Finding Your Happy Place

“Find your place. Be happy with what you have. Treat everyone well. Live a good life. It isn’t about material things; it’s about love.”
― Vicki Myron y Bret Witter

A happy place doesn’t have to be a place. It can be a feeling, a thought, a state of mind. Sometimes it can be a walk in nature, or time taken to play with our kids. The only requirement is that it nourishes us and fills us up.

But we have a place. A physical location where we are able to relax, regroup, and rewind. A place where we don’t care about time or what’s for supper, we just are. We swim when we want, explore when we want, read when we want, and engage or not engage with everyone else that happens to be there – depending on how we feel at the moment.

We take a nap. Sit in the sun. Slide on the snow. Play games, drink, laugh, and work. And it’s understood that this is our place – that was created for us – and is our refuge and our shelter. Our parents created it, and our family sustains it.

It was an old building, hand-built in the 1960’s. Decorated with dibs and dabs of housewares, sentiments, photos and fabric. It grew with us. The ever-evolving old rocking chairs and furniture being replaced and repurposed. It contained the babies, the splashing kids, and the sulky teenagers who thought it would be more fun to be somewhere else. But it never was. This place welcomed you in – it wrapped the tall timber branches around your shoulders and let you know that you had a right to be here.

It is a honeymoon suite. It is a retreat. It is a place to gather and a place to be alone. It just is. No matter when you make the journey, it is there to welcome you and keep you warm. Unlocking the door and smelling the fresh scent of the water and woods brings you right back to the memories and feelings of love and belonging.

And although the strong, repurposed beams and boards are no longer there, it remains the same. The feelings, the joy, the peace is there. We are all a little older. The next generation of young people and babies are filling it now, cooking the food, doing the work, and creating the memories, but it still remains – ours, mine, yours – for all time.

~ Thank you for keeping the dream alive. It defines us.

Decoration Day Memories

Today we celebrate Memorial Day or as it used to be called, Decoration Day. This is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday is currently observed every year on the last Monday of May.

Growing up, it was the start of summer! We NEVER went swimming before Memorial day, and never after labor day. In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, it was just too cold. Heck, most likely, the ice just went out on our lake within the past 2 – 3 weeks.

In the week preceding Memorial Day, my mom and dad would make their annual visit to a local greenhouse and choose the green and flowering plants they would put in the “baskets” that would adorn the graves of our ancestors. This was a big deal where I lived, and once a week in the summer, we took a ride to the cemetery to water these baskets. They were long green containers that had legs, rectangular in shape, and dad would fill them with fresh dirt, and mom would plant geraniums and greens in them. Those were probably the heartiest plants that could survive a hot summer with only a weekly watering.

Since the danger of frost was not past yet if the evening was especially chilly, we’d have to be ready for a quick drive to cover up the baskets with a sheet – we didn’t want to risk losing our plants so early in the season.

Putting flowers on the graves of our loved ones was an important practice to the greatest generation. We would visit both sides of the families at the cemetery. It was a source of disrespect and shame to not have the gravesites properly ‘decorated’ by Memorial Day.

As a student growing up in the area, our school band participated in a parade to the cemeteries from the school each year. Dressed in our hot, scratchy, wool band uniforms complete with plumed hats, we did a slow march to the cemetery to the tune of a sad sounding funeral dirge. We then spent an hour in the hot sun listening to veterans speaking and paying our respect. Afterward, we had a picnic. The first of the season.

Memory is a funny thing  – we had to memorize the poem “In Flanders Fields” and to this day I still can recite the entire piece – and just picture the poppies lining the French countryside after WW1.

In Flanders Fields

BY JOHN MCCRAE

 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

 

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

 

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

 

So, take some time today to remember those who died for our freedom. We are the land of the free, home of the brave. I am grateful.

Nic’s “Normal” – a story of a regular guy…

Nic’s “Normal”

Nic has health care through his employer thankfully; however, like many Minnesotans, every year he has to reevaluate to see what plan will help him most. He has frequent doctor visits – once a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) patient, always a BMT patient.  He knows how critical having the best possible plan is for his budget.

This year his HSA changed, and although he is able to use this fund, his deductible is higher which was an unexpected additional burden. He recently had to go back on his immunosuppressant drugs – he has Graft versus Host disease and was experiencing a flare-up. $650 out of pocket just to get back on these meds. GVH flares are common after a Stem Cell Transplant, and he experiences things such as respiratory problems (he only has one lung and it is compromised) and issues with his eyesight, dry eyes and light sensitivity, among other things. Once back on these steroids, he struggles with weight gain, which in turn affects his diabetes.  The cycle of complications is ever compounding.

Nic is an amazing friend and volunteer. He serves on several steering committees at General Mills where he works, and donates his time during tax season do free Tax Preparation for low-income people.  Despite his own needs, he focuses on what he can do for others in need and seeks opportunities to pay it forward.  Too humble to ask for assistance, we as friends decided to ask on his behalf for assistance in purchasing a new bed that will better accommodate his health needs .

In the scheme of things, we are still so very grateful he is 7 years cancer-free! He is able to live a good life, go to work every day, and enjoy his family and friends. Finances are always an issue, but he deals well with it well and does what he can to make the very most of each day.  Join us in helping him have a restful, restorative night’s sleep, so he can achieve optimum health despite his circumstances.

Thank you for your kindness and generosity!

https://www.gofundme.com/a-need-for-nic

Daily Spark Art –

Good Morning! I have created a daily discipline to fuel my creative needs – Daily Spark Art! I HAVE to create – and what better way to share these creations than by donating 20% of the proceeds from each piece daily to Starfish Tribe! We are currently working on this project – https://www.gofundme.com/a-need-for-nic/donate

Helping a young man with medical needs get a new bed! So – here is my featured canvas for today! Just follow the link to purchase – you get a great piece of art for only $75 to keep or gift (great for graduations), and Nic gets a bed – win, win!!
https://www.etsy.com/…/522206577/congratulations-quote-dr-s…

 With love,