Change

Reflections on Being a Woman of 50; Family, Friendships and Funny Body Changes.

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Easter morning 2018 with Country Music Star Taylor Hicks cooking in my Kitchen, 2018 has been a great year and having a celebrity in the house is even better.

 

Turning fifty has been emotional and wonderful all at once. So many things in my family life, career life and emotional life have given me the most satisfaction that I have ever had the last couple of years. It is so strange to find peace a normal and everyday part of my life. I wish I could share this calm and peace with the younger woman in the family and let them know it will happen for them soon enough.

This transition into maturity has been so refreshing. I finally know my own personality well enough to know that I love having a family and would never have been happy without the total chaos of children, grandchildren, a husband and animals that sneak into to bed with you at 2am. At 18 I imaged my life with a husband and two boys, being a working mother who ran from work to after school activities and concerts. It was hard to be such a young mom with my husband working so far away but I loved our time together more than anything. Now as a mother and grandmother my joy is tripled. There is nothing I enjoy more than spending time with all of them. My deepest happiness comes from hearing laughter that rings out in my back yard when spontaneous water fights happen or when we share a moment of pride together when the littlest of the clan steps out on stage to sing and dance.  I did not know that I could have this amount of love in my heart. That it would swell to include so many people. It seems to me that the more love I give away, the more love I get back. I pour my love out and feel filled up at the same time.

Finding and keeping friends as you age is challenging and not because you can’t find people to relate to. Work and children and other obligations take priority for many years when you are young. But eventually you slow down, kids grow up and there is time to renew old friendships and find new ones. I have been so blessed to have several lifelong friends.  I still have friends who I have known from my school days and ones that I met while trying to get through having young children. They form a group of support and love that I value more every year. They know I am crazy, creative and that I am a terrible speller.  These old friends make my life safe to live. They stand by and watch as the sea of life changes from calm to divesting and never think a thing about not loving me. My new friends are now mostly woman who have seen a lot and don’t mind sharing my struggles with growing old. They have been there and understand how hard it is getting old and have the people you love get old too. Our conversations are much less about men and romance and much more about how are you doing after losing your parents and what to do when an older child is struggling. These topics are harder and much more serious than the conversations of my teens. These ladies know real pain; they know death, divorce and the loss of a child. They have seen cancer up close and come out of menopause saying there is freedom at the end of the tunnel if you can just get through it. I love all of them and am so glad they are part of my journey.

50 is such a strange age for women, you are either entering menopause or you have passed through it, naturally or with the help of a Doctor . For the first time since I was 14 years old I am so happy to be free of my child bearing years. I would not give up my two boys for anything in the world, yet I am totally over it. So in return for losing my fertility, my body is giving me things that no one wants. Things like age spots, wrinkles, and feet that hurt and eyes that don’t see very well. I have traded my perfect skin in for laugh lines, that remind me of the evenings at my kitchen table where all the stories and jokes are shared. I traded my perfect eye sight for the comfort of men driving me around at night like a rich woman. I have given away my perfect body to carry and bring two beautiful men into the world. I traded my high heels and sexy shoes for Merrell work shoes that support me every day in the career that I love. I have traded in my concern for what others think of me for a strength and courage to try new things that I never expected.

I guess when you are faced with graying hair, and wrinkled skin and children who have grown and don’t need a babysitter any more, you have two options. You become the person you have worked your whole life to be or pretend that you are something you are not. I don’t fake anything well, never have, so this is me take it or leave it.

laughing at the Mystery hole

I have chosen to fall in love with myself at this age, at this time. To take care of myself better, to enjoy myself more than before, to share my love more freely, to live more fully and regret less. I have opened the door and left the past behind me, it is time to find MY best future ahead.

To be a woman of 50 is to be free and I hope to enjoy every single minute of it!

Categories: About me, ageing, Birthday, Change, family fun, family memories, Friendship, Love, Taylor Hicks, West Virginia | 3 Comments

Three in A Row; Spring Surgery 2017

Keeping a good out look on life is what I do,it is who I am. Tomorrow is my 3rd surgery in nine months for a verity of things that all need to be taken care of but are not at this point life threatening.It has been exhausting and I am thankful for all the recovery time that has been given to me as part of the planning.

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JoLynn kissing Christopher on top of Bald Knob in Cass WV fall 2017

My first surgery was last spring in May. I needed to have my appendix removed in addition to a ovarian cyst that they removed at the same time. The surgery went well  and recovery was normal for the first few months until I coughed. Yea, I coughed deep, like you do when you have a cold and that was all it took to tear the internal stitches open. I knew I had done something wrong,but had work to do, and forgot about the pain as soon as it passed. The problem is that the small tear has become a hernia.So,for the last two months I have noticed a large hard spot in my addendum. My digestion has changed, I now have pain, gas and bloating that I have never had before. I returned to my surgeon for an exam and was told I needed another surgery. This kind of incision hernia is pretty common in woman and could be life threatening but is normally  just unpleasant. So,another trip to the hospital and another few weeks off work as I recover.

I feel as if I have just been holding my breath for the past year as I have gone from Dr to Dr. Waiting to finally get time to rest,heal and move forward with my life. I plan to do some writing  as I recover. Then later in the year I plan to take a vacation. To see family and friends and take my son to see his grandmother. I plan to see everyone that I have missed for the last few years and take time to be thankful that I am still here with them.

So wish me luck as I take the next step needed to be fully healed, yours always JoLynn.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Change, Healing, health, Hernia, Home, wellness | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

West Virginia Flood waters of Change 2016

 

It has been a very long hard couple of days for friends and family all over my beloved state. It seems as if God opened the floodgates of destruction on some of the most fragile and isolated communities of Southern West Virginia. If they had little before the flood waters rushed into homes and businesses last Thursday, then there is nothing left at all today.

As volunteers, Red Cross, National Guard units and Department of Highways workers rush to the southern portion of West Virginia the reports of loss get larger and harder to hear. The reality is starting to sink in that tomorrow will not be easier than today. That home is no longer home and never will be. That this historic flood was not just a single stream overflowing or even a town that got several street full of water but, county after county is destroyed…. whole towns have been wiped from the maps or our lives.

I am sure that when all the information is totaled this will be listed as the third most deadly flood in our state’s history and the 2nd most deadly caused by nature. Worst on the list is the Buffalo Creek Flood in Logan County, Feb. 26, 1972. The flood was caused by Pittston Coal Company’s coal slurry impoundment dam #3 when it gave way after several inches of rain fell along Buffalo Creek Hollow killing 125 and covering 16 small coal towns in black sludge water.

 

 

Then followed by the Election Day Flood Nov. 1985. The flood was concentrated in northern mountainous portion of the state around the area where I have lived for the last 20 years. The flood was storm related and killed 47 West Virginians. My family was lucky to not suffer damage to property during the flood but spent several days trapped due to high water.

It seems to me that flooding is just part of living in West Virginia. You can not have our high mountains and low hollows without the water to carve them. You can not live with the lush green hardwoods without the water that falls year round. So it is our plight to constantly keep an eye on the river and her course. We all in West Virginia know her power and know that the flooding is a small price to pay to remain within her mountains and hollows. Rebuilding is not a question, it is when that is the issue that hundred face in West Virginia today.

Categories: Appalachian Mountains, Change, community service, Flooding, historic locations, history, rural life, Travel, weather, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , | 17 Comments

A Blogging Junky and the Blogger Monster on My Back.

How many of us bloggers write more than one blog? How many write poetry and flash fiction on top of the blogs that we all generally write each week? How many have several topical blogs or work blogs? I am guessing hundreds if not thousands of us do. It must seem crazy to the outside non-blogging world that any of us would write more than we have to. I am thinking that this writing thing is a habit or an addiction… something like junkies feel.

It all starts out with your friends doing it. They share their stories and some tips on how to take that journal of thoughts or notebook of ideas and turn them into some thing much cooler, a…. blog.

Yea, you get to be one of the cool kids. 

You get to try writing on a real blog, where people you have never known before will read and write back to you. You get that first high. The one that comes from writing that first page and first post. Wow you get to hit the  publish button and you are now a writer. Not the hide under the bed kind of writer anymore,but a writer that is now on the World Wide Web, out their in the universe for everyone to see.

The first LIKE changes everything, just like a first high would.

Someone out their LIKES me and wants to share some good stuff with me. I am liked, I touched some one,I am part of group, I am not alone, that is how they hook you. You can’t believe that some one out their understands you… so you write more and more. At some point  you gain a follower or two. Two people who read your nut ball stories and rambling thoughts regularly and may even drop you a note about how wonderful your writing is and how true your statements are. You are in deep now, you schedule posts, maybe research topics and take colorful photos to gain more followers and get more LIKES.

It is official it’s a habit,you have a Blogger Monster on your back.

You think about writing when you aren’t doing it. You talk to people about it when you are doing other activities and wonder how you will fill you time if the power goes out and you can’t get to the computer that day. You spend time sending notes to other bloggers that your personal friends and family know nothing about…. Sending smiley faces and recipes back and forth at all hours of the night and day.

It is a full-blown addiction.

So what do you do? Stop writing? Could you if you wanted to? Do you want to ? I am guessing like myself that in many cases the answer is NO!  I enjoy it too much and it fills a large gap in my creative life. It gives too much back for me to stop. So I am wondering if I am a WordPress Junky, If one blog is just not enough. Maybe I just have more to say deep down inside, about even more important things or more edgy things that I may need to share with a whole different group of people.Maybe I just need to write more than one or two posts a week … my  posts now are  just not enough.

I see where this maybe going… it maybe true…. I think I have a Blogger Monster.

I think it is time to spread myself out a little farther, to try to write something different. I want to experiment with more styles and topics. I want to try poetry and fiction and short stories. I hear that is where the really cool kids hang out. You know who I am talking about, where they create just for the fun of creating. Heck, those kids don’t even really try to teach you anything they just let the words just sore.

I am not even sure there is a treatment or a cure for what is happening. I am guessing the one thing that will help is to write more. I will add another blog to my writing life. Not sure what it is all about yet but it will be a fiction site where I can work out short stories and poetry with the hopes of one day making my love of books and words come together some how. That somewhere out there are others who love West Virginia, its people,and places and want to hear some more of her stories. Maybe then when I get to spend more time with this monster  so I can sooth it and make it lie down for a long rest. Until then I guess I will just try to keep posting here every week and working on getting some thing up and running where I can write fuller deeper stories.I hope to bring you all along when I am ready, That is if you want to go down this path with me. I will let you know where and when this addiction has landed me as soon as I settle down. In the mean time this mountain mama will  post every week and be getting ready for the fall and winter seasons. Time flies and I have so much to still do.  Jolynn

New light sconce light fixture and some of the base board and ceiling molding

Christopher work at my desk in the new family room

Categories: blogging, Change, history, nostalgic, writing | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments

Seeds, Magical, Mystical and Divine

Yesterday as I stood at the dock of our local feed store, Southern States, I watched small pellets of snow falling in the cold morning air. Yet when I looked closer at the mysterious dust that slowly covered the roof of my car and the shoulders of my sweater I realize that the white dusting is not snow at all but seeds. Seeds are wafting down through the air from the milling machine that I hear grinding away in the loft of the steel building. Some of the pieces appear as crushed corn, others are millet, cotton seeds and shells from soybeans. The mixture is for bird seed, I think, and the finches swoop in, landing on top of a stack of pallets at the end of the dock to steal what no human would want. My hair and sweater  are white in a matter of minutes and the older farmer standing next to me laughs at the sight of our hair white with corn dust. What a strange and wonderful way to start my day. It Reminded  me how wonderful, powerful and mysterious seeds are and what they can mean for us.

Cars at loading dock at Southern States

Cars at loading dock at Southern States

When I returned from Southern States I also started to clean out our garden. Trying to gather up the last of the died plants. The tomato vines,the pepper stocks, the Zinnia stems and a rotten watermelon are all that is left of the work that my garden did over the summer. As I move through the rows I come to Christopher’s Zinnia’s that bloomed like wild this summer. They died in mid bloom by a hard frost about a week ago. They are all that remains standing in the garden and still have seeds in side the brown dead blooms.  I though to myself that I should gather up some of the seeds for next year before the birds discover that in side this wrinkled crusty shell  there lives a hundred small seeds.

Deafd Zinnia Bloom in the Garden 2015

Dead Zinnia Bloom in the Garden 2015

So I gathered up about 12 seed pods and headed to the house to pull them apart. Remembering that before the frost I pulled the last few rounds of green beans off the plants to store as seeds for next year. I have been waiting for them to dry  so I can shuck the seed pods to store them for planting next year. So my garden will be full of green beans again.

Shucked green beans, leather britches or seeds for next years green beans

shucked green beans, leather britches or seeds for next years green beans

Dry Shucked green beans, Leather Britches, or dried white beans

Dry Shucked green beans, Leather Britches, or dried white beans

Then over the weekend my family also gathered the chestnuts and hickory nuts in our yard and the surrounding woods. this means I will have a few for winter cooking. The hickory nuts looked like they were ready crack open their hard shells and begin to grow if only the weather was getting warmer not colder.

ripe chestnuts in the back yard

ripe chestnuts in the back yard

Hickory Nuts with shell

Hickory Nuts with shell

What still surprises me every year that I plant a garden is the power inside a seed. That each one is the renewed life of what was lost only a few months ago. It really should come as no surprise to any of us that we instructed by Dr’s to eat more seeds, get more of our protein from seeds and try to get our oils from seeds instead of animal fats. They hold inside their shells the power and energy to renew life. They are the grand magic that holds with in them all the secrets of our living world. With just a little water and warmth, they begin the life cycle again in hopes that life will continue again, that we will see the spring flowers, see the fruit of their labor and again reap a harvest. It is miraculous that some how every thing we see in nature comes from a seed.

The seed is also one of the most used symbols in religious texts and a common metaphor used for writers and poets. It is the seeds ability to transform from a small brown stone, shedding its shell, pushing through the hard earth and reaching up to grow, that is stunning. How they survive the elements and sprout leaves and roots to one day become some thing enduring that fascinates me. It is hard to believe that about 6 months ago, this was just an avocado pit, a seed, that I lovingly planted in hopes of one day having an Avocado tree of my own.

Avacado tree from seed

Avocado tree from seed

One day the tree will be taller and stronger than me. It should live longer then I do and could produce fruit for generations. It can produce more seeds than we can count and one day may be the parent to a hundred trees. So with in one seed is the energy and potential to create hundreds if not thousands of trees. This is why the great texts  use the metaphor of the seed. To teach us about life, death and rebirth. That nothing really ever ends that it is only a transformation from one form to another. The seed lives in the fruit of the living tree, becomes the hardened seed when death and harvest comes, to sprout and regenerate when the seed roots,and finally grows sharing its new life. If only we could look at our lives in the same way and see the beauty that is found in the seed. That death and life are only part of a greater pattern of events. That life is the bounty of nature and that we are just simply seeds at heart.

popular tree seed pod

popular tree seed pod

Categories: Change, Fall, Foraging, gardening, Nuts, Preserving, seeds, water | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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