Monday, June 12, 2017

40th Wedding Anniversary

It's June and our 40th wedding anniversary was in January. After coming home, I got sick.  I think I caught something on the airplane.  It was a bad infection and then I had a relapse.  I was eventually diagnosed with COPD, stage 3.  I've been trying medications and  I think we've finally found some that are working.  I use 2 inhalers a day and I have an emergency inhaler when needed.  It's been a long 6 months but I am finally starting to feel better.  2 people told me I am looking like my old self this week.  That's a good sign!

In the midst of dealing with that, I wasn't able to really savor our anniversary trip.  So, here's a good place to share it.

Kevin and I wanted to do something really special for our 40th anniversary.  We wanted to really celebrate because we survived and thrived 40 years together.

Our dream vacation would be a quiet beach, lots of snorkeling, a nice place to stay and no crowds.  Looking for a tropical place to fit those dreams took some looking.  But we found it, the perfect place for us....  Anegada, British Virgin Islands.  It was so remote that it was going to take 2 days to get there!  We found a great place to stay, The Big Bamboo on Loblolly Bay.

We flew into St. Thomas, took a taxi to the docks, took a ferry to the island of Tortola. We stayed in Road Town at a nice hotel.  Then the next morning at 6am, we took another ferry to Anagada.  We rented a car and drove to our rental.  It was a lovely, lovely round house.  1 bedroom, living room, dining area, kitchen, just lovely.  There was a restaurant right there.  In Anegada, you had to call the restaurant by 2pm to order your dinner.  It was delightful.

This is the view from our living room:

It was beautiful.  Literally steps away from the beautiful white beach.  We snorkeled every day, walked the beaches every day, explored the island, enjoyed the wonderful breeze that blew every day.

On our actual anniversary, we took a special boat tour.  It was breathtaking.  We snorkled a gorgeous reef and got to see Conch Island:

It was the perfect way to spend our 40th anniversary.

It was a vacation we will always remember.  

If we never go back again, this place will always be in my memories.  All I have to do is close my eyes and I can see it all again.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The People and the Stories Make the Vacation

We decided to visit Taos for our vacation this year.  We anticipated a relaxing time.  What we didn't anticipate was our encounter with some wonderful people with fascinating stories.

We rented a lovely cabin restored from the 1850's that is owned by a delightful couple, Jerry and Marilyn.  Jerry is a well known and amazingly talented artist.  This couple was so welcoming that we felt at home right away.  They recommended places to eat and chatted warmly.  During the week, we had the chance to visit often.  Jerry invited us to his studio.  His work in the studio was beautiful.  He had some pieces that were dedicated to Vietnam vets that literally had me in tears.

And the stories we got to hear!  Jerry does a lot of Native American themed paintings and told us stories of living with a family who lived in
Taos Pueblo who adopted him into the tribe.  His paintings were throughout the cabin and were just incredible to look at.

Then Kevin and I took a glass class together.  The teacher, Delinda, was a delight.  She was knowledgeable and encouraging and fun to talk with.  And her story was so amazing to hear.  Delinda was a professional dancer who toured and danced with Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby, Willie Nelson and others! She was in a bad accident and had to give up dancing.  So she became an artist.  And then she began to train dogs for search and rescue.

And then she introduced us to her 'other half'.  He just happens to be a world renown knife designer.  Kevin felt like he was in the presence of a celebrity!  He was just thrilled to meet this man.

We met another character at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.  He was a travelling vendor who had built his camper in three weeks with wood and a skill saw.  He did leather work, was a musician and songwriter and a general all around character.  But he was a hoot to listen to!

We saw some beautiful sights in and around Taos.  It was a very relaxing vacation.  But our memories will be filled with the people we met and the stories they told.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

This is not the woman who raised me

Bill Cosby does a great bit about his mother being so different as a grandmother than she was as a mother.  I used to laugh at that until I became a grandmother.  Now I smile and knowingly nod my head in agreement.

I am sure my kids will have more observations, but here are some places where I see that I've changed over the years.

I don't have to raise my grandkids so I am able to simply enjoy and love them.  There is a lot of responsibility to raising children.  Everything is a chance to teach them something and mold their character.  Consistency is difficult and can wear you out and wear you down.  I don't have to shoulder that anymore.  Instead, I can simply listen as they talk to me.  I can enjoy them freely.

I have more time.  I'm not trying to juggle work, church, kid activities, church activities, family time, menus, house cleaning, etc, etc, etc....  I look back and don't know how I ever managed to fit it all in.  Did I ever stop?  It's pretty amazing how much time one gains when there are no children at home.  And that's a good thing because I just don't have the energy to keep up with it anymore.

Things are quieter around here.  We were an active family, actually pretty loud.  Someone was coming or going, friends filled the house, there was constant activity.  It wears me out just remembering!  It's still pretty crazy when all the grandkids are here, but for the most part, it's pretty quiet these days.  I find that I can't focus on as many things at once.  Somehow I used to keep up with multiple conversations and still knew where everyone was, what they had going on and where they needed to be.  Now I have to ask for reminders because I can't keep up with all those details at the same time anymore.

I savor things more.  I no longer feel the need to rush from one thing to another.  I no longer feel that my life is lived in a daily frenzy.  I can listen to the grandkids.  I don't have to plan something to do all the time.  I can take the time to explore the world with the grandkids because I don't have to constantly be doing something or going somewhere.

I don't raise my voice anymore.  Yeah, I confess, I could yell.  Not always, but I did yell.  I don't yell anymore.  I'd like to think it's because I'm so much more patient.  But the truth is that the amount of frenzy I felt was in direct proportion to my yelling.

I'm not afraid.  I was afraid I wasn't a good enough mother or wife or employee, etc, etc..  I was afraid I would miss something important to my kids.  I was afraid I would fail at anything I attempted.  I would go to bed afraid I'd forgotten something or would forget something.  I think the years have proved those fears were unfounded and wasted a lot of time and energy.  Fear doesn't rule me anymore.

I don't worry.  Worry and fear tend to go hand in hand.  I worried over a lot of things I had no control over.  Would my kids find good friends?  Would they be a good friend?  Would they get hurt?  Would they be exposed to something harmful?  Would they make good choices?  Finally, I've figured out that life is going to happen regardless of how much I worry.  Good things will come my way and so will bad things and so will sad things.  It's all part of life.  Worrying did nothing but suck joy out of my life.

I no longer feel my children are a reflection of me.  I confess that I tied my kids' actions way too closely to me.  Bad choices made me worry what folks thought of me.  Good choices made me want to take the credit.  Finally realizing that my kids and grandkids are all individuals and I get to be their cheerleader and supporter has brought a lot of emotional freedom.

Getting older definitely has its benefits.   I am not the woman I was but I prefer the woman I've become.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

When I worked with junior high kids, we had an annual event called "Hello/Goodbye".  At that event, we said goodbye to the kids who were moving up to the senior high group and hello to the kids who were joining the junior high group.

It was a bittersweet event.  We had the chance to remember the fun times we all had together and remind the teens leaving that we'd always love them.  And then we had the chance to welcome the teens joining the group and let them know we were looking forward to new memories and getting to know them.

Hello/Goodbye always brought tears of sadness and joy mingled together.

I realize as I begin qualifying for senior discounts, that I find myself having a number of my own hellos and goodbyes.

Goodbye to the days when my body rarely ached and it would do whatever I wanted it to do.  Hello to the days when my body always aches and can't do what I want it to do.

Goodbye to some of my favorite childhood hangouts.  Hello to savoring them in my memory.

Goodbye to the days that I was so busy that the days ran together and I was always tired.  Hello to being able to read a book or sit on my porch and enjoy my swing.

Goodbye to raising children.  Hello to simply loving grandchildren.

Goodbye to the guilt of feeling like I would never be a good enough mother.  Hello to telephone calls from my children asking for parenting advice.

Goodbye to the thrill and excitement of being a newlywed.  Hello to the warm feeling that I've been married 2/3 of my life.

Goodbye to days of counting every penny.  Hello to senior discounts.

Goodbye to PMS.  Hello to menopause.

Goodbyes are always bittersweet.  It's hard to let go of the familiar, especially when the familiar gets sweeter as time passes.

Hellos are always a bit scary.  Can anything really take the place of the memories you savor?

No, nothing can take the place of what is gone.  But there is always room in our hearts and lives for someone new to love and something new to discover.  I have to be willing to make that room and not let my memories crowd out new experiences and friends.

Anyone else find yourself saying goodbye and hello?

About Me

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Longview, Texas
In the autumn of my life, I am very content.