Limbo

 

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Patience has never been a strong point for me. As a child, I used to make myself sick with excitement before Christmas, my birthday or a big vacation. I have been known to make rash decisions that I later regret. When I want to buy something big, I put it on a credit card and decide how to pay for it later. I can’t stand it when people don’t find out the sex of their baby during ultrasound-HOW CAN YOU WAIT PEOPLE?? (Though I do think Gender Reveal Parties are out of hand.) I think my insomnia is partially due to my impatience. I hate to wait – for anything.

So, these days are tough for me. We are being forced to be patient. Everyday, Kevin takes his blood pressure and pulse to see if the medicine is working. Everyday, we wonder if his numbers are good enough for the next Cardio Version to work. Everyday, we miss Archie and wish we could get our new puppy sooner. Everyday, we wonder what the future will bring.

This time feels different for me. I don’t know if it’s age or if I am just too exhausted to be impatient. The slow days aren’t bothering me as much I expected them to. Maybe I have grown up a little, or maybe, I have learned to appreciate each day and the experiences it brings.

We aren’t the only one in limbo. Since Kevin’s diagnosis, we have found out that many people we know are dealing with serious Afib. I have a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months back. It was supposed to be a simple lumpectomy, but it has turned into a much more serious situation. We have friends whose Golden Retriever just had surgery for cancerous tumors and they are waiting to hear what their treatment options are. My dear friend who had knee replacement surgery in JUNE is just starting to get her mobility back. She has been in limbo for months! People are living with uncertainty in their lives all over the world.

I am a planner. I plan EVERYTHING. I drive Kevin and Molly nuts with my plans. I plan vacations a year in advance. I make a list and plan my day, everyday, and I feel lost when I don’t. I get upset when my plans don’t go the way I expect. So, you can imagine, how upsetting the last two weeks have been. My schedule hasn’t been mine. My plans have been changed constantly. My world has been unpredictable.

So, while the slow days aren’t bothering me as much, not being able to make plans is driving me a little crazy. I’ll start to think about planning something and then I will remember. Will Kevin be cleared by then? Oh, yeah, we will have a puppy then, we can’t go on a trip! How much is all this going to cost?? (I am big on budgets too.)

The hardest part of the slow days is watching how sad Lola is. I wish she could talk so I could explain to her why Archie left. I wish we were able to get a puppy sooner for her to play with and love. I wish she would run and play like she used too-but her playmate is no longer here. She is in limbo too and she doesn’t understand why.

So, we journey on. Kevin will continue to take his meds and his blood pressure. We will do as many activities as we can. February 6th isn’t really that far away. Then we will know if the meds worked and Kevin’s heart will get back to normal rhythm. Then I can make plans again (I refuse to accept anything but a positive outcome.) Then Molly and I can get excited about our Girls Trip to Palm Springs. Then I can visit Jen in Phoenix. Then we can get excited about the puppy. Until then, I am attempting to live by a saying that I have tried to adopt into my life. Cartoonist Bil Keane said, “Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present”. What are you going to do with your gift today?

Safe travels,

Lori

 

 

 

HOPE

 

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Today was a tough day; I’m not going to lie. It was our first full day without Archie and I spent a good part of the day crying. It was also a day of hope and that is what I want to focus on-Hope.

Our first glimmer of hope came at Kevin’s doctor appointment with the arrhythmia specialist. While he confirmed what we already knew, he took the time to listen to us and answer our questions. He gave us hope that the medicine that Kevin is on is his best chance to get his heart out of Afib. Kevin has to take it easy the next few weeks and then the new doctor is going to try the cardioversion again. He believes that Kevin’s heart can completely recover from the Afib.

The second glimmer of hope came with all the love and support we received from friends and family today. I talked with my sweet friend Candace in Indiana who always knows the right thing to say to make me feel better. My friends Deb and Jane are taking me out for an early birthday lunch on Saturday (and a chance to get out of the house!) I love these new friends I have made in Oceanside. It’s like we have known each other for years. I talked with Molly multiple times and just hearing her voice cheered me up.

The third glimmer of hope came when the breeder of our new puppy called me back and talked about the process of adopting our new baby. Archie’s death has left a huge hole in our hearts and he can never be replaced. But we are DOG people and we need another puppy to love. Talking to her got me a little excited and a little less sad. (Just a little.)

The fourth glimmer of hope was the perfect bracelet I received in the mail from Candace. I wanted something to remember Archie by and she picked the perfect gift. I will treasure it always.

The fifth glimmer of hope was all the love and encouragement I receive on a daily basis from our wonderful Doodle friends here in California. We text multiple times a day and their love, support, encouragement and grief for Archie has meant the world to me. It is proof that God puts people in your life for a reason.

The sixth glimmer of hope is my Bible Study Fellowship lesson I did tonight. We are studying Hebrews and how Christ sacrifice is the only covenant we need. The lesson also emphasizes how you need to have faith and strength and continue to believe in Christ’s covenant during trying times. Boy, did I need to hear that!

So, today, I choose hope. The other options just don’t work for me. I thank God that I have the support system I do in my life. I thank God for letting us have Archie for eight years. I thank God for giving us hope for Kevin’s healing. I thank God for keeping me calm during this storm and guiding my path.

 

Safe travels,

Lori

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answers Part Two

 

We went to the human specialist yesterday, which was a cardiologist for Kevin. Again, the answer was not what we were hoping for. Our general physician diagnosed Kevin with Afib right before Christmas. Kevin was put on medicine to control his heart rhythm, but it didn’t help. Kevin was switched to a different medicine on January 3rd and we thought it was working. We were wrong.

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When we checked into the cardiologist yesterday, the nurse who was taking Kevin’s vitals, asked if we were up to date on the procedure Kevin was scheduled for Friday. We knew nothing of this procedure-we hadn’t even met the doctor yet! Turns out the echocardiogram Kevin had had the week before showed that he is in Afib all the time now and it has weakened his heart. The cardiologist scheduled Kevin a cardio vert today. It’s when they shock your heart back to normal sinus rhythm. We were blindsided that the situation was so serious.

My reaction surprised me. I was angry. Really angry-at Kevin. I had been after him for years to lose weight and change his eating and drinking habits. My anger was all consuming. My sweet niece called me and talked me off the ledge. Her father has just gone through this same situation over the past few months and she has a great perspective on our situation. She validated my anger but said I need to put it aside because Kevin is sick and needs me. My anger turned to fear. Fear that Kevin’s heart isn’t strong enough for shocking. Fear that he is going to die. Fear that I will be left alone without a husband. Last night was tough, but I was able to put away my fear and be supportive.

I would love to be able to write that the cardio vert worked, but it didn’t. They shocked his heart three times and each time it went back to Afib. They gave him an IV of medicine that is supposed to help put his heart back in normal rhythm along with oral meds to do the same. Luckily, I was able to get him into the Arrhythmia Specialist on Monday. We should get some more answers on what treatment Kevin needs to convert his heart rhythm back to normal. I have never looked forward to a doctor’s appointment more.

So, I continue to ask for prayers. Prayers that they find a way to get Kevin’s heart rhythm back to normal. Prayers that his heart stays in a normal rhythm. Prayers that Kevin uses this situation to lose weight and get in shape. Prayers that I can be the support system he needs and still stay strong myself. Prayers that Archie continues to do well on his meds so we have a little more time with him. Prayers for Molly, who feels helpless being so far away from everything happening here. Prayers that my family feels God’s grace and love and it is a comfort to us. Prayers for faith to get us through this tough time.

I knew this was going to be a tough week but I had no idea how tough. I really have no map to take me through this journey, but through it I must go. May mercy and grace be our roadmarks.

Safe travels,

Lori

A Real Sh*# Show

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So, on top of having a very ill dog and waiting for our appointment Thursday with the human specialist, this has been a really shitty week. There is just no other way to put it. I know everyone wants to hear happy stories, but sometimes life just decides to let you have it all at once. I guess it’s our turn.

Our freezer compartment had been slowly dying and last evening we spent $99 to be told our refrigerator we bought with our house is 14 years old and was pronounced dead. We went up to Lowe’s at 6:00 last night and spent $2000 on a new one (one sale!) but it can’t be delivered until tomorrow. So we are currently living out of coolers. Not a big deal, I know, but wait there’s more!

Molly and I got new IPhones right before Christmas. The Verizon store gave us boxes to send the old ones back for credit. They both fit in one box and Kevin dropped them at the Postal Annex. UPS was due any minute, so they went out that day. For some reason, Kevin has been getting emails and texts saying that Verizon has never received our old phones. He called them today to find out what was going on and, guess what, they were stolen! The box weighed four pounds when it shipped out and 0 pounds when they received it! Luckily, the Verizon person was very knowledgeable and is looking into the incident further. It seems we will have put a claim into UPS and then we will be in the clear.

Our printer has stopped working with the Bluetooth; and I can’t scan Archie’s medical forms into my computer to send to the insurance company. Not a big deal, but we can’t afford a new printer right now with everything else, so our printer now resides in our living room. Not really the décor I am going for.

Finally, to top the day off, I thought it was my day to volunteer at the library. On the way there I am stopped on the highway waiting for a traffic light, when all of a sudden a panel truck pulls up next to me, on the side of the road, with two children in the front with him. Yes, he had to pull over to the side to stop so he didn’t rear end me and kill us all. I get to the library and find out that Homework Helpers doesn’t start until next week. Oh, and Kevin had a melt down at CVS, in front of the whole store, over Archie’s medicine.

We are to our boiling points. When you are facing major life changes, all the little stuff just adds to the suffering. You feel like you can’t handle anything more. So I am trying to focus on all the positives that have come out of this week.

We have received so much love and support from family and friends. All the phone calls, texts and FB and Instagram messages have meant so much to us. We feel your love and concern and it warms our hearts. We have each other to lean on and Molly has her wonderful friends to lean on. It has been sunny and warm in SoCal and it is amazing what five minutes of sun on your face can do to lift your mood.

Our sweet neighbors came over yesterday and cried with us over Archie. Then they gave us $300 to put towards Archie’s medical bills.

The refrigerator we wanted was in stock and on sale. Waiting 36 hours isn’t really that big of a deal. And we get to go to In-n-Out for dinner tonight.

I called our wonderful vet at Fishers Veterinary Hospital, Dr. Karen Collins, to see if she would consult on Archie’s case. She called back that night and talked with us for 20 minutes, even though she had a bad cold. She is truly an angel from God and I can’t recommend her highly enough if you need a vet in Indy.

My sister texted me. She never texts me. She didn’t know everything that is going on, just texted me out of the blue.

I see God everywhere. It is amazing that when you are going through tough times, is when you notice God’s presence more. I start Bible Study Fellowship tomorrow. I am so looking forward to studying God’s word in depth.

I have found joy in writing again. For months I thought I would never write again. But here I am, the words just rolling off my fingers. God is Good, All the Time.

Thank you for your love and support. Thank you for reading my humble words.

Safe travels,

Lori

 

 

Answers Part One

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We got an answer to one of our big questions today. It was not the answer we were hoping for. We had an appointment with a veterinary oncologist for our beloved Archie. Archie coughed up blood on Dec 28th. We took him to an Emergency Vet that night and they did a preliminary diagnosis, but we were holding out hope that the oncologist would say something else. Sadly, our worst fears were realized. Archie has metastasized lung cancer and it is incurable.   We are devastated.

Archie has touched so many lives in his short 8 ½ years, but none more than ours. My dear father passed away on July 8th 2011 and Archie came home with us July 23rd. He gave our family something to focus on other than our grief. Molly left for college a month later and having such a joyful puppy to concentrate on made her leaving a little bit easier. From day one, he has been our comfort.

I have always said that Archie is my spirit animal because we have spent so much time together and he has so much of my personality. He is easily startled, just like me and he is a caregiver, just like me. He has such a gentle soul and I knew from a young age, he would make a wonderful therapy dog.

Archie and I became a therapy team with Paws and Think in Indianapolis when he was two years old. We started at the Carmel and Westfield libraries, but soon became a therapy team at Washington Woods Elementary. I was working with special needs children and Archie was the perfect companion. He loved going to that school and seeing all the children. He loved having the children read to him and he somehow knew which children were nervous and which were comfortable with him. He won over even the most tentative child with his gentle manner. He was a Rock Star and he loved it. We were a therapy team at Woods for five years and they were five very rewarding years for both of us.IMG_7301

Lola came to live with us in 2014 and they became instant friends. Lola is so outgoing to Archie’s gentle ways, we have said that Lola has become Archie’s therapy dog as he got older. We put a sling in the backseat of my car so they could lie together. Archie has never liked riding in the car, but with the sling, they could be close and that calmed Archie’s nerves.

When we moved to California and had to drive across country, Lola kept Archie calm. We found out a funny thing about Archie during that trip. He always slept in his crate, but we couldn’t bring huge crates into the hotels every night. We decided to let the dogs sleep where they wanted and Archie wanted to sleep between Kevin and I with his head on our pillows. He still likes getting into bed with us and lying that way!

We joined a “Doodle” group when we moved to Oceanside and have made wonderful friends. They have been a great comfort to us while we are going through this tough time because they understand the bond we have with our dogs. Archie loved going on these “Doodle Romps”, but sadly, he has been to his last one. His breathing is so labored; we need to keep him quiet and comfortable.

The hardest day is still ahead of us. We will have to make the decision to say goodbye. The meds are only going to keep him comfortable for so long. We will have to decide when it is time and we have to be sure Lola has a chance to know he is gone. It will be a horrible day and I ask for your continued prayers.

Lola has never been without Archie. We worry that she will become depressed and sad. I have felt the desire for a puppy for a few months and I started researching breeders. Today, while we were in the oncologist office, I received a text from a breeder in Alpine, CA telling me they had reservations open on a litter of puppies due the end of February. We put a deposit down the same day we found out Archie was dying. We need something to look forward to and we need a pack mate for Lola. Kevin told me something his mother said after his father died that he has never told me before. She said, “It will never be the same, but it will be okay.” Such wise words from woman I never had the pleasure of meeting, for she died before we met. If we get a girl puppy, we are going to name her Irene, which was Kevin’s mother’s name. It just seems right.

Safe travels,

Lori

 

 

Challenges

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I haven’t written a blog post in months. Quite frankly, I didn’t feel like it. I had a bout of depression last August. We had had months of visitors and activities and then suddenly, no one. It took me awhile to admit I was depressed, but after getting my medication adjusted, I started feeling better.

Fall was filled with visitors and fun with new friends. Thanksgiving was spent with our California family and was wonderful. We started getting ready for Christmas and life was great. Until it wasn’t.

I don’t know why, but we are facing some really big challenges right now. We have both human and canine serious health issues. We also have some personal challenges we are facing.

So, I should be depressed again, but the medicine is working and I am feeling strong. This week is going to be a tough one – we are going to get answers to the challenges we are facing. I have no idea what to expect, once again I am traveling in an area where I have no map. I don’t know what knowledge I will have next week at this time that I don’t have now. I do know that I am not in control, God is, and that is how it should be.

We haven’t gone to church since we moved to California. Honestly, I don’t know if I feel comfortable in organized religion any longer. Too many issues make it hard for me to support churches and some of the hypocrisies they stand for. However, I do consider myself a Christian and I live my life according to Christian values.

I was having lunch with my sweet friend Jane a few weeks ago and we were discussing bible studies. We decided to join Bible Study Fellowship together. This is something that I have wanted to do for years. I did our first lesson yesterday, and reading the word of God and feeling His presence gave me such peace to face the week ahead. Our class meets on Wednesday, right in the middle of my tough week.  Coincidence?? I think not!

We have many people praying for us. We have Jewish friends, Catholic friends, Protestant friends and friends that I don’t even know what their religion is praying for us. I treasure each and every prayer. I feel God’s presence with us and I know things will be as they should be because we are in God’s hands.

The biggest gift we got this Christmas was two full weeks with Molly. She decided to extend her stay through New Year’s and having her here was amazing. She is the glue that holds our family together. She kept us busy having fun and playing endless games of Catan and laughing with each other. I thank God every day for our amazing Molls!

If you are a praying person, we would accept any and all prayers that things work out for the best. If you aren’t a praying person, then good thoughts and positive vibes will be accepted. Stay tuned…there will be more to this story.

Safe travels,

Lori

 

 

Growth

Growth is a good thing, right? When your child is born, you watch for signs of growth. There are even “milestones” that a child is supposed to reach by certain ages to be on track for normal development. You go to school to grow your knowledge and learn new things. You want to grow your in your career and, let’s face it, your bank account. You want personal growth too. You want to grow in your skills and your beliefs of how to be a better human being.

But what about when growth is painful? Those who know my daughter, Molly, you know that she is very tall. There was a time when she was growing so fast, her legs hurt. Yes, she had “growing pains”. We had a maple tree at our home in Fishers that grew so fast, the trunk split. We didn’t know if it would survive, but it did and became a beautiful tree. Sometimes growth that hurts is what makes us stronger, sometimes it breaks us.

When Kevin and I moved to Hickory, I went through great personal growth. The kind that hurts-a lot. I was away from “home” for the first time and I knew no one but Kevin in our new town. Luckily, we met wonderful people who helped me through this time of personal growth and I am a better person for it.

When we moved to Fishers, there were only 7500 residents. When we moved away last year, there were 100,00 residents, Talk about growth! Some of this growth was wonderful and some was painful. I am proud of the way that Fishers came through its growth. Fishers has a wide range of housing pricing, some of the best schools in the country and high average incomes.

Now we are in Oceanside and it is going through growing pains, the very painful kind. Oceanside is the last coastal town in San Diego County to be developed into a “tourist” town. One of the things that attracted us to Oceanside, was its ‘sleepy beach” town vibe. That vibe is starting to change and people are taking sides. There are the developers who have $$ in their eyes and there are the long time residents that want to keep that sleepy beach town vibe. There are many special interests groups and some of those are on Facebook. Thursday a comment was posted on one of these Facebook pages complaining that Oceanside still has housing under $399K and that is why it has a hard time attracting people who care. I found this comment ludicrous and I made a post stating my opinion. You see, the average income in Oceanside is less than in Fishers, but the inflation here is completely out of hand. Imagine my surprise when my post was attacked, not by the person who made the original post, but by a retired teacher who claimed that if you “sacrificed” you could make it as a teacher in Oceanside. My point, why should teachers, nurses, and social workers or any professional who makes the world a better place have to sacrifice to get by? Fishers was able to solve their housing issues with huge growth, why can’t Oceanside have a plan for housing for all? This woman went on ranting at me all day until I finally gave up and stop replying to her. It made me realize that this is going to be an ugly and drawn out fight between different interest groups in Oceanside. It is going to be painful.

The same day, we found out that the school district in Fishes that we so loved while our daughter attended there, voted down an anti-discrimination policy concerning students. LBGQT students in particular. Indiana conservative politics was one of the many reasons for us leaving Indiana and this is particularly disturbing because good friends of ours child just came out as Trans last year. We have many gay friends who we love dearly. I am proud to say our friends our not taking this sitting down. They have created a group called HSEquals and they are fighting this school board vote. The Mayor of Fishers and many state government officials have come forward in favor of the anti-discrimination policy. If you are a reading this and are a resident of Fishers, I urge you to get involved and stand up for what is right-equal treatment for all students. This growth will be painful for Fishers, but it is the right growth.

That brings us to today, Just miles from our new home, in a town called Poway, a 19-year-old male went to a synagogue and opened fire. He killed one person; I am not sure how many were injured. My heart aches for the people who were at their synagogue worshiping on the last day of Passover and experienced this act of hate and violence. This after the world is just learning all the terror that happened earlier in the week in Sri Lanka where Christians were attacked by Muslim extremists. I have one question, “Have we not learned anything from our history”?

This country (and world) is so divided right now, that we are not growing; we are failing to thrive as human beings. Social media makes it so easy to attack each other behind the mask of the Internet. Children start watching You Tube videos at an early age and want to BE those kids in the video, instead of leading their own lives. Parents are spending thousands of dollars to illegally gain entrance for their children in elite universities. Hate is everywhere-it wears on me and makes me extremely sad. My beloved father fought in WWII against hate and fascism. Sadly, both seem to be alive and well in our current society.

So, what’s a person to do? For me, I am just trying to make my part of the world a little nicer. I try to respect other people’s opinions, even if I don’t agree with them. I try to voice my opinions with kindness and love. I am trying to grow as a person. We, not only as a nation but also as the human race; seem to have forgotten the virtue of compromise and compassion. We seemed to have lost the ability to agree to disagree and still be friendly. The current fad seems to be hate anyone who isn’t exactly like us or wants the same things, or heaven forbid; has more than us. What ever happen to judging one other by how we treat each other? To innocent before proven guilty? To the pursuit of life and liberty for all? I hope we find it soon, I pray for us all that we do.

Safe travels,

Lori

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Family

Kevin and I don’t come from large families. He is an only child who lost both of his parents in college. I am the youngest of three, but I have never been close to my brother or sister. We just weren’t raised that way.

When you are a young adult and you have your whole life ahead of you, you don’t really think about how your family will be when you are older. (At least we didn’t). Kevin’s friends have been important to him since we met, having lost his parents so young. I was very close to my parents and my sister-in-law, and we really didn’t have a care in the world when we moved to North Carolina.

I feel like we developed a whole new respect for our family when we moved away from Indiana. I missed my parents so much sometimes it physically hurt. We were very lucky that we made WONDERFUL friends in Hickory, most of which we are still in contact with. But, we missed our family and friends so much, we only lasted three years before we moved back to Indiana.

For years, we had a great family life. We were two hours away from Fort Wayne and two hours away from both sides of Kevin’s family. It was perfect, until it wasn’t. My family’s demise was slow and sneaky. My mother’s health started deteriorating slowly and she became very bitter to her family members. My sister-in-law and I started growing apart and I started not wanting to go home for holidays because there was just too much drama.

When my mother died, things really changed in my family dynamics. Kevin, too, had lost some close relatives and we started to realize that our little family of three was on our own. Many people criticized us for only having one child, but it was the right decision for us and we stand by it. We taught Molly to value her friendships and she has many close friends.

The three years between when my mother passed and my dad died were very special. We got to spend lots of time with him and it was wonderful. After his death, whatever relationship I had left with my brother and sister disappeared. That was July 2011 and life has changed tremendously since then. After my father’s death, we started to realize that “family” doesn’t mean just parents, brothers and sisters. It means the people in our lives who love us, not because they have to, but because they truly care about us.

Kevin has been blessed with many cousins and two of them are like brothers to him. They were both able to visit us in Oceanside at the same time this February and it was such a special time for him. Kevin and I have become very close to my cousin and her husband, in fact; we consider them surrogate parents. We were just blessed to have a visit from them and we already miss them. I have two girlfriends who I consider sisters and I know they will always be there for me. They too are coming to visit soon. Our “Fort Wayne” family is a group of dear friends we have known for over 30 years and we were blessed with a visit by two of them in March. We have my “brother from another mother” who was Kevin’s roommate when we met (I knew him from classes at IPFW) and his beautiful girlfriend (of over 20 years) who we want to convince to come live with us for retirement. They are coming to visit in August. We were just lucky enough to visit in San Diego with my long time girlfriend from when we were young “partiers”. We haven’t seen each other in years and it was as if no time had passed. Her oldest daughter lives in SD and we are looking forward to many more visits together.

I just got a text this morning from my high school girlfriend this morning. We have known each other since we were 15 years old and we are still close.

Many people wondered why we wanted to move so far away for retirement and all I can say is we knew it was right for us. This past Christmas we were able to spend time with my nephew and his sweet family in Ventura. It was the first time since my father passed that we had spent any time at Christmas with “family”. My cousin, who we are so close too, youngest daughter lives in Santa Barbara. Even though we weren’t close growing up, we are getting to know each other as adults and look forward to visiting together soon. (They have a daughter who lives in the Caribbean too, who we have gotten to know better thanks to Facebook!)

One of the funniest coincidences is that another of my cousins, who has lived in Indy longer than we did, and Kevin, have a connection that goes back to their childhood. Her mother and Kevin’s mother were best friends in Fort Wayne while working at ITT! We have gotten to know her more over the last few years and love her dearly.

So, the question we get asked the most is “do you think that Molly will move to California one day?” Our answer is always the same-probably not. You see, Molly learned from us to “make” a family of friends. We are so proud of the life she has built for herself in Louisville and the strong “family” she has there. We have been blessed with visits from three of her close friends and look forward to more visits.

Now, in Oceanside, we are adding on to our family. Our next-door neighbors have “adopted” us as THEIR family and we are honored to have their friendships. I have met many women in my “Meetup” groups and I am starting to form what I believe will be strong friendships with many of them. It is a wonderful time in our lives. We know who we are and what we value and we are so blessed to be in this wonderful city of Oceanside.

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I still hold out hope that my relationships with my sister and brother will be healed someday; I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t. But I am okay because I have this wonderful network of “family” all over the country (and the Caribbean!) I didn’t mention any names in this blog, but our “family” knows who they are and that we love them all dearly. So, this Easter, Kevin and I will be spending the day just the two of us. Molly is spending it with her best friend since Kindergarten and her family in Fishers. We are so happy she has them in her life. Whether you are celebrating Easter, Passover or just another Sunday, I hope you take the time to be thankful for the “family” in your life. I know I am.

Safe travels,

Lori

 

Yoga

I am the least athletic person I know. There isn’t an athletic person in my family tree. The only exercise that I have ever enjoyed is walking. Until nine years ago when I started having extreme pain in my left arm. I had no idea what the problem was, but it hurt too much to ignore. I went to the doctor who sent me for a MRI. The MRI showed I had a herniated disk in my neck and the doctor referred me to a spine specialist.

The spine doctor prescribed physical therapy and when that didn’t help, he injected cortisone into my neck- with a HUGE needle. I received no relief from the injection and I was getting pretty frustrated. My physical therapist recommended a massage therapist that did targeted therapeutic massages and he thought she could help me.   I cried after my first massage because it was the first time in weeks that my pain was better.   After six weeks of treatment, I felt great!! It just so happened that the massage therapist own a yoga studio with her son. I asked my best friend to go with me and we attended our first yoga class. It was Hatha yoga, which is very relaxing and peaceful. I fell in love with the practice! I went once a week for several months and my herniated disk felt so much better.

I would like to say that stuck with the yoga. But, like many adults, life got in the way of taking care of myself. I did go for about eighteen months, but then I slacked off. I started a new job that was very stressful, and I just didn’t have the energy to go to class. I gained 20 pounds and got very out of shape. In May of 2015, we found out we could join the Monon Center in Carmel, IN for free through our insurance. I was delighted when I saw they offered yoga classes. I signed up for the beginner class since it had been so long since I had practiced. That is when I realized how out of shape I really was. I started attending class one night a week on Mondays. My instructor just happened to have a son that had graduated from the new preschool where I had started working. She was kind and made it easy to make adjustments. There were men and women, older and younger people in the class. I remember leaving those first few classes feeling relaxed but completely exhausted.

I started going more frequently and eventually my stamina and strength grew along with my passion for the practice. If you have never tried yoga, it is hard to describe how wonderfully selfish of a sport it is. You are completely focused on yourself and your instructor. It is ALL about the breathing and just deep breathing is so much of a tension reliever. Add in the yoga poses and pushing yourself to do your best, it is the BEST hour of the day. I really don’t pay attention to what the other people are doing; I just lose myself in the practice.

When we decided to retire to Oceanside, it was the middle of winter 2018. We were very busy getting our house ready to sell, not to mention all the paperwork of buying a home long distance. I stopped going to my yoga classes. Yup, I had been going for two and a half years and I had lost 25 pounds. But I was just so overwhelmed by everything going on in my life, that I stopped putting the practice I loved so much as a priority. I missed it, but honestly, I was so busy, I just couldn’t fathom driving the twenty minutes from my house to attend class.

Fast forward to June. We are in our new home in Oceanside and Molly buys me classes at a yoga studio here for Mother’s Day. I go – once. It is so far away from our house (not really) and I was still getting used to the new town. I just wasn’t ready to commit to the practice again. In my defense, going to the beach has a similar effect on me and that is what we spent the summer doing.

Finally, after Thanksgiving, I was ready. I had been doing yoga at home, but I had gained ten pounds since the move. I knew I needed to find a yoga studio and I needed to start making my practice a priority again. Again, through our insurance, I decided to join a gym that offered yoga classes. The gym is literally a two-minute drive from out house. I started going a few weeks before Christmas and from the beginning, it has been wonderful. I have the BEST instructor that I have ever had. She is funny, pushes the class to do their best and makes it easy to make adjustments. I have found my Nirvana again. I am going twice a week and it is MY HOUR to focus just on myself. I set an intention every time I practice for “peace, love flexibility, and mercy.” These are the qualities I want in my life. This is what I focus on while I am practicing. I spend my hour breathing, stretching and balancing. I sweat, I make mistakes and I love it! Yoga has brought strength and balance back to my body. I am working on losing the ten pounds (two pounds off!) and most importantly, I am committed to practicing yoga on a regular basis and this makes me a better me. I hope if you are reading this, you have some form of exercise that makes you feel that way yoga makes me feel. I wish you strength, flexibility, love and mercy.

backlit beach dawn dusk
Photo by Cedric Lim on Pexels.com

Safe travels,

Lori

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