Your One of These Days Can Happen Too

We dream, and dream some more, saying to ourselves, “One of these days.” Most of the time, we never get around to seeing it happen. Well, I’ve done a lot of dreaming, too, over the years; but, this time, my “one of these days” came true. I got back home on a long-awaited trip.

If you read my last post, One of These Days, I talk about taking a trip back home that I’ve longed for, like this, for many years. The moment came when family circumstances made me decide I had to go for it. It’s been 15 years plus since I’ve been home and I don’t know that I’ll have another 15-20 years like this to go back again. My family typically doesn’t come west to visit – very often – hardly ever.

My aunt, now 92, got sick and depressed this spring with the sudden death of her youngest daughter in January and her health appeared to be going downhill.  Something in me said, “It’s time” and I felt that if I didn’t make this trip, I may never see her nor any of my family again. We all aren’t getting any younger and I always wanted to get back, not only to see family, but to pay tribute to loved ones no longer alive who gave me life and purpose – my way of saying goodbye as a type of closure, coming full circle, in paying respect.

So, I answered the call of this particularly strong inner pull to go back home in these pressing family times. This is the beginning of my adventures, reflections and how it all came together – miraculously!

Answering The Call

Hubby and I had always dreamed of taking a road trip from Colorado back to my home, on the east coast of Philadelphia, Maryland (where my aunt lives) and Virginia; taking our time, connecting with family and revisiting places where we first met, fell in love and got married. Over the years, we kept telling my aunt we both were going to make it back some day but it never seemed to happen. I’ve been back a number of times but she hadn’t seen hubby since we first left to go west in 1969 (50 years ago) but the money was never there for us to go.

The same was true this time in that the money wasn’t there but there was an urgency with my aunt’s health. Something in me knew I had to find a way to get back. I wanted to see her as I have for years. She is the only living relative connected to my parents and those of my childhood and I longed to spend one last time with her.

With that intention to find a way, I started looking for jobs online and applied to an opening at our rural post office. I was surprised to get a call for an interview, though in my ‘70’s, and was encouraged that maybe this was the answer to make money for my trip. I had no doubt I could do the job in this small mountain, one-man, non-techy U.S. Post Office operation. I could create and manage e-mails, Excel spreadsheets, service customers, calculate package weights, compute shipping charges on a computer and run a cash register. Hah, how hard could that be—all by myself!? It was a small post office, right?

I don’t think I was a particularly appealing candidate, as I had no long-term employment ambitions, and was also requesting 2 or 3 weeks’ vacation within 6-months. I wanted to be completely transparent with this Federal institution that my main goal was to first make enough money for an important trip with the intention to stay on the job afterwards. If hired, they said the most vacation time they could give me was 2 weeks. I was okay with that with the hope I could make enough for hubby and I to finally make this road trip together.

Little did I know that the universe was intervening and that there would be other ways for money to come. There was never any response on the job after my interview nor from any of my numerous follow-up calls; and, it wasn’t until after my trip that I got an email that the position had been cancelled. Presumably, they hired from within.

Even though I had no response on the job, I still held onto there had to be a way for this trip to happen and, then, the money began to come in – in bits and pieces, over the spring and summer. We got an electric company refund check amounting to more than we had ever received, my daughters and a friend gave me trip money on Mother’s Day and my birthday and I got a large order for the last of my pinecone fire-starters.

It ended up, getting back I would travel solo, again, with just enough money for my flight, rent a car and some extra for expenses. I booked my trip for a week and was waiting for the day when I would finally be launched on my long awaited trip back home, now last month, September, with my return on the 11th, the infamous 9-11.

It wasn’t exactly how I had hoped for over the years, with hubby, on our leisurely road trip back home; but, the universe was pulling and telling me now was the time. I answered the call and sensed there would be more to this trip than I had initially imagined. I was on a type of pilgrimage to the divinity within and, along with connecting with family and paying tribute, I was looking to meet some goals I set for myself. Namely, find my voice, face some fears, come full circle with love and gratitude and meet my transformed self.

I had changed over the years, since I last spent some significant time with my family; of course, there are the physical changes, but spiritually, mentally, philosophically and politically as well. I wasn’t quite sure how that would be received and perceived and was curious as to how much they had changed, too.

Isn’t it curious how friends, even only acquaintances, seem to know us more than our own blood relatives? I suppose it’s because they’re the ones that are there when we have those goofy, unpredictable moments.

I think we all grow in mind and spirit, as life edges us along, and I was looking forward to spending some quality time and learning, in depth, what had been going on in their lives. More than idle chitchat, drapery talk and the weather, I felt the need to be open to whatever events unfolded, late-night talks with heart-to-heart love and kindness, whenever – however.

They say you can never go back home – it will never be like you imagined

There’s a lot of truth to that. Things can never be like we remembered and I understood that from the beginning. Plus, pushing 20 years is a long time since I was back and my old homestead had been sold years before, bulldozed and rebuilt to someone else’s new beautiful home. Highways had been rerouted, old landmarks changed and new businesses replaced old ones; but, nevertheless, I wanted to see how memory would serve me and what still held energies of the past. I was alone on this adventure and open to whatever unfolded.

From Philly airport before heading onto my sister’s, I wanted to check in on an old classmate, Bill, remembering where he lived, just a short jaunt from my old neighborhood where I grew up as a child. His wife, Julie – also a classmate, had died a number of years ago and he lived alone in their home. We had kept in touch on Facebook and I tried to contact him about my trip to let him know I was coming back, along with calling an old number. But, I never heard back. I even tried one of his Facebook relatives but never heard back from them either. So, next best thing was to pop in and try to see him in person.

Julie and Bill – Senior High School Yearbook Photos 1965

It’s pretty daunting in this stage of my life and, especially at the beginning of a memorable trip, to find out from neighbors that Bill had died a year ago. I lost a few childhood friends and classmates over the years, Viet Nam, accidents, health; but, it never gets any easier when you hear those words that someone you love had died and I’m standing in front of their old, empty house.

So many memories we had, as friends growing up, especially middle school and high school. Julie and Bill were always destined to be together. They were never apart. I remember one year, when I came back for a visit, they both took me to our old middle school that had been turned into an Administration Building.

We were allowed to go through the old halls and downstairs, in that creaky old building, with them trying to get me to remember this classroom, that teacher (when we staged a sit-down protest in the hall in front of the Biology lab because of the smell), the tunnel through the boiler room to the cafeteria and onto the girls and boys locker rooms recapturing those moments of long ago.

I could remember most things, especially when they said names and told old stories. We were laughing and joking, just like old times, and it felt good to remember old memories with them, right down to the mural on the wall, at the entrance, that Bill said our class painted and is hung there to this day. I never knew about that and he was pretty proud of it. It was a special time back then reliving those times with them.

I love them . . . and now I missed him and whispered a special prayer to him hoping he’s happy back with his beloved Julie. Somehow, while standing there I felt them together again and in love, as they always had been. I said my goodbyes, got in my car and left to take the short ride over to see if I remembered how to get to my old homestead. I was on to see what this trip holds for me next. If this is just the beginning, what else awaits. My heart is full.

There is much more to share with you in the days and months to come as the stories of my trip take shape and come to life. My sister and I did get to see my aunt and spend the night with her after getting lost a number of times. We couldn’t stay longer as Hurricane Dorian was moving up the coast. I visited with nieces, paid tribute at the gravesite of my surrogate grandfather, had a moving and gripping discussion with family and reunited with a cousin I hadn’t seen for more than 55 years, since I was a kid.

And finally, topping it off, with it ending on a return trip, not soon to be forgotten, where I’m sandwiched between two fellow passengers and engaged in talks with them on a 4-hour flight home to Denver on 9-11. Here is a 51-year old successful businessman, I’ve just met, choking up with tears giving me his personal account on 9-11 at ground level telling me, “He doesn’t know what is happening to him . . . he doesn’t do emotions”. You can’t make this stuff up.

One thing I’m reminded of, however, is that there is a greater intelligence in charge no matter how chaotic the world seems and that this greater intelligence has a sweet presence that resides in me and in you.

It’s eye is not only on the sparrow, it knows the number of hairs on our head, the laughter, the pain and our deepest feelings and desires. We carry it around within us and when we connect and align with it for one seemingly unimportant, simple trip (that was much desired by me), it hears and miracles happen and materialize. That’s the wonder and nature of living this beautiful life. It couldn’t have been said any better than by Patanjali, an author of Yoga Sutras from India, many centuries ago:

“When you are inspired by some great
purpose, some extraordinary project,
all your thoughts break their bonds;
Your mind transcends limitations,
your consciousness expands in every direction,
and you find yourself in a new, great
and wonderful world.
Dormant forces, faculties and talents
become alive, and you discover yourself
to be a greater person by far
than you ever dreamed
yourself to be.”

Pat from the ‘ol kitchen table

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A Gift of Love

Photography of night sky

Photo by Juan on

Christmas is almost here and family and friends are getting together. It’s a celebration of love all over the world. The gift to the world was a baby over 2,000 years ago and Christian faiths will bow their heads in holy worship to Jesus Christ, who came into the world to show us love. Others will pause to celebrate in their own private ways and different faiths knowing it’s a time to give and be more kind. The spirit of that gift of love is still felt today and alive centuries after for all.

Can you imagine how different the world was back then, when a man with his expectant wife traveled at night on foot and by donkey through narrow, dusty mountainous paths to get to the more populous town, Bethlehem? Government requirements were demanding, even back then. It didn’t matter that his wife was pregnant and they had to go far from home. He needed to find a safe place for his wife to give birth. Times became treacherous for them after and they had to flee for the safety of their newborn son.

We couldn’t be more worlds apart today than then and, yet, there’s much that is still the same. Still, there are those traveling on foot with their families to be safe and get to a better place. We all want to have what’s best for the ones we love, be warm, work, eat and enjoy our friends, family and watch our children grow as we get older. Not much on that has changed throughout time just the forms they come in.

Through all the commercialism and rushing around to get everything done, there’s magic and a different spirit at Christmas. I can feel it in the air and see it on the faces of people in the stores and streets. Of course, there’s more sparkle in the eyes of children as they burst with glee in anticipation of Santa.­

Christmas Tree Lights

Christmas Tree Lights © 2013 Pat Ruppel

No matter what someone may be going through, I feel grace and compassion in the attempts to love and feel loved, when it’s hard. It’s there and especially strong at Christmas. People are helping people with love. It fills my heart with hope that it will always be there.

Merry Christmas to all of you and God Bless in the New Year!

Pat from the ol’ kitchen table

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Acknowledgements: Photo by Juan on at https: more...

Being Human


Children-daffodils-flowers Courtesy MSN Clipart

This, being human, has it’s interesting twists and turns. Some days I’m tuned in while others I’m at a total loss and confused. But, this poem puts it back in perspective for me and is tender in helping me realize what’s important in life and why I’m here.

The Guest House ~~ by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


I can relate and understand that ups and downs are lessons, if I listen. Some just don’t make sense but that’s the point. It’s not what I understand with my head but with my heart. As I travel further on this journey, with this insight, I see the magic.

Sometimes, these twists and turns teach us to face our biggest fears. It reminds me of a story, I once read I never forgot, in “Saint Francis” by Nikos Kazantzakis (page 93),  where he had a dreamlike vision. The one thing Francis was most terrified of was the very thing he was instructed to do . . . kiss a leper on the mouth.

I can pretty much guess this isn’t something we would be asked to do today but the fear Saint Francis experienced with being challenged to follow through on this request was as real as any we could possibly face now. You could sense his entire body was tormented and trembling at the very thought of it.

To paraphrase, this story goes on like this: Almost paralyzed in fear, the next day Francis managed to get up and walk down the road, with Brother Leo, attentive for the sound of bells off in the distance. This was the sound of a leper coming. They wore bells to let others know they were near

Francis soon heard it and as he got closer he could see the leper. He came close and gazed in horror as half of his nose had been eaten away. His hands had no fingers and were just stumps and his wounded lips were oozing.

Ignoring his own terror, Francis then embraced him, throwing himself upon the leprous man and kissed him upon the lips choosing instead to follow God’s request. He, then, picked him up, wrapped him in his robe and began carrying him toward the city. As he got closer, Francis stopped and bent down to uncover the robe carrying the leper but as he pulled it away the robe was empty.

Unable to speak, Francis suddenly realized, with tears flowing from his eyes and falling to the ground to kiss the earth, that it wasn’t a leper at all. It was Christ Himself who had come in the form of a leper to test his faith.

You may ask if we’re really tested like this . . . maybe or not. But, magic happens, like Saint Francis experienced, when we have the same realizations. Our eyes are opened to the same possibilities, when we accept challenges we face each day and ignore our greatest fears. Are the beliefs we have real or are they just illusions?

How strong is the belief that we’ll risk our very lives to hold on to it. That’s the greatest challenge some are facing today in very real ways and it’s valid. It’s like the story of the man holding on to a rope unwilling to let go.

And a little like what I saw yesterday at a breakfast gathering when the conversation turned to the latest controversial topic of immigration and children being separated from their families.

The emotions were real, strong and valid. There was anger, yet tears in the eyes of the one who spoke. Even though our positions are different, I understood. I had been there and felt the dilemma on the inside where beliefs are so strong and justified but being challenged with different feelings from the heart. It’s hard to know what is true and how to let go.

It’s something we each struggle with and have to learn to identify. When we get what we think is guidance, who’s talking and can I trust it? Individually, it takes time to figure that out. But with it comes magic. It’s possible to work through and so worth it on the other side.

Thank you for reading and hope you’ll share some thoughts and experiences you’ve had too.

Pat from the ol’ kitchen table.

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Acknowledgements: The Guest House - by Rumi and transla more...

Breaking Free — Almost There


Starlings by Marilyn Peddle – Courtesy of PhotoDropper (

I haven’t written much nor have I been in the mix lately. I apologize. There’s a reason for that — I’m not going to lie. I’ve been facing personal demons and struggling with writing about it. I don’t want to add any more drama than is already out there. Instead, maybe sharing a bit of the process for me to finally break free of old beliefs that no longer serve me will help some of you.

Something is shifting within me and calling. I can feel it, though, I’m not quite sure what it is or where it will take me. So, I’ve been laying low and, needless to say, resisting a lot. Only this time, the ‘forces-that-be’ appear to have been set in motion and won’t be denied.

It’s a battle between mind and heart, as I am again sitting at this computer and, for the “nth” time, attempting to write this story. It’s difficult because I’m living the story as I write it. It’s forever changing and my thoughts are jumbled up. Yet, my heart compels me to write. So, here goes.  Continue reading

Can You Remember a Time When You Really Wanted Something?

Young girl praying outdoor

Young Girl Praying Outdoors – Photo Provided by © Fotolia ― Courtesy of MSN Clipart

Can you remember a time, when you wanted something so bad, you prayed and prayed for it? I can ― a couple of times, actually, that stand out for me. Once was when I was a child and the other was when I am an adult, married with a young family and new residents in the mountains.

Thanks to a fellow blogger, ­­­­Susan at “Finding Our Way Now”, for one of her stories that reminded me of this one particular time when I am an adult. I had completely forgotten about it and had to dig through my journals to recapture the events of what happened.  Continue reading