Live Pee Or Die #PB4WEGO

Well.

Who woulda known that my little ole license plate would stir up such a buzz??!!

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But here we are.  It’s just about two weeks after I received my letter from the Supervisor at the Division of Motor Vehicles of New Hampshire…the Live Free or Die state (insert eye roll).

I was on my way out the door to go to work on a Friday afternoon in my usual hurried fashion.  Mail was on the kitchen table…as it is typically is…dropped off by one of the two kids that still reside full time in the home (one is away going to a local university, one lives not too far from my home with his wife and child).  There was a letter from the DMV on the table.  If anyone has been to my home…they know I am not really on top of opening my mail.  I do most everything on-line, and I am doing my best to go completely paperless, but…there is usually a stack of mail on the far corner of the table in addition to random magazines and sales flyers.  This letter stood out, though.  DMV? I just got my license renewed last month…my registration is good until November…I haven’t gotten any tickets (knocking on wood as I type this)…I grabbed it and opened it as I was yelling good-bye again to the kids and trying not to trip over the dogs.

I sat in my car and read this letter.  Then I read it again. And again.

Oh, Hells No!  Uh-uh. Nope.

I read it again at every stop sign and stop light on the three mile drive to work.

I got to the restaurant and showed my dear boyfriend the letter, I was in disbelief (He’s the executive chef, I am the bartender)!!  I carried the letter into my bar area and read it again…and I talked about it with just about every patron and co-worker throughout the night (after I executed orders in a timely fashion lol…and my apologies to those that were my sounding board that night…I was like a broken record!).

My vanity plate was being recalled and I had to surrender my PB4WEGO plates to the local DMV within ten days. …because it included sexual or excretory (that’s a new word I have added to my vocabulary) acts or functions.  For real??!!  Peeing is now somehow offensive!  Especially when you are telling your child that so you don’t have to stop at the gas station two miles down the road…a phrase I said commonly starting 25 years ago and on…hence the plate I got 15 years ago (when NH expanded license plates to 7 characters).

It was a few hours into the weekend at this point, so I had to wait until Monday morning to call the DMV and get some answers.  I talked to a few nice ladies there who let me know that my letter was one of many that were sent and sorry, but I had to turn in my plates.

Nope.

I then (after voicing my feelings on this decision) asked how to appeal this letter.  I was advised to write a letter to the supervisor of the bureau of registration at the DMV and was given the email so they could get it right to him.  I though a bit about how to word what I wanted to say.  I thought about saying the “P” stood for something else, but out principal…I wanted to stand my ground that it DID stand for “pee”…and please go now so I don’t have to stop later!  Nothing offensive about that.  I thought about using the argument “everyone does it”.  But, let’s face it.  There’s a lot of things people do all the time that we don’t want to talk about or put on a plate.  Moving on from that subject…

I decided to just ask to keep my plate.  Because it’s not offensive and it’s my right.

I received a letter from the supervisor the following day and was informed that it was in with the legal department and my registration would remain valid during this time while a decision was being reached.

I felt this recall was so absurd and uncalled for.  After a few days with no word I contacted the local newspaper and asked if they were interested in hearing about the story.  They were.  And evidently a lot more were than I ever anticipated!  Holy Smokes!  It has blown up all over the media!  Since then, the governor heard about it in a roundabout way, if not directly seeing all over social media, and decided to make a phone call to the DMV.  After that, it was decided I could keep my plates!  Thanks, Gov’nah!

So, after the governor stepped in and the decision was made, the media blew up a bit more.  A lot more.  I’ve done interviews with so many radio stations, newspapers and news stations, I can’t even keep track of who I have spoken to!  It’s all pretty surreal.

After what I believe are the last interviews this morning that I will give on this subject, Inside Edition and CNN (ya, I know!!), I started to read some of the comments on the various publications.  All through this process over the past few weeks, I have had nothing but support.  From friends, family and strangers alike.  It’s been fun chatting with people I am just meeting and being exposed to new TV and radio stations.  I have definitely been feeling the love and positive energy around me (thank you!).  I also didn’t realize how much I hate being filmed and I discovered new anxieties that I never knew I had!!  Thanks to my guy for talking me off a cliff before a few of the interviews! Also, we both decided that we are thankful we are not celebrities!!

As I was reading through some of the comments, it was disheartening to read so many negative people out there who are ridiculing the whole situation and poking fun at how much media this story has gotten.  Then poking at the governor because he has more pressing things to deal with.

In the grand scheme of things, a license plate is not a big deal.  I, of all people, know this.  Life is much bigger than that and there are far more serious issues out there to find solutions for (I said to my guy just yesterday that I wished this publicity was for a greater cause).  It wasn’t just about a license plate, though.  It was the about a right.  It was about the government coming to me and taking something that was mine, that I paid for legally, and snatching it away from me.  For no reason.  They passed some law and somehow I fit into that category and now something that I own, that has been the cause of so many innocent laughs and genuine smiles, is being deemed offensive or vulgar and now I can’t have it.

I wasn’t going to let that happen.

And even if the governor didn’t step in, I hope that I would have had the same outcome.

So, all of you that have messaged me, called me, interviewed me, shared my story…thank you.  Thanks for getting my little story out there and making it big and helping me keep my vanity plate.  And helping me keep my rights.

And to the haters and pessimists and political ranters, lighten up.  And go pee…

Live pee or die ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Cherry on Top <3

Why do I blog…when do I blog…what do I blog…???

There’s no definitive answer for those questions.

I first started to write at the direction of a friend who thought that, as a single and involved Mom, I may have some insight and tips and tricks to share to maybe help others in their daily life.  My first posts were more recipe driven…cooking is a passion of mine, so that’s no surprise.  There will be more of those in the future…I’m sure.

Life went on and I soon after realized how therapeutic it was to sit and write about what was on my mind and in my heart.  It felt good.  I, over the years, have had a lot of hurt.  People deal with their hurts differently.  I talk.  I write.  I quickly learned that it heals me.  It helps me process what’s on my mind, what I am going through.  Blogging became a journal of mine, whether it was read or not.  It was for me.

It is scary, sometimes, hitting “post”.  I talk about some sensitive issues and sometimes disclose not only my own baggage, but that of others’ as well.  After the initial panic sets in wondering how my thoughts and words will be received…and after the alerts slow down as to who has read and liked…or read and not liked my post, the calm sets in.  The reason for me using this platform.

What I wasn’t expecting was the secondary outcome of me doing this type of journaling.  I have been written to and approached on a regular basis with regard to how my blog has helped someone. It astounds me every time.  When I was writing the cancerdotcalm blog, I knew that it was helping people.  It was helping keep friends and family, and even those I didn’t know that were going through the same struggle, informed of what was going on with my then boyfriend and his journey battling leukemia. Everyone wanted to be tuned in and be updated.  With this blog though, I have been repeatedly and pleasantly surprised with the kind words of folks who keep reading momdotcalm.com.  How I have helped and inspired them.  Whether dealing with grief, a domestic issue or just as a parent trying to keep it together.

Please don’t get me wrong…I have also been greeted with the hate mail, and even a house visit, with disapproval for what I have written about. My opinion?  Don’t like it?  Don’t read it.  Please keep scrolling by and don’t visit my site.  You do you, I’ll do me.

And the positive feedback keeps blowing my mind every time.  I write for me.  And if my writing and purging my thoughts and feelings, whatever the random topic is, affects even one person to be inspired or feel like they are not alone…then that’s a great big cherry on top.

Thank you for reading and your messages. ❤

cherry

God Bless My Broken Road

I sit today to write with a burning question in my heart.  I write not because I have the answers and I want to share my knowledge…but because I don’t.

I have been abused.  I have been emotionally abused.  I have been verbally abused. I have been physically abused.  I have been sexually abused.

I have not been abused by strangers, but men I chose to be with…and chose to stay with.

That’s a hard pill for me to swallow.

I am talking about it…and I encourage others too, as well.

Recent happenings have had the dust kicked up and has me self-reflecting, more than usual anyway.  My first husband, father to my oldest child, was arrested last week…for domestic assault, no less…and highlighted in the local news pages.  This man has been MIA for over a decade.  And even then it was a one-time encounter after many years of no contact.  He abandoned his child, physically and financially.

His arrest, and him surfacing, has me recounting the details of our past history.  My son has no recall of any events while we were married (Thank God) being that he was just over a year old when we separated.  And when I say separated…I mean that there was the final and scary act of violence.  Leaving me with some haunting memories that I haven’t visited in quite some time.  There were a few violent encounters in our relationship…the last one involving a lot of bruising, weapons, police lights at our house in the middle of the night and restraining orders…not unlike my last relationship finale.

This has me asking…how the hell…why the hell…have I had myself in relationships with people like this!!??  I find myself to be somewhat intelligent.  Emotionally grounded.  Rational.  And I wasn’t stuck.  I read a lot of articles of women who are afraid to leave.  That wasn’t me.  I was NOT afraid…I was pissed off and hurt (Well, in the moment of violence…I was afraid…but when the dust settled and I was no longer being dominated…I held my ground!).  I demanded a solution.  For them to fix the problem.

And they agreed.  I have been to more couples counseling than I would care to have…and seen people go to on their own.  Regardless of the help that was being sought…the result has been the same.

The cycle of violence that’s published on the internet is a real thing.  Even if I don’t have the answer as to how I got into those relationships yet, I understand why I stayed.  For a time anyway.  The honeymoon phase.  I remember in one relationship that was going through the intense and rocky phase…that I would just wish for it to blow-up and for the fall-out to happen so we could get to the point where he would be sorry and doting.  Totally messed up.  However, I know I am not alone.  At least I don’t think I am.

I can thankfully say that I am now in a non-violent nor abusive in any manner relationship.  It’s not perfect, nor should it be.  Two personalities coming together is bound to have some conflict and growing pains, but it’s calm and respectful and loving.  Hallelujah.

I speak openly in my relationship about my past and my hurts and questions about my decisions.  I am still trying to sift through how I got into the situations I was in…but if not for anything…I am glad my path was the way it was (I was reminded of this over the past few days by both my oldest child and my boyfriend).  I have four beautiful children (and the wisdom gained) that are the result of my road traveled.

So, while I haven’t answered my question as to why I chose some men like I did (please note…not all were abusive…my longest relationship to date, albeit high conflict at the end with husband number two, was not abusive)…I know this was the journey I was meant to have.  And I am more than okay with the family that was the product of that journey.

God bless this broken road.

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I urge those in these types of relationships to speak up, get help and get out.  Just get out.  In my experience…it gets no better.  Progressively, it gets worse.  I am lucky enough to be here to talk about it and no further damage or injury was experienced. Speak up.  Get out. ❤

 

 

 

My balance…

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I’ve been itching to blog for a few weeks now.  I have had plenty of opportunity, however, I usually need to be spontaneously inspired and I sit and I don’t stop writing until I hit “publish”.  Sometimes it takes all of 15 minutes to blog a thought.  Sometimes hours.  It is usually sparked by something I am feeling passionately about…grief or happiness being the usual suspects (talk about one end of the spectrum to the other!).

Today brings us here by way of both…as I came across this memory this morning.

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Posted on Facebook 3 years ago:

Wendy Lee Auger is feeling grateful.
November 17, 2015 at 2:35 PM · Sanbornton ·
I believe Life is 10% what happens to you… And 90% what you make of it. 10% of me is pretty broken and hurting… But 90% is feeling pretty good, content and fulfilled. That’s not a bad ratio….

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It got me thinking about how I came to be able to focus on the positives.  Even during my negatives.  I know it’s a choice, but it really comes natural for me.  Like that’s how I’m wired.  It then brought me to look at my upbringing, what molded me and my sisters.  The four of us girls are really different in a lot of ways…but we are very similar in this department.  Three out of four of us have had significant losses (all of us struggles and bumps) over the past few years.  Me losing the father/father-figure to my kids from liver failure six years ago…and my next boyfriend to cancer three years later, one sister losing her husband in a car crash five years ago…and one sister losing her son to an overdose just shy of two years ago.  That’s some serious crap right there in our little family.  And you know what?  We all mourn/ed and we all grieve.  And we all will.  And we live.  We find joy in our life.  We all have done it in our own time…in our own way…and we are all working through it still.  But we do it.

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So, if there’s one thing (know there are many) I can thank my parents for…it’s instilling in us ladies to pick ourselves up and keep moving.  Not necessarily by dealing with death…but by any adversity.  I don’t recall any wise words or lessons taught with regard to this, but clearly there’s something there in each of us that made us this way.  Don’t sit there and dwell on what’s not right…what happened to you…or why your life sucks.  Feel it, deal with it and then figure out how to take the next step.

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Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that there’s no looking back or that the pain shouldn’t be felt or visited.  My feeling is that it is a natural and healthy progression of grief to continue to feel it.  Let it be there, but eventually keep it tucked in your pocket so you can move through your days with laughter, smiles and happy tears…and take it back out when it’s time.  Yes, here and there it jumps right out at you with no warning sending you into a grief attack (that’s what I call them), however, I think if you eventually get to that 90%/10% or so ratio…you are doing better than okay in my book.

I am very blessed to have a great man in my life who is understanding when that optimum balance I strive for gets knocked off kilter.  Or that he is just seeing my 10% up close and personal.  A few weeks ago, I was getting in my own head about our relationship…Corey and I are closing in on being together for a year now.  I was doing the typical analyzing thing I do.  I started thinking of how differently we now view each other, and in which ways we still see each other the same.  It’s interesting to me as we worked together for six years prior to our fateful trivia meet up as co-worker friends…leave as something much more night.

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“What about me is the most surprising thing to you after getting to know me more, moving in together and becoming part of my family?” I asked…well, I texted it…that’s how we roll.

My thoughts ran wild before I received his response.  I figured it would be something like that I struggle with organization…or that I sleep with my socks on…or that I always have candles lit/music on…or that I suck as a housekeeper (I knew he would never ever say that to me…but I figured it may cross his mind!!).

Nope.  That wasn’t his answer.

“That you still hold on to so much pain”.

I was mind blown.  In hindsight, it makes perfect sense. But when I read that…I was really shocked.  The grief and pain are such a normal feeling for me, I rarely realize they are even there.  I was sad for the answer (albeit slightly relieved my housekeeping skills didn’t take the cake!), but the more I have thought about it…the more I get it.  He is on the inside now.  He doesn’t just see me at the grocery store, or serving a dinner or a beverage at work…or spying my dance-jam in the new Corolla at the red light.  He see’s me waking up on the “angelversaries”.  The birthdays.  The random days in-between.  He sees me after I filled the paperwork out for school and sports when on the “father” line is deceased.  He now lives with the pain by proxy.  My 10%.

So folks, here’s a few things.

I  wanna say thank you to my parents for whatever, however, you instilled it in us girls to keep trucking on and finding our joy.  Sisters…keep rocking on with your bad selves through all the adversity and what’s handed to you, you’ve got this.  To all of you reading this in your journey of pain and grief…getting it in your pocket will be attainable, please trust me on this.

And finally to my guy, Corey.  Thank you for being you…and letting me be me.  Disorganized me, socks on at night me, lighting candles and singing off-key me, messy me.  And in pain me…sometimes.  Happy me…most times.

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I’ll Do Me, You Do You.

I have so many emotions swimming around my being today.  I don’t really know where to start.  First, I guess…let’s summarize where I am.

I’m nearly 4 months distanced from the end of my previous relationship.  As I have written about, it was an abrupt and explosive ending…resulting in him going before a judge just this morning.  I haven’t seen him since, besides a chance sighting at the grocery store a few weeks back. And if he heeds what the courts have ordered, it’ll stay that way for a few more years.  It was an adjustment for the whole family.  I am still working on the guilt for exposing my children to another loss, and I am still processing everything…trying to take as many lessons with me so history does not repeat itself.  I am mildly comforted with the fact that I know I tried to always do the right thing.  I tried to be as understanding as I could of a troubled person.  Perfect? No.  But, I was not jealous, condescending or abusive at any time.  So, I actually mildly resent that someone close to the situation said that “it takes two” to me soon after.   It doesn’t take two to make an abusive and controlling relationship.  I tried to help and support as long as I could.  Hindsight is 20/20.  I would have walked at three months in, knowing what I know now.  So, the only truth in the “it takes two”…in this case, is that I stayed and allowed it to get worse.

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An odd thing, for me, happened a few days after he was removed.  As a typical procrastinator, it takes me sometime to get motivated to clean, purge…whatever.  Once I get going, I will be on a roll.  Getting going is the challenge.  So, I surprised myself by waking and walking into the kitchen and went straight for the trash bags.  I headed back to the bedroom and I started ridding the room of any and all of his belongings.  It was sad, but a freeing feeling came over me.  Almost relieved.  I knew I was never looking back unless I was looking for a lesson.  My healing was jumpstarted.

As the weeks and months have gone on, I have felt like I have claimed my life back.  It’s a struggle sometimes to keep up with everything, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I have done a lot of self help reading to try and fully understand where I have been.  I have done endless processing of all my past relationships and have been dissecting them, the partners I have had…and myself.  My goal has been to just stay single, for at least a year.   I was thinking maybe forever!  Not swearing off men, but I just knew that I would be a bit guarded and apprehensive to let someone in.  It’s not often that someone can come in and just connect with you in a way that makes you want more.  Trust me.  I dated for years doing the online thing.  Never. Ever. Again.

Well, that was my plan.  Anyone that knows me knows…my life doesn’t go as planned.

A Trivia Tuesday a few weeks back had me at the restaurant I work at meeting a few friends/co-workers for a fun night out.  The three of us were having a good time, and at some point through the night, the feelings shifted and the connection began.  Taking both of us by surprise.  This person I have known for six years or so and never was looked at romantically by me, and me him, was suddenly somebody I wanted to be near and to know everything about.  The two of closed the bar that night.  Since, we have seen each other countless times.  And we plan to countless more.

Cohabitating is obviously not even close to being on the table.  The kids are the priority and for the foreseeable future, keeping our family dynamic as is, is best for them.  We are just getting to know each other on a different level than we had before.  I still am left conflicted at times that it’s too soon.  Three months isn’t a whole lotta time for healing considering what I’ve gone through.  I am not shy about sharing that with him.  Or anything, for that matter.  I am digging the easygoing vibe that’s going on and I am in the driver’s seat to go as fast or slow as I need.  I am taking it one day at a time.  The easy going and one day at a time mentality, however, does not stop the fear from creeping in now and then.  Doesn’t stop me from being  hyper-focused at times that I might be missing a clue that would give away that this person is actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  As the days go on, I am sure that will subside.  Or, I will see what I don’t want to and that will be that.

I know people pass judgement, they’ve told me, they think I shouldn’t be dating so soon or I should “date around” and not focus on just one guy.  First, they may be right about it being soon, but it’s up to me to decide and figure that out.  I have an open dialogue with my children and talked to them about everything.  They are still grieving past losses and they know I am, too…but at the end of the day I have their blessing to do what I think is right.  Second, I am a monogamous being by nature.  I can’t “date around”, it’s not how I am wired.

My head and heart can fall fast if the recipe is right.  I am trying to be careful, aware and methodical.  Sometimes I have little control of this.  But, what I do have control of is my actions.  So, that being said, I will take baby steps with eyes wide open and try to enjoy the ride…wherever that takes me.  I still welcome the view and advice from those around me.  But know that I would hate to pass on the chance at true happiness in a relationship because it’s not the right number of weeks or months after a break-up…and even more so based on what others outside of this home think.

I am doing my best to keep my healing going.  I really don’t think it’s ever going to be completely finished.  My goal is to just keep being me.  If someone comes along, as they have now, and is willing to allow my healing to continue, let me be me, and encourage me to grow and put my kids first…and give me butterflies by their mere presence at the same time?? I don’t want to pass it by.

I’ll do me, you do you.

“Give Sorrow Words”

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.” ~ Shakespeare

This insightful quote…and the encouragement of my kids…leaves me opening up a blank page and continue writing.  Keeping grief locked up keeps the pain locked up.  I’ll give my sorrow words…

Three years ago, I came to learn about real grief for the first time in my life.  I had lost numerous people…but when it is someone so close…someone you let into your heart…it’s far different.  This first experience was with my son’s father.  I guess it’s probably the same feeling as when you lose a best friend, parent, sibling, or even worse…God forbid a child.  I guess I was lucky making it 41 years escaping that pain.

So, this time around, losing Matt a week ago, it doesn’t hurt any less.  However, this time around I have some hope that I won’t always be stuck where I am.  That feeling where I just want it to be bed time so I can sleep (well, lie there and try and sleep), having that walking around in a fog type of feeling, just plain being non-functional.  Like not remembering how to even tie your shoes type of non-functional.

This time, I am able to see the milestones and know that I am headed in the right direction.  Today, for instance, I made my cup of coffee this morning and came to the computer rather than back to bed.  Baby steps.  I clicked on the website for the grocery store circular armed with paper and pen.   The goal was  to make a list and plan dinners judging on the sales and get myself out to the store…eventually. I clicked on the site.  I haven’t looked at it and the paper and pen sit in front of me untouched.  But it’s still baby steps.

Right now, I am going to put on my Pandora music stations and attempt to get some cleaning done.  Then get back to my grocery list.  I don’t know how far I will get, but getting the music on and out of this chair (and avoiding my bed) will be steps in the right direction.  Moving forward…

To Blog or not to Blog….

I have received so much response from this blog (and even just about my random Facebook postings).  Whether it’s a friend questioning if I share too much – or to the other extreme where another friend is praising me on my courage to bare my soul to print.  It has had me pondering my desire to blog, what motivates me and why it feels good to do so.  

What I come back to is a conversation I had with the priest I grew up with.  One who I saw regularly, even though I wasn’t attending church…or even remotely a practicing Catholic…or ever even opening up a Bible.  See, I did administrative work for him.  Organized the collections from the weekly services and got them ready for deposit.  Wrote out Christmas cards.  Various things that as time went on were difficult for him to do. My sisters actually started doing this when they were teens and as they grew up and moved on it naturally fell to me. It just kind of stayed with the family.  My close friends and family knew I was unavailable for a block of a few hours each week as I was “counting money”.  It wasn’t a typical relationship one would expect with a priest.  I don’t recall, even once, us having a conversation about scripture.  It was all bout life…and death…and  more life.  He would discuss people I grew up with that were getting married, had died, or were in the police log for various crimes. About human nature and why people are the way they are.  About accepting all people for who they were…everyone has worth.  About relationships.  We talked a lot about that.  Even though they weren’t long conversations…they were frequent.  He would always leave me with a thought and walk out of the room…leaving it to resonate.  

“God didn’t create us to walk the earth alone.  We are meant to share our life with another person.”

He said that to me many times.  At that moment it made me feel for him.  He lived a very simple life.  He, himself, lived alone…obviously, as a priest.  He lived a simple and noble life.  He lived far below his means and gave whenever he could.  I loved how he gave, too.  People would forever be ringing his bell at the house while I was there.  Asking for help.  I would hear the stories and the woes.  I heard how he empathized with them.  He would give them help…and they earned it.  “Here’s $20, there’s a rake over there and the lawn needs a cleaning”.  It was never a “hand out”.  He was an amazing man and his death a few years ago only falls second to Michael’s as the person who I lost that so deeply impacted me.  The things that comfort me are the fact that I now know God, I have opened the Bible and I know that his person he shared his life with was God. That’s who he walked the earth with.  That’s who he died with, even if not being surrounded by loving family and friends the way I think it should have been.  But in saying those previous words to me…he was talking not about himself.  He was saying that for me.  Encouraging me not to lose faith and to know it was okay to press forward and to find someone new.  Someone to share my life with.

That’s where my blog comes into play.  This is my place to share.  If you go through life without that person to share it with…it just doesn’t have the same joy.  Whether it falls on deaf ears or I see that hundreds of people have read a post, it is still the same feeling when I hit “publish”.  My experience, thought or even just a recipe…has been shared.  Of course, I prefer if SOMEONE reads it and I like feedback…but the sharing is what it’s about for me.  For now, this is who I am sharing life with.  I am not walking this earth alone. 

Thank you Father Thomas B. Morgan. I’ll blog on….