It’s been a tough week. I woke up last Friday morning (May 5) and knew I had hit the proverbial wall. It had been building the whole month of April, and I just ignored the signs. Most people who know me know I have several chronic illnesses that need daily management, and ignoring the signs is not a good idea for me. I have felt so good since retiring, and started filling my days with more and more activities, cuz isn’t that what retirement is about? Having the time and freedom to do it all? Well, oops! I kind of, sort of, “forgot” that my number one daily goal is to take care of my health and fitness. So, I built in some quiet days for recovery this week, am feeling better, and I will most definitely be reprioritizing and restructuring my days. Lesson learned!
Now on to the fun stuff! A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about it being time to give back in new ways and have begun two new endeavors that I am really excited about!
#1 ~ SAFARI PARK (aka Wild Animal Park) VOLUNTEER
I have had a membership to the zoo/park for 27 years! I joined when we were first married and would head to the park on weekend mornings while Pat slept after his shift. It kept the condo quiet for him, kept me busy until he woke up, and gave me some time to myself with my camera. My nieces and nephews were babies at the time, and the park also became Auntie Lorna’s place to take them for outings as they grew up over the years. One nephew has always teased that there will be a bench with my name on it one day!
I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of volunteering there, but as I went through the training in April, I realized it was a perfect fit. I worked my first solo shift on Wednesday and absolutely loved it! It’s all about hospitality which is right up my alley. Greeting guests, answering questions, guiding them, and making them feel welcome…. all the while in a gorgeous outdoor setting… it was great. I talked with some wonderful people from around the world, discussed photography with several others, and met some talented ladies who made a quilt to auction off at the next park charity event. One of the best parts of this new ‘job,’ is working with old friends.
Dale and I taught together in Temecula from 1990-1997. He volunteers at the park and was one of my training mentors! We still make an awesome team!!
I’ve known Val forever, too, because her daughter, Michele, taught with Dale and me at Temecula Elementary, also! Being reunited with my Temecula people is an unexpected blessing!
#2 ~ QUILTING FOR OTHERS
As mentioned above, I have some chronic illnesses, the most serious being Addison’s Disease. It’s a complicated disease, but this checklist of facts describes it succinctly. When I was finally diagnosed in January 2010, I had been deteriorating for five months, was in organ failure, bedridden, and the doctor said I was about a week from death. I only share all this to demonstrate the fear that I lived with at that time. And although I celebrated getting a diagnosis, getting treatment, and knowing I would indeed live, that fear continued as Pat and I learned how to manage this disease in those early years. Having a rare disease that can be life-threatening changes your life and there are many, many times when I have felt very afraid and very alone.
7+ years later, I am so happy and grateful to say that those scary moments are now few and far between! I am healthier and stronger than ever and have learned to manage things well most of the time…. minus these last six weeks! haha
So, I wanted to do something to help support those newly diagnosed with Addison’s Disease. Those who are in the early days of healing and learning. Those who are still in the stages of feeling scared and alone. Therefore, I decided to use my new passion for quilting and create ‘comfort quilts,’ for lack of a better term, for new patients. On a practical level, the quilts will provide them cozy warmth on those days when the fatigue hits and they cannot make it out of bed. On an emotional level, my hope is that the recipients of the quilts will feel less isolated and that someone else understands what they’re going through.
This week I started working on my first gift quilt for a fellow Addisonian. Check out these gorgeous fabrics! I do not know yet who I will give it to, but am already praying for them as I press and cut the fabric. When it is finished, I will find someone who needs some encouragement through my Addison’s support group and send it their way.
I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend, and God bless all of you moms as you celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday! xo