Remembering, Honoring

As I sit in the quiet – on my balcony overlooking the Nation’s Capitol in the distance, having spent a few days touring with my granddaughter last week, I am struck more today than usual with awe at the true level of sacrifice of the Founders and the many generations of brave men and women wearing the Flag of the United States of America on their uniforms.

While today, many so called “heroes” cash in on book deals and speaking engagements, our founders lived an opposite reality. Men of means, well travelled, and highly educated, who often ended with nothing.

I think of the generations of fighting men and women who left for so many tours to defend us and to defend others. Giving their lives for the truest “greater good”.

I weep for the many who have nightmares and spend their waking hours in the streets as our government (the very one they defended) leaves them as “others”.

And, I’m thankful for the many I know who daily continue to serve in ways big and small in their homes, communities and the nation.

THEY fought for the FREEDOM of humans they may never meet. Freedom for the South Korean, freedom for the Vietnamese, freedom for the Jews, the Poles, for so many. They believed in sacrifice for others, not manufactured sacrifice to control others (post a blue and yellow flag, wear a mask, get a shot) but true sacrifice – they gave away home, finances, health and some their lives for others to live in freedom!

On this Memorial day, I sit in the quiet of my world, and I am thankful for the sacrifice of so many these last 200 plus years. And I intercede for the next generation, that these sacrifices won’t be for naught; That the freedom we have today, which was NOT free, will be alive tomorrow.

Respect. Honor. Remember.
In memory of Daddy. And all of my uncles who served in WWII, Vietnam, or Korea.

When Love Breaks Through

Today is Palm Sunday. It’s is also Master’s Sunday. And… it is the anniversary of my Father’s passing. For many those three things are a hodge podge of unrelated events. For me, for my sisters – they are forever linked.

The latter two for more explicit reasons. Twenty years ago today, I lost my father after a very short battle with pancreatic cancer. He died on the first day of the Master’s golf tournament that year. My daddy loved that tournament.

The former – today being Palm Sunday – well that’s a little deeper. If you’ll bear with me, I’ll get there.

My father, John Francis Patterson was imperfect. He was an enigma to me in many ways. I barely knew him growing up. He was not present and sometimes years went by before I’d see him or talk to him. I loved him and missed him.

Sometime in the early 80s we began spending more and more time together. Vacations mostly, since he lived in New England then Florida, and we in Kentucky. But precious time. As a college student I bravely asked him for some clarity and explanation of his absence. As an adult, my relationship with my daddy continued to grow and mend, and we were blessed with time together, laughter, and good conversations. I thank God daily that I had the joy of seeing my children call him Grandpa, climb in his lap, and love him deeply.

If you are like most of humanity, scents and sounds conjure remembrance. For me a cigar takes me back to a specific memory of my dad, and to this day, I love the smell of a cigar (strange for an adamant non-smoker). The aroma of a good homemade pasta sauce (a specialty and recipe handed down to my own children) brings back so many beautiful memories. And a lovely red wine – deep and peppery brings me joy.

Then the sounds – the crack of a golf ball, the laugh of my nephews or my son, or a handful of singers or songs. My dad had a beautiful voice. As an adult I do remember hearing him sing along to Frank Sinatra – I Did It My Way. Or grab a mic at a piano bar and sing Danny Boy. But there are others – that stir remembrance of John Francis.

Glenn Campbell – Gentle on My Mind

Willie Nelson – Always on My Mind

BJ Thomas – Rain Drops Keep Falling On My Head

That scene from Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid (A girl, a boy and a bike, RainDrops playing) reminds me of my dad here on earth. But this glorious day – Palm Sunday – takes my breath away. For my dad no longer sings of his way, or moments lost (A theme of songs above). He now, and for the last 20 years, sings a Holy song! He sings because of the grace of God, the offering and sacrificial blood of Christ, and because in the last, he gave his life and heart over to The Savior!

And so, I end with this poem – dedicated to the memory of my daddy, in thanksgiving for the gift that is the salvation message of the Cross.

TO DADDY. With love, Lap Puppy

BJ thomas, Rain Drops scene from Butch and Sundance…

A secret smile.
A quirky grin.

The gray lines of being human.
The what ifs of life on planet earth.

The misplaced moments…
The never hads…
The should’ves and could’ves…

Ahhh, but then
Love breaks through.
And…

The questions become answers.
The wasted moments become pearls of wisdom.
The hope of tomorrow is the reality of today.

All because – His grace is sufficient and His blood was shed.

Where once upon a time becomes
Once and for all!

Where my Daddy’s worldly songs become but a pleasant memory as his heavenly song builds –
HOLY HOLY HOLY
IS THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY.

Our last photo together.
September, 2001

Remembering…

Let’s talk about history – today. Right now.
November 9, 2021. This is the 83rd anniversary of Kristallnacht.
Today is also the 32nd Anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down.

In the book of Esther there are numerous “reversals of destiny” and the dates and times are NO ACCIDENT. They are providential. The story is filled with ironies that are really providence! Human built the gallows, then hung on those gallows.
Haman wrote an edict, then cost his people 75,000 lives when Esther and Mordecai wrote an overriding edict allowing their people to fight back!
Don’t think God won’t let us fight back. He WILL ORDAIN it when it is time.

I would say that the two anniversaries above are similar to those written about in the Book of Esther.
Do NOT THINK for an instant that The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jakob, and David did NOT know the exact days were the same.
He KNOWS.

This world is on the precipice of a day that the enemy of our souls will believe he won. Yet, we who KNOW the King of Kings know that is a lie. That he lost on that day 2000 years ago when the tomb was laid bare.

Today, I will honor those who lost every thing on November 9, 1938. I will honor their memory and their lives.
And I will remember the reversal that symbolically ended that era, and literally ended an era of oppression in Eastern Europe, 51 yrs after that fateful night. I will do so with rejoicing.

A Purim of sorts – today.

And I will pray that we shall see a reversal with our own eyes soon! Very soon!

May God bless you and Keep you. May the Lord make his face shine upon you, and give you peace.

When a detour takes you back – to new adventures

I felt so good about what I’d accomplished as last week ended and I closed up shop.

You see, I started a new journey three weeks ago. A detour BACK to academia full time, but in a NEW position as a Capstone Coordinator for the Doctor of Speech Language Pathology (SLPD) Program at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMUoHP). For the first two weeks I was doing triple time closing the school year, and saying goodbyes to teachers, staff, students, and parents that became family. The third week, I was home for a long planned visit in KY with my people – meeting my sweet brand new 1 month old granddaughter Genevieve (#GennaMyJoy), celebrating my other love, Macie’s (#MacieMyLove) 3rd birthday, cleaning up my childhood home for my eldest to move into, cherishing time with my momma, sisters, & kids, and enjoying a bookclub reunion. I made sure to block plenty of time to focus on all the work by day!!! Or so I thought.

The job is Capstone Coordinator. This means manuscript cross checking – comparing suggested and required revisions with clean documents. Learning the changes of APA 7 (I left academics when we were still on 6) as I edit drafts for approval. Getting into and out of the weeds of exclusionary and inclusionary criteria, pre and post testing, and data points with students who had hoped to collect data, well, yesterday. Signing and emailing approvals with all the attachments to all the people.

But…. ahhhh the learning curve on new systems and new technology might break me (quip and textExpander are amazing ONCE you know how to use them). Though my own expectations of “should be able to” perfectionism, my silly sense of independence, and my remembrance of my ability to juggle a million things in higher education led me to believe I had it figured out!!

Yesterday, Monday, I was faced with all that I missed. All the missed details that shouldn’t have been. Some emails had no attachments. Others went to some, but not all of the appropriate individuals. SIGH. Scolding myself, embarrassed at my inadequacies and stupidity. “I’m NOT NEW to this. I should do better!!!”

Monday’s team meeting could have been a disaster. So much to redo, so many details taking up others’ valuable time. Instead, it was a lesson in grace! I’ve never been quite so thankful for such a wonderful team! Each, in turn, showed me what to do, shared their own foibles along the way, and together we brainstormed ideas for down the road. All filled with grace and kindness. After yesterday, I’m ever more convinced of the culture I felt when doing adjunct teaching and interviewing for this position; the culture of WE that is RMUoHP! I am thankful!

When I taught at the University of Cincinnati, I ended each semester, EVERY class I taught – from year 1 undergrad to doctoral level seminars – with a reminder of this truism: Along the way you will make mistakes, you will drop the ball, you will have bad bosses, mean colleagues, unfair supervisors, or friends who turn their backs on you. Personally and professionally – you will face successes and failures. However, if in the face of every challenge, difficulty, or set back you can remember these words – you will, in the end succeed: “have courage and be kind.” (Disney’s Cinderella 2015)

I dropped quite a few balls these last three weeks. I failed. I messed up. I forgot. In the last three weeks my family, friends, and colleagues have extended ample grace and kindness to me. I need those in my life to know I am dependable, that I won’t quit, that I can do the work they trust me with. I pray I reacted, responded, and lived these last few weeks in courage to admit and fix the things I needed to, and with kindness extended to others.

As I continue on this Beautiful Detour BACK to academia in this NEW and challenging role, here’s hoping the “muscle memory” of literature reviews, research design, and scholarly writing and editing comes back swiftly. And, that the message of courage and kindness reaches many more speech-language pathologists who will in turn reach and mentor more!

#mentors #teachingandlearning #courageandkindness #academics #SLPeeps #RMUoHP

My Mother

In my mother’s little house there was room. Room at the table. Room for a weary head to lay and rest. Room for more love to be given and received.

In that tiny four bedroom house with one bathroom, home to 7 women – 3 little girls, 3 teenagers, and mom when we moved in, she had room for the lost and lonely, always.

She took in the strays. Ted, the Great Dane, he found his owners. Benji, He became our beloved companion. The turtles, they went back to their fields. Rock collections, key collections, books, all the books!

She took in any and every stray friend whose parents couldn’t or wouldn’t allow them to stay any longer. Squeezing two into a twin bed, an 8th plate at the dinner table? Sure.

She gave out of her own need. She gave bags of clothes to cousins, or those she heard were in need. She gave at least 10% of her income to the church, or the orphan, or the wounded and weary.

She got up at 5 a.m. and prayed, read God’s word, journaled her hopes, fears, longings and needs. Then stood all day, in a kitchen feeding other children, loving them through gentleness, a soft word, encouragement, and a warm meal. She’d leave there and go clean apartments for a business. Scrubbing the beautiful crystal or solid wood as if it were her own precious heirloom.

She came home and stood some more to cook for her own brood. Meals together were a staple of my childhood. There wasn’t much, it was stretched thin, but we were filled, never hungry. And the laughter – the conversations over everything and nothing – lasted hours sometimes. She went to bed early and started all over again at 5 the next day. Never bounced a check, never ruined a load of laundry, never got a ticket. Never gave herself over to her own wants and needs.

Every detour I’ve ever taken – any success I’ve had in life, my survival in the darkest hours, my rejoicing in the most jubilant of circumstances – was possible because of her steadfast love and my faith in the God she introduced me too.

If I pray, it’s because she taught me to pray.

If I soar, it’s because she modeled bravery every single day.

If I persevere, it’s because she never once gave up.

If I have, it’s because she went without.

If I love, it’s because I was loved.

Patricia Poole Patterson, YOU are the greatest mother. Your hugs, your love, your laughter, your clapping off beat, your joyful singing unto the Lord, your steadfastness, your unwavering Faith in The God of creation, your intelligence, your kindness are all treasures to me.

Proverbs 31 – SHE IS

I love you Momma! Happy Mother’s Day

Spring… FORWARD

Spring is a season of beginnings, new life fresh growth. But, as I wrote back in September, for me, Fall has been the season of new and fresh beginnings. My birthday, wedding, school starting (working in education most of my life and raising kids), moves through the years – all seemed to come in the Fall. Endings – graduations, divorce, my Dad’s passing, relationship endings, goodbyes were Springtime events in my personal life.

Spring Blooms

Mind you, I don’t say that with melancholy or heaviness. Not all endings are bad. So, Spring was not associated with negativity, just not beginnings. Until the last few years. Spring has, over the last few years re-invented itself in my personal story. It has become, as in nature, a time of new birth, beginnings, growth and soft yet vibrant colors. Isn’t that just the way of detours and adventures? One should simply be ready for the God of creation to turn your yesterdays, routines, and expectations on their heads!

Spring 2018 – Two events occurred that changed my life for the better. In April, I was invited to a Derby Party to be held on May 5, a first date. In June, my first granddaugher Macie Kay (aka #maciemylove) was born. Those two people made all of life better! Truly. It has been filled with laughter, laundro-mats, beers, wine, music, camping, hiking, sunflower fields, farms, new friends and old friends, baby snuggles, giggles, twirling, prayers, songs, games – life became brighter, louder, and more fun than it had been in a long time.

#MacieMyLeprechaun

Spring 2019 – A spring break trip to Maryland, a seed was planted of a future and a hope there. Nothing said out loud, nothing concrete, just a comfort and a knowing, deep within, that I “could live there.” In August of that year, I made the leap and my adventure in MD began.

Spring 2020 SHOO – was anyone prepared for THAT? There is too much to truly grapple with in one blog post. But those who followed me on facebook and insta (before I shut those down) know that last spring was one of deep personal growth for me. A renewing of my heart and mind. Return to my roots and the God of my youth. While I never left Him, I became that Laodicean – Lukewarm – Christian I never wanted to be. Finding myself alone last spring, I dove into new books, new worship, new levels of meeting my Lord daily. What a difference a year makes!

Spring 2021 – Yet another detour found me and I was honored to teach a research course to SLPs pursuing a clinical doctorate at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. What a blessing working with those scholars has been these last few months. The time re-energized the mentor, teacher, and researcher in me after my abrupt exit from academia two years ago. I remembered why I got that PhD in the first place. I traveled to Florida for a Sister Trip extraordinaire. Our first in 14 years, and well overdue. The first with just the 6 of us. The week was mixed with tears and laughter, growing and healing, sunshine and MORE sunshine! A reminder that my best friends are the ones who affirm me and tell the hard truths. I drove to Kentucky to help my mom move back to Colonial, into her new assisted living apartment and I cried tears of joy as she sang hymns with familiar faces. The time re-newed my desire to cherish the simple days and moments with my gift of a mother. Blessings upon blessings!

Side by side

Four Springs of new and fresh and exciting, mixed with mundane and simple, mixed with loss and grief – life.

Three years after that first date and the arrival of #MacieMyLove, I await the arrival of my 2nd granddaughter (Genevieve Grace – aka #gennamyjoy). My son prepares to buy my childhood home, my elder daughter building on her “forever farm”, and my youngest on to her first solo rental! And, I get to watch it all – filled with joy, peace, and hope alongside “my person,” in Maryland. I am ever so thankful for endings that became beginnings over the last few years. This Spring, I can state unequivocally, that I feel loved, cherished, respected, appreciated, seen, heard, and valued in ways I honestly never knew were possible.

What does any of this have to do with #beautifuldetours and/ or #newadventures? Well, the subtitle says it all… “learning to appreciate the unexpected.”

If I wallowed in the broken promises or leavings… if I stewed about the endings or losses of the Springs of my past… if I got stuck in the routines of the ebbs and flows of my own history… if I sat in silence as an observer of my story, I would not have had enough gumption to say “yes” and would therefore not have been present to partake of the joys, hope, and laughter of the Springs that led to THIS today.

Ecclesiastes 3 – To EVERYTHING there IS a Season…

#encouragment #spring #NewBeginnings #adventureawaits #MacieMyLove #GennaMyJoy #sistertribe #TOMORROWisWaiting #nevertoolate

It is well

My last post was about saying lots of goodbyes. In January my best friend, whose family is like family, said goodbye to her husband. Then, my children said goodbye to two of their precious grandparents – merely a week apart. Lots of earthly endings.

January was hard.

Then February came. We are not two weeks in and my mother was in the emergency room, having fallen multiple times over just a 24 hour period. Disoriented and alone on her floor, she had a UTI. She is now in a skilled nursing facility, improving daily with lots of TLC and rehab services. My sweet daughter, pregnant with her 2nd child went to urgent care a day later with heart palpitations and terrible pain. Turns out not grieving is a dangerous thing. With some rest and a few good cries she is doing much better and Baby G is also doing quite well. Then, yesterday, my dear 25 year old nephew was in the emergency room with racing heart, dropping BP, pain in extremities and a killer headache. Scary stuff.

February is proving hard.

And yet – YET – somehow in the midst of this last 6 weeks of chaos, I can honestly say, there is beauty. There is joy. There is hope. I’m finding as I journey through my beautiful detours that there is ALWAYS hope.

Each week of this past year of quarantine, my five sisters and I have grown individually in our faith. We have taken the isolated time to face hurts and broken pieces with the God we were introduced to by our precious mother many years ago. Individually God did a work, so that corporately we could grow back together – stronger and more in love with each other than ever. And so, when 2021 came in like a lion – big and loud and roaring with angst and loss and earthly fears – we had each other. We’ve always had each other, but life can tear the cords that bind. It tried with us. But, God’s Grace is greater.

For the past few months we have messaged regularly. But over these last two to three months it has been daily. Quite literally DAILY – messages are received and sent among these Patterson women. My mom and sisters are some of the strongest, fiercest, smartest, funniest, most affirming and Godly women I know. And lucky me – they are mine. My tribe. My family. My circle. My people. And they have given me hope every day.

My tribe. Mighty women of God!

While chaos swirls in the world and in our family, and the enemy of our souls and our Hope attacks again and again, we remember WHO we are and WHOSE we are. John and Patty’s daughters? Yes! But even more, daughters of the Most High King. Saved and sanctified by the blood of the Lamb. Tied together not just by the blood of our ancestors, but by faith. Because of that fact, even in the day to day and the unknowns, we can share stories and words of encouragement, scriptures and dreams, songs and prayers. What happens then? The fear – the lies – the anxiety – dissipate. The joy – the hope – the freedom – return.

Also in the midst, funny memes fly back and forth. Silly videos and photos of great nieces and nephews playing in the snow, reading poetry or throwing temper tantrums are shared. Just plain mundane middle happenings – new shoes or a good day at work. All reminding us that life is good and full. So FULL!

Just SOME of the grandkids and great grandkids loving their Grandma Pat

Life is big and challenging and hard. Yet, it is big and challenging and amazing too! It is a roller coaster of epic proportions. And while fear could rule the day -and many have tried for the last year to make sure that it is the prevailing leader of action or inaction – we KNOW better. For fear is a liar. Always has been.

While 2021 has tried to keep us scrambling and grieving and anxious, in a furious manner, TOGETHER we are reminded of the full knowledge that it is well because we KNOW who is in control. We personally know the ONE who holds the FUTURE and the HOPE! It was written before the beginning of time.

And so, it is well with our souls – individually and collectively.

IT IS WELL

#itiswell #beautifuldetours #hope #hisgraceissufficient

On saying goodbye…

It’s been a long time since I wrote. Well, I’ve written, just not shared. Life has been – well, big these last few weeks.

Christmas was wonderful. Filled with family and a few friends. Lots of laughter and a few tears. Lots of good food and more than a few drinks. A week at my best friend’s house. Sharing coffee and conversation with she and her husband Tom, and their daughters. Unhurried time, curled up – knowing that this may be my last visit with Tom. Feeling deeply that this trip – these conversations – were more than…

Back in Maryland, The New Year’s celebration was quiet and perfect. Dressed in sparkles and bare feet for cheese with white wine, then a home cooked dinner of lamb with red wine, followed by champagne. Conversation by candlelight. A brilliant ending to 2020.

Back to work. Back to day to day. Back to life in all its mundane and beautiful.

Then came January 7. And, the call. The call that my beautiful, funny dear friend indeed took his last breath. In the arms of his wife, my dearest friend, he was ushered into heaven. My last conversation with my friend was praying with him. In ten years, we’d never prayed together. We’d had plenty of chats both philosophical and whimsical. We’d asked each other for prayers. But this time – together – hand in hand we prayed. I prayed that God himself would walk in and say “Tom, enough is enough, rise up and walk!” While my prayer was specifically for a miracle in the earthly realm and for my friend’s body to be rid of ALS – HERE and NOW – I do believe with all my heart and soul that Tom heard those words on that Thursday. Saw that face. Took THAT hand and was ushered into the presence of a gracious and merciful God who loves him.

Last week I drove home to Kentucky to formally say goodbye and read some beautiful scriptures at Tom’s life celebration Mass. What an honor. What a gift. To read “To everything there is a season…”, “…well done my good and faithful servant.” To share the gospel in that way, a blessing. What grace to be reminded as I read, that I know that Tom and I will see each other again some day. To sit in the presence of God at the banqueting table!

I believe that ours was not a goodbye, I just have to take a few extra turns, a detour while he was taken the shorter route and has arrived at the destination.

While in Kentucky, we got word that my children’s paternal grandmother was going to hospice. On the day of my dear friend’s funeral, January 21, the kids were gathered around their sweet Grandma Joyce with their dad and said their goodbyes. Yet again, we were reminded that this life is not forever. BUT, we grieve not as those with no hope. For Joyce was a woman of deep faith. She gave and served and loved and prayed. She is pain free and confusion free and I believe worshipping God alongside all her beloved pups! Yapping and barking at her feet. Suzy, Heidi and Louis, and the rest.

I believe that theirs was not a goodbye. The kids still have a bit more to their journeys, while she went on ahead and has arrived at the destination. It was, in her favorite words, a “see you later Hun, Love you!”

On Monday, January 25, my kids buried their grandma and all three were brave and gave public honors to her at the funeral. Blessed. Then, that same evening they got a call that their paternal grandpa, Hayden was headed to the ER and subsequently admitted to ICU. Today, their dad had to inform them grandpa Hayden wouldn’t be leaving the hospital. So more goodbyes are imminent.

I have an aging mother, with dementia and this last year has taken its toll. I don’t know how many days she’s got left. What I do know is that when she breathes her last here, it won’t end our days together. Just our days together on this side of heaven. For I know that I know that my mother will hear the same words Tom heard on January 7, Joyce heard on January 21, and Hayden will hear any day or moment even. Those that my father heard almost 20 years ago and brother-in-law Kris heard more than a decade ago. “Welcome home my good and faithful servant. Now, COME! SIT! I have prepared a banqueting table FOR YOU!”

Oh that all would have this blessed assurance – this hope eternal.

January has come in like a lion. The loss has been deep and personal and real. But our hope, THE hope is in nothing Less than Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness. So, while we cry and grieve those we are missing, we will continue on our detours and we WILL rejoice in the promise of hope eternal.

Until we meet again – Tom, Joyce, Hayden. Until we meet again.

#untilwemeetagain #welldonemygoodandnfaithfulservent #HOPEEternal #ByHISblood #bettertogether

When detours find you!

Sometimes – we are out and about and detours are inevitable. Sometimes – we are comfortable and they come to us and drag us kicking and screaming to a new view. Yet other times – there’s a strange in between. We are comfortable but yearning for more. For a new adventure. Or change. So we begin looking for a new path. Detours come upon us in many different ways. That’s part of the fun! And the beauty.

Almost two years ago I was struggling with my emotional capacity to continue in my job. I was frustrated and unsettled. My daughter was graduating that spring from the University and so thoughts of where and what I could do next creeped in! I needed to move on from academia, but wasn’t sure to what? I was tired of working two jobs, upwards of 70 plus hours some weeks. I felt like I was drowning with more than 150 students across 4 to 5 courses – per semester. Wanting to be fully engaged, know their names was becoming more and more difficult as courses were added and cohort size increased.

Personally, life was getting good. A grand daughter on the way. All my kids in good places. And, In May of 2018 I went on a first date with a hometown boy who left for DC more than 20 years ago. Life long friends but out of touch for the better part of our adult lives. Surprised! That date went well. I liked this detour and it’s possibilities. But 800 ish miles is a good bit of space for not so beautiful detours!

Professionally, as I stated above, I was still longing for a different road! In the spring of 2019, I ran into another old friend from high school. She had recently started teaching at a health professions university in Utah, while staying in Ky. I sent her my CV. Hmmm, I thought, could this be my detour?

I didn’t hear anything. Oh well. But, that date from 2018, well that became a beautiful relationship. And the visits back and forth from Kentucky to Maryland were, each one, better than the one before. And so, in August of 2019, I made the bold and somewhat impulsive (to the outside world) decision to GO! Hard left turn! I left academia and returned to clinical work. I moved from Kentucky to Maryland. I left my family and friends and started fresh. New everything.

BIG DETOUR!!! But oh so beautiful.

Personally – it has been a year of growth – like many of you – forced upon me due to CoVid and quarantines. Just as I started to make friends, lockdown. So my one and only has truly been a one and only. I’m pretty sure he needs male companionship ASAP!!

Professionally – OY!! It has now been 15 months of growing, learning, and falling in love with speech language pathology again. It has been a wild ride tackling new caseloads, IEPs, the challenges of AAC, the sensory world of my autistic students. Just getting the swing of things with day to day and then moving to full time teletherapy. I love my students and work with an incredible team of SLPs, OTs and staff. The families I work with daily have taught me so much about perseverance! And, grace.

I’ve not second guessed my choice to take this road, this detour for a single moment – personally or professionally! I have, however truly missed the teaching. I missed the students. I missed the mentoring. I was blessed to teach at every level of academia and so watched many young people grow from wide-eyed freshman to seasoned graduate students and novice clinicians, or from expert clinicians to researchers and teachers themselves. What a gift.

I began searching online for opportunities to do trainings or something! Anything. And, then, in August, a friend from grad school who is the department head at Towson asked if I’d team teach a large course in Language Disorders with her! It was all online – the only reason it was possible with my job. So, Share the grading load (65 is a lot of students!)? Tag team on lectures? Work with a colleague whom I both respect and enjoy the company of??? Yes! Easy yes. It was an ideal way to get my fix! My mentoring, engaging, lecturing fix. And, it was all of that! Amazing young people, sharing knowledge and skills again, Energizing! I even loved the grading (most of the time!). What a short, but lovely detour.

A week ago today, as I graded the last of the final projects, and wrapped up the semester, I was sad it was coming to an end. I began asking myself, what’s next? Do I want that full time? Do I want to explore face to face options for evening courses? Or just take some time to reflect? WHAT DO I want to do when I grow up? Should I turn left or right? Go straight? I mean, I’m 54. Shouldn’t I know that by now? “God,” I prayed, “show me the next bend in the road. The next detour on my professional journey.”

That same night, as I climbed into bed, I checked my email one last time. There in my in-box was a message from the Department Head of that program I mentioned WAY up at the top! The one my friend from high school works for. He asked if I’d be interested in discussing teaching a Research Methods course to SLPs in their Clinical Doctorate program this next semester? Ummm sure, I’d love to chat.

Today, one week later, I am officially – signed sealed and delivered – a new Adjunct Faculty at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions! I’ve spent time chatting via email and on the phone with around five people from various departments (tech, HR, department assistant, department head) and I can say that I am THRILLED at this opportunity. I’ll still be working my full time job, supporting and providing Speech and language services for kids with complex communication needs. But I’ll also be diving into the research ideas and topics with around 50 professionals from around the country. I’m in SLP nerd heaven thinking about it!

A week ago, I said “show me!” He heard! I don’t know where this particular detour will take me, but I can tell you, unequivocally, that I know it will be a beautiful adventure! I can’t wait to share it with you soon!

#detours #beautifuldetours #adventuresawait #encoragedtoLIVE #teaching #SLPeep

Where feet may fall…

A few weeks ago, I shared my need to spontaneously jump in the car and drive a little over an hour to the beach for a much needed break from city living. As you who’ve visited my blog before know, I’m an extrovert. So if I NEED to get away from humanity after the last 8 months of forced solitude, it’s a REAL need. It was – as I wrote of my adventure – quiet, solitary perfection.

In fact, I loved it so much, the next day I booked two nights at another end of The beautiful Chesapeake Bay, in Norfolk, Virginia. Two days in a tiny space, right on the beach to simply be quiet and listen.

The view from my backyard for two days.

I walked alone. I ate alone. I explored alone. I read alone. I slept alone. YET, I never felt alone. It was just what I needed to get back to a space of hearing my God’s still small voice in the vastness of life and living. To see His handiwork in the sand and sea is to become utterly small and yet big. To feel so loved and part of the universe.

I came home relaxed and rested, two days of work, then I turned around and drove North to the Mountains of Western Maryland with Jeff. In August he booked a cabin nestled in New Germany State Park. No cell service. No internet. Just a cabin and miles of trails to hike and some food and wine.

New Germany Lake

Thanksgiving was another weekend spent with just “us”. A feast – I don’t know how to cook Thanksgiving dinner for two! I started the week so utterly sad that I wasn’t in Kentucky, I made a Custard pie just for me. But after five lovely days spent enjoying laughter and conversation and food, my spirits were lifted.

Thanksgiving walk through the neighborhood wood.

It’s now December. I’m ready for humans again. I’m ready for family and hugs and socializing. I’m ready for hustle and bustle! But November’s solitude was a gift. A reminder that I’m never alone. Two is company. The warmth of your family’s love can be felt across many miles. And, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.

I pray we get to the other side of this madness soon. That we are back to hugging and shaking hands, to holding elevator doors open and handing strangers what they need off the shelf. I pray we are back to being human – together – soon. But until then, I’m thankful for my corner of the world. Thankful for respite. Thankful for my job. Thankful to have kids whom I adore and I think love me pretty well! Thankful.

I was reminded, yet again, that wherever my feet may fall, I am not alone. Thankful indeed!