Sending a blog post to heaven, Happy Birthday Mom!

If we could only send a blog post to heaven, wouldn't it be grand? I was thinking, You have been gone for 36 years, this November. That means that you have missed 36 of my birthdays. I have celebrated 36 years as a motherless daughter. About 20 years ago, I set aside time on my own birthday to honor you. I realized that my birthday was your BIRTH-DAY. It was a joyous moment every time that you gave birth to one of your 5 children. It occurred to me that birthdays should be as much of an honoring of the mother as the child right? Well, that may not work for everyone, but for me it became a tradition. Every year that my children have a birthday, I tell them their BIRTH story. I go over every minute of the time that led up to their birth. I wish I knew my birth story from you. Dad tried to explain it but you know how he is. (A little sketchy on details.) 
I was giving more thought to your birthday, and remembered how incredibly you always celebrated our birthday's. You made a 3 layer round chocolate cake, covered in home made chocolate frosting. Then you topped it with those sugar cake letters, and a candle for every year. You had a white milk glass cake plate that proudly displayed your art, your over the top, celebration of your babies!  I did a rough calculation, and realized that you baked 22 cakes in your 8 years of motherhood. It's crazy to think that you only had 8 years with your children.

So then Im wondering why a cake and candles? Where did it originate? I found this explanation, and  loved it. 

"The tradition of placing candles on birthday cake is attributed to early Greek, who used to place lit candles on cakes to make them glow like the moon. Greeks used to take the cake to the temple of Artemis. Some say that candles were placed on the cake because people believed that the smoke of the candle carried their prayers to gods. Others believe that the custom originated in Germany where people used to place a large candle in the centre of the cake to symbolize ‘the light of life."

(It all started here, on this day. 5 babies would make up your legacy)

Isn't that the best! I am not the worlds best baker. Im not sure I could manage a 3 layered cake. But today in honor of you, I am going to buy the best cupcake I can find, and blow out a candle. When I send that smoke to heaven, it will be infused with my prayers of love and gratitude for you! Thank you Mom for surviving your birth. You were not supposed to make it. 3 months early. You were 1 pound 3 ounces of fierce survival instincts, packed into a tiny body the size of a soda can.  Thank you for giving birth to me, and my 4 siblings. We are all miracles of you! Thank you for celebrating us and making us feel special. I found old photos of each child with their special cake. Im so glad we have them. 

 This is the FIRST cake! Me on my first birthday. It brings a tear. You loved me so much, for that I feel so blessed.

Celebrating my first birthday in our brand new house that Dad built. This is before the sample patchwork carpet went in. Im in love.  Did Dad buy me my first football? 

I have a memory of this cake. On my 2nd birthday, you were in the hospital delivering my brother. From this day forward, we would always share a birthday, and you would make 2 special cakes.

Mikel with his cake. He wants to rip into it. I love seeing the old patchwork carpet samples. We used to play games, hopping from color to color. 

Curtis enjoying his birthday cake outside in the driveway. Dang it I wish we had that cake platter!!

Lane also gets to have his cake outside. Maybe it was less messy? 

Tami, your baby turning one. As I look at this cake, I realize that it's the only one you were able to make for her. You died only 8 months later.  I know that Tami will cherish this photo. You were able to give all 5 children a special cake. Thank you MOM!! 

So Mom I honor you today!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  My inspiration is to bake a 3 tier cake for my first born child in July. Ill let you know how it goes, and I will take pictures. Ill send another blog post to heaven!! 

I AM, a 10 year old sharing his wisdom Stunning words!

This is my beautiful boy. His soul is old. His words settle deep in your bones. He was only 10 when he wrote this reflection. He has a haunting remembering, a wisdom of the ancestors. When he was in my womb, I knew that he had magic to share. What a lucky mom I am to care for this inspired young soul. 


BY: Connor Martindale.

I am a wonderer seeking for my freedom.

I wonder about the animals in desperate need.
I hear roaches croaking at me.
I see the fireflies flying around me
I want to be a believer.
I am a wonderer seeking for my freedom.
I pretend I’m in world war 2.
I feel blood pouring out of me.
I touch the nurse as I’m in desperate need.
I worry that I’m going to die.
I cry as I see that I’m a survivor.
I am a wonderer seeking for my freedom.
I understand that I will die someday.
I say I’m happy.
I dream about my past life.
I try to be a good man.
I hope that I’m right.
I am a wonderer seeking for my freedom.

Reminisces of a Motherless Daughter...

May, its a lovely time of year where I live. I am able to witness a grand re-birthing of slumbering flowers, trees and grass, colors burst forth from little balls that stretch and unfold into petals reaching for the sun. Watching the world wake up and come alive is such a miracle. Watching the birds gather sticks and twigs to build their homes is an effort of industry. I always hope they will find a branch on one of my trees worthy to lay their eggs. May is also the month when we celebrate our Mothers, and the month my Mother was born. Its a bitter sweet holiday. My mothers legacy and purpose in life was simple yet monumental. She only wanted to be a mother, and raise her children. She wanted lots of babies, she had lots of love to share. She was taken from us before we were able to have many memories. I am living her life. I am raising my babies, being a part of their joys, sorrows and life's milestones. Ive been there for them every day after school for 21 years. Im lucky, Im blessed, I miss my mom.  I love being celebrated on mothers day, I love being with my kids. I also open that little door in the center of my heart, that holds the vulnerable earthly longing for the mother who is responsible for everything good in my life. I wish I could hug her, and break bread with her. I wonder what our conversations would be and imagine that she would light up with joy seeing her grandchildren. I let the tears build puddles in my eyes, until they spill out and roll down my cheeks. I indulge in my moment of missing the mother that I cannot touch. I feel the air around me tighten, and a warming swirl wraps around my shoulders like a big hug from the part of my mother that still lives. I offer gratitude. My journey through life has been hard, downright dark at times, but If I know any thing at all it is this. My greatest insights and growth have come from sitting in the dark, negotiating that place of pain. It is through the cracks that the light pours in and perspectives shift, then and only then life changes! Sometimes I wish that I were not a motherless daughter, I wish I could fill the void with experiences that I see other women share. I was only 8 when she left. The only way I can come close to that knowing is through my experience being a mother myself. I know how deep the love for my children flows, It is so rooted into my center, a bond that could never be broken. It's from this place of my own mothering that I can imagine what having a mother must feel like. In the here and now of today, its good enough! Im grateful for the perspective that offers this knowing. If I could say something to her and knew that she could hear me it would sound something like this: "Mom, thank you for giving me life, and the opportunity to show up with a purpose. I choose to live my life, and create a legacy worthy of your praise. I have taken my mission of chain breaking seriously. I strive to be better, to be stronger, and to have insane courage along my journey. I know you guide me from where you are. You are everywhere that your children roam. You assist us all. What we call miracles, are fueled by that strong mothering force that continues to pulse through our veins. Thank you mother for leaving a legacy to be worthy of and proud to expand. I miss you crazy bad, I love you to the moon, and 100 million. love ME, the girl you call TRESA pronounced TREE-sa." I am she the girl who loves trees, and nature, my name is perfect, it's spelling is special and magical and full of meaning. It is my song, I love that it came from you!! 

me 2 months before her death.

An excerpt from my book "Speaking your truth"

I found escape in the crevices of my imagination. I believed that there was a sacred contract made between my mother and her children. I imagined that she knew her life would be short. She came to give us life, to create a legacy that would change the future. She promised us that after she died, she would never be gone. I imagined her as a constant companion that I could call my angel. She would protect us from danger and help us navigate our way through life. She knew it would feel like an impossible journey, but she promised that we would be surrounded by her love, and that we would rise up as we each earned our wings and learned to fly. 
I knew the message that told me I would be a “chain breaker” was a significant part of this contract and a very important piece of my purpose. With this belief, I knew that my life was important. I had my own holy grail that needed to be discovered and the journey to find this treasure would define not only my life but forge a new path for future generations.

This may have started as an imagined story in my mind, but over time it became real. It was my elixir of courage, tincture of strength, and potion of forgiveness. I had to give up hope that my past could ever look any different. I had to forgive myself for hating the adults that had been in charge. I learned that I’d had magic powers all along. The power was realizing that I could be in charge of my own life and script it any way I wanted. For years I searched, trying to understand the mystery of the message that was on a loop inside my brain. “You are a chain breaker.” 


Two Years Post Op

It's an incredible moment realizing how dramatically my life changed two years ago. Double jaw surgery is not for the faint of heart. It is a warrior that steps onto this path and gets to this place of healing. I celebrated this year, by checking off another bucket list adventure. I have lived in Utah my entire life, yet somehow, getting to the slot canyons has eluded me for 43 years. I have always wanted to take my camera and capture the magic that I have seen and heard of, but never taken into my own bones as a memory. It was over spring break that we headed to Escalante Utah, home of some astounding narrows. I hired an expedition guide to take us somewhere magical. My son Connor, injured his shoulder, and wasn't able to do the more adventurous canyoneering tour, so we had to down  grade our day just a titch.  I didn't realize that repelling down the face of a cliff was part of the journey, but I did some deep digging finding the courage to be brave and try something new. I figured If I could throw my body out of an airplane at 13,000 feet strapped to a man, I could certainly throw the same body off of a red rock cliff strapped to a shrub bush, (and a man as well). It was an adrenaline rush, and so much fun that I double dipped and did it twice!!  
Life after jaw surgery does return to normal. It takes longer for some than others, but my status 2 years later looks like this: 
I wear my retainer every single night!! (teeth do still move don't mess it up by being lazy)
I have 100% feeling on the outside of my face.
My upper gums feel a little bit numb, not all the way not really even a bother.
There is a little spot on the side of my tongue that goes numb from time to time. I know that if I wear the retainer, the numbness goes away. It's not an all the time situation, more random.
My bite is strait, I love my smile, I can chew my food, my joints no longer hurt. I am so happy that I chose this surgery, and all of the misery that came with it. It reminds  me over and over again, that our greatest learnings and accomplishments in life may just be buried deep in a muck that we must wade through with courage and surrender. We sometimes have to take a risk, take a chance, and trust that we will grow more than we thought possible. To those of you just starting, in the middle of, or recovering from this process, remain hopeful, and as positive as you can. Remember that there is light that sometimes can only shine through the rough cracks. Know that you are stronger than you know!  God bless you all, and heres to 2 years post op!!