Pacific Northwest Cascades are my office

collage justjamie

 Spending the weekend on my computer catching up with my portrait proofing.  When I start to get cabin fever, I just look at the photos and remember how blessed I am to have my office mainly in the mountains of the beautiful Cascades.  Counting my blessings today.

In my Father’s Image

fathers and sons

Recently, my son became very ill, and as the doctors asked me about our family health history, I found myself becoming angry again at my ex-husband.  The anger wasn’t because he deserted me and his children (though I find that seeping back in once in a while); the anger was due to how he left us. He made it impossible for me to ever find out if the symptoms my son is having could be related back to his family history; therefore, there is this big unknown part of my children’s history that I would like to access, so I can help them be healthy for themselves and for their future children.

I took this photo of my son and husband (at the time) right after my father’s funeral.  My husband said that my losing my father reminded him of how quickly time passes and the importance of cherishing every precious moment we have with our children. The portrait symbolized to me the relationship between a parent and their child and how important it is, as parents, to guide our children to the future that is waiting for them.  I never thought that my own husband would disregard the gift’s God has bestowed upon us.  I no longer try to understand what made my husband do the things he did, as it is out of my control and is time wasted. Yet, inexcusably I still witness daily the internal pain and damage he left behind. I always thought that maybe he was too damaged from his own childhood to ever be a parent, but three years after deserting his own children, he had another one.

It may seem cruel, but I sometimes view my ex as created in Hitler’s (interesting enough, he liked his employees to call him that) image because when our marriage became the darkest is when he could not handle his youngest son (in this photo) being different from other children.  I’ve mentioned in my blog before that my son has Asperger’s Syndrome, and my ex-husband had no patience or empathy for the symptoms that developed from my son’s diagnosis. I almost think that he kept having children until he could create the perfect specimen of himself.  My heart aches for his new child that he had with his new wife, and I pray for the innocent boy’s safety every day.

This photo has been hidden in the back of my closet for years in fear of it bringing back the pain of the past for my children. However, this week as I have been filling out medical forms for specialists for my beautiful, kind-hearted son, I looked back at this portrait and realize that it doesn’t have to represent the father that walked away, but it reminds me of the characteristics my son shares with his maternal grandfather that I sadly lost that Thanksgiving week in 2000. My son grew up not having the guidance of either a father or a grandfather, but I have kept my father’s image alive within my son, by sharing his stories, his morals, his ethics, his love, and so on.  As I look into my son’s eyes, the eyes that trust that I will find him the best care and answers this week, I see my father’s soul looking back at me.  My son may have been born from a man who has no soul, but that doesn’t mean that’s how my son’s story ends.

My son has a heart of gold and carries his grandfather Jim’s heart and soul with him everywhere (that is what I see in this portrait now), and as long as I bring him up with wonderful people surrounding him that also share those similar ethics, morals, and love, my child will take that into his future and it will continue to touch the ones fortunate enough to come into his life. I will never be convinced that blood defines a family, but instead family is defined by the incredible people who lift us up and encourage us to live each day being better than we were the day before.

Overcoming challenges makes life meaningful!

This is my daughter, Megz, when she was three.  She is a junior in college now, but still has that same strength and determination.  I have decided I want to be her when I grow up.

Courage or a fight for survival?

FLASH BACK FRIDAY

 

Today, my grades for my first quarter of my doctoral program posted and I received a 4.0.  I was just numb when I saw them, & seeing them led me to post for #FBF.  If anyone had told me when my ex-husband deserted us 7 years ago how drastically my life and my kids’ lives would change, I would have never believed them.

Some remember how broken I was back then, and I’m not flashing back for sympathy, but instead to give others hope.  To say this has been an easy journey to where I’m currently headed would be a lie, but no one ever promised achieving one’s dreams would be easy.  I even debated on posting a photo of me way back then.  It brought me to tears seeing that person I was, but what made it even harder was seeing how young my kids were then.

No child should have to experience the kind of pain my three kids did.  I am so proud of the young adults they have become despite the suffering that was inflicted upon us.   It’s great to celebrate our triumphs, but it also keeps me humble to look back to where I started.  But I do love that I am not that broken woman anymore and I am so grateful for the incredible people who have come into our lives since then.

I will probably be screaming from the roof tops the day I walk across the stage and I receive my doctorate, but despite all the incredible opportunities that have come into our lives, I still cannot help but wish that one day that my oldest son could see that I am no longer that sad, broken woman, and wish he would want to  know the woman I have become.  Because I know this woman is a good person and I am proud of her, and while continuing on this journey, I will never forget everyone who has lifted me and my kids up and I will always continue to pay it forward. Happy Friday everyone and remember ‘Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’ ~ Mary Anne Radmacher.

Remember Your Shadow is a Reflection of Your Shining Light

shadows

I’m just toying with my artistic side today.  I was studying when I looked up and saw this beautiful shadow looking back at me.  It reminded me of my son and the shadows that follow him.  I wanted him to know that his shadows are only there because of the bright, shining light that radiates from his beautiful soul.  His favorite artist is Lady Gaga; therefore, I wanted to reflect her words the best way I could.  I can only hope for my son that he can one day live in a world that respects individuality and one where he can walk down the street and feel free to be himself without being afraid to have bullies and haters lurking in the shadows he still fears. We all have those shadows around the corner, but today I choose to be a light for those who may still be afraid to turn theirs on.

Worn & weathered, but always beautiful!

worn and weathered

You fall, you rise, you make mistakes,

you live, you learn.

You’re human, not perfect.

You’ve been hurt, but you’re alive.

Think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive

– to breathe, to think, to enjoy,

and to be with people you love.

Sometimes there is sadness in our journey,

but there is also lots of beauty.

We must keep putting one foot in front of the other,

even when we hurt,

for we will never know

what is waiting for us

just around the bend…

                                         ~ Unknown