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How can you love a lake for cry eye?

Today is a day to be truly grateful for living on the shores of Lake Michigan. The weather is glorious with clear blue skies. Only 60 degrees but I would have bet it was 75 at the lake this morning. It is joyful to see my dog Aw’gy tear down the beach or bite the water with his houndy muzzle. It brings me joy to be here. I love this lake.

I always thank Aw'gy for getting me out in the morning.

I always thank Aw’gy for getting me out in the morning.

After 7 years in New Mexico, I told friends I was leaving to be closer to family and the lake.

“You’re moving because you miss the lake? We have lakes in New Mexico.”

Well, yes. Technically. But nothing like the Great Lakes.

As a kid in Whiting, IN – about 8 blocks from the lake – my mom or someone’s mom would take us to the beach nearly every summer day. We’d pack up PB&Js; don suits, shorts, shirts and Keds and head to Whiting Park. From my dad’s store on the Boulevard, we’d take 117th Street, cross three sets of tracks and a red-bricked street to the beach.

For a little kid it seemed like a re-a-l-l-y lo-o-ng walk. But then, if you’re 5 or 6 with short legs anyway …

Those trips to the beach meant everything to me. Sheer joy. Our tradition started with my mother’s family living in Whiting and enjoying the lake, camping at the Dunes. And it continues to this day as my siblings bring their children, and their children’s children to the shore. Kids frolic in the waves, wade or swim out to the sandbar, build sand castles, eat PB&Js.

A year ago I lived 11 miles from the lake but thanks to a benevolent Universe, I’m less than a half mile. “Close enough to walk, not close enough to carry a full cooler,” I’ve been told. There’s no excuse not to visit the lake everyday, but some silly sense of responsibility tells me I’ve got to work first. I’m no longer that short little kid (I’m a short big kid.) Something’s telling me to rethink my priorities and spend more time with the lake I love.

(Note: As I write this, thoughts are with a family in New Mexico that lost a son to Lake Michigan this year. News reports said he went out to watch a storm. Many of us learned early on “the lake that thinks it’s an ocean” is to be respected.)

How to take your heart with you wherever you go

It occurs to me after nearly a week visiting Las Cruces, NM, that I left a piece of my heart when I moved back to Indiana in 2011. I wonder as I ponder “being in the world but not of it” if it is possible to leave some heart everywhere we go.

Aw'gy guards our moving truck, August 2011, bound for Indiana.

Aw’gy guards our moving truck, August 2011.

I mean, I left! Moved. Packed up a 72-pound dog and 7,720 pounds of worldly possessions. Yet, as I’ve visited with friends who are as close as family, and in some cases even more open and loving, it has felt as though I never left.

Moved here on a whim back in oh four. “Bought an acre of land off the back of a matchbook,” I joked about the acre of land I bought from a realtor. “Either gonna move there or make money on the land,” I said.

Did both.

Come to think of it, I’ve left some heart in France; Sarasota, Florida; and all across the midwest. I don’t think it’s about me. I think it’s about the open, loving people I meet along the way. It’s also about being real, in a “wherever you go there you are” way.

You see, the thing is – this is so cool! – we are all connected.

In this vast, beneficent universe, we are connected, we are the same. You may be having a bad day and someone else has had those feelings. You’re celebrating and others know your joy.

You are just as connected as I am. If you don’t feel connected, I’m sorry about that. Here’s all you need to do: open your heart – actually picture your Valentine Day’s heart in your chest opening to the nature of people around you. Smile, thank them, wish them a good day and the heart you give them will come back to you in, well, hearts.

And corny as it sounds, but I’m here to tell ya, your heart will grow so large you’ll be able to leave pieces of it everywhere you go. And more will grow. So there you go. Happy Valentine’s Day from sunny SoNewMex.

 

 

What defined your 2012?

When you look back over the past 363 days do you see trial and hardship or joy and celebration? There were some sad times for me during 2012 but in my rearview mirror, it all looks very, very good.

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Who needs the Land of Enchantment? Dig this sunrise over Hoosierland!

A year ago yesterday I moved to Porter County. I’ve got a sweet house in a safe neighborhood, just 11 miles south of the lake that I love.  In fact, Lake Michigan was one of two major reasons I moved back to the Region from SoNewMex. Friends in Las Cruces thought I was nuts.

“I can understand missing your family,” a friend said after I gave him my top reasons for relocating. “But missing the lake? How can you miss a lake? We have water in New Mexico.”

Sorry, no, you don’t.

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Soulmate – Lake Michigan at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

You have some inland lakes – beautiful mountain lakes, yes – and the Rio Grande, basically an irrigation ditch in the Las Cruces area. Oh, and “the lake” southern New Mexicans refer to is Elephant Butte – a reservoir created by damming the Rio near Truth or Consequences. But you haven’t seen a lake until you’ve seen the great lakes. Great enough to pull me back home!

Being back in Indiana after 30 years has been wonderful. Aw’gy and I have walked many miles up and down the lake’s sandy shoreline and dunes. More importantly, I’ve been able to reconnect with my siblings and their 30-some children and grandchildren. Regardless, last winter was hard, and it wasn’t because of ice and snow. It was hard because I had to grieve.

This time last year I was happily nesting into my bungalow and at the same time planning a drive to New Mexico for the month of March. Friends saved one of their rental casitas for me. I even had a volunteer gig lined up  at an art fair. But toward the end of January I was getting cold feet about driving south. Some inner turmoil was stirring. Something that demanded my attention.

I used to hate “inner turmoil” until I realized its importance. Turmoil is the lubricant for change. I realized if I spent March in New Mexico I wouldn’t settle into my new digs. What’s more, I needed to replant my Hoosier roots and grieve over leaving Las Cruces.

It wasn’t easy.

I spent two years working on the move – prepping the house, listing it, burying St. Joseph upside down in the front yard (facing northeast, the direction I planned to move) along with a note and family photos, giving away stuff, selling stuff, watching movers load 7,200 pounds of leftovers. Further, I had to let go of friends, living where the skies are not cloudy all day, mountains, desert fragrances, being able to walk my dog for miles in any direction without traffic.

I loved my life in New Mexico. It was important for me to move there, make my way in a wonderful but strange land, “find myself.” But after visits back to the midwest – probably a dozen trips in 7 years – it became clear to me that my heart was with my family, and I missed the lake.

Moving back to Indiana was a defining moment of my year, and probably one of the defining times of my life. It wasn’t an easy move as it took time and plenty of resources, but I’ve been lavishinly rewarded for following my heart.

Turmoil is a lubricant for change. What turmoil is stirring inside you? What are you going to do about it in the coming year? From the bottom of my heart and the bottom of the lake, I wish you and your loved ones a very peaceful, productive and happy new year. Thanks for reading and subscribing to WordScarab.

There'll be a full moon tonight, but I must admit it won't look like this one over my neighbor's house in New Mexico.

There’ll be a full moon tonight, but I must admit it won’t look like this one over my neighbor’s house in New Mexico.

How thoughts become things

WordScarab journals dating from 2003. Before that, I kept notes on scraps.

Rarely do I go back and read my morning journals – there’s a good 10 years of  wanderings – but while writing this morning and watching the sunlight grow over my front door something occurred to me.

When did I find this house?

This current journal launched 13.2.11 – I was still in New Mexico.

The Calais house was on the market but I had no clue about when I would move, where in Indiana I’d go, how my new home would look. I picked up the journal and flipped through until I found this list. It described this house to a T.

“Must have been after I saw it – I was listing its’ features,” that’s what I thought until I checked the page heading.

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It was a month before I set foot in the house. At least 10 days prior to my realtor sending the listing. I envisioned this house before I saw it. In short, I got what I wanted – and so much more.

 

We are capable of manifesting our desires, our thoughts. Whatever they may be.

Once while riding my bike in a Norman, OK neighborhood, I found myself having to ride on a new curb because the streets weren’t yet poured. And rode right into a hole in the cement – about the size of a dollar bill.

I knew I would. I saw it coming and I predicted it.

“I’m going to ride into that hole. I’m going to ride into that hole!”

Blam! Splat! Over the handle bars and into the rocks – I still have the scar on my knee. Wow. I’m good.

Now, if I spotted the hole and noted plenty of room to ride around it, I would have. I’m sure.

Who was it who said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right?”

I think it was Lincoln. Please check me on this.

You know, you are what you eat. Well, you’re also what you think.

Are you negative? Oh, it’s not you! Maybe other people are negative and you are able to see that all the time. Continue reading

How to go ‘There and back again …’

Here's Las Cruces native, Aw'gy, stealing some shade under a Mesquite tree during our last desert walk, August 24, 2011. "You're right, Aw'gy," I'd tell him. "We need to enjoy this."

My throat tightens as I write this.

A year ago today I drove north on Roadrunner Parkway to US70, across the desert through White Sands, picked up 54 north in Alamagordo toward Santa Rosa and I40. I made that trip several times over seven years, but this time I was leaving home.

 

Check that. Heading home, to Indiana.

I’ve left home before – Girl Scout camp, that first airplane ride at 16 to LA, college. I left home when I got married and lived in other towns. But I think now I never really left home until I moved to New Mexico.

Before visiting Las Cruces in March 2003, I’d never heard of it. We were going to visit friends. “Show me again. Where is it?” Continue reading