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.

A Time for Selah

Spring is shaping up to be a very busy season in our house. In addition to the usual garden preparations, we are in the early stages of laying down a new hardwood floor upstairs. I say “we”, but I’m certain my husband will be doing most of the work.

My life is equally busy, as I am simultaneously participating in two Bible studies, and leading a 6-week Lenten PraiseMoves series at my church. I am also just finishing up a Board position within my local DAR chapter, and will be taking on several new roles in the near future.

Yikes! How will I ever juggle it all, and when will I find time to rest?

Press Pause

As I was contemplating all these commitments this week, a particular Psalm presented itself on two separate occasions. The first occasion was during a beautiful memorial service for a friend who departed this earth much too soon. The second occasion was just this morning while reading my Lenten devotion.

I don’t know about you, but it’s not often that the Lord strategically places one specific scripture under my nose twice during the same week. That is a generally good indication that He wants me to read it.

And so I did.

Psalm 84 begins . . .

The Blessedness of Dwelling in the House of God.

How lovely is Your tabernacle, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young— Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You. Selah”
‭‭- Psalms 84:1-4

One Little Word

Did you miss it? That last word keeps catching my attention. Selah.

I did a bit of research today and learned that the meaning of Selah is often debated. This Hebrew word appears 71 times in Psalms, and 3 times in Habakkuk. Many believe that it is a musical term meant to create a pause. The musicians and those singing the psalm were given time to pause and reflect on the words they were singing. Often this was during a long journey or pilgrimage to the Holy Temple.

Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; Each one appears before God in Zion. O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah” – Psalms‬ ‭84:5-8‬

There it is again. Give ear! Listen.

O God, behold our shield, And look upon the face of Your anointed. For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.”‭ – ‭Psalms‬ ‭84:9-11‬

During this season of Lent, when so many activities are demanding our time and attention, it is important to pause. Take a breath. Reflect on the blessings our Heavenly Father has given us.

Spring is God’s gift to us all after a long, cold and dreary winter. Take this season slowly. Breathe it in. Watch the buds opening each day.

Above all, pause and enjoy!