Change in Gratitude


IMG_0144As I find things I’m grateful for tonight before I sleep, I must say I am grateful for Mrs. K. She is an 88-year-old woman who I visited with tonight. She is in the final stages of her life and as a hospice volunteer, I was providing a final hours visit.   Mrs. Kip was alert and responsive. Typically a final hours case is just as it sounds… and patients are unresponsive. But Mrs. Kip responded when I told her I was with her. She continued to look up at me frequently and when I smiled, she smiled back. I generally just sit quietly and provide company.

 

After about 20 minutes of silence, Mrs. Kip looked up at me and said something that was too quiet for me to hear. I leaned closer and she repeated, “How are you doing?” She was asking about my comfort. I told her I was doing well. She continued to check in several more times, making sure I wasn’t too sleepy. She told me that she was tired. I’m thinking now that she meant she was ready to die. I told her to close her eyes and sleep if she wanted, that I would be with her.

 

Let me say more about hospice. I have been blessed beyond belief throughout my life, showered with love and friendship. I knew that I wanted to give back and hospice seemed a logical choice. No one should have to be alone in the final hours of their life. We have huge celebrations when we come into this world but we uncomfortably separate from death, just another inevitable stage of life. We in western culture ignore and avoid the subject of death to the point that people are sometimes left to make this last transition all alone. For some, there is no family, no friends or companions to share the final hours. Such a sacred passage if we only acknowledge the perfect cycle of life.

 

I do not know what comes after death, but it must be much easier to transition if there is someone to see you off and I believe someone who will greet you on the other side. Perhaps someday we will view death as just another journey that we all will take. It really is one of very few things that everyone has in common.

 

So tonight, sitting vigil on my chair, I am blessed with the sacredness of a complete stranger’s final journey. Mrs. Kip had pictures of family all around her. There were old wedding photos and other sepia photos offering proof of a life lived fully. Mrs. Kip has Alzheimers and most likely does not recognize the people in those old photos but they are in there, they have moved to a place that she can’t access readily, but who is to say that perhaps in dreams, they visit and laugh and cry and share their common history. When you have let someone into your heart, how can they possibly disappear forever?
I am grateful to Mrs. Kip and her photos and her compassion for yet another stranger who entered her room.

It is impossible to feel sadness and gratitude at the same time. It seems impossible to be unable to find at least three things to be grateful for each day. I participated in a daily practice for a while sharing my daily dozen, 12 things each day to be grateful for. I found that just looking a little deeper made me see the brilliance in the world.

I do not write these posts completely for myself. I hope to do my small part in raising the vibrations in this world. If we all just did a little each day, imagine how we could resonate! I challenge you to take just a minute and find 3 things for which you are grateful today. I believe if you do this daily, you will change your life and the world will notice. It has been a suckass week for me and after work this afternoon I was wanting a big cry. Sadness and self-pity do not serve me anymore. I am noticeably happier this evening beause of a change in gratitude. Thanks for listening. I’m grateful for all of you!

Contemplation


Quiet evenings make me contemplative. I must be careful to steer clear of many of my thoughts, designed for some reason to level me. As I look for meaning, my head spins a story of loss, sadness, betrayal, and wanting. So I try to turn my focus to my heart. My heart, which lives with spirit and seeks out the power in all situations.

When I think back over my life, I think I had a pretty good run. I traveled to many beautiful and sacred places. I have experienced big love. I have met the most amazing people. Some of them are reading this now! I have been humbled by experiences and the revelation of human spirits. If I were someone else looking at my life, I would be quite envious.

Times of struggle have helped define me. Times of sadness have made me more fully appreciate the joy. I have come as close as I can in this human shell to walking as spirit. I believe it’s where we come from, perhaps where we start. Some people might have a different name for it but I think it is that which makes us connected, pushes us to be taller, celebrates when we return with the awareness of our collective power. When I feeling lonely, I try to remember that the loneliness pushes me to continue on my path to spirit.

I wonder if I’ll know when I have gone as far as this trip takes me. I wonder if it matters if I’m enjoying the trip. I wonder if I am grateful enough for the experience, and I wonder how my brain got back into this conversation. A beer should quiet that.

If I haven’t said it to you directly, Thank YIMG_1875ou for your friendships and the mark you have left on me, all of you. It has made me a better person. I write to stay sane and focused I write to inspire and leave my own mark. I write to prove to my intellect that I don’t have to believe everything I think.

Thank you again for reading this blog. It validates the reality of my posts. I love you all.  Do something kind today.  Find something to be grateful for.  Live big!

 

I’ve looked at clouds…..


 

From my window. I can see the sky at night. The clouds last night were slowly floating by and it reminded me of Pema Chödrön, “You are the sky. Everything else id just the weather” It changes, it passes. It provides different experiences for different people. I love the heat and humidity of summer, (Yes I loved this past summer) and while I enjoy the sensory experiences that come with fall, I know it is a precursor for winter of which I am not a fan. Many of my friends prefer the cold to the heat. So who is right? What is the “good weather”? All of it. Every weather condition provides an experience. There is no good or bad. It all passes. I think it is the same for life. There are good and bad experiences based only on individual perspective but really, it’s all good, and the experiences pass.

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from both sides now

It is so easy to get bogged down with the “weather” at the moment. With weather we know that it will be warm again or cold again, that the rain will stop. It is a bigger leap of faith to know for certain that whatever we are experiencing will also change. Maybe it’s scarier because we don’t know what change will bring. I wish I were trusting in the universe enough to know that whatever happens will be an experience, and my perception determines good or bad or simply experience.

It is a good example to see the clouds move across the sky. It strengthens my trust. I truly love watching the clouds. I bet everyone has tried to see something in the barometrically formed shapes. Sometimes I just wonder at the beauty of clouds. Even approaching storm clouds have intense beauty. Those are the best times because it only calls for awareness and appreciation. How amazing would it be to see life experiences that way. We try to find the shape, the form so that they makes sense. The human brain is really designed to problem solve. We have to understand why. What a cruel joke the universe played, giving us the mind and intellect hard-wired to question everything but presenting the experiences that defy explanation. Some day I want to just appreciate the beauty. Not dwell on the storm part of the clouds, just be aware and appreciative.

This is my path today. “I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.” Louisa May Alcott.

Some things are learned best in the calm, others learned best in the storm.IMG_1526

 

Wide Awake and full of charge


As I’m driving through Pennsylvania, and then Ohio, on my way through Indiana, Illinois and then to Wisconsin, from morning until dark, I realized that this is why I was born. I was born to travel and born to see the world.

This last time it was a bittersweet trip. After spending most of the summer staying with family in Pennsylvania, visiting with friends and family I haven’t seen for at least 15 years, driving through the towns and countryside that was once where I was from, I was returning to my new home, my home of 15 years, the place I now am from. I was traveling from state to state but I was also traveling from the past to the present. I was leaving the freedom of summer and driving straight into fall, the start of school, and the routine of it all.

I always got a bit of a feeling of dread when I was back in school, as the summer came to a close and school was about to start. I hated to see leaves starting to brown and smell the sweet smell of fully matured corn in the air. The rituals of back to school shopping, wearing shoes again and once again being slave to a schedule, I never liked the end of summer. And now, I am a teacher and experience the same dread every fall. If I listen to my heart, I would know, I’m a traveler in the world, and schedules steal my soul, piece by piece, I need to listen.

I think the stroke has given me great insight and delivered the gift of clarity. It is clear to me that I am on a path. This path will not change. It is the path that leads me to, lets me know my purpose. I do not wish to waste time going through the motions of living. I know you the readers feel this too. So, when did we stop following our true path in exchange for the path we are “supposed” to have? I have already wasted too much time. I have places to be, people to meet and impacts to make. Who’s with me?

“Wide awake and full of charge, enough to power up this city. Every last light bulb, every last power tool. “

This was part of a song I wrote this song many years back but it’s the feeling I have lately since the stroke. I don’t believe everything happens for a reason, sometimes things just happen, but I DO believe that every situation comes with gifts. My stroke came with the gift of clarity. There is so much left to see and do. So many states to drive through. So many peoples’ stories yet to hear. I cannot be complacent anymore. And yet, I return to my present, with dread in my gut for the impending stagnant water treading that approaches. You know what I mean. You’ve felt it too. There is so much more, but we play the successful game, working 9 to 5 for income and benefits, too frightened to walk away to find our life. I’m wide awake. Who’s with me?

The Big River, and a Great Flood


Wow.  It’s been weird.  I’ve noticed that lately, the smallest thing can reduce me to tears.  A sad TV show.  A sappy video.  A gesture of kindness, and most recently fantastic music and acting in a local play.  The Susquehanna Stage Company presented “Big River”.  It is a musical version of Huckleberry Finn.  I was caught off guard by the touching moments when Huck and slave Jim realize in song that we are all more alike that not alike.  The rest of the cast sang tunes that were equally as moving.  By the last song of the show with everyone joining Huck and Jim, I had tears running down my face.  I was shocked.  I’m not a crier.  I can keep things pretty much in check emotionally.  I tried to figure out why there was this sudden flow(literally) of emotion.  The last time my emotions were this weird was when I left my job as a Probation Officer.  I remember a cute little Kibbles and Bits commercial that made me swell up with emotion.  I realized later that I had cut off all of my emotions, not just the “bad” ‘ emotions, but ALL of my feelings.  When it was safe to feel again, things came out at strange times.  So I got to thinking…

Quite possibly, I have buried some emotions over the past 2 1/2 years.  But some always means all and I think after recent break throughs, I’m feeling again.  Which means that I might cry at Kibble and Bits commercials or sappy videos.  But there is always good news.  I’ll be able to really feel the other stuff too.  Joy, Gratitude, Love… So my deluge in public, (which I totally gave my self permission to do) and my reclamation of feelings long suppressed, occurred with the safety of family and friends, and total strangers who I’m sure I frightened or at least confounded.  This long in coming breakthrough happened smack dab in the middle of “Big River”.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.  Does the universe have a sense of humor or what!
So if you see me out somewhere, blubbering uncontrollably, take comfort in knowing that on some other day I will pee my pants in joy (or decreased muscle control).  Either way, it’s good to be alive, isn’t it?  (Say yes)

KimIMG_0040

With the greatest of ease…..


Let me start by saying thank you to all who have read and supported this blog.  I have appreciated the comments and feedback.  Writing this blog has been a big part of getting “unstuck”.

Those of you who know me well know that the guitar has been very “instrumental” (groan) in my life. Music has been my therapy and writing songs helped me process both good and bad.  When I knew it would be a long time, possibly never again, that I would play, I figured that I would write the songs without the music.  That doesn’t work so well for me.  So, I discovered that I could write to process, without it being in song/verse format.   And thus my blog was born.  Writing allows me to see my thoughts in print, validating them.  It has allowed me to document my progress and milestones, as well as gifts that have been revealed.  I don’t want to forget the enormity of the positives that have occurred as a result of or in spite of The Stroke.  I do a lot of my writing late at night when it has been a day of awareness.  Tonight is no different.   My head and my heart are wide awake (despite my head and other body parts screaming “Go yo Sleep!”) and I feel as if I must write.

I have eased into a routine with my family this summer.  I am in safe and familiar surrounds for a while and I have much time to research and plan for the upcoming year.  I also have much time to ruminate about everything that the last two and a half years have changed for me.  I shouldn’t be left alone with my thoughts for too long.  I end up believing everything that I think.  Today there were some unexpected surprises from relative strangers.  I need to fill in a bit here so thanks for your patience.

I have been looking for  a way to stay healthy but also to give back a bit to the world, the universe, the source of all that has brought me to this point.  I saw an ad for a Health Coaching program a few months back.  I think I dismissed it right away but it kept surfacing and I felt I needed to at least investigate.  Long story short, I have been undergoing training to become certified as a health coach.  Throughout the process, I have had to do practice sessions on the phone with other Health Coach trainees.  Since The Stroke, I have become more introverted in many ways.  Being on the phone with a stranger is not fun.  Plus, we are coaching each other and being coached.  I am always open to reflection and introspection but not in the presence of strangers. (From all over the world) But I want to be open to this process so I participate as honestly as I am able.

Fast forward.  As we trainees work through the weekly sessions, we have arrived at week nine, which addresses old wounds.  As the coach it was difficult to use the provided script suggestion to someone who is generally healthy, physically and emotionally, so during a phone practice Tuesday afternoon, I had the great luck to meet up with a fellow trainee from California.  As she went through the session with me, she humbled me (no small task) with her authenticity and her genuine interest.  Most surprisingly, she encouraged me to look at an element of my recovery that I haven’t really spent much time processing.

If you’ve been reading my blog, I hope you can see that this is a way I can not only process but hopefully inspire and impact.  I like to be positive.  It is WAY to easy to get stuck in the negative some days (weeks, months).  I try to practice gratitude to ward off negative thoughts which I feared would sink me.  It was through gentle prompting that my training partner uncovered an obvious truth.  Part of my recovery needs to allow for grieving.  (Thank you so much for this gift Kim Mendosa) I wanted to skip that part because I didn’t want to appear negative.  Appearances don’t help me keep moving all of the time.  I write this blog for me first, and then hope the readers enjoy and get something from the posts.

In the spirit of being honest with myself, and wanting to heal the things that continue to keep me stuck, I need to write about my grief.  Wow, that was a long winded narrative just to get to the point. This may not be pretty, it might not be inspiring, but I warned you, this blog is for me first.

I have been sad for two and a half years.  It may have even started before that.  I have lost things that were such an integral part of my existence.  I lost my independence.  I hate that I must ask for help.  I know it has strengthened me but I grieve the old independent me.  I lost my mobility.  That’s a tough one because old me BS (before stroke) could do so much more physical activity and movement.  I can no longer beat my son in sporting activities.  I can barely engage in most activities with him.  I grieve my loss of movement.  I lost some pride.  My life now is surrounded by embarrassment and awkwardness.  I grieve that I lost my ability to walk comfortably into a room and not look damaged.  I grieve my suaveness.  Is that a word?  As a result of change in finances and lots of debt, I’ve lost some “things” that I had accumulated in my life.  That’s another blog.  I’m not quite ready for that one yet.  I grieve the loss of things. I grieve the loss of financial stability.  I lost friends.  Probably not permanently but I can’t engage like I did.  I grieve the loss of hockey friends, motorcycling friends and others.

I grieve the loss of motorcycling and the experiences it brought.  Ouch.  That one’s big.  It gave me power and freedom and was one of the only things I have ever done that allowed me to live completely in the moment.  It allowed me to watch and help others achieve their dream.  It presented opportunities to travel and meet some awesome folks.  I miss you.

I lost my ability to play the guitar.  No more late night howling to music.  Okay, I thought it was singing.  I grieve my loss of my guitar and self made music and all that it gave me.

I grieve the loss of the BS me.  Wow.  In print that really looks like something else. I’m not looking for sympathy or asking anyone to feel sorry for me.  What’s done is done.  I have already written about the gifts that came with this messed up experience.  But I lost things and have to allow myself to grieve.

I am too slowly acclimating to the life of ASS (After Said Stroke).  This is where my training partner had me well up in tears.  e76409a6b38a1ba076aa75b5dc846f47 She had me picture swinging on a trapeze, picturing the one I was swinging on as the past I hold on to.  In order to move forward, it will take a leap of faith to let go of the bar and reach for the other trapeze.  There is risk.  What if I miss?  What if the next trapeze is too different.  What if I fall.  What if, what if.  I have a safety net of friends and family.  I can take the risk.  The alternative is to keep swinging on the same one and eventually lose momentum and stop.  Not an option.  So, here goes…..and here’s knowing the next bar is there and will take me higher.  Thanks for reading.  Again thanks to Kim Mendosa for her insightful, visual understanding of my next big step.

 

 

“…She took to the air with the greatest of ease

she was born to be gliding on the old trapeze

Some people don’t care if they live or they die
Some people want to know what it feels like to fly
Gather their courage and they give it a try”

Patty Griffin, “Trapeze”, Children Running Through

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Ah yes. There you are…


Cool evening breeze, warm night, sitting around the fire with an entire sky of stars and planets overhead.  There are so many unsettled things in my life right now but I know this:  When I am in nature, I am always home, always safe, always loved.  I had the awesome opportunity to spend this weekend with a cousin whom I haven’t seen for…at least 15 years.  I guess my philosophy in life has been to keep moving forward.  People come and go in your life,  I’ll be the first to admit that I suck at staying in contact.  I leave the past in the past and haven’t looked back much.

Tonight I realized, my theory might have a flaw or two.  This is ground breaking for me because I am stubborn.  But I realized that it was good to be with relatives today.  Really good.  My cousin Heather has become an amazing woman in the years since I’ve been away.  I realized that I have missed this.  Cousins swapping stories, remembering the close calls of childhood, and appreciating this leg of the journey.

Life just rushes by.  It changes us.  It strengthens our resolve while softening our hearts.  Yet, when it comes right down to it, nothing has changed at all but the details.  I sit by this fire and glance at a woman who still has the soul of a teen.  Hopes, joys and dreams.  I know that I am her and she is me.  The moon rises over the horizon, a waning gibbous, (Go ahead.  Work that into a blog!) Her brilliance is no match for the light cloud cover as she dominates the eastern sky.  Tonight I once again know exactly who I am.  I recognize me.  I may wake a stranger tomorrow, but at this point in time, I am whole.  It always comes as a pleasant surprise in the moments where it all makes sense.

So re-establishing ties with family and sharing stories of our old shared lifetimes and the new experiences of our grown up lives, I rediscover a simple truth:  Without the people around us who validate our experiences and existence, life would be very empty.  And right now, at this moment in this sacred space, I am full.  I have all of the answers and my only regret is that when I wake tomorrow, only the questions will remain.  I want to stay up all night so that I won’t wake up with only blind, biased inquiry. But even as I type this with amazing one-handed speed, my eyes grow heavy. They are full too.  So I’m off to bed.

Isn’t life grand?   grand?

End of an era…..?


Waves of joy
Waves of joy

Sitting on the beach, ocean side, of Hatteras, it occurred to me that there is a good chance I’ll never get back. It was a bitter-sweet trip. Getting to share the magic of the place with my son was amazing. Watching him on the beach with his camera, taking close up shots of the water lapping at the shore, I was full._MG_0910 Still. there was a nagging feeling throughout. I struggled to walk up the dunes I once traversed without effort. One of my favorite parts of being at the beach is simply walking. Walking along the waterline, checking for treasure which usually means shells or a young crab trying to escape the surf. This time, I had enough energy to walk to the water’s edge but hadn’t the stamina to walk along it. I glanced only briefly at the shells on the shore and a stodgy old woman’s voice said, “you have enough shells, collect no more” and I resigned myself to sitting and watching my son run from the incoming waves and wonder at the diversity of bird life around us. He makes me proud, the stuff he knows about birding at the age of 13. It goes beyond what I have taught him, as he researches and studies on his own. He pointed out some birds, proudly speaking their identification as he reminded me that, he knows a lot about birds! He was quick to spot and identify the brown pelicans that flew by just out of photo range and yet he still captured an amazing shot of one in flight. He delights in knowing. Even more so in showing. I’d love to think his birding passion came from my influence. He is an old soul though who influences me more than the other way around.

The stroke has had a mix of tension and strengthening to our relationship.  I think sometimes I embarrass him with my attempts to keep up with his athletic activities.  He humors me though and reminds me to be careful and helps me remember my limits.  I know he worries about me, more than a kid at his age should.
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This camping adventure was for me and him.  I had talked so much  about the Outer Banks that I knew he was excited to go.  It was a long drive, with a broken AC for high ninety degree days.  He mentioned numerous times that it was hot in case I had somehow missed that.  The GPS took us on a bit of a detour and he patiently asked if we had crossed over to the island each time we crossed a body of water.  But he didn’t complain.  I knew he wasn’t having fun our first day and he confirmed it with, “Of course I’m not having fun.  I’m sitting in a car.  It’s hot.”  But he told me to quit apologizing.  And we traveled on.

We arrived at our campground and I could detect an  instant change in his mood.  We found our site and he excitedly helped set up the tent and establish our base camp.  We returned from our dinner and took in the sunset for sometime until we noticed some amazing lightening on the horizon.  Where had those storm clouds come from?  As I sat in the car taking out my contacts, it began to rain.  Grayson came up to the window to make sure I noticed.  Together we ran to the tent which he had taken time to stake down to keep us from blowing away.  we got into the tent and then could take in the power of this storm as the wind attacked the sides of the tent which was now soaked from the downpour.  He braved the weather one more time to re-stake the tent and strengthen our position.  Dripping wet and visibly tired by this time, he climbed into his sleeping bag content in knowing we would hold our ground.  The rain stopped as suddenly as it had started but the wind continued, drying off the tent and creating a marvelous cool breeze through the screen windows we had opened ever so slightly to keep the rain out but not suffocate.  We both fell asleep, dry and protected.  The next morning, the storm had passed and it was a beautiful sunny day.

My storm hadn’t passed though.  I watched the campers rigging their windsurfers, something I came here every summer to do, once upon a time in another life.  I tried to remember the wind and the spray of water on my face as my sail would fill and send me with amazing speed out into the sound and back, relying on balance only to keep me from catapulting myself into the water.  My windsurfing days are over, because of my stroke and because of my age.  I wanted to pass this along to my boy as well, show him how to stand and trust the wind and the rigging to carry him.  It will be up to him though to try things if he’s interested and figure out the nuances.  It occurred to me that many of the reasons I loved coming to the Outer Banks was directly related to uniting with the elements and sheer force of the wind and the waves and, by throwing my body into the process I would also elevate my spirit.  Perhaps I am experiencing what many experience as the unrestricted playing of youth is diminished with the cruelty of a body that ages much more rapidly than heart and mind.  This is simply aging. I cannot blame the stroke, although it speeded up the process for me, I must learn to accept what is, be grateful for what has been and have trust in what will be.  I’m not that strong today.  I want it back.  Stiff muscles and soreness I would  be welcome if the cause was playing hard and living fully.  I’m stiff and sore just waking each day.

This business of accepting is hard for me.  I have experienced very few limits in my life and have been blessed with some natural abilities that allowed me to participate.  My mind wanted me to jog down the beach, boogie board or body surf with Grayson.  My body on the other hand responded by throwing me into the sand, showing me that even walking was challenging.

This post has evolved into something I try to avoid, feeling sorry for my self, my circumstances.  The truth is, I was able to go on an adventure and drive 10 plus hours to share the magnificence of this place with Grayson.  He gets to travel so much, and started as a toddler so new places don’t seem to amaze him so much but I am grateful he enjoys adventure enough to play along with me.  I hope I have enough left in me to show him more, to teach him more, to learn more from him._MG_0915 _MG_0927

Amish Gay bar……


Now THAT got your attention!
As my brain begins to wake up from the 2 year-long fog in which I’ve been, I am blessed with the most random of thoughts which I feel compelled to write about.  That means you the reader have some access to my dementia.  You’re welcome.

I was at a garden center with my sister and feeling the joy of mingling with the “plain people” or Amish. I wondered something though for the first time: If 10% of the population is LGBTQ, there have to be some queer Amish. For my hetero friends, I apologize in advance. It is getting harder and harder for me to think “straight”. It’s been refreshing in the past several years that there is no longer a gay look or dress code to adhere. I’ve never had the best “gay-dar” but it is tougher to tell anymore who’s a lesbian and who is not. And looking at some Amish women walk by I wondered how they know of someone in their community is a dyke or not. It’s not like Subaru makes buggies. And the Amish can’t wear camouflage cargo pants. Do they secretly watch Ellen when none’s around? (on a wind powered TV. I have seen some Amish girls playing softball. Who knows. It’s not like I’m looking for a nice Amish girl to settle down with. It’s just one of those things that my brain has decided to ruminate upon this trip.  And if I see a Uhaul hitched to a horse I’m gonna stoke up a conversation just for kicks.

Perhaps I will open an Amish gay bar.  I’m trying to think of a creative name so if you have any ideas, leave some moments below.

Back to relaxing on the porch!

True North


School’s out!  It’s exciting every year,  The anticipation and build up of the last few weeks and then the final countdown.  Did this really pass this quickly?!  So I have decided after many changes and upheaval in my world, that I am going to spend most of the summer in Pennsylvania around family and old friends.  My dogs are with me.  Grayson is still in Milwaukee but I told him the summer will let me recharge and re-direct.  My compass is reorienting and I’m gradually starting to find my way.  I’ve been restless and bored and feel as if I have been going in too many directions.  I have it within my super hero self to slow down and really look.

On the road to Pennsylvania I remembered, as I always do, how much I need my Vitamin T or travel.  It’s a long trip but it was a bright sunny day and I wasn’t in a huge hurry to get anywhere.  Windows down and wind in my hair, I didn’t even turn on my radio.  It was enough for my soul to be moving.  I even enjoyed Indiana where in the past I dreaded the long drive through the countless fields of corn,  dairy farms, and crosses by the side of the road.  Ohio is still pretty monotonous.  (Sorry if you’re from Ohio)

My spirit always wakes up when I hit the PA border and mountains start to rise up out of nowhere!  I’ve spent a great deal of time in other places.  I’ve been happy, content and have felt at home a lot of places.  It still always comes as a surprise how the turnpike feels so familiar and comfortable.  By the time I get to the eastern part of the state I know I’m home.  I know I’ve been in the midwest too long when I come upon curvy roads and have to slow down because I’ve forgotten how to drive on anything but flat, straight roads.  The trip took much longer than usual this time but I finally made it to my sister’s home.

So I’m sitting here on the porch with a most excellent breeze blowing and my senses are finally awake again.  I’m almost enjoying the smells of the Lancaster farms.  Roadside produce stands are taunting me but I finally want to cook again!  After the stroke I had no appetite and cooking was just too much of a chore either way.  I’ve gotten better at one handed chopping and cutting and don’t worry about OSHA stepping in for safety violations.

I know I continue to improve when I offer to make dinners for my sister and family (since they still work over the summer).

I’m sure I’ll have a lot to wrote about over the summer, so keep reading.  For those of you who are regulars here at the blog, thank you for your continued support and nice comments.  I am glad that the posts are enjoyable.  Who’d have thought I’d grow up to be a writer.

Peace all.