Describing My 2014 Journey Here

This week’s death of Nature Poet Mary Oliver (1935-2019), and article about her in Washington Post, plus reviewing her poems led me to her “Journey” which in some ways describes what I was unable to describe in my 2014 “Decision Process” I called it then, of getting away from the depressing world of conservative Middle Tennessee, the clouds of a failed marriage and subsequent loss of family, branches and stones in my path of a vocational “calling”  manipulated by power-hungry “rulers” ending unceremoniously first in 1999 and finally by 2002 in unplanned early retirement. In a daze . . .

I’ve always tried to “make lemonade out of lemons” and I turned my retirement into an adventure of nature travel and photography as much as I could afford, including visits to all 54 state parks in Tennessee with a book about that, A Walk in the Woodsalong with many other nature/travel books and my growing nature photo gallery. But I was still looking for something else.

Moving from the vibrant life of rowhouse living in downtown Nashville to a suburban “Independent Living Retirement Home” was still not what I was looking for.

It was to commune closer with nature, to travel in natural exotic places that my limited income could not afford, then suddenly it hit me, why not move to one of the nature places in which I love to travel and just live there?

With only 2 family members left and no grandchildren, it was easier for me than some people to make such a life-changing move! And now I see it described in a new way in this poem by Mary Oliver:

The Journey

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice–

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do–

determined to save

the only life you could save.

~Mary Oliver

¡Retired in Costa Rica!

¡Pura Vida!

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Today was the day! With help from a professional at Codeable my blog was moved from Blogger to WordPress today as the first page of my new website using WordPress: Retired in Costa Rica,  Click link to see it all live. A Blog excerpt is on the Home Page and the whole thing as first menu item named: Blog


Because of the move you who have been subscribers should have received an email from WordPress (check your Spam folder if not). It is very important that you CONFIRM YOUR SUBSCRIPTION by clicking a link in the email that takes you to a WordPress subscriptions page where you click again to confirm. Otherwise you will no longer receive the email version of my blog.


I’m hoping to improve the blog by shortening the posts and using fewer photos to not overwhelm you. It now dovetails into my website with lots of personal static information pages, family history and cemetery data pages, and lots of stories to be added as I rebuild the site that was started in 2000 while in The Gambia, West Africa. I’m just starting the time-consuming job of rebuilding, so please be patient. Once the static pages are rebuilt and new ones added, I will consider moving my photo gallery from SmugMug to the website so that everything is in one place. But one thing at a time!  🙂


Links to my old Blogger posts will be forwarded to the same post on WordPress. So any post you have linked to is still a good link.

Sorry to say that links to my old personal website will not! Family history researchers can still find the new pages on as before but with a new address. Email me if you need an article’s address and can’t find it. I have the only detailed information pages on the two Hardgrave family cemeteries in Nashville and the only webpage about our family war hero Earl Doggett completed, available now!

Let me know what you would like to see different in the blogs or the website.

Still Learning

20170807_120350_001'AMy Garden


WordPress is so much different from Joomla that it is like starting all over on website building. And I think I am a slow learner! But I will get there!

I’m having multiple menu problems and some page setup problems. Have an appointment with a tech on Tuesday. They say I can transfer my blog to WordPress Blog, but they have a long list of disclaimers, so we will see what happens after I build the site or maybe Tuesday. There is also the possibility of moving my SmugMug photo gallery to WordPress with similar disclaimers One thing at a time!


Finding a Template

I have gone through so many templates today trying to find one that will work for me. Many looked different in the previews than they do with my copy and I still don’t know how to do a lot of actions – a slow learner!  🙂

This is my first blog in WordPress. Will not compare to Blogger just yet. Must learn first! I keep coming back to this basic free template because of the full page photo on home page. Others show a full page photo in samples, but don’t do it with my copy.

Maybe tomorrow I will choose and settle down to creating content!