“My Beloved”

Published June 13, 2012 by The Creative Outpost

I was 21-years-old and finishing up college when I became pregnant. I wasn’t prepared to have a child and neither was the baby’s father. It was the hardest decision I ever made, but I decided to give the baby up for adoption. When it was time to deliver, I braced myself for the heartbreak of saying goodbye to my baby girl. I had purchased a heart-shaped locket to give to her, so someday she would hopefully know that I did love her, when I made that difficult decision. I decided to leave the information regarding her adoption open to her new parents, so if she ever decided to find me it would be possible.

The day I delivered her was the happiest and saddest day of my life. She was so beautiful. She had a full head of dark black hair and a heart-shaped face. I had spent a lot of time selecting parents for my biological daughter. They were both educated, successful and more importantly kind and ready to be parents. I handed over my baby girl and gave them the heart-shaped locket with the inscription that I had put so much thought into that read, “My Beloved”.

Five years later, I had a successful career and was happily married. I had never forgotten my baby girl but trusted that I had made the right decision. Even with my current success and stability, I still believed I had made the right decision. I often wondered if the parents would contact me someday. My husband and I discovered that we could not conceive a child. After much thought it occurred to me that this was also an opportunity for an unprepared mother, a child that needed a loving home and for a mother that wanted a child.

We contacted an adoption agency and went through the lengthy process. There were several times we were expecting to bring a baby home but things always fell through. Our adoption agent called one day with an unexpected suggestion. She had a five-year-old girl who had lost both of her parents and needed a home. She knew that we wanted a baby, but wanted us to consider adopting an older child. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was the blessing we had been waiting for!

We got together with the agent and finalized everything. It was a difficult story she shared with us. The little girl’s family had adopted her when she was a baby and had been killed in an accident leaving behind their daughter with no one to care for her.

The day had arrived. We waited anxiously and excitedly for the little girl’s arrival. It was time, the doorbell chimed and we went to meet our daughter. She was beautiful. Long black hair with a heart-shaped face. It was as if God had sent this beautiful child to me to fill the hole in my heart. That’s when I saw a shimmer peeking out from around her neck. What could the odds be of this little girl wearing a heart-shaped locket? I asked her timidly if I could look at the beautiful necklace. Her little face lit up with this request and with hands shaking I reached forward and opened the tiny locket. There inside was the inscription I had so thoughtfully written five years earlier, “My Beloved.”

Forum Bullies

Published June 12, 2012 by The Creative Outpost
English: A Bully Free Zone sign - School in Be...

Image via Wikipedia

We have all experienced being bullied in our lives. Sometimes we are the victims and sometimes the aggressor. What spurs people to bully? Does it make us feel better about ourselves? If we are bullied as children are we more likely to become a bully as an adult?

My 12-year-old son was bullied unmercifully last year at school. As seen in recent media this is a common occurrence that theoretically is no longer tolerated. I called the school and addressed the situation to no avail. Eventually, you give your child tools to help them navigate through those situations. You also tell your child that it will get better when they are adults. It doesn’t, but how we choose to deal with it does.

Recently, I have noticed a new outlet for bullies. Forum bullies. As a newbie, I have been more of an observer on the forum then a participator. Everyone starts posting with the belief and intent to share their ideas or feelings with others. Whether it is philosophy or the daily trials and tribulations, we share and hope others take away something from it. So we post and wait with abated breath for the comments and followers to come. Then you hear it, the cricket sound, “chirp chirp.” Now I have to admit, I have been pleasantly surprised at the response my posts have received. Much to my chagrin, the smallest of affirmations, sends my happy meter through the roof!

Like most of us, I decided to venture into the forum. After all, what better way to spend our time then with others we share a common passion! Most of us decide to join in the fray of commentary on the forum and our first question is usually the same. “How do I get followers?”  Now if you are one of the unlucky ones, you make the mistake of typing in all caps, “PLEASE READ MY NEW BLOG.” This is a huge mistake. You will immediately get a response back asking why you are typing in all caps because this is akin to shouting in blogger’s language. Among other common newbie errors is asking for instructions. This question will bring on a resounding response of, “there are tutorials provided by WordPress or figure it out yourself!” You might even hear a rapid-firing of vents from an experienced blogger complaining about how when they started out they had to figure it all out for themselves and maybe you should get off your butt and give that a try. Any of this sound familiar?

Experienced bloggers post a wealth of knowledge and lively entertainment and do deserve admiration and respect.  Forum bullies should be ignored and not rewarded. What is the reward of being a forum bully? Are people sitting in their pajamas with a hot steaming cup of coffee just waiting to pounce and show their state of superiority? Does one gain pleasure from this activity? I may never know the answer, but I think we should support and teach one another. If I ever become an experienced blogger, I hope that I can share my knowledge and make the transitions for a newbie a little less painful. I am but one person, but I will continue to be supportive and kind and if that makes me weak then so be it. I look forward to reading everyone’s blogs from experienced writers to newbies and will continue to participate in the forum. Now in summary, I say to all my fellow newbies, “BLOG ON!”

disclaimer:  Not all experienced bloggers are bullies 🙂

Bunkers or Bonkers

Published April 24, 2012 by The Creative Outpost
American family watching TV (cropped)

American family watching TV (cropped) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been watching documentaries highlighting survivalist that are determined to be alive when no-one else will be.  I must confess, I find this slightly puzzling.  I appreciate their spirit and it has been bred into us the “fight or flight” syndrome, but what are they going to be fighting for?

Just picture, you and your family, which could consist of you, a dog or cat, and the town sirens start going off.  You turn on the T.V. and you find out that you have only hours to prepare for a mega volcano, earthquakes, tsunamis, solar flares, etc.  You get the idea.  Depending on where you are stationed on earth highlights your certainly terrifying scenario.

I would assume most of us in here in rural Missouri would find all of our loved ones, and maybe hunker down in a basement, but I believe a lot of us would probably try to make the best of the last few hours just by being together.  It would also cross our mind as to why we didn’t spend the $80,000 or better on our own little bunker that would be supplied with food and ammo; however, what is the outcome at the end?

Everyone and everything that existed for you is gone.  I have heard it said that there are worse things in life besides death, and I would say that is probably one of them.  I do keep in mind these survivalist planning has become their whole world.  They eat and breath that stuff and it’s probably enjoying to them.  I would think that it would be hard to never really be able to plan a future and dreading what would happen.

When I was watching tv that night it was actually pretty depressing.  I can see how some of those scenarios made sense, but if I sat everyday and pondered that tragic end, then I wouldn’t be living at all.  I can see how mind consuming it could be, if a person let it.

I give kudos to the people who are now building the bunkers.  They have the best of both worlds.  They enjoy their doomsday fodder and can now make a buck off of it, which they will need, “WHEN THE WORLD DOESN’T END”     Just Sayin…..

Footprints in the Snow

Published January 28, 2012 by The Creative Outpost

Clad in her favorite jeans and sweatshirt, she made a mad dash, up the long steps to her new home. All her years working in the New York law firm had paid off. She took pride in being an attorney but her heart had always belonged to her art. She had recently been invited to show her paintings in a gallery, so she decided to it was time to retire from the firm and pursue her dream.  Once her decision was made everything else seemed to fall into place.

Six months prior she had been at one of her firm’s social functions. While watching the clock, waiting until the appropriate time to make her excuses, she overheard a client talking about a Victorian home he had for sale in Montana. The house needed some work, but the price was right. The owners were eager to sell. Within the month she had signed on the house, bought a truck and gave her notice at work.

Standing in her front door her eyes widened in pleasure. The interior was dark and musty as it had been closed up for a couple of years but the beauty and quality were unmistakable.  Exquisite furniture made of fine quality adorned the home like fine jewelry. As luck would have it, the couple could not bear to separate the furnishings from the home as each piece had been handpicked when the home was built, so it was all hers!

Spending the rest of the day cleaning she was wore out by midnight but the progress was unmistakable. She was already looking forward to painting the next day. The weather forecast had called for snow, and she could envision how amazing the rolling hills and cedar trees would look covered in a fresh layer of snow. As she settled into bed that night her forehead wrinkled up as she thought about being alone. At least she could visit with her handyman as he would be arriving tomorrow to start work. Her last thought before she drifted off to sleep was about the doggy door she had seen in the kitchen earlier that day, and adopting a furry friend to keep her company.

The next morning, hot steaming cup of coffee in hand, she padded her way to the front door. The scene that greeted her was nothing short of awe-inspiring. During the night the entire landscape had been transformed into a white wonderland. She couldn’t have painted a prettier picture. Stepping out onto the front porch, she was struck by the amounts of snow and its purity. It wasn’t at all like in New York City where the snow had been trampled and polluted. Not even a footstep had been imprinted upon it. She made her way back inside to her makeshift art studio and settled in to paint. As the day’s light began to fade she took stock of her work. Satisfied, she laid her paintbrush aside and headed upstairs to retire for the night.

At peace for the first time in years, she fell asleep quickly only to be abruptly awakened by noises coming from downstairs. Paralyzing fear gripped her as she eased out of bed. Frozen by indecision whether to hide or investigate, she opted to hide. Minutes felt like hours. Never had she been so scared. As she sat huddled in her closet, she vowed if she survived the night her handyman’s first task would be to check the locks on the doors and windows.

By morning her legs were cramped from her position where she had been hiding in the closet. She limped down the staircase as she heard a vehicle approaching. When she stepped onto the front porch she was struck by the fact that there were no footprints in the snow. If there had been an intruder their entry must have been through the kitchen door. As the handyman worked she bundled up and headed outside to look for evidence of an intruder. As she reached her kitchen door she saw footprints in the snow leading up to the doggy door. She opened the back door and there sitting on the floor was her night intruder, a cat!

Weathered Warrior

Published January 22, 2012 by The Creative Outpost

He sat with his weathered brown face upturned toward the sky. His stillness belied the thoughts churning in his head as he thought about that day so long ago.

The evening before had been one for celebration. The men had gone on a raid against the White Eyes who had been wasting their food in sport. Previously his people had moved to avoid conflict. This time they had decided to let their presence be known. A group of warriors rode out to greet the hunters. Later that night, the nonviolent raid was retold as they celebrated.

The next morning, campfires smoked with the last embers floating in the gentle breeze. The tranquility of the morning was shattered by sound of pounding hooves. Gunfire and screams erupted. Too late the warriors took up weapons.  The women and children tried in vain to reach the protection of the forest.  More than half the village was lost.

He sat with his weathered brown face upturned toward the sky. He shifted in his saddle watching his cattle graze. His thoughts turned to that day so long ago.

He had joined the Army in hopes of achieving battlefield glory.   The troops had finally received orders to protect their land against the Indian renegades located nearby. The troops celebrated into the night in anticipation of the next day’s mission.

The next morning, horses lathered, they rushed the village.   Gunfire and screams erupted. When the retreat horn sounded no glory could be found for so many innocent lives were lost that day. 

He lowered his weathered brown face and wept.

Faylinn’s Flight

Published January 21, 2012 by The Creative Outpost

“Lark when will my beautiful wings allow me to fly?” Faylinn asked in her musical voice. 

“You will fly when you realize the importance of your wings,” Lark said gently.      

“What other purpose could fairy wings have if not to look beautiful and to fly?”  Faylinn pouted.

Lark encouraged her sister to go and find something to do in the woods to occupy her mind.

Faylinn decided she would float through the woods and find a quiet place to think.  You see, she could float quite well but flying was another story.  All the other fairies her age, had wings that glowed brightly, as they took flight.  Oh, how graceful they were as they fluttered about to their heart’s content.  Soon Faylinn was deep inside the woods where she ran into another fairy named Zola.  Zola was a sweet little fairy that was several years younger.  Faylinn found her sitting on a fallen log alone crying in despair.

“What is the matter Zola?” Faylinn asked.

“I lost my fairy dust bag!” Zola cried with a hiccup.  I have looked everywhere for it and it is nowhere to be found.  I can’t go home without my fairy dust bag!”   My mother worked so hard making it for me.  Zola’s mother had indeed spent many evenings weaving the beautiful fairy dust bag made out of sweet-smelling honeysuckle vines.   

“Where did you have it last?  I will help you look for it.” Faylinn said.  Faylinn was so worried about her little friend that she didn’t even think about her own sorrows.  Off they went to find the misplaced fairy dust bag.  They asked everyone they met along the way.  Not even the whispering trees had seen the fairy dust bag. 

Zola’s face lit up when she remembered where she had placed her fairy dust bag.  She had left it in a tall tree she had been playing in earlier that morning.  However; it was getting late and there was no way she would have time to climb the tree and retrieve the precious bag. 

Faylinn’s heart was heavy as she realized she could not help her friend get the bag in time.  As they stood below the tree, Faylinn used her wings to embrace her friend in comfort.  As her wings encircled her friend,  her wings began to glow.   

“Faylinn, your wings are glowing!  You can fly!” Zola exclaimed in joy. 

As Faylinn flew up the tree,  she realized her sister had been right about wings.  They could do something far more important than looking beautiful and flying, they could give love.

Unexpected Gift

Published January 12, 2012 by The Creative Outpost
An oak tree; a typical modern, terrestrial aut...

Image via Wikipedia

     As Beth put the finishing touches on her novel she looked out her window, appreciated the beauty of the country, and enjoyed a moment of peace and tranquility that she hadn’t experienced since before the accident.

     Eight months earlier, her Husband Jay, had suggested they go for a drive out of the city.  As he jingled his keys, Beth turned to give her impatient husband, her most stern of expressions, but couldn’t quite keep a straight face looking into his smiling eyes.  She had been married to her husband for five happy years and still hadn’t mastered the art of annoyance with him.  Everyone warned her that the honeymoon would be over within months of their marriage but they were wrong.  Maybe it was their passion for life that bonded them so tightly.

     “I am coming mister, hold your horses!” Beth said throwing her bag over her shoulder. 

     By noon they were far from the noise of the city.  The traffic was almost nonexistent on the winding road.   Both of them were enjoying the sights in Jay’s candy-apple-red Mustang Convertible. 

     “Let’s eat soon.”  Beth yelled over the roar of the wind.

     “Sounds like a plan.  I packed a little gift for you in the backseat.” Jay said with a wink. 

      Soon he pulled over to the side of the road and switched the engine off. Less than 100 feet away stood a majestic Oak Tree. Its branches swept out graciously providing adequate shade.

     Jay swung the basket out of the backseat and produced a blanket to lounge on.  They both ate their fill in silence while taking in the landscape.  After making love, they snuggled in each others arms, enjoying their time together.  I think this picnic is the best unexpected gift you have ever given me!” Beth said.    

     As the sun started to settle in the sky they decided it was time to return home.  “You lay here and relax, while I take the picnic-basket back to the car.” Jay said. 

      Beth closed her eyes and listened to her husband’s footsteps fade as he walked through the grass.  It was the last time she would ever hear his steps again.  Jay didn’t even see the car coming as he leaned over to deposit the basket into the backseat of the car.  The sight and sounds of that day will forever be etched in her mind.  For months her days consisted of unbearable pain and loneliness.

      As Beth closes her laptop, she lays her hand on her growing abdomen, excited to meet their son.   She was wrong that day, her son was the best unexpected gift Jay had ever given her.

Premature Birth-Part I

Published December 26, 2011 by The Creative Outpost

When a woman is expecting a child she feels all kinds of wonderous feelings.  She has expectations about how her pregnancy will go and how it will feel when she meets that someone special. I like so many others began my parenthood journey with ideals about what to expect.  We were very lucky when trying to conceive.  The first time I ovulated, after stopping contraceptives, we conceived.  I was so excited.  I already loved my little bundle from the beginning.  Two weeks into our news I was vomiting day and night.  It didn’t seem to matter what I ate, it just came back up.  Through all this I was still awed by the whole process of being pregnant and growing a life.  Twenty weeks into the pregnancy the extreme nausea and vomiting halted as quickly as it started. 

My health had definitely improved, and I was eagerly reading all of the weekly updates on how my baby was developing.  Even though I was 25-year-old nontraditional student, I was finishing up my last semester in college.  My baby was due May 5th and it was only early February and by this time I was 27-weeks along.   As I had previously experienced first hand, everything when pregnant seems magnified by 200%.  For example, if you have acid reflux it takes on a whole new meaning.  Therefore, when I was sitting in class and started having stomach pains, I wasn’t alarmed.   I had a classmate help me down the steps of the school and went off to my parents for a visit.  The pains were intense and came in waves, but I have had intestinal cramps that hurt that bad so honestly I assumed something would pass and I would be fine.  My mother was not concerned but did jokingly ask if I was sure I wasn’t having labor pains, which was ridiculous as I was only 27 weeks and truthfully barely had a baby bump that was only visible to the discerning eye.  I decided to head home and needed gasoline first.  Conveniently, there was still one full service station in town.  As I was sitting there watching the service attendant put fuel in my car, I was really getting concerned that if he didn’t hurry I wouldn’t make it to the restroom, but at last he was done and off for home I headed.

At home I curled up in the fetal position on the couch “no pun intended” and waited for the pain to pass.  My husband was a farmer and came home for lunch and sat on the couch and ate a sandwich.   Our 12 lbs black cat, quite without ceremony, sat on my back using me as a heating pad.  As the pain progressed I made a trip to the restroom and tried to speed things along.  No results, which quite frankly, was a blessing.  Growing up if I had any kind of ailment my mother would have me take a relaxing bath.  At this point I was willing to try anything to make the wave of pains stop.  So I hunkered down in the tub waiting for its magic to start.  As you guessed, it didn’t help.  I was having sharp pain in my lower abdomen at this point and could not get out of the tub, so I called in my husband.  At this point, he starts to get concerned and called my mother.  They agree it is time for me to call the doctor’s office.  I spoke with our nurse, she was patient, used to dealing with overreacting expecting mothers, and told us to come in just to check things out and put our minds at ease.  I remember thinking as we drove to town, that I would probably expel gas and be fine and extremely embarrassed for going in the first place.

At the doctor’s office all of the staff was humored by having to strap me into the belts for monitoring.  They left the room and came back to check the strip and send me home.  That’s when a flurry of activity began and a nightmare and blessing began.

The doctors started to question my symptoms.  I described the pains that came and went and the localized pain I was having in my lower abdomen.  They looked at each other and said”smiley face pain” with a dreaded look.  They quickly rushed me to the local rural hospital and began the usual course of treatment with Brethine injections.  They quickly realized this was not slowing the contractions down, and I was dilated to a 2 cm and effaced 90%.  They called the local NICU and sent me by ambulance with the doctor at my side with a NICU ambulance following.  I remember laying on the stretcher with my mind whirling unable to comprehend what was happening.  It was a surreal feeling.  I wasn’t sure at that time if at 27 weeks gestation if my baby would survive.  At the well equipped hospital they started me on a bolus of magnesium.  As the IV medicine hit my vein, my body was ravished with waves of nausea and intense flushing over my entire body as I vomited violently.  The bolus tapered off and I settled in trying to absorb the magnitude of what was happening. 

see Premature Birth-Part II

Greener Pasture

Published February 25, 2011 by The Creative Outpost

We have all felt it, the pressure to want something we don’t really want.  Our society says we should want to have that “someone special” but what if we don’t?  Or at least what if we don’t all the time.  I find myself sitting on the fencepost trying to decide which pasture to jump into.  Truthfully, maybe sitting up here isn’t so bad.  I can watch the folly of those around me and make bystander observations. 

When I was married and interacted with single counterparts, I was always curious as to whether the content ones were really that happy.  They would work and go home, and pursue what I assumed to be lonely unfulfilled activities.  My heart ached for them.  My marriage was the ideal option. Wasn’t it?

So after my twelve-year marriage ended abruptly, I was alone for the first time.  

Now flash forward one year post divorce.  I am starting to think the people my heart ached for have things figured out.  Zen perhaps.  When I accept being alone and embrace it, I can achieve satisfaction from my current lifestyle.  When surrounded by social standards and expectations, I falter.  I even tried a dating website without success. 

So the question is becomes am I truly happy alone or trying to convince myself that I am?  For now I will straddle the fence, whilst dangling my feet, watch and maybe someday have a moment of clarity.

Premature Birth-Part II

Published January 28, 2011 by The Creative Outpost

The magnesium was working and contractions were better, and I was no longer dilating.  The side effects were hard, and I was in a magnesium haze and could barely see.  My blood pressure cuff was constantly activating and leaving bruises in its wake.  Technicians were taking my blood frequently.  The problem was, they were using the same spot and mutilating my arm.  I wasn’t even aware of the problem until I came off the magnesium a week later. 

I now was experiencing my first taste of real hunger.   Magnesium is a muscle relaxant, used to relax the uterus and thus stop contractions, which in turn slows everything else down.  Any food other than jello and broth is strictly prohibited.  And let me tell you, I begged for food quite shamelessly!  As the magnesium level started to lower, my vision came back, blood pressure came up, and I was allowed to eat!

The celebration was short-lived.  Contractions resumed relentlessly, and the staff rushed to start a bolus of magnesium.  Unfortunately, they missed an important step.  They forgot to check the magnesium level in my blood before they started the bolus.

I sat on the edge of the bed, basin in hand, prepared for what was to come.  I was being a good sport.  I would have gone through anything for my baby.  It never even crossed my mind to be concerned that I had a new nurse.  She had never followed me through the magnesium process before.  If she had, she would have realized, I took it like a champ.  I would vomit, settle into bed, and suffer in silence. So as my family gathered around, the bolus was started.

This time was different.  Something wasn’t right.  I felt myself going numb and paralyzed from the feet up.  I tried to tell the nurse that something was different.  I looked around in panic to my family to do something.  They were all scared, as they knew too that something was amiss.  The nurse informed them that I was only panicking from the side effects of the magnesium. 

I was struggling to breathe.  I gathered one last ounce of strength, opened my eyes, and told my husband that I loved him.   I remember thinking it didn’t really matter what happened to me, because there was no way my baby could have survived.  He surely must have been deprived of oxygen or had some other horrific consequences from the ordeal. 

With a rush of activity, personnel came into my room and stopped the bolus.  Blood results were in.  The magnesium was dangerously high and the bolus should have never been administered.  My OB doctor that had no bedside manner came in without ceremony, stood at the end of my bed, formulating his speech.  I managed to open my eyes for a moment to take in his agitated profile.  He stated that the magnesium was the only thing that had been working for me, and I had blown that option.  He turned on his heel and walked out.  The sting of his words still ring in my ears.  I had completely failed my first task as a parent. 

Have you ever had a moment in life when the light shines brighter and the angels sing?  That is exactly what happened when my next visitor breezed into my room.  He was an OB specialist.  He came to my bedside and admitted honestly that they had almost killed me.  That the magnesium was too high in my system, it was suppressing my respirations and could have stopped my heart.  He then introduced and new regimen of treatment without the severe side effects.  The medication allowed me to carry my baby for another week.

When all this started, I was 27-weeks gestation, and now was at 29-weeks gestation.  I know this doesn’t sound like a significant amount of time, but it makes a huge difference.  Two weeks allowed time for three steroid injections, which significantly improves a baby’s lung development.  This is vital for a premature baby

My son was now at 29-weeks gestation.  Contractions slowed down, and I was even dreaming at this point of reaching full-term status.  Imagine it, getting to hold your baby when it’s born, and take it home with you.  The dream was so real.  I could picture every detail in my mind!

Things didn’t stay on that blissful course.  The baby started showing signs of distress.  I started to run and a low-grade fever, and he started to become tachycardic, which could be indicative of infection.  Infection was the worst case scenario for a baby in-utero.  In the matter of thirty minutes they were breaking my water.  After trying to hold off labor, by any means necessary, it was time to deliver and let the NICU take over his care.  Was I ready?  Could I do this?  How bad was this going to hurt?  However, as with everything else I had been dealt, I resigned myself for a sudden vaginal delivery.  Thirty minutes later, my son’s heart rate became alarmingly high.   Change of plans.  Emergency c-section.

Before I knew it, I had drapes in place, arms strapped down and bright lights shining in my face.  I remember hearing the nurses comment that they hated doing c-sections on patients that had stomachs smaller than theirs.  As the surgeon made the first incision, the procedure went very fast.  She pulled out my son, and he made a small squeak in protest.  He was promptly handed over to the experienced hands of the NICU team. 

I was mentally tolerating the procedure well.  Physically, I had developed some complications.  I had started to bleed profusely.  When you hear a surgeon on tv use the words “blood and stat”, it’s not a good sign.  Fortunately, my surgeon was amazing and got the bleeding under control.  I had no more physical complications after that scare.

My son was born at 29-weeks gestation and weighed 3 lbs 6 oz.  He was beautiful! We spent eight weeks in the NICU and went home with a healthy son.  My pregnancy was complicated from beginning to end, but at the end of it all, I feel very blessed!

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