Finding Your Passion: Nourishing the Soul

Woman resting on a dry bag while writing after backpacking near a lake.
This is going to be a short post.  I just got back from a few days camping with wonderful friends on the shore of Lake Michigan.  This has been planned for a year.  Our group, we fondly call the Wander Woman, started the hiking/camping trips July 2018 when we did a week-long trip to South and North Manitou Islands in Lake Michigan.  My friend, Lisa, reminded me that she noticed my constant massaging during that trip.  It wouldn’t be until November of that year that I fully understood that there was something very wrong with me. 
Related Post: 
I’ve been planning and working towards my goal of spending the week with them.  We were to camp in Canada at Lake Superior Provincial Park. However, the border between Canada and the United States is still closed due to COVID-19. So, instead, we chose a closer state park in that we could drive to.  Not everyone who had originally planned to join us could come: some due to family commitments, one due to the death of her mom (non-virus related), some due to not feeling comfortable in doing so. 
We agreed to be logically safe and trusted that our Wander Woman cohort had been safe prior to camping.  The park was not crowded at all and so we had no issues out on the trails, at the camp, using the restrooms, or on the beach.  We chose to wear masks only inside public places (the restrooms). 
Renewed Passion:
I am so energized after these past few days.  Wonderful conversation with my friends that ignited my imagination and funny bone, as well as a few shared tears, met with empathy and love. The photos will be the rest of my description of the joy that is currently bursting in my heart.




I can’t thank my friends enough for helping me get back my courage to stay in a tent after a day of hiking and swimming.  I have gotten my courage back to do this more often with my husband. I even talked my daughter into doing a short trip with me soon.  My soul is nourished and my passion blazing again.
Related Posts:
Another Passion Ignited:
My blog is ONE-year old now.  I have learned a lot from doing it.  I’ve made friends from across the country and the world.  I’ve learned from other bloggers how to live well with a chronic condition as well as how to blog better.  It, too, ignites my imagination and gives me a purpose that makes me happy.
So, when I found out that I was nominated for two WEGO HEALTH Awards, I felt that this passion was also recognized by those who have watched my blog grow and those who I have hopefully helped in some way.  It’s such a wonderful, supportive group that I have found through blogging.  
If you are interested in endorsing me via the link below (just being nominated is really amazing), I humbly thank you.  In my post for the end of this next week, I will be sharing out those who have most impacted my wellness journey, so that you, too, can learn from them (and endorse their nominations for WEGO AWARDS) if you should feel led.



I appreciate this time in my life that I am able to live my life fully (filling it with purpose and passion) alongside good friends and my family despite living with Fibromyalgia. I hope that I can help you find that for yourself as well as you journey through this life. 

Thank you for visiting my blog today.  I am committing to posting once a week on Fridays.  However, as you know, my new normal means that sometimes I have to listen to my body and am not able to follow through as planned.  Thank you for your understanding.

Sharing is caring-as my granddaughter tells me:)

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Will We Ever Return to Normal?

In this Twilight-zone-world we’re living in,
getting a stylish face mask is a thing.

When I actually think about what’s happening in the world, I get a disoriented feeling, like we’re stuck in an episode of The Twilight Zone. 

    Returning to Normal

    Our loon returned to the lake we live on a few weeks ago.  This is a sure sign that summer is coming.  I say “our” because he returns year after year.  He comes before his mate to prepare the nest.  She’s not here yet, but I suspect she will be soon.  Unfortunately, the weather this week is cool with even some snowflakes still falling. The lake is fully thawed, though, and today I got to see him outside my dining room window as he dove down into the cold water for his meal. At night, especially if we can have the window open, we listen to his beautiful loon calls. 

    He has no idea that the world around him is different.  That the people are shut up in their homes. That the fishing boats (motorized that is) will not be bugging him for at least another 17 days per the shelter-in-place order that was made last week by our Michigan governor. No, he had no idea that there’s a deadly virus that has brought our lives to a screeching halt. For him, life continues on and he has to prepare the nest so that he and his mate can make a home in which they will raise their nestlings (hopefully at least two) before leaving again in late September.
    We, however, have no hope of returning to our normal any time very soon.  Our strict shelter-in-place order is until the end of April, but some are saying that the worst of the outbreak won’t hit Michigan until early May.  And even when the stay-at-home order is lifted, normalcy will be a long-time-coming and probably, never again.
    When we first started hearing about
    “The Corona Virus” from our leaders,
    statements like “We’ve got this under control”
    never made me think we’d be at 586,057 confirmed
    cases in the USA with 23,604 deaths and 43,637 recovered
    as of 4/13/20.

    Understating Facts 

    I’m not going to mince words. I do not respect in any way our current president.  It’s not a political thing (although, I confess I lean liberal). It’s a person-thing.  I believe nothing he says.  His conduct during this pandemic has been dangerous and misleading from the start.  We now find out that he was formally informed as early as January 3rd that COVID-19 would make its way into the USA.  Then, late January, members of his own cabinet sent memos stating, “…coronavirus had the potential to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans and derail the US economy unless tough action was taken immediately…”-New York Times. 
    On January 30th at a Michigan Rally, Trump says, We think we have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five — and those people are all recuperating successfully. But we’re working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it’s going to have a very good ending for us … that I can assure you.” Saying this is an understatement is in itself an egregious understatement.
    As we celebrated the New Year, your average American had no idea what was on its way and just how this would bring us all into a real “Twilight Zone” of nothing makes sense. I could list on and on, even to this day, the understatements, incorrect information, or out-right lies our president has said about the state of COVID-19 in our country. 
    Luckily, other people in authority (mostly our governors) have taken the lead on keeping the people as safe as they are able. 

    One treasure we have in Michigan
    is our state parks. We can still
    visit many of them as long as we
    maintain our social distancing protocols.
    Lake Michigan and the sand dunes on a sunny day
    this past week provided a much-needed reprieve. 

    Social Distancing to Flatten the Curve

    On March 13th in Michigan, Governor Whitmer closed all schools. For me, this is when I really understood that this was serious. The initial timeline was to close them for 3-weeks.  As time went on and Detroit became one of the cities with the highest number of people infected, it was apparent that things were only ramping up.  On April 2nd, Whitmer closed the schools for the rest of the year.  
    I have not left my home area to go to a store or anything (except one aborted medical lab visit for a blood draw due to it being closed) since March 13th. My husband has done all the out in the world errands.  He found two N95 masks in his work closet.  He had bought them four years ago when he was sanding and painting the walls and ceiling of our newly built home. While he jokes that he’s just into a few of the risk categories (about to turn 60, had a heart attack 20 years ago, and slight signs of asthma that is being monitored by his doctor), I’m thankful that he has that mask and is wearing it whenever he goes out.
    “From Day 0 to Day 12, the U.S. was in a period of 
    dramatic growth in cases, marked by a consistently high day-over-day growth in cases, exceeding 1.35x per day. Beginning only days after implementing extreme social distancing, we began to see a dramatic decline 
    in the daily growth in both cases! 
    Most importantly, we also see this trend 
    in the mortality figures!” 

    The reports are showing that the #stayhome #staysafe #savelives protocol is working.  I truly understand I have an ideal situation where I am to hunker down (wooded trails in our community’s property and a lake out front).  However, we each have a role to play here and now. We each can contribute to the outcome of this horrendous event. Let us be strong. Let us be smart. Let us save lives.

    This was the last time that
    we got together normally. Now,
    we Zoom nearly every day.
    It just isn’t the same.

    Stressing the Good

    My concern right now is the impact this time has on our little ones.  It’s confusing.  My granddaughter had loved going to preschool, making good friends, and learning a lot from her talented teachers. She hung out at our house two days a week while her mom worked. All of that is has stopped for now.
    She lives for holidays of any sort and two of the biggest for her, Easter and her 5th birthday, were this week. Usually, we have a big Easter egg hunt outside at our house. For her birthday, we have a large gathering, decorating the house in fairies, or trolls, kitties, or mermaids-whatever her chosen theme. But, we had to cancel it for now.
    So, her mom and dad did an awesome egg hunt at their apartment and then took her to Hoffmaster State park (the photo above is from that day.) The night before her birthday, they blew up all sorts of balloons and sneaked them into her bedroom for her to see when she woke up. We zoomed as she opened presents. We played a fun charades game, too. 

    We are determined to help her through this time.  Her mom has OCD and has gone through a lot of therapy to get to a place where she’s not washing her hands a million times a day and constantly cleaning. So, this virus is truly her scariest dream coming into reality.  She’s doing her best to keep her demons at bay and not let it affect her family.

    The other day, when my son had the morning off from working as a service manager at a local grocery store, they went outside to play.  They sent me this encouraging photo.  I’m sure everyone who walked past it that day felt a surge of hope. 
    We do. We got this.
    Not that we can
    control the virus that is taking
    so many lives, but we can
    and will get through this time-together.


    And so, I’m taking this time to celebrate the good and beauty in this world.  We humans sure can make a mess of things, but we also really can bring so much wonder and love.  I am choosing to focus on that because what we focus on grows. 
    This morning as I did the LovingKindness meditation (click live-link for the audio) from the MBSR (Mindfullybased Stress Reduction) Meditation course through, I decided to send lovingkindness to President Trump.  “May you be healthy, happy, and whole. May you be safe, protected, and free from harm. May you be alive, joyful, and have inner peace.”

    What are you focusing on during this time? What are you bringing to fruition through your thought and action focus? What will we bring forth out of this Twilight-zone?

    This post is thanks to A Chronic Voice link-up. This month, the topics were returning, understating, distancing, stressing, and celebrating. Each writer takes the given topics and gives them their own spin. Check out these wonderful writers at April 2020 Linkup (scroll past the prompts to find the linked up posts).

    Thank you for visiting my blog today. 
    I am committing to posting once a week on Fridays.  
    However, as you know, my new normal means that sometimes 
    I have to listen to my body and am not able
    to follow through as planned. 
    Thank you for your understanding.