Faith

Today, our community mourns. Our hearts broken, our tears over flowing, our sadness and despair indescribable. Last night; a recent graduate from our high school, a good friend of my son and so many others, a young man who believed deeply in God, a brother and a son of an amazing family, died in a tragic car accident…

The questions run rampant in our brains. Why? Why him? Why that family? What kind of God allows this to happen??

There are no easy answers to this question. No reason, no explanation, no comfort to be found.

Some may say “it was his time”. Some may say “he’s been called home”. Some may say “God needed him more than we did”.

Faith.  Our faith is tested when tragedy happens. Our faith waivers in times of loss.

But faith is also knowing that even though there is no reason or answer, there is love. There is the love of our family, our friends, our community, our God. Love that will hold us up when we cannot stand. Love that will give us strength when we have none. Love that surrounds us and warms us when we are cold.  Love that heals…love that hopes….love that keeps our memories alive and our hearts tender…

And faith reminds us to love each other and cherish every moment we have with our loved ones.

May God bless and hold his family gently in His loving arms.

Rest in peace sweet Elijah.

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The Road to Recovery

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I was asked to speak at a meeting tonight.  To share my story:  my experience, my strength and my hope. But there was a mix up and I didn’t have to speak. All day long  the  story of my recovery has been bouncing around in my brain. All day long I thought of what I needed to say and what I wanted to share with my fellow recovering alcoholics.  But I didn’t get to share. And my brain is still bouncing…

So here is my story.

Once upon a time on a warm spring day in the year 1962..wait I don’t need to go back that far! However, there is a picture of me in my high chair, at the age of two, with a glass of champagne in front of me.  The look on my face is, well, blissful. I look at that picture from time to time and I wonder. Was that when it started? Did it trigger something in me, that then lay dormant for years? There are many theories on why an alcoholic becomes an alcoholic. Genetics…check! Feeling different, isolated, empty…check! Lack of self esteem….check!  But others surely have and feel those things. We don’t all become alcoholics. So it must be just the right blend of bad stuff that tips the scale.

It’s important for a recovering alcoholic to share their story. It’s helps us to remember. We can’t ever forget what it was like when we were drinking. Ever. I drank to fit in because I felt like a misfit. I drank because I was lonely and sad. I drank because it helped to turn the noise in my head off. I drank because I thought I was prettier, funnier, smarter, better when I was drunk. I drank because I hated the person I saw in the mirror. I drank to fill the gaping hole inside of me. Finally, I just drank to get drunk.

But then one day, it stopped working. There wasn’t enough alcohol in the world to make me feel better.  And I was sick. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  Everything hurt. Then I remembered a place. A place where a friend went to get sober. And I called them.

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Maple Leaf Farm, Underhill VT

As I pulled in, I saw a sign. In huge letters above one of the buildings it said “You Are No Longer Alone”.  And I wasn’t. I spent 3 days in detox and the next 27 days, never feeling alone.

it was the beginning of my road to recovery.  It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t always pretty or perfect. It was messy and scary and overwhelming at times. But once I took that first step and admitted that I was powerless over alcohol, I started the journey of sobriety.

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I love being sober. I love waking up to each new day. I love my life and who I have become and am becoming. A work in progress. And I am grateful. Everyday I am grateful no matter what is happening in my life. There is always something to be grateful for!

I recently celebrated 20 years! I have been sober longer than I drank. And I am not alone.

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God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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Wind Therapy

I’m not sure when I started using the term “wind therapy” to mean going for a motorcycle ride.  But it says it all. There is nothing quite like a little wind therapy to soothe your soul and awaken your senses.

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My love for riding began over twenty years ago when I first rode on the back of a 1988 Sportster. The pipes were loud, the vibrations strong and the wind howled. The smile never left my face. Since then I have ridden thousands of miles. I even got my motorcycle license when I turned 50…just in case. But this is one area in my life where I prefer being the passenger.

They say that 4 wheels move the body, but 2 wheels move the soul. My parents think it’s crazy. My teacher friends think I’m a bit strange. But my biker friends….they understand. We even have our own special wave as we pass each other on the road. There is a look and a happy smile shared as we go by.

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Perhaps it’s the freedom. The open road and the world rushing by. Or maybe it’s the fear and excitement and pure joy all blended together. All I know is that for me, I need it. Just as I need air and water and food and sunshine. I need my wind therapy. It’s an essential part of who I am.

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It truly is about the journey on a motorcycle. It’s about experiencing the world with all your senses heightened. It’s about feeling at peace. Because for those moments in time, all is well. You are truly in the present. There are no worries or stresses. Your mind, your heart, your soul is fully engaged with the here and now. And the wanderlust is sated…

It’s about feeling alive. Fully and completely alive. I truly live to ride and ride to live. And I’m am so grateful that 20 years ago, I began this love affair….with riding.

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Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
― Hunter S. Thompson

Signs Along the Way

Stop, slow, sharp curve, yield, steep grade, work zone, speed limit 25, 35, 40, 50, 65…

These signs are everywhere. They are good signs. We need to know these things as we navigate down the road or highway. We need these signs as we navigate through life as well.

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Although in life, they are not as apparent. Stop! Don’t do that…you might get hurt or disappointed! Slow down! Relax, smell the roses and appreciate what you have.  Yield! Give a little of yourself, it’s not always about you. Work zone! It might be time for a little reflection and inner healing.

I have this thing about signs.  I try to always be on the lookout. Is this the best direction to go in? What will happen if I do that?  Will it take me where I need or want to go?  What should I do?

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I collect signs. No I don’t steal them,  although there is a Tracy Lane sign I would love to nab someday!

I mean signs. Signs that mean something. Signs along the road of life.  Words that inspire me or reflect who I am and who I want to grow up and be.  Signs that remind me of what’s truly important in life. You can’t find these signs on the side of the road.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could?

Wanderlust

As I begin this new journey, I thought I should define for myself what the word wanderlust means.. I have used it many times, in many contexts and situations. I have felt it, deep in my heart. And I have experienced it, which only strengthens my need for it. What is it? This wanderlust that is in my soul…

It is a noun. It literally, according to Wikipedia, means an ache for distant places. A craving to travel, a yearning to explore.

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For me, it isn’t necessarily distant places. I can travel a short distance and fulfill my desire for wanderlust.I am surrounded by beauty and inspiration where I live. Or I can easily find it within driving distance. Some of my most amazing adventures and discoveries have been in my own backyard. Would I love to travel to faraway places? Of course! But being a single mother with a teacher’s salary hasn’t allowed me that luxury. I do have dreams though and hope to one day follow those dreams…wherever they may take me.

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Somewhere, along the way, I learned that the journey was just as wonderful and enjoyable as the destination. The travel there and back. The road, the path, the trail that takes you where you are going. It is the essence of traveling and of life as well. After all life is a journey.

Last year we drove to Niagara Falls. It was a journey of 1,000 miles round trip. Sometimes journeys are long. Some people sleep, read, listen to music, talk, look at the scenery. I do all those things. I also stop frequently.  Niagara Falls is Wow!!! But so is the road there.

Robert Frost

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Like Robert Frost…I like to take the road less traveled. You never know what you might find along the way.

Just a few roads I’ve traveled so far…

Of course all these roads and paths are simply metaphors for life. They are the choices that we make and the direction we decide to go. At different stages in our lives we are faced with new paths and new directions. I am in a new stage.  My only son leaves for college in the fall. A new road for me…and like all the roads I’ve traveled so far, it will be a journey. So I begin this journey by writing and taking photographs, exploring and discovering.

The Road Less Traveled

I decided to write. To write about my journeys down all kinds of roads. Roads that take me to some of the most beautiful places. Where I lose myself and find myself at the same time. My photographs never quite do justice to what I see and feel…. But they remind me that I took that road. Image