I would not want you to think that I have been sleeping my life away during my absence from my blog, but the last year or so has certainly been one with major blank spaces with regard to blogging, writing in general, and to some extent, my photography.
This photo of me napping under the MacKenzie plaid (one of my family lines) was taken last week after being in the US for two months. I don’t usually suffer from jet lag when flying back to the UK from my family home in Atlanta, but I have enjoyed a short, early evening nap most days since being met by my husband, John at Heathrow last Wednesday.
I have never been a big sleeper. Five hours a night is my normal, but over the past 18 months my normal has been way off.
I’m the sort who tends to tough things out, pushing myself to get things done even if the activity seems overwhelming and when I fall short or I’m disappointed in the outcome, I have trouble letting it go.
The last 18 months have been a lesson in letting go.
After writing over 600 blog posts, I kind of lost my drive (no pun intended) after our near head-on collision with a drunk driver in Wales. I’ve had increasing problems with my neck and hands since the accident which has affected my ability to do normal activities without numbness and pain. What was supposed to get better with time has not and my GP has ordered an MRI to see if something needs sorting in my neck.
Added to that, a shocking revelation about someone who had been our friend and neighbor sent me right round the bend about 8 months ago which made us briefly consider leaving the village we call home. The two events together made me want to withdraw from a lot of things I had enjoyed and even easy interactions became an effort.
Finally, I’ve hit a wall where I have grown tired of filtering certain aspects of my story but have not been able to figure out how to say what needs to be said without freaking out some of the people I love.
I know I have an amazing life so please don’t think I am ungrateful or having a big moan, I just wanted to give friends and readers who may have wondered, a little explanation.
I don’t have answers to most of what I have mentioned, but I am going to get off the couch and see where some forward movement takes me.
If you’re still reading GOTJ after my time away, please drop me a comment and say hello.
nice to see you back; I hope you feel better soon !
Thanks, Jill … I hope so too.
HI Elizabeth, glad to hear you are hanging in there. Sometimes, that’s the best we can do. Take care!
Thanks for still reading, Kelly and for your good wishes.
Lovely post Elizabeth. I think sleep is often a kind of miracle medicine, jet lag or not. Take care xx
Carolyn, you are too sweet taking time to comment here when you have so much happening in your life. I would take to my bed for sure if I were in your place right now. You take good care of yourself and I’ll be over to your blog to leave a few words behind. Your post today really touched me especially what you said about your son. xo
We missed you! Sorry about the struggles this year; we can all relate that’s for sure. Really enjoyed reading your blogs and seeing the photos.
Thanks, Amy … I’m glad to be back. I hope to have some more good posts and pics to add to the ones already here. Stay tuned for more.
Hi Elizabeth..we all have to take a break ..and now is your time I think. I can imagine you forge ahead all the time. Not me , I take lots of breaks, due to lots that has happened . I do hope you get your problem sorted with what is going on with your MRI. I am shocked to read about your “friend” sad when this happens. Take care Anne .
Well, it is time for my break to be over, Anne. I hate to feel like time is passing and I’m not getting things done. I have been really struggling with the neck and hand thing and I’m actually glad that it looks like it may be a pinched nerve and not something worse. The next door neighbor thing was a horrible discovery. I may say more about that later.
Hello, Have so enjoyed your posts since I first came across your blog it via an image I stumbled upon . Linked to your blog out of curiosity and I subscribed right away~ I was intrigued by your story as well as loved your beautiful photos~ I lived in England as a child and all my ancestors came from the U.K (apart from one native American great great grandmother~) It is my spiritual home and yearn for it all the time ~ I am usually able to go to stay with a friend each autumn for around 2 to 3 weeks but never, ever long enough for me~ I just spend the rest of my year wishing for and reminiscing about my past there. In some ways your story resonates with aspects of my own and even parallels it in some ways as well. Although you have not been posting much recently, I always look forward to reading your offerings, whenever you do choose to. I do hope whatever is going on in your life and the obviously very upsetting situation in Wales , that you will heal from it and continue to write and to share . You certainly enrich my life with your thoughts, shared experiences, and evocative photos. As far as revealing or telling one’s story, and knowing how much to share and in what way, what words to choose ect~ there will always be people who will be supportive , empathetic and understanding but also, as am sure you are all too aware. (especially on the internet )there may be people who will be critical and condemning , lack understanding but those kinds of people really do not matter to your personal journey and your wish to connect or share ~ hope you will not let any fear of the latter stop you doing what you feel in your heart is right and /or good and beneficial for you. Look forward to your next post! Hope it will not be too far in the future . All the best .
Thank you, Valkrye for your support. I am so pleased you have found something here that resonates with you. I always hope for that when I am writing and posting my photographs. I have been in a funk for sure because I’ve had my doubts over the last year about what I had been putting out there and whether it even mattered. So your comment means a great deal to me.
Still here, reading. I hope the MRI offers some explanations (and paths to wellness), and I totally understand the filtering issue!
Regarding filtering, I know you do understand, Jennifer. The stories we could share if we sat up and talked all night, right? Thanks for hanging in there with me. 🙂
Of course, we’re still here, my friend. Emotional trauma can manifest in so many ways. You are correct in being tender with yourself. Baby steps. A couple more each day and you will eventually find your light again. As for the physical pain, there is probably inflammation in areas you may not even suspect. MSM is a natural anti-inflammatory especially effective for the joints. I take two 1000 mg capsules a day for overall maintenance. It’s worth a try and can’t hurt anything. Sending you and John lots of healing light and love.
Ahhh, Jayne … you are too sweet! Between the car crash and the neighbor, there’s been a fair amount of painful upheaval in our life. John’s been a doll through the whole thing and listened patiently as I worked my way through a lot of “what if scenarios ” regarding my symptoms and the neighbor. I will check out the MSM you suggest. Thank you.
Still here! Thought about you and your blog last night, for some reason. Glad to see you’re back. I haven’t written anything since March (I believe). Went to New Hampshire where I took some good photos last year but this year couldn’t find anything to photo. Some time things are like that, right? I do still enjoy my horseback riding which I took up this past January. Going out to the barn and hanging with the horses has consistently helped me still feel good about doing that. I did start a blog this morning, don’t know if I’ll finish it (I have so many I start and never finish)..We’ll see. Just a suggestion…add something else to your photography and writing. I would recommend horseback riding but with your current accident related injuries it may not be the best. But I’m sure there is something. Good luck to you, Elizabeth.
Hello Kathryn, Thanks for hanging in there with me. I think you’re right about adding something else and once I get the MRI done and know what I should/could/might be able to do without affecting my recovery I will definitely look into it. I think I may be limited to walking for now which is still a lovely activity here.
So happy to see that you are back, and on your way to the new normal.
Thanks, Gloria. A new normal is right, but I am not happy about it. I want my old self back.
* pouty face *
You still have your reader in northern Sweden, looking forward to your posts. Hope things will turn towards the positive for you from now on.
Thanks, Viktoria … glad you’ve hung in there with me and I’m hoping for good things too.
If you never write another blog, I will be grateful for all the ones so far, but saddened, because they do add to my life. You have such a beautiful way of expressing yourself, and you have often touched me deeply. It’s good to take time to reassess and gather your wits and strength. I wish you blue skies and sunny days. Take good care my friend.
Lani, you are such a dear. Thank you for saying such sweet things. You made me go a bit teary. I feel more hopeful with the MRI being ordered and the GP thinking my problems are related to my neck. I hope to be adding new posts more often now and I’ll still see you on FB. xo
Post-accident injuries take time to go away and unfortunately some never do. That is to say, your “normal” may be completely different now. Give your body the time it needs to heal and if it turns out you need an adaptive device such as a voice-activated computer then perhaps you and John could do the research on them in a calm, unhurried manner.
Today isn’t necessarily forever. I wish you health and peace.
Sad but true,what you said about some injuries never going completely away. Another GP in the same practice suggested that I might need to get used to the idea that my body would never be the same as it was prior to impact. That caused a bit of depression for sure. Thanks too, for the well wishes. 🙂
Sorry to hear you’re struggling with things but good to see you pop up again. Are you taking any meds that are slowing you down? Some of the prescriptions for neck, nerve issues can have side effects like that. I inflamed a muscle that pinched a nerve and had those numb, tingling, pain symptoms. It can take a long time to heal and typing on a keyboard is not easy or advised. After a long time with pills and ice-packs, I found that some exercises given by the Physical Therapist were successful in releasing the pressure and getting the healing process going. (They made bio-mechanical sense to me too).
While you have trouble typing, get Dragon software and speak to your computer. It’s amazing how good it is now.
Keep us posted:)
Thanks for commenting, ER. The GP just wrote a scrip for something that should help. I’d been trying to muddle through with Ibuprofen before this last visit, but it makes me retain water in a bad way and that combined with Georgia heat over the last two months almost killed me.
My physical therapist friend, Patrice worked on me while I was in the US and showed me some exercises that have helped a bit with the pain. Typing is not the easiest especially for someone like me who likes/needs to look at the keyboard more than I should.
Speaking of drama and change, I just read your last couple of posts and you have been through it yourself over the last few months. So glad you were not hurt in your accident and the new house looks great. I love the shade trees.
I am here! I hope you will be back to 100% health soon.
Elizabeth, without going into harbinger of doom mode… keep track of how often you take ibuprofen and try to add a glass of milk or a cookie, if you take it in the middle of the night. It is the best anti-inflamatory, however, Husband ended up in the ER with a very scary Upper GI bleed and is now forbidden to take such things. Besides which, who can resist an official Doctor’s order as an excuse for cookies and milk at midnight?
I’m glad to read an update from you! I hope that you will feel better soon.
Thanks, Leah … I’m hoping I will be better soon too. It’s a drag having to slow down.
Sorry you are feeling off…..let it happen and look forward to being back to your normal ‘off’ self with new projects in the future. 🙂 Hope the MRI is uneventful yet helpful.
Yeah, I’m feeling off all right, Kimball. You should have seen me in Atlanta … I was so puffy even Patrice couldn’t believe it. Based on the work she did and my symptoms, I think she thinks I may have a pinched nerve in my neck. My GP is thinking the same so we’ll see after the MRI. The exercises she taught me are helping, but even blow drying my hair is pain. Thanks for checking in. 🙂
Hello! Sorry things have been a bit rubbish for you this year – I hope they’re improving. I can sympathise with finding normal activities painful as I injured both wrists last year and couldn’t hold a pen for six months. (I really recommend Dragon NaturallySpeaking – dictation is a pain at first but it kept me sane.) *hugs*
Thanks, Miriam … I understand the pen thing only my limitations are not as severe as what you’ve had to go through. Gracious … I feel bad about my moan now. I hope you’re seeing some improvement and thanks for the dictation suggestion. I may have to give that a try if things don’t improve. 🙂
Don’t feel bad! Mine was pretty much my own fault, exacerbated by genetic problems, so I really only have myself to blame. I hope things get better for you soon. 🙂
Hi Elizabeth, I hope the problem gets sorted soon, which I’m sure it will. When I was in the military, they used to say “Mother said there would be days like this” Chin up, I look forward to your blogs.
Thanks Bob, I’m hoping it gets resolved soon. I’m still waiting on the MRI appointment and trying not to overdo. It’s kind of crazy when activities of daily life suddenly fall into the category of over doing it.
Still reading. I found your blog when I was looking for inspiration to keep going and find out what is next for me after my beloved Jim died. It would have been easy to sink into depression and stay there. Just the title of your blog, “Gifts of the Journey” inspired me. Life is indeed a journey and finding its gifts can be challenging at times.
Your writings and photos have helped me see gifts in even the smallest of experiences – like a photo of an old building.
Ahh Celia, you are so sweet to share that with me. Sometimes I think ” Who’s going to care if I write anything here or not … ” and there you are leaving me a message that tells me it just might matter to someone without my being aware. Big hugs to you and thank you for being an inspiration.
Sometimes it is necessary to take a break to recharge and reconnect. Feel better and know that your writing and photos mean so much…your journey inspires..
Thank you, Cheryl for leaving me such kind words. It’s funny how feeling poorly can affect one’s mood and I needed a sweet pick me up.
No judgement here. Do whatcha gotta do.
Elizabeth, I look forward to whatever information you wish to share, whenever! Sometimes life hands us so much that we have to “hibernate” for a while. No need to feel guilty and thinking you’re letting your followers down.
Keep resting and taking time to recharge and love yourself.
Hello Vera. It’s difficult for me not to feel like I’m being a slacker, but the thing with my hands and neck has moved from being a painful nuisance to something bit scary. I may not be able to post a lot over the next few months, but I intend to do better. Thanks for coming back.
What a nice surprise to click on your site and see a posting. Hope things look up for you. Very nice comfy picture of you under your blanket.
It is a very comfy blanket, Mary Gail and I’m certainly getting more rest since I came back.
Happy to hear everyone is okay. Sometimes our body just asks us to take a break.
We are all intrigued by the story of the neighbor!
Thanks, Amanda … you are going to hear more about the neighbor, I promise.
So glad you’re both OK! It’s OK to feel overwhelmed and nap it out, been there, done that! I’m a relatively new reader to your blog, felt especially sad when reading about the stalker thing that you had to endure (really the scariest and most “life upsetting” thing that can happen to a person I think). Just remember – you have come out on the other side of these upsetting things, proving you’re stronger than you know and a survivor! Both of my parents were diagnosed with cancer within 2 months of each other, my father passed away almost a year ago from his, mother doing good (cancer free) and I had a delayed reaction, thinking I was handling everything well, then realized I wasn’t later on. I’ve always been a worrier and it got to the point where my worries and fears were taking over all the time. I found a book by accident at the bookstore earlier this year called “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer, read it practically nonstop (and I’m NOT a reader by nature) and it changed my life. Simply and in an uncomplicated way. And I was freed. Just. Like. That! I can enjoy what I have now, while I have it, instead of constantly worrying about what it will be like when the people I love are no longer here. If it can change this worrier into a happy, calm, optimistic person, it can change ANYone! I bought copies for some family members who really needed it. I wish the whole world would read it! I don’t mean to get on a soapbox, but just thought if it could you help you out of a rut it would be worth mentioning! The basic tenant is that it asks you to think of all the negative thoughts and worries you punish yourself with, then imagine instead that it’s a person standing next to you saying all of those things to you! You wouldn’t want to be anywhere near that person and wouldn’t put up with it. Yet we put up with our inner voice doing it to us! So basically to be nicer to ourselves. Don’t treat our selves any worse than we expect others to treat us. And learn to live in the moment and process the negative quickly. I know the best way to get back in your groove is like you said, just putting one foot in front of the other and going forward. Best wishes to you! (BTW, I’ve visited England five times now since 1988, last visit was to Cornwall with my family and husband at the end of May (we stayed at Vicars Close in Wells, an amazing place), and I SOOOOO envy you making your dreams come true! I’ve wanted to move to England for such a long time and love it more with each trip! It’s so hard to leave when I’m there! But you basically have to get married or have a job that moves you there! So frustrating!!)
Hello Angela and thank you for your message. I will check out the book you mentioned. I love to read and have found books that made a similar difference in my life so I can understand why this one had such an impact for you. I’m not surprised you hit a wall with all you had going on at one time. I’m so sorry that your dad died. My father died young at 56 when I had just turned 30 and it is never easy. To have your mom be so ill at the same time must have been very scary and very difficult. I’m glad you have found a way to let go of some of your stress.
Nice to hear that you’ve been to Cornwall and a fan of England. It is a lovely place and I feel incredibly fortunate to have found such a dear man to make a life with here.
Hi Elizabeth…I’m still here! I’ve loved reading your blog and seeing your pictures for quite a few years now. I hope your pain gets easier for you to deal with. Ever tried a chiropractor? They have a lot of new techniques now that aren’t just the cracking of the spine. If all else fails, you might want to try it. Sorry about your neighbor….when people are something other than what you think they are, it can cause a lot of second guessing in your mind. I have no idea what this neighbor did, but he/she was a master of deceit and very good at hiding their true self. Don’t blame yourself for not seeing it. Virtual hugs to you.
Hellooooo Wendy! Thanks for hanging in there. So sorry I all but disappeared. I think I may see a chiropractor depending on what the MRI shows or even try acupuncture. The neighbor stuff was so shocking I was really affected, I mean it when I said we considered moving … we actually spent time looking. I’ll say more later, but the betrayal of trust was huge! I was very upset in the beginning that I could not see him for who he was, but you are right in that those kind of people are very good at hiding their true selves. Big hugs back to you. 🙂
Hello Elizabeth!! I am glad you hope to write when you can. I will be glad to read it. I haven’t blogged in 3 years (since I started homeschooling and ushering my first bird out of the nest). Sorry for the troubles you may have encountered but I hope to encourage you to still put your voice out in the world. Your words and photos have been inspiration for me, and I am sure many others. God’s blessings to you, Jenny Neumann
Hi Jenny, Thanks for taking time to comment … you are so brave with homeschooling, I would be afraid that I was not smart enough. 🙂 It’s such a lovely commitment of time and energy and well done you for doing it.
It’s good to hear from you Elizabeth. I’m sorry that recent events have taken the wind from your sails. It sounds like you need to vent and put your recent fears into words but now is not yet the right moment. You will find the right time I’m sure. Words are healing for many people and for us bloggers it can be therapy but then the danger of someone reading them that we would not normally share with is always a reality. Although the curious side of me wonders about the story of your neighbour the sensible side knows that you will share only when and if it is appropriate. It is lovely to see so many genuine comments here. So many people think highly of you and we are all glad to know you and John are working through this together. Best of luck with your MRI. Hoping it brings you answers and relief. Gina.