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Yesterday I took one of those Facebook quizzes that I find so fascinating. The question was, “What should be the title of your autobiography?” After answering a number of questions, the suggested title was “Testament of a Dreamer”, with this explanation: “While writing your autobiography, you were able to look back on a life well lived and turn your experience into a tale that readers will never want to put down!”

That got me thinking about this blog I’ve tagged as “random musings of a thoroughly lived life” and how to celebrate today’s 400th post. Four hundred posts. Absolutely mind-boggling, but also very reassuring and encouraging. I can do this!

So as people tend to do at milestone moments, I started taking stock, trying to figure out how I got to this point in my thoroughly lived life.

Family comes first, of course. Had I been born into another family, one with more rules and less love, more drama and less acceptance, I would probably be somewhere else entirely. And if I had found my Prince Charming right away and gone on to live “happily ever after”, I wouldn’t have either of my beloved children, and definitely wouldn’t be here, either. So where is “here”, anyway?

Me with my froggy prince.

Me with my froggy prince.

This morning the City of Visalia’s Faith-Based Subcommittee on the Homeless met at the City Transit Building, and the Mayor joined us. What started out for me as a visit with other members of our congregation to a single “Homeless Forum” a year or so ago has become an outlet for my longstanding concerns regarding those without permanent housing. Our subcommittee now meets on a monthly basis, trying to determine how the faith community can best respond to the needs of our under-served and hurting neighbors. And now I am putting 35+ years of experience in play as the Secretary of the subcommittee. So “here” is where I am the second Wednesday of the month.

I have written more than once about Helping One Woman and the healing work that is done monthly by a small group of committed women, joined by a fluid group of friends and family to help each month’s honoree. I am humbled and proud to be part of this organization that has no treasury, complicated bylaws, or membership dues, but exists solely to assist woman affected by tragedy. “Here” is where I am the third Tuesday of the month.

For 45 years I have been playing dolls with my mom and her friends of the Cuesta Doll & Study Club in Arroyo Grande. As the last living Charter Member of the club, mine is a happy legacy. Not only was my mother a founding member, but her mother played with us, too. During my career years, I only attended on special occasions; once I retired, it seemed natural to combine meetings with a monthly visit home to Daddy and my brother (although it still hurts that Mom didn’t live to go together monthly). Two years ago the brave ladies elected me to serve as their president. “Here” is where I am the first Tuesday of the month.

Aunt Betty used to play dolls with us, too, and when the president of her doll club needed a speaker for a meeting, I opened my mouth and volunteered. Next thing I knew, Aunt Betty was paying for my membership in the Delightful Dolls Club. It gave me a scheduled date on the calendar each month for a trip to Fresno, and such cherished time with my precious aunt and uncle. He is too ill to go now, but I wrap a visit to them with our meeting days. On the third Wednesday of each month, “here” is with Aunt Betty and the Delightful Dolls.

Aunt Betty and her Annette Himstedt doll.

Aunt Betty and her Annette Himstedt doll.

And all those days in between? “Here” is scrapbooking with my ladies at our Second Saturday Scraps, welcoming guests to Olive Garden, and chauffeuring my granddaughters to and from school. I have the joy of accompanying them to church — rather than sending them with willing neighbors the way my folks did — and watching them become active members of the congregation. And best of all, “here” is my cozy corner where I am the stay-at-home Grammy, sharer of secrets, reader of books, and weaver of family stories.

Is this where I thought I was going when I headed off to Fresno State 45 years ago to finish my last two years of college? Of course not. And it most definitely is not where I was going when I moved out of my marriage and into my own apartment four years ago. But every night when I (finally) turn away from my computer and snuggle into bed, I am thankful to be right where I am. I am grateful for the freedom to follow my passions and the luxury of being surrounded by family.

“Here” is the perfect place for me.

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