Reconnect Journey: Why I’m Doing This

I talked with a woman in my hiking community who was sad that day that her daughter had stopped talking with her.  She had poured out her story that since she had started going on long backpack trips, her daughter just didn’t seem to want to talk with her. And then, her daughter’s infant died. Her precious daughter, whom she wanted to comfort, refused her compassion, cutting her off from her other grandchildren.

My heart went out to her! I could hear the sadness, the guilt, the frustration, and the yearning to reconnect with her daughter.

I listened. I validated her pain and encouraged her to allow her feelings to flow.

That week, I was enrolled in an intensive training to learn the steps of creating a webinar-based product in a week! Marnie Pehrson was guiding me to create my webinar for “one person and one problem!” I realized that the tools of Radical Forgiveness that I’ve used to reconnect with my own family, to release my own guilt and shame in troubled or broken relationships, could probably help in this situation too. Then, I wondered, “How many other women suffer from being disconnected from their adult children?”

I searched Facebook for groups focused on estrangement and alienation from adult children. Boy! Did I find them! I had no idea how huge this group is! I also had no idea how deeply and grievously parents are wounded and suffering the estrangement, alienation, and abuse of their adult children. I joined a couple of groups and started listening.

What I read broke my heart! I wanted to reach out and hold each one of them, and say, “There is hope! There is a way to look at this breakdown in your life that gives you strength and freedom!”  I really got their pain!

 

“So I got out of bed this morning. Actually it was after noon…Im up now. I can’t eat…for a former anorexic that is a problem. I laid in bed for hours this morning getting angry.”

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“I finally cried… I knew that I was out of sorts but couldn’t quite put my finger on the reason. About an hour ago, in the midst of baking, (something I do when I am stressed), I just broke down, sobbing with huge tears. I see this as cleansing; a good thing. We have to grieve this loss, they seem dead but they aren’t.”

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“This is a lonely and hurtful path we all must walk. There may seem to be no sense to be made of an adult child who would throw away a loving parent and never want to see them again.” 

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“I know others here are like me and simply dread the holidays that are coming up. I grew up loving the holidays! It was always such a special, wonderful time. Our home was that way also until the devil came into it and literally stole my daughter and turned her into his sidekick. Now I wish I could just skip Nov 1 to Jan 1. Isn’t that awful to allow someone to do that to you life?”

******

 

What if these suffering parents were open to taking the journey of reconnecting with others by first allowing their feelings and loving and accepting themselves for having them? Would that help clear their path and help them move forward with freedom?

Could they experience what Sara had realized during her Radical Forgiveness journey?

“It’s so freeing to be given the space to ALLOW the anger to be ok, even HELPFUL, and not have to stuff it down anymore! To explore the idea that my son is HELPING me have my “human experience” when he is annoying me? That’s really a helpful way to look at it.”

I want to find out!

Here’s the journey I created for parents – or anyone, really! – who are estranged from their adult children. I even heard from a couple of my friends who are intrigued by this because THEY feel disconnected from their parents. Check it out for yourself or for people you know who are estranged, alienated, or disconnected from their parents or adult children AND they are open to DOING something about it because they’re open to the possibility that there COULD be another way to see the situation.

I know it’s not the right time for everyone!

If it’s the right time for YOU or your community or someone you know, please pass this on to them!

PARENTS RECONNECTING WITH ADULT CHILDREN

Reconnect Journey

Reconnect Journey

Gratitude Celebration 60: Continue

I’ve reached my sixtieth post in what I had innocently started as a project to celebrate my sixtieth birthday by thanking sixty people for their contribution to my life. My first list, to see if I could come up with sixty people to thank, reached 94 within the first 45 years of my life! And those were just the ones I have a story about!  I realized this was a bigger and richer project than I had thought.  As I have remembered, cried, laughed, and smiled, I have also discovered patterns of growth and certain threads of consistent challenges that have been weaving through my life.

I’ve also noticed that every time a person has brought something that has challenged me to grow, there have been others who came at the same time with approval and support.  That speaks of a larger plan, I believe it’s a Divine Plan, that’s inherent in everything that has happened. I noticed, as I chronicled my journey through its players along my way, that I have never had more than I could handle, or a challenge that I had to meet alone.  That’s a comforting thought!

Although many of my posts express gratitude for more than one person, sometimes a whole group of people, there are still names popping into my head and my heart.  In this post, my last of this series, I will simply list more people for whom I am grateful in my life! My heart swells and sees the beauty of my life!

Gail Lash cleared my energy of blaming my mom for my shortcomings, fears, and limitations.

Cynthia Hizer stopped in Virginia to visit me and gave me a platform for sharing my gifts.

Margaret Putnam supports my work through her own participation and uses her dreams.

Pinky Jackson championed my contribution to parents at The Waldorf School of Louisville and adopted Simon for some family adventures.
Don Terry served as a benevolent adversary for my certainty that sensory awareness is the best entry into effective outdoor education when he hired me to assist with staff training at Woodland Altars.

Pete Zugger  and Tim joined me as an ally in that quest
Suzanne Webb lit up my life as a nature program assistant, neighbor, and lifelong friend

Linda Cocchiarella, Susie, and Suzanne from the Quality Buying Club made those monthly gatherings fulfilling.

Lynn Robinson shared her son Seth with me and my boys in Evansville

Andrew and Shea Darian took me under their wing as a new student of Waldorf education.

Jill Hemminger in Evansville was a faithful carpool friend for Evansville Philharmonic Chorus rehearsals.

The Washburns in Arlington shared their backyard for me to grow more vegetables.

Loren, Marina, Janet in Arlington believed in macrobiotics and showed me how to use it.

Pam in Evansville became a homeschool partner and co-parenting friend, plus an amazing Satori Game player at just the right time

Judi and Paul Aucoin, Larry and Jan Cruiser, and Paula and Terry, Phil and Marge  in Evansville were fantastically perfect neighbors.

Karen Rockstar Keller made me smile on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Deanna Hohnhorst and Debbie Unterman invented Satori, the game that plays my life!

 

To all who have blessed me and my life and I have not yet named, it’s not for lack of honor, just my inadequate memory that I have not thought of you……………….yet!  In my soul, you are most deeply appreciated!

 

 

 

Gratitude Celebration 59: Children

Your Children are not Your Children

They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. 
They come through you but not from you, 
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. 

You may give them your love but not your thoughts, 
For they have their own thoughts. 
You may house their bodies but not their souls, 
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. 

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. 

© Kahlil Gibran, 1923, 1973. 

Found in Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

 

This poem embodies and expresses the best that I can say about my three sons, David, Adam, and Simon. A million minutes and activities and strivings to be a good mom could be boiled down into these words. And the struggles, joys, birthday parties, schools, music lessons, games, beach trips, gardens, meals, and conversations are mysteriously captured in my one favorite photo of them.

We figured out what to do with our garden!

We figured out what to do with our garden!

My heart’s gratitude for getting to be their mom goes further than all the miles of trails I’ve walked, numbers more than all the trillium blooming in the spring, all the meteors flashing across the sky. They have brought me the unparalleled opportunity to experience the physical, emotional, and spiritual journey of being a mom, of being THEIR mom!

Thanks!

 

 

 

Gratitude Celebration 58: Companion

John Lemberg is my hiking companion and someone who knows from experience what it’s like to be a middle child in a large family. He’s been the voice of hope and resilience when I needed it most. He’s been a navigator when I’m disoriented. He’s a warm body on winter backpacking trips. He’s a ridgerunning colleague and fellow long distance hiker with no plans on stopping at a mere 10,000 miles.

Perhaps what I’m most grateful for about John, now that I’ve known him for a little over seven years, is that he is someone who wants to consciously relate with me in a way that honors us both as precious and unique individuals.  That’s no small feat with someone like me who loves to go deep into feelings and meanings and self-discovery.  He’s willing to engage in those kinds of discussions. He is getting really good at living our lives together as if we’re in a Satori Board Game.

What’s that like? Here’s a snapshot. We frequently say to each other, when one of us starts pouring out a story about an upsetting situation or problem, “I’m sorry that’s happening to you. Tell me more.” We used to try to fix the situation or deny its validity as a problem. Now, we see every challenging situation as a journey from Victimland to Satori, which means “awakening to a spiritual perspective.”  It really helps get the journey underway to acknowledge that we’re at Square One in that game.

Along our way, just as in the game, we have learned to use phrases like, “I love you just the way you are.” Or “I honor your willingness to be open to a new perspective.” Or “I can see we are healing angels with and for each other.”  These are all words used in various squares of the Satori Game. We’re finding them helpful in our daily relationship too.

It’s funny that I’m writing about being grateful that my significant other plays games with me! When it’s Satori, though, that’s a game that brings us closer together and feeling more fulfilled. That’s a game worth playing, I think!

Thanks, John, for being my partner in Satori and in Life!

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Gratitude Celebration 57: What’s the Word?

I need a word to describe the group of people I want to thank today. If you have one, please share it with me!

What keeps coming to mind is “cotillion” because I’m seeing all the women and men who have been dancing with me and my idea of Forgiveness Walks in this sort of flowing, artistic, festive movement of creative formation. This is not quite an expression of Southern society, however.

Seth Godin’s coining of the word, “tribe” comes close.  “A tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea.”  That works, except that there’s a hardened, rough-edged quality that word suggests to me that doesn’t quite capture the soft, vibrantly colored warmth that I feel when I bring these people to mind.

These people are supporters. They are clients. They are colleagues. They are co-creators. They are guides, participants, customers. Is the word “my community”? Are you getting the idea I’m seeking here?

Let me just starting naming them, and perhaps their group moniker with reveal itself.

There’s Sara, Carol, Evelyn, Maureen, Aimee, Margaret, and Maria Maria, and many others, who have accepted my guidance through their journeys of the heart, telling their stories, opening to the power of their feelings, and stepping through to another view of their relationships with themselves and others.

There’s Barbara, who has nourished me with her songs and shared them with Forgiveness Walks.

There’s Leslie and Marie who help me build things and take care of practical stuff, with heart and understanding.

There’s Mary Canane, and Celeste, and Deb, and Shari who seem like soul sisters, coming together for magical retreats that get to the foundation of things, like the Ya-Ya Sisterhood or something.

And there’s Larry and Scott who assure me that I have a perspective to offer men too!

And there are all the participants in mastermind groups who give and receive creative energy as we all bring our messages to the world, trying them out in the safe incubators of our circles: Ava, Roxanne, Alicia, Kayoko, Carolyn, Judi, Lynda, Paula, and others whose names escape me right now. I am so grateful to have these groups of similarly striving entrepreneurs to support, nudge, and walk together with me.

And there’s Parjit, who hashed out ups and downs, ideas and struggles about what we might do when we were brave enough to actually step into our dreams. I’m grateful to know her too.

Have you come up with my word yet? Whatever it is, whatever is the unifying factor of all of you people who have recently come into my life in response to my playing around with the message of walking and forgiving, I thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude Celebration 56: Herald

“Regina, that’s not right. You’ve got to stand up for yourself.” Rachel’s words struck terror through my whole being, but I knew that heeding her words could be a turning point in my life. This situation, I knew it, was the latest version of my repeating pattern of powerlessness and resignation.  I had been studying transformation and the creative cycle enough to recognize this as an opportunity to transform my own pattern, rather than do what I had always done before – go off slinking in defeat.

The actual facts of the situation don’t even matter that much. What really shines out in this drama is what it meant for my soul, for my way of looking at why “bad” things happen. I had rehearsed the words, “I’m open that things are happening FOR me, not TO me.” Now, with Rachel standing firmly as the herald, I could see that clearly I had the chance to practice this in real life.

Today, I want to thank Rachel Trabelsi for being there for me when I got kicked out of the Introduction Leaders Program. She kept me focused on seeing that it made no sense for this to happen, but was clearly set out to give me the chance to choose a new way of being that I had never done before. She was there with words consistently repeated until I heard them.  She was there helping me rehearse the  words to articulate my new way of being, until I felt them as an authentic expression of myself.

I am immensely glad that I leaned into her support and accepted her coaching. Experiencing myself as someone who stands up for herself with articulate, dispassionate negotiation opens up a whole new world of possibilities for me in career, in community, and in relationships.

Rachel, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

 

 

 

 

Gratitude Celebration 55: S.T.O.R.Y.

What’s missing is “relatedness”.  That’s what I was coming up with for the exercise I was doing in my Landmark Education program to explore next steps for growing my business. The assignment was to discover what was missing, the presence of which would make a difference in me getting what I wanted. I wanted clients signing up for my programs and my coaching.  I wasn’t “relating” to women who might be interested in transforming their fears and doubts about hiking, so they weren’t available to sign up.

I sighed and took a break to check the daily snail mail. The stack included the latest issue of “AT Journeys”, the bimonthly magazine of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The feature article was about a woman named Anna Huthmaker, founder of Trail Dames, a women’s hiking support group.

“This is amazing!” I laughed.

“This is just the group I need to talk with!”

I immediately contacted Anna at the email address in the article, telling her about my new endeavor. She responded the next day, saying, “Yes. I’d love to meet you too, and it so happens that this weekend is our group’s trip to The Hike Inn. It’s all full, but you could come up and meet us while we’re there.”

When I walked into the dining room a few nights later,  Anna’s first words after hello were, “Hey, everyone! Here’s someone you need to meet! This is Regina Reiter, and she’s doing something really neat called Forgiveness Walks!”  To me, as we got cups of tea, she said, “You’ll have to do one of our clinics at our conference in July. It’s going to be in Durango, Colorado.”

Since then, Anna has been a champion of my work, including me as a clinician in the annual Trail Dames summits and hosting me as the program presenter at the next two Hike Inn overnights.  I’m grateful that the timing has been perfect to get to know Anna and her dynamic vision to serve women.

Anna is my healing angel too, giving me an opportunity to uncover and love a part of myself that I’m not so sure that I can love. That’s my reluctance to put myself and my business out in the spotlight, to put it right out there with clear programs and visible marketing.  A few things have happened in my relationship with Trail Dames that have sparked some feelings about that.  I’ve been feeling invisible and insignificant, unheard and uninvolved.

Well, guess what I discovered?

That’s my Story!

I spell it S.T.O.R.Y. which stands for Sustained Tale of Repressed Yearning.

For me, in this situation, that repressed yearning is to truly know myself as someone who has skills to offer others that are received and used and appreciated.  The tricky thing about a repressed yearning, however,  is that my ego is working so hard to keep it down that it’s like a beach ball that just naturally pops up to be free.  Or, it’s like the Ring of Power, “It wants to be found.”

The dance is actually kind of comical, when I’m really willing to look at it. Anna’s trying to honor my gifts in the group and I’m subconsciously sabotaging them by playing small and not fully participating, then blaming her for leaving me out or mixing things up. And it’s not even something she’s doing, or thinking, or being! It’s my S.T.O.R.Y. taking the stage of my play and only noticing the parts that reflect my limited view!

Today, I’m willing to stop this play and invent a new story!

This would be my New S.T.O.R.Y.  That’s Spiritual Truth Of the Real You (or Me, in this instance).

That New Story is that “The more I show up as me, with my gifts, skills, and clear offerings, the more I am involved, included, visible, prosperous, and joyful!”  And THAT’S what Anna’s true nature is as well. When I’m living out of THAT story, I can appreciate all of Anna’s wonderful qualities of leadership, imagination, humility, generosity, and a long list of other dynamic qualities as well!  The miracle in this shift in energy is that I’ll probably mirror all of those qualities back to myself too.

Today, I want to thank you, Anna, for playing this role for me and for being your wonderful self, living right out there in the open where I can learn from you! You ARE an amazing, brilliant light!

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Let me introduce you to Anna Huthmaker and her Trail Dames!

From the Trail Dames website: “Simply put, the Trail Dames is a hiking club for women of a curvy nature. These days you can find us on top of many a mountain, laughing and making new friends… But you can also find us dancing, kayaking, traveling and a thousand other things. In short, you will find us celebrating life. We hike slowly, looking closely at the beauty that is all around us. We stop to rest when we need to, but then we keep going. Because a Trail Dame knows that there is no feeling in the entire world like the feeling of accomplishing your goal. We also know that the only people that get to truly experience the view from the top are the ones that climbed up there to see it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude Celebration 54: Breakthroughs

Breakthroughs

I love the relationships that seem to begin with a fortuitous meeting. That’s what meeting Wendy Lippard was. I had posted a request in my local neighborhood listserve for an accountant. Maureen Nolan, whom I had not met before, responded that didn’t know an accountant but that she had looked at my Forgiveness Walks website and suggested that I meet Wendy.  I called her and within the first fifteen minutes of our conversation we knew we had work to do together!

Wendy became my first long-term client, meeting with me almost weekly at Big Trees Nature Preserve for over a year as we took turns coaching each other while walking through the preserve. It was a mutually perfect fit.  One week, I said, “This would be even more perfect if you were paying me a hundred dollars after each session.”  Oh, of course I understood that we were coaching each other, but there was something about the money that would make it real! Wendy said, “Well, let’s do that!” Starting the next week, we handed each other a fresh one hundred dollar bill. I would put mine in my new business account, proof that my service was valuable.

I can also thank Wendy for nudging me into The Landmark Forum, which opened my eyes to new language for personal growth and transformation and put me in the company of scores of people striving to get the most out of life.

Arjomand Rahimzadeh, the leader of my first 10-week seminar at Landmark Worldwide, was particularly influential in my willingness to stretch my limits. That seminar was called, Breakthroughs, and my biggest lesson in it was how “Being Unreasonable” could open doors to possibilities I had often dreamed of but never achieved.  I had scheduled my second walk of the Benton MacKaye Trail during the same month as the first month of the Breakthroughs Seminar. With Arjomand’s stern guidance, I let go of my reasons that I would have to miss those classes and my reasons that I could not do both at the same time. At first, I was sarcastic and flippant, saying, “Oh sure. I’ll just have someone pick me up off the trail each week and drive me to Atlanta for this class.  Right.” And, my tiny new voice of “un-reasonableness” said, “Yes. Why not?” Then, like a spark, it dawned on me that there’s a business that stakes its success on picking its customers up – Enterprise Car Rental. “We’ll pick you up.”

A few calls, with me being “unreasonable”, informed me that indeed there were two places along the Benton MacKaye Trail where Enterprise would pick me up! I could rent a car, drive to Atlanta in time for the seminar, do a resupply, then drive back for my next week of hiking! I only missed ONE of the ten sessions! In addition, I was unreasonable about having clients participating in a coaching program while I walked. I invented my first “Walk With Me” program and had 5 participants. It was such a powerful experience for me, and I can thank Arjomand for seeing possibilities I had no idea could even be possible!

Let me just mention one other person I met in my Landmark Worldwide circle. That’s Ilona Dolinska-Reiser. She was recommended to me by Wendy Lippard as a good resource for transforming money issues. We also took advantage of each other’s expertise. She became a Forgiveness Walks client for a season and I took her Money class. But, what I want to thank Ilona for with all of my heart is for referring Mary Campbell to me.

I said I would just mention one person, but gratitude for Mary flows torrentially from that pebble that Ilona dropped. Mary ended up working with me for an entire year to train for her walk in Scotland. During that year, my confidence that Forgiveness Walks is a really great idea, expanded with every successful training walk that Mary completed. And now, SHE’S a successful hiker herself, with a book to document her own transformation.  Gratitude for Mary swells my heart and lights my way!

Three cheers for ALL of those who have encouraged me to BE UNREASONABLE!

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Do you want to be UN-reason-able in your own life? Consider registering for The Landmark Forum, the signature course of Landmark Worldwide, a premier training and personal development company. Anything you can imagine is possible through your participation in The Landmark Forum.

What do you want for your life? Really?!!

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude Celebration 53: Trail Magic

Gratitude simply gushes when I consider my community of supporters on the Appalachian Trail, and I’m talking about people supporting me as a Ridgerunner, not as a hiker!  The list of “trial angels” on my hike from Maine to Georgia in 2007 would comprise another whole list!

Since April, 2010 for a three-month season each year, I’ve been working for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy with the main task of “talking with hikers on the 80-mile stretch of the trail between the James River and Rockfish Gap.”  That position has the catchy title of Ridgerunner.

First, I’m grateful that Joe Parrish hired me for the job, on the recommendation of my hiking partner, John.  Then, there’s Angie Sheldon, his assistant, who took care of my timesheet, and then became my supervisor for a couple of years. Now, it’s Kathryn Herndon, who’s taking the ridgerunning position to another level by keeping me informed and in conversation with more aspects of trail management  than  I had previously been involved with.  Andrew Downs has been an easy director to work for, teaching me diplomacy by his own example when a couple of challenging policy issues have come up.

The way that the Appalachian Trail Conservancy operates is through partnerships with other agencies whose jurisdictions the trail traverses. My agency partner is the Glenwood – Pedlar  Ranger District of the US Forest Service. For the past five years, they have been the best partners ever! In fact, my USFS partner representative, David Whitmore, was awarded Best Trail Partner in 2014! He and his co-workers have certainly earned it, in my opinion!

When I have arrived each year in April, ready to get on the trail, they’ve welcomed me into the staff house most warmly and with excellent living conditions. I’ve been grateful to have such a nice house for my days off, especially the past two seasons when I had moved away from my home in Atlanta!  The Forest Service has also provided me with a shuttle out to the trail and back each week. They’re always prompt and have picked me up at convenient trailheads all through my section! We have a great way to keep in touch as well. That’s with an inReach satellite device that allows me to send and receive short messages via text or email. It’s very helpful in the areas of the trail that lack cell service.

For my first three years, I had my own designated USFS contact, Roy Powell. He was the one I called for shuttle service. Once I even called him at home late at night when I had decided to do a night hike out of cell range into a remote shelter. I wanted him to know that I was down there and to expect my call in the morning when I got back into cell range again.  He thanked me for letting him know! I really have felt like one of them, being treated just like they would each other when they go out to fires!

I’m also grateful for the other USFS staff at the Glenwood-Pedlar Ranger Station. Tina, Kathy, Tiffany, and Lyte always greet me at the office, plus handle my mail, keys, and messages. This year, they even helped out with shuttles! In other departments, USFS staff have welcomed and supported me too. Aaron even fixed a flat tire on my Toyota and straightened out my bent trekking pole. I think I’ve met every one of the regular staff there, and at least eaten lunch with them on my days off.  I enjoy going down to the Ranger Station office for lunch to join in the friendly socializing. Without “my” Forest Service folks, Ridgerunning would be a lonely job! Instead, it’s been something to look forward to every year!

Complementing the Forest Service as a partner agency are the AT trail clubs that maintain the trail in my Ridgerunning section.  My section has THREE of them: The Old Dominion ATC, The Tidewater ATC, and the Natural Bridge ATC. Each club manages their respective sections uniquely, but all are dedicated and generous with their time, skills, expertise, and passion!  I’ve made friends in each of the clubs and have enjoyed participating in maintenance trips and picnics with all three of the clubs. I won’t even get started naming individuals in the clubs for this essay, for there are a dozen or more in each club whose friendship and support I’ve experienced.  A general bow of gratitude will have to suffice right now!  So, here’s a hearty THANKS to ODATC, TATC, AND NBATC!

In addition to the Forest Service and the Trail Clubs, there’s also two individuals I want to thank for making my Ridgerunning seasons fulfilling. That’s Lois and Earl at The Dutch Haus Bed and Breakfast! Since my first year as ridgerunner when I first went down the mountain near Montebello, VA to take a night off the trail without going back to the Ranger House, I’ve enjoyed their generosity.  It’s been a mutually beneficial relationship between me, the Ridgerunner and them, the B&B owners. Their place always has plenty of hikers for me to meet, thus doing my job! I have often steered hikers to their B&B when they ask about a place to stay near the trail. Even though they’ve closed the business for the time being, to focus on their own traveling, I’m still welcome to take time off the trail at their place. Lois says, “There’s a room with your name on it! You’re part of the family now!” I’m deeply grateful to Lois and Earl for our friendship, both on and off the trail!

Just in time to fill the void that was left when The Dutch Haus closed, Nancy Rinkenberger has opened a new hostel in the same section of the trail! Of course Three Springs Hostel has its own uniquely wonderful qualities, and I’m just getting familiar with Nancy and Marcia there. Still, I’m grateful to have yet another warm and friendly place to visit along the Appalachian Trail in Virginia!

Ridgerunning on the Appalachian Trail has been a satisfying and fulfilling way to step into my dream of Joyous Prosperity – earning my living hiking!  Even though, as Karen Lutz, my Appalachian Trail Conservancy trainer, admonished, “you don’t get paid for hiking!” I am still deeply grateful that hiking can be the VENUE for my dream to be fulfilled.

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude Celebration 52: Dependable Mechanics

My Gratitude List would not be complete without thanks to the mechanics of my life!

Wherever I have lived, I have always sought out at least one mechanic within walking distance of my house. My main criteria have been their willingness to talk with me about my car in language that I can understand and a hesitance to fix everything under the hood when a modest repair would be sufficient.

Let’s see how many I can remember.

In Arlington, VA that was the teacher of a basic car repair class that John Reiter had taken. I don’t think I ever met him, nor can I remember his name. His greatest contribution was to advise us to replace the radiator on our Volkswagon Rabbit.  Oh, and he recommended a mechanic to replace the whole engine when we had the misfortune of driving without the oil cap for 150 miles. (It was not entirely our fault as our lawyer friend, Tom Scheffey, argued, winning shared fault with the gas station attendant who closed the lid before any of us made sure the cap was on.)

In Evansville,IN, the Shell Station a few blocks away was staffed with mechanics who I relied on many times to fix our Chevy station wagon.  They had a mechanic who would even drive over to our house to jumpstart the car!

In Atlanta, I made friends with Marvin Carson who owned a tire shop on the corner of our street. I talked with him about lots of things besides cars and tires, even though we did patronize his business for new tires and numerous plugs in the dozen years we lived there. Marvin repaired and sold the Chevy Century that my son, David, had acquired from my parents.  The car had been stolen from David’s apartment parking lot, then found abandoned by the police, the steering column ripped up. We had decided not to invest in its repair, but Marvin paid us a bargain price for the car and fixed it up himself. He was a smart guy!
Marvin was good with cars but not so much with landscaping, and for several years, I kept an informal native plant garden growing on the hundred square foot hillside bordering his garage lot. My work helped beautify the corner a bit and gave me another place to put the native sunflowers and shrubs that had already filled our own yard.

For more extensive repairs in Atlanta, I relied on Mike Bellomo at Mighty Muffler right down the street from Marvin’s. He had a full service garage and I trusted Mike for giving us the service we needed. I even waited until I got back to Atlanta recently to have him explore the electrical system issue on my Toyota.

Mechanics are important!  I’m grateful today that I’ve always found one I can depend on!