The first time I drove into Eau Claire felt like I was arriving on a movie set. With greenery surrounding the roads, clean rivers and lakes, and well-kept family friendly neighborhoods, it was one of the most picturesque places I had ever seen. It was like driving into the charming small town in a Hallmark movie. It felt like the right place to start creating the next scenes in my own life movie.
My best chapters in Eau Claire consisted of – my daughter, Bluebirds, our home, and my doctors. To fulfill the Hallmark vision, I called my house the “Happy House Manor”. The intent was to create a higher standard of expectations at the Manor. I was Lady Sutley, guiding and protecting my princess daughter. Anyone allowed in the Happy House must be a person of character, wisdom, and grace.
Like any movie, there was more that met the eye at the Happy House Manor. My circle of friends was far reaching, but only a few were allowed access to the suffering behind the scenes. Multiple Sclerosis was and still is an energy vampire existing within myself. My flare ups during my time in Eau Claire were severe. I survived thanks to my doctors at Mayo, digging and planting my backyard oasis, and learning to care for and monitor bluebird nestboxes. My doctors provided innovative treatments and encouragement so I had the energy to find a purpose in gardening and bluebirding.
Moving to Eau Claire was a transitional period in my life. I am now at that point again. I have given and taken everything Eau Claire had to offer and teach me. I leave with great memories and even better friends. My next movie chapters will consist of listening to sounds of nature, spending time with my family, learning about wintering bluebirds, and most importantly “just being”.
We can celebrate the excitement of change as we look at the blank slate of what’s to come—which we ourselves have the chance to discover, write, and live free. The message is clear: it is up to us to create our own stories.