Got nothing to lose…

“Ben E. King, who wrote (with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller) and recorded the original and iconic version of “Stand By Me,” died on Thursday at age 76. That song has been covered more than 400 times, but just two weeks ago, David Letterman requested that Tracy Chapman perform it live on his show. She did, just her and a guitar. It’s haunting.” —Peter Weber 

http://theweek.com/speedreads/552990/watch-tracy-chapmans-beautiful-cover-ben-e-kings-stand-by

Desert Highway

Tracy Chapman has always been one of my favorites. Fast Car blasted on my cassette player as I drove North on I-5 from Federal Way, Summer of 1988. My dad and brother followed me, two cars packed up with all I would need for dorm life at WWU.

You got a fast car 

I want a ticket to anywhere

Maybe we make a deal

Maybe together we can get somewhere

Any place is better

Starting from zero got nothing to lose

Maybe we’ll make something

Me myself I got nothing to prove

It had been a trying year ending with my third stepmother’s funeral the week of graduation after a three year battle with cancer. I was no longer tethered to the place I grew up. Good friends already off to their respective colleges the year before, I had been living for the moment of escape longer than I even knew. Homelife was hard and school, where I had always gotten what I needed, had fallen apart that year. I had done my best but felt like I really was Starting from zero and had nothing to lose.

All I wanted to do for a year was run. Run from the numbness that almost swallowed me up at home. Run from the loneliness of stepping out of the nest (such as it was) into the world. Run from not belonging, knowing for sure it was up to me to make my way with whatever I had in me.

As I drove my Fast car, a Ford Pinto Hatchback, I was free and excited and nervous. Those heavy, black clouds parted and I was on my way.

Our Beloved Papa…

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Elwyn Bushaw, 89 years old, was born in Bismarck, North Dakota to William and Bertha Bushaw on February 19, 1925. He served with pride and honor in the United States Navy from 1942 until 1946. His family moved from a farm in Grand Forks, North Dakota to Seattle where he learned the sheet metal trade with many of his dark-haired, sparkly-eyed brothers. He met the love of his life, Shirley Darlene Hanson, while roller dancing in White Center. Elwyn asked Shirley if she was from North Dakota as he recognized her roller skating style. They were married within the month of meeting and very quickly inseparable for almost 70 years. Together they raised their three children, Doug, Greg and Debbie. No one felt Elwyn’s fun-loving, generous spirit more than his eleven grandchildren: Janna, Jeff, Heather, Carrie, Lindsay, Shannon, Eric, Tom, Kevin, Kurt, and Sheryl and fifteen great-grandchildren. Elwyn was the head of our family who spent holidays, birthdays, weddings, family BBQs together. Our Christmas Eve parties call to each of us no matter where we are in the world – even if it means by phone or Facetime. Papa loved being with the kids as much as they loved being with him. Our big family is home.

Elwyn grew up in a family of fourteen on a farm in a very different time. His dad drove the kids to school in a horse drawn wagon with coal in the back to keep them warm on the cold winter days. He had to leave school in the eighth grade to help his family on the farm. Elwyn is preceded in death by his brothers and sisters: Elroy, Kenny, Donny, Erwin, Ebert, Lloyd, sisters Edna, Valoyce, Maxine, and Laverne. He is survived by his loving wife, Shirley, his sons, Doug Bushaw (Roxanne) and Greg Bushaw (Kim), daughter Debbie Ziebarth (Jim), and brother Bob.

Elwyn’s career was in the sheet metal trade after putting himself through school and supporting a young family. He was a brilliant mathematician who could visualize and lay-out sheets of metal that only machines can do today. His grandchildren marveled at how many and fast he could manipulate numbers. Young apprentices to the owners of the companies he worked for, appreciated his natural abilities to get any job, not only done, but done perfectly the first time. Elwyn loved his work and took great pride in a job well done.

He was a self-taught jack-of-all-trades. Doug and Greg remember helping their dad dig out the basement of the family home on Military Road in South Seattle. Elwyn could make just about anything. One year he made his family and friends truck canopies out of sheet metal for their weekend camping trips. He gave freely of his time, energy and talent and remodeled many of our homes. Shirley was right there beside him cleaning, painting and cooking; together they made a great team.

Elwyn lived the All-American life full of family, friends, love, laughter, a few tears, work and play. Over the years, Elwyn and Shirley were involved in bowling and square dancing. They loved to play cards with friends and family, sometimes late into the night. Later in the years, Elwyn enjoyed blackjack at the casino and taught the grandkids and great-grandkids the science of cards. Picture books are full of memories of parties in the dugout basement, gardening, and swimming in their pool on hot days. The family spent almost every weekend camping and fishing from the time the kids were small, far into grandchildren coming along happily playing in the dirt. The two of them could dance like there was no one else in the room, floating across the floor on a cloud of their own making. They were poetry in motion. There are many great memories of camping in Eastern Washington where Willard’s Resort became the “Bushaw Family Compound” with all of the aunts, uncles and cousins. These are such wonderful memories for all who were part of the Bushaw Family.

Elwyn led a full and wonderful life. He demonstrated true values of unconditional love, generosity of spirit, and shared what he had, what he knew and his wisdom collected over the years. He was devoted to his wife, Shirley, his children and grandchildren. There was rarely a time he didn’t profess his love for his family and his beloved wife. They were almost one spirit, hand-in-hand, never leaving each other’s side. Their love for each other was of fairytales and dreams; authentic, true, everlasting. We feel your spirit within each of us, Papa. Our memories of you so deep, your presence is with us wherever we are and for all of time. May you rest in peace…

Written by Kim Bushaw and Janna Bushaw

I am grateful to be a MOTHER in America

As a mother in America I get to choose how to raise my children. When I say ‘choose’, I don’t mean whether or not to breastfeed, work or stay home, etc. The choice that I am grateful for is that I get to choose how to love my children and there isn’t a person in the world (except my husband) who is capable of understanding how much I communicate my love to them.

The TIME Magazine article was written to sell magazines, to go viral and the way to do that in America is take the topic to the extreme. The woman and her son on the Today Show did not seem any different than any American mother trying to do the best she can. She was not extreme. Dr. Sears, whom I have met and read about half his books) is not an extreme parenting guru on Attachment Parenting. There is no “Mother of the Year” award people. There is NO SUCH THING. We need to stop trying to compare ourselves to each other and drawing conclusions based on each others choices and appearances!

While running today, I started thinking about all types of mothers that I know and the choices that they make. It is a very long list. Who is the better mother? Which one loves her children more? Whose children are more attached? There is no way or need for any of us to judge each other or to know whether we are a good mother or not by looking to external cues. At the end of the day a relationship is between two people. Each child is the only one who REALLY knows at the end of the day, right?

Here is a start to my list: works or stays home, breastfeeds or formula, gay or straight, single or married, homemade baby food or jars, cloth or Pampers, Ferber or Attachment, runs marathons or barely climbs the stairs, organic or canned, private or public school, one child or nineteen, minivan or SUV, prefers outdoors or indoors, country club or city park, PTA or non-PTA, church or no church, big family or small, well-mothered or undermothered, surgically enhanced or au-natural, family vacations or not, nanny or daycare, went to college or not, graduate school or not, had a career or planned to be a mom, designer jeans or Target knock-offs, reads books or People magazine, kids in activities or come home to play, traditional school or home schooled, likes gardening or horrified by dirt, kids watch TV or no TV, and the list goes on and on and on.

The human brain is designed to differentiate and therefore we immediately come to conclusions about what kind a mother someone is by all these differences (and a whole lot more) but these decisions or life circumstances do not define how we love our children. If we all spent less time wondering what everyone else is doing and whether we measure up and more time focusing on our own children and what their needs are, this world would be a much happier place.

I am grateful to be a mother in America where am free to make my own choices but should not be free to judge others.

I am grateful for the little people in my life

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I am grateful for the little people in my life.

Their sense of adventure, curiosity, exuberance, innocence, happiness, creativity, emotion, tenacity, sensitivity, empathy, strength, vulnerability, presence, joy, delight, their love. Really, I love it all.

Please add your words to my list of reasons that you love children.

I am grateful for all the children in my life, but especially my three beautiful girls.

I am grateful for health

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I am grateful that I have learned how to be healthy.

Three and a half years ago my family cut out gluten, dairy, citrus and soy after taking food sensitivity tests through my naturopath. The changes in my three girls were miraculous. The changes in me were life changing. I started living life instead of simply getting through each day. It didn’t happen over night and it was very stressful to change three kids’ diets with the snap of my fingers. I think I had my first panic attack when I went to the grocery store searching for foods that my kids could eat AND like. Maybe they could survive on grapes, strawberries and rice milk??

My girls were ages 2, 4 and 6. They liked fish crackers, pretzels, chocolate milk, tortellini pasta, pizza, orange juice, toasted cheese sandwiches, and of course chicken nuggets. These were the typical foods you would see on a children’s menu or for snacks at school, church or playdate. All of the foods they liked were now out. One of the pediatricians scolded me for restricting my 2 year old’s diet so early in life. I was on a mission though. The lab reports gave me the conviction that eating a donut was akin to running with scissors. It was as dangerous as swimming in a shark tank – which is how I felt at the time. Suddenly there was danger everywhere we went and other moms looked at me like I had lost my mind – and I probably had.

Meanwhile I was reading The UltraMind Solution by Mark Hyman among about 50 other books on the topic including Detoxify or Die… I always go a little overboard when something suddenly hits my consciousness like a ton of bricks. Mark Hyman’s book has questionnaires for you to identify areas of deficiencies and I had a lot of them. His book was a paradigm shift in me that became borderline obsessive.

I grew up with my dad who had been a cook in the navy. When he cooked it was things that he liked – t-bone steak one night and Hamburger Helper the next followed by several days of Godfather’s Pizza, McDonalds, or Skippers. Lunches were Wonder Bread with Velveeta Cheese and bologna sandwich combined with a ding-dong or hostess cupcake. Super healthy… So many things make so much sense now. As a young teen I just stopped eating and took dexatrim (when it was essentially speed) so I could stay thin. By college I had traded diet pills for a short stint with an eating disorder and then became obsessed with not eating any fat. The no-fat diet was in every magazine and in every book store. I was very good at it. I also did step aerobics for 2 hours a day. I thought I was in really good shape after all I looked great but little did I know that eating no fat was ruining my ability to detoxify, make needed hormones and traded high quality protein needed by the body for so many things for a low quality bagel or rice or pasta – essentially sugar.

So fast forward into my twenties where I did calm down a bit and was a healthy weight without being obsessive. I had 3 children in 4 1/2 years, every one of them I was sick 24/7 and had been working for pharmaceutical company to which I adopted the mentality of taking a pill for every ailment not to mention living 10 miles from Ground Zero in New York. I was CRUSHED. I had chronic migraines, ADD, memory problems, I would get a stomach bug just by looking into a preschool and generally grumpy most of the time. I literally had all I could do to just make it though the day without incident.  My children were either crying or bouncing off the walls and were sick so much that year that it became traumatic. I was on a crash course to the asylum.

I still didn’t understand the idea of ‘putting your own mask on first’ and started looking for help for my kids. My girls had about 12 ear infections that year between the three of them and my 1-year-old had just gotten tubes inserted. The pediatrician was of no help beyond “waiting it out” and I was beginning to learn about the connection between food and health. I found my naturopath (who I credit with saving my family’s life) and made appointments for them and myself. WOW! After reading Mark Hyman’s book and all the tests that I took through my naturopath it was no wonder I wasn’t dead. Although now that I think about it, I was practically dead just still moving…barely.

Within a couple of months of eating healthy, natural and organic foods and taking a few supplements, the changes were unbelievable. I had a moment when my husband was gone where I was quietly cooking dinner and all three girls were occupied with coloring or a game. It was peaceful. It was heaven. I felt clear and in control and my girls were the same. Amazing. Even my husband who had many doubts during all my changes was blown away by our girls and how they were able able to be their true, peaceful, fun-loving selves. The ear infections went from 12 the year before to 1 that year. I was able to have a complete thought, I could remember more and my migraines had been reduced from about 15-20 days to maybe 1-5 days. Real results through changing my families food and adding a few vitamins. Truly a blessing.

I am so thankful to have learned how to keep myself and my family healthy.

I am grateful to be a stay-at-home mom

I am grateful that I get to be a stay-at-home mom.

In eighth grade I told my friend that when I grew up I would be a lawyer and would not have children until I could afford a nanny for them. I would not become a stay at home mom as I had witnessed the cartoon in my house: a step-mother vacuuming during the day with her zip-up bathrobe, curlers in her hair, cigarette hanging out of her mouth, talking to her girlfriend on the phone (cigarette precariously about to fall to the ground) while the kids were banished from view. Quite lovely huh?!

No, that would not be me (and it isn’t for the record). I saw education as the ladder out of  this world into the world where women dressed up for work, kissed her husband and children good bye and went off to do something important in the world. I would never be dependent on anyone for anything. I can do it myself, thank you very much. I went on to college with the drive of a herd of elephants. No time for fun. No time for new friendships. I graduated with a job at a time where there were no jobs, worked for 5 years and went to graduate school in business (just as I had planned). Upon finishing graduate school, I was pregnant with my first daughter. There was a move to North Jersey, promotions, a wedding, etc. in there too.

After 9/11 my husband and I needed to get out of the Tri-State area for obvious reasons and managed to get back to Washington State by way of a job change for my husband right after my daughter was born.

Now I have worked my tail off since I was about 10 and now I am 32 suddenly transported from NY to suburbia with my extremely colicky baby, no friends, no job, no purpose and my husband was traveling quite often. AAAAAHHHHHHH! Talk about scary…

I began to devour child development books in order to wrap my brain around this new world I was suddenly flung into (with bad visuals about what could happen to a person) and found that WOW there is a lot going on in a tiny person’s brain from the ages of 0-5 – not just sleeping… “I cannot leave her with anyone!”, I thought. For the first time it was not about me anymore. How could I go back to work which was about my survival, my needs and leave her, when her needs were far more important? Her needs were about building her brain at breakneck speed and it would be permanent. This realization has a lot to do with how I was mothered or more importantly un-mothered as my own left when I was 4 years old. It was devote all of me to my job or devote all of me to my daughter. There was no in between for me. There was no choice for me.

How thankful I am for that lack of choice. For two years I would fret about never getting a job again, how will I get a job again, how will I ever be marketable again… Then something happened. I started to find myself, my true self. I found a new path to take that was previously so hidden that I didn’t even know it existed. I have taken side roads; started a business, worked part time, consulted and done volunteer work but all these diversions have taken me back to the path that I started on when Ellie was born. This path has gotten wider, brighter and more lush the deeper I have traveled.

So thankful to be a stay-at-home mom, thankful to my husband for taking on the extra pressure of providing for our family, thankful that God has allowed me to trust that things will work out if you follow your true path.