The Art of Relaxation

I find myself writing today’s post worlds away from the busy suburbs of northern Virginia. Neil and I are five hours away from home in a picturesque lakeside community, surrounded by mountains and water, and not much else.

Timing is Everything

We were blessed once again with an invitation to relax and unwind on a long weekend — in a place with breathtaking views and no specific agenda. After a busy season of work for both of us, the timing was perfect.

Sunset on the cove


The weather has been raw and rainy since our arrival, but that really doesn’t matter. Our time has been well spent, resting and reconnecting with our hosts whom we haven’t seen in decades. We’ve also been able to experience a small taste of retirement. Many of our friends have already reached that enviable stage of life. We are living vicariously through them . . . at least for a few days.


I’ve lingered over my morning coffee while watching the busy bird feeders for the past two days. We’ve enjoyed leisurely breakfasts, long drives through the countryside, and nightly board games beside a cozy wood stove. Tonight we were treated to a steel drum concert in town, with our hosts participating in the performance.

Like many of our friends, they have found exciting new things to do in their retirement. It’s no time to just sit on the front porch swing, unless, of course, that is what you choose to do.

Tomorrow we pack up and head back to work and our busy schedules. This little side trip was soothing balm for our souls. It has given us some new ideas, but also a renewed purpose as we continue planning for our future.

To quote Dr. Suess, “Oh, the places you’ll go . . .”

That season in life is still a few years away, but the possibilities are endless!




Building a Home

It’s been almost 20 years since we moved from Massachusetts to Virginia and into the place we now call home. This was the first time our family ever lived in a brand new house. We watched it being built, from a hole in the ground to move-in day when we were handed the keys.

It was a far cry from the 110-year-old Victorian we left behind with all its character and charm. Also left behind were the memories of the blood, sweat and tears it took to rehab almost every room. We were weekend warriors back then, investing every moment and every dime in our home.

As we begin looking toward retirement, we are now planning our next home . . . where it might be, and what it might look like. For once we can dare to dream about life outside the boundaries of work, and living each day according to our own plans. What an amazing concept!

Memories of past, present and future homes have occupied my thoughts recently. But this past week I had to add a new item to my growing requirements for our next destination: close proximity to a quality medical center. My mom fell and broke her hip on Friday and I was so grateful that she is living nearby, and no longer in a remote town in southwestern Maine. She was able to reach the hospital quickly and had hip replacement surgery on the same day. Two days and many prayers later, she is back home and will be receiving home health care during her recovery.

Amidst the chaos of the past two days, I was captivated by another home being built, this time in our own back yard. A tiny pair of White-breasted Nuthatches began building a nest in an abandoned birdhouse. I stood at the kitchen window, binoculars in hand, and watched one of the birds trying to fit a long piece of bark through the hole. It turned the bark one way and then the other. It hung upside down on the perch and tried again. It was almost painful to watch and I was literally cheering the little bird on. “You can do it! Don’t give up!” This went on for several minutes before it flew to the ground, dropped the bark and went searching for another piece.

These little birds are on a strict timeline to get their nest ready for their young. There are no blueprints to follow, contractors to call or building inspectors to wait on — only God’s plan which was designed specifically for them. And they will toil without complaint until it is done, one piece of bark at a time.

As for me, I am grateful for each house I have lived in, and the memories I will carry with me from one to the next. But I know in my heart that nothing can possibly compare to the majestic and magnificent place that will be my forever home.