Five Years and Counting…

Recently, the five year anniversary of this blog came and went. I meant to celebrate it but somehow things got a little crazy in my life. Which has become the norm I think. I want to believe that things will settle down but I’m not even sure what that means.

Back to the anniversary, it was 5 years ago on February 13th when I published my first blog post. I remember feeling sick to my stomach as I clicked on the publish button. I’d been taking a class on blogging and I thought I was ready.

In retrospect, I’m not sure I was.

I had big plans for my blog then. I was publishing about 3 times a week and doing well. I was even planning things out. But, as usual, life got in the way.

As I look back on the past five years, I can barely fathom how much things have changed in my life. Things that I took for granted. Things that I never expected to change.

I lost my brother just over three years ago. I’ve discovered how much this leaves a hole in a person’s life. Grief is a strange thing and I find that it hits me at weird times, sometimes unexpectedly and sometimes not. Several of my posts that year were about the feelings of grief and loss.

For nearly all of my professional life, I worked at one place. A place I truly believed in with a cause I still believe in. But in the months after I first pushed publish, the place I’d come to know as a second home things changed dramatically. I struggled to wade through the many changes that happened and continue to happen, all the while remembering what it had been like earlier in my career. I kept blogging even though sometimes that life crept into my writing.

Changes continued to happen until change itself became unbearable. I’ve hinted at my own healing journey and someday I will share that story with you. But in order to move forward, I had to leave some things behind.

Humble lessons.

I’ve learned many lessons over the last five years. At times I’ve done well with sharing my life with my readers, and at others, not so much. I’ve promised changes on my blog and sometimes even delivered them. And in a lot of ways, I’ve failed both my readers and myself.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned is to simply not give up. Even when things are quiet and my muse is in the background waiting for her invitation, this blog has been on my mind. I have so many thoughts and ideas that I want to share and would be helpful. But all of the turmoil in the past several years had made that difficult.

I’m not offering any promises for the next five years. I know that things can and will change on my blog and with my writing life. Some of these things I will share with you, I guess that is one promise I will give. Sharing the stories of my life in the hope that someone will find hope in their words.

Thank you for coming on this journey with me.

Until next time,

First Lesson: Enough

10348274_10152171226492406_4622664639535940015_nThe word I chose for the year is Enough.

Enough has a lot of meanings:

Do I have enough?

Am I enough?

Do I have enough time?

The answers to those questions are Yes, Yes and No. There is never enough time for the life that you want.

The long holiday weekend gave me a hard kick as a reminder of the different meanings of the word enough.

A week ago, my husband and I visited with my brother who was in the hospital, mostly due to complications from a long-term illness. He was in good spirits and nearly his usual self. He was, however, very blunt.

He wanted to let us know that he wasn’t going to be with us for much longer.

This is not a truth I wanted to face though I understand that all life comes to an end.

We visited for a little while before heading out for our other plans. My intention was to visit him on the weekend.

He got out of the hospital the next day and seemed to be feeling better. I guess he was for a couple of days at least.

On New Year’s Eve, we got a call around 9:00 that he was being taken to the hospital and that it didn’t look good.

Not news I wanted to hear.

My husband drove and, as usual, faster than he was supposed to but we didn’t make it. The hospital staff rushed us back to the room where what family was with him, stood around crying. My brother was gone.

I could barely believe it. He was gone most likely when we got the phone call. It didn’t matter how fast we got there.

I’ve been lucky in my life and have lost few people. This one is going to be hard though not completely unexpected. As I wrote his obituary tonight, I realize just how lucky I am that my family has experienced few losses like this.

In looking for the meaning and messages this event has presented in my life, I am thinking about the word I’ve chosen for the year and how the lessons have begun very early.

I think one of the lessons for me is that time is something that is fleeting, and there will never be enough. I’m reminded that tomorrow isn’t promised to us. I never expected to spend New Year’s Eve in a hospital emergency room, though I did. We never know what the next moment will bring.

All we have is now.

Use it wisely.

Friday Five: Lessons Learned While Building

 If you look around, lessons can be learned in everything. No matter how old you get, there is always something to be learned.

My husband and I are building a place or me to write and it’s been an interesting experience. I’ve learned a lot about actually building and as I thought about it, life.

Here are some lessons:

1. Gather everything you need for before you begin – It took us two trips to the home improvement store to get the needed supplies.
2. Having a second pair of hands makes the work go faster – At times I didn’t know if I was holding up the process, or actually helping but we got a lot done. Not to mention, having an extra person for holding and fetching.
3. Have a plan – this probably goes along with number one. The better the plan, the fewer mistakes. As I am thinking about upcoming projects, having a plan also makes things more efficient.
4. Communication is key – My husband and I work pretty well together, but we still needed to have some clear understanding. Of course, it saves on arguments and hurt feelings.
5. Measure twice, cut once – I’m not sure where this adage comes from, but it is most definitely a good idea.

One thing I am finding very interesting is that lessons come in the most unexpected places and, perhaps, not necessarily welcome. I believe that lessons come when we need them most and can often be painful. However, these are the ones that stick with you the most.

What were some of your most unexpected lessons learned?