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I got home last Saturday and have been pretty busy ever sense. I would have posted sooner but some things just couldn't wait. I had two months worth of mail to seperate and shred. Unpacking took more time and I am still trying to put some things away that I brought home with me. I must confess that I have spent a lot of time just soaking up being home. :D Nothing makes you appreciate home as much as being gone for an extended period of time.

My trip was wonderful. I enjoyed spending time with all of my family and especially the holidays. Mardi Gras was great. What else can I say, you have to experience it to understand. I learned many things. One was that I can not sit calmly and watch the parade go past and not get caught up in the frenzy of catching the throws. They are mostly just cheap trinkets but it is the thrill of the catch.

I learned other things as well. I love my family with all of my heart but I'm not sure that I could ever live there again even if I could afford it. They have no special senior subsidized housing, only regular HUD. That means a lot more than just the lack of help with the rent but a lack of the community that I have found living in a senior apartment complex. I learned too that when the kids are out at night and I know it I worry as much as I did when my kids were young. I learned that they can take time for me when I visit but it is not always easy and there will always be times when their lives are so full that it will be hard to squeeze in a lot of time for me. Special occasions are family times but there are 365 days a year. They can be mightly lonely when everyone is busy living their lives and meeting their responsibilites and you have to spend time alone. My life here is so full. Even when alone I am not lonely and there is always a friend not far away.

My daughter in law is doing fine after her surgery. I was really worried for a while. Thanks for all of your prayers. Grandson got well too but I got home to find my sister in law with pneumonia. She is better but could still use some of those special prayers.

It was so strange seeing so many of my things in my children's homes. Many I had given to them, many more were left in the house when Denis died. Every bed I slept in had a quilt that I had made. I saw dishes and keep sakes both mine and those that belonged to Denis. I remember how hard it was to afford so many of those things and how long it took to aquire them. They seemed so important at the time but now, I just don't know. I'm glad to see my kids keeping them but in some cases just not being able to part with them is a burdon in some ways.

I see a lot of changes as the area grows, so much like what I saw in the Bay Area where I grew up. It makes me sad to see how easily things can be swept away in the name of progress.

It was wonderful meeting my little great grandson and spending time with him. He is such a little man. I enjoyed the time I had with Caroline though she kind of shied away from me. She has spent so much time with just her mama and daddy that she will take some time to get to know the family. That should be happening now because she is home again. Her daddy shipped out to Afghanstan the day after I left. I missed getting to see her and her mom by only a couple of days. Still I am glad she is home and pray that Jack will return home safely.

The train trip was great. I always enjoy that ride though I did find the seat more uncomfortable to sleep this time. Next time I will probably get a sleeper if I can afford it. I spent time with my cousins in Bakersfield then came home.

The last day of my trip was a train and bus ride up through the San Jauquin Valley. No words can explain what I feel on that trip. It has such an impact on me every time. I wish my children and grandchildren could see it some day and see it like I do. Even if they do see it they will never see it with my eyes because it is not just eye sight but what my heart sees. There is such a feeling of belonging. I see an orchard and know what kind it is just by the shape of the trees. I know that those long driveways that lead to a stand of tall trees also lead to the farm house. I know I will see wind mills and cows and oak trees and blue skies. I know too that the snow capped mountains line each side of the valley even if I can't always see them. The names of the towns are as much a part of me as my own name is. I have heard them all of my life in stories my parents told of the first days they came here during the dust bowl and from seeing so many of them as a child.

The last day as I drove up from my sister in laws house in Red Bluff I was so emotional. It was warm and clear and the moutains were all topped with white. Everything is so familiar and so much a part of my life. Then when I got home there was a paper on my door. Many of my neighbors had signed it welcoming me home and telling me how much I have been missed. I was so touched by that and the card from one of my friends in French Gulch saying the same thing. It is so good to be appreciated. It is so good to have friends like my neighbors and my friends on this board. People who have chosen to be my friends because they like me not just because we are related or they are friend of my kids.

I have so much to do still but that is what it is all about. Life is wonderful and it is so good to be home. Just to think it all started with a dream nearly 8 years ago!

One more note before I end this. Saturday it will be two years sense Denis died. I really missed him when I was there but more for my family than for myself. He should be there and be able to hold those babies and it is sad that he is not but then again maybe he held them first just as I'm sure Johnny held his new grandbabies.

Anyway I am home now and will try to keep up with all of you but I'm sure there will be times when I will be so busy that time gets away from me.

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Welcome Home!

It is so good to hear that you returned safely and that you are settling back into your routine. No matter where you travel, no matter how fabulous the trip, nothing compares to wonderful feeling of coming home and sleeping in your own bed and settling back into your own little nest.


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What a wonderful post, so descriptive. It's so nice to hear about someone finding a place where they are truly happy, have many friends and feel entirely at home. My grandmother was widowed for 30 years, and although she eventually lived in a senior community, I don't think she was ever really happy or had a lot of friends.

I'm sure your family loved having you visit, and that they treasure the things you mentioned, the quilts, etc...that you worked so hard to aquire. It is all their memories, too, and I bet it means so much that you passed those things on to them!

Glad to hear you are doing well, I know what a rollercoaster this life can be now.

Thanks for checking in!! :)

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Happy to have you back with us, Lillian. Your description of the trip through the valley just took my breath away. It truly makes me want to experience that. Now get all unpacked and up to date with the mail. Then make us a big ole pot of soup so we can all get together and catch up.


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