Living in Limbo

My last post was written in mid-June, which feels like a galaxy far-far away. So here’s a recap for those following our journey.

Full disclosure: our move was anything but smooth, and I would never recommend a DIY version — especially for anyone over the age of 50! Let the movers do it all.

Photo: July 6th, Part 1 of our move

Moving Day

Our closing day — July 9th — was one of the hottest days of the summer. Realizing we had too much left to haul ourselves, we called my brother to help. As we began packing our three cars and utility trailer with the final load, we were hit with a torrential downpour. The rain kept us holed up in the garage and empty kitchen for over an hour.

But at 6:19 PM we finally pulled away from the curb, leaving 24 years of memories and an empty house behind. (A mix of relief and pure exhaustion in this selfie — and the last of our belongings. Taken as I was about to drive away for the last time.)

Then and Now

The past two month have been spent settling in to my brother’s house. And I am now a commuter, traveling 42 miles each way, four days a week, to my job that was once 5 minutes from home. But I do love my job, and we are mortgage-free for now, so I will not complain.

Most mornings I enjoy my commute. The Blue Ridge Mountains and surrounding valleys and pastures are lovely at 7:30 AM, often shrouded in clouds and mist. This is my quiet prayer time that sets the foundation for my day. I drive past lush farmland with grazing sheep and cows. I cross the Shenandoah River and pass the Appalachian Trailhead at Bear’s Den. Traffic picks up significantly about halfway to my destination, but it keeps moving along.

My commute home is another story. Everyone seems to leave work at the same time, and there is one particular construction project that always causes a bottleneck in the afternoon. At least once a week there is a fender-bender and my normal 50 minute drive can stretch to 90 minutes with the residual backup. These are the days I really appreciate my satellite radio.

At the end of my long commute, I drink in the peaceful landscape and shady canopy surrounding Hickory Grove. And one added bonus: my husband and brother always have dinner on the stove when I arrive home. Not a bad deal!

Purging . . . and Wedding Planning

Two months later, we are still unpacking. This is the reality when you merge two households into one. Prior to moving, my brother’s home seemed large enough for the three of us (plus Gipper, of course). Now, not so much. Every closet is stuffed full, the basement storage area is packed to the ceiling, and the garage may never hold a vehicle again. But each day, we make a little more progress on unpacking, and we continue to purge stuff that should have gone to the dump or local thrift store.

Photo: My current view as I sip my morning coffee. (Also today’s unpacking project.)

My 3-day weekends are spent shopping, cleaning and unpacking, and oh, yes — preparing for our daughter’s wedding on September 18th. We couldn’t cram much more crazy into 2021, but it’s not over yet. Thankfully, we did manage to take a week’s vacation to unwind in Tennessee!

After the wedding, we are hoping life can slow down a bit. Fall is my favorite season, and I expect it to be even more enjoyable here at Hickory Grove. We have lots of exciting projects to work on (more in a future post), but we can move at a more leisurely pace.

All-in-all, life is good. God is faithful, and we have been blessed with this time in limbo. We always have plans for our future, but we know they can, and often do change. That is the rollercoaster of life.

Silence and Serendipity

Church life gets very quiet after Vacation Bible School.

Two weeks ago we were gearing up for a week full of excitement as nearly 150 children, and as many volunteers, descended upon our church. Every Bible-themed VBS week provides a fun and Spirit-filled adventure, and as always, I am sad to see it end.

As you can see from the photo above, the decorations are amazing and they take a tremendous amount of time and creativity. The walls always look so drab and empty when everything is dismantled and packed away.

This annual summer event is a lot of work for all involved, but I love being a part of all the activity. I also love hearing the children laughing and singing as they pass my office each morning.

The Sound of Silence

Following such a busy week, last Monday arrived with an odd silence. Most of the staff was out, still recovering from post VBS cleanup. There were several times when I was completely alone in the church, with the exception of the mailman, the UPS guy, and a few friends who stopped by to say hello. Still, I welcomed the peace and quiet and had a fairly productive week.

As I age, I am learning to appreciate silence. It’s a rare find most days. When it does presents itself, I take full advantage of the moment.

Spiced Wine and Zinnias

Mid-week we had a visit from relatives passing through on their way home to Tennessee. I took Thursday off, and it turned out to be a perfect day to visit two local wineries (Twin Oaks Tavern Winery and Bluemont Winery), and grab lunch at Bear Chase Brewing Company. Despite the heat, we enjoyed some great food and wine and spectacular views of the Blue Ridge.

This brief, unplanned respite gave us time to catch up with family and do a bit of exploring before heading back to work on Friday. It was a great way to end the week!

Our weekend has been full of ongoing home projects and preparation for another quick family visit. I took a few minutes to rest on the patio this evening while admiring the colorful zinnias that are now in full bloom. The gladiolas won’t be far behind.

We will celebrate our nation’s birthday this week with my brother and Mom, who turns 85 on July 2nd. Every day with her is a gift from God, and we look forward to our family celebrations as a time to make special memories.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!