In Between


Somewhere in between vulture vomit and angel tears in yoga mats, the Universe woke up another brain worm:  breathing, in the “in between” time.

I have been listening to more music as of late (thank you commuting time) and a new favorite of mine: Somewhere Different Now” by Girly Man, keeps striking a chord.
“Not quite lost, not quite found
I’m just somewhere different now”

So much of our life we spend on auto pilot, going through the motions. Having been exposed to meditation and become a practitioner of sorts, I am grateful to be able to recognize the moments at times that connect. I can sometimes even detect the intention required to participate. Sometimes a gentle reminder is required. I have stumbled upon some most excellent teachers , masquerading as regular human beings, (you have them too if you’re paying attention). When I say stumbled upon, of course it means they have appeared just when I needed them, bringing along the wisdom my soul is ready to absorb.
For whatever reason, due to whatever set of circumstances, I am raw and restless. I am in the place where life is serious shit, and I want to feel it all.  So a teacher/cool-as-fuck human being appears and promptly calls me out. Yeah, I can feel the intensity. I celebrate and embrace the goodness. I have even learned to walk with and appreciate the darkness. But can I lean into the In Between stuff?  I tend to avoid that.  Which explains the restlessness I feel, the need I have to search. Not for person, place or thing, but out of the between.

And the Universe bombards. A quote arrived this afternoon,
“Everything ends, unless you stay in between. It’s much easier there”
In Between is where we become paralyzed, afraid to love, afraid to lose, afraid to take any risk for fear it will result in an ending. But endings are necessary for new beginnings. And I love the beginnings. I’m growing fonder of the endings. It’s the “In Betweens” I have to figure out. And I am not one for easier.  So I breathe.

I’m not quite lost, no where near found, just somewhere different now.

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Wheat fields and words


I started what I thought was a short, amazing post several days ago.  (I am inspired to post only amazing since I have such amazing friends who take time to read them)  I read over it as I usually do and realized that it was cumbersome and strayed completely from my initial thoughts.  When I went to read through it again (I write everything in a word document and then transfer it over to WordPress), it was gone.  The Universe is a tough critic and editor but I figured I’d just start again, this time knowing where it started and where it jumped the tracks.

So, it started like this:  I’m driving to meet some friends from high school who I have not seen for nearly 20 years.  I can’t drive anywhere lately without passing farm after farm, (not an unpleasant thing at all).  Pulling out of the development where I am, I notice the immense field of wheat across the street was turning a lovely golden color.  Instantly I got a little jab in my soul.  I don’t know if any of you have ever read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.  If not, READ IT! Perhaps it’s my unsurpassed favorite, most influential book.  But I digress already, AGAIN.

If you have read it, you’ll know there is a chapter where the Prince makes friends with a wild fox and must go through an elaborate process to “tame” the fox.  When it comes time for the Prince to leave, the fox is sad.  The Prince tells the fox that the taming has done him no good then but the fox responds that up until meeting the prince, wheat was of no use to him.  Now he would see a field of wheat and be reminded of the color of the Prince’s hair and it wheat would have purpose for him.

I received the book as a gift from a friend.  We spent a summer getting to know each other.  It was one of the first times I let down my guard and let someone in.  When the summer ended and we each had to go our separate ways, I was devastated.   I had fallen in love with a girl for the first time.  There was no conversation about such things then, internally much less out loud.   It would take 15 years more years for me to understand and become my authentic self.

So here I am 36 years later, staring at the wheat fields, trying to make sense of the jabbing at my heart, and finally knowing what my heart understood back then but my brain could not yet process or explain.  If I could reach across time and space I would say this to my old friend: “Here are the words I did not have then.  You effected me.  You changed me.  I may forget your face someday, but I will never forget and always love your heart.  Because of the wheat fields.  Thank you.  Thank you.”

I met with my high school friends and received more blessings of memories.  How right our elders were.  Don’t take it for granted.  It passes so quickly.  But is there not now a sweetness in the memories that comes with the benefit of present day wisdom, growth and words?

So, what started as a short blog post inspired by missing an old friend turned into a lengthier one on finding myself again.  May we meet again, over and over.

Summer time cometh


I was only a teacher for 12 years but still I anticipate the end of the school year and the impending adventures of summer.  It was my favorite time as a kid, now decades ago, when the freedom from responsibilities and infinite possibilities of what the days and weeks would hold revealed themselves.  My first few years of teaching, though, I focused on the ending of summer and return to restrictive, unimaginative days and the angst of it all.  What irony to have escaped the annual ritual of returning to school as a child only to return as my adult self for my vocation.  Summer breaks were the reward for experiencing the Ground Hog Day-like reliving of the perpetual return to school.

I can see more clearly now that I should have focused more on the glorious rebirth of summer vacation.  There were several times before last summer when I thought about quitting teaching but it always came down to not wanting to lose my summer freedom.

Surely I am not the only alleged grown up that is transported back to school days and the ending of such around this time of year?  I freely confess, I am restless.  I want the adventure.    I’m grateful to have a job now that allows me the flexibility, and a consulting position that provides the opportunity for the adventures  All in all, I one lucky son of a gun.  It’s summer.  Have adventure, will travel.

Even the very good days are hard


Even good days are hard.

If you are reading this, you either know me and these blog posts are the only real updates on my life I really share, or you have stumbled upon this blog somehow, maybe expecting information on strokes or stroke recovery and now it’s too late to turn away!

I realize that I have neglected this blog as of late.  I attempted several times to write something but it never felt valuable to share.

The great relocation east was my attempt at reclamation.  With the safety net of family and familiar surroundings, I was going to regroup and reinvent.  Initially I had some success.  Familiar sights, sounds, and smells.  The only thing left to navigate was the strange new land of me.

I found myself once again dreading the day to day.  Life as an insurance sales person not only made me feel slimy, (no offense to the insurance sellers) it left no time for me to experience living.  My evenings were spent selling, my days, nights, weekends, all work. Nothing to look forward to, no time left after the extra hours and endless sales contests.  So, I did it again…I walked away.  No plan, no cushion, just fear that I would miss that next great adventure because I was too busy making money for my “upline”.

Walking away was easy this time, I want to live.  Standing up and readjusting my sails, that part is always scary.  What if I fail?  What if I don’t?  What if I am too old to reinvent?  I always swore I’d grow old gracefully.  I just didn’t count on it happening overnight.  I began applying for jobs I know I am more than qualified to do but scared that no one in their right mind would take on an older, well-worn shadow of another self.

The Universe loves to prove me wrong and I landed a job that draws upon the experience of all my working career plus my personal experience with brain injury, the result of the stroke.  I’m only part time and I’m making a lot less than I have in other jobs, but I make a difference and I feel like me again mostly.  I’m satisfied.  Happy.  That’s it.  Happy.  I spend evenings now on the back deck of my sister’s house where I am living, days I spend with other people who have experienced brain injury by way of accident, illness or other.  I teach them strategies for memory and organization and hopefully show them it all keeps going with or without our liking it.  But sometimes we do.  A different life can still be good.

But I know, and freely share, that even when days are good, it’s still hard.  But that’s what makes it worth it.  I heard a definition for “hell” recently:  Your last day on earth and the person you’ve become meets the person you were destined to be.  So many times, I thought I knew THE way, was on THE path, only to find it was A way and A path.  There are more days than not lately when I wonder if it was enough, if I was enough.

I try to avoid getting lost in my thoughts these days.  It feels like I am behind enemy lines.  But I have always tried to understand it all on a deeper level.  Being back in the part of the country where I lived out my childhood, I am frequently caught off guard by memories that surface when I drive past an old school, down a familiar street from my past, see a name in the newspaper of someone I went to school with.

I have had great adventures in my life.  I have known a lot of people, places, and things.  I have very few regrets.  I usually tried things and went places when it may not have seemed prudent but, what I know about me solidly is that I have always wanted to experience life; not just read about it or hear someone else’s version.  I have wanted to see, hear, smell, taste and touch all of life.  I wanted to find that one great love.  I’ve been lucky enough to have known several great loves.  I have been witness to big love, real love, lived through fake love and I have been changed by it all.

If you stumbled on this blog and have experienced a brain injury due to stroke or other, keep up the good fight.  There are many good days.  And yes, even those are hard.  It does make for a pretty good story though and like a good book, I can’t put it down.  I want to know how the next chapter goes.  I want to know how it ends.  There sure have been some intense plot twists.  That’s for sure. And there is always someone else whose challenges are greater.  Make your story great.  

Gratitude Adjustment time


11/1:  consciously noticing the things to be grateful for.  11/2:  The opportunity several years ago to even begin practicing gratitude.

There will be stones thrown and multiple winged creatures killed.  I have not blogged for some time because I want my posts to be meaningful and thought-provoking.  Some recent starts to posts have ended up feeling either too repetitive or too self-absorbed.  I write to process my thoughts but to also encourage others to process their thoughts as well.  As the month begins where we celebrate our gratitude, and as I see friends posting a daily “grateful”, I realize I am behind.  Bird number one.  I am catching up with posting a gratitude a day for the entire month.  I realized that it was going to be hard for me to catch up, even after two days, in a Facebook sized post.  Bird number two.  I have material enough for a blog post.  Here goes, fearless readers:

I am not a stranger to the idea of practicing gratitude.  Even before my stroke I began keeping track of what was good in life.  After a bit of a bad patch in my life I listened to expert advisors strongly suggest I keep track of that for which I was grateful.  At the time, I was regrouping emotionally from a relationship break up and believed it would be challenging to find things that were actually going well.  It did not come easy for me. I faked it a lot.  Blah, blah, grateful for a roof over my head (boy I took that one for granted), blah, blah grateful for food in my fridge, and so on.  An interesting thing began to happen though.  As I forced myself to come up with things I was grateful for, I found myself spontaneously being grateful for things that I didn’t notice before, or if I did, I wasn’t fully being with the gratitude.

Now here’s the cool thing.  Studies have shown that you can’t feel appreciation and fear or anxiety at the same time.

During that time, my anxiety was pretty much through the roof although I didn’t acknowledge it to many others or even to myself.  I knew I was unhappy but didn’t want to admit that either but again, the wisdom and insight of others around me encouraged me, as I was seeking to understand myself better, to find things to be grateful for, twelve things every day.

I started off with three or four but I decided that I would also start a list of people for whom I was grateful.  It was my intention, and still is, to personally thank the people on my list at some point.  (My list is in the hundreds and I continue to add to it regularly.) My list of gratitudes (after the faking phase) were really stretching it I thought:  1.  Grateful for a dog under the covers in bed with me.  2.  Grateful for a bedroom window facing East so that the sunrise wakes me every day.  3.  Grateful for songs that remind me that I am strong.

As I read those things now I can see that they are no small things.  What continued to amaze me was how much easier it became to notice and truly feel grateful about things.  Smells, sounds, thoughts, absence of thoughts until soon I could easily list a daily dozen gratitudes…with sincerity and gratitude.  It is not unusual or uncommon for me to notice myself feeling joyfully grateful during the course of my day.  After my stroke, it became even more important to recognize and celebrate the things I could be grateful for.  And there are many.

I have been reading others’ post sharing their gratitude and told myself I would also post but I have been busy and distracted.  Driving home from my newest vocational adventure I noticed a small jolt of joy rising as I smelled leaves and fall air.  I rolled down the windows of my pickup and inhaled and quietly was thankful for the hour plus commute home because I get to smell the leaves, feel the chill and chase the moonlight through the trees as I drive through the wooded state game lands that appear after the wide open stretch of farm lands I cross eventually leading through the small “towns” made up of old homes with candles in every window and country churches with adjoining cemeteries that contain the bones of the many who passed through this way before me as settlers, soldiers, or solitary seekers of the next big thing for which they’d feel grateful.  Such a wide variety of landscape options in just an hour’s drive.  Tonight, the moon is not yet full yet provides enough light when it evades the clouds, to illuminate the scenery around me as I drive with a joyful and grateful heart. I am grateful for the drive, grateful for my pickup which makes me feel like a badass, grateful to no longer be a teacher but grateful for the wealth of knowledge that I received from the colleagues and students with whom I worked, grateful that there remain many a strong soul fighting the good fight for our children, I am grateful I walked that walk with you.  I am grateful for the dog by my feet on my bed tonight.  I am 1. grateful that I notice being grateful and that there are things to be genuinely grateful for and 2. glad I started practicing many years ago because it really does take practice.   And it’s only day two!  I challenge you, my friends, many who are on my list of who I am grateful for, to comment with your own gratitude.  Or twelve.

Perhaps a quick recap and explanation


I have been so excited to receive, read and share stories from family and friends that I fear I haven’ t provided adequate set up and explanation.

I have been told that others gain some level of inspiration from my stories.  I can only hope that any challenges/triumphs (the experiences, not the motorcycles) that have fallen my way can at the very least can turn into something for others too.

I know that I am not alone with my stories and wanted to provide a platform for many to share insights and accomplishments.  It started with a brief request to a few (for starters) others who inspire me.  I provided a list of possible questions:

Your name: Where are you from? What’s your occupation? Name two experiences (one positive, one challenging) that made you who you are today. What keeps you putting one foot in front of the other each day? What do You believe is the meaning of life? Favorite quote, or words to live by?
 Many of you have been able to have access to the beauty of stories shared thus far.  I would like to extend an invitation to all of you to consider sharing a part of your life and legacy.  Use the provided questions or listen to your own inner poet and email your story to coachkim017@gmail.comcoachkim017@gmail.com  
I would love to read your words!
Kim

What started as an idea to engage readers…


has resulted in multitudes of blessings for me.  I am presented with the gift of unwrapping personal, heartfelt, unabashedly brave narratives and chronicles that my unbelievable friends have chosen to provide.  I have concluded that storytelling is one way to guarantee our immortality. I have stories of my parents, grandparents and I am lucky to have stories from great-grandparents that I have and will continue to share with my son and hopefully he with his own children creating oral and written documentation of all of our existences and impacts.  With each story that my friends have shared, a piece of all of our history remains.  Thank you all for trusting me with your personal history and legacies!  Now, introducing Barbara…

Kim asked me to give some thought to commenting on her blog… and I am humbled and quite frankly, astounded that she would think I have something of value to say to her readers.  I will let you judge for yourselves.

I was named Barbara Ann at birth (over 65 years ago, a big name in the 50s) and called Barby by my family – notice the spelling?  Then in 1958 the Barbie doll arrived and I decided to change my spelling, assuming folks would think of me as that lovely doll.  That worked fine until puberty when all pretense of looking like that early icon of womanhood was cast aside by one look in the mirror.  So I returned to Barby and carried on without a backward look.  Well, until the song, “Barbara Ann” which captivated my imagination for a bit; and of course, Barbra Streisand made another impact on my name spelling.  By the time I went to college, I had returned to just Barbara and often Barb (although I have never introduced myself by anything other than Barbara).

You are probably getting a sense of my vivid imagination – which shows up over and over and over almost every day – even now.  I am pretty sure I would have been the poster child for ADHD in the 1950s and 60s, had there been such a thing.  Instead, I was labeled as lively, imaginative, chatty and somewhat of a rascal.  To this day, my 94 year old Dad feels quilty and says, “Oh Barby, we spanked you so often”… which has no merit as far as I am concerned since I always knew there were consequences for any behavior, and accepted the simple swats on my fanny as the price to pay for my miscreant maneuverings.

By the way, I spent the first 15 years of my life in York, Pennsylvania, as the middle daughter of a “Leave It to Beaver” type of family.  My baby brother came along when I was a teenager.  My Mother and Dad were (and still are) loving, kind, family centered and deeply caring people.  Our household was filled with good times, firm expectations, fair rules and the aforementioned consequences, both good and not so good.

We were all expected to be good examples of fairness, honesty, and good character…. And despite our various attempts at stepping over the line, I can truly say my parents did a wonderful job of showing us all how to live that way.  The prevailing ideals in our home were shown to us everyday in every way.  I am very grateful for that as it set a standard for my life that I continue to try to maintain.

Both my parents lived a life of service to others – not in the “get-a-plaque-with-your-name-on-it” kind of way, but in the simple everyday things they do to make a little impact on those around them.  My Dad has never walked through a shopping center without going out of his way to return an abandoned cart to its rightful place. My mother will stoop to pick up a piece of trash anywhere she spots it. Once when my Dad noticed that a young woman with an infant having to take her baby in the car without a proper car seat, he purchased one for her – no strings attached.  I saw these selfless actions as the routine way to live one’s life.  The rewards of these small actions are endless… a personal natural anti-depressant that changes one’s world view.

Early on I decided to become a teacher.  I LOVED school and especially my special seat beside the teacher in almost every grade right through middle school.   I even got to correct the spelling tests with my own red pencil.  It struck me one day as I was teaching in my own elementary classroom, that my “special” seat and attention from all those teachers had a reason – keep the rascal occupied.  Those many teachers corralled my interest and energy in a very loving way.  I was a pretty good student – until hormones and high school had to fight for my scattered attentions.

College was a fun-filled experience with all the opportunities to try to fail or try to succeed.  I was a pretty tame co-ed, especially by the standards of the 1970s.  The Age of Aquarius was mostly just a song for me, but I did have some striped bell bottom pants that would make Cher proud.

I met my husband of 45 years while in college and although I probably chose him for all the wrong reasons (tall, handsome, football player, smooth talker), I must have felt his deeper value unconsciously.  Phew!  I witness the same spirit of giving in him that I hold so dear. Our two daughters are the most precious gift I have ever received – and like every mother, I have no way to express just how deeply they have enriched my life and continue to do so. I am one lucky girl.

So by now you must be rolling your eyes and be ready to quit this blah, blah, blah…  Please don’t give up yet.  I have just described the most positive experience of my life – a loving, caring, family who laid a great foundation for decision making and attitude adjustment, a love of helping and teaching, and striving to do better.

Now to address the challenges of my life, and how those experiences test me.

As you may have figured, my family is the most important thing in my life.  Leaving them behind was and is the most challenging thing that I have ever done.  Through the course of my adult life, with the exception of my husband, I have physically moved many times, always farther and farther away from all of my family.   Parents (both still living), sisters, brother, daughters, grand daughters and life long friends are all scattered by life’s wayside, all held dear in my heart and not nearly often enough in my arms.  The emptiness left inside me is a challenge to fill.

With each change in my location, came the challenge to find a new fit, a new way to connect and fill my life with meaning.  It was and continues to be a struggle for me.

Over the years, I have learned to fill the longing for the connection to my dearest ones with service to others.  Finding ways to be positive, to teach and share with others in my life.  In my career(s) – remember, we moved many times – I always sought positions that allowed me to teach and serve others.  I found personal fulfillment as a classroom teacher, a library assistant, a card shop worker, a preschool teacher, a bank teller, an assembly line worker, a bank loan officer, a technology teacher, a corporate trainer, a hospital volunteer, and more.  In every capacity, I found that the people I worked with and the people I served filled my desire for connections and meaning.

Professionally and personally, I strive to make a positive impact on everyone that I meet.  In my experience, looking for ways to make a positive impact is simple… I talk to everyone, I listen to others, I try to find a way to bring a smile or a helping hand and of course, I look for that abandoned shopping cart and return it to the store!

Do I sound like Mary Poppins?  Hardly.  Inside I am often grumpy and sad, but I do find that helping others to be happier rebounds back to me many-fold.

Admittedly, I have had a very lucky life… at least on the surface.  But that luck is earned, not given freely.  I firmly believe that consciously looking for the good and positive things in everyday life will show you that it is all around you.

I think the idea “You will find what you are looking for” perfectly explains how one can choose a path.  If you are looking for the bad, it is all around you – and conversely, looking for the good reveals an abundance of that, too.  If you search for the little ways to make a difference for someone else you will be happier for it.  Look that cashier in the eye and say hello, ask a question about someone’s life and listen to the answer, pick up some trash, pay for the next person’s donut, tell that stranger that they have some toilet paper on their shoe (or just step on it for them – I did that today and it cracked me up!)…you get the idea.

Choose for yourself, every day, every time, with every action and when you find that your view is becoming clouded with despair, dig deeper and look harder.  Change your attitude and direction.  It is your choice – always.

One of my favorite quotes – which exemplifies this idea is from Maya Angelou

“If you walk up a path and you look ahead and you don’t like where you’re going, and you look back and you don’t want to return, step off the path. Pick yourself a brand new road.”

The challenge for me and what keeps me moving forward each day, is finding the good, the kind, the positive in all that I do.

If I have to choose just one sentence of words to live by… again Maya Angelou sums it up nicely.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

For dear Kim, you (her readers) and myself, I hope our challenges are few and will be overwhelmed by positive thoughts and actions as we look for the good and ways to share it.

 

Introducing next…..


Introducing MaryAnne Moore Scherer, certified nurse midwife, former middle/high school science teacher and a badass friend who kept me fixed with Starbucks when I was hospitalized.  (She saved a lot of lives for sure).  Like many of my friends, she inspires me and makes me grateful to be in the world.

Me:  Positive/defining moment in your life?

MaryAnne:  My positive and challenging life changing event is really captured in one moment. Ray’s birth changed my life. I was horribly mis-managed during my labor and delivery which led me out of the classroom and into midwifery school. I went through postpartum depression, anxiety, and a massive panic attack in the classroom about two years after he was born (undiagnosed postpartum depression/anxiety), left teaching, and decided to pursue this career (that could be an entire other blog in itself). Although his birth and the first few years were extremely challenging- did I mention that my father was hospitalized for major dementia when Ray was 4 months old and died 5 years later–being his mom has made me a better human than I ever would have been without him.

 

Me:  What’s the meaning of life in your opinion?

 

MaryAnne:  The meaning of life—- I think you make the best of out the random chaos in the universe that is thrown your way. Be kind to others (even if they are asshats to you–there is usually a reason why) and choose your family wisely.

 

Me:  What keeps you moving forward?

MaryAnne:  what keeps me breathing in and out? It seems really cliche, but it is that kid of mine. I want him to be a more well-adjusted person than I was/am— and I want to see how that all plays out. Also- I am really stubborn, so I just keep fighting since it is in my nature.

Thank you MaryAnne.  For agreeing to this project, for sharing openly what I know was painful.  Thank you for your friendship and for providing me with Kleenex when I could not stop weeping for joy, for pride and the impending unknown on 8th grade completion night.  Thank you eternally for your gifts of Starbucks!!!

 

Introducing……


I thought it might be interesting to share the perspectives of some of my friends and readers.  I want to inspire and I have decided to lean on some other experience and wisdom.

I would like to introduce guest blogger Millie who inspires me by impacting people with her passion.  I know her courageous honesty will change many lives.  Introducing Millie:

Hi, All. I am a Tennessee girl living in Mississippi. (Hey ya’ll!) I am an accountant. (Lord, help me) It is how I pay my bills. I have two teenagers (Lord, help me) a boy and a girl. One is a boy scout and the other is a cheerleader. I’ll let you decide which is which. As a hobby, I am a newly certified Harley Davidson Rider Coach. It is how I give back and how I find purpose these days.

I fell in love at an early age and married at nineteen. My passionate and selfless nature was used against me and led to a breakdown of personal boundaries. Boundaries that should have protected my soul were overrun, deemed contrary and outright sinful to our union of marriage.

Over-time my husband weakened me, molded me and changed me repeatedly. I never knew where I stood with him. I only knew he stood a head taller than I ever would. I could never measure up. I could not be perfect enough. My voice had no value to him. He was controlling of all aspects of our life, treated me like a child, was manipulative with his affection, and used isolation and religious doctrine to keep me in check. I blamed myself.

A little less than two years ago, I came very close to taking my own life. I thought the world would be a better place without me. I thought my children would be better off without me.

I got help. Thank, God. Many suffering from depression feel that they are meant to suffer alone. Don’t, don’t be afraid to ask for help. With much counseling and self-evaluation, I began to understand that I had been a victim of abuse. The spirited little girl inside of me had been silenced too long. I came out of that breakdown to declare, “No More!”

I separated from my husband of twenty-one years and began the long trek of healing. Six months after the breakdown, I was maintaining my health but I was not healing, yet. It was as if I had died. Which really, I had. Life had broken me and the pieces were not going to be put back the same way. I still grieved for the little girl inside. She was no longer silenced but she was struggling to find her voice. This was when a girlfriend asked me to take the Harley Academy Basic Rider Course with her. I thought, “Yeah, that will be fun,” and agreed to go.

The first night of the class the instructors asked the students, “Why are you here?” When it was my turn to answer, I said, “I’m just here for her,” and motioned to my friend. The instructors could have discounted me then and there. They could have rolled their eyes and thought to each other, “This one will be the first to wash out.” But they didn’t. They treated me with dignity and respect while challenging me to excel. I pulled up my big girl panties and finished the class with a feeling of confidence and positive self-worth that I had not felt in a long time.

Upon completion of the class, my instructors encouraged me to pursue rider coach training. I remember laughing. When they asked why I was laughing, I told them, “My daughter asked me before this class if I was going to buy a motorcycle and I told her, ‘No, baby. I’m just going with Ginger so she will not have to take the class alone.” I paused, still smiling, and said to them, “I guess I need to buy a motorcycle.”

A few months passed until I saved up enough money to purchase my first motorcycle. And Oh, can I tell you, it was pure freedom! The little blond accountant was riding a Harley. The Vance and Hines pipes announced my entrance at work before I even made it in the parking lot.

Eight months later, I completed the MSF basic rider skills coach training. One year from the time of my own basic rider skills course, I completed the Harley Rider Academy Coach training. I also reached a personal milestone by riding my bike to the Harley training in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It was a nineteen-hundred-mile round trip. I made the trip alone.

Up to this point, I think what made me put one foot in front of the other each day was anger. Yeah, after twenty-one years of changing who I was to be loved, only to find out there was nothing wrong with me in the first place, made me a little pissed (just saying). Please understand: The anger, which helped me build walls against further hurt might keep out the bad but, unfortunately, it also keeps out the good. Anger was a coping mechanism that worked for me but is unhealthy if carried long term.

I have always been a compassionate person; putting others before myself. Many would consider this a weakness and the source of my abuse. Yes, it was used against me as a measure of control but I have learned that what the world calls weak is truly my strength. Now that I understand personal boundaries are healthy and necessary, I can use my compassionate nature to its fullest.

Coaching for me is not just about helping people learn basic motorcycle riding skills but is more about helping the student build confidence in themselves. I do not take this lightly. Some that come to a class are, as I was, at a life changing point.

My healing is ongoing. I have days when the past will not let me alone and I struggle to even get out of the bed. My early coping mechanism of anger turned to bitterness. (Still trying to nip that one and I am succeeding for the most part.)

I have started a blog, ImJustHereforHer.com, where I share more of my ongoing story. If you are or know of someone who is a victim of this type of abuse, take heart. God has shown me that His promises are real. There is beauty from ashes. There is joy after mourning. There is peace, wonderful peace to all who seek it. He does not allow pain without causing something new to be born. And God’s love for us is true and pure and without blemish.

Friends who know what I have been through have called me courageous. If being courageous means I was pushed off the cliff’s edge but then, I found my wings then, yes, I guess I am.

Don’t have a good Day…


Have a day that makes a difference.  I have been caught in the whirlwind of the experience I refer to as my life.  I’m not good with rollercoasters (as some of you may recall from my un-released would have been chart buster “Rollercoaster”) and yet I find myself, not unlike all of us, caught in the ups and downs of life.  The last month has been jammed with trainings in which I was the one trying to stretch others to realize their impact on the world to trainings in which I am the stretched.  I have not been this exhausted physically and mentally since…well, since my last day of school.  I happen to love it!  Except for the part where I have no time (I mean zero) to do the things which recharge me.  I have not thought more than briefly about my blog, I haven’t sat under the stars, I’ve not been camping for weeks (I promised this would be my summer of only tents) and writing this tonight, being awake after 9:00 is a luxury.

But I needed to write and remind myself, and you who read my intellectual puke, that, WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  Whether you teach, are a healer, drive trucks, or sell insurance.  Embrace your divinity and your force in the world.  We matter.  With all of the legitimized hate that has crept out from under the double-wides, goodness and compassion prevail.

My field trainer had me sobbing on Saturday, in a good way.  She saw past the mask I put on  to portray someone in control.  She appeared not to notice the elaborate armor that I wear to protect myself from possible harm.  This young, competent, confident old soul essentially called me out on my limiting beliefs.  She saw me.  It scared me.  What scared me was not that she called me out.  What scared me was the passion with which she cared enough to be brutally honest.  In an outwardly appearing boring job such as selling insurance, she reminded me this:  Absolutely everything we do is a chance to give love.  I am humbled by those people who have figured that secret out, especially the 20 somethings.  Maybe it’s not too late for us.

“There is magic everywhere all the time and when you’re having a hard time seeing it it’s usually because you’ve already decided that if it really was magic, it’d look like something else.”  Brian Andreas

Good night, give love in what you do.  Don’t have a nice day.  Have a day that makes a difference!  You can do it.  It’s why you are here.  Kim