My Return

It has been quite a while since I posted on either of my blogs. I thought I should probably give an explanation as I start writing once again. Over the last few months we have had the great pleasure of hosting some family and friends in our home. These times have been filled with joy, laughter, food, swimming, and exploring our city as much as the restrictions of the virus have allowed. For me, it has been a time of great happiness.

The visitors began with a visit from my oldest son, his female friend, and their two dogs. They traveled across the southern states to arrive at our home a bit worn out and definitely ready to get out of the car. I also had the privilege of meeting a new grand-puppy and seeing once again the other grand-puppy which they had on their last visit. We spent a nice amount of time in our pool. One of the dogs enjoyed swimming with us but the other one did not find the water inviting in any way. My son even cooked an outstanding meal for us on the grill one night. Many of the places which I would have taken them were closed due to the virus, but we still explored a lot of the city, and they were able to see some of what makes the metro area so wonderful. They were able to spend ten days with us before heading back home to Florida.

After my oldest son left, I thought we would not be hosting anyone for a little over a month. Much to my surprise, my youngest son and his girlfriend showed up at our door the Friday before Father’s Day. He had worked out the surprise with my husband and I guess had been planning this all for a few weeks. Once again, we had a great time enjoying the pool and seeing sites around the city. At this point, some places we wanted to see had opened up with restrictions, including Six Flags Over Texas. We were able to also go visit the National Soccer Museum which pleased my son who had been active in soccer throughout his childhood and high school career. It was another enjoyable week and like with my other son, I was sad to see them leave.

The day after my youngest left, I picked up a friend at the airport. He is the son of one of my very close high school friends and wanted to get out of Iowa. We had been talking about his visit for a few months, so I was excited to greet him at baggage claim. Throughout his ten days with us, we had wonderful talks while spending time in the pool. He is going to school in hospitality management, so we went to see one of the premier hotel and convention centers in the metro area. I was amazed at how it looked and all the amenities available for someone who was staying there. It even had a huge fountain which I truly enjoyed. His background also included working for an airline for a period, so he loves airplanes. We went to the Pioneers of Flight Museum located at Love Field. The collection is not a huge one but seeing the planes throughout history, even including space flight, was a lot of fun. On his last night with us, we went out to one of our favorite restaurants where they bring endless amounts of food and meat to your table. Again, I was sad when I took him to the airport and sent him back up north.

As you can tell, I have spent a large amount of my summer spending time with some wonderful family and friends. I have enjoyed showing them the city which we now call home. My time in the pool has grown tremendously. The conversations and sharing of ideas has truly enriched me. However, I have not been able to find a lot of time to sit and write. My limited writing time led me to not post over the last couple of months. Now I am back though, so I hope you will continue to read my blogs. You can expect a couple of posts a week. As always, I enjoy your comments and input.

Finding the Gold Nuggets

Life has definitely been different since Covid-19 has entered our world. Adjustments have been numerous and concerns for the well-being of one another have multiplied. It can be very easy to become discouraged and negative. However, all is not doom and gloom with the impact of Covid-19. We have discovered new ways of occupying our time. We have seen a positive impact on creation as once hazy skies have given way to clear skies which provide beautiful views which we had lost. We have been given more time to be with family and those whom we love. This last benefit is exactly what I write about this morning.

My oldest son who lives in Orlando had the misfortune of being laid off from his work since he worked in the entertainment district of Disney Springs. While this created some concern for him initially until his unemployment benefits were approved, it has allowed him to have time on his hands. His girlfriend has remained employed through one of her jobs but her position with Disney also was laid off which gave her some flexibility with her time. This led to both of them deciding that they needed to get away from their apartment for a visit to Texas, so they could spend time with me and my husband. I was delighted since it had been almost two years since I had the opportunity to see them.

Last week, they packed up her vehicle, their two dogs, and some essentials. Traveling overnight, they arrived on Tuesday morning and the adventures began. Like every other place in the United States, most of the attractions in our area are closed down. This limited the opportunity for us to show them some of the wonderful aspects of our metropolitan area. However, we were able to safely visit many of the places we would have taken them but at some we had to just admire from the outside instead of having the opportunity to go inside to explore. We also were able to spend time on our patio and in our pool to cool off and have conversation. We even introduced one of our favorite dominoes games to her and provide him a chance to get reacquainted to a game his grandmother taught him.

I hated when the time had come for them to pack up everything and return to Florida. However, I am so extremely grateful that the impact of the virus allowed them to have the time to travel here for a visit. All of this reminded me the importance of finding the gold nuggets of joy which exist even in times which can test our patience and create some difficult challenges.

Find your own gold nuggets!

Life Inventory

Last month I celebrated another birthday. It was not one that is usually considered to be a milestone birthday and yet it did cause me to pause for some reflection on my life. I realized that like everyone else, I have experienced a long list of wonderful events in my life. Also like everyone else, I have experienced a number of challenges.

As I mentally created lists of both the positive aspects of my life and the challenging ones, I realized how blessed I truly have been. Like others, I have not always made decisions which produced beneficial outcomes. I did make the decisions that seemed right to me at the time. Most of those decisions were after consulting others. Yet, even after making some wrong choices, I would have to state that my life so far has leaned much more to the positive then the negative.

Reflecting upon where I am now in my life, I am grateful for the outcome so far. I am living now with integrity and honest display of who I am as a person. This has led to having an amazing husband who is a true partner who supports me completely. I also have two wonderful biological sons and two “adopted” foreign sons who bring me joy. Both of my sisters remain an important part of my life and I treasure our conversations in between too infrequent visits. My home provides shelter and comfort with some wonderful additions such as an amazing front porch to sit upon, an amazing backyard which I can view while sitting on the covered back patio, and an in-ground pool which I am starting to use for exercise. I am currently engaged in a new career as a writer (and blogger). I am also preparing to lead an online faith discussion group. I would be remiss if I did not also state that I have two loving dogs who always provide entertainment, challenges, and affection.

There have been plenty of challenges as well. I have experienced the extreme sense of grief when my eight-month-old nephew, my mother and my father each died. Having to be honest with the woman whom I married and had children with in regard to my sexuality was difficult. The divorce which was necessary after being honest caused pain and overwhelming fear. Leaving jobs and a number of moves each came with their own challenges even though they advanced my life in positive ways. At various points there have been lesser challenges as well.

Looking at my life to this point. I determined that the positives have far outweighed the negatives. My success has been due to the amazing people in my life. In fact, I would say that the relationships which I have had and continue to have been the greatest positive in my life. This truth leads me to say thank you to the family and friends who have made my life as wonderful as it has become.

During this time of isolation due to Covid-19, I challenge each of you to do a life inventory. Even when we are faced with challenges which this virus has created for many of us, when we reflect on where we are in life, I am confident that each of us will see how much better we are than we often realize. I am also confident that our positive outcomes can be linked to the relationships from our past or present.

A Week Away At Home

You may have noticed that I have not blogged in about a week. There was a good reason for this. I had the pleasure of having my youngest son come to visit during his spring break. Of course one of the reasons he chose to come visit is that temperatures here averaged twenty to thirty degrees warmer than back in Iowa where he attends college. I hope the other major reason is that we have not seen each other since our move at the end of December. Whatever his true reason may be, I was more than excited to have him visiting.

Last week was filled with opportunities for me to show him a little about our new city. This was not his first visit to the area. He had been here while he was in high school for a national convention of an organization in which he was a member. They had been able during that visit to tour AT&T Stadium but saw little of the rest of the area. I tried to give him a flavor of the area. Each day we explored something different.

Here is a general breakdown of our week:

  • Friday – arrival and introduction to our new home
  • Saturday – Attended the “World’s Only St Paddy’s Day Pickle Parade”, had a birthday celebration dinner, and went to Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar
  • Sunday – Hiked the trail at Eagle Mountain Lake
  • Monday – Visited the Historic Fort Worth Stockyards and watched the longhorn cattle drive and toured downtown Fort Worth including Sundance Square
  • Tuesday – Visited TCU, walked through the stadium, and then went to the Star which is the headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys and adjacent entertainment area
  • Wednesday – Went to the Fort Worth Zoo
  • Thursday – Spent the day at Six Flags Over Texas
  • Friday – Visited the Fort Worth Science and History Museum, the Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Museum, and walked around the campus of the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center

We were on the go pretty much all week, not including little stops along the way and a lot of eating out.