A Year of Living INTENTIONALLY! – Dec. 31, 2017

A Year of Living INTENTIONALLY – Dec. 31, 2017

My New Year’s Resolution for 2017 was to live INTENTIONALLY. I can honestly say, I lived ABUNDANTLY too! When I look back on my year, I am amazed. I would assume many people tried new things this past year, socialized with good friends and went places they did not expect to go. But, for me, I kept this blog to capture my year. Now as I look back, I can see the things I tried that I had never done before, the many people I chose to spend my days with and the places I never expected to go…both physically and emotionally!

I kicked off the year, blessing a waitress with a $100 tip (12/31/16)! It was the perfect way to kick off this wonderful year. Although I intended this year to give more than to receive, I found I “received” a lot!! From that first tip at Penny’s Diner,  the experiences were both large and small for me. I worked out for 6 days in a row (1/6) (So proud of myself!) then I stopped (oh, well!), cleared out junk (2/11), fed the homeless guy in Bridgeport (11/15), and gave out Halloween candy in my new home while I reminisced of the days I now miss (10/31).

At school, we invited Rapper FNX (2/2) to school to share his thoughts on making an impact on others, I marched in my first St. Patty’s Day parade with 100 8th graders and my grandson (3/17), I took back to back field trips in June (6/12 and 6/13) and took a student and her mom horseback riding (6/27) to celebrate a “job well done”!

With friends, I wore Beautycounter Masks (4/30), packed 10,000 meals for the hungry in Burkina Faso (2/26) and I still don’t even know where that is!, attended a Catholic Leaders’ Conference (3/5), found Barbara and Mark’s lost children in the woods (5/27), and I ate a stranger’s french fries at Citifield (5/19)! Although I still have never “crashed a party”, our book club party at Pam’s house was crashed by the Optimum Man. Poor “DAN” will never be the same (5/9)!

I visited many places that I said I would go to “SOMEDAY”. Whether it was with one friend, or with many, I took in the new experiences with a wide open heart and an intentional purpose. Throughout the year I visited Lourdes in Litchfield with Lisa, Barb and Liz (12/8), Harlem Valley Rail Trail with Vinnie (11/24), The Fascia’s Chocolate Factory with Vinnie, Christine and Jia (1/13), Firefly Hollow Brewing Company with Vinnie (3/4), The Hot Spot Glass Blowing Company with Sharon, her sister-in-law, and Kali (4/1), The Botanical Gardens in NYC with my sisters, my Aunt Pat, and cousins (6/10), Litchfield Blueberry Farms (alone and so peaceful!)(7/9), The Big E with Vinnie (9?30), Hawk Ridge Winery with Wendy, Willy, Vinnie, Mark and Barbara (10/22) and the Viking/Panther Game in NC with Vinnie and Vincent (12/10). And…for the first time in my life, I golfed!! I golfed in Ireland at the Spanish Point Golf Club overlooking the ocean to celebrate Liz’s 50th birthday with 28 wonderful people. As her brother-in law spread the ashes of her Dad, Donald F. Reid, I realized that this was a moment in time I will cherish forever (11/10)!

During the winter and spring of 2017, I drove a Wave Runner around Key West with Vinnie (3/31), went to sunrise service on Easter morning with Clyna for the 15th year in a row (or so!) (4/16), went to see Hairspray, Jr. at West Rocks Middle School with Liz (1/20), and made homemade pasta for the first time with my brother, Dan (2/15)!

The Bridgewater Fair (8/20), The Milford Oysterfest (8/19), the Peach Lounge to hear Tangled Vine (11/28), and then the Indigo Girls (4/26) were events that I did with great friends that I may do again someday, but if I don’t that is OK. Once could have been enough!

This year caused me to pause and reflect a lot about where my life is, where it has been, and where it is going. I listened a little more intently in church to the readings (7/8), with Nancy, we brought cookies to the Broad River Fire Department as a long and overdue Thank You to the men who carried my mother-in-law to a place she’d be comfortable…two years earlier (4/12)! I pondered what lay ahead in the future while Vinnie and I walked old railroad tracks (10/7), and spent time in NYC having pizza with Leslie, Lisa, Liz and Kevin (9/12). In July,  I had emotional roller coaster week (7/17-7/23) as I learned I was a kidney transplant match for my friend, Mark Hollis. The surgery through Yale Transplant Center (7/25) was probably one of the coolest things I have ever done for someone else! Mark and I are literally connected for life!

I had the incredible moment of going to the Greenwich Library to see our home in the local debut of the Alex Morsanutto’s movie Hi-Glo Retro (6/4)! I had poignant moments such as our last Bacon, Egg and Cheese breakfast with my Stephanie, Anthony, Melissa and Vinnie as we said good bye to our big, red home on West Rocks Road (8/12). And proud moments at the grand opening at MKT in Norwalk taking pictures of Melissa and her artwork throughout the restaurant (4/3).  And, finally, I enjoyed a peaceful ending to a busy year walking the beach of Hilton Head, SC on Christmas Day with Vinnie, Mom, and Dad (waiting for us on the boardwalk!) (12/25)

There are so many special moments with people I love and things I “always wanted to do”. I also recognize that I did not do many of the items on my “potential TO DO List” that I started off the year intending to do. So, many people have asked me what my “2018 New Year’s Resolution” will be. I have thought long and hard, and I think I am going to continue this one! I have truly loved doing things I have never done before…..so I am going to do it again!

I have to be honest. It is now Jan. 7, and week one of 2018 has gone by with two snow says and it is literally 2 degrees outside, but Vinnie and I have spent the week getting our paperwork together to submit to a mortgage broker in South Carolina. Our closing on our new home will be in February (fingers crossed!)….YES, I think 2018 is going to be a great year!

 

 

 

Advertisements

CHRISTMAS DAY…. Monday, Dec. 25, 2017 – Oh Christmas Tree!

CHRISTMAS DAY…. Monday, Dec. 25, 2017 – Oh Christmas Tree!

This year, Christmas was different. We had sold our house, Vincent wasn’t coming home for a second year, and, back in the summer, mom and dad had said they were “done with CT at Christmas time”. Of course, they were not quite “done” and they came for an early Christmas from Dec. 12 – 19th, but by then Vinnie and I had decided to spend Christmas in South Carolina! We drove down on the 23rd. Vincent met us at Mom and Dad’s for a couple of days and I announced that since I was in South Carolina for Christmas, I would have to spend it walking the beach at Hilton Head.

On Dec. 24th, Vincent was the only one who opened gifts on Christmas Eve morning at the breakfast table. That was different! Mom, Dad, Vinnie, Vincent, and I went to 4pm Mass on Christmas Eve in a local high school gymnasium. That was different! The priest saying mass was a visiting missionary priest who has spent most of his life in Africa. After the mass, I bought a set of beautiful beaded rosary beads hand-made by African women. That was different!  And then Vincent left by 7am on Christmas morning for  his 5 hour drive back to North Carolina since he had to work at 2pm. Mom, Dad, Vinnie and I had a quiet Christmas Day to look ahead to. That was very different!

So, on Christmas morning, the four of us got in the car and drove to Hilton Head. Three of us would walk the ocean beach for a couple of hours while one of us would spend that time reading a book while sharing a swinging park bench with a Korean lady (Guess who that was!)

About 20 minutes into our walk, we found our Christmas Tree!  Oh Christmas Tree!! As it lay flat out at the ocean’s edge, the palm leaves floated in the waves that came and went. Its roots and entire trunk stretched across the sandy shore. Perhaps a hundred or more people had stepped over it on that beautiful Christmas morning.

As we walked, it was simply amazing to me that the beach was filled with hundreds of people. These people passed us by on bikes or on foot saying “Merry Christmas” to us and to each other. There was a light, cheeriness in each interaction. Some people were throwing balls to running dogs or chasing children who were chasing seagulls. Others traced words in the wet sand with long sticks, while others tip-toed across the low tide to walk along the sandbar. The sunlight created a blinding shimmering light that seemed to stretch out for miles to the horizon.

My thoughts were pretty simple. I wished everyone I loved was with us walking along that beach to enjoy the stress-free nature that surrounded us. The ocean coming and going, just like the people, and just like the previous 365 days since Christmas of 2016. Vinnie and I acknowledged the fact that this  year, Christmas of 2017 was indeed different, not bad yet, not necessarily better; just simply different.

And in that difference, we found it was also intentionally peaceful.

Wishing everyone a peaceful and happy and healthy 2018!

 

Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017 – Vikings vs. Panthers!

Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017 – Vikings vs. Panthers!

Ok, Let’s get it out in the open….VIKINGS LOST!! The only Vikings game I have ever gone to, and they lost. However, it was so  much fun!!!

Vinnie and I had never seen where Vincent lives in Greensboro, NC, so we took the opportunity to go see him and catch the game in Charlotte. At one point they tied it up, but lost at the end. It was very exciting…and there was a ton of purple in the crowd!

I have to say, though, if I had to switch teams, I could be convinced to be a Panther fan. The crowd was fun, the music was non-stop, the beer was cold, and we had a great tailgate time at the DOG HOUSE bar across the street from the stadium before the game.

After the game, we caught up with a Norwalk guy, Tommy, who is friends with Steph and Anthony and had a beer with him before heading back to Greensboro. It seemed almost surreal to be standing in a bar in Charlotte after a Vikings game  with Vinnie and Vincent with a guy from Norwalk who we didn’t expect to see. A lot of fun!

This town clearly has a special energy when their hometown team plays!

As we walked back to our rental car in the parking lot just beyond the stadium, the sun was setting. The skyline was a soft orange glow with darker clouds just above the horizon. The lights around the Bank of America Stadium lit up with Red, White and Blue colors. The local neon signs brought in greens, oranges, and yellows on every corner. The air had a left over smell of the snow that had fallen the day before. And I counted my blessings.

  1. I was with Vinnie and Vincent.
  2. Together, we experienced my first Vikings game (they had been before).
  3. My youngest son, who we prayed so hard at birth that he would stay alive on this planet, walked beside me chatting with Vinnie about the game. He had grown into a fine and good young man who has made his way into this grown up world, hundreds of miles away from me.
  4. The three of us talked about our bucket list item of making a full family trip with everyone to the Viking Stadium in Minnesota in the near future! Maybe a future Christmas gift to all!!
  5. Yes, the Vikings lost the Vikings/Panthers game….but I have truly won with so many blessings in this game of life!

Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 – Lourdes in Litchfield!

Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 – Lourdes in Litchfield!

The Immaculate Conception has a whole new meaning for me. Of course, I knew Mary was born without sin…part of the big plan for our Faith Journey!  HOWEVER, it also means that it is a day off of school when you work in a Catholic School!

Only twenty minutes from my new home is Lourdes in Litchfield! I have been past it probabably fifty times and every time I go by, I say, “I am going to go there someday”. It is a beautiful grotto-style shrine in honor of Mary! There seemed to be no better day to go to the SHRINE in Litchfield, CT than Dec. 8, 2017.

So, after an open invitation to several folks, 3 friends took me up on the offer and joined me for Mass at the shrine. Mass is said in the grotto at 10:30 every morning, but this morning was cold so Mass was said in a cute little chapel next to the grotto. Before Mass, Barb and I took a quick walk up the hill to see the Stations of the Cross while Lisa and Liz waited below. We all agreed we will have to come back in the Spring for Mass outside in the middle of the gorgeous hills of Litchfield County!

After Mass, we did a little Christmas shopping in the gift store. It was fabulous!! Next year, I might do most of my shopping there!! VERY SWEET!!

Feel free to check out the website….it is such a pretty little corner of this great world! http://www.shrinect.org.

Barb had to leave right after our little shopping spree, but Lisa, Liz and I had the whole day free…so why not stop at the Hawk Ridge Winery? We thought it was a perfect idea…after all that’s what Jesus would have done on a day off, after Mass, with his friends!!

 

Saturday, Nov. 24, 2017 – Harlem Valley Rail Trail

Saturday, Nov. 24, 2017 – Harlem Valley Rail Trail

WOW!! What a gorgeous day! November 24th in Connecticut and almost 60 degrees!

Now that we live in Litchfield County, I take a new route to Aunt Ann’s in the Catskills. Up through Torrington and into Middleton, NY and to route 199 to Route 145 and then route 23 is my new, windy road to Ann’s!

After a lovely Thanksgiving Day, I took her home and then headed back on that Saturday. It was probably the 5th or 6th time I have driven past the little sign that says “Harlem Valley Rail Trail” in the cute little town of Middleton, NY.  It is located just over the Connecticut border near Canaan, CT.  When I got home, I asked Vinnie to drive back an hour so we could walk the Rail Trail. Of course, he said yes…it was too beautiful to do nothing. The day was a gift!

The trail was beautiful; exactly what I expected and wanted! Sixteen miles (or so) of paved-over rail road tracks with another 10 miles of unfinished plans to go according to their website! The rail trail wandered past houses and fields and meandered over streams and alongside country roads. People walked, rode bikes and roller bladed past us. The trees stretched over us and we walked through stretches of pavement that cut through solid rock. The railroad track path was laid straight over streams and roads without a hint of an incline. It was the perfect day for a walk. I wondered how many people had traveled over so many years on this route from Hillsdale to Amenia, NY.

We walked for an hour and a half towards Amenia and then back again. Our final destination was the diner in the center of town. My BLT and Vinnie’s burger was the perfect ending to the day.

This walk was like an exclamation point for the feeling of Thanksgiving on a weekend full of family and love. So much to be grateful and thankful for. And extra thankful for finding this perfect place to walk on a perfect Saturday with Vinnie.

Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017 – Homeless and Hungry

Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017 – Homeless and Hungry

I am not sure what intervened today to make me say YES and hand my three clementines and a banana out my car window. I have never done this before!

I don’t know if it was because I was feeling so blessed to have just been able to take an amazing trip with friends and family in Ireland. Or maybe because Thanksgiving was just around the corner? Or maybe it was because I was on my way to a Principals’ Meeting at the Catholic Center so my Irish Catholic guilt meter was set pretty high? Or maybe because he looked like he could have been my own son wearing a knitted cap and carrying the sign “Homeless and Hungry”? Or maybe it was the Holy Spirit that nudged me? Or maybe it was a reflection of a line in a song called “Jesus in Disguise”? I really don’t know what triggered my response of rolling down the window and handing him out my lunch, but I am glad I did it.

I had never come off of exit 5  of Route 8 before and I had certainly never seen him before (I think!). But in this year of living more intentionally, the young man has stayed in my mind.

In the past, I have gone on numerous trips to feed the hungry in NYC through our church’s Midnight Run with Kali. Prior to going, we always have prayed to not judge and simply serve. That seemed respectful and right, but in my car alone, I have never seemed to have that same attitude.

I wonder now how many hungry men (or women) I have pulled up alongside at the end of an exit ramp and made no eye contact with. Perhaps I fiddled with my radio at that moment or maybe I double checked my calendar on the passenger seat. I probably have a whole list of ways I “didn’t look at him”. In my mind, I probably rattled through a list of judgement statements as well in the past…..He must be a drug addict! He will probably spend any money I give him on alcohol! Why doesn’t he just go get a job? How did he find a marker and cardboard if he is homeless? I can never find a working marker in my house!!

Today, no judging statement came to my mind, just the clear thought of “give him your lunch”.

I will never be sure that he didn’t “resell the food for money for alcohol and drugs”, or that he was ever truly physically hungry. But I do know, for that split second, I did look him in the eye and reach out my window with an open hand to him, and a human connection was made. I did what I know felt right. I do know that because of my tiny intentional act, someone’s 25 or 26 year old son had something to eat for lunch that day regardless of whether or not he was truly hungry and maybe he would have preferred drugs and/or alcohol for lunch. That didn’t matter. I knew that he had at least three clementines and a banana for lunch if he wanted them. And as I pulled away, I had a momentary thought.  God knows that if it were my son,  I prayed that someone would reach out their window, connect for a red-light second and feed my own son.

I was reminded in that small moment, that we are always the hands and feet of Christ here on earth for each other and that we are our brothers’ keepers.

Friday, November 10, 2017 – If you are going to try to golf….It might as well be in Ireland!

Friday, November 10, 2017 – If you are going to try to golf….It might as well be in Ireland!

Back in April 2017, my friend, Liz, invited about 30 friends and family to go to Ireland for her 50th birthday! What a blessing that I was one of them. She had been talking about it for about a year or so, and had been working with a few people in Ireland to put together a fantasy vacation for all of us. Of course, Vinnie and I said YES!! And so did 26 others!

As the date of Nov. 3 came closer, update emails from Liz came. She let us know where and when we would be landing. She let us know who would be picking us up, taking us to the first hotel in Dublin, and about dinner and a show that first night there!

Once we were there, Liz let us know about the Hop On Hop Off bus, Trinity College Tours,  and the tours her sister had arranged for at the Guinness Factory (Absolutely amazing!) She let us know what time to meet for the bus that would take us to Ennis for the next 5 days. She let us know that the driver would take us past a famous castle and to Blarney Castle to kiss the stone!

That evening, once we were in Ennis, we all met in the pub at the Temple Hotel to talk about the many options of things to do and see from there.  Leslie, Scott, Lisa, Rich, and Vinnie and I were set on visiting mom’s childhood town of Glin located on the other side of the Shannon River. We hired a driver and off we went. We took the ferry across and drove on winding roads. In Glin, we visited her church, saw a few side streets, took pictures of the castle from a distance away and then stopped at a pub and met a  few guys who knew connections to my mom a generation or two back! With mom on the phone we pieced together a few of those connections and then off we went to Julia Adams’ home. She and her daughter filled our hearts and bellies with hospitality in a moment’s notice. What a beautiful afternoon we had with Julia, her daughter, and two sons. I was so grateful that it was only Tuesday and and we had accomplished the visit to Glin!

On Wednesday came the Cliffs of Moher! Why this place is not on the list of Natural Wonders is beyond me! Absolutely gorgeous until the fog rolled in and the cliffs disappeared. It didn’t matter to us though, we were on our way to Gus O’Connor’s pub in Doolin! Liz’s fantasy retirement spot…..and a place with great food, beautiful people and a pub full of Liz’s friends and family for her birthday……and a surprise cake!!!!

By Thursday, it was time to shop and enjoy Ennis. Some of us decided to shop while others decided to get tatoos!! Leslie and I got the Celtic symbol of Love (trinity and heart) as “sister tatoos”….Lisa bought the Celtic trinity necklace for her symbol of Love for us!!  Kind of a special time for all of us to be in Ireland together!

Friday had arrived and Liz had the list of folks who had said YES to Golf vs. Shopping in Galway! The two groups boarded two separate buses and headed out in two different directions. I was on the first list. After all, if you are going to play golf for the first time in your life, you might as well play it in Ireland with people you love!

Our bus pulled up and we figured out the club situation.  Three foursomes approached the first hole and we tossed around the jokes about “addressing the ball” and the rules for playing “best ball”. That is when Jim surprised Liz with a “gift” that brought us to tears. Jim had brought some of Liz’s Dad’s ashes to be spread onto the golf course in Ireland as we overlooked the ocean. Of all the people in Liz’s world who were laughing, drinking, and enjoying the week in Ireland,  the one who was so obviously missing was her Dad; Liz’s silent and ever-present companion. Jim’s moment of raising his arm and releasing the ashes into the breeze reminded us all that Don Reid’s spirit was very present on this trip. It was such an emotional moment of tears and love to kick off the golf outing. I felt so blessed to be a part of that very special moment in time. I was so happy I said YES to golf instead of shopping in Galway. Galway will be there should I every go back to shop, but in reality Don Reid, and Liz’s love for him, will also always be present on that golf course in Ireland.

My first golf outing was so special for so many love-filled reasons!

Thank you, Liz….for inviting us all to your party in Ireland. I would have never wanted to have missed it!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 – My First Halloween at the Lake

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 – My First Halloween at the Lake

I don’t really know if I love Halloween, but I know I love Twix bars, M&Ms, Milky Ways, and 100,000 Grand Bars!

I don’t particularly love dressing up for Halloween, but I know I loved watching the little Cinderella’s, Belle’s, and Snow Whites tiptoe to my door. I loved watching “Jesus” approach my door and he made me smile as he said, “Everyone could use a little Jesus”. I had to agree with him as I handed him a Snickers and bag of Skittles. When the “referee carrying a white stick” inched to my steps as a “bind ref”, I had to laugh again.

This was the first time EVER, at 54 years of age, that I was home handing out candy to the children out trick-or-treating! As I stood alone at my front door, I watched with excitement as children of all ages (with and without their parents)  approached, took a candy, and said “thank you”. I smiled to each of them, recognizing the fact that my role on this night had somehow shifted. I wasn’t sure how that shift had happened, but it did. I was sure when it happened, but it did.  I began to recognize that I was experiencing a nostalgic emotion that felt a bit heavy somewhere deep inside me.

I was having a fun time with the kids who came to me. They were all so cute. I was doing OK until the mom with a dragon in her stroller made her way across my yard. Her princess and army man were carrying their pumpkin baskets alongside the stroller, and her football player, who was collecting candy in his helmet, was leading the way. That is when my eyes filled and I couldn’t look at the kids’ faces while I handed them a piece of candy. I got so weepy! An emotional floodgate was about to burst.

For those few minutes, my eyes blurred and I got choked up as I heard the mom say, “Take only one and what do you say to the lady?” and the little princess said, “Thank you!” and turned away with anticipation of the next house.

I texted Kali to ask her is she was having an “emotional Halloween”. I was relieved when she wrote back three simple words, “I’m so weepy!” We exchanged texts reminiscing the many Halloweens we shared together…Ralph and I taking the kids around the neighborhood, as Vinnie and Kali handed out candy at our houses, and then all ending up at Kali’s for cake to celebrate her Dad’s birthday, as she had done for years as a child. And here we both were, in what seemed like a blink of an eye,  in two different towns and our children grown and gone, handing out candy to the little ones whose parents would never realize how fast those Halloween nights would go by.

By 8:15pm, I was emotionally spent and physically tired. So Vinnie and I poured a cocktail, turned off the house lights,  and strolled down to Colleen’s fire pit. A new neighbor, a new routine for Halloween night, and yet the same crisp October air that conjures up the emotions of good times that are forever tucked away in my mind and heart.

Walking to Colleen’s and passing the few straggling trick-or-treaters, I had to admit to myself that maybe, just maybe, I actually do like Halloween more than I ever realized before.

Sunday, October, 22, 2017 Hawk Ridge Winery, Watertown, CT.

Sunday, October, 22, 2017 Hawk Ridge Winery, Watertown, CT.

About 5 years ago, my New Year’s Resolution was to visit every winery in CT. At that time, there were 30. So every weekend or so, a friend or two would join me and off we would go to a winery or two or three!  We would do a  flight of samples and then a glass of our favorites! THEN, I bought a bottle from each winery and tucked it away safely at home. In January, once the year was complete, I had a wine tasting of those 30 bottles at my home. I only invited the people who came with me on one of the tours and their spouses. It was a blast!!

So, when Wendy D. called me to tell me about a new winery not far from our lake house and the fact that her friend would be singing and playing the guitar, it only took a second to say YES!

Twenty minutes after leaving our home, we had driven through Watertown to a little side road that looked like a long driveway. At the end of the driveway was a 20 year old parking attendant who pointed us to the right. We parked our car near the big wooden , barn-looking structure and a huge white tent. Hawk Ridge Winery in Watertown, CT was gorgeous!!! On that Sunday afternoon, the outdoor music was under the tent, the views were spectacular and the wine was pretty tasty!! I liked a white one called SKY HIGH WHITE!  Very light and just right!

Because they just opened in June, I had never heard of it, but you can be sure …..I will go back!!

As I pulled out of the driveway, my mind jumped ahead. I am sure that view will only be better as the snow trickles down outside the big glass windows, a fire burns slowly inside, and we gather a table in the corner with a spectacular view sipping a little wine, blessed, again, to be with great friends!

Saturday, October 7, 2017 – The Facts of Life vs. The Tracks of Life

Saturday, October 7, 2017 – The Facts of Life vs. The Tracks of Life

The FACTS of life are plenty. Some are well known and some maybe not be so well known. You are born, you live, you work, you  pay taxes and you die. These are facts that are generally agreed upon. But the specific facts that we know  as “facts” have had a myriad of influences along the way, in the making of those “facts”.  You were born on a specific, factual,  date (that may or may not have been your “due date”), you live (any number of life circumstances have gotten you to a certain and specific, factual, address), you work somewhere based on your interests, talents, and location, you pay taxes (the amount is specific and factual based on your income and location), and you die (I believe that that factual date is unknown to you, but your Maker knows exactly when that date is!)…..and that date becomes a fact!!

However, as Vinnie and I walked along the Train Tracks  in Plymouth, CT (still not sure if they are active tracks or not – and neither did the police officer we asked!!) on Saturday, Oct. 7 – almost two weeks after selling our house (FACT!!) we talked about the FACTS of our lives as we know them and talked about the TRACKS of our lives that we don’t know yet. The FACTS grounded us in our past, but it will be the TRACKS that will lead us into the future.

With the sunlight coming through the color-changing trees, the tracks were sunny in some spots and shady in others. The visual beauty in front of us,  kind of reflected our conversation. Some things in our future are “brighter” or “clearer”, while other things are “shaded” still. We know we are going South (FACT), but we don’t know when (on the future TRACKS). We know we still have bills to pay (FACT) and our big house is sold (FACT), but we don’t know where our next home will be and what it will cost to live there (on the TRACKS).  We know where we live and work and who are friends are right now (FACT), but where we live in the future, if we work in the future, who our new friends will be  – as we  keep the “old” ones……all of these things are out there on our tracks of life somewhere!!

The tracks we walked seemed to disappear around a corner until we got close enough, then they teased us again by disappearing around another  bend. Logically, intellectually, we knew the tracks were there, we just couldn’t see where they led us until we got a little closer. They would reveal another little stretch and then tuck away from our view once again. It is how we have lived our lives for the past two and a half years. (OR probably it is how we all live our lives every year!).

We lived in statements of “WHEN the house sells, then we will ______.”. “Once we know what the house sells for, we will ____________.”, “When then new buyers finally sign, we will be able to ____________.” All of our “blanks” were filled in, as if we really knew what we would do, but here we were walking down the train tracks, with the house sold, knowing what it sold for, and with new buyers living in it, and we have new and real “blanks” to fill in. The future tracks of our lives seemed to literally be tracing the train tracks that slipped around the corner until another little bend is revealed and walked.

The FACTS of life are, in fact, the facts. However, it is the TRACKS of life that make up the journey of life. They seem to create the FACTS of life as we journey down them. As we walked for that hour and a half stepping from one railroad tie to another, stepping over the stones that could trip us, and listening carefully for any ringing of the tracks that would indicate a train coming, it was obvious to us that we were grateful for the tracks we have been journeying together on and excited to see what is waiting for us just around the shaded and twisted bend!