I wear my heart on my sleeve.

My heart beats over my shoulder in the sketch drawn by a street artist in 2006 of my son and me in Rochester, Minnesota.

My heart nestles beneath the soft fabric of the sweater which Caitlin Taggart Perkins gave me for Christmas three years ago.

My heart falls from around my neck in each bead of the necklace which I made with my mother-in-law during my desperate hours of trying to save her from the grip of dementia.

My mother’s heart shines from my smile.  

The heart and soul of  each woman who trudged the rocky path before me radiates from the crinkles in my eyes and the grey roots surrounding my face:  My Nana; Grandma Corley; Mom Ulz; Great-grandmother Corinne Hahn Hayes.

Two years ago this Sunday, Angel’s Haven came to rest on a small lot here at Park Delta Bay.  I stood in front of her, smiling, hopeful, maybe even a little brave.  Stacks of boxes within the house held the small allotment of personal belongings which I had allowed myself.  I had no idea what the next two years would provide.  I had no job; I had no friends here; I had no family within driving distance except a few Corley cousins with whom I had not managed to connect.  Everything I knew remained in the Midwest.  The endless possibilities intrigued me; the monumental potential for failure terrified me.

My clumsy feet seem to find every pothole.  If a task can be botched, I have managed to do so in my sixty-four years on earth.  I continue to struggle with focus and ambition.  In the early hours, doubt overcomes me.  Fear makes itself at home in my domain.  Every effort which I have undertaken falls short of expectations.  I see disappointment in the eyes which turn away from me.

But I still wear my heart on my sleeve. 

It’s the sixth day of the seventy-first month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

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