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!

What am I supposed to hear?

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My life is a series of events that seem to crash into one another.  There aren’t enough hours in a day.  I have not learned to clone myself to be at multiple places at the same time.  Mundane routines seem to cloud the exceptional.  Daily life jumbles together to make a scrambled collage of unfinished projects, work, and social life.  

Then, every now and again, I stop.  I truly listen to what my heart is telling me.  I watch the world around me.  I feel how things are flowing, and I make a change.  The change does not need to be earth shatteringly huge.  For I am not Superman needing to save Lois Lane from certain death by causing the world to spin backwards on its axis.  I am me.  Not cloned, not superhuman, just me.  I like me, even if it is hard to accomplish some goals or stay on task with others.  I like to mix up the mundane.  I love to flit from one life event to the other.  The adrenaline I feel from minor stress keeps me moving forward to accomplish all I have set on my shoulders.

So when you are feeling overwhelmed, please, take a moment to breathe.  Take in the world around you for just a moment or two.  Always remember your babies won’t be babies forever, the dishes can wait, deadlines are a goal not the guillotine, and most of all, listen to your heart.

Travel well my friends.  

Off The Beaten Path

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I use the phrase, “off the beaten path” often.  I value the adventure of discovery.  I enjoy finding new, seldom explored areas.  I venture away from the norm and I love sharing my explorations with anyone who will listen to my exuberance.

I am a native Nebraskan.  I have lived in this state my whole life.  It is a perfect location for this wandering traveler.  I am centrally located in the United States, I enjoy white Christmases and hot summers, that remind me of my love of winter.  The cost of living in Nebraska is low, owning an acreage is a reasonable goal.  I have wide open vistas in my backyard, trees that tower over my neighborhood and history that is as boundless as the open skies above us.

I feel The Great Plains are the most overlooked travel destination in the continental US.  It is my favorite “off the beaten path” area.  For the next few weeks I will be highlighting some of  my top picks for fun travel adventures in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Colorado.  I hope to share with you insights to unexplored or seldom explored areas with the intention of sparking travel desires for you.  Most of the highlights will also be sneak peeks of 2015 for Soul Experiences.  So if have not traveled with us yet or haven’t traveled with a group, this may be the preview you need to embrace a new form of traveling.  Come along with us as we search The Great Plains and beyond for “off the beaten path” journeys.

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Life or Death?

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I found half of a blue Robin’s egg in the street, this morning, on my walk.  It looked so fragile on the rough blacktop road.  The stark contrast of blue and black made me hesitate.  Was this broken shell the beginning of a new life? Or was it a cruel reminder of how fleeting life can be?  It is possible the newborn bird is resting with it’s siblings under the warmth of it’s mother.  A protective parent cleaning out their home to welcome the fledglings.  But the thought crossed my mind that a predator bird tossed the shell after scavenging the unborn life.  Laying waste to the life for it’s own survival.

The world is fraught with negativity.  My thoughts circled both possible outcomes.  Juggling life’s rejoicing and death’s sadness.  Death hangs around us.  The media flock like vultures to the gruesome scenes, when hearts are breaking or challenges overwhelm life.  Replaying the tragedies over and over on all of the communication devices we cling to.  How do we keep positive with so much darkness surrounding us?  Even the hope of new spring life is overshadowed with my negative thoughts.

Look for the light in the darkness, the positive amongst the negative, the hope within the tragedy.  Our lives are enriched with so much good that even at our worst there is always hope mixed with the faith that situations will get better.

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Travel well my friends. 

 

Career Longevity

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How long are most careers?  I know when I was younger, most adults taught me, that careers are a lifelong commitment.  Most people may change companies after 15-20 years but you stayed in your chosen profession.  As I aged and neared the workforce, the perception of career longevity shifted.  The time spent with each company was reduced from the aforementioned to 8-10 years, with a sprinkling of late-in-life total career changes.

Now as I sit writing to you, I being near “middle-aged”, and only in the job market for 20 years, am enjoying my third career.  This is not what I learned when I was young.  You choose a field of expertise and spent your working career perfecting it.  Several friends and family have also enjoyed numerous careers in their lifetimes.  What does this say about the changing marketplace for the new incoming college graduates?  Is it reasonable for a 20-something, young adult to spend $50,000 every few years on college educations for new career paths?

The ever changing climate of America’s working class dictates the longevity of someone’s career.  I expect it will shift again, leaving room for more growth within our society.  I love to see the excitement in someone’s eyes as they begin a journey to new discovery.  Whether it is a new career path, or learning a new aspect of a current career, we all should keep learning and growing in our careers.

Travel well my friends.

Job?

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Do you work to live? or Do you live to work?  I have recently been faced with this dilemma and to be honest I don’t know the answer.  I do not know which is “correct”.  I always thought work was something you completed in order to get back to your life.  You need the income to enjoy the world around us, yet how can you enjoy the world around us if you are devoting most of your life to work.  I will be pondering this for the next few weeks and writing on your responses to the above questions. 

Goodbye

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Saying goodbye is never easy.  I learned that lesson a few years ago when I had to say goodbye to my grandmother.  She was ready to die.  She had lived for almost 92 long, mostly hard years.  The joy she brought to my family was immense.  My selfish heart wanted her to stay by my side forever.  When she died I was devastated.  My head knew she was ready and at peace but every fiber of my being wanted her to live on with me here on this earth.  Last year, my Great Aunt passed away.  It was so sudden I was in shock through most of the process of her final wishes, funeral, and cleaning out her apartment.  Once again I learned how hard it is to say goodbye to those we love and care about.

Today I said goodbye to a man who influenced my life more than he probably knew.  He was the pastor at my church when I was a small child.  I remembered him as the first bald man I ever met, the quiet reserve of authority, and that he could never remember my name.  He always called me Cassandra, and I never corrected him.  I’m not sure why I didn’t correct him, maybe because he was so genuine and I was a little shy.  All I knew was I liked that I had a special name with him, even if it wasn’t my given name.  He was a very kind man.  He was a part of my congregations life well after he was no longer our pastor. 

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I attended the funeral at my home congregation to celebrate his life.  As I walked in the front doors I saw people I knew from years gone by and so many new familiar faces as well.  I sat behind my parents, welcomed into the reserved seating for the pastors.  I guess being a PK (Pastors Kid) allowed for my presence.  It was a beautiful service, full of love and remembrances.  The hymns were sung with pride.  All around me were smiling faces.  Tears were shed as well for the friend, father, husband, grandfather, leader and mentor while the smiles shone through.  He was a great man and saying goodbye is difficult yet I know the lives he touched will carry on his spirit.

Goodbye, I will miss you and thank you.