Why re{knew}?

First, let’s talk about words. Yeah, I’m an English teacher, so that’s my thing!

New and knew are words that sound the same, and renew is related, but they all have different meanings. New basically means not existing before; renew, to resume an activity after an interruption; and knew, perceived as fact or truth in the past.

I started this project to resume after an interruption what I perceived to be my true self in the past.  That’s why I can sum up the goal of this project in a hybrid word:


Why do I need to re{knew} what I knew? Somewhere along the line leading up to now, I buried what I felt to be my true self without really realizing it. In the past few years, I’ve experienced several losses that seem to have brushed away some of the sediment covering up what I used to know about myself. In no particular order:

  • My marriage of 28 years ended.
  • My parents have both passed away.
  • I was laid off from my job as a teacher.


  • I have, for all intents and purposes, become an empty-nester.

All of those things were attachments that had come to define me: wife, daughter, stay-at-home mom and teacher.

On top of that, along came Covid, which really shook my world and made me feel like all of those attachments were stripped away in the blink of an eye. Over the past year, I’ve tried to regain my balance by reading, writing, spending time in nature and making plans for a new future.

I’ve started re{knew} because I feel like there are other people out there, no matter your age or stage in life, who need renewal, too. Maybe sharing my experiences can help you feel a little bit of renewal. So, come along with me, here and on my YouTube channel, as I take this journey, and


Cooking re{k}news

Ugh! I’m hungry.

I sorta don’t feel like making food.

There’s no one home but me. But, if I think about the fact that my (adult) daughter will come home from work hungry, I’m motivated. She doesn’t have expectations or assumptions about food ready for her when she returns. Now, I feel like cooking. This isn’t some onerous “hafta.” This is a choice to meet the needs of another.

Back to me, though.

Why do we not feel like it is worth our time and effort to cook for just ourselves?

In a previous life, when I was married, my husband left for an extended business trip. I had found a recipe that looked good for some sort of dish involving dried exotic mushrooms. (I said “exotic,” not psychedelic or erotic!). At that point in time, I was willing to cook for myself. There was something I wanted to watch on TV–a weekly TV show, or a movie, or some DVD that I had rented. (Oh, no! It would have been a VHS!) Anyway, fixing a meal, including wine, was acceptable for me by myself.

Was that a good time in my life? Not really. I was lonely, even though I was married. Was that a good night? Yep! Took care of myself. The recipe turned out great!

Tonight, I have salmon defrosted, plenty of veggies and salad makings in the fridge and a good audiobook playing. I’m gonna make dinner for myself, instead of eating …. ummm… chips and salsa? No salsa. Hummus and pita chips? No hummus. Leftovers? Ate at lunch.

OK. It’s salmon and something.

Any suggestions of recipes for one?

Singing Re{k}news

One way I know I was broken and needed to re{k}new is that I wasn’t singing. In the car, I used to sing to the radio, loud and off-key. Remember when you used to hop in the car, turn the radio on and sing your heart out? Remember car dancing? I can picture driving out of the parking lot at work on a sunny day with the window down and the tunes crankin’!

It came back to me a little while ago in on one of my first little trips ion the van. Don’t remember the song-I think it was on a Christian rock station. Didn’t even think about it. Didn’t even realize it. All of a sudden it struck me, “Hey, I’m singing!” What joy!

Then, this morning, at home, it was Carpool Karaoke with James Corden. Guest star: Paul McCartney.

Baby, you can drive my car! Singin’ and dancin’ in my comfy chair. Hands up! Singin’ loud!

A very sweet episode with two very sweet guys. Hit me hard-brought on the tears. Why? Paul talked about his mom telling him in a dream to “just let it be.” James and Paul started singing the song, and got all teary-eyed. Someone else cries, I cry. But, later no, Paul did a pop-up set at a pub and before ya know it, I’m singing and crying. So are the girls (and some guys) in the audience. What is it about those Beatles songs and that band?

For me, it’s back to high school, listening to albums late at night with those big head phones so I don’t wake up the whole house. Those high school years weren’t the best, but I find renewal in those little glimpses of things that fed my soul in those days.

Two questions for ya. Leave comments below 🙂

What would be on your road trip mix tape? I can’t find my old tapes, but I know a few of the songs:

  • Baby You Can Drive My Car-The Beatles
  • Drive-Bobby McFerrin
  • Fast Car-Tracy Chapman

What are some songs that fed your soul in your younger days?

Van Life Re{knew}s

Van life?

Yes! Van life!

As I’ve tried to regain my balance post-Covid (and all of the other changes in my life), the anchor I have found is the idea of travelling in a camper. Looking back to see where I can find the “me” I feel I’ve lost, I picture

  • Time I spent as a teenager with my family in a pop up camper in the tiny town of Cedar Run, PA.
  • Time I spent with my husband in a big red truck with a slide-in camper, exploring the Northwest, Southwest and North Carolina.
  • Time I spent with with my own family of five, traveling the Northwest and Southwest


  • Time I spent most recently, on my own in an SUV living out of two grocery bags and two laundry baskets.

So, here we are today, where I know that I want to go back to these roots to regain what I knew about myself in those moments when I felt most grounded and centered in “me” and most at peace with who I am.

I’ve started my YouTube channel, Van Life Renews, because I feel like there are other people out there, no matter your age or stage in life, who also need renewal. Even though you can’t be with me out there, maybe sharing my experiences can help you feel a little bit of renewal, too.

Hope I’ll see you down the road!