Letting go of a dream.

My former blog.
My former blog. Don’t you love the name?

Two years ago, I started a blog called The Well Nested Life; this month, I’ll close that site down. I’ve moved all my blogs over to this current site, so I’ve retained my words, but I have to say goodbye to the dream.

Closing my blog feels like I’m losing an old friend.

With some brainstorming help from family members, I had arrived at the term well nested. It describes my life. Homebody. Introvert. Feeling most at home, at home. My plan was to blog about humorous and poignant and touching stories of my simple life. My hope was to gather followers—my flock—who would then someday buy my memoir, in progress.

That part of the dream—let’s call it Phase I— is intact. I’ve established my online presence as a writer, attracted loyal followers, and I’m closing in on the final chapter of my memoir.

In Phase II, my follower base would grow to scores of thousands. An editor at a “Big Five” publishing house would discover my writing and be impressed with my platform. She would pay me big bucks for the honor of publishing my book.

I’d be a best selling author!

(Please don’t think I’m delusional. Most writers share this dream.)

However, it’s Phase III where I got carried away (as I have been known to do). In this phase, I’d use my big bucks from my memoir to help others become well nested.

First, my husband and I would remodel our basement into an apartment to house immigrant families short term until they secured more permanent housing. 

Then, we’d buy and renovate houses in our community, and sell them at cost to families in need. Or maybe we’d partner with Habitat for Humanity, one of my favorite charities. 

Finally, I’d create a cooperative of gardeners to provide gardening and simple landscaping help to homeowners moving into and out of our community. This would help homeowners to become well nested, as well as maximize the curb appeal of their homes, increase their home values, and increase the tax base for the community.

Sigh. It was a lovely and honorable dream.

But here’s the reality: as a writer, if I really want to build my flock, if I really want to be found by an agent or editor, I need a website under my name. “The Well Nested Life” was a mouthful of a blog, and hard to remember. So now I write, and you read, at www.karendebonis.com.

I don’t have the time, energy, or money to maintain two websites, and not nearly enough of those resources to accomplish Phase III. Something had to give; The Well Nested Life blog had to go. I have no regrets; it connected me to new friends, taught me that I’m not a complete computer simpleton, and gave me joy that (mostly) outweighed the headaches. My heart is heavy, but full.

I’m glad you’re here to help me say goodbye, and to celebrate as I write the next chapter of this journey. I’ll let you in on a secret: I’m letting go of the website, but keeping the domain. Www.thewellnestedlife.com is mine for as long as I want it. You never know when I’ll get big bucks for my memoir.

You never know when another dream will hatch.

I’m open to the possibility. You in?

Happy Positivity Day!

Today is Friday the 13th, a day some people truly dread. For others, these unlucky Fridays provide a whimsical excuse for all that goes wrong. April was the most recent time a Friday fell on the thirteenth. When I shared some thoughts about it, I received a comment by this writer suggesting that every Friday the 13th should be considered “simple life day.” I loved the idea.

But I’ve changed my mind.

Today, I declare that Friday the 13th henceforth will be known as “Positivity Day.”

There. It’s official, at least, in my world.

I have good reason to choose this new designation. One month ago, on an unlucky Wednesday, a family member called to say she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was too early to reveal her identity, but now I’ll tell you that it was Mary Beth, my only sister, my confidante, my beautiful, talented, caring, spirited, chronic illness warrior partner.

It was the second time a brain tumor crashed into my world. The first time, it was Matthew, my 11-year old son, who was no longer my “Little Einstein, or my “gazelle,” and we couldn’t figure out why until a brain scan revealed the problem.

There are so many similarities in Mary Beth’s and Matthew’s stories, it’s eerie. “Surreal,” my sister and I kept saying on the phone.

My sister’s tumor, a benign meningioma the size of an orange, was removed in a nine hour surgery. Last week, I flew out to spend time with her, and saw first-hand that she is doing amazingly well. Amazing as in, less than a month post-surgery, Mary Beth is feeling and functioning better than at any time in the past five years when her journey of pain and weakness began.

Matthew’s recovery was not so dramatic, but equally amazing. At 32, he manages his independent life better than many older, wiser adults. If you didn’t know what he’s been through, you’d never suspect what he’s been through. My memoir, in progress, tells of my struggle to parent Matthew through his challenges, a struggle that exposed the depth of my personal weaknesses. A perfect life could never have taught me so much.

My own brain still struggles to wrap itself around this recent brain tumor surprise. There are life lessons hiding in it, yet to be discovered. With time, I’ll find them and work them into my writing. I have to get back to work on my memoir manuscript. It has a new chapter. Or perhaps a sequel, as my sister suggested.

Today, I’m going to find positivity in everything. Already, the day is exploding with examples: the sky is blue, the sun bright, the AC ready for the afternoon’s humidity. My Rose of Sharon shrubs have popped with pink and purple flowers, the white balls of blooms on my hydrangea are bigger than my head. My coffee was perfect this morning, and I’m sitting in my PJs tapping away in my quiet, cool dining room. Matthew will be stopping by this weekend to visit, and Mary Beth texted this morning to say she is full of joy.

It’s working! Positivity reigns!

 

If you find positivity in an unusual place today, or any day, please share it with me! You just might nudge another reader (or me) toward the same discovery.  

 

 

 

 

Finding hope in the chaos of life.

My memoir, which I’ve not finished writing, has been given an unwanted sequel. Not by Matt, my 31-year-old son who was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was 11. By a close family member, who just received that same diagnosis. I can’t give more details yet, out of respect for this person’s privacy, but as you might imagine, my own brain is reeling.

The prognosis for my family member is good, as was Matt’s. Recovery will be long and arduous, as was Matt’s. My heart is breaking all over again.

I had planned to give you an update on what’s not blooming in my garden this year–my climbing hydrangea and my yucca. Both bloomed last year for the first time, giving me such hope. I wrote that I was “open to the possibility” that the blooms were a sign my chronic health issues would resolve. (You can read the post below.)

This year, those plants have not bloomed and my health has not improved and now my memoir has a sequel.

What does it all mean?

It means we will always be challenged to find hope in the chaos of life.

I remain open to that possibility–that there will always be hope. I still have mine. Do you?

(The chaos in my life will include some out of state care-taking, so you may not hear from me for awhile. I won’t forget about you if you don’t forget about me.)

 

 

When I looked out of the living room window the other day, I saw that my climbing hydrangea had buds. “Michael!” I yelled to my husband who was in the yard. I ran outside and dragged him over to look. Upon closer inspection, we saw five clusters of buds about to explode into starbursts of tiny white flowers. I had waited five years for this.

The next day, I was strolling around the back yard and again yelled to Michael to “come look!”  This time it was my yucca, a name that belies its stately spires of white flowers. In seven years, my yucca has graced me with this vision just once. As I pointed out to Michael the tall stalk rising up out of the scratchy foliage, I noticed two more blooms-to-be.

There’s more. If you’re not a gardener, stay with me here. There’s a deeper meaning to my garden eureka moments. At least that’s what I choose to believe.

My rose campion, started with cuttings I took from our other house 11 years ago, has finally produced a sprinkling of its vibrant magenta flowers.

And an ornamental variegated grass that I’ve had for four or five years surprised me with tall wheat-like plumes that dance gracefully in every breeze.

What the heck is going on in my garden?

People adhere to different philosophies about unexpected events. Here are some commons sayings:

“There are no coincidences.”

“It was meant to be.”

“It happened for a reason.”

One of my personal sayings is: “I’m open to the possibility.”

It’s possible that this year’s garden miracles are a coincidence. It’s possible they’re a result of our rainy May, or the new type of fertilizer I used.

I’m going with another possibility. I think my late bloomers are a sign of good things to come.

Last year, I declared that 2017 would be “my” year–the year I would finally conquer my crazy health conditions. So far, 2017 has not exactly been cooperative.

Then, this visual chorus in my garden like angels splashing the earth with a flower-petaled “Hallelujah.”

I’m taking it as a sign that I’ll get better. Or maybe there’s an alternate miracle in store for me. Maybe I’ll hit 1,000 followers on my blog. Or I’ll finish my memoir. Or, even better, all three AND a book deal. Or something different and superior, yet to be revealed.

Yup. I’m going with it.

If nothing else, when I peek out of my living room window or wander around the yard, I’ll be reminded that good things can be in store for us. They may be holding out, just beyond our awareness, waiting for the right moment to appear. I’ll stay open to the possibility that these things take their good old time getting here. And when they do, Hallelujah!