I only met him about 4 1/2 years ago; he is married to my biological Aunt Amy. When my sister and I found our birth mom, we were introduced to her entire family including Seth and Amy and their adorable kids.
Seth was diagnosed 8 years ago (in 2010) with ALS , which is a degenerative disease that affects the muscular and nervous system.
He jumped to action, and co-founded ALS Crowd Division of the CrowdCare Foundation. ALS Crowd helps aggregate and share the latest research and allows patients to connect with one another; it also offers information about treatment options and supports research and development of new ALS clinical trials.
Beyond being one of the funniest, wittiest, most poetic, and kindest people in my life, he is also one of the bravest. And I find so much strength and inspiration through him and his family members more than I think they will ever know.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go meet up with them in Portugal, along with my biological grandparents and my other biological Aunt Debbie, as they embarked on an international adventure to further their reach with ALS Crowd collaborating with Project MinE. I jumped on the chance to spend time with them there.
Following all the blondies through Silves, Portugal
Seth, Jayne, and Ellie leading the way into the castle
Devon, Dianne, Jayne, me, Ellie, Jake, and Debbie
Grandma wanted a serious pic. We had other plans
Even the crab is smiling!
Poppa strolling on the beach in Portimao
The whole crazy crew except Dianne
The lemons the security guard let us pick off the tree inside the castle in Silves
Being around them, and feeling their positive energy and light, and seeing the good work and progress they are making in the medical world with ALS research truly is remarkable. It makes me want to do more and help them with their cause!
If you are wanting to know more about ALS Crowd or Project MinE click on either linked site to check out their initiatives and to see how you can help!
To Seth, Amy, Sam, Ellie, Jayne, and Jake: Thank you all for being the incredible humans that you are. Your light, your love, and your courageous hearts inspire me (and I know so many, many others!) to do more, to be more, to make this world a better place by any means possible. I am proud to know you, I am proud to call you family.
I recently went on a trip back home – to the Philadelphia suburbs where I grew up!
I haven’t been able to go back for almost 3 years, and I have been aching for it so much.
So, when I managed to find a $250 RT ticket from Salt Lake (absolutely unheard of!) I jumped on it and was on my way!
Her Heart Is In Our Hearts
I spent my first night back in Wallingford, PA with my mom’s best friend and her husband. We spent hours catching up, and reminiscing about my mom and all of our memories from when we all lived down the street from one another. We laughed a lot, and we cried a lot too.
I needed that, I desperately needed to spend that time with her and feel as if my mom were in the room with us too, laughing at the old stories and remembering all the good times. Being around her, I feel so close to my mom because she carries a huge piece of my mom inside her heart and I needed to be close to that for even just a few hours; it was so healing and so vital.
My heart felt a little less heavy from sorrow and a little more full of joy after I spent that time with them.
Holidays are the Hardest
After Thanksgiving, my heart has been holding this heavy sadness for my mom – I mean, I miss her all the time but the holiday season is always just a little bit harder. After dinner was done and all of my siblings and I left my Dad’s house, I went home alone. But, instead of going straight home and putting on some holiday movie by myself, I decided to take a detour and go visit my mom in the cemetery.
I brought her a Diet Coke like I always do, because it was her drink of choice. It was freezing, about 29 degrees and it was very dark except for the few grave-sites that had lighted fixtures on them around me on the hill.
There in the darkness I cried – and not just some tears, I full on ugly cried. I felt pathetic, but I think I needed to let it out and feel my grief in that moment. Sometimes I try to hold it all in and just deal with it, when in reality I need to own my pain and my sadness and feel it – really feel it. Because the reason it hurts so damn much is because I loved her, so damn much. And that love will never change.
The next day before meeting up with a friend, I had to go see my childhood house. I can’t go to the place I grew up and NOT go see my house!
I drove down the familiar roads, not even needing GPS even though I haven’t lived there for 15 years; it is all just so deeply ingrained and I remember it all!
Finally pulling up to my house, I pulled the car over across the street and just stared at it. I wanted to go knock on the door and ask if I could go see the inside of it, but I didn’t want the people who live there (in MY house) to think I was some kind of crazy person.
So, instead, I sat across the street and admired it, remembering so many memories as they all rushed over me. I lived there from 18 months to 18 years old, so almost half of my life! Remembering the girl who lived in that front window, she seemed like such a ghost compared to the girl sitting in the car now.
Feeling so sentimental, and still missing my mom and my family being all together for so many years in that place, I was suddenly crying there on the side of the road. And I’m sure anyone driving by must have thought something was wrong; but I mean, wasn’t there?
And one man actually was worried, and he stopped his car next to mine and waved me to roll my window down. He was a gray haired older man with an incredibly kind smile, although his eye full of concern.
“Are you ok sweetheart?” he asked in his thick Delco accent.
“Oh… yep! I’m Okay, thank you!” I responded, feeling stupid for crying on the side of the road trying my best to wipe my face.
“Are you lost? Can I help you with directions somewhere?” He offered.
I wanted to respond no, because I knew where I was and where I needed to go, but in the moment I responded, “You know, I am a little lost. But I think I can find my way.”
“We all get lost from time to time, but remember there is always someone around that can help you find where you need to go!”
After profusely convincing him I was ok, he drove off, but his words stayed with me.
Lost But Not Forever
I stayed there in front of my old house for awhile, just thinking about life.
That man’s kindness and his words meant more to me that I think he could have known in those moments we spoke.
The truth is, we are all lost sometimes – but not forever. And we even lose pieces of ourselves too – but they aren’t lost forever either; not always.
And just like that kind man said, there is always someone around who can help us find where we need to go.
Finding My Way Back
This trip home for me, I hoped would help me recover pieces of myself that I have lost. This town, and area, was where I was raised, where I figured out the beginnings of who I was and what I wanted.
Important steps and parts of myself were created and developed here; some of my most painful memories also culminated there. But you need the hard times to help you see your own strength and resilience, and to appreciate the good times more.
Going back to your home – to your roots wherever they may be – is important. It is an necessary place to return to occasionally, to feel that part of yourself again. If it’s been lost, you can try to replace it where it all started.
Or if there are painful things associated with your home, you can also go to face those old demons and finally let them go. This is also an important step on the road to self-discovery.
Home Is In My Heart
I ended that portion of my trip to the east coast with a dinner in Media with 3 of my closest girlfriends from high school.
We laughed, reminisced, and caught up with each other. I hardly ever get to see them, and every time I do it is magical and so healing to my heart. I am continually grateful that we are all still friends and keep in touch, even though we live so far apart.
That night as I lay in bed I thought of that old saying:
Home Is Where Your Heart Is
And as sappy as I always used to think it is, it is so valid and so true; especially now that I live so far from the place I consider home.
My home is inside my heart, I carry it with me everywhere. My friends, my family, the places I hold such fond memories of, the ones I’ve loved and the ones I’ve lost too; they’re all in there in my heart.
So maybe in a way I’m not really lost, I think those pieces of myself are still in there inside me, they’ve just become buried under everything else that I’ve been facing and dealing with.
But my home, the place where the real “me” resides, is always with me in my heart.
In my recent searchings for ways to help heal myself emotionally from the trauma and things I have been through, I wanted to research and look into crystals.
Now, I know what you might be thinking; because it was probably exactly what I used to think about crystals, or anyone who talked about them in a healing way: that is sounded weird!
My first encounter with crystals was back when I was 12 years old in Pennsylvania. My mom was struggling in her early fight with her cancer, and had been in the hospital for a few weeks. My sister and I were home alone after school one day while our Dad was at the hospital with our mom, and there was a knock at the door. It was a woman from our local church, one who had a bit of a quirky way about her, and many thought she was a bit odd. I mean, she was, but she meant well and was a very kind woman.
So here she was, asking how our mom was doing, and then offered some healing crystals to help her. My sister and I declined, not really knowing what to think, but I remember almost wanting to laugh because it sounded so crazy at the time.
Well, yeah! Crystals… really!
Looking For Clarity
Now, don’t get me wrong – I do not in any way think that crystals can actually heal something big like cancer. Modern medicine from professional doctors can never be replaced.
BUT – what I do think is that there are some healing properties from these beautiful little stones.
Crystals have been around since the creation of the earth – in fact, quartz still makes up about 12% of the earth’s crust just to give an example. If you think about it, we are all essentially made up of all the same matter and particles to some extent, everything in the universe is; and everything including ourselves, the stars, and these crystals shares these vibrational energies. So who is to say we can’t connect with these energies and similar particles, and use them to heal?
Crystals have been used in civilizations for centuries as jewelry, protective talismans, and for healing purposes. I’m pretty sure there’s a reason we continue to be drawn to the mysticism behind them.
If you’ve never used crystals before, it is a little easier than you may think to use them for healing.
It can be as simple as wearing one everyday as a ring or on a necklace, or carrying one with you in your pocket. You can even place them in different rooms that you want to feel specific energies or vibes from.
When you are wanting to dive a little deeper in to crystals, you can start meditating with them. As you hold them and close your eyes, you can focus your thoughts on your intentions; what energies do you want the crystal to detox from you, and what do you want to gain from that particular crystal (each one does something different.)
Choosing a Crystal
Now comes the part where you decide which crystals you want or need.
The first time I went to buy some, I went to my favorite local shop called Dancing Cranes in Sugarhouse, which is a suburb of Salt Lake City.
I decided to just walk around, and see where I felt inspired to go to. This place is filled with tables and displays with every crystal and stone you can think of, so it can seem a little overwhelming. However, since I was just letting the energies guide me I ended up finding some stones that have become very useful to me.
So, I’ve decided to throw together a short list of 6 Healing Crystals for those of you just starting out, to help guide you towards what you may be looking for. These 6 stones are all ones that I personally have been drawn to; but remember there are thousands out there! This is just to give you a quick glimpse into the world of crystals.
6 Healing Crystals
This is known as a love crystal, or one that specifically helps to heal your heart
Helps attract love
Heals your broken heart / heart ache
Balances your heart chakra
One of the best stones to help ground you
Open’s your mind’s eye to more awareness and understanding
Helps you feel balanced and centered
Eliminates depression and promotes optimism
A very calming and balancing crystal
Helps your soul feel more spiritually in tune with
Calms your thoughts to help bring focus and clarity
A powerful stone used to expel negativity
Supports emotional stability and strength
Grounds your true life’s purpose in your heart
One of the oldest and most widely used crystals around the world
Bring awareness and clarity
Called “Chandrakarta” in India, which means “beloved by the moon.” Can come in several types of colors and variations.
Harbors the energy of the moon and all the new potentials of the future
Promotes inner growth and strength
Represents feminine energy, or divine energy
This stone symbolizes new beginnings
Everything is Crystal Clear
Do yourself a favor, and try it out. I mean, honestly what’s the worst that could happen? You’ll feel nothing and you’ll have some cool stones you can leave on display somewhere around your place, right?
Or… you could really get something amazing out of your experience! And then this incredible way to promote healing, strength, and rejuvenation will be opened to you!
Go ahead and step out of your comfort zone and try something new, and if you do I want to hear about it!!