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

Pumpkin Spice, Anyone?

September 1st. It doesn’t seem real.

For someone who looks forward to fall every year, this should have been a welcome calendar page flip. But the prospect of spending another season mostly indoors is just not appealing to me. Sure, we can go outdoors and enjoy the refreshing crisp air, but many of the gatherings I have come to enjoy will be missing this year.

Still, it is actually a relief to be inching our way closer to the end of 2020. Most of us wish it would be over with now.

Recovery Mode

My time away from writing has been spent in recovery mode following my shoulder surgery on June 18th. Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with an uneventful, and fairly pain-free recuperation. For anyone who has experienced this surgery, you’ll understand me when I say, “Don’t overdo it.” Follow your doctor’s orders to the letter. After being in a sling 24/7 for six weeks, the last thing I would want is to be back in that contraption! (I cringe just looking at the photo.)

The greatest challenges I faced were sleeping while sitting up, and learning to do everything with my left hand. Sleeping was made a little easier with our adjustable bed. Because we have a split-king, we were able to move half of the bed to a guest room. This enabled me to lie awake for hours on end without disturbing my hubby. After the first week or so, exhaustion took over, and I grew accustomed to sleeping on my back. By week 5, I was able to lie on my left side, and now — week 11 — I am finally able to lie flat again.

But the left-handed thing . . . that was another story. Try wearing a sling on your dominant arm for 24 hours and you’ll see the challenges I faced. Everyday tasks we take for granted, such as bathing, dressing, eating — and yes, even trips to the bathroom — take twice as long. Living without a blow dryer nearly brought me to tears. It took me about 3 weeks to master these challenges and find some work-arounds. My doctor was kind enough to adjust the sling so that I had almost full use of my right hand, as long as it stayed inside the sling. I was then able to do some typing on my computer at work and use my cell phone and iPad. Once I was off the pain meds (Day 6), I was even able to drive the mile to work and back home again. Life was not so bad after all.

I am now in physical therapy and have regained about 90% of my range of motion. (My best guess.) Next week, if my surgeon gives the okay, I will begin the strength training portion of my PT. It’s been a long road, but I am glad I had the surgery.

My recovery would not have been so smooth without all the love, prayers, cards and meals that came my way during the first few weeks. Our church family has been amazing! It is always a humbling feeling when you are on the receiving end of such generosity.

🍁 🍁 🍁

Reflecting and Refueling

We celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary last week while visiting relatives in Tennessee. They have a beautiful home in a lakeside community, and a pontoon boat that became our favorite respite for seven days. It was a much-needed getaway for both of us, and a chance to unwind and forget about the pandemic for a while. The lake was full of little hidden coves where we could drop the anchor and swim (or in my case, float) the afternoon away. We dined out most evenings, and lazed around most mornings. (Any day I can stay in my PJ’s past 7:00 AM is a good day!)

My time away was an opportunity to rest and look forward to the future. So much of our time lately has been spent focusing on the chaos around us and around the world. The doom and gloom and bad news is relentless. I find that during these difficult seasons in life, we often neglect our need to get away and disconnect. We need space to breathe, and a new window to enjoy a different view. (I find water views are best!) This is not always possible in these times, I know, but if the opportunity presents itself, embrace it!

Now that I am home again, I realize how much I have missed my writing. As we begin a new season, full of pumpkin spice and whatever else it may bring, I look forward to sharing this space with you once again. ☕️