Farewell, Indiana




It is time for me to say good-bye to Indiana one last time as my home. I am leaving on good terms this time. I am not running away from a life I don’t want, I am running to the place I want to spend the rest of my life. Big difference!!

When I was 22 years old and Kevin asked me to move to Hickory with him, I was very unhappy with my life. I hated my job. I was still living with my parents and I wanted out of Fort Wayne. I had a wonderful childhood there-I just knew there was more to the world than Indiana. My favorite thing to do when I was a kid was travel. We never went far, usually a cottage in Michigan and when I was older, Spring Break in Florida. I LOVED these trips! I loved being in a different city, staying in a different place and seeing new scenery. My parents lived their whole lives in Fort Wayne and they were perfectly happy, but I knew I would never be happy if I didn’t get away and explore. I had no idea what was waiting for us in Hickory. I had never even heard of it before! I knew I loved Kevin and I knew I wanted out of Fort Wayne.

Funny how you sometimes have to move away from somewhere to appreciate where you came from. I started missing home almost immediately. Moving away was completely different from visiting for a while. We only lasted three years before we moved back to Indiana, but I wouldn’t change a thing! When we moved back, we had such an appreciation for our home state. And, we had made life long friends in Hickory. I had no map for these three years of my life and I learned so much about myself and what was important to me!

Indiana, Fishers to be exact, has been our home now for 30 years. We raised our daughter here. We had careers and a good life. We had excellent health care and we have friendships that will be a part of us until we die. But, it is time to move on. We have outgrown our Fishers life. We no longer enjoy Indiana weather, cold in the winter and hot and sticky in the summer. Kevin’s career has ended at Lily and mine working with children. We want MORE. We want warm air with a cool breeze. We want beaches close enough to go to daily if we want-not only when we have vacation time. We want to sit outside without allergies and mosquitos. Most of all, we want these things TOGETHER. It wasn’t easy finding a place to retire that we both love. It took us years to agree and when we did, it gave us a common goal. It brought us closer. It made our marriage stronger. So, yes, I am nervous moving so far away from everything and everyone I know. But most of all I am damn excited!! Excited to be able to have this experience with the man I love. Excited to have the support of my daughter to make this move. Excited that our friends are happy for us and support our decision. (And PROMISE to visit!) That is what I am most of all –excited!!

We had dinner with friends recently and one asked me what I was going to miss in Indiana besides our friends and family. I had to think for a minute. I will miss fireflies. I will miss my mother’s peonies and columbine and day lilies I transplanted from my parents yard. I will miss the crooked tree we named Bert in our front yard that is too tall to dress up at Halloween anymore. I will miss kayaking in Indiana lakes. I will miss Amish cooking (especially fried chicken and pie). I will miss watching Connor Prairie Fireworks from our yard. I will miss being a therapy team with Paws and Think. I will miss Colts football and IU basketball. I will miss all this and so much more that I cannot even imagine right now. But, you know what, that’s okay. That means I have great memories!! I have lived long enough to value my memories and look forward to making new ones in Oceanside.

So with these fond memories, I bid Indiana farewell. I will always be a Hoosier at heart. I will always call a vacuum a “sweeper” and soda “pop”. Most of all, I will always appreciate the life I lived here. It made it possible to have the future adventures ahead!!

Safe travels,




If there were one word that sums my life up the last four months it would be “possessions”. New possessions (the new house), old possessions, (the old house), possessions to sort, possessions to sell, possessions to give away to friends and family, possessions to donate and now, possessions to pack. And pack, and pack and pack! I started wondering how a 22 year old who only had a few suitcases to move to Hickory in 1984, now has over 10,000 pounds (that’s two tons!) of possessions to move to Oceanside in 2018. How did this happen?? Have I spent my whole life just acquiring possessions?? I know this isn’t true, I have accomplished a lot of good in my life, but how the hell did we end up with so much stuff??

When we moved to Hickory, I was 22 years old and still living at my parent’s house. I left all my childhood belongings at their home and moved to Hickory with Kevin with his furniture and household items. We moved into a two-bedroom apartment and we didn’t really buy anything until we purchased our first house together in February 1986. Then we just bought the few furnishings we needed for our new home. When we got married in May 1987, we started collecting “our” possessions. Wedding gifts gave us a start to our new life together. We bought our first VCR, had our first set of nice dishes and went on our first real vacation together for our honeymoon.

We only stayed in that house two years, but when we sold it and moved back to Indiana, we had to have a garage to store our possessions in, even though we had a two bedroom townhouse with a loft. In July 1990, we moved into our first home in Fishers. It was actually a little smaller than our house in Hickory had been. We had the attic floored and we were comfortable there. Then, Molly Grace was born, and all of a sudden, we had baby stuff!! Lots and lots of baby stuff! Baby stuff turns into toddler stuff and toddler stuff turns into kid’s stuff. Before we knew it, we had out grown our little ranch. In January 2000, we moved into our current home. Three thousand square feet of stuff!! Yeah us!!

Over the years, possessions have come and gone. When my parents both passed, sentimental possessions ruled. When Molly went to college, four years of moving her possessions back and forth from college became the norm. Then, Molly moved to Louisville. We gave her our old furniture and got new. By then we had three dogs, so lots of dog stuff. I knew we had many possessions, but I wasn’t willing to do anything about it. I liked my “stuff”.

Then, suddenly, we fell in love with San Diego. We knew if we moved there, we would have to downsize greatly. That meant getting rid of a lot of our possessions. Somehow, this didn’t bother me. The desire to move to this beautiful part of the country was more important to me than the possessions we had acquired over the years.

Which is when I started questioning my own values. If I was so eager to part with my possessions to be able to move to my dream home, why had I spent so much time and effort acquiring them? I knew that I needed to sort through EVERYTHING and decide what we should do with it all. We tried to make good decisions; we tried to be generous with others. But I still have this nagging guilt about owning so many possessions. Compared to some, we don’t have much. But compared to a majority of the world, we have much more than our share. As I pack the possessions we are taking with us, I try to appreciate each and every one. Yes, we are blessed. We are lucky to have so much. But I truly see now that through all this time of acquiring possessions, it is the memories that they remind me of that matter. Memories of my parents, memories of special times with my husband and daughter. Memories of good times with friends. I have to say, that when I acquire something now, I am trying to be more mindful of the reason for having the new possession. We are a commercially driven society. Success is what you own!!! But there is a part of me that wonders, was I more fulfilled when I had just those two suitcases and my whole life ahead of me? I hope not. A life well lived is a life filled with good memories. I have so many good memories and I have faith that we will make more in Oceanside!


Safe travels,









When I was growing up, we had cats as pets.  We had a dog when I was very young, but she died when I was around 5 years old and we never got another.  My childhood cat lived to be almost 21 years old and she had many litters of kittens.

When Kevin and I moved to Hickory, I was shocked at how empty our apartment felt without a cat.  Luckily, my birthday was a month after we moved, and Kevin got a Persian for me as a present.  Her name was Heidi and she was a great cat.  We had two more cats before we decided to get a dog for our then family of three. Our daughter , Molly, was eleven and we wanted her to have a childhood dog.  We got a cock-a-poo and named her Annabelle.  She was the perfect family dog and she made us a dog family forever.

When Molly was getting ready to graduate high school, we knew our house would feel empty again when she left for college.  We decided to get a bigger dog this time, a Goldendoodle, and a companion for Annabelle.  We found a breeder and picked out our boy.  We named him Archie and brought him home when he was eight weeks old.  Little did we know when we picked him out that he would fill a void much larger than our daughter going off to college.  My beloved father passed away suddenly on July 8th, 2011.  We brought Archie home July 23rd and we say “he saved our souls”.   Molly had time to bond with Archie before she left for school and when I quit my job to grieve my father’s death, Archie was by my side everyday. He was loving and sensitive and just want I needed.

I found out through some volunteer work, that there were organizations in the area that worked with therapy dogs.  This was perfect for Archie!  He was already very well -trained.  I joined a group called Paws and Think and Archie and I became a therapy team.  I have always been passionate about reading, so we naturally fell into going to places where kids could read to Archie.

I had decided to go back to work and the school I worked for was open to Archie coming in once a week to read with special needs kids.  It was a wonderful and joyful experience for us all.  The children loved reading to Archie and Archie loved the children.  The classroom we visited is run by a compassionate and caring teacher whom I have come to respect and admire.  The staff at the school is caring and loving.  It has been an honor to be a part of this community of educators.

Today, Archie did his last “gig” at the school.  We celebrated his seventh birthday and all the children made going away cards for us.  Archie and I are retiring as a therapy team.  It has been a glorious five and a half years of reading, laughs and fellowship.  We will miss them all greatly and we are a better human and canine for having them in our lives.

Safe travels,



My Heart is Full

Yesterday was one of those magical days that I will always remember. It started out early in the morning watching the Royal Wedding with my best friend in all things “Royal”.  It is an obsession we both share and has brought us many times of joy and friendship together.

Then, in the evening, all our favorite people gathered at our best friends’ house to wish us good-bye and safe travels in our new journey to Oceanside. Not too often is anyone blessed to have all the people they care most for gather together in one place to celebrate your love and friendship.  Then, to make it truly magical, our daughter Molly surprised us from Louisville!IMG_7287

When I was 22 years old and moved with Kevin to Hickory, we had a party at his house before we left.  It was nothing big and we really didn’t think about everything we were leaving behind.  It was more about what was ahead that mattered to us.  We really didn’t realize how much we were going to miss our friends and family until we were moved and miles away from those we loved.  Sometimes, I had homesickness so bad, I thought it would kill me!  Not surprising that we moved back to Indiana after three years!

Now, at 56 years old, I know how much I am going to miss the friends and family we leave behind.  We weren’t able to invite EVERYONE we want to say good-by to, so I guess this blog is to express my deep gratitude and love to everyone who has supported us and cared for us over the years.  Never again will I take a relationship for granted!! For some of the best friendships I have formed over the years, there was no reason for that person to be in my life, God put them in my life!  I know that now.  I look back over my life and think how things could have been different if I had made this decision differently or that decision differently.  I now realize that I made the decisions I was supposed to – not always the ones I planned on, but the ones that were planned for me.  The people who are important in my life are the same way!  Not always did I become friends with  the people I thought I would, but the people who God knew I needed!!

As we get closer to our move date, the good-byes get longer and harder.  Some will hurt more that others, but I know that I will be in their hearts as they will be in mine.  Our close friends and family, we will see again.  Some will only be phone calls and texts and some will probably be out of our lives for now.  I have to have faith that God will put new people in our lives that will form into new friendships.  The people who have known us “forever” and still love us-those will never leave us.  We are family now and always will be.  That is the difference with this move- I know who I am leaving behind and I truly cherish each relationship.  Our door is always open in Oceanside and your head will always have a pillow at our home.  Thank you, friends, for loving and caring for us. We are blessed!

Safe travels,



Today was my last day as the educator of small children.  After twenty years (twenty-three if you count the years I volunteered), I have decided to retire from caring for children as a profession.

If someone had told my 22-year-old self that I would be making this statement at 56, I would have laughed in their face. Me, educating children?  I didn’t even like children, let alone want to teach them!  I had just graduated from college with a degree in marketing.  I wanted to be a Fashion Buyer.  It was all about the clothes for me. (Some would say it still is!)  Problem was, there wasn’t much available in Fashion Buying in Fort Wayne.  Or Indiana, for that matter.  I somehow ended as a dispatcher at North American Van Lines.  Talk about the worse job ever. HATED it!  When Kevin asked me to move to Hickory, I was more than happy to kick that job to the curb.

When we arrived in Hickory, I needed to get a job, but I had no idea where to look.  There was no internet in 1985.  You basically mailed out your resume (professionally printed on stationary) to companies and hoped to hear back.  I went to am employment agency and actually paid them to land me a job as a Customer Service Representative at a local furniture supply company.  I was making a whopping $11,000 a year (not a lot of money even in 1985 dollars.)  Thing is, I loved that job.  I ended up becoming a purchasing agent and made life long friends.  You see, it’s not always what God puts in your life, it is WHO God puts in your life.  As excited as we were to move back to Indiana, it was hard to leave our friends that we had made through both my work and Kevin’s.

When we moved to Indy, once again I had to look for a job.  I found one as a purchasing agent and absolutely hated it.  I lasted about a year, and then quit.  I found another job shortly after and this one was a real career- leading purchasing job.  Thing is, my heart just wasn’t in it.  It was still just a job to me.  Then something strange happened.  I turned 29 and my maternal instinct kicked in full force!  The woman who never thought she wanted children could think of nothing else!!!  Everywhere I looked, there were pregnant women!! Kevin took some convincing, but he finally agreed to have a child.  Getting pregnant was easy, staying pregnant, not so much.  I ended up on three months of bed rest.  After our beautiful daughter was born, I went through the motions of going back to work.  Found child care and everything.  The weekend before I was to go back to work, I broke down and told Kevin I just couldn’t do it.  I was a mom and that is what I wanted to be!! Kevin acquiesced,  and I stayed home for five glorious years!!

Then came the time for our daughter to go to Kindergarten.  I knew that I didn’t want to hang around the house by myself, but I didn’t want to go back to work full-time either.  That is when the idea of teaching preschool happened.  I loved children now!  It would be great!!  And it was.  I taught Preschool and Mother’s Day Out for seven years.  Then I got restless.  Working with young children made me realize the importance of early intervention  for developmental delays.  I was fascinated and decided to leave teaching preschool and work for Indiana’s Early Intervention program.  I also started working on my Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.  I was going to change the world!  Then THAT THING happened.  That thing was depression (another whole blog or two) and I realized that working from home all day wasn’t for me.  I needed to be with people.  I took a job working as an Instructional Assistant at a neighboring school district.  I was working with Special Education children.  It was chaotic, messy and rewarding.  I loved that job (most of the time) and thought I would have it forever. But, life happened as it does, and my beloved father died.  I took it hard, really hard.  He died the beginning of July and school started the beginning of August.  I tried to go back, but my heart just needed time to heal.  I asked for a leave of absence, but they said no. So, I quit.  I quit and I took the time I needed to grieve.

I spent the next two years doing my own things.  We got a Goldendoodle and trained him to be a Therapy dog.  I learned how to knit and started a small knitting business.  I still managed to work with children by substitute teaching at a preschool a friend taught at.  Finally, I was ready to go back to work.  I got a job as an Instructional Assistant in another school district.  I worked there for two years and had a wonderful experience.  My therapy dog came with me once a week to read with special needs children and it was so rewarding.  Then, another twist in the road!  A friend was offered a new position at a different preschool and asked me if I wanted to be her assistant two days a week. At first I said no, but as I thought of it more, I decided that I was ready to go back to teaching little minds.  I contacted my old preschool that I had worked at years ago, and picked up a day there working in my favorite room, the babies. Life was good.

That was three years ago. Now that we are moving to Oceanside, I have decided to move on from working with children.  I have no map to where I am going, I just feel that my time as an educator is done.  I just said good-bye today to women who have been a part of my life for over 20 years.  I won’t see most of them again except on Facebook, but they will always be angels in my heart.  I have been blessed with this unexpected career of mine and best thing is that my legacy will live on.  You see, my daughter is a teacher!  She was born to be a teacher and she is making a difference in the lives of children everyday.  Not having a map for my career was the best thing that could have happened.  I don’t know where I am going next with this crazy life, but I have faith it will be exciting!!!


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Author: nomapnecessary15

A retired education professional who is pursuing her life long dream of writing. Getting ready to live the dream in sunny SoCal!!



Let’s face it, when you are 22 years old, the only things you prepare for are final exams and job interviews. Everything else is spur of the moment. When Kevin asked me to go with him to North Carolina, it wasn’t some great proposal. It was a comment at a party we were attending. He said that if he took the job, he wanted me to go with him. I was “Okay, I am ready now!” The only preparations I had to do were to quit the job I hated and tell my parents and friends. The job, that was easy. My parents,, not so much. My mother’s response was, “I can’t believe you are doing this to me”! (Thanks Mom, nice to know you were concerned I was making the right decision for myself.) My dad, (who just happens to be my favorite human ever), said “You can’t stay here when you visit.” Luckily, he calmed down and let us stay with them when we visited (in separate bedrooms, of course.) My friends, well, most of them really thought I was crazy. My sister-in-law, Kellee, who was my best friend, thought I was making a huge mistake because she thought I would get hurt.


Kevin, he faced all kinds of resistance from his friends. They were all bachelors together. They were all for him going on an adventure, they just thought he should do it on his own. Basically, no one wanted us to move away together and most people thought that one or both of us would be back with our tails between our legs. Kevin also had his childhood home to sell. He is an only child and both his parents died while he was in college. I didn’t even really think about this- he hired a realtor and did the things needed to move. I just thought it would be nice to have the money when it sold. (I was VERY naïve!)


Fast forward to now. We first started talking about moving to San Diego two years ago. We were on vacation there in February and it just felt right. We had been looking for a place to retire for a few years. If you have ever spent a winter in Indiana, you understand why. I have had Seasonal Affective Disorder for several years and Kevin was starting to feel it too. The weather in the San Diego area is perfect for us-70’s all year long! No humidity! Nice breezes! And beaches-lots and lots of beaches!! We were smitten and after some research, we found some areas north of San Diego where we could afford to buy a house.


Kevin worked for a big pharma company in Indianapolis (you know-the one famous for Prozac?) After our trip, he immediately told his bosses he was interested in transferring to the San Diego facility. And he told them again, and again and again until it became obvious it was not going to happen. SO, we made the decision to move there ourselves when Kevin retired. We figured he could retire at the end of 2020. We started making plans budget wise and the updates we needed to do to our home. Remember that little thing about not needing a map???? Well, life took a BIG detour when, in October 2017, Kevin’s company announced the mother of all early retirement deals. Seriously, we couldn’t believe it!! Now was the time to move, to live our dream!! It all seemed so easy when it was just a dream-now it was reality! Holy crap! This was really happening!!


Once we made the decision to move, everything fell into place. Kevin retired at the end of 2017. I found our realtor in Oceanside on the Internet. We exchanged about a dozen emails and I knew she understood what we wanted in a house. I found a “Coming Soon” on Zillow and our realtor did all the legwork. Yes, we bought the house over the Internet, and no, we have no regrets!! We went to Oceanside the second week of March for the inspection on the house and fell in love with the area all over again. I truly felt like I was having an out of body experience. This was going to be our new life!!!


Now that we knew where we were moving to, we had to get our current home ready to sell. While I may have had no possessions when we moved to Hickory, that is not the case today. Thirty-one years of marriage, one child and three houses later, we had STUFF!! We had stuff we didn’t even remember that we had! We had stuff in every nook and cranny of our 3000 sq. ft. house!! You want to become an expert in de-cluttering?? Buy a new house before you sell your old one. That will make you an expert in no time. We sold stuff on Facebook, EBay, Next Door and Everything But the House. We gave stuff to friends. We donated to Goodwill, Salvation Army and anyone who wanted our stuff. By the time we put our house on the market, we had de-cluttered, updated, painted, weeded, cleaned, shampooed and power washed everything imaginable! We asked my hairdresser’s husband to be our realtor and he did a great job. House went on the market on a Thursday and sold by Sunday! Yeah us!! Wait, shit just got real- we really are moving!!


Now comes the hard part. Now come the good-byes. Now come the realization that people who have been such a huge part of our lives for so many years aren’t going to be just down the street. Now comes the time that the doctor who cared for us and knows us, won’t be there when we are sick. Now comes the time when the vet who has cared for our cats and dogs and cried with us when we had to put our beloved animal down, won’t be there when our dog starts acting funny and needs a doctor. Now comes the time when our daughter will be a four hour plane ride instead of a two hour car ride away (even though she is driving out with us and we don’t have to say goodbye until June 28th and then it is only until Oct 1st), we still think about how she won’t be a car ride away. I don’t think I am going to like this part of preparation. I expect that I am really going to suck at it. But, remember-NO MAP NECESSARY! Time to make my own trail and forge my own future!!! It is going to be great, right???? (I have Faith that it will!)


Safe travels,






I am about to do something that I haven’t done since I was 22-years-old. I am moving across the country to a town where I know absolutely NO ONE to start a new chapter in my life.


When I was 22, I was fresh out of college and madly in love. My then boyfriend, Kevin, was bored with his job and ready for adventure. We lived in our hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana and we just knew there had to be more to life. Kevin was offered a job in Hickory, NC and asked me to go with him. I jumped at the chance-I would have followed him anywhere! I had no money, no job in Hickory and a car that wasn’t even guaranteed to make the trip! What I did have was the gut feeling that this was the right man and the right choice for me.


Kevin took care of everything for the move. He picked out our apartment. He arranged the moving company (I didn’t have anything to move anyway). We left at the beginning of December, so the weather would be an issue. I didn’t even really think about that. All I knew is that I was ready to go on this wonderful adventure with the man I loved.


Fast- forward 34 years. I am now 56-years-old. I am a wife (happy to say I am still with Kevin!) and the mother of a grown daughter. We moved back to Indiana after 3 years in Hickory, not to Fort Wayne, but to Indianapolis. We have lived the last 28 years in the community of Fishers, IN. It has been a great life, but once again, we are ready for adventure. June 2nd we leave for our cross county drive to Oceanside, CA. We fell in love with the area two years ago and are now going to make it our home.


This time, I have been in charge of the move. I found our realtor and house in Oceanside. I found our realtor in Fishers and staged our house for sale. (Sold in 3 days!) I booked the movers and made all the reservations for the hotels along our drive west. My life, it has changed tremendously since that move to Hickory. What hasn’t changed is this-I still have that gut feeling that this is the right man and right choice for me.


I have called this blog “No Map Necessary” because the biggest lesson I have learned in the 36 years since our move to Hickory is that no matter how much you plan, no matter how much you check every single detail, life happens how life wants to happen. There is no map to follow, no set of directions that will get you from Point A to Point B without obstacles. What there is, however, is faith. Faith in God to watch over you. Faith in your mate to love you no mater what. Faith in your child to respect herself and live a noble life. Faith in your friends to support you, laugh with you and cry with you too. Faith is what has gotten me from that naïve 22-year-old to the woman I am today. I have changed-the world has changed. This blog is to chronicle my two journeys- one as a young woman with blind faith in a man, and one as a mature woman with strong faith in her God, family and friends. My intention is to explore the two moves and how my life has changed. The past, I know, the future is a blank slate, and today is a possibility. I hope you will join me for this journey-you see, I have “no map” for where I am going, just the feeling that it is going to be one hell of a ride!


Safe Travels,










Part Two……………..Preparations………….Keep Reading……………

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