Oh, what a difference a year makes. September 22, 2015, I spent the day in Glacier National Park with Mary & David, who I met at the Gibson Mansion Bed & Breakfast in Missoula on my way to a Haven Writing Retreat. Before meeting my new friends to hike the Trail of Cedars to Avalanche Lake, I spent some time alone gathering damp debris in the shadows of Mount Vaught to create this birthday greeting for my father.



The following day, dad’s birthday, our retreat began. I recall one of our first group exercises: “believability and voice.” I wrote about my poignant time, alone on Lake McDonald’s rocky beach and I remember crying in the midst of my new Haven sisters, mere strangers then.

It is amazing to think I had no idea then as I poured out my heart and soul about what my amazing father means to me, the unrelenting pain of losing Celeste, or my longing to find my birth mother, that fast forward one year to the day… I would welcome her into my heart and home.

I am contemplating my reunion with my birth mother later tonight, and honoring the blessings that my Haven I sisters have become in my life.

I am also thinking of a 14th C. quote by Meister Eckhart my favorite client “Kate” shared with me this past year. “If the only prayer we ever say in our entire life is “thank you” that will be enough.”

Trail of Cedars


Trail of Cedars
Avalanche Lake


In italics below is my journal entry from two mornings ago. Think of it as a 5-minute writing prompt like Laura Munson teaches – no explanation, no comment, no discussion. When a person finishes, the person to the left reads their entry, and so on. Pretend for a moment you are sitting to my left. Respond to this prompt in a comment below, please.

What do you say to your birth mother when, after nearly a half-century, you two reunite for the first time?

For days I’ve felt bound momentarily, or I’ve woken suddenly like now, with a frisson of anticipation for your arrival. For forty-nine years, I have imagined your looks, your hair and eye color, the sound of your voice, the touch of your hand, every sense of you, even the smell of your skin as I lean in to hug you. The excitement surrounding your arrival this Thursday feels like falling in love for the first time. As the anticipation consumes me, it thrills me, and I wrestle to accurately describe the feelings languishing in the pit of my stomach trying to make sense of my nervousness. Lying here before dawn staring up at the endless darkness I wonder if my aching stomach isn’t reliving some fear of rejection. Why feel fear at all?

I wonder whether my B-mama is a missing puzzle piece for happiness. Countless times I’ve heard or read, I must make my happiness. I’m not so sure those times had it right, though. Seeing you for the first time and getting to know you will undoubtedly provide inherent pleasure. Coming to terms with who and where I come from feels empowering. I feel a new sense of self, especially self-worth, emerging. Ancient depths are surfacing, and I feel a surprising satisfaction in solitude. I have been alone in my thoughts about you for so long I am at home in the solitude.

I close my eyes and feel myself descending into my private world to relive the only closeness I have ever known us to share. Such familiar longing seems to intensify as your arrival approaches. Soon I will replace my solace with a new reality. That will look like what?

Now, I can disconnect from the “real” world. I feel safe in my imagination for my intuition, creativity, and faith is all that has sustained me for forty-nine years. It makes sense they would become my comfort zone. In two days, however, my comfort zone is expected to change forever. My imagination will become real. My faith realized.

I am ready. 

I will stand in your presence for the first time soaking up the beautiful essence of the moment. Peering into your eyes, I will wrap my arms around you with unconditional love. Then I will say the words I’ve waited a lifetime to tell you. Two powerful words when spoken with gratitude is enough. I will say, “Thank You.”