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.

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!