Overwhelming Life

A year ago today I sat in a hospital waiting area. Wishing beyond everything this was not happening. I prayed, lost as I was. It was such a daunting diagnosis my mom received. Not just breast cancer but renal cancer as well.


I could step away, take a breath, she could not. Mom fought on. It has been an overwhelming year. I’ve never thought of myself as a caregiver but in my quiet moments alone with introspection, I most certainly am and though I am not perfect. I love perfectly in my care giving.
Mom’s oncologist gave her a “cancer free” label last week. Life is most certainly a journey. These are my words as I sat, waiting, a year ago.

“Earrings from my Seestor, ring from Aunt Dorothy, necklace from Michelle in honor of Grams, yeah I’ve got the women I love surrounding me.”


Congratulations mom! Here’s to many more anniversaries!

Christmas Thoughts of 2014

In the quiet, contemplative, moments of my life, it crossed my mind, how did I become the older generation of my family? We are enjoying a cozy day in our home.  I being the crazy mom decided we should have full on Christmas dinner just the five of us.  As I was setting the table it occurred to me I have not completed this task, on my own, for years. I remember when I was delegated this chore, by the elder women of my family, attempting to keep me busy and out from under their feet.  The kitchen was a flurry of family members orchestrating the perfect meal. I was the youngest during these gatherings, with too much energy and usually “starving”.  My mom would guide me to the table with a handful of silverware, instructing me to ‘help get dinner ready’.  I, in my childhood memories, would carefully set each piece of silver in its proper place.  My little hands only able to carry a few spoons, forks, or knives at a time. Round and round the huge table I would walk, my mission clear. Now time has passed over me, blessing me with my own home, my own children, and a wisdom that only aging graces us with.  As I laid each utensil next to each plate I remembered those precious moments of my youth.  Embrace your yesterdays and live in your present.  Merry Christmas eve, eve!

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Autumn Travels

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Serenity fills my heart as I look over the valleys. I am on the road again. It feels good, it feels right, like I am at home. My TV reception is the ever changing vista out my window. The fridge is icy cold and within my reach. The sun shines in on my shoulder, warming my skin. A calm has come over the vehicle, sleeping teenagers help.

Autumn has swept over the countryside. Fields are turning a yellowish green with a dusting of brown. Sunflowers, Goldenrod, and Black Eyed Susans are in full bloom, dotting the hills with bright yellow patches. This beautiful season has just begun and I feel refreshed. The cooler temperatures beckoned me to leave my air-conditioned home for one more family adventure in the great outdoors. Friends, gatherings, relaxation and adventure await when we arrive. Until then I will enjoy the journey in all it’s splendor!

Where will your travels take you? Are you dreaming of tropical beaches to stretch your toes in the sand or the powder of freshly fallen snow, enticing you to play? 2015 promises to be an extraordinary year at Soul Experiences . From one day excursions to winter weeklong escapes, we look forward to hearing from each of you about your travel desires and accomplishments!

Travel well my friends!

Celebration Preparations

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This day marks the beginning of the only ten days of summer I love!  I am a snow-bunny at heart.  So when the days stretch longer and the sun over heats the earth I run for cover, better known as indoor air conditioning.  The activities of summer are fun, the vistas are brighter but the heat melts me, which in turn, makes me cranky.  I was born during one of Nebraska’s infamous heat waves.  My mother tells of how she thought it was far too hot in our house when I came home from the hospital and she promptly moved my bassinet to a prime location, in front of the window air conditioner, where I would slumber peacefully with nary a bead of sweat on my soft baby skin.  I believe my love affair with A/C started right then and there.  So from my first moments till now I have had a tumultuous relationship with warm weather.  Back to why I love these next ten days of summer…. 

Nebraska has some very strict laws about fireworks, what we can and cannot light off.  So we also have a time frame of when we can send fireballs of sparks soaring to the heavens.  Today marks the beginning of the selling season for fireworks!  Little tents have popped up all over the state.  Most of these temporary houses of splendor are decked out in red, white and blue.  With banners beckoning you to stop and spend all of your hard earned money on piles of sparklers, fountains of bursting lights and screaming smoke balls.  Parents slink by the stands praying their beloved little ones don’t notice the new structures that hold untold curiosities.  Teenagers flock to spend their fortunes on five second displays.  I, will spend time investigating the new fun just like every year.  I go into numerous tents, comparing prices, comparing quality, talking with the vendors.  This is the holiday that helps me “survive” the summer, one magical evening of fireworks.

The Fourth of July was the pinnacle of the summer for me as a child.  Our family always spent the holiday in the country with family.  Our families’ Independence Day celebrations were known across the community as the best gathering in a tri county area.  Neighbors would start gathering just after the children got up from their naps.  The farmers would come in early from the fields to scrub up and join in for the picnic.  I remember us kids running off to plan skits to perform for the “older” adults.  The food would sway the rows of tables.  It was a the start of a seemingly unending night.  Everyone brought fireworks to share and display.  We took turns lighting one spectacular explosion after another until the smallest of the children fell asleep in a grandparents arms and had to be carried to bed.  Memories like those can not be imagined they must be experienced.

So to gleefully mark the beginning of 2014 fireworks season I will stop in to the first open tent I see and let my sense of smell take me down memory lane to my favorite 2nd favorite holiday!

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Absent

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The world continues to spin on it’s axis.  I have been absent from my writing.  I miss the ritual of sitting down and letting my mind flow through my fingertips.  The feeling of accomplishment, connection, is fleeting.  I love allowing my thoughts to tumble forward onto the paper.  It is soothing and necessary.  I am delighted to be back. 

My adventures took me through the rolling hills of Eastern Nebraska.  The apple blossoms of the famous Nebraska City orchards were in full bloom.  Walking down the miles of straight rows of fruit trees, showing off for the bees, is a magical sight.  Everything around you is shrouded in an inner light that seeps into your spirit, uplifting your own peace.  I spent my time investigating the natural beauty of spring.  Enjoying all the spectacular sights, sounds, and smells of this time of awakening.

It was then on west to central Nebraska for my time with my boys.  We spent the weekend reuniting with friends, forgetting sunscreen and relaxing together.  It is a blessing to see friends and family coming together to spend our time supporting the teenagers in our lives.  Too much food, too much sun and not enough sleep equals a perfect weekend away.

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The Best Nest

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Creative minds will be distracted.

I sat down with my laptop to write.  A cup of hot tea steeping next to me.  As I snuggled in I caught movement outside the window of my sunroom.  Just a flash of dusty red.  Looking closer I saw the industriousness of a small robin.  The evening before from a little different vantage point of my front porch I saw this same robin stuffing beaks full of fluff into the crook of the tree.  The leaves are just beginning to unfurl for the season, so the gray skeleton branches are still very visible.  Time after time the little bird would stuff and the fluff would fall.  Yet this morning I see that all that hard work did pay off.  For he has the start of his summer home, which I am sure he, with his she, will be very happy to raise their offspring.

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Even as a little girl I loved books.  I would beg the adults in my life to read story after story to me.  I loved being transported to another world just by a few simple pictures and words strung together.  One book in particular was read to me over and over again.  It was about two little birds who loved to sing and loved each other.  The only problem in their world was one of them wanted a new nest.  So off they flew to find the perfect place to settle in and raise their family.  They flew from location to location never finding just the right perch, something was always wrong with where they chose.  During a storm they are separated.  From the perspective of the male he is devastated.  You don’t know where she is.  He searches high and low for her trying to find his love.

***SPOILER ALERT*** 🙂

Finally after searching everywhere he thinks, he returns to the old, run, down nest he shared so many happy songs with his love only to find, she had come home to ‘The Best Nest’!  And they lived happily ever after, thankful for what they do have, each other.  Okay the words weren’t actually written that way but that is what I remember the moral of the story being.

So today as you go about your daily activities, be thankful for what you do have.  Even if it is not the fanciest, biggest or best of whatever, It is worth being thankful for.

Travel well my friends.

Blessed

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My life took a huge turn for the better a few years ago.  I do not focus on what I survived, I focus on my future.  Every now and again I stop, like I am at the crest of a hill and turn back to see where I was.  Behind me is a huge dark valley with small patches of light.  Light that I would travel to, needing to move forward with my life, but knowing I would need to trudge through the dark to get to the next tiny hill bathed in light. As I slogged through the darkness my path grew ever wider, the brambles that would snag at me, were further back from the trail I walked.  Then my path began an upward ascent, like a rock climber with no gear I scrambled ever up. I was wounded, exhausted, and raw.  I reached the top of that ridge only to be standing on the edge of a cliff, bottomless and darker than anything I have ever seen.  The winds pushed at my back encouraging me, not forcing me, to take a leap of faith.  It was a sea of black, the unknown, ready to swallow me up.  Yet something inside me reassured my soul,  ‘Just take the first step’.  So I did.  I found the moment I stepped off of the cliff I could find my feet with every step.  I was not lost in the blackness.  I was the light.  Most of the time I only had a fuzzy grey outline of the path.  But with every step it becomes clearer and clearer.  I feel I am at the crest of yet another hill.  The vantage point is vast.  The difference this time is I am not exhausted, I am energized!  On either side of me I see the people who have supported me, sometimes carrying me.  In front of me I see the wide open expanse of possibilities.  I will continue to move forward on my path and I hope we meet along the way.

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Today marks the public beginning of my business!  It is with great pride and thankfulness I, with my mother/business partner, launch Soul Experiences!  We will celebrate the “fuzzy path” with friends and family tonight.  People who have lifted us up and helped us to be what we are today.

I am blessed.  I have food to eat, a place to sleep, friends to laugh with, children to hug, parents who forgive my teenage angst, siblings to connect with over the miles, the support of the man I love and so much more!  The blessings I have outnumber the hardships and that alone is my biggest blessing.  My hope for each of you is that continue to travel to your ‘light’, counting all of your blessings along the way.

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Travel well my friends!

Ashes To Ashes, Dust To Dust

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“The ashes on my forehead do not represent my wrongness.  They represent His rightness.”-KR

In all my years wandering on this planet, I have never understood a person’s ability to say they are not spiritual.  The encounters with stubborn atheists and fanatical ‘bible thumpers’ all revolve around one central issue, our souls.  The mysterious part of us that makes us…us.  It drives who we are, who we choose to be, and who we will become.  Our soul is a very broad term, which truly encapsulates, how a person views themselves.  Yet, how can a living, breathing, person not be spiritual.  We all have a soul and that soul is what makes us a spiritual being.

On this reverent day in the church year, we remember we were dust and to dust we shall return.  I will attend church with my boys this evening to have those words spoken over each of us.  It helps me to remember we are a fleeting glimpse out the window of the universe’s travels.  My spiritual/soulful self will embrace that reminder, again.

May you find peace in your soul, love in your heart and a joyful spirit that embraces your own spirituality.

Travel well my friends.

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Working To Live

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Most people I know work their 40-60 hours per week and retire to the sanctity of their homes to live their lives.  The work they do in a week is to earn an income to sustain the lifestyle they enjoy.  You perform the work, to earn a living, so you can indulge in your recreation.

I am not advocating for or against this work choice, it simply is.  For most Americans this is the only choice in their existence, and it works well for them.  What is the value of your time?  Is it less than the person sitting next to you?  Do you feel like your time is more valuable than the lawyer that advocates for the rights of others?  Or are you above the judgment of monetary beliefs and maintain you are more or less valuable for your intellectual contributions?  These questions are very personal to each individual.  The mother who stays home with her three young children, caring for each sniffle, is she less worthy in the workforce because she is not earning a salary?

Each life choice we make, be it a choice between latte or cappuccino, or income vs. luxury, impacts the person we are.  We all strive to be good people, I believe that at the very depths of my soul, we are all trying to be good.  Whatever that “good” is to you, we are all trying to achieve it.  So in our working lives, we attempt to find balance with work and life.

Working to live is one lifestyle choice.

I’m Alive!

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The stars don’t always align.

The fairy tales are just that, tales.

The wishing well is not responding.

My dreams are a frayed patchwork.

Somehow I am still here.

This world is still waiting for me.

I am alive!

I am not just existing.

I am living, growing, learning and knowing.

I am whole, or at least my version of whole.

This life is not easy but I will make it my own.

I am alive!

So bring me my next hurdle,

test,

trial,

roadblock,

I will endure and be better for it.

I am alive!