My name is Sally.
I also answer to multiple names that have to do with identity: Mom, Mama, Grandma, Aunt Sally, Mrs. Wessely, and Dear. A friend once said of me, “Here comes Sally with her cast of thousands.” I think that characterization is a bit of an exaggeration, but hey, I do have a fairly large family, and a large network of friendships that have been many decades in the making.
I have been married to my high school sweetheart for a bit over a quarter of a century, but I’ve known him for over half a century, so yes, you guessed it, there is a story there. This story began when I was sixteen and he was seventeen. We both ended up marrying other people the first time around. He had three children and I have five when we reconnected and married in our forties. Those children all married and had children. At last count, he has ten grandchildren and I have eight.
I am a retired English teacher turned blogger. My husband is a retired high school principal turned Apple store employee. Neither one of us seems to have been successful at retirement. We both are enjoying this third act of life which has brought both of us new careers that we never could have imagined when we first retired from our first careers more than a decade ago.
When I first retired, I thought I would mostly read, write, and garden. Little did I know that instead of living the life I had imagined, a great upheaval would occur in my personal life when my fourth child, my youngest daughter, took her life at the age of 34 in 2010.
I have often said that a dark black line was drawn down the timeline of my life on that day. It seemed that life was split into life before Julie’s death, and life after her death. Much of my writing has dealt with the topics that grew out my daughter’s death:
Growing through grief
Another loss that occurred in my life in the past decade is a loss of well-being. I have dealt with the following health conditions:
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)
FFA (Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia) a rare form of scarring alopecia which is also called cicatricial alopecia.
My Instagram feed is an interesting mix of people I am following regarding topics on: writing, faith, mental health help, suicide survivors, GI health from doctors and dieticians, bald girls, and the latest in wigs!
My blog reflects this crazy Instagram feed because it is a mix of all of these topics also.It is hard to pin down what this place, this website, is about, so I will just say it is an eclectic place. I hope you will join me as I write about and explore all these previously named topics while I also tell the story of a wild and wonderful life filled with loss, grief, joy, growth, laughter, love and so much grace
Strands of Silver
I am a writer. This is where I write for my readers. I am a storyteller. I like to tell stories that invite my readers to join me as I seek meaning in all of the vicissitudes of life. Heraclitus, an ancient Greek philosopher, said “change is the only constant in life.” We all know this is true, but there is change, and then there is change. In other words, for me some changes are harder to process than others. When change is hard, I write about it. Sharing that writing helps me feel less alone. Writing also helps me pay closer attention to the subtle and not so subtle changes in the seasons of life and in the phases in each season. My life is not that different others in that we all have our ups and downs. My ups and my downs probably are different than of your ups and downs, or they may be the same. Join me in this place where I will write stories where you the reader might find yourself.
Or possibly, in this place, you, dear reader, might read stories where you will be thankful not to find yourself at all. Even if you are mostly grateful that you can’t relate to some of my stories, some of my experiences, I do hope that you will find stories here that will help you on your own journey through life. One never knows when one’s life’s fortunes will have a major reversal, nor does one ever really foresee when one day an event happens that changes everything. If that day comes, I hope that readers will remember that they are not alone.
Strands of Silver was birthed out of loss. The stories that became strands of silver may initially have been considered as detrital, that which should have been tossed aside into the ash heap of life’s experiences which are better forgotten, left behind, cast aside, yet as those experiences were lived out, the dross was burned away and Strands of Silver in the form of stories remained after the writer had gone through the refiner’s fire.
This is the place where stories from the past, stories of what is being lived in the here and now, and stories of hopes for the future are woven together to create silver strands of truth, of wisdom, of love, of restoration, of loss, of joy, of longing, of new understandings, and of old memories.
When life seems as if it is all in shatters, when all seems broken, destroyed, beyond repair, when it seems like life is fragmented into pieces of a puzzle that will never fit together to create a whole picture, there is the place where stories are told that construct new meanings, new understandings, new beginnings.
Strands of Silver, were once fragments, threads, remnants, all that remained after a cutting back, a shredding, a shearing. They were also that which remained after a time of rejoicing, of celebration, or a time of growth. These fragments, which are really stories, when collected and placed side by side take on new meaning and become beautiful strands of silver which in turn can be plaited or twisted together to create a beautiful design which gives a picture of completeness and wholeness.
Strands of Silver seeks an integration of all things that life throws at us: the good, the bad, the brokenness, the mending, the losses, the restorations, the lack of faith, and finding of new faith that is stronger than it was before one had to struggle to believe.
Strands of Silver is not my first blog. Nearly ten years ago, during the summer when I officially retired, I began a new venture: blogging. I named the blog Retired English Teacher because that is the only name I could stumble upon. I was a retired English teacher, and that seemed to be the only identity I had at the time.
I had no clear direction for the blog, I just began writing and sending my writing off into the blogosphere not even knowing exactly what the blogosphere was. In time, I began to gather a few readers, and I also began to read other blogs. Through reading and writing in the world of the blogosphere, connections were made. Those connections led to friendships. Those friendships supported me and my writing through the darkest days of my life, and they rejoiced with me during the days which brought joy and healing. In time, my blogging experience changed, and I nearly let it all fall away, but it seemed I still had stories to tell. I wasn’t done with writing. I wanted a new platform because I no longer just identified as a retired English teacher.
If nothing else, I do hope that you, the reader, will find a place you will find connection, rest, peace, and a sense of calm and joy that gives you the strength and the courage to sort through your broken parts of life and decide if there is any wisdom to be gleaned from the experience. I recently heard that wisdom does not come from experience alone. I have found that it is only as we look at the experiences of life through the lens of God’s word that we can begin to gain the wisdom that each experience has to teach us.
Even as I have reached my seventies, and even as it could be said that I have silver strands of hair that speak of my wisdom, I would be telling you an untruth if I said I had it all together, that I have all the answers to the problems of life. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I am no sage on the stage. This blog will be where readers can find stories that faithfully recount the struggles that are a normal part of life. Hopefully, there might even be a few victories along the way. S, it