Chapter One - an eventful life

(c)2015 Shaun Brink happy.
Remember that slogan?
Scientists studying the brain have since discovered how accurate that is.
The very act of smiling increases our endorphins.
Even seeing others smile can increase our sense of joy.

We did not know that in a few months Bruce would be diagnosed with a brain tumor and a new “after” would begin.

The present moment in this new world of “after”  was all we had, all we could count on. We cherished each moment.

We spent that spring and early summer living in tents while we cleared the land to build again. It was a time of closeness .

Every day in some way is an “after.” We wake up the morning after getting married or having a baby or passing a test at school.  

Some afters seem more life altering.

Our house burned down in April 2004 and in the days  “after” our world changed.   

"Make your own music"  could have been the theme song of my first husband BruceHe looked for joy in all things and worked hard to see the best in all people.

We married young before he went to Vietnam. Bruce's experiences there reinforced  his belief in non violence and living a life of kindness to all living things.

Like Ray, he led his life on his own terms and encouraged me and our children to live fully in the moment.

Ray also gets credit for introducing me to gold mining,sweatlodges and motorcycle riding.

He has taught me about PTSD, war veterans,  and pipe making.  He even taught me to play piano though he never has played more than chopsticks.

How can you be such a great piano teacher, I asked him.

I am not teaching you, he said. I am just sharing the fun of making your own music.

My home now spans the world and my family is a delightful conglomeration of new relatives from Malaysia to Minnesota.

I married into the Minnesota family through my hubby Ray. (Falling in love at the ancient age of 60 is another story to come!) I am now a step mom, grandmom and great grand mom to a lively crew of fishing, horseback riding and colorful Minnesota characters who value family.

I am glad to report that I was wrong. My 60's have been an unexpected time of discovery. This year I did jazzercize  in Malaysia with a group of native women.

It was my third time visiting that wonderful country. My son Toby and his wife Mary live there part of the time. Through them I have expanded my definition of home and family.

It has been an eventful life. It does make me chuckle sometimes at the twists and turns. I never imagined when I was 18 that one day in my 60's  I would be a biker chick.

At 18 years of age all folks in their 60's seemed ancient, old, and destined for creaky bones boredom.

The title of this section stumped me. I wanted to let you in to the intimate regions of my soul where the real me resides. Yet when I started to write and select photos I realized what I was doing was sharing the events of my life.

My autobiography

My Story

The Story of Me

bears, outhouses and painted noses

Trauma Transformed

                    Rediscovering life after trauma and loss




my story