I find that trying to look at my first year in this city is much like trying to look at the past through a piece of glass. I don’t really remember all that much. But I know that it is much like heaven on earth.

It was right after the divorce, and I was trying to find my way to normalcy and eventually, peace. To learn to live alone and find a way to pay the bills.

I think I have learned more in the past four years than I did in the 50 years preceding it. 

I have learned to be grateful for what I have. That most of what is important isn’t attached to a dollar sign. And that living alone can be better than being married.

I think as we age, we come to understand that nothing is finite. Life is unpredictable.  

I suppose what I’m most grateful for at this time of my life is the silence of my days. 

Not the heavy full-of-contention silence of my marriage that hung over my daily life like a pall. 

(Incidentally, did you know that a pall, also called mortcloth, is also the word for a cloth that covers a casket or coffin at funerals?)

Seems rather apropos. 

Now I enjoy watching the antics of the birds in the trees out on my little patio. It is not the magazine-worthy yard I once had. No, I traded that for peace of mind. And it was worth it. My little rented one bedroom apartment is all that I need. 

The dogs can run and play while I fill my containers with soil and plants to beautify my little space during the warmer months. 

I am happy. I am content with my life.

Come spring, the white tulips should be emerging from the big containers where I layered them underneath the summer flowers. 

The many herbs I’ve planted will fill the air with their individual scents. Mint, lemon balm, lemon verbena, sage, rosemary. 

By June I will be able to sit on my couch and stare out at the lovely blooms that I’ve cultivated. 

I will take many photos and share them with you. My little piece of heaven on earth.

Nature is my spirituality. It is my sustenance and it is the balm that soothed me when life was so unpredictable.

I think back and know that nothing in this world is worth what I left. Nothing. Not the money or the newest and finest. Or the ability to walk into a store and come out with a three hundred dollar purse. 

I laugh at myself now. At the person who actually walked into a store and spent three hundred dollars for a mere purse. It was the first and only time I did that. 

But it was such a waste of money. Now I carry a big tote that was ten times cheaper.

I suppose I was trying to tell myself that that was my trade-off for being so unhappy. The ability to buy things. Things. I look at it so differently now. Like night and day. 

That three hundred dollar purse mocked me. While I told myself for the hundredth time: I can’t keep living like this. 

And now I’m not. Now I enjoy my little space and my patio with serenity and contentment. 

No amount of money in the world can buy you that.


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  1. Brenda, you are a fabulous person! I, too, along with everyone else here, love reading your posts. You tell us that it is difficult to express yourself in face-to-face conversation with people but when you pick up a pencil and start writing your words, you're nothing short of a genius. Your words are eloquent and your messages so very clear to everyone.

    You may not remember me saying this but I'm a teacher of extra special students on medical leave (since the last week of Nov.) until I can walk w/o the air cast and stand on my feet all day. I have two students in my class I love more than the others (I try not to show it) and both of them have an autistism diagnosis. The one little guy has a very tender heart like yours and he astounds me every day with his astute observations about people and life in general. Just like I look forward to your every post, I simply cannot wait to get back to him for more conversation with him!

    I love your humour- adding a picture of the pups for one reader made me laugh out loud! Okay, I've got a question for you- What does the quote in the picture ("Red is neutral") mean? I'm thick-headed today. *red-face*

  2. I agree with Debby, your happiness and peace can be heared in your words. I am going to make a copy of this post to remind myself and share with others the joy of a simple life filled with the beauty of nature and unconditional love of animals. You are an example of a woman who left an abusive relationship and created a wonderful life. It did not happen over night but you have proven that it can be done. Thank you!

    1. I want to keep writing about this from time to time, in the hopes that one of these other women might happen to be reading on that day. And know that it is possible.

  3. Even your writing has matured since I've been reading you in those days, Brenda. There has been such growth. You have been through so much, so many many roadblocks along the way but you have triumphed over them and come out wiser. I bet there are many out there who you give hope to.

  4. It's what I strive for Brenda..peace and contentment in my little house on my little piece of land…People with negative attitudes can just Go Away!!!…Life is way to short now to deal with anyone who wants to upset me..

  5. Hi Brenda~

    Sounds like you have been on quite a journey . . . life definitely take us to places we never expected, can't they?! Beautiful post.


  6. You can read the happiness in your words. You have gone through some real storms. So glad you are away from all of that. I love that you have that garden space.

    1. It would be hard to leave that garden space. When I was having money problems due to the Italian lady, I looked for something cheaper for months. I just couldn't bring myself to leave my little garden space. It is so conducive to my contentment. Only a gardener understands that. I got things turned around, fortunately, mostly due to my beloved readers who were so generous and caring. I hope that you have happiness in your new place.

  7. Nothing is worth the sale of your soul. I think you always had normalcy within you. He was the unsettled one that needed you to be "sick".

    1. Scary to think that. I wish I'd realized that many years ago. I wish I'd figured out that obsession and control is not love. He told me that no one would ever love me like he would. He was right that no one had ever professed love in words…he knew the words.

  8. Money can never buy health or peace! When I was working with clients with unlimited budgets, they always thought one more accessory, one more piece of art, or furniture would bring happiness, it never did. Thanks for sharing your beautiful gift of writing! Blessings, Pam @Everyday Living

    1. Contentment…I won't spout the meaning in the dictionary. I have read that many times, and it didn't constitute what I felt then. Now, I know that meaning with my mind and body and spirit.

  9. I absolutely love the way you take your thoughts and so eloquently get them out on paper – you are such a lovely writer and you inspire me each and every day. I agree with you – there's nothing better than peace, it's priceless. You don't need a big fancy house…you just need enough space for you and the pupsters and your patio garden. I found peace when I left my marriage in rentals with patio gardens as well, and I was quite happy…the peace was amazing, the lack of drama and fighting. There's nothing better.

  10. My favorite post ever, ever, ever you've done. The only thing that would have been a cherry on this delicious pie, would have been a photo of the pups LOL. Hugs to you and cheers to finding our your own truthful meaning of life. Peace and pups.

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