Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving - 

I wanted to share this blog today. I have been working on it in starts and stops, so not as smooth as I like, but isn't that just like life?! Not all is perfect but I still wanted to share my heart with you today. On Thanksgiving Day, On November 22, 2018, exactly 40 years to the day from when I told Kevin "YES" in Hedwig Park, near Spring Valley, when he proposed to me on Thanksgiving Day. Forgive me for my imperfections and accept this tribute shared in grace. Praying for you all and hoping you have much around you to be grateful for today and always. If you don't think you do, look again. It's there. It's all around you.  Enjoy it. Enjoy every second of it. It's Love. It's Life. And it lasts Forever.   Love, Natalie

Lake near Brenham, TX

The Journey

I fell across these words in a wonderful book I read recently...
Present not Perfect by Shauna Niequest...
and just had to share. A poem called

The Journey by Mary Oliver One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice-- though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. "Mend my life!" each voice cried. But you didn't stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones. But little by little, as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do-- determined to save the only life you could save.

Morning on Lake Travis, Spicewood, Tx

I have been on quite an adventure this year. It all began with my saying "YES" to Fiji. Now, when I think back on the year, not willing to believe it could possibly be November, I just can't imagine how much my life has changed. If you had told me, I would never believe it. I truly believe it all changed by saying "Yes!" and leaning into life with all my heart and soul. I have been more countries than I ever could have imagined...
France, of course,
and many local adventures too:
Austin, Brenham, Beaumont, Galveston, TX
Northville, MI,
Cedar Point, OH,
Orlando, FL,
Los Angeles, CA,
Palm Springs, CA
and before the year ends,
New York City, NY, and Sarasota, FL.

It's been a great adventure.

Absolutely Unbelievable, Yet TRUE

I took a chance and I reclaimed my life. For me. When I went to Fiji alone, it was a reset on my life, a new start. After a week alone, I met with my friend, and while she went scuba diving, I spent hours reading, photographing, thinking, walking on the beach and claiming new dreams on a "visioning" bed suspended from the sky over the bay in Taveuni. I took a chance to love again. I trusted. I hoped and I prayed.

I met a lovely man who enjoys many of the same things I do. We enjoy sharing time together. It's new. It's different. Overall just fabulous fun. Sometimes it does feel awkward and uncomfortable to be in a new relationship I never imagined, but it's been totally worth it to lean into new life and new love and just enjoy our time together.

I got an amazing job. I am enjoying thinking again. I enjoy working again. While I want to spend my time Life Coaching, and hosting retreats, it fuels my fire and funds my bills. I'm continuing to study to build retreats, to write, and to speak wherever, whenever life leads me.

I was born to serve and I continue to do so, while at the same time, entering a new season of self-love, and self-care. It's been a long time coming. As many of you know, Kevin, my husband of 32 years passed away 7 years ago. He was ill the last three years of his life, fighting cancer full time every single day. We had a very strong love and passionate marriage, but a basket full of trouble and woes that come with the challenges of a life ending disease. It made us stronger and it made me resilient.

I have been studying resilience for several years now, or more appropriately what I call "Gumption". I've got some sass and some gumption too, I think I am resilient, And, finally, I'm learning to engage in this new lifestyle now.

We don't arrive. But we can become.
And that's the most hopeful thing I can think of.
Shauna Niequest

It's been an interesting journey: to be a widow, while still being a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I have learned so much about myself I would have never learned if not for this adventure. I would have never chosen it, but now, at least it is more familiar and in a strange way, it fits me just right. I can wear it and begin to breathe again. I can become all I was meant to be that for some reason, maybe was unable to be with him with me. It's sad to think that, but I'm beginning to believe that we were born with a purpose and our purpose evolves as we move forward and grow into it. Into a new life. Into a new Love. Into a new direction, A road less traveled, a road, not yet explored. I road I never imagined, but I'm learning to trust. I road we never meant to be on, and yet, it is beautiful in its own unique way --we are living on the road less traveled.

Vulnerability is not winning or losing; 
it’s having the courage to show up and be seen 
when we have no control over the outcome. 
Vulnerability is not weakness; 
it’s our greatest measure of courage.
Brene Brown

We are leading the way for other widows; for other women and for our daughters. Sadly, many will follow us on this journey. And the more we learn, the more we can share. Hopefully, easing their load, and directing their steps to avoid a few of the more treacherous twists and turns that appear before us. I want to serve other widows; those I have met, those I spend time with now, and those that will find us eventually. I also want to continue becoming me, for all that that means and no matter where this road leads me. I'm already there. I am trusting, truly for the first time, that the steps will come before me and I will follow along on this journey to where I'm supposed to be. Like footprints in the sand. The place I was born to Live and to Serve. I'm committed to the cause and trusting in the roadmap that is before me.

I don't know what tomorrow holds for me. I do know I will survive. I will overcome. I will love and I will laugh. I will cry. I will hurt and I will pick myself up, and begin again, try again, love again, now ready to live again. This I do know. We were born to live. To live and to laugh and to lean back into life after great loss. I am doing that. I'm living it now. I'm begging you to join me and do the same. If we make a mistake, it will be OK. We can course correct. We can begin again. But if we don't, if we live in fear, we can never know the road less traveled, the love not experience, the road we never explored. We miss love and life we were meant to enjoy. We were born to do this. We were born to enjoy every second of life. We were born for this, our unique and personal journey. Let's go!!!

What Is A Widow

By Vivienne R Reich
She is a woman with half a heart.
Some say she has baggage. I say her pain was due to love.
She is a woman that now does not trust easily.
She can one day climb Mount Everest and the next day she can't get out of bed.
She has mood swings. She has traumas. Her anger is raw. She is trying to learn how to fly with only one wing.
A giving heart..because she knows that love is all that matters.
But if you give her a chance... If you get to know her... You will find. An empathic friend.. because she knows real pain.
A woman that loves deeply because she knows how fast life can be taken away.
A straight to the point friend. She is no longer interested in Drama. If you give her a chance as a partner..... You will find.
She is scarred for life and sometimes those wounds open up.
A woman that does not play games. She is to the point because there is no time to waste. Deep inside she is fragile. She is sensitive. But she is fierce. She is strong. She is a survivor.
She chooses very few people into her life. So consider yourself lucky to be part of hers.
And so whether it's a friendship or a love interest give her a chance. She might cry when you least expect it. She might laugh at the oddest things. And.....
She will love you like there is no tomorrow because she knows there is always that chance there may not be a tomorrow.

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