Donna O'Klock | 1010 Park Place
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Donna O’Klock

— Relationships —

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At our age, when it seems like we have worked hard and should now get to relax and enjoy the fruit of our labors, many of us find ourselves caring for aging parents, an ill sibling or life-partner, or even a grown child who is sick and unable to care for themselves. We hadn’t counted on this twist of fate.

How do we give the very best of ourselves to them, and still take care of ourselves? How can we grow through the process, by surrendering to it, creating an opening through our own pain and suffering to help the rest of the world?

It might sound like a tall order, but it is possible.

The Crisis: My son has MS. While he has always bounced back before, he seems to have “run out of bounce.” The disease has become quite demanding.

My Actions: Accompany him to doctor appointments. Handle paperwork. Ask direct questions. Be sure to get him answers, timelines, and clear next steps.

My Goal: Help my son (as best as I can) organize a new way of life and build a support network, while accepting that he is an adult with his own ideas. Stay positive and proactive. Encourage him to practice loving kindness toward himself.

My Self-Care: Besides being sure I’m getting enough rest, and eating right (this isn’t the time to stuff all of my feelings with junk food and booze) I spend as many moments as possible meditating.

Tonglen is a practice I learned from Linda, my therapist, and by reading the works of Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun. Tonglen opens the heart and cultivates love and compassion.

“By embracing, rather than rejecting, the unwanted and painful aspects of experience, we can overcome fear and develop greater empathy for others.” I really, really want that.

On any given day, my prayer might sound like this: “For all the women in the world suffering from fear of the unknown about a loved one’s health, wellness, and future, I inhale your fears… and exhale ease, peace, and faith.”

I am one of those women now.

Through the practice of Tonglen, I feel connected, centered again, and it gives me a sense of inner strength. I heartily recommend my two favorite books by Pema Chodron: Tonglen, the Path of Transformation and When Things Fall Apart. Also, Anne LaMott’s beautiful book, Help. Thanks. Wow.

XO Donna

— Life —

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I first heard about ‘Sisters on the Fly’ this spring when we were camping at Lake Georgetown, TX. It’s one of my favorite spots because there are sites where you can watch the sun rise and set over a beautiful lake and never have to move out of your lounger if you’re so inclined.

We noticed a trickle of vintage Airstreams, then and all manner of sweet little trailers, some decorated extensively, coming into the park… all driven by women! We may never have met any of them if not for the fact that a woman knocked on our door to tell us we were in her spot.

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— Life —

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In the face of the disaster in my home state of Texas, I was hesitant to post about my great trip. I reflected on what made it so wonderful, and it wasn’t the places we’ve visited or the great food we enjoyed…

It was the people, both cherished friends and new friends, even a complete stranger, that made this trip as memorable as it has been!

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— Life —

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My mother always told me, “Don’t tell people your problems; half won’t care, and the other half will think you deserve them!
Yes, this RV lifestyle can be an escapist’s fantasy – but sometimes it’s less fantasy, and more horror show! Continue Reading

— Relationships —

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We’d only been in our motor home ten days when I packed a bag and hopped on Southwest Airlines for my second, annual, sister’s reunion. Continue Reading

— Relationships —

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It’s every woman’s lament at one point or another. But this time, it’s not about my clothes, and it’s true. I feel a little bit ridiculous. No… a lot ridiculous, ever thinking we were in good shape. Over thinking I had everything under control, over how many trips I took to the thrift store. I’ve decided the thrift store visits were my philanthropy for this year. And even after all of the prep work, I’m shocked at how much stuff we still have that has no place to live. Our coach looks like something from the television show “Hoarders.”

To use one of George W. Bush’s best words, “I think we have sorely misunderestimated how much stuff we could bring!”

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— Life —

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There are only twelve, count ’em, twelve days left until our big move! Continue Reading

— Relationships —

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In between the packed and stacked boxes, the work piled on both of our desks, and the boxes yet-to-be-packed–only 3 weeks to the move–things are messy. I pause and survey my kingdom. It’s disorganized, and I am dismayed, but I also have faith in Nietzsche’s saying, “Out of chaos comes order.” Continue Reading

— Relationships —

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Used throughout Europe as a way to cleanse the palate between courses, intermezzos are usually a light and refreshing treat. Today was my Intermezzo. I took a much needed break from sorting what to keep, what to let go of, what to sell, and doing the work to get it where it will be seen–and bought–by someone who will enjoy it. A break from separating my emotions from my  “things,” be it clothing, a stereo cabinet, or a set of martini glasses.

A dear friend invited me to meet him for lunch at a chic little French restaurant. I felt a momentary twinge of guilt for abandoning my post… then, like any sane woman would, I gladly accepted!

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— Essentials —

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From the time I was quite young and first read The Boxcar Children, the idea of living a very small life has appealed to me. Not small in the sense of unadventurous, safe, invisible… but small as in square footage. I’ve been a tiny house fan since the early 50’s!

A little back-story: In March, 2015, we sold our 3,500-square-foot home with a pool and large private yard. We had tired of being house-keepers. We downsized to a lovely 1,200-square-foot leased condo. Last July we downsized again, this time to our 900-square-foot apartment. Our motor home trip in April from Austin to Key West and points in-between, was all it took for us to commit to going “full-time” and downsizing into our 300-square-foot motor home. Continue Reading