Taking a moment just now to appreciate anew how surrounded I am by family of the heart.

I was raised by amazing, brilliant, loving people that I'll always be close to.
It turns out I'm still being raised by amazing, brilliant people who surprise me with the force of their love every day--it's just that there are so many more of them now, more than I ever thought my heart could hold.

Tuesday through Thursday morning, I was surrounded by K's wonderful family--I hadn't realized until this week that there was a part of me who still didn't feel she belonged there, not quite. That's all gone now. I know that I'm theirs. Part of it comes from the loss we share now, certainly. In Mike's sweetheart Jackie, I have a kickass sister of the heart in Oklahoma, for life, who's asked me to please come and visit, regardless of the fact that the person who was our shared connection is gone. Without the chosen lack of paperwork to confirm such things legally, K's mother told me yesterday that she considers me her daughter-in-law, and that she refers to me that way in conversation. K's dad and I have always gotten along, and even if he hadn't worked on my truck bunches of times and played a show with me twice now, I'd still think he's awesome. But he lent me his guitar for the memorial service. It must be something about getting to play his Martin for two days, and watching him enjoy me playing his guitar, that banished the last traces of feeling like I didn't belong. Call it a guitar player thing. Laugh if you like. It was my mother's guitar that I first played, and it was my own father, gone five years now, who first made sure I ended up with a guitar of my own in my hands.

I woke this morning in Florida, in a deliciously comfy bed provided by Pagan phamily of the best kind--we're all long overdue for actual hangout time together, too. There's so much sunshine outside right now that it seems illegal. My host's daughter J. assures me that Florida has a whole bunch of sunshine. I'm looking forward to feeling its positive effects on my general self. I'm looking forward to music and laughter all over this house. I'm looking forward to recording in the guest room. I'm looking forward to sleeping in the same place for several weeks, for the first time in a long time. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner outside, under the live oak tree--Amy plans to hang it with lights for the occasion.

Tonight I will perform once again with two amazing women who are undeniably my sisters, by heart and spirit and song if not by blood, who share and laugh and dream with me and improve my life every time we get together, who sing with me without hesitation, whenever they can.

And that's just this week. There are so many more facets of this tribe I'm in, all over the world, each of them strong and proud, each of them different from the last and just painfully awesome. You all know who you are.

All I can think right now is this: how did I get so very, very lucky?

Good luck to each of you, in finding and keeping and enjoying your own motley, genuine family. May it be as vividly colored and as far-reaching as mine. May it fill your heart to bittersweet bursting; may it delight you and teach you and challenge you and lift you up, always.

Today marks ten months since my surgery, by the way. **LOVE**
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