A New Season

How it began:
Me: “I think I’ll take a short break in writing.”

How it’s going:
Also me: “This is too much information for one blog post!” (But I’ll give it my best shot.)

During my 3-month hiatus, a lot has happened. Here’s the CliffsNotes version:

Downsizing & New Year’s “Reno-lutions”

Shortly after Christmas, we decided it was time to sell our home. We are now in the midst of sorting-and-purging, in the hope of listing this spring. Every empty-nester will understand our pain. You build up a lot of memories (aka clutter) in 38 years of marriage. It’s mostly a process of letting go.

There have been lots of “lasts” in our home . . . our last Christmas, last New Year’s celebration and now our last Easter. And for the first time in many years, there will be no vegetable garden. I’m enjoying my spring flowers and the Redbud tree for the last time too. Sadly, we will probably be gone before my beloved yellow Knockout Roses bloom.

January ushered in some major redecorating. I’m glad we installed the hardwood floors last year, even though I expected we would be the ones enjoying them for years to come! Every room needed fresh paint and flooring (if not already done), along with new bathroom fixtures, new lighting and other “enhancements” to maximize our selling price. That’s particularly important now, because the DC market is expected to heat up in the next 30 days. (I just hope we beat the 17-year cicadas.)

In February, we were delighted to share the news of our daughter’s engagement. After all the challenges of the past year, it was a sign of hope and new beginnings for our family. They are planning a small wedding in the fall, so we will be very busy once we finish unpacking.

Empty Nest

In March, we helped our daughter move into her first apartment, and we continued moving our own boxes and some furniture to my brother’s home. That will be our temporary landing spot until we decide on our final retirement destination. After our house is sold, I will be commuting about 100 miles every day, 4 days a week. (I’ve been spoiled by my 1-mile commute for the past decade, so I guess it’s my turn.) At least it will be a scenic ride, along the hills and valleys of the Blue Ridge, crossing over the Shenandoah River twice each day. My husband is now a full-time telecommuter, so he is not complaining.

🌷🌷🌷

The Garden of Gethsemane

 

As we enter the holiest week on the Christian calendar, I am reminded once again that God always has a plan. We each have a purpose. He had a plan for His only son, and Jesus’ lived every day of his earthly life fulfilling that plan.

Sometimes I have no idea where I am headed, or what I am meant to do. And even though I normally feel the need to plan out every last detail in life, I’m leaning on the Lord for patience and guidance. He already has a plan for this new season in my life, so I will trust Him with the details too!

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭17:7‬

Perfect Peace


Last weekend we took a drive out to my brother’s home in Winchester, VA. The ride in itself is peaceful, and I always enjoy seeing the hillsides dotted with dairy cows and sheep along the way. As we crossed  over the Shenandoah River, the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains came into view, revealing the slightest hint of fall colors beginning to show along their peaks.

Hidden Treasure

The highlight of my visit is a short walk down the winding path to a hidden gem, a treasure tucked behind a grove of hickory trees. I’ve named it Peaceful Pond, because that is what it is to me. Tranquility. Serenity. Peace-filled.

It is a tiny farm pond, probably only 6 feet deep at its center, and less than an acre in size, but it has abundant life within it and along the muddy banks.

What I most treasure is the sound of the pond . . . a beautiful melodic blend of birdsong and leaves fluttering in the fall breeze. It is the very sound of nature.

And there is an abundance of colorful wildflowers and weeds rimming the pond’s edge, with pink, purple and yellow petals, and plenty of cattails.

We’ve seen turtles and frogs, geese and Red-Winged Blackbirds. The pond is teaming with Largemouth Bass and Bluegill. It is the perfect place to spend an afternoon casting and reeling to your heart’s content. And if you take time to look for them, you will also see the tracks of raccoon, squirrel and deer left in the mud where they stopped for a drink.

We all need a spot like this . . . a place for peace, a getaway when life becomes overwhelming, as it seems to be most days of late. It serves as a reminder that there is peace in the simplicity and perfection of God’s creation.

☁️🌥⛅️🌤☀️

Yes, these are unsettling times. There is so much uncertainty, so much anxiety and so much stress. Behind our masks, there is fear and anguish. We have lost our way and we each need to find a place of peace.

I am reminded of a verse from the prophet Isaiah:

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” — Isaiah‬ ‭26:3‬ ‭

Where can we find “perfect peace”? Is there such a thing?

When I find myself lately being drawn into despair, I turn my thoughts back to Jesus, my Rock and the source of all peace. It is a peace found not only beside quiet ponds in the woods, but in the midst of the chaos around us. His peace is steadfast and ever-present. Be still and trust that God remains in control.