"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Monday, December 31, 2012


"Yes, I know. The New Year ship is docked just around the beach's bend, its flag of unknown and uncontrollable life events about to unfurl. But I insist on basking in the slow, warm, assuring waves of 2011 if only for but a few more glorious hours before the tempestuous 2012 tide rushes in..."

Little did I know when I wrote that last New Year's Eve how significant a role the beach and waves would actually play in my life in 2012.

Foreshadowing at its finest.

Beach Therapy
For indeed, for three glorious, life-redefining months this past year -- Sept.15 through Dec. 13 -- my life truly was a beach. Beautiful Myrtle Beach, SC, where I lived, laughed, worked...and sought regular therapeutic counsel from the Atlantic Ocean...and Mary, my dear friend/roomie and (as it turned out) my patience-of-Job "life coach".

The chance of a lifetime in a lifetime of chance...

Still mulling and analyzing and processing the experience and its meaning as 2012 officially comes to a close...
How Long Gone by Brooks & Dunn on Grooveshark

It seemed like I spent the majority of  my time earlier this year (when I wasn't working my two jobs here in Iowa) ensconced in my doll house-like attic writing room, tethered to my laptop, blogging daily, as I fulfilled my commitment to two intense rounds of the online 40 Days of Writing challenge.

I thought I would easily make the third round, which started just as I arrived in Myrtle Beach, but I completed only a week's worth of posts. At first I felt guilty, but then decided that I was so busy actually living and enjoying life for a change that writing about it would just have to take a back seat.

Oh, the wonder! The beauty!
Instead, I bombarded my Facebook friends with pictures of  ocean waves, beach sunrises, sea birds, more sun rises, backyard sunsets, more ocean waves...I swear I wasn't gloating, I just really wanted to share the wonder, the awesome oceanic beauty...

If I could have brought the Atlantic Ocean back in my carry on, I would have. Had to settle for a small bag of sand and a big sack of shells collected during long, contemplative walks along the beach...they are my special treasures. Precious keepsakes from what I have since dubbed "my salt water sabbatical".

Of course, a sabbatical -- like a year -- has a beginning and an end.

It was difficult saying goodbye to the ocean and the sunny, rhythmic, inner peace it affords, but I am glad to be back in Iowa, spending time once again with my family, seeing my friends. And yes, I even enjoyed the coziness of the first Iowa blizzard (sort of).

Normally, I get a little sad as fast away the old year passes (fa la la la la, and all that jazz), but I am not the same melancholy gal who left Iowa three months ago. I can't explain it, don't understand it totally as yet.

My final Myrtle Beach sunrise...
Maybe it's the surplus of Vitamin D from the cheery South Carolina sun.

All I know is that for the first time since I can remember, I am content to gently wave out the old year with fond appreciation and hope for the best for the new, and am not consumed with dread and loathing, fearing that the worst is ready and waiting to immediately roll into view at the stroke of midnight.

My only New Year's Resolution: To take what I have learned about myself these past three months and do my best to seize each day, to live in the moment, the here and now. Celebrate today, not mourn yesterday's passing or fret over what may or may not come tomorrow.

My Christmas gift from the sea, perhaps?

Peace and contentment to you and yours in 2013!

And, as always, thanks for reading The Home Stretch!

Home by Karla Bonoff on Grooveshark

Saturday, December 08, 2012


That Spirit of Christmas by Ray Charles on Grooveshark


Christmas is the time of year
For being with the ones we love
Sharing so much joy and cheer
What a wonderful feelin
Watching the one's we love
Having so much fun...

I was sittin by the fire side
Taking a walk through the snow
Listening to a children's choir
Singing songs about Jesus
The blessed way that he came to us
Why can't it remain
All through the year
Each day the same
Heyeah, that's what I wanna hear
Heh heh
It's truly amazin'
That spirit of Christmas...

All the kin folk gather round
The lovely Christmas tree
Hearts are glowing full of joy
Sense the gifts that we're giving
And the love that we're living
Why can't it remain
Ohhh all through the year
Each day the same
Heyeah, that's what I wanna hear
I'll tell ya
It's truly amazin'
That spirit of Christmas...

Let me hear ya
Why can't it remain
All through the year
Each day the same
That's what I wanna hear
Listen to me
It's truly amazin'
That spirit of Christmas
Ohhh It's truly amazin
That spirit of Christmas
Ain't it so
It's truly amazin'
Yeah, that spirit fo Christmas
Oh Christmas
Oh Christmas...