Friends of the Heart

If you read this soon after publication, I am on my journey somewhere between the far South of New Zealand and the East Coast of the USA to spend ten days with four other WordPress Bloggers.  During this time there will be opportunities to meet up with other bloggers who will travel shorter distances to spend some time with us.

It’s very exciting, more than a little amazing and somewhat magical!

Before I go I just wanted to say thank you and to share a few thoughts – which for some reason, I feel are important to say at this time.

Thank you to all of you who have left messages and shared in the fun and enormity of this short, unexpected and totally spectacular adventure I am about to undertake.  None of us have said much about it – but this is a trip that has been gifted to me by the incredible generosity of a group of fellow bloggers.

The word ‘lucky’ is often offered up to me these days.  It is not a word I choose to use very often.  I prefer the word ‘fortunate’.  I have come to see that I live a most fortunate life!

Here is what is in my heart to say:

I live my life very simply and quietly these days.  I’ve been there, done that, in terms of making my mark on the world, from needing to prove I am worthy of the air I breathe to more latterly, wanting to make a difference just because I can.   Those of you who read the first installment of my memoir back in September 2013 know I’ve travelled a route from hardship, anger, frustration and blame to one of acceptance, responsibility, forgiveness and love.  I work hard at it!  I struggle, I fall down, I get it wrong again and again – then I get back up and stumble on….   I have been gifted a life that allows me to understand that life is what I make of it and that there is more depth and magic to all our lives than the modern western world would have us believe.

My life has taught me many things – these are some of them:  I believe that as we sow, so we reap.  I believe life is a circle and that life is also a classroom.  I believe all life is connected from the particles of the big bang, to the silent creative energy that preceded it that we collectively know as God or the Void or Nothingness or the Inversion  –  or whatever other shape, description or scientific term [or sci-fi term] you prefer; to the commonality of our basic needs and feelings and talents.  I believe we are here to learn the dynamics of being a soul living a physical existence and it is not easy.  A sense of humour is necessary!  I believe we need each other to know who we truly are and who we can truly become.

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I also believe it is imperative that we not try to make any body else think, feel or see the way we think, feel and see.  We all walk a different path.  We come from different cultures who raise us with different values, different spiritual beliefs, different religions.  We have different life influences gifted genetically, environmentally and socially.  It makes the world a wonderfully vibrant and exciting place.  None of it is wrong – it is just different.  We should cease judging people based on age, gender, preference, religion, culture, appearance, education and perceived ability.  We should walk a mile in another’s shoes – or bare feet!  We should travel and meet these other people in other cultures and experience their life styles.  We should stop thinking we are best, better or superior to any body else – or any animal for that matter.   It simply isn’t true.  We are just different.

[And I should stop saying ‘should’!]

As the French say say so eloquently “Vive la difference!”  [Please put on your best French accent for that quote to atone for my lack of written accentuation.]

I learn slowly. I learn by examining my feelings, reactions and behaviour at the end of every day.  I take responsibility for the good and the bad events of my daily life.  I sigh and forgive myself for the million blunders I made, the judgments that were too quickly and harshly made and the words that were unkind.  I know I will have better days practising these skills.  I know hard times will pass and I know easy times will also pass.  I look for the joy and try to be grateful for every day and if not everything in it, at least something!  I know life is not about pursuing or finding ‘happiness’.  I know happiness is already here if I remember where to look for it.  It is all about CHOICE ~ about choosing to be happy, right here right now, no matter what.  I know that the voices in my head, those things we refer to as ‘our thoughts’, often lie to me.  They have the power to make me unhappy, sad, angry, fearful or depressed if I do not challenge the message they put out.  I know that when I turned down the volume and challenged the messages sent by the ceaseless blither in my head I found peace and a quiet joy.  And the more peace and joy I felt, the more of it life has sent me.

It’s all about changing the firing patterns of your brain – nurturing those neurons – which ones are you building more of, the angry ones the fearful ones or the happy ones?  ‘Use it or lose it’ applies here!  

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This is the big secret that folk are seeking.  It’s not about garnering wealth, power and material goods.  You truly won’t be any happier at a deep, fundamental level when you have that new car, new husband, new job.  Studies have shown that within a short amount of time happiness levels return to where they were before the material event that granted your wish occurred.

Basically we have two feelings coursing through our systems – fear and love.  Anger, hatred, bigotry, control, nervousness, just to name a few, are all fear based.  Serenity, peace, forgiveness, acceptance, tolerance, empathy, to name a few more, are all love based.  We have the choice where to base our attention, which to feel.

It’s really about choosing  to be happy with what is and who we are, right here, right now.  In any given moment our lives are just fine, if we do not feel okay, it is only our thoughts that make it less than perfect.  Being regretful or angry about the past or fearful of the future stops us experiencing how great Now is, or how great we are, coping with a less than delightful Now.  And then we miss the opportunities to know ourselves better, learning and growing through our experiences in life, walking our paths to become the best possible version of ourselves.

Sometimes we suffer really awful things – the loss of loved ones, attacks on our bodies or souls, things that make us question the purpose of life.  It is hard to see any joy in that right?  For myself I know that though it can take many years, and be a long and pain filled process, I will eventually find myself again, richer for having survived, endured and grown through the experience.  My empathy factor is deepened and I can, at the very least, be there for someone else.  And I am often grateful for that!

This is why I say that our experiences – the good and the bad –  are opportunities for growth. Sometimes bad stuff happens to release something for us so we can move to the next level – ‘there is always a silver lining’.  Sometimes it takes a while to find it.

When we understand that we move into trust.  And living in trust that everything will work out the way it is meant to work out just makes everything so darn easy!

Here is a recent example from my life:  I get in a blither when having to travel alone.  It doesn’t matter how short the journey, I am uncomfortable and the level of my discomfort rises according to the length of the journey.  I know where the fear comes from, but that doesn’t seem to help.  It seeps upwards slowly but surely and begins to tinge the adventure with a sour hue.  The fear is often voiceless, but when I dig a bit and uncover it, it is all about ‘what if’ and ‘back when’, ‘look out’ and ‘don’t trust’.  When I hear that last one ‘Don’t trust’ there is an enormous shift in me.  Fear evaporates and a sort of peace descends once more.  Because ‘don’t trust’ is anathema to me.  That is the path to insanity.  I acknowledge the past and it’s many hard adventures in trust and know I have moved on.  No need to go back.  Whatever happens will happen whether I go fearfully or confidently.  I have the power to call in the experience I will have and the manner in which I will deal with it.  I’d rather follow the advice Nanette gave me in the comments of the previous post and look up and out, prepare myself, ask for help as required and trust that this part of my journey will be just as wonderful as the parts where there are friends travelling with me.

I’ll let you know how I do on that!

But really, where I am going with all this is that I have been surprised by the extent to which blogging has corroborated my life choices and beliefs.

The world is full of wonderful people and many of them blog!  I have met so many amazing folk.  In many ways when we share  bits of our lives, our thoughts, our feelings and experiences it is like sitting down with a good friend over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and doing what women are really good at – sharing!  It doesn’t matter all that much that it is done virtually.  Back in the ‘good old days’ we did it via letter writing with the responses taking weeks to make it across the miles, be read and the next missive written, mailed, received and read …..It was called having ‘pen pals’.

Here in our speedier modern world we ‘blog’.  For me it has widened my quiet world out again and brought in your amazing personalities to brighten my life, make me smile, frown, think, empathise, sympathise, reach out, condole, laugh, share my thoughts, opinions and feelings and begin to uncover you – the real you.  Getting to know you is a very real joy for me.  Friends of my heart.  You all have encouraged me in my journey as an artist, the encouraging words, the patronage, the enthusiasm have been wonderful gifts to me.  I have blossomed and bloomed beneath your kindness and eloquence.  You have encouraged me to return to old crafts and pick up new skills.  I have read books you recommend and listened to music you sent my way.  I follow your adventures and misadventures with interest and applaud when you arrive somewhere wonderful……..  I am so grateful to be getting to know every one of you!

And now I’m off to meet up with a small selection of my special friends and to have whole days when we can just be together and drink coffee and tea and maybe a wine or two and enjoy each others company, pick up on some of our on-going conversations and deepen our understanding of each other and share whatever is in our hearts.   Magic!

It is my first trip to the USA, my first time living amongst American accents – my travel agent warned me some would not be understand my broad, flat Kiwi twang.  I am practising trying to remember to speak higher in my throat and with a bit of a lilt and quite a lot slower than I normally do.  I’m rather afraid I sound a little like Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara  🙂

There are cultural differences and social differences and language differences.   I’m looking forward to exploring them all with these women who are so dear to my heart!

And again and again I ask myself, how does it get any better than this?

Here, to finish, are my beloved babies, my little fellas, my boys.  Wrapped in warmth and love and trustingly placed into the loving care of my equally beloved YD while I swan off on my latest adventure.

pets collage

Forgive me if you don’t receive an immediate response to your comment or if you don’t see me on your blog posts for a couple of weeks.  Normal service will resume soon.  🙂

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

 

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88 thoughts on “Friends of the Heart

  1. My dear Pauline, I read this just before our wonderful trip, and have since had the great pleasure of peering in again while sitting next to you in our hotel. You’ve touched so many hearts with this post. You are an extraordinary soul and a gift to us all.

    I’m so glad we had this extraordinary time together.

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  2. That’s what I would write, if I could write it as beautifully as you. I can identify with every word. M journey was the same. I look back on who I used to be and feel that this is what reincarnation feels like. Have a fabulous trip! Sending you many good thoughts. I’ll be reading your past posts while you’re gone.

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  3. This is such an amazing post, Pauline, that I don’t know what to say. I just want you to know I read it and I found a sense of peace in some of your thoughts/words. Thank you. 🙂

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  4. Safe travel mercies, Pauline. Now, relax, enjoy and treasure those moments with far away friends. Your dog and cat, your fellow bloggers and friends and family must be ‘set aside on the back burner’ so you can relish in these special memory making steps your take and places you will go. Hugs, Robin

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    • I am so glad you made it home, Pauline. So sorry Siddy is holding it against you and Orlando is always a gentle and forgiving mature cat! Smiles, Robin

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  5. Poped in again to read some of your comments! ( thanks to Crystal who reblogged this amazing post). I am smiling ear to ear reading all of your comments. What a thrilling adventure. Glad to hear that my countrymen (country women!?) are making you feel welcome….. but they are the lucky ones to have an opportunity to meet someone as wonderful as you are. You know, I am actually a Maryland girl and only came to California as a youngster. You are in my old neighborhoods so I’m especially enjoying and looking forward to hearing more about your journey. I can envision the cherry blossoms and some of the sites that you’re seeing. Safe travels. So look forward to hearing all about it.

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    • Jan, I can honestly say I did not meet anyone I didn’t like! Everyone was fantastic – generous, open hearted, warm and welcoming. I have realised it is going to take me a while to let everything settle and see what floats to the top. It was only two weeks in reality but we packed so much in that for me it feels like three months worth of new people, new landscapes and new experiences. I am exhausted, but very, very happy!

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  6. “I believe that as we sow, so we reap. I believe life is a circle and that life is also a classroom.” This is my religion. You began with those words, and then you continued on to write a most incredible and perfect post. I am moved deeply by what you wrote and I am going to take the other commenter’s suggestion and print it out for myself. When you get a chance, let me know if I can re-post at Conscious Engagement.

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  7. I’m sure you will have the most wonderful time and I’m looking forward to hearing all about it when you are home again and have time to reflect on all your experiences! Safe travels.

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  8. Beautiful post Pauline. I’ve just seen your new post too and it looks like you are having an amazing time on your travels in the USA. What an absolutely incredible experience. From the photo’s you all look like a bunch of good friends who have known each other for years!

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  9. Oh what fun you must be having! I hope your face is sore from smiling, your stomach sore from laughing and your heart is full to the brim 🙂 My only worry is how your lovely pets will survive, and oh how you must be missing them… Can’t wait to here how your comings and goings have gone x

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  10. Pauline. I am not at all up on my reading and thought I had best check if you were getting close to leaving and there you are….already gone! Have an awesome, wonderful, excitement filled holiday with all those lovely women, I cannot wait to hear how it went and see some photos!! Enjoy xxx And this is a lovely, thoughtful post!

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  11. What a powerful post Pauline – AWESOME! thank you for this and thank you for sharing your wisdom and light. I am sure you are having an amazing trip. As a South African living in Canada people often assume I am from New Zealand 😀 so funny! but for the unpracticed ear I suppose we do sound similar. Lots of ❤

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  12. I had to read this several times, Pauline, hence the tardy reply. There is nothing here I don’t agree with 100%. I may used different words and in my phrase that fear and faith (trust) cannot occupy the same space. I repeat that over and over when I’m encountering something I’m uncomfortable with, e.g., travel. I have flown all over the world many times and I still experience some trepidation.
    As for your accent, when I moved to Georgia, in the deep south of the US, I almost failed the grade because I could not understand one word the teacher was saying. I had gone to English speaking schools for 5 years already. I have a hard time with German when they speak too quickly to I’ve learned to ask people to please speak slowly for me. If you do the same, It will help. My aunt was German, living in Australia many years and when she came to visit us in the states, we had to slow down for each other. A smile works in any language or dialect. Enjoy your trip. The rest will sort itself out. Everything is just as it should be. You know that in your heart. You are loved everywhere.
    Trust. Many hugs to you and all the rest I wish I could visit with. I’m with you all in spirit.

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    • Everyone has been wonderful Marlene – no trouble at all – well, not much anyway – I have to speak slower and louder is all! This is good for me 🙂 Thank you for sharing your thoughts too – so much to talk about. Maybe next time xoxo

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  13. Such a wonderful, heartfelt piece, much of which I can empathise with. Have a truly fantastic time and come home invigorated. Can’t wait to hear all about it:)

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  14. Oh sweet Pauline……! I would love to reach across the miles and give you a BIG HUG♡
    Your heartfelt words made me smile, made me chuckle, brought tears to my eyes. That you would open your heart to us all touched me and I am certain others. ♡♡ I can relate to so much that you shared and your personal experiences might offer insight and encouragement to us all in our highs and lows of life’s journey. Thank you. I am so excited about your journey. May it be an enjoyable and stress free experience! Please take a moment to post a pic or two along the way. What a thrilling event and we will all be waiting eagerly for a newsy post down the road to hear the highlights. Safe travels. You are all in my prayers.

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    • Thank you Jan – I loved reading this sweet message! I’m still in the US we have another two full days before we split up to go our separate ways. There will be a newsy post – or two – I’m sure!

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  15. !!!!!!! I am jumping up and down!!!!! I am sooo excited for you:-) I wish I could be there, my daughter will have her babies this Friday:-) You have fun + I can’t wait to hear all about your trip…….
    This was an amazing post-Pauline-you deserve all the love you get for you are “LOVE” …I loved this post and your heart was in your words…..
    beautiful:-)
    You are such a wise soul + this post should be the intro to a book with your
    drawings + wisdom side by side:-)

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  16. Beautiful, heartfelt post dear Pauline, I love that you share your heart in such a way as this. I am so glad to have met you here too and I will be thinking of you every step of the way, imagining the wonderful and amazing time you are having in America, a place that, as you know, holds very special meaning for me 🙂 And I’m sure everyone will understand you just fine 😉 I know what you mean about your fears of travelling alone. I have been plagued by a fear of flying all my life, but was forced to do so many times across the pond as they say, with three kids in tow, for many years. Each time I faced it and achieved it, I felt a great sense of accomplishment, but it is still something I have to overcome each time. Although of course I don’t fly much at all these days and certainly not with three small children in tow 😉 Happy, safe travels my friend and I look forward very much to reading all about your trip when you return ❤ xoxo

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  17. I loved this post so much. you are going to have THE BEST time. Americans are THE BEST HOSTS.
    Hint when asking for stuff. Use nouns and say thank you when given rather than please when asking. We are hard to understand but those tips you will find invaluable. Our patterns of speech are different too but you will be understood. XXXXX
    I LOVE America and Americans and you will too. ❤
    Hugs Hugs Hugs gentle, wise Kiwi!
    from your aussie mate.
    Sharon.

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    • Lisa!! It was so lovely to meet you! We are just back in DC and I am taking a couple of hours to read all these lovely comments and respond – then I’ll be calling you. We are staying in Dupont Circle due to a calamity with the hotel we had booked and hope to catch up with you tomorrow morning. You’ll hear your phone ring soon. xoxo

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  18. What a wonderful post to keep us thinking while you go off on your big adventure! You sound so centered and happy, and I know this trip will make many wonderful memories for you. Have a wonderful time in our US of A–I hope you find everyone welcoming, and as big-hearted as you are!

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    • I have met an unending stream of lovely people Kerry – so interesting and so amazing! I will try and convey the feeling to you in a post when I get back home…….. xoxo

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  19. Hi Pauline, I’m don’t usually look at blogs at 4:00 in the afternoon on a week day, but something nudged me to look at yours. I’m glad for that nudge. Your post is so reflective and insightful that I feel compelled to print it and reread it over and over. Thank you for sharing your profound messages and sincere thoughts with us, your blogging friends. I’m glad that we are “pen pals” and that our paths have crossed. You have this unique way of making me think about me and how I can make my actions have a positive impact on those around me and those who are far away. Thank you for sending your joy, energy, and smiles across the miles.

    I wish you a grand first time experience in the USA! Don’t worry about anything…I know that the wonderful women who are making this trip happen will no doubt go above and beyond to make sure that you have a fabulous time. I look forward to reading about your trip upon your return. May you continue to be fortunate in all areas of your life. Hugs for you, Pauline:)

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  20. What lovely thoughts. I hope your journey was without incident and you have a wonderful time with your fellow bloggers. Love to all of you… make sure you create many happy memories!

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  21. Goodness me Ms Pauline, you seem to have taken up posting novelettes when I left off! Good to see someone has taken up the flag ;). Seriously though, anytime we move out of our comfort zone and do something brave it comes with that dreaded assassin of joy, “Fear”. I have been thinking about fear a lot lately. It robs us of light and life and leaves us less than we can be. Many of us are taught to fear by our parents and it’s awfully hard to un-learn something that has been fundamentally placed in our hearts from a young age. I love that you are taking your past and turning it into your future. I love that you are meeting friends of your heart and that you are going to have an amazing journey into yourself and your kindred blogging spirits. I know how deeply you can engage with someone when you share yourself online. Remember, I met Stevie-boy online, I know :). In my minds eye, I can see you all driving wearing scarves blowing in the breeze in an open top sports car but I think I am mixing you all up with Marianne Faithful! At least you are all elegant in my mind girls ;). Have the very best time all of you and we can’t wait to hear about all of your adventures when you get back Ms Pauline. That kiwi accent is going to garner a LOT of interest over there ;). Bon Voyage! I fear I am a bit late to the party though as you are probably in the U.S. and eating pancakes by now 😉

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    • Marianne Faithfull indeed – and I believe she was on the way to the asylum whilst wearing her scarf in the open top sports car – that is a whole other event I’m afraid …….. We are having simply the best time – who knew the US was so wonderful! Everyone is so kind even while gathering their brow, leaning forward and asking “Excuse me?” We are back in DC to catch these elusive cherry blossoms and see a few more sights, catch up with a couple of friends and then it will be homeward bound. More later!

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  22. A truly heartfelt and thought provoking post, Pauline. As one of your ‘newer’ followers I already feel like one of your friends. Your warmth really does shine through your writing and what you have to say makes lots of sense. I hope you will have a wonderful trip to America and that we all get to share your adventures in due course. Bon voyage, my dear – from across many miles 🙂

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  23. There are so many good things in this post, I applaud your words and toast to your view of life and the world! So much of what you have written here strikes my heart, mind, and soul … so thanks for your time and efforts. … and hooray to the good people of the world & the belief that the majority of the world is good. Safe, wonderful, and enjoyable travels to you.

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  24. Sure wish I lived closer to DC – thought about holding the (long forgotten?) coffee scrub hostage for you to collect while here, but suspected that wouldn’t get you as far as OK! I know you’ll have an incredible visit and am looking forward to hearing all about it! Welcome to America, Pauline!

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  25. Wonderful post. Have a safe trip and a great time Pauline 🙂 I’m really sorry I am not going to meet all of you even if it only would have been a day or two 🙂

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  26. Profound thoughts Pauline. They make sense of the ‘Contented’ in your dom de blog. This is also a word I use to describe my own state at this stage of life. Enjoy your time with your friends.

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  27. What a lovely blog post to read this morning 🙂 I hope you enjoy your trip, and I think I’ll be saving this blog post to read and read again whenever I feel the need. Thank you very much

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  28. Have a wonderful time Pauline and spread that great philosophy around. I hope you don’t mind but I re-blogged a part of this that I think is perfect for my Buthidars Blog.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

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  29. Pauline, this was beautiful and wonderfully written. Enjoy you time in the US. I can feel this will be a good adventure. Happiness is an inside job, which you know. I hope the cherry trees are in blossom for you. They say it is lovely, though I’ve never seen it. Sending you good thoughts for a wonderful trip to the States and back home to Siddy and Orlando. I know they will miss their mommy.

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  30. Pauline, have a fun and safe journey. I would wish you a great time in the US, but I know you will. 🙂 I wouldn’t worry too much about your accent the US is quite the melting pot with so many dialects and foreign languages that we adapt very quickly to a new accent.

    I could write a book in response to your thoughts on life, pain and living through the fears. I’ll spare you. 🙂 But yes, I too had quite a bit of pain through the years that I had to overcome and learn to trust. While those experiences are something i want to ever relive, they have made me who I am and for that I will be thankful. I too decided along the way to believe the majority of people were good and to open my heart even though what I learned in the first part of my life would have made that statement seem impossible. What I learned is that yes, we do find what we want in life and having a positive outlook, expecting to see the good has paid off.

    Happy Easter!

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    • Hi Lois – just a quick note to acknowledge I have been by and read your lovely comment. We are having a wonderful time – currently back in DC where I am taking a quiet afternoon to read all the lovely comments and gather myself before a full day of touristing starts again. More later xo

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