Why I haven’t blogged for two months

Hi, Girlfriends and Guy friends,

I am back to writing.  Kind of.

It’s been two months since I wrote a blog post about our RV lifestyle.  The reason for my absence has to do with my 36-year-old son’s recent health decline from a flare-up of his disease named F.O.P. (Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progresseva).  As a result, my mama’s brain has been focused on my son’s comfort and care and nothing else in life really seemed to matter…including blog writing.

A Garbled Mess

Had I attempted to write words down about what’s been happening in my life, it would have come out as a garbled mess.  Heck, I have barely been capable of speaking full sentences these past few weeks, let alone writing them down on paper.

As parents, when our children (even our adult children) are hurting- we hurt. The emotional mess inside my spaghetti brain had twisted, tangled, and trapped blog words from falling onto this page.

Walking a fine line

Additionally, my writer’s block this past couple of months had to do with protecting my son’s privacy.  How do I write about my RV travel change of plans, explain my emotional mess, and honor the privacy of my son?  After discussing my dilemma he and I landed on an agreeable airfield. I am grateful for my son’s approval to mention his condition, which frees me up to write again.

Murky Places

Now I’m settling into a “new normal” routine.  Very slowly, I’ve distilled written words through the pasta mess. Writing feels like a cathartic exercise rather than a joy, but I’m determined to trudge through the murky process knowing that there will be easier writing days ahead.

Transparency

Last year when I first started the blog I promised that I would be honest and vulnerable with you, my audience.  My research into blog writing taught me that my readers are perceptive and won’t stick around if I’m not authentic.

There you have it.  The reason for my absence this past couple of months.  It feels good to get this post done so that I can move on to several stories that I want to share with you.

Thanks for listening!

Now it’s your turn.

Have you been trudging through murky relational waters lately?  Hey, we’re all in this together, so take a moment to share your story.  What you share is valuable to all of us!

Love from your Unlikely RVer,

Gretty

P.S.  Sign up for my blog here!

My surprise encounter biking through Amish Country

Hi, Girlfriends and Guy friends. John and I love to bike.   We travel with two road bikes (paved surfaces) and two mountain bikes (unpaved areas).  The road bikes live on top of our jeep and the mountain bikes are suspended on their own rack attached to the back of our RV.   This past July we were staying at Twin Mills RV Resort in Howe, Indiana, which is surrounded by Amish and Mennonite Farms.  During our three week stay we enjoyed several bike rides in the beautiful surrounding farmland.  On our final morning, July 31st we planned to bike 50 miles. What I didn’t plan on was the BIG surprise waiting for me at the END of that ride. Preparing Our usual pre-biking routine includes scoping out various routes using Map my Ride to find  smooth pavement and little traffic.   Our next task is to bring in our biking bins which contain all our stuff.  Then we check The List-   (Yes. We love checklists.  We have them for biking, hiking, backpacking, and RV set-up.)  Cannot forget the Buttonhole.   Long distance biking requires this anti-chafing cream. What to wearThis particular day I chose to wear my favorite biking jersey.  Across the back is written:  “Support the International FOP Association, In honor of Pat Doerr” We created these special jerseys five years ago.  In 2012 John biked 400 miles in three days to raise funds and awareness for my son Pat’s rare disease- Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progresseva.Heading outWe started biking east for two miles toward Howe, Indiana.  Next, we turned south on smooth pavement for six miles into the town of LaGrange.   Because the Amish religion frowns on it’s members posing for photographs, you won’t see any faces of the individuals we biked passed, but I did manage to snatch a shot of this woman loading her cart at the Miller grocery store in LaGrange.We turned west for fifteen miles then zig-zagged ten more miles toward our rest stop/excuse-to-savor-the-biggest-chocolate-custard-donut-ever at Rise and Roll.  (Thus, negating the calories we burned biking there.)Next, our route took us five miles to the town of Middlebury where we headed north.   Peaceful PeddlingGetting the chance to see life from the seat of my bike is a great shift (pun intended) from the fast-paced world of rolled-up-window-air-conditioned-don’t-hear-a-thing-car-travel.  Biking through Amish country allowed me to down-shift into a happy gear; the slow-down-and-step-back-in-time-gear.  Where else can you experience:

  • sounds from clip-clopping horse-driven buggies
  • the simplistic beauty of freshly hung amish clothing dancing in the breeze
  • the beautiful absence of telephone poles and electric lines
  • the aroma of fresh manure (road apples)
  • dozens of smiling Amish children waving at us   

Hungry AgainOur last stop before heading back home to our coach would be seven miles up the road in Shipshewana.   John and I decided we were hungry again, and propped our bikes outside the Subway in the center of town to go inside to eat.   This is where the BIG SURPRISE happened.  
We ate our sandwich then hopped on our bikes to ride the five miles back to our campground.  After showering and playing with the dog, I decided to check social media and was shocked to see this photo of me: 
It was posted by Dorothy Hostetler.  The Facebook caption read: “Hi everyone-Most of you don’t know me, but our daughter Heidi had FOP and passed away from a drowning 14 years ago.  My niece just spotted this person in our tiny town of Shipshewana and I would love to say hi- does anyone know who this is?”   I immediately responded that it was ME! Getting together We shared a private message- deciding to meet up at Dorothy’s home that day since John and I were leaving Indiana the next day.  I drove four miles to Dorothy’s property, and met her son Tim arriving in his car.  I introduced myself as a mom with a son who has FOP and Tim’s eyes lit up.  He pointed to the back of the property indicating where I could find his mom.  Dorothy, who owns and runs a massive canning business, was working in their commercial kitchen.    I entered the building locking eyes with Dorothy.   We hugged.  Then we hugged again.   Much was said in that embrace. We walked over to their home where I was introduced to Dorothy’s husband David.    We shared photos of Patrick and Heidi.We shared stories. We shared tears and laughter. We shared the hope for a cure of this nasty disease.  (FOP is so unique that it only affects 1 in 2 million people; there are 800 known cases in the entire world.)   That morning I woke up clueless to the surprise friendship awaiting me.  Our rendezvous was as unlikely as FOP is rare.   Ironically, a routine biking day in Amish country shifted me into the Surprised-and-Blessed-Beyond-Belief-gear.  How lucky am I?