The first post of the next phase of my life…

Prelude to this chapter of my life

The Chambered Nautilus

Rod and Sarah’s life in China Blog

16 August 2019.

This blog is just getting set up, so as they say here in France, “vitrine en cours de construction’…work in progress. I’m also discovering how to use WordPress… so you may needs some patience and tolerance of my learnings as I travel this new path!  As some of you may know from following our old blog about Rodney and mine’s life during our time in China, I have since stopped updating that blog after Rod’s death.  (to see the old blog, you can follow this link at the top of this page)

That chapter of my life with Rodney Miller as my Prince and husband is unfortunately now closed.  It is closed as with a glass door, I can see through it with precious memories, but I cannot go back.  Today, I officially open this new public blog about life after Rod’s death.  I have been keeping a private blog all along the journey and knew tha the day would come when I would share parts of this journey and make it public.  Today, I had an experience that affirmed to me that today is the day and I share it below.  As I continue my grief journey, healing and growth, I will share more portions of this journey with the hope and purpose that it can help those who are on a grief journey and search for answers where there are none.  Today, I share an awakening of the need for growth and building a new life.  Most of the posts will be in the form of chats with my dear Rodney and in written prayers to God.  That is how I think and feel most comfortable writing.

The Awakening of the Chambered Nautilus

16 August 2019

Well Rod, my “vacation “ is almost over and next week I’ll go back to work. It’s been good to have some time to recuperate from the trip to the US and also work on the apartment with the designer. It’s taking time in the apartment…like “A year In Province” but eventually (hopefully by end of the year..2019!) it will be nice. It will speak of you and your class, style and elegance, yet it will be me. Your spirit is with me and I still see you right behind my eyes and your spirit is with me. You will always be the love of my life Rodney, always.

When In AL for niece Dawna’s wedding reception, some of the family took a road trip to Tuscumbia, AL and visited “Ivy Green”, Helen Keller’s childhood home.


While taking the tour, the guide mentioned the book “The miracle worker” which told the story of Helen’s life and about Miss Anne Sullivan who was her teacher and life companion’s influence on her life. I have been listening to this audio book here in France and in the book, Helen Keller mentioned that one of her favorite poems was “The chambered nautilus” by Oliver Wendall Holmes. I don’t remember ever reading it, so I looked it up. After reading it, I can see why it was one of her favorites! So full of symbolism and it is now one of my favorites…because it talks about growth and how we must grow and leave the old life to discover new. Unlike the nautilus, which has the innate ability to continually build to live, I have to learn and accept this lesson to build a new life. I am slowly learning..and building my new life without you each day.  Strange to think that a mollusc of the sea is much more developed than a human being in this regard…strange but true, at least for me.  I did not wish this chapter without you Rod, and nor did you wish one without me…but it’s the one I have and I must grow or die…there is no in between for me. So today, I choose to live, to build my next “shining dome”.

You know our sister in law Hope recently gave me her seashell collection..I gave most of it to our grand daughter Olivia. After I read this poem, I thought I must look to see if there is a Chambered Nautilus. Then as I walk walking to the bedroom this morning, I noticed the box that we bought when we were together at our special place at the Grove Park is in the shape of the chambered nautilus. I took a photo..and in the photo I see a ray of light that, for me,  points the way to new life. A physical reminder of the symbol of life..I must change and continually leave the old life and build my new one! Gifts from Heaven!


Father God,

I thank You for this message today and for your words that have brought me peace and knowing that I must grow. That the mansion You are creating for me here in this life is beautiful and shining and that even more awaits me in the next. Thank You for the time I was able to spend with Rodney and all the lessons You taught me through him. Thank You for the beauty of Your creation and the systems to make it sustainable. Thank You for the gift of poetry expressed by Your intuitive thought through Olivier Wendall Holmes as You knew by Your plan it would. Thank you for The gift of art where Your design flows through the hands and hearts of craftsmen so that it may be enjoyed by those of us who have not these gifts.

Today, Father, with Your gift and design of my sovereign will, I choose to cast off my old “outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea”.



The Chambered Nautilus


This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,

Sails the unshadowed main,—

The venturous bark that flings

On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings

In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,

And coral reefs lie bare,

Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.

Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;

Wrecked is the ship of pearl!

And every chambered cell,

Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,

As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,

Before thee lies revealed,—

Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!

Year after year beheld the silent toil

That spread his lustrous coil;

Still, as the spiral grew,

He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,

Stole with soft step its shining archway through,

Built up its idle door,

Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.

Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,

Child of the wandering sea,

Cast from her lap, forlorn!

From thy dead lips a clearer note is born

Than ever Triton blew from wreathèd horn!

While on mine ear it rings,

Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:—

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,

As the swift seasons roll!

Leave thy low-vaulted past!

Let each new temple, nobler than the last,

Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,

Till thou at length art free,

Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!