Wow! Ten days into Iron Noder 2014, and y'all are going above and beyond! I love this time of year living on the east coast of the good old United States of America with our crazy weather and yellow/orange/red/brown foliage display, courtesy of Mother Nature. This year, barely have to leave the backyard to enjoy the changing colors and the wintering birds passing by. Having a weekend ritual of filling the birdfeeder and birdbath with my husband is peacefully pleasant, although I suspect our cats view it quite differently.

In what I can only describe as When Worlds Collide, I am attempting to keep up with my Iron Voting and Iron Noding, while learning the etiquette of subacute rehab facilities, which are also nursing homes; communicating via email to estranged and sometimes warring siblings regarding my mother's condition; getting back into a daily routine working out at the YMCA while my husband attends his Adult Day Care Center, plus somewhat reluctantly assuming the head of household position in all matters. Not my forte.

As a double caregiver, I am slowly learning I must take care of myself or I'm no good to others. I have chosen to do this because I feel it's the right thing to do. I expect nothing, no eternal reward, just enjoying brief moments of love of a different kind. And I would not change a thing. This is a hard concept to describe and I'm often misunderstood by family, friends, and strangers. What matters most to me is that the people I care for, come what may, know where I stand...and that is by their side, any time day or night.

So, back to Iron Noder, keep up the good work, people, and it's still not too late to join!!! Don't let the upcoming cold and darkness of winter put you into a funk. Write anything. Write about your sadness. Write about your hopes and dreams. Fill nodeshells with your spin. Let's all remember to thank a veteran this week, this month. Contribute to the current whirlwind of writing while encouraging new noders to test their wings here.

Above all, be kind and supportive. There's enough craziness going on in the world; we should be holding each other up, voting, reading, sending uplifting private messages, and for goodness sake, don't be stingy with your C!s and constructive feedback. From an old hippie, peace out.