Walkabout: Day 41, Mile 7557

November 29, 2016 ~ Tuesday

? o’clock Morning Pages ~ McClellanville, SC ~ Hunt Camp

I really do love Edward. No, he isn’t perfect. No one is. He doesn’t prefer to be perfect, nor does he aspire to be. He is honest, and he takes responsibility for his mistakes. He tries to be a good person, and he tries to improve in areas where he falls short. He is willing to talk openly about the hard stuff. He really listens to me, and he lives to see me smile. He wants more out of his life, and he wants me to enjoy the finer things. He is a diamond in the rough.

I enjoy loving him, when I focus on his better qualities. He lets me be me, and he supports me in all I do. He isn’t jealous, unless he needs to be – and I don’t give him reason to be. He wants to satisfy me physically. He chose me over his children, and he continues to do so when it really matters. At the same time, he is a loving and doting father, and he sacrifices greatly for his kids.

10a I need coffee. I drove to the little town of McClellanville and was surprised to see a sign for a public library. I thought I would go into Charleston today, but I just don’t feel like it. I don’t feel like doing anything responsible or reasonable. So I got a cup of coffee at the BP gas station and drove down the road toward the library.

I found it nestled among large houses and sprawling, draping trees, just like a postcard out of antebellum. The library itself was tiny! Like a little cottage. I did not go in. I knew in a building that small I would have to interact with people, and I really don’t feel like people-ing today.

Instead I found a little shady spot to park. I changed into my Moonstone Crossing tee shirt and rolled the windows down. I wish I could just head back to camp, but the mosquitos are so thick there, I could never sit with the windows down.

The problem is I want to drink, but I can’t since I still have to drive myself back at some point. I am tired and foggy from over drinking last night too. But I also feel like I am nearing a breakthrough.

I have spent the last two weeks with people, and now I am enjoying some much needed solitude. I have been saying and doing all the things a proper guest should, and I am ready to just relax and let loose a little bit.

I think I will just sit right here and read and write until my heart is content. At some point, I will return to camp and bunk down for the night.

Why do I need to drink to unleash my right hemisphere brain? Why do I force myself to be so rigid so often? Why do I have such a hard time relaxing? Why can’t I nap? I am befuddled at myself.

One of the exercises in Your Mythic Journey calls for me to present an argument declaring that I am indeed all of the traits I wish to deny. It’s a curious thought. Why else would I deny them so strongly, except that they are parts of my shadow self that I hate. I do hate my shadow self, don’t I?

I live so hard to prove to myself that I am a good person, that those ugly things I know about myself are not the real me. But they are part of the real me, aren’t they? I just don’t want them to be. I only want to believe the best, idealized version of myself.

Can I accept that I am greedy? I only work because I have to. I would take it all for myself if it weren’t frowned upon. I get angry that others get more than me and don’t even have to work hard for it. Tamara wears the coolest clothes and had like four different jackets on this week, and that made me angry. She always has the best of everything, and it’s all just given to her. It isn’t fair.

Can I accept that I am inconsiderate? I only bend to accommodate people because I want them to like me. I need them to like me, so I won’t have to deal with their anger and petty disagreements. If everything came easily to me, I would be just as unthoughtful as everyone else. My courteous nature makes me better than them.

I love being lazy. If I could get away with it, I would not do a damn thing. I am so damn tired of trying so damn hard. I just want to throw my hands up and stay wasted all of the damn time.

It is actually freeing to understand that I am not a perfect person, that there are very real and very bad things about me. I can stop trying so hard to prove to myself that they do not exist. I can just be, and be okay with the bad belonging to me just as much as the good.

I actually like myself like this, and I don’t feel as angry and hateful. I don’t feel as spiteful. A calming peace is settling over me, so calm and peaceful I think I could nap. I want to live in this peaceful awareness.

12n My next exercise for my Mythic Journey is to draw myself using crayons or colored pencils. The best I can do is blue and black ink. 🙂

Walkabout: Day 40, You | Me | We?

November 28, 2016 ~ Monday

7a Morning Pages ~ Myrtle Beach, SC ~ w/Fam

I have not written morning pages in almost one week, since arriving in Myrtle Beach to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my family. I know that my writing is the most important thing I should be doing right now, but I prioritized my time with my family. I brought my book into the resort unit, thinking I would take time at some point in the day, but I never did. The days were full with action and interactions, and I only see my family once each year.

It has been a weird and wonderful week. I have laughed and I have cried and I have been hurt and I have felt angry and disappointed. I have been forgiven and I have practiced forgiveness. That is what family is, right? That’s all I know it to be.

I am feeling more and more distant from Edward. I don’t know if I should fight for our relationship. He really let me down on Friday night. He allowed two little girls to make a poor decision that left me out in the cold. He did not stand up as the adult in the room. He did not stand up for me.

Nancy did. She made sure those girls knew that what they had done was wrong. It felt really good.

I am forgetting the reasons I fell in love with Edward. Why do I want to stay with him? I am struggling with what to feel right now.

From Your Mythic Journey by Sam Keen & Anne Valley Fox

— Make a list of the ten best words/phrases that describe you:
1. life-long learner
5. adaptive
2. casually classy (classic)
8. loyal
9. beautiful
3. intelligent
6. creative
4. love the outdoors
7. loving
10. giving

— What qualities distinguish me from others?
I am willing to do what is hard. That may mean making a big move, having a difficult conversation, starting all over late in life, trying something new and scary, ending a relationship that isn’t working, putting myself first.

I am open minded and truly balue what I can learn from others. I try not to judge, just observe and apply. I enjoy having a diverse group of ecclectic friend and acquaintances.

I am content having very little in the way of material possessions. I prefer to live simply. But I would never be content without big experiences and adventures. I need to travel and prize my freedom above all else.

I have the ability to set goals and achieve them. I have never abandoned a New Year’s Resolution. I love the challenge of making worthwhile changes in my life.

I am always seeking the deeper meaning – in words, in art, in actions, in life. I want to explore reality and discover hidden truth. What is authenticity and how can we live more like that?

— What are the secrets you never/rarely share?
I resent having a man to take care of me. I am proud of my independence, but I really wish I had a real partner to lean on, and to fall apart into from time to time. I resent that every member of my immediate family has someone taking care of them except me.

I don’t understand. I am an attractive and desirable woman. Why isn’t there some man out there who is willing and able to be my equal? Do I not truly believe I am worth it, deep down? Is that why I keep attracting men who just want / are content to let me take care of them? Or their parents?

That’s what Tony did – just let his parents take pay for everything. What is it that I find attractive in these men? Is it the lack of responsibility? The carefree attitude?

How do I change this? How do I attract a man who is a good Protector, Provider and Problem Solver, but still has a sense of adventure and a lust for life and for love?

Is it possible for Edward to be this man, or has our relationship run its course? Am I just delaying the inevitable?, like I did leaving the winery? I think I know what to do, what my gut tells me is right for me. Why am I not willing to do it? What is holding me back? Am I really that happy with him? Or am I just afraid I won’t be as happy without him? The sex is amazing, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be amazing with someone else too. What do I really want???

I ask myself – at 44 years old (wait – am I only 43?) – do I really want to start all over in the relationship department too? On the other hand, do I really want to invest more years into a relationship that is doomed? Is it doomed? Can Edward be the man I need him to be? I am so very relieved I left rob when I did. He hasn’t changed a bit.

How will I look back at this decision with Edward? Maybe he is capable of change, but just not with me. Do I really want to spend the rest of my life taking care of him? And watching him never complete any project? And not standing up for me?

What are the characteristics of my ideal mate? As I consider this, I am making the same mistake I made when I left Rob. I am only thinking of the opposite of what I find wrong with Edward. The truth is, I don’t think I know what I really want. I just keep discovering what I don’t want.

— What other secrets do I have?

— What ten characteristics do I not have and would strongly deny?
– unthoughtful / inconsiderate
– greedy
– savage / heartless
– stupid
– lazy
– liar
– whore
– irresponsible
– egomaniac
– gold digger

– ordinary

Walkabout: Day 34, Mile 6985

November 22, 2016 ~ Tuesday

7a Morning Pages ~ Richmond, VA w/James & Pamela

Slept in a big, cozy bed last night, and I tossed and turned like crazy. I was too warm, then chilled. I was comfortable, but I guess I didn’t know what to do with myself. This is the second time recently that I should have had a good night’s sleep, but was very restless instead. Maybe it is the strange environment? I seem to sleep better in my car.

I hiked the White Oak Falls Trail in the Shenandoah National Park yesterday. It was awesome. You hike four and a half miles down into the canyon, along a creek that rolls itself down three separate falls areas, each more beautiful than the last.

There are places to picnic and even swim in the waters – great for warmer weather.

The return hike is back UP those four and a half miles, the first three-ish being pretty rocky, rugged and steep. I’ve learned to take care of my body for a good hike, so we did just fine.

I had a big Thanksgiving dinner the night before with Cathy and her family. I packed a snack for Justice and me that we enjoyed at the bottom of the falls.

We completed the nine mile hike in four hours, fourteen minutes. The elevation was 2444 feet over those four and a half miles.

Drove to Richmond and had dinner with James and Pamela. We went to Social 52. They have extended Happy Hour on Mondays, so appetizers were buy one get one half off, and small draft beers were $2. I needn’t worry, as they paid for my dinner anyway. Another generous friend. ❤

Edward wants to have brunch with me today! When he realized I would be in Richmond as he landed, he asked if I wanted to have lunch! It was so sweet, and of course I took him up on his offer. We didn’t think we would see each other until Friday, and even that was a bonus we had not expected. Now we get a “sneak peek” three days early. lol

But seriously, we miss each other. The universe has thrown in another wonderful curve ball, and we are grateful for the opportunity. It’s just a shame he can’t accompany me to Myrtle Beach for the whole week.

I am glad for the time I will get to spend with his kids. I rarely have the chance to see them, so we have had little opportunity to build a real relationship. I hope Jennifer is better behaved than last time. She really tried to “take over” her daddy and monopolize his time and attention. I understand this is totally normal, but it is awkward too. She acted like a jealous lover, not a spoiled child. It was weird, and I wasn’t quite sure how to act. Aside from Pop, none of Edward’s family has been very supportive, so I was still trying to earn trust. Nothing I did was good enough.

I still feel hurt over the whole situation. I still remember the day we were all supposed to go to Kings Dominion together, and Shirley refused. I took it very personally. Then the time she chastised me for wanting Edward and the kids to spend time with my family for Thanksgiving.

I try to let go of the hurt, so we can move on and try again. They seem to be willing to try, now that Edward and I are engaged. That somehow changed things. I would understand that, if we had only been dating a year or two. But this November marked six years for us. Obviously we have a serious, committed relationship.

I am anxious to get up and get the day started, but James is not a morning person. Ugh! lol neither is Edward. The two of them seriously remind me of each other. We will do a five mile hike before I get to see Edward for lunch. If we made it out the door around noon-ish… but I really shouldn’t make any assumptions and allow things to unfold the way they will.

First, I have the time, invitation and inclination to take a hot shower! I loooove hot showers these days. I need to collect a change of clothes from my car first.

Another two weeks, and this stretch of my road trip will be complete. I am looking forward to having a month in Florida with Grayson, Cameron and Julia. Holding that sweet baby, who I understand has a head full of hair, just like Cameron did. Bonding with Julia. Celebrating this time with my son and his family.

I was deeply honored to be invited into the delivery room. I am still kind of awed by that. It’s a very tender, intimate time, and it takes a lot of trust to open that time to others. Julia hardly knows me, so I was really, wonderfully surprised to get the message from her. Truly blessed! ❤

Walkabout: Day 33, The long range eye

November 21, 2016 ~ Monday

7:15a Morning Pages ~ Madison, VA w/Cathy

I did not write yesterday. I could have stolen myself away in order to do it, but it didn’t seem right. Cathy got Mark up at 5:30a, and I woke up along with the alarm. There was no going back to sleep for me, but Cathy could have, easily. Instead, she stayed up with me. I just could not bring myself to leave her alone for the hour it would have taken me to write my three pages.

One of my lessons on this trip is being true to myself. But I don’t want to swing the pendulum into being overly selfish. I still want to consider other people’s feelings and needs, but no longer to the neglect of my own.

I also am challenged to think and weigh decisions with a long range eye. Yes, I needed to write yesterday. That is what was best for me, and it would not have really “hurt” Cathy. But I also knew I would have time alone today, and that taking that time would hurt no one at all. So when I posed my decision over two days instead of one, it was easy to make a choice that worked for everyone.

Except that my morning pages are supposed to be non-negotiable.

Cathy also talked me into coming straight on through from my stop in Kentucky, as opposed to camping for a night somewhere in the middle. I felt pretty alert on the road and thought it might be nice to have that warm house around me after all.

That gave us the whole day together, so it felt less rushed and more relaxing. It was nice to have a day without driving, aside from the grocery shopping, which Cathy drove us to and it wasn’t all that far.

I really enjoyed my visit to the Creation Museum and to the Ark. There is truly a good deal of scientific evidence for a young earth, which upholds the Word of God and the authority of Scripture. I have been expanding my understanding of spirituality, and I need to understand how this fits. Or how the rest fits, actually. I need to do more study and ask the truth to be revealed to me.

The Ark was massive and incredibly impressive. It is as long as 1.5 football fields and seven stories tall. It is the largest free-standing timber structure in the world, and it is an awe to behold. The exhibits were thoughtful and provocative and professional. I believe the flood really happened, and I believe there is evidence to support it.

I want to keep learning and growing. I have to believe there is a reason for this journey. I have to believe that God will lead me to this purpose, and that He will continue giving me opportunities to learn and grow and expand my wisdom and understanding.

I want to know more! About Him, about myself, about my fellow creatures, about this land and this world.

I still have no idea what I am supposed to do with the rest of my life. Well, that is not exactly a clear statement. I have some ideas. I have the idea that I am to be a writer. I have the idea that I am to live closer to Grayson, Cameron and Julia.

I have the idea this journey is somehow leading me to my future, and that if I point my feet in the right direction, I will know what to do when the time comes.

I am learning once again to trust my instincts over my reason. This is not entirely foreign to me. I operated this way when I first moved to Florida. I saw miracle after miracle, and I was a part of something really special. I believe I have this opportunity now, again. To see God’s hand and handiwork and to be a part of something special.

I suppose I am waiting for the Call. I am waiting and expecting Him to drop something into my spirit so clearly, like when He called me to serve the homeless. It was undeniable, and I followed the Call with my whole being.

What is my present calling? I guess to do exactly what I am doing right now – with joy and faith. I believe He will provide me with all the resources I need – money, talent, time, people, vision, etc. I believe this with every fiber of my being, but it is difficult to remain patient and steadfast.

Walkabout: Day 31, Creation

November 19, 2016 ~ Saturday

7a Morning Pages ~ Motel @ Florence, KY

I swear I could smell the coffee from my motel room, and I was certain it was 6:30a when I woke up the second time. I was supposed to have a coffee pot in my room, but no such luck. Instead, I have a tiny refrigerator and and microwave.

I’m surprised at only $51/night plus tax and a ten dollar pet fee. There is also a couch and desk area. I was quite comfortable for the evening.

I was able to stay awake until about 10:30p. I got my financial record caught up and a basic assessment of my food supply. I wanted to do some reading, but I just didn’t have it in me.

It felt so good to climb into the big king bed with a warm blanket and squishy pillows. I kept waking up with that thought all night long – how good it felt to sleep in a bed. Safe.

I will go to see the Art today, then I will head east toward Virginia. I have a sight selected in the West Virginia mountains that should be perfect. Only about four-ish hours from the Ark. The overnight low is forecast to be 29* with a chance of flurries. I will have to stuff my sleeping bag inside of Edward’s tonight. I will also mount my window blocks, both for the privacy and for the insulation. Maybe I will actually be able to do some reading tonight.

I am a little disappointed that I didn’t take more time in the Creation Museum yesterday. I was just so road weary and needed to unwind. Which I did.

I could go back today. The museum opens at 9a. I could take a good two hours to really absorb the exhibits. Then an hour to get to the Ark. That would put me at noon. Even if I spent four hours in the Ark, I would be on the road by 4p and to my camp before 9p, considering time to refuel and relieve myself.

There is no cell service at camp, so I would just bed down, maybe a little reading, and sleep. I would rise by 7a, hit the road by 8a, then four hours to Madison puts me at Cathy’s house at noon. Plenty of time.

I would like to see James and Pamela on Monday and head south to Myrtle Beach for the annual family Thanksgiving gathering on Tuesday. I’ll have to check schedules and camp sites to see if I can make that work.

Tamara is arriving in Myrtle Beach on Monday. Chele and her family won’t come until Thursday, so I think this is a good plan. I just have to check with the Lovings now.

Sounds like Cameron and Julia will be moving into a place of their own on December 5th. Julia made a post on Facebook indicating as much. How awesome is that?! I am so proud of Cameron for making that happen. They need to be living as a family, especially while Grayson is so young.

If I am able to crash on the floor or in the driveway, I can be there to help over the first couple of weeks – and to bond with my grandson. The closer this gets, the more strongly I feel that I need to move closer to Florida, so I can be a real grandmother to Grayson.

I have decided that I will go back to the museum today, with a fresh head, eyes to see and ears to hear. I will especially look deeply into the geological evidence for a young earth. This is a fascinating subject for me. Evolution is considered FACT, and those who don’t buy it are just fruity. But what does the actual evidence show us?

I truly am curious, and I want to study this question for myself. I have been on the Answers in Genesis website, and there is a ton of information that supports the idea of a young earth. but I don’t want to blindly believe either side of the argument. I want to study and draw my own conclusion. I ask for eyes to see and ears to hear the truth.

That means I will skip the shower today and use my dry shampoo. I just showered on Friday anyway! lol My clothes will be fine for another day, so I don’t have to dig my suitcase out either. Just a couple of trips down the stairs and I will be good to go.

This leg of my journey should be a little more relaxing. The decision to head north to Mason City was pretty taxing on me, but I am very glad that I went. I hope to keep most of the rest of my driving to thess than five hours each day.

I also was grateful for the splurge day with junk food eating, but now I am stocked again with fresh goods, and I want to get back on target. I would like a nice bowl of chili before I leave the Cincinnati area though. When in Rome, right? 🙂

Walkabout: Day 30, Mile 6415

November 18, 2016 ~ Friday

8p Morning Pages? lol ~ Florence, KY

I had an early start and a long drive ahead of me, so I put off my morning pages until evening. I was trying to make it to the Creation Museum today and the Ark Encounter tomorrow, so I drove over four hours to my campsite last night, and I put another eight hours on the road this morning.

I am road weary.

The site I stayed at last night was near Wapella, there the Iowa and Mississippi Rivers converge. I slept right off the water. I’ll bet it was so beautiful. But it was dark when I arrived and dark when I departed. I saw nothing but the dirt road, the trees, and the stars.

It was 76* when I arrived in Petersburg today, too hot to leave the pup in the car while I toured the museum. Also, there were no free camp sites listed anywhere nearby. So I used points to get a motel and check in around 2p.

I was relieved to have a room tonight, but I don’t understand why. I have been with family, couch surfing for the better part of the last week. I should feel refreshed and anxious for the open road and night air. But the lack of privacy is getting to me.

When I camp, it is dark. I am cautious. I try not to bring attention to myself. I have “window shades”, but if I use them, I can’t see someone approaching.

Actually, that is a silly excuse because I hardly pay much attention anyway. I am just being lazy and don’t want to bother installing them and taking them back down the next day. I need to get over that, because I can’t just sit in the dark night after night. I have reading and writing to do!

Tonight I am drinking Kentucky Bourbon and eating Ginger Snaps to celebrate thirty days on the road. I have traveled over 6400 miles thus far. I have seen amazing sights and stood on sacred grounds. I have loved solitude and enjoyed good company.

I have heard just how negative most people are, while nature is so very nourishing.

The drive was rough today. I was tired and maybe a little hung over. I can’t hardly tell these days, but I’m not drinking like I used to.

The fast food joints have been calling my name, and I could hardly resist. I had a grilled chicken sandwich from McDonald’s last night. It didn’t sit well with me and gave me terrible gas. That didn’t stop me from stopping again at another this morning for an Egg McMuffin, and then two hours later it was a ham and cheese croissant from Arby’s. Made me think of John.

I used to get two of those bad boys for four bucks in Florida. I paid almost three dollars for one today. I spent more on food today than I have in the last week. I felt ravenous.

The bourbon seems a better choice than wine for me. I spent only $14 for the bottle. I have drank only four ounces, with plenty for another few nights. I don’t feel the need to finish the bottle. I am mixing it with club soda, so no extra calories and a little hydration. It doesn’t taste as wonderful as wine, but it isn’t all that bad either. I googled “decent inexpensive bourbon” to find it. Very Old Barton, and it is typically found only in Kentucky. Perfect. 🙂

Walkabout: Day 29, My wedding dream answer

November 17, 2016 ~ Thursday

7:30a Morning Pages ~ Mason City, IA

I should have let her put me in bifocals. I can hardly see close up with my glasses anymore. I have my glasses atop my head right now, just so I can write this, these morning pages.

I had the strangest dream last night. I dreamt that Rob and I were supposed to get married. It had been planned, semi-planned anyway, a date set long in advance. We had arranged the minister, the photographer, the venue, the bridesmaids and gowns.

But we ourselves were vacillating. Should we or shouldn’t we? We were vexed. We could not decide.

We lost track of time, and the date came around. We still had not decided. But we had the venue, so we decided to make use of it. Instead of setting it for a ceremony, we had them put in a huge bed, front and center, with red satin sheets and huge, white pillar candles on either side.

We were in this room, talking, asking ourselves how it came to this. Why could we not decide? The date had come, and still we did not know what to do.

Then his mom showed up, and she had the bridesmaids with her! She asked where they should get ready! She must have remembered the date, even though we had not sent out invitations.

We didn’t know what to do, so we just showed them to the dressing room. They started getting dressed in their gowns, two or three of them, and we thought it was funny.

My mom showed up too. She set up some chairs in rows in front of the big, red satin bed.

Rob and I just thought it was all surreal. I thought, “What do we do now?” Beverages and a plate of snacks were brought in for the wedding party.

Then Alan and Joile showed up. They were the photographers! They started lining up the bridesmaids for photos and suggested I get dressed, so I did. They stood us up on the bed, which I thought would be totally awkward, but actually it came across as classy somehow.

Rob was dressed too, and we had our wedding party photographed. No groomsmen, just the maids and mothers. It felt so silly – how were we going to proceed? Should we proceed?

Then we found out that Alan was our minister! We could move forward with the wedding if we wanted to. Did we want to? Was it too late to call our friends? It was too late, but did we really need friends to get married? Not really, no.

The doors to the room were wide open, and a few people had wandered in to check out all the comotion. It was quite a scene, and no one knew how undecided we were.

We kept trying to talk our way through it. I kept wanting Rob to make the decision. Did he want to marry me or not? He lamented, seeming almost pained by the idea and said, “Why? Why oh why didn’t I ask you?”

I thought to myself, “Well, ask me now. Why don’t you just ask me now?”

By this time the room was slam full of people. Every chair was filled and others were standing. I couldn’t believe we had drawn such a crowd.

We were ready to begin, but Rob still could not make a decision. He seemed to genuinely want me. He seemed to truly want to marry me. But he could not bring himself to decide for us.

I wanted to be the rescue, to save him from himself and make the decision for him. I felt pity for him. And then it hit me.

To choose to marry him would be to accept that I would forever be coming to his rescue. This was the problem that drove us apart, and here I was trying to fix the problem by reinforcing it. Did I really want to live like this for the rest of my life? Did I really want to be the only backbone in this relationship? Did I really want to shoulder every burden because my husband could not? No, I didn’t.

At that moment, Edward came flashing into my mind. Edward! How could I have forgotten about Edward?! We were engaged to be married! How could I be standing here with Rob right now?

I put a stop to the whole ceremony. I ended it that instant. Rob seemed relieved. And he took out his checkbook so we could split the expenses.

What message might this dream have for me? Is Rob really Edward? Am I waiting for Edward to make a decision? Am I fearful of having to be the burden bearer?

What would happen if I never mention the wedding? Would the date just creep up on us, like in my dream? If I said and did nothing, would he take the bull by the horns? Or would we be sitting in the garden on that day with half wishes and half plans, wondering how we got here and how we should proceed?

What I am learning about intuition is that we often know the answer to our questions, but we don’t like the answer, so we keep “searching” for another. I think deep down I know that I am fearful of what being married to Edward would mean for my burdens. But I keep wishing and hoping he has the backbone to man up and make a decision for us. For me.

Walkabout: Day 28, Questions about being true

November 16, 2016 ~ Wednesday

7:30a Morning Pages ~ Baldwin, OK ~ Douglas County Lake

Met my cousin John for the very first time yesterday. Apparently my Uncle Dennis had a relationship before he married Aunt Nancy, and they had a son he never told us about. Angie mentioned him to me, and when I said I might stop halfway to Mason City, in Kansas City, Kathee asked me if I was going to see John.

I guess they have been getting to know him on Facebook. I was excited to know I have MORE family and to meet him. He is a really nice guy. All of this time, he thought he was an only child. Now he has a huge family, if he chooses to embrace them. I can’t help but wonder what that does to a person, psychologically.

I camped at Douglas County Lake last night. It was dark when I arrived. I woke up to beautiful scenery! There is a trail right in front of me that appears by satellite to go at least halfway around the lake. I think I will gear up for a jog this morning.

John took me to dinner last night, and Teresa the night before that, and I didn’t get a chance to get out yesterday. I want to maintain the shape and fitness level I have worked so hard to earn. It feels great to be fit! And to experience so much of this beautiful country on my own two feet.

I am anxious to get underway today. I have a six hour trip to Mason City, Iowa. I want to run today, and I need to stop at an REI along the way to pick up another canister. That will take time, and I don’t want to arrive too late.

But I want to be true to my deeper self, who loves to write and hike and to run, and she deserves her opportunity to do so. Besides, after five hours in the car yesterday, and the grueling schedule I have ahead of me, I need to stretch my legs and move my body.

Today is Day 28. I have been on the road four weeks. I need to tally my finances, but I know I will be making purchases today that need to be included. I believe I am still within my imposed food and spending budgets. Much thanks is due to my refreshing visits along the way. People have been so kind and generous to me and to Justice.

There was a single small duck sitting in my view, just outside my window on the driver’s side. Cute little thing, all by himself. I decided a wanted a picture. I picked up my camera, rolled down the window and zoomed in. Poof! He vanished. I watched the water for several seconds before I finally gave up with my camera. Then he appeared back on the surface a few feet away. What a shy little rascal.

As the sun rises higher and higher in the sky, it is showing some signs of fall foliage colors. Nothing spectacular, just a hint or orange here, a deepening of maroon there, a brightening of yellow family dotting the tree tops. I love the fall colors and the sound of crunching leaves beneath my feet.

I should check my oil level when I get back from my run. This would be a good time to replenish, if I need to. Plus maintain my peace of mind. “Slow and methodical. Protect my tools, protect my person.” I am grateful to have such a trusty steed to ride me to glory.

I rolled over 100K miles yesterday! Dang it, I didn’t even know it. I had been watching the numbers creep up, but I missed the roll over. Oh well, not that big of a deal.

I seriously want to cut the morning pages short today, so I can get the rest of my day underway. But that would be counterproductive. I am a writer! That means I need to write! There is very little more important in my life right now than honing my writing skills. And The Artist’s Way says that the morning pages are non-negotiable. I am to do them no matter what.

Besides, what good is it to arrive in Mason City much before dinner time? Is it more important to have that extra hour or two with family? Or is it more important to spend that hour or two being true to myself and my commitments and shaping my future for the better? Even if I depart here at noon, that still puts me in Mason City by 7p, plenty of time to visit.

The question before me presently is whether I want to wear my headphones and whether I want to bring Justice. Justice will want to stop and sniff everything along the way, breaking my pace and messing with my head. She needs her exercise too, but she may benefit from the extra rest and peace in the car right now. She has been so stimulated by all of the new sights, sounds and smells these last four weeks. I can tell she is tired out by them.

Four weeks on the road today. What an amazing accomplishment. What an incredible opportunity. I am deeply grateful for it.

Walkabout, Day 27, Mile 4985

November 15, 2016 ~ Tuesday

9:15a Morning Pages ~ Oklahoma City, Compass Coffee House

Found another adorable coffee shop to write my morning pages today. I love that it is called Compass Coffee House, and I ordered the True North Latte. I think it is another sign that I am on the right path.

I deeply enjoyed my time with Teresa last night. We stayed up until midnight, just chatting. We shared a nip of her homemade Kahlua, and I opened a bottle of the Roux. Her husband, Dee, played around on his keyboards in the music room. Her art is just beautiful, especially the wax and spray paint pieces she does. She shared some of her love for our Native American heritage with me. There were very kind and generous to me and to Justice. Another family blessing.

I wanted to purchase two pieces of her art. One is wax work on paper, and it reminds me of the Phoenix bird. The colors are striking. The second has a full moon and three spirit birds. It is spray paint, and she calls it the Trinity. She painted it on August 20, 2016 – just as I was dismantling my life. The image and the timing feels so significant.

I had no idea what she would charge me, and I wanted to offer her a fair price for her work. I kept thinking of the fifty dollars Iverna blessed me with, and that I could pass on that blessing, but it just didn’t seem like enough. Were those pieces hanging in my tasting room, I would pay at least $200 for the canvas and $50-75 for the wax work.

So instead of making an offer I thought would be offensive, I asked her what she would charge me, and that it would have to be a fair price. I would have paid almost whatever she asked. She tried to make it one penny, but I refused. That was not fair. So I countered with my fifty dollar blessing, telling her vaguely how I had come to it but not who had given it to me. I told her simply that it was a blessing to me that I wanted to pass on to her. She lit up.

Then she told me that she had really wanted to gift me something to help me on my journey, but that she only had twenty bucks. I thought – she had already taken me to dinner and opened her home to me! But she wanted to do more, and she returned my blessing money back to me, saying, “You have bought this painting. It is a done deal. Now I have something to bless you with!” And she put the fifty dollars back into my hands. Wow, what a powerful experience!

She also gave me an extra painting, which I will give to John when I visit him for dinner this evening. John is a cousin I never knew I had. Teresa adores him, and he loves her art. It will be a perfect way to share the gift and blessing she shared with me.

She played me a flute prayer before sending me off with a big hug. It really warmed my heart.

I want to share her art in my next post. I don’t know whether to feature it singly or to include the other pieces I have brought with me. But I know I needed to stop this morning and write it out before I continued north into Kansas. While it was fresh on my mind and in my heart.

I wish I could afford more art! There are some wonderful pieces hanging in this coffee house. There is a gorgeous eagle I would like to get for my dad, but $195 is more than I can spend right now. Funny, I would not spend that on shoes or jewelry or glasses, but I don’t bat a lash at that price for art – instead, what a steal! It just brings me so much joy, especially when I have met the artist. More people should collect, so that souls like Teresa can create and inspire.

I need a special frame for the Phoenix. In the meantime, I have it wedged between two other pieces to keep it safe. Being wax, it is fragile. I would be so upset if anything happened to it.

I had a dream last night. I watched a crab digging into the wet sand and disappearing in my rear view mirror as I drove my journey. I wonder what it could mean? I will do a little research while I finish my latte and prepare for the next stretch of driving – five hours this time. Then I need to get a long walk in to keep up my fitness – physical and mental.

Walkabout: Day 26, Write here, write now

November 14, 2016 ~ Monday

7:45a Morning Pages ~ Carnegie, OK

The house is quiet. Angie, Randy and Maylina have left for work and school. I will lock up on my way out. Angie has been wonderful, as has the rest of my family.

I had thought about heading out last night. I finished my laundry and packed up the car. But by the time I did all of that, it was going on dusk. The particular campsite I had chosen was described as easy to miss, and I didn’t want to have to find it in the dark.

So I decided to stay, and I opened a bottle of wine to enjoy while waiting for my hosts to return from the birthday party they had gone to.

I heard a knock at the door, and I know to answer it in a place like this, even though it is not my home. It was my Aunt Iverna. She said she wanted to catch me before I left and put fifty dollars into my hand in small bills. I was so touched! She said it wasn’t much, just a little something to help me out, and that I needed to be careful. It meant a ton to me.

I sipped my wine and snacked on dried peas until Angie came home. I had a can of chicken noodle soup. Edward called after he closed the tasting room, and we chatted for a spell.

I made arrangements to head north instead of south, to visit with my family in Iowa. I can see Julianne in January instead. It felt important to see my family at this time. Bonus – I will also get to meet a cousin I never knew I had in Kansas.

Angie told me about Red Rock Canyon, so I will do some hiking there today before taking the scenic route into Oklahoma City. My cousin Valerie told me about the scenic drive between Binger and OKC. I am looking forward to it. If I arrive early enough, I will stop to see my cousin Kirby before going on the visit with Teresa.

So this stretch of my trip is filled with family. It is amazing and wonderful that they are all so very kind and gracious, even though I haven’t seen them in years, and we weren’t all that close to begin with. Angie even wanted to keep the empty wine bottle we shared.

Well, I had most of it. and I finished the bottle I opened last night too, all by myself. Obviously I have not changed my relationship to alcohol that dramatically. I obviously still have abuse issues, and I need to stop. It is Monday, and I can call this a fresh beginning. I will be pretty well stacked up with travel for the next week, and I want to feel good and keep my head about me. Mostly, I just want to enjoy being sober. That was one of my main goals for this trip.

I might even get to visit the Creation Museum in Kentucky. I was a charter donor to the museum, and I have yet to make a visit. It will be interesting to see the exhibits and hear the evidence presented for a young earth. My own thoughts on this subject could use some clarity.

I am anxious to get on the road, but I also want to finish my morning pages. If I am to be a writer, I need to make a serious commitment to the craft – and to myself. So many people have suggested a write a book about Edward and I, a book about this journey. So many people believe in me, and believe I have talent. I am starting to believe in myself. But I don’t know how to start. I don’t know the first thing about writing a book. It’s all I can do now to write three pages of streaming thoughts each morning.

Perhaps I should drag out The Artist’s Way book and begin it again. This can be my first week, ending on Wednesday. I have already read the material and have done a couple of the exercises. I can just pick up where I left off. If I want this to be my future, if I want to change my life, it all starts right here, right now. “I believe that I have the ability to achieve the object of my definite purpose in life.” I can do this. I will do this.

I have a few things left to load in the car. Then I will say goodbye to Grandma’s house again. It has been nice to spend time here, feeling her loving memory. Angie has done a good job at taking care of her house. She has done a hymnal wall and paper bag floors. It’s a cute little shanty, and I love it. Oh so many memories were made here in this house as I was a little girl. Here is where I got to eat Honeycomb cereal. 🙂