Homesick!


A Little Bit of West Virginia Heaven
Near Stattes Mills in Jackson County                   By James Easter 2012

I’ve been in Michigan since 1971 but the air, mountains, rock,  and water from West Virginia are ingrained in my heart and soul. I utterly miss everything about WV. The mountains are majestic and I have great memories of wandering around the woods up on the mountain. I have always loved nature. Some of my best memories were when we lived out in the country when I was five or six. We lived on the side of a mountain so the land was terraced. Where the house was there was a flat terrace, then it dropped down about ten to fifteen feet to a flat area that was our yard and then down another ten feet to where the road was. The drive up to the house cut into the hill and was a pretty steep incline. At the back of the house where the flat part stopped there was a concrete block wall that held the hill back. At one end that was fourteen feet tall and became lower as it progressed to the right when you were facing it. At the other end it was only two feet tall. My sister and I would play on the wall and take chances we shouldn’t have but we did it anyway. Above the wall was one more plateau after you climbed a bit and on it was a hand-built cabin that my Dad built. We loved that cabin which was full size but a small one room cabin. It was a great place to play. It was beautiful on the mountain with blooming rhododendron, birds and wildlife. This is where my love of God’s creation began. The one thing that I didn’t like in nature at that age was snakes. They gave me the heebie-geebies! One day I was up on the mountain and saw a harmless garter snake which spurred my flight response. I started running down the mountain as fast as I could. I was probably screaming my head off but all I remember is running faster than I had ever run. This is not especially a good idea when you live on a mountain. I made it to the wall and started running down the wall toward the shorter end so I could get off. About two or three steps down the wall, I lost my footing and fell down the side of the wall staying in contact with it all the way down. My Mom heard the commotion and knew that something bad had happened. She came out and found me in a crying heap at the bottom of the wall with scrapes all the way down my body. Boy did I look like a mess. All of my memories were good there except for that one.

I learned to ride a bicycle there. My Dad was so frugal. He bought me a brand new, full-sized bike. I was six and short! Luckily that didn’t deter me.  The first part of the drive down the hill was at a right angle to the rest of the down-hill plunge. It was also not so steep as the rest of the drive. I would straddle the bike at the beginning of the drive, carefully step on the first pedal, start rolling and step up on the second pedal and ride down the incline standing on the pedals. In the beginning I almost always crashed at the bottom of the hill till I got the gist of pedal brakes. I would stop it then jump down with both feet at the same time. It was a long time before I could sit on the seat.

I was always the youngest and my sister that was three and a half years older, would have friends over and when they played outside I would try to keep up but invariably would bring up the end of the group. They called me “The Little Red Caboose”. My hair was a little reddish long, long ago.

My Life was good as I grew up and I loved my family. My Dad loved to eat and loved good food so that is where I got my love for food and my adventurous spirit for trying new things. What I didn’t get was good eating habits which brings me to my goal now; to have healthy food that at the same time tastes good cause I love good tasting food. It should be enjoyed.

Well, I didn’t tell you much about my past in West Virginia but I will tell you that no matter how many years I live here nor how much I love Michigan with all its Lakes, I will always miss West Virginia. That is where my heart will stay. My Mother and Dad have both passed away but I have my older sister. After my Mom died my Dad met my Step-Mother and they married and they adopted a little baby boy after I was grown and had moved away. I completely got to know my brother on the phone, computer, and Skype. We have visited a few times through the years but it’s mostly been through technology. I long to see my Step-Mother, Brother and Sister. I don’t get to travel much and haven’t been home in a long time. I am so thankful for Phones and Skype. They make the distance a little shorter! Ahhh technology, I love it!

The picture at the top of the post is taken by James Easter. He lives in Saint Albans, WV and he takes beautiful pictures. The picture that I renamed, “A Little Bit of West Virginia Heaven”, is not the most beautiful scene from WV that he has taken. It is one that I connect with even more than the gorgeous mountains, valleys, bridges, rivers or creeks you would find on tourist postcards. The reason I connect with this picture is that we traveled on many country road and this was a scene I saw repeatedly along those road. Some of these streams would be fed by tiny streams coming down the mountain or would come, like a miniature waterfall, cascading down the face of the jagged rocks that lined the roads. I loved this sight most of all. I loved many other pictures taken by James Easter but like I said this one connected to me the most. Because of things I lived with in West Virginia, I love the

Description: Photograph of a rock fence taken ...

Photograph in Vermont that is like rock fences in WV
(from Wikipedia)

sound of water and amazing rocks both large massive ones or small ones with colored designs running through them. These things have affected the things I do now. I have lots of plants. My affinity for rocks and rock walls has me planting in rock walled beds and living by the water. Every big rock with colorful veins running through it I see along the way, I’ll say to my husband, “Can I have that?” and he will say, “When you can lift it and put it in the trunk, then you can have it.” It’s a standing joke! I would have big boulders around my house if I could. When I die, I would like a boulder with a plaque attached for my grave marker. That’s all, I don’t want much!

Well that’s my story or a little bit of it. Glad I could share it with you. Come and visit again, anytime. I love company!

Tell me about the things that you make you homesick. What things have you taken from your past and brought into the future with you. I would love to hear about it.

Thanks again and See you soon.   Jan

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Hindsight and Forward Thinking


Hindsight is 20/20 is it not?

About 11 years ago my life changed drastically. I went through a horrendous corporate downsizing event. I lost the job that I truly loved. No I wasn’t a Brain Surgeon! It did not require that level of intelligence but I loved providing a service. To do that in a way that brings pleasure and enjoyment to others and are treated with respect, brought me joy. I did my job well and I found the chance connections in life are meant to produce something of value in each exchange. It wasn’t just a job to me. I believe  that the experiences we have. good and bad. are there for a reason  and that is as others pass that way, that you may somehow help them find their way and bring them comfort. If we all live our life that way then none of us are alone. Because of the value I put on this resource of connection, I felt great sorrow when I lost my job especially when I had trouble finding another job. I loved working.

Have you heard the statement that 90% of all illness is stress related? In looking back at this time, I came to believe it is true. The two to three years of downsizing process is very stressful, humiliating, and you are in anxious limbo. I was eliminated on in the last sweep on my birthday…isn’t that funny? I didn’t think so …I thought it was cruel and thoughtless.

I began not feeling so well. I started feeling tired beyond the normal and felt weak. I had several episodes where it was like my one leg didn’t get the message from the brain about what it was to do. Not realizing at the time that what was happening. I was having mini strokes. I was telling my Dr. what was going on and he said it wasn’t anything to worry about. I believed him at least for a while.

I did finally get a job in a factory. It was a little out of my realm of experiences but it was good.  I was so glad. I continued to not feel well and it progressed. I rode my bike to work and one day I rode in and when I was to stop my legs wouldn’t come off the peddles to the ground so I could stop. I ran into the wall and crashed. That was a bit unsettling but I picked myself up and brushed myself off and kept going. The days that followed, I picked a softer landing spot. 🙂 I lost the job though which had never happened in this way. I was fired. I put something into a mold backwards and it cracked the mold. I felt bad but I went and found another job. I went back to my comfort zone working in medical records in a large Doctor’s Office. I had never gotten a bad review in my life up to the point when I got fired but after trying for 3 months, I didn’t pass the probationary period and I was let go. I’m a persistent little cuss so I went to another hospital and got a job as a registration specialist. The same thing happened and they let me go. Now I was crushed. I could see that there was something terribly wrong. I still tried again. I worked as a cashier in a gas station . I tackled that with the same gusto as always and  I enjoyed it.  I was taking things in stride but things were catching up with me.

Right Carotid Artery

I could see I was not my normal self. My brain just was not functioning like it had in the past. I went back to the Doctor and he

still said it was nothing. I was just aging. I was mad now so I  went and found another Doctor. I had been documenting things for a long time and showed him the same list I had shown the other Doctor and he right away sent me for certain tests. He thought I might have MS.  It ended up my carotid arteries were blocked on one side and all but 1% on the other. Making a long story short, after seeing a specialist, I was told there was nothing they could do. By this time I was having trouble climbing stairs My exhaustion level was extreme. The very tactless Doctor said I could drop over at any time. I don’t mind truth but it didn’t need to be so graphic. I worked at the gas station till I couldn’t anymore.

This Doctor  had my whole family in an uproar when he worded it that was, that I could drop over any time. I didn’t have the strength to deal with it. My family started hovering and figuring out what I should and shouldn’t do. I had to tell them to back off and that I was not going to crawl into a hole and get ready to die but was planning to live life in a good  way till it was time to go.  Here I am 11 years later …still weak and exhausted but living life in a way that is productive and satisfying. God has shored me up and I’m still paddling. (I know, the West Virginia dialect in me just has to come out from time to time. ) May of last year I saw signs that the disease was progressing as my eyes  developed hemorrhages caused by pressure as the blockage moved  north toward the brain. I can still see some of out of the left eye…so I’m still paddling!!  I’m thankful for what I have.

This is where hindsight comes into the picture. If I could rewind time, I would have listened to my gut feelings. Doctors are not infallible and they can have an off day as well just like you or me. I had too much confidence in them and thought they were always right. It is only by a blessing from God that I haven’t lost my life way too young. I was not used to bucking the system or trusting my own intuition. Who knows what’s normal in your body better than you? If you feel like something is wrong then you need to persist and search for an answer until you are satisfied and at peace that you have found the right answer about what you are experiencing.

God was a part of my life long before all of this happened. He is my mainstay and gives me strength, encouragement, and comfort through it all. He is constant and unchanging. It makes it all a little easier.

Remember, you can tell if something is not normal so trust your instinct and act sooner than later so that things can be taken care of in a timely manner. Send me your comments or questions anytime and come walk with me down my garden path.

Thanks for Stopping by,

Jan

Journey Along the Garden Path

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