Traveling with the Women of Vietnam

Traveling can teach you many things. My recent visit to Vietnam provided me with new insight about the lives of women in the Sapa Valley region, their ability to live close to the land in very difficult situations and what we can learn from these strong women. Vietnam Rice field waterfalls-johatcherretreats.comAs with so many places when we travel as tourists, we get a mere glimpse into other people’s lives. I don’t pretend to know much at all after a few days journey into a small region of Viet Nam.

Yet the experience made me pause and think about how we live our lives. These women live so differently than me and yet I felt a sense of connection with them and their lifestyle.

I’m always interested in the women. Women of Vietnam [Read more…]

Share hereFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailFollow meFacebooktwitterpinterestinstagram

How I moved across the world

TO ALMOST PARADISE

1M7A9040Okinawa consists of a group of islands 400 miles south of the mainland of Japan. It has an area of 463 square miles.

I scored. I landed a job in Okinawa. In a tropical paradise. I pulled up roots, left the comfort of my home & everything I know, hugged my loved ones goodbye, and began a journey to the other side of the world.

Phase 1   LETTING GO

We tore out of California, my husband and I. This husband of mine who encouraged me, knowing he’d be the “dependent”…this is the man who is the wind beneath my wings. And me, I’d be the “sponsor” & breadwinner for both of us, at least for awhile.

There were months of packing, deciding what stayed, what went with us. Seeing our home empty after 20 years was shocking. The to do list was all encompassing: Rent out the house, sell the cars, close accounts, get the mail forwarded…when one detail was finished, another took its place.

Saying goodbye to family & friends was brutal…and I wondered over and over…am I doing the right thing? Meeting my three week old granddaughter Avery Mae for the first time then kissing her goodbye was like ripping out a part of myself.

Letting go…all the time. Letting go was the mantra.

[Read more…]

Share hereFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailFollow meFacebooktwitterpinterestinstagram

Cracked Open

On Becoming a Grandmother

There are those moments when life opens you, breaks you into pieces, and you get to experience wonderment.

Avery Mae.

Avery Sweet Mae

That’s the wee baby who came to us, to my son and daugher-in-law a week ago.  Avery Mae took her first breath in the world and started her life journey November 20th at 9:15 pm.

9 pounds 5 ounces of grace and beauty.

It was a tedious labor…24 hours it took her to get here.

Her mother was strong. Her father right by her side.  Avery’s two aunts… sisters supporting, waiting, texting.  She was surrounded by love.

I also was waiting…minute by minute at the end of the phone….the text messages were like gold nuggets for me.

The words would pop on the screen:

4 cm.

now at 6

When things got hard, I saw it on the text. When the doctor came in, there was my text.

I felt slightly bonkers, dizzy, gaga, ridiculously inept to focus on anything.

[Read more…]

Share hereFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailFollow meFacebooktwitterpinterestinstagram

The Women Behind the Scenes

                   What it Really Means to Wear the Uniform

I am the mother of 2 active duty Marines.  Each of my sons have strong, patient women waiting for them.  These women & I wait for them to return from war, from deployments, from dangerous and faraway places.  We have been waiting 7 months.  We have been waiting 3 weeks.

We are waiting women.  We wear the uniform, too.

I remember back in 2007, when General Peter Pace was serving as the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs, he said, “Thank you for your service.  You are serving in the military even though you don’t wear a uniform.”  He was speaking to a rather large audience of family members on an Army base in Hawaii.  All of them had a loved one deployed, mostly to Iraq.

At the time, I didn’t get what General Pace meant but I thought, hey, that’s a nice thing to say to the families.  My sons were new Marines and so we had not experienced a deployment.

Today I get it.  TOTALLY.   When I saw my daughter-in-law bravely send her husband off to war, just 6 months after getting married, I knew she would be wearing the unseen uniform.   That was their first goodbye.  My son has just returned from his second deployment in less than 2 years.  Since they have been married, they have spent more time apart than together with his 2 deployments to Afghanistan.

[Read more…]

Share hereFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailFollow meFacebooktwitterpinterestinstagram
%d bloggers like this: