Log Out Tune In

IMG_4535_copyDo you wonder what happened to me? I logged off Internet and tuned in to life. I didn’t plan to be away from social media for the month of August, but things kept getting in the way – a bad back, an ongoing illness and a big family.

Unlike wine, the spine does not get better with age. Twice a week, I went for treatments to relieve the pain of bulging, herniated, degenerating discs or whatever you want to call smashed vertebrae. I rode the rollercoaster of a chronic disease searching for ways to balance my lifestyle during the flare-ups.

I devised a back plan – swim, walk, stretch, recline, ice, baby, ice – in attempt to retain mobility. With age, it is a losing battle. Gravity pulls my body parts earthwards but I refuse to go down without a fight to stay upright.

I tweaked a medical plan -pulsed antibiotic regime supported by dozens of vitamins, supplements, anti fungal pills, and probiotics – to keep the bug that outsmarts modern medicine at bay.

Most importantly, I filled a memory bank with traditions: sipping coffee with my mom, reminiscing with my dad, swimming with my daughter, niece and sister, walking with my sibs, sailing with my sweetheart, hiking with my son, kidding with my bros, yakking with my gal pals, and laughing so hard my ribs hurt.


Our beloved cabin needed a revolving door to accommodate the traffic coming and going. On weekends it felt like we were running a B & B as our young adult « kids » and friends drove up or over for a few days of solid comfort in God’s Country.

Technically I wasn’t « working », but I kept a hectic pace. I drove to doctors’ offices and cruised grocery store aisles. I grilled boatloads of brats and burgers and boiled bushels of corn on the cob. I baked dozens of cookies, whipped up hundreds of salads and washed thousands of utensils. I fed the « vultures » that swooped into the trouth (aka kitchen counter) at meal times and soared back to the lake before dish duty. TGIP – thank God it’s paper plates again.

No time for napping. Like Laura Ingalls, I always had another chore to do in our Little Cabin in the Woods — water jugs to fill, bedding to change, laundry to wash, floors to mop, garbage to dump, towels to hang, cans to crush, meals to prepare.

In exchange, I started every morning stretching on the dock in front of a mirror of glass. To the background beat of wailing loons, rustling chipmunks, and knocking woodpeckers, I did the downward dog and breathed in the peace.

And as the setting sun burst into a flame casting a golden glow over my day, I ended every evening in a prayer of gratitude.

I didn’t get anything done on my summer -to -do list. I didn’t journal, post blogs, grade papers, plan lessons, or research articles. I didn’t take an online class, join another social network or write a bestseller.

Instead I logged out, tuned in and attended to life.IMG_4937_copy

Posted in education, family, humor, inspiration, relationships, social view.


  1. Indeed, I have been wondering about you, Pat. In fact, I was going to send you an email today. So very happy to get your post and hear about your summer at the lake with family. I can’t think of a better antidote for your health issues than being surrounded with family at your treasured cabin getaway. I missed you but your break was wisely chosen. May these summer memories carry you through. Sending hugs and healing vibes your way, my friend. Welcome back.

    • Thanks Kathy. I missed you too. I am glad to be back just in time to follow your news Story Thread Series. By your output in words, I would say you are doing pretty darn well, but I know that you too have your own battles, so I hope that your health is okay and that you are greeting every new day with your usual faith and inspiration.

  2. Pat, you should check out my brothers, John and Pat, Kansas Regenerative Medicine Center. They have had great success with Stem Cells in the back. kansasrmc.com .
    Have a great school year!

    • Great idea Mary. Do they make house calls overseas? ha My sister, Karen, was telling me all about their fascinating work this summer. My problem is that they would have to regenerate my entire spine! So nice to hear from you.

  3. Yeah! Even though I knew what you were up to I was kind of surprised we didn’t see any blog posts. Come to think of it, you were even a bit slow on the emails too, even with internet access at the lake now. But so glad to see it was time well spent. Your photos are beautiful. You were in the most therapeutic environment ever surrounded by love and life. You did good, Girl! Welcome back.

    • Yes & the Quicks were part of that good therapy! I rarely even logged on internet because I was too busy running to docs & rustling up the next darn meal at the Lil House in the Woods. ha Hope your retreat has been everything that you dreamed it would be.

    • Thanks for stopping by Michelle. Yes, chronic back pain is a horrible burden and it gets a little better then it gets bad again. But I have to remind myself that I am lucky to be walking after my accidents.

  4. participating in life and creating memories is what it’s all about – so glad you had such a wonderful summer break – even if you didn’t do all the things you had planned. You just can’t beat time with family and friends (not even blogging can compete!) ~ Leanne

    • As writers I think it is a delicate balancing act. It is challenging to find time to step back and write about life and yet live it simultaneously. Thanks for stopping by. Lovely to hear from you.

  5. Pat, I always love reading your blogs. I have been thinking a lot about you, no better medicine than family to help with health issues. Hugs to you and your family!

    • Carol it was so nice to hear from you. Yes, family ROCKS and carries us through those hard times. Say hello to Glen & your beautiful daughter. Hope to make it to one of the ISU Chicago reunions after I retire. Would love to see the fam & cousins!

    • Yep, good plan. Bottle it up and sip it during those hard, dark winters when the Hawk is biting you behind. My sisters and I always say the same thing. Missed reading you, Clara. Nice to be back!

  6. Welcome back to blogging, Sis. Glad that you took the summer off to “attend life” and grateful for all the sister time we shared, but I, along with many other readers, missed your writing. Keep taking life just one step at a time and feel the love and support from around the world raising you up. Love you.

  7. I love your writing, Pat, but even more, I love your descriptions of mornings. Loons! Sunrise! Be still my heart. Although that Downward Dog thing didn’t appeal. Anyway, I’m sorry for your discomfort, and glad you’re still around. That accident wasn’t really survivable, yet here you are, busted and bruised, but still kickin. God bless you, Sis.

    • Aw Lynne, you always know how to lift my weary spirits. Words do inspire and yours work wonders. We are connected across the miles even though we have yet to meet, you truly are my soul sister.

  8. Pat, it sounds as if you accomplished a LOT during your absence from the Blogosphere! I’m so sorry for the pain you’ve been experiencing, and I’ve certainly missed your lovely presence — thanks for the explanation. But oh,what a beautiful piece of writing this is — I love the picture of you on that stunning lake doing yoga, getting in tune with yourself and Nature. Here’s hoping you feel better soon — love that your family is surrounding you in the midst of the difficulties!

    • Thanks Debbie, you are right there is nothing like the solace of family and nature to help one heal. Now I am back to the rat race of teaching, but by focusing on daily blessings and taking time to breath, I find the courage to keep on keeping on. As always I appreciate your kind words.

  9. That sounds like the perfect idea for August, Pat. We are so consumed with social media that it not only takes over our lives, it also makes us miss out on what is happening around us. I find that when I turn off the electronics I feel anxious at first, then so much more relaxed. Clearly, you did as well. Sounds like an awesome summer with your family and friends.

    • Helene, when I first logged out, I felt that free floating anxiety, but then I was filled with a perfect peace in knowing I was right where I supposed to be doing what it most important. I did miss my blogging buddies, though.

    • I felt the same when I first logged off, but then that anxiety was replaced by a perfect peace knowing I was right where I was supposed to be doing what is most important.

  10. Pat, I’m glad you were able to get some rest and relaxation in on your trip to the Northwoods, even though it sounds like a LOT of work! I’m sure all the family pitched in, too. I remember when we were kids and we did some traveling, we didn’t always eat out, so my Mom had to cook and she said that was no vacation for her! take care of yourself. You have such a great attitude! and such a loving and caring family!

    • Yes, Deb, everybody does pitch in. Thank heavens. Aren’t you just amazed by our moms? We are both blessed to have been raised in our communities by such supportive families.

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