Victory in the Valley!

Victory in the Valley!

We have been distracted by our obsession with conquering heart disease! Let’s take a break from that series and see what is really carrying us forward. I can hardly contain my excitement about a dear friend who entered into the Valley of the Shadow of Death years ago. She came out claiming VICTORY!! Actually, she went in declaring VICTORY….

If you have followed our Adventure Travel Blog, you may remember we are now minimalists. To finally adopt our dream lifestyle, Bill sold his dearly beloved motorcycle (click the link to see a picture of it) and I had to get rid of all my books!!! Ouch, it hurt us both. I’ve been a lover of books for as long as I can remember….

A VERY dear friend called me a while ago to let me know she was FINALLY writing the book I had wanted years ago. How sad I had to temper my enthusiasm with the fact, books are practically banned from our motor home as we just don’t have the spare room (Bill knows if you give an inch, I’ll take a dozen books!). Continue reading

Balance!

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Here I am, balancing on a beam to avoid the swamp on a recent hike!

I had hoped to write this post a while ago, after all, I said I would in my post titled, “A Happy Medium.”  That post really should have been about Balance as I now wonder if that title isn’t misleading. But I did define it….And then I ended it by saying I would write about Balance next time….and it’s time!

I’m excited about this post as I see a young blogosphere friend is doing the same thing! Her post is here, titled The Mind Body Soul Balance.  I remember when I was a young college student trying to find myself and this was the quest, to balance the mind, body and soul. So here I am 45 years later, still seeking balance!

MIND: I never thought I was college material when I was in high school. In fact, my dad recommended I take typing, shorthand and other business classes so I could get a secretarial job when I graduated. I did OK in typing but just couldn’t figure out shorthand. The business classes were interesting. But all my friends were going to college, so by my senior year, I decided I would go as well. My parents weren’t prepared to help pay my tuition and in the end, I supported myself. That wasn’t a bad thing, either. I ended up liking it and once I found my major, I only made As and Bs. I knew I would need a Masters Degree at some point, so I really began to expand my mind and fill it with educational matters. But I still had junk in my head….more about low self esteem than anything. But eventually I was hired for a GREAT and very competitive job. So much for any self esteem problems, I also had earned a Master’s Degree, but I also mastered my mind to not go down that road. Although I may have some bouts with it, for the most part, I know who and what I am.

BODY: While I feel I have the body part under control, I guess it never is really under control! I became an avid runner and loved cross training in my 20s. In fact, I ran too much and now have knee problems. However, whenever I have my yearly physical, I am told my health (body) is in great shape! I do believe you are what you eat and I have followed a good diet for years. But then the middle age spread took over and it became harder to be as picky about what I eat. I guess I need to return to my better eating habits.

SOUL: This is my favorite! I have to admit I was raised in a Christian home where we believe the soul will live forever, in eternity with the Lord after my body wears out or stops working for whatever reason (accident, old age or a terminal illness).  So this helps me know and understand this aspect of the person. I love to feed my soul with the Word of God. The Bible quenches my thirst and the Word is my bread of life.  I am not a foodie, but have read others using food like this as a metaphor for our sustenance.  In fact, the particular reading plan of the Bible I am reading this year is called, “Eat This Book.”  I do feel I have a great balance in my spiritual life. I am so blessed my husband shares my faith. We believe in attending church weekly. We pray each morning together. We try to do a daily devotional together each morning. We believe all we have really belong to the Lord.  That helps us return a portion of our financial blessings to support the local church, missionaries and other charitable causes.

BALANCE: This is the tricky part. While it seems I have these three components of a human being under control, I still feel out of balance. As I said in my post on finding the Happy Medium in life, I feel so pulled in so many directions. First and foremost, I am a wife. My husband and I travel full time. We live in about 400 square feet of space, or 37 square meters. That’s a tiny space. So we are together a lot! We enjoy each other and share a love for the outdoors. We love to hike and take long walks. But he also loves to work on the outside of our motor home and our car. He likes to keep them both clean and free of bugs, dirt and dust. So while he does that, I am usually inside trying to write in our blogs, stay in touch with others through social media or take care of “inside” work (I do the laundry). We share cooking and the inside cleaning responsibilities.

But I am also a mother and now grandmother. Fortunately, Bill is a father and grandfather to my daughter and grandsons. Believe it or not, that really helps us as we see struggles in blended families. We only have the one daughter and we both cherish her. But we’ve successfully lived apart for over a decade. She put herself through college and has done very well in her career. She is happily married and they own a home. We would see her several times a year. But once she began to give us grandchildren, our lives totally changed. We never dreamed we would want to see them as much as we do. We wrote about how this changed our life to where we finally became minimalists and began to live in a Recreational Vehicle.

Can you believe there are people who tell us we shouldn’t spend so much time with our grandsons. WOW, can you believe it? We love our time with them, but we are trying to also travel to new areas. This really tugs at me. Our daughter would love for us to live near her, but she understands our desire to travel. Anyway, the negativity we get sometimes really throws us out of balance.

And then we are a son and a daughter to our moms. Both of our mom’s lived in Sebring, our home town from 2004-2014 (and still our legal residence). In fact, Bill’s mom moved to Sebring first, then us, then my mom and her new husband, then my sister and her husband (as snow birds) and then my step sister and her husband (full time). When we began our travels in the fall of 2013, Bill’s mom relocated to Illinois to live with Bill’s only sibling and his wife. Since the death of my step dad, my mom is in the process of moving north and share time between my two sister’s homes. We have been there for our moms over those 10 years whenever they faced a crisis. This is only natural and we are grateful for the long lives they have enjoyed.

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My amazing 92 year old mom. Out to lunch a few weeks ago in the Historic Jacaranda Hotel in Avon Park, Florida

And of course, I am a sister, an aunt, a niece, a great aunt, a cousin and friend….so there are so many people our lives intersect. This is why I love social networks. They are all spread around the country so I try to stay in touch with everyone. Hopefully, one day we will be able to visit everyone!

So what is my problem with my balance? I want to be with everyone! I do feel so torn. So we are trying to balance our time alone (adventure travel) and with family. Recently, a very dear friend shared with me that she had just finished reading The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life. Since I don’t buy books anymore, I shared the book with my mom. WOW, is this the missing ingredient to finding balance in my life?

I bought my mom and I matching “gratitude journals” for us to find one thing each day to be grateful for. So we have started this journey together. I am hoping my sisters will join us as we try to help our mom look on the bright side since her life drastically changed with the death of her husband. He was more than a husband, he was also her eyes. She is legally blind and needs someone to help her regularly. Mom always was a person to look on the bright side….but the loss of her vision really impacted her ability to do so. Then along came a man who loved her as she was. They fell in love and married. Happily for 12 1/2 years before he passed.

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My gratitude journal. I started on February 4, 2016.

So my solution to finding balance in my life? I’m on a year long journey to always look on the bright side to transform my life as suggested by this book.  Occasionally, I will drop in with excepts from my journal and let’s see if it helps me find balance as I focus on the bright side of things!  We started February 4, 2016.

PS. Every once in a while, I “fall off the wagon” or allow negative circumstances take away from the bright side of life. My husband gently asks me, “What was the name of that book?”  😁

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I’d love to hear how you find balance in your life! What do you think? Am I on the right track or am I off my rocker? 😮