Puzzling Times

Hi everyone! 

Happy Monday 🙂

“ A puzzle. These times are a puzzle.” That is the thought that came to mind as I sat Sunday afternoon staring at 500 pieces of quirky shapes and colors.

I had bought the puzzle last January in hopes of creating some cozy winter vibes in my home. Little did I know at the time how much of my home I would be seeing for the next several hundred days. Yet, despite my plans, I didn’t touch the puzzle until this past Sunday, nine months later.  I must have instinctively  known it would be more handy later on in the year. 

As I sat down to begin sorting the pieces I was hoping the puzzle would cast a soothing spell.  Helping me to enjoy the snow storm and reflect on how much I have to be grateful for. It kind of worked. I could still feel the agitation from a week of being in quarantine, wildfires burning, remote teaching, and just the general vibe of the times. I slowly relaxed and felt little waves of triumph as certain pieces began to fit together. It was then I had my puzzle revelation.

Life is a puzzle right now. How to move forward with our lives during Covid has more questions than answers. All of the pieces are there: career, family, friends, hobbies etc. The problem is it is a new puzzle and I,  for one, do not know where all the pieces fit yet. The good news is that I have all the pieces. Once I get the border together and fill in the pieces, it will begin to make sense.

Puzzles can be stressful if we are not relaxed and do not approach them with an attitude of fun and wanting a challenge. Then again, there is nothing quite like the feeling of putting that final piece in place and standing back to admire the work. 

May several pieces of your puzzle fit together this week!

Thanks for stopping by the blog.

Until next time,

Laura

Squirreling Up and Hunkering Down

Years ago I remember laughing with my friend, Patrick, when he referred to preparing for winter as “squirreling up”. I had never heard that term before and I loved it. I was also amused by the the idea of “hunkering down” in order to wait for a big storm or long winter. Somehow, I felt these terms took me back to simpler yet dangerous times in the early prairie life of the Colorado pioneers. In my mind, I imagined how these pioneers needed to be prepared for any situation, surviving through droughts, blizzards, and disease by making the most of family ties and a close knit community.

Fast forward my thoughts to Labor Day 2020. My friend, Tracey, and I were walking for the first time in weeks. The air quality was suppsed to be moderate but I had my doubts. Greeley was being invaded by smoke from near by wildfires in the Colorado Rockies as well as smoke traveling east from the west coast. We were talking about all the intricacies of education during the pandemic when we noticed we were being rained on by ash. Ash in our hair, on our clothes, and ash beginning to cover the trees. By the time we left the park, the sky had turned from slightly smokey, to a blazing orange before going dark as night by around noon. If I had been living in the middle ages I would have proclaimed Armageddon was nigh. It most certainly felt like it. 2020 has brought us a global pandemic, civil unrest, and a continuation of weather gone even more wonky than the past several years. So, it is of littke suprise that on Labor Day eve I did not want to get ready for school the next day. I stated out loud ” I just want to squirrel up and hunker down!” Besides, I knew we were going to go from 100 degrees and smoke to a snow storm in less than 24 hours. Time to squirrel away!

After my mini fit about life in 2020, I put on my big girl pants, channeled my pioneer ancestors, who saw far more devestaion than I ever have, and realized that I do need to hunker down. Not out of fear or retreat, but because I need a place to recharge and face the challeges at hand. My home is homebase for operation ” Laura shows up for others”. It is a pretty simple operation. I just show up. I show up for school, for Rosary, for family and friends. I need to believe that in this time of rapid change, showing up is a step towards healing a very broken world.

I am actually very excited to see the evolution of humanity. Sudden change is unnerving, and outright scary sometimes. I do not have any idea how many months or years we will see unrest before we realize that we need each other and are far more connected than we ever imagined. The past has shown us that things can get pretty darn ugly before a new and better age dawns. Yet, it does not have to be doom and gloom. We are co- creators in our world and we can bring positive change with our actions. That is why I know realize that my home is very important right now. It is a sanctuary from chaos, a place to recharge at the end of the day as well as finding strength before heading out into the world. It is a place to dream, imagine, and plan for ways to support and uplift others.

Now that I think of it, squirreling up and hunkering down is just as much for others as it is for myself. I like the thought of that.

Thanks for stopping by the blog,

As always, I would love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Laura

Crazy Times: Working on Action, Not Reaction

Hi everyone,

It is good to be back at the blog. So much has happened since last summer. Not just in my life, but in all of our lives. Whether we are just starting out in the world or have been around the block a few times, this will be a defining moment in time for multiple generations.

I don’t think I am alone in stating that my emotions have been all over the place. Sometimes, I have an amazing amount of resolve to deal with the pandemic and social unrest and divisiveness unfolding everywhere around US. Other times, I am doing my best to hide a top notch 1st world problem melt down.

With everything falling into various degrees of uncertainty it is easy to see the worst in everyone and everything. It is easy to rant, to blame, and to play victim. I know because, not only do I see our collective reactions daily, but I have been working hard to transform these tendencies within myself.

( A special shout out to my sister Cindy, Fr. Brian, and my trainer, Mark. Thanks guys, for always believing in me. )

So, the question I have been asking myself is: “Do you want react or do you want to act?” Well, of course I want to act. I want to be a positive force in uncertain times. Action can have many different implications. Peaceful protests are an obvious option for many people to bring about change. I admire those continue to make their voices heard by exercising their right to peacefully assemble. However, what if that is not a practical option for a person at this time? How do I change my corner of the world. The neighborhood I live in, my employment, my daily encounters?

So many thoughts… I have decided to start with what I am able to control on a daily basis.

Control of my physical environment:

I am in control of my home, my car, my workspace, and my social media. None of the outside chaos needs to enter these places. I can make choices on music, movies, social media, and news. I can make my environments nourishing and peaceful. I can use social media on my terms and limit news to a quick overview of the day’s events. The cool thing about personal environments is that most people get a “Vibe” when they walk by a home or stop by an office. They definitely get a “vibe” when they read a social media posts. They get a “vibe” when people pass them on the road. The question is: “Am I adding peace and beauty or chaos and angst to the environment I find myself in ?” I am hoping to be adding more of the former and far less of the latter. Although, I sometimes still give they Laura Kelly glare before I realize it. Oops! Some people just really know how to push buttons, ya know.

Control of my actions and reactions:

Truth: No one is going to change anyone’s mind these days. Not about masks, not about the pandemic , not about politics. We are a modern tower of Babel. This can be changed; but not with shouts, rants, and confrontations. It will be changed by a deliberate effort to bring back civility. We need rediscover the humanity we all share and do our part to be civil; even as we work for change.

It is up to me to stop the devolution in my own little circles by controlling my actions and my reactions. My rules for action are simple ( in theory, not always in reality.) : Always be kind, do the right thing, think about how my actions and words may be affecting others, search for common ground, choose company wisely, ask thoughtful questions, ignore petty little digs, know that everyone has their story and that their story has shaped how they see the world, just like my story has shaped me.

Reaction is a bit more of a challenge for me. I have been known to react without thinking. More so in my youth than today, but reactionary Laura still lurks in the shadows ready to pounce at any perceived injustice. So, I am working deep breathing and looking to my above choices of action to counter my need to react.

Anyone committed to a cause knows they are in it for the long haul. Hopefully, when things settle down we will not be merely back to normal. With a lot of work we can move forward and evolve into something better. Wouldn’t that be something?

How about you? Are you working and taking action for positive change in your own way? Volunteering, standing up for civil liberties, spreading kind words and actions? I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by the blog,

Laura

My Adventure Climbing My First 14ner Part One: The Decision.

July, 29th, 2019 will forever be a memorable day in my life. It was the day I successfully hiked to the the top of Gray’s peak here in Colorado. Gray’s peak is one of Colorado’s peaks affectionately known as a 14ner. A 14ner, as the name implies, is a mountain peak that is over 14, 000 feet above see level.

There are different classes of 14ners depending on difficulty, skills and equipment needed to make it to the summit. Gray’s peak is a class one peak so I did not need lots of extra equipment but it was far from easy. In fact, it was probably the most difficult physical challenge I have embarked upon to date.

As a backdrop to my story, some of my readers may know that in my early 50’s I began trail running with the help of my trainer, Mark. I had just finished a huge goal of completing a trail half marathon when I tore my meniscus ( Nothing to do with running but rather the result of a foolish idea to try to ride a skate board.) Since this time I have been working with Mark to find activities that challenge me and help keep me physically fit while working with my arthritis and bad knee. I will tell you that the past three years have been full of ups and downs since my injury both physically and emotionally. In addition to my knee injury and lingering arthritis, I regained a significant amount of weight that I had lost prior to my running. While outwardly my life looked great, on the inside I was battling physical pain from arthritis and emotional pain that was getting the better of me.

On a cold Saturday morning shortly after the New Year, while doing crunches on the floor of Mark’s gym, Mark turned to me and said ” What do you think about climbing a 14ner? ” I was intrigued but hesitant. I do love hiking but I knew a 14ner wouldn’t be my typical mountain stroll. I am not sure what I stammered on about for the next couple of minutes, but by the time my session was over I had agreed that a 14ner would be my goal for the summer.

At first, I did everything I was supposed to do. I researched the peaks, hiked on weekends, and I talked the talk. As winter turned to spring and the school year began to wind down, I even invited people at work to hike with me over the summer hoping to inspire someone to join me on my adventure. However, the passion wasn’t there. I wasn’t fooling myself and I wasn’t fooling. Mark. I don’t remember what we were talking about that Saturday in June, but I do remember Mark calling my bluff and asking me if I really wanted to climb a 14ner. I sheepishly told him that I did not have the deep passion for the goal that I should feel if I wanted to accomplish it. It was a relief to say it out loud. It was also the beginning of lots of self-reflection and a turning point in how I view myself and my life. It was at this moment I began lots of inner work on myself. Some of the work I have done before. Some of the work will be ongoing because life is always changing and old things reappear in different ways until we master them.

For the next few weeks I kept on hiking, and kept on working regardless of my emotions. By the end of June I looked at Mark and said ” Do you think Jen would be willing to hike a 14ner with me?” Jen is one of my work out buddies from the gym who is a very strong hiker and cyclist. She is also extremely patient. I knew and needed an experienced person with me on the trail and that it was time for me to finish what I had started back in January.

With that question I was back on track to prove to myself I am strong, both physically and emotionally. I was not in it alone, ” I get by with the help of my friends.” Mark, Jen, all my friends and family… with me it always “takes a village!” I am always grateful for the support that comes my way. It is truly a gift.

So that is part one of my story. How I made the decision to hike a 14ner. Next week I will tell you about my day on the mountain.

As always, thanks for stopping by the blog.

Until next time,

Laura

Thoughts On My Travel Adventures

When did the spring turn to summer? Well it did and in the mean time I have successfully finished another year of teaching and taken two major trips outside the USA. 🙂

For the past three years I have packed my suite case, grabbed my passport, and headed to the countries that have filled my mind with wonder for the past five decades. (Thanks, Uncle Larry!) Italy was first, followed the beaches and Mayan ruins in Mexico, last summer was Greece and several surrounding islands, and finally this year I was able to experience the Montego Bay area in Jamaica and Paris, France.

I would have to say that there have been two main driving forces in my desire to travel. First, despite my mild mannered teacher persona, I have always had a sense of adventure. Not crazy dare devil adventure where I knowingly risk life and limb, but a desire to see and experience new places and things. Secondly, I have a great desire to learn everything I can about our collective human experience. That includes history, culture, art and architecture, and just about everything that makes us, well… us. Oh, as well as seeing all the natural beauty this world has to offer.

Traveling has changed how I see myself and the world. Traveling has helped me to see what I have in common with others and challenged me to see things from different points of view. Traveling has helped me to grow as a person. So, without any further adieu, here of some of my thoughts, observations, and lessons learned about myself on my travels.

Travel Renews My Sense of Wonder

When I was a little girl, I remember riding in the car with my parents. I would look out the window with a sense of wonder and curiosity. I did not have any judgments about what I was observing, I was amazed at everything I saw from the skyscrapers in Denver to the cows in the fields east of Greeley. Something as simple as stopping for ice cream in a new place felt like an adventure. Over time, I became immune to the sights and sounds of daily living. I took everything around me for granted and ordinary. Traveling has reconnected me to the awe struck little girl inside me. Nowadays, not only am I awe struck when I travel, I make a real effort to find the amazing things around me everyday in Greeley, Colorado and not to take my own environment for granted

Travel Strengthens My Sense of Connection to Other People

I have made the most amazing short term bonds in my travel groups. For approximately one week I spend my time with others who begin as complete strangers and end up being the people I share countless adventures with as we marvel at the historical, architectural, and natural wonders of another country together before we part ways. My groups have be made up of people from all over the US, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and the UK. I have thoroughly enjoyed my conversations with such diverse people. Each tour guide I have had holds a special place in my heart. I may be one of thousands of tourists that they meet in a single year, but they have given me a lifetime of memories. As the years go on, it will not matter if I remember anyone’s name from a particular group or if they will remember mine. As Johnathan, my tour guide in France said at the end of our trip, “We will always have Paris!” In the future, when I recall a specific trip, I will also be recalling the essence of the people who surrounded me and shared with me that moment in time.

Then, there is the connection to the people of the country I am visiting. It is difficult to express the emotion properly with words but I feel a connection to other cultures and places that I did not feel in the past. Each small conversation I have had in a shop, in a restaurant, on the street, makes me so appreciative of both the similarities and differences each country and culture has to offer and connects me to the people. One day when I was in Paris, a French lady came up to me while I was people watching and drinking coffee and asked to join me. I think she wanted to practice her English. I had the most delightful conversation with her and it is one of my favorite memories of the trip.

Travel Reminds Me I Always Have More To Learn

I tend to get stuck in knowing what I know. Not on purpose, mind you. It is easy to do as we get older. Even those of us who love learning can find we gravitate to the same types of books, art, history, music etc. without even realizing it. I do try to brush up on basic facts before I embark on a new adventure. Even so, every time I visit someplace new I find myself saying ” I didn’t know that .” or ” Man, I really need to read more about that. I had no idea. ” I may or may not get around to researching every question that comes up when I travel but I am grateful for all the new avenues of exploration available to me and the new information learned.

Travel Encourages Me To Step Outside My Comfort Zone

New people, new languages, new cities. It really is a lot for an introvert to take in. Not to mention the jet lag, change of routine, airport layovers, and vulnerability that comes with being a tourist and a single woman. However, nothing ventured nothing gained. In order to really experience life I need to be willing to be a little uncomfortable. So far the risks and discomfort have been minimal compared to the rewards of stepping out and seeing the world first hand. As for the risk factor, I will state that as a single woman I have to be aware everywhere, at home or abroad. Unfortunately, staying in Greeley, Colorado does not make me immune to being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Traveling with a group does make someone else accountable for my whereabouts and immediately know if I do not show up someplace as scheduled. This is a nice layer of security when traveling alone. I also pick countries the Dept. of State lists as relatively low travel risk.

Travel Has Encouraged Me To Appreciate My Own Home Town

There is no place like home. Sometimes, if you are like me, it is easy to forget that. For much of my life I saw Greeley simply as my hometown. It was where I was from, where my family was, and that was why it was significant to me. Some people in my town made fun of Greeley, other people sought Greeley out as a place to call home. I wandered through the streets going about my business, dreaming of other places, not really thinking of the place I called home one way or the other. Travel changed that. I have come to realize that I love Greeley and am glad to call it home. I have come to look at the parks, neighborhoods, cultural events, public art work, coffee shops, and local history with fresh eyes. I have taken the awe and wonder I have for the world and applied it to where I live. I find myself smiling as I walk through a local park or a downtown shop. I enjoy coffee and people watching at my favorite shop just as if it was a European cafe. I wave at my neighbors and think how glad I am to live in a charming area. I look to the west and see the outline of the Colorado Rocky Mountains and am in awe that this is the place I call home.

What about you? Do you travel or would you like to travel in the future? Has travel changed how you look at the world or yourself?

As always, I would love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Laura

Having What It Takes

Today is blizzard 2019 for almost all of Colorado. March is our snowiest month, but this size of a storm doesn’t happen every year. Fortunately, I am home watching the wind blow the snow around from the window by my couch and making bets with myself as to how often my cat, Gracie, changes napping spots throughout the house.

Forced to the confines of my 1200 square feet of living space, my mind begins to wander and wonder. My thoughts are not original or unique to today. In fact, my mind turns to a question conveniently stifled by the busyness of most days, but always burning in the back of my mind. ” What next?”

When my mind is still and the house is quiet I am aware that in one month I will be 56. I will be honest with you. I am ready to do something completely different when I turn 60. Something creative. Something flexible. Something that makes me excited to wake up every morning. And, let’s be honest, something that will allow me to cover all my expenses and live a comfortable retirement from education.

The problem is I have no idea exactly what that may be. Of course, writing comes to mind. “Do I have what it takes to really get serious about writing, blogging, or maybe even a podcast? How do I prepare now so I am set for success down the road?” It is as I am mulling over these thoughts that I look over at my trusty wall calendar. “You have what it takes!” is the motivational quote for the month.

Ha! I have to laugh out loud. There are absolutely no answers to my questions in this quote. Yet, there is a simple wisdom I can hold close to my heart. A knowledge that, like Dorthy and her ruby slippers, the answer is always within my being. Despite the mountains of self-doubt I expertly build for myself, I have always had just what it takes to get through life.

In fact, we all have what it takes. Sometimes we dream. Sometimes we plan. Sometimes we have to muster every ounce of courage to face life altering challenges. Through it all, we have what it takes. There is an inner voice, our truest self, that we can turn to for strength and inspiration. Thank goodness!

So ya, I still do not have a clear four year plan. I do feel a peace that I will know what to do if I keep on reading, researching, and experimenting with my writing. I am pragmatic. I know to keep planning and working. I also know a lot can happen in four years and I may decide to pursue something completely different that has not presented itself to my imagination just yet.

This time of life reminds me a little bit of being an undergraduate in college decades ago. The excitement of what life might hold if I keep on course, adjusting my dreams as I discover my strengths and weaknesses, savoring the moment knowing I will not pass this way again. This time, however, I am pressing on free from the concerns of my youth and a certain wisdom that comes with age. My life is what it is. I desire for the next phase of my life to be for the personal development of my soul. Not a perceived need to prove myself in a career.

As I finish this post, the snow is lightening up but the winds are still strong. Gusts of 65 miles an hour. I get the call that school will be closed again tomorrow. After I work on some grades and get some work done around the house, tomorrow just might be the perfect day to do some life planning! I do have what it takes, after all!

What about you? Are you taking on a challenge? I would love to hear stories about how you have proved or are proving that you have what it takes.

Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Until next time,

Laura

Celebrate Valentine’s Day By Spreading Love

Happy Monday, everyone!

Valentine’s week is upon us and I hope you are ready to shake off those midwinter blues and spread some love!

I was a little sad to hear a report read over the radio this week that stated that only 51 % of the US population continues to observe Valentine’s day. Now, I have heard the moans of the disenchanted for many decades now. ” It is just another way for marketers to make money!” ” You don’t need a separate day to celebrate love. We should do that every day!” … The protest doesn’t come so much from a diverse population who are of different cultural traditions, but rather, from those who grew up handing out Valentine’s at school and received chocolate candy from their own parents every year.

I understand why so many of us are “over” Valentine’s day. Anyone who has ever gotten the “leftover” Valentine’s day cards in elementary school or suffered through the most popular girl or guy in high school getting dozens of Val-a-grams delivered to them during Algebra class while standing in the corner with one Val-a -gram from their best friend can understand why so many are more than willing to ignore the day once out of the public school system. Certainly, as a life long single woman, I too, have good reason to prefer the day just quietly and quickly slip by as just another date on the calendar. I already know that I will not get a bouquet of flowers delivered to me at work, a special dinner followed by a romantic evening, or any of the traditional things that we believe a Valentine’s gift should look like.

So why would I bother to acknowledge the day? There is something I have noticed over the years about Valentine’s day and the people who choose to celebrate. People that acknowledge Valentine’s day as an adult are actually more likely to be loving and giving throughout the year. By taking one day to say ” This is important to me/” it becomes more likely we will show love, create romance, and make giving to others part of our daily lives. This is why it matters to me. Because I want to be more loving, giving, and to be able to find romance not only in life, but with life itself.

This Valentine’s day I will be working late. It will be parent/teacher conferences and I will be surrounded by children all day and talking with their parents well into the evening. I will have to be creative in how I celebrate. Who can I encourage? Who needs a sincere compliment? Who needs to hear that they are smart, funny, or creative? Who needs to know that I care about them or that their situation is in my prayers? My Valentine’s will not be about chocolate or flowers ( Although I may buy some flowers for myself on my day off. Self-love and all that lol! ) My Valentine’s will be about love.

That’s the secret behind Valentine’s and every other holiday on the calendar. Discovering through participation in the celebration that we receive the love we are looking for when we give it to someone else without the expectation of what we will get in return. The profit margins and popularity contests are not at the heart of Valentine’s day. Neither is grabbing flowers at the last minute in hopes of not catching “what for” from our significant other. Those are distortions that we can correct by focusing on those we love and those who need love.

Besides, if a local florist is able to pay the year’s bills based off of the sales leading up to February 14th, that can be a gift to your local florist- another year staying in the black. That is a pretty great gift for someone trying to put food on the table!

May you have a wonderful Valentine’s day/ weekend. If you have someone special such as a spouse or partner, I wish you a day, weekend, and year of love and romance. If you are single, I wish you much love in all its various forms as well as little hints and reminders of romance in everything around you.

As always, I would love to hear from year. Do you have Valentine’s plans?

Until next time,

Laura

You Only Live Once

Saturday was a beautiful day here in Colorado. While the morning was well below freezing, the afternoon warmed up to about 60 degrees. So, of course, I decided to drive up to the foothills and hike at one of my “go to” standard hiking spots, Coyote Ridge.

The hike was not without its challenges, starting with parking. Coyote Ridge is one of those spots that with Colorado’s booming population ( sigh) if you get there past 9:30 or 10:00 am the odds of finding a parking space are slim to none. I was fortunate to arrive, circle the lot a couple of times, and stalk a family walking back to their car to get their spot.

Once away from the parking lot and onto the trail my spirits lifted immediately. The sun felt glorious on my skin. I had not been hiking for a couple of months so it felt like I was coming home to what I love. Most hikers are a friendly lot and I enjoyed many pleasantries. I smiled in admiration (and with a little bit of longing for the old days) at all the trail runners passing by. I was pleasantly surprised by the manners of the mountain bikers.

The hike was challenging for me. My hip has been hurting recently and Saturday was no exception. I knew that hiking was actually good for my hip as well as my knee so a persisted at a slow but steady pace. It was well worth it. As I reached the two mile mark and paused at a scenic overlook my mind flashed back to my wall calendar which I had switched to February earlier that morning. The inspiring calendar quote for the month was “You Only Live Once!” “Yes, indeed.” I thought to myself and was filled with gratitude for the day.

I hope to have many more days like Saturday in my future, but I can not be guaranteed that will be the case. At 55 and almost 10 months there are more days behind me than ahead of me no matter how I do the math. When it comes to my life, this is it. How I plan my days, weeks, and months is of utmost importance. How I interact with the world around me and how I react to the unexpected twists and turns of the day needs to be approached with mindfulness.

As I drove home after my hike I pondered what having one life meant for me. How did I feel about my relationships with family and friends? What experiences did I still want to have? Do I feel as if I am contributing enough to the collective good of humanity? Do I take enough time to really enjoy each day? Am I grateful for every moment?

Sometimes I think that planning for this one life I can be extremely goal and experience driven. Certainly, I live in a time and place where I can dare to dream big. But what if that were suddenly taken away from me? Could I still say “Yes, I had one life and I lived it well?”

This month I will spend considerable time dreaming big. There are mountains to climb, friends and loved ones to spend time with, and one big vacation to Paris to take. I will also be savoring the time I spend driving to and from work, The time I spend cleaning my house. The time in the grocery store and all of the mundane things that make up our days. Because I know there will come a moment when I will wish for one more day just to experience all the little things that make up this life one more time.

I hope you enjoy your week whether you have a big adventure planed or spend quiet time at home. May your life be everything you every thing you ever hoped for, no matter how extravagant or simple. May it be filled with lots of love. And may every challenging mountain you climb reward you with a spectacular view!

As always, I would love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Laura

Celebrating My Home Anniversary

Today is January, 21st, 2019 and the three year anniversary of the day I moved into my current home. As good luck would have it, today we are observing Dr. Kings birthday here in the US, so I have the day off. So I get to spend some time appreciating my space while I wait for the furnace guy to come tune-up my furnace. Hey, I know how to celebrate. Ha ha.

Now, I know it is a little odd to celebrate on anniversary of the day you close on a home every year. I bet most people would be pretty hard pressed to come up with the closing date on their present home, or even care. But most of you who know me either in person or through the blog know the day I moved into my current home was a momentous day in my life. It represented so much more than a new home.

It represented coming fully into my own as a person and creating the life I wanted to live. It was the first home I chose to live in without outside influences affecting my decision. No landlords raising rents or changing pet policies. No income limitations putting me in homes I would not chose if it weren’t for the fact it was the only home I could afford. No life altering events changing my residence. Finally, being able let go of of what was in order to embrace what is and create what will be.

I remember the day in l late August 2016 I walked into a model condo open house and said “This is where I am going to live!” I wasn’t even looking for a new home. I stopped by on a whim. I remember the months of anticipation and driving by to see how the construction was coming along. I remember the bittersweet process of downsizing and letting go the things in my home that no longer served me or would not fit into my new place. Many of these things had been my mom’s and part of my life’s memories. I remember my friend, Tracey, taking time to help me clean, organize, and arrange for things to go to deserving homes, and being there the day I walked out of my old home and shutting the the door for the final time on 37 years of family history.

( For those of you who do not know, when my mom passed away in 2003, I bought her home. It was a practical step up from the home I was living in at the time and a safe place to heal after such an unexpected loss . I spent the next 12 years making the home mine. I loved it dearly but deep down I knew it was time to find a place that was truly mine an move on.)

Each place I have lived in my adult life has brought a wealth of friendships, memories, and life experiences I will always treasure. Oddly, I feel as if the best of each of my former homes exists here in my present home and my gratitude for each home and the time in my life they represent is immense.

I do not know how many years I will be in this home. Life changes, neighborhoods change, and I will continue grow older. This home represents who I am now. Strong into my 50’s heading into my 60’s in many ways the best and happiest I have ever been. Assuming life keeps this pace for awhile, I look forward to many more years in this home. If I find myself living somewhere new, I will always remember the joy, personal sense of accomplishment, and coming into my own the day I moved into this home. This home will always be special. A personal statement about who I am and how I see myself in this world.

As always, I would love to hear from you. How do you feel about your home? What memories do you have? What inspiration does it provide?

Until next time,

Laura