking some classes and this will be a good winter one.

From my Chicago Mermaid blog!

Monday, November 3, 2008
A Bun Dance
Been doing a little bit of dancing lately. I read the book Law of Attraction a few months ago. They talked about abundance in our lives. When I saw it, I saw the word "A Bun Dance". I love to dance. Well when I have something fun or exciting happen in my life I have been doing the "A Bun Dance". Thought I would share by little dances from yesterday.

I dropped off some chairs at Bethany's house last night and I went into her little garden that had been left for the previous renters and picked me some free tomatoes...a little "tomato dancing" here!

When I worked at Family Express we had some incentive things pop out of the lottery machine, you had to register on the Hoosier Lottery site to be in the drawings. Well they sent me a little birthday coupon for a free $2 scratch off. Well I went to Meijers to purchase some groceries so I redeemed my coupon. The machine said it was a $3 coupon so I "had" to get 2 tickets one $2 and one $1. I did not win anything on the $2 one but low and behold I won $20 on the $1 one. I did the "I won the lottery dance". I had just been at Gordman's checking out the new styles and saw a shirt I loved for $20. Yeah! Yeah! Happy Birthday to me!

Then I have this addiction to ice cream... I don't need it but I want it...oh yes I do need it since it is an addiction...(hehehe!!!) Well I tell myself I won't get it unless my kind is on sell. Well I go to the frozen food section and do the "ice cream is on sell dance". Happy Birthday to me!

Hoping to start a blog soon to share all of my A Bun Dancing!! (when I figure it all out!) I would like to hear the A Bun Dancing everyone is doing in their lives.

Friday, June 11, 2010


I met SARK!! She is a wonderful inspirational artist/author/speaker/person! One of the points she made in her presentation was to feel your feelings. Feel them don't push them away. What are they? I began thinking back to my alone time in my magic little house in Lafayette IN. I was longing for some friends and maybe some dates. This longing led me to a site called Plenty of Fish. They were having a singles dance in Danville IL and I signed up to help with it. Some SOCIAL time I was so excited! This longing led me to many new friends. Dave Youhas was the leader of the singles dance and he was also the leader of the singles group on a Meetup Group site. I met many new friends through this Meetup Group. One friend is Lisa Hardwick, who I recently went to Celebrate Your Life with in Chicago where I met SARK!! Look what my longing and listening to it led me to. There is nothing wrong with having feelings and longings. You have them for a reason. They are to direct you to great things. YOUR HEARTS DESIRES!

Monday, May 10, 2010


Listen to it! Take the time to know your intuitions voice. Then begin listening to it. You will be surprised where it takes you and what blessings it bestows upon you. 7 Jars of Peanut Butter is the result of me listening to that voice following it and seeing the awesome results. I probably hear and listen correctly to that voice 90% of the time. 10% of the time I am wrong. None of us like to be wrong. But being on the right path 90% of the time is awesome. Before taking off on this chapter of my life I kept hearing my intuition voice  telling me to go to a certain store. I tried to ignore it and tell it I don't need anything else. I had given away all my "stuff" except what fit into my car. I did go to that store and found 7 jars of natural chunky peanut butter on their clearance rack for .53 each. That is my favorite kind AND it was my manna from heaven so to speak. With little money I headed to California to a Mermaid by the Sea workshop. Starting out on my journey to being a full time artist.  Everyone said "so you are going to be a starving artist?" I said no with the reassurance that all of my needs were met. I have met some very awesome people since I left Indiana on 4/20/2009 (the 11th anniversary of us finding out my mom had leukemia) I find signifiance in that day. Her journey was only 4 months after that day. I don't know how long my journey will be but I do know it will be for the rest of my life. I plan on living each day as if it was my last. My hopes are to INSPIRE others to live up to their fullest potential through creativity and humor. Many have asked me to write a book about my journey. Upon thnking about it the title 7 Jars of Peanut Butter came to me. Of course! I am trying to write daily and I decided to start a blog about it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Healthy Mother/Adult Child Relationship.

Below is what I used at the Domestic Violence shelter when I worked there. I thought this could be translated to a mother/adult child relationship. One of my goals for 2010 is to strengthen my relationship with my children. Let me use the tools I know to accomplish this.


Let's you be yourself.

Let's you be together as a couple(mother/adult child), but without you losing your sense of self.

Brings out the postivie qualities of your partner (adult child) and yourself.

Invites growth in each other.

Encourages each other's self-sufficiency.

Appreciates what the other person does for them.

Respects the need, when and if it arises, to end the relationship.(not going to happen in my lifetime, space yes but the relationship will not end!)

Does not attempt to change or control you or your partner(adult child).

Allows you to say how you feel at the time you feel it.

Let's you express feelings without fear of your partner's(mother's/adult child's) reaction.

Welcomes closeness and risks vulnerablilty.

Affirms equality of yourself(mother) and partner(adult child).

Accepts limitations of yourself (adult child) and partner (mother).

Feels the freedom to express needs.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT!   In a  Mother/Adult Child relationship!
To be treated with respect

To be responsible for your own life

To be listened to and taken seriously

To have and express your own feelings

To feel happy, satisfied and at peace

To take care of your body, mind and spirit

To make mistakes

To ask for information and/or help from others

To say "no" without feeling guilty

To relax, to let go, to "do" nothing

To set your limits

To have healthy relationships or change relationships

To choose NOT to assert yourself

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Memories of Trevor

I think when a loved one dies we become afraid that we will "forget". Not the person but all of those yummy moments we had with them. My grandaughters Taylor and Dakota wrote letters to their little brother Trevor Andrew Huntsman that were read at his funeral this past week. Trevors' Grandma Mary Jo also wrote a letter that was read. I thought how very nice what a way to remember.

Hi Trevor,
     Your life has touched many many lives in such a special way. Your mom was due for you on March 30th, 2007. Which would have been your Uncle Andrew's 22nd birthday. He had died in an auto accident in 2003 at the age of 18. Your mommy and daddy decided to name you after him. Your Aunt Bethany and I had been watching the movie Pay It Forward when Andrew died. Only recently had I been able to rewatch that movie and guess what the little boys name in the movie is? Trevor! It just blew me away. The concept of the movie is to pay forward good deeds to three people without expecting anything in return. If everyone did that it would keep going forward to everyone in the world. What a way to lead our lives!
     Since you had the genetic disorder Myotonic Dystrophy you could not swallow the amniotic fluid very well and your mom went into labor for you very early. They were able to stop the labor. This enabled them to discover you would need special care when you were born. On that Sunday evening February 25th 2007, they delivered you by cesarean section and immediately put you on a ventilator since you could not breathe on your own. My first sight of you was with tubes and wires hooked up to you everywhere. But you opened your eyes and looked at me with what I can describe as "soulful". It was the look that said "help me Grandma Lisa". Your mom and dad had to make such hard decisions for your 3 years of life. The doctors prognosis was that you would probably never be able to do anything on your own and that you would probably not have much mental ability.  You showed them! When visiting you one time in the hospital the nurse asked me if I wanted to hold you! My heart lept with joy! It would be my first time. You were on a feeding tube so I can say it was my first time feeding you as well. I found out later that I was the first one to hold you other then mommy and daddy. How blessed I have been. (Of course you had your Chicago Bears onsies laid on you! Go Bears! I had to start the brain washing early! Aunt Penny had found it and bought it for you.)
     At the age of 5 months you were finally able to leave the hospital and come home to your family. While you were in Children's Hospital in Dayton OH you had your godparents Jackie and Bobby, who lived there, visiting and taking care of you when it was not possible for your mommy and daddy to be there. They loved and took great care of you. I rounded up a crew of people and supplies to redo your house in order for them to release you. Your whole house had to be redone. Bringing you home there had to be a seperate electrical circuit, your bedroom could not be upstairs like it was planned. Walls were erected, everything was painted and cleaned. Food was stocked in the freezer. Many people who never met you helped with these tasks.
     Your daddy kept me updated on your every accomplishment. The first time you were off the ventilator, which was your first breathe. Oh how we celebrated! You always were very bright and alert. Following sounds and lights. I am a mermaid and always take all the kids swimmimg so I kept whispering in your ear, "Trevor you have to get better so Grandma Lisa can take you swimming. " The excitement on that December day I was able to take you in the motel pool at Donahue Christmas 2008.
     Your first birthday was celebrated at Trinity Luthern church in Ft. Recovery when you, Taylor and Dakota were baptized. Your second birthday we celebrated at the skating rink in Winchester. They let us push you around in the umbrella stroller. You loved the lights and music and danced the night away! Your 3rd birthday I went to your moms house to give you your presents and you played with your remote control puppy and sunglasses. You did not want Grandma Lisa to leave. You never wanted anyone to leave without taking you with them. You were a guy on the move! You will forever be 3 in our hearts. How we celebrate your birthday next year I don't know right now. I have done the Polar Plunge to raise money for Special Olympics the past 2 years in Illinois in honor of your birthday! Burrr....but nothing like what your little body has endured.
     Your sisters loved you so much. Taylor is such an adult and learned all your care. She could suction your trach when it needed done. I remember last July 4th she was bagging you while your dad cleaned out your trach because your emergency bag was not supplied correctly. Dakota had dreams of marrying you. She is only 4 so the deepest love you can have for someone in her mind is marrying them.
     My last living memory I have of you is the weekend your little half brother Connor came home from the hospital which was 2 weeks before you died. Your mommy said you needed a haircut so your stepmommy Amber and cousin Michelle gave you a mohawk. It was so cute on you! I took several pictures of you with it and then blew bubbles on your tummy to hear your giggle. We discussed your little brother Connor and you patted his head and said "brother" "Connor". He will be so happy that you are his Big Brother. Your dad walked up and we said "dad" together. I asked you what your daddy name is and we said "Mark" together. What joy to hear that!
     You died at your dad's house on that early Sunday morning March 28th 2010. Your dad said you had been vomiting all day Saturday. All your stats were ok so he and your mommy did not think you needed to go to the hospital. You were not running a fever either. He said around 11 pm he checked on you before going to bed and your stat levels were all okay  and you were sleeping soundly with the pedialyte bag hooked up to you. He had kept you on the vent all day to help keep your energy level up. Around 2 am he heard the alarms go off and went in to check on you thinking you had just pulled out your trach like you had been doing lately. He said your body was stiff and cool to his touch. He ran in and told Amber to call 911 and he did CPR on you until the ambulance arrived. Your mommy and daddy had signed a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order on you when you were very little. Between sobs your daddy said when it came down to it that he could not do that he said he had to do everything he could to try and save your life.
     The viewing and funeral was a very hard thing for all those left here on earth. We know you are running, playing and laughing and just having fun right now but we miss you sooo much! Taylor did not want to leave you "alone" at the funeral home after the viewing. She just cried and cried when we were leaving. She loves you sooo much. As hard as it is for us adults to understand that your body is just a shell to house you in while you are alive. It is double hard for a 9 year old little girl to make sense of it.
     While we can no longer touch your body to gets hugs and sloppy wet kisses you are forever a part of our lives. Your spunk and joy of life gives us courage to keep going even when times are tough. If you can do what you did what excuse could we ever give? Life is good! Thanks for the memories little guy." Pay It Forward" we will indeed!
Love ya bunches,
Grandma Lisa

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Writing this blog is sort of like cooking a big pot of vegetable soup. The ideas sort of simmer for a while then pop one comes to the surface like the bubbles of the boiling liquid. This one I title Source. You might think of it as Creator, God, Goddess, the Universe or any other name you want to describe it in your life. All of my needs at met by my Source. I am amazed by the avenue the Source uses to pour these into my life. Emotional: when I am having a tough time I can count on friends and family calling out of the blue to talk to me. I find the perfect song or book that guides me on the path a little further with much encouragement. Every need it met abundantly. I sometimes wonder why I ever have doubted it. Financial: This really blows me away. I do little dances when something financial happens. Hey I should do that for the emotional  needs that are met as well. I had read a book about ABUNDANCE and I kept seeing the word as A BUN DANCE! so I dance! dance! dance! wiggling my bun! I have had my financial needs met through employment, unemployment, government assistance, friends, family and perfect strangers along the road. What I have been thinking about this is I must remember not to look to any avenue as my Source. Just because the Source has used a certain way to meet my needs does not mean that the Source will always use that avenue. I think this really frees me up to being true to who I am and to keep on the path that is designed just for me! Keep the focus on the Source, not people, places or things. This is not a one sided deal either. I get so excited when I am used by the Source as an avenue to meet the needs of others. Actually that is the best thing! Dance! Dance! Dance!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Kindred Spirits

Venturing out for the first time in a couple of days was refreshing. Being a readaholic one of my many stops was at Barnes and Noble. First to the art books then to the self-help books. One that caught my eye is titled "When the Bough Breaks: Forever After the Death of a Son or Daughter" by Judith R. Bernstein Ph.D. I usually avoid grief books but this one seemed different. While reading the introduction my heart began racing and the tears rolled down my cheek.. I begged them to stop I did not want to have a complete sob fest in the book store. I put the book back on the shelf and walked quickly to the bathroom to get something to wipe away the tears. Breathe deeply change your thoughts you can get through this I told myself. One of the tools that my counselor gave me when going through counseling after the death of my 18 year old son Andrew in 2003 was to set aside a time during the week when I could feel free to grieve. I was so afraid to do things because I thought I might just break down in public and scare the people around me.

7 Jars of Peanut Butter is based on the premise that everything I need is provided for me. I knew this book was one of them. I have still not gotten past the introduction but I would like to share some of it with you. Judith R. Berstein Ph.D. is a psychologist whose son died in 1987 at the age of 26 of cancer.
  "For the first months, we were wrapped in the warm blanket of caring friends and family. Later, we were lost. How are we to live with this for the rest of our lives? Will the crushing ache in my chest ever lessen? Can we ever return to our old selves, involved in the lives of our daughters, caring about our work, hobbies, friends, or the changing of seasons?
            How is it possible to get from this day to a time when you are once again able to enjoy the colors of a rainbow? And after the holocaust of grief has spent its wrath, can those colors ever be quite the same again?"

        "Experts were saying we should return to normal after six months or a year, two at most. I asked myself how you ever get over this? What can be normal again after you've lost a son?"

        "We know that we will never get over our grief and return to our old selves. But there is nothing written about how we evolve and what we become as a result of having our lives turned inside-out by the death of our children."

This book is about her research on long term parental bereavement. She interviewed parents who had lost a child who was at least 2 years old and it had been over 5 years since their death.

        "Basically, I learned that most of us do get back on track after being derailed by the death of our children, However, it is not the track on which we had been traveling before our children died. Often we have an altered destination, new insights, new traveling companions, and new reasons for being on the trip at all.
        We know that our grief will never end. We will mourn for our children every day for the rest of our lives. We will never return to normal. But we will live again. We will be able to enjoy the bittersweet colors of a sunset. We may be productive. Laughter is not out of the question. Life will be forever colored by what has happened. For every parent who loses a child, one life ended and another life is indelibly changed. This is the story of that change."

This is what I have told everyone who asks me does it get easier with time? I say NO! You just learn new ways of dealing with it.

    "Our attitudes toward life change dramatically following a trauma. We don't get over a trauma; we adapt our way of thinking and feeling about the world as a consequence."

    "Along with "overcome"' the word "recovery" is often seen in association with grief. The premise of the current study is that grief, or any major trauma for that matter, is never overcome nor does recovery take place. The course of healing involves integrating the trauma, not overcoming it."

    " We cannot be sad to recover, in the sense of returning to a former self, from any major trauma. Trauma as shattering and cataclysmic as losing a child, as rape or abuse, as addiction, as natural disaster, and so forth, leaves indelible imprints on our lives. We are not the same having traveled that road as we would have been had we been spared the journey."

"This book will not talk of recovery. The premise of this book is that the word is a misnomer and creates a fictitious mind-set: that major loss is ultimately wrapped in a neat package and segregated from the rest of the experience until it goes away."

"People don't recover; they adapt. They alter their values, attitudes, perceptions, relationships, and beliefs, with the result that they are substantially different from the people they once were."

"The bereaved parent has to come to terms with a world in which it is possible for children to die, a world of different hopes and dreams, a world of muted sunsets. The victim never see life through the same lens again. If you look at it that way, it becomes foolish to ask when victims of trauma should be over it. If we are to help and understand trauma victims, should we not ask instead where they are in the process of learning to live with what happened? Where is that process in five, ten, thirty years? These are the questions I set out to ask."

I know I am quoting a lot from her book. AND it is just the introduction! Last year one of my goal rocks was to find kindred spirits. I thought it would be my creative art friends. I am finding several of them are my grieving parent friends.

"Years ago I was out of the country for several months. When I got to Customs at Kennedy Airport, the inspector smiled warmly and said, "Welcome Home!" The moment brought tears to my eyes. It was so good to be home. That is the same feeling I got in meeting the parents for these interviews, that it was so good to be home. That same sentiment is expressed by many of the parents; when they are with another bereaved parent they feel connected to a kindred spirit, someone who is on the same wavelength and speaks the same language; they feel at home. In our workaday world no one sees the aspect of us that is bereaved parent. A time progresses, we speak less and less frequently of the children we lost; yet those children are aften no further from our hearts that our surviving children. When we meet other beeaved parents, we're home--with people who know that language and who understand the subleties foreigners can never truly know. We can show each other pictures of the child we lost. Despite differences in age, religious beliefs, education, and all other variables that usually define our social affiliations, there is a bond. The strength of that sense of connection surprised me. Many of the interviews ended with a spontaneous hug."

While driving across the U. S. of A. I have thought about interviewing those friends and families behind the roadside markers where a death has occurred due to an accident. I know they all have a story to tell. Now the thought could be kindred spirits as well.

"I learned a great deal from the parents I interiewed. I learned that I am not crazy when I see a young bearded man in the supermarket who looks just like Steven and I follow him up and down the aisles grateful for a moment with my son. I learned that I won't ever get over that feeling. I learned that I can live with that and still revel in the day. I learned that people have an aspiring level of  generosity, a strength of character, a capacity to be nourishing to others when they themselves are depleted. I am indepted to the kindred spirits who accompanied me on this journey and taught me so much."

So looking forward to reading this book. I know it is what I need for my journey right now. My goal is to motivate people to reach their highest on the path that is theirs!