Moving…on

Today we start a brand new week, one that will see us sever ties with the house, and completely leave that lifestyle behind.  I am reminded of the quote: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  Mark Twain.

It is with gratitude and joy that I welcome this new opportunity, so thankful that Bill is willing to take on this adventure.  I am in awe of the comfort that he has provided for us, his patience as I learn to downsize, and his sense of adventure.

Last week we had a moving sale.  Several people warned me that it would be sad and hard to watch our “stuff” being sold.  Contrary to that idea, it was a joyful experience!  Amazing how much lighter everything feels without “stuff”.  Don’t get me wrong – I have packed away way too much, I know this.  The best part of last week?  Hearing the stories of the people that came to our sale.  Seeing the joy of them discovering “treasures”.  Young couples just beginning to build a home together, others starting all over again for whatever reason, people rediscovering past joys because of something we chose to sell.  It was awesome to be able to follow God’s nudges – the small voice that urged me to give something away, or do a very bad job with math to make purchases possible.  Giving away special “treasures” to kids – just because.  Now we are at the point of donating the rest of the “stuff”, clearing up and cleaning up the house.  We have made some wonderful memories there, happy times, sad times, laughs, tears.  It is my prayer that the new owners will use this property wisely, and create the environment for many more wonderful memories to be made.  I know that eventually, the house will be demolished.  The landscape will change.  But the potential for joy to continue will be there.

As we move on, I know that we won’t be disappointed by doing this.  In my heart, I have a great sense of peace about our new adventure.  Exciting things are in our future.  Having the love and support of our family and friends makes it even better.

 

I Take Thee William…..and My Firm Foundation

As the packing and purging continue, so does the opportunity for reflection.  You know what they say about hindsight.  It is so awesome to look back and see God’s handiwork in my life.  My parents created a life full of love for me.  Love for family, for others, for learning, for serving, and so many other things.  They continue to do so.  From them, I learned how special marriage could be.  From them, I was excited for the chance to be a mother.  From them, I learned that I could do anything I wanted to with God’s help and my determination.  When my Dad started flying again, I was about 23.  He wanted to be able to take my brother flying, and hoped he would get interested in flying.  Somehow (obviously by God’s design – because never in a million years would I have been interested on my own) I ended up beside my Dad in a little C150 for a ride.  Scared to death, but not willing to admit that to Dad, we went for a ride.  Then, I found myself in the backseat of a C172 on a long cross-country flight during his instrument training.  God flipped the switch, and although I couldn’t explain it, I knew that I had to learn to fly.  That was easily arranged, and I earned my license.  Why is this important?  If I hadn’t learned to fly, I would have never met Bill.

Bill – my Mr. Wonderful (Mr. W).  This man is such a blessing in my life.  We have been on wonderful adventures, cried together, laughed together, and he has put up with a huge amount of grief from me.  Looking back, I can see how I could have done things differently and been a lot nicer.  Instead of dwelling on that, I am just grateful for where I am now.  As we get ready to embark on new adventures, I am so thankful to be sharing them with him.  Looking forward, I am eager to have this move behind us, the road in front of us, and the opportunity to get back in the sky with Bill.  I know that our future, faced together, will be rich and full of promise.  Might not always be easy, but together, we will conquer!  Bill is my cornerstone, the lift that helps me soar, my inspiration.  He is a wonderful father, I see so much of him in our children.  When I said “I do”, I had no idea of the joy that would follow.  I hope that we have set the examples for our children that my parents set for me.  To create that firm foundation would make the circle an ongoing journey.

Mom continues to inspire me – I really want to be just like her.  I look forward to the opportunity to travel with her.  Bill and the kids inspire me to want to achieve more, step out in faith, and push to see how much I can accomplish.  My amazing friends help me stay on track.  I live a truly blessed life.

Taking a trip down memory lane can certainly highlight the joys that have filled my journey.

Old and New – Need and Place for Both…

We have our new “rig” for our next big adventure.  We are also in full packing and moving mode.  As I sat yesterday, going through “stuff”, purging and deciding what to save, it occurred to me that I would do well to apply the same concept to my life.  Our new house is bright, shiny and fresh.  Uncluttered and clean, a whole new realm of possibilities.  I get to decide what I am going to put in it, how I will stock the shelves and decorate.  Should I discard all the old, and only purchase new items to fill it with?  Should I just move ALL (OK – well it ALL won’t fit!) the old stuff in there and go on as if nothing has changed?

I am choosing to weed out the less important, some gets tossed, some gets donated/given to someone who will make better use of it, some gets sold.  The cherished items and the really useful things – they get moved into the new home.  Some stuff gets stored for another day – the stuff I still want but can’t have at the moment.  There is also a need for new things because you don’t have what you need for the new.

It sounds so easy to tell someone they need to do this.  It looks so easy to read it on paper.  Put into practice, it is a rollercoaster of emotion.  Add in a deadline…crazypants!  Seriously, discovering treasures that were packed away and hidden years ago, finding stuff that at the time seemed important (and now I can’t even remember what it was saved for), remembering happy times and sad tears – it is joyful, enriching, and exhausting.  It’s also helpful in understanding why it’s so hard to unload personal baggage.  If you’re going to do this, and you have the option and luxury, choose someone special to take with you.  I have had the joy of sharing this cleansing experience with the kids, Bill, Mom, and my brother.  They are awesome traveling companions, willing to share the smiles, tears, and cart out the trash!

A great benefit and source of joy is sharing treasured items with friends that will put them good use, and donating to others that have more need of the item than I do.  Making others happy is always an easy way to improve your own demeanor, a favorite selfish way to add more smiles to the world.

Once I finish with the house, I’ll start an “inside” job.  Although I’m thinking that is already a work in progress.  It’s just that I’m pretty sure my mind is a whole lot more cluttered than the house is/was….

Grace and Gratitude

Gratefully, I am “unstuck”.  Reflection, time, some gentle (and not-so-gentle) nudges from my trusted “power team”, and a good run shook things loose.  Looking in the rearview mirror, and seeing the grace that surrounded me, and continues to be there, my soul overflows with gratitude.

If you haven’t already, find a couple people that you trust to keep your secrets, and appoint them to be your power team – “nudgers” – to give you a shove in the right direction – or, if need be, a kick in the pants to reboot the situation.  Trust may not come easily, but try it anyway.  Give them permission to shake things up for you.  Once you get out of the rut – don’t look back!  (At least for not more than a glance.)  Figure out what happened, and make plans to recognize and deal with that issue.  Thank your trusted pushers.

Relish the joy of rejoining the journey, laugh freely and often, and express gratitude.  Search out opportunities for random acts of joy and kindness to commit.  Move your body, sweat, test and push your limits.

Just don’t look back – you might get stuck back there!

Getting Stuck

Do you ever get that overwhelmed feeling?  I think I’m there.  I have this mental image of being like a truck stuck in the mud – spinning my wheels and flinging mud everywhere – and going nowhere!  22 days….and counting (insert huge sigh and teenage-girl eye roll).

it's me

Moving…forward and backward

The packing and moving process is time-consuming.  Mentally and physically challenging, but mostly it is mentally tough.  Looking though old memories – happy times, sad times, treasures, and “what the heck did I keep this for?”.  I find it really challenging to look at photos of myself.  To look at the picture, look into my own eyes, and recall that time of my life.  Remember what I felt like then, what hopes and dreams I had, what fears and insecurities were lurking there.  Looking at pictures of the kids, and remembering the joys we shared so often, as well as the worries of being a “good” parent.

I guess that sometimes you have to move backward to go forward.  Sometimes, it’s easy to get stuck in backward, in some of those old emotions you thought were long gone.  It’s going to be a very long, very short two weeks!

New Chapter

New Chapter

Yesterday we sold our house.  Now we are on a countdown to move-out day.  We haven’t bought another house, and aren’t looking right now.  Today we start a new chapter, a new adventure.  Today, we are going to look at 5th wheel trailers, with the intention to be full-time happy campers for a while.  Scary?  Sort of, in a good kind of way.  Exciting?  Without a doubt.

 

For the first time in 50+ years for me, “home” will not come with a solid, fixed location.  It didn’t take long for me to figure out that home isn’t a fixed physical place during our 6 moths in FL.  Home is where you find love and family.  We are sitting here, right now, planning the first two weeks after our last day at this house.  It’s pretty neat to realize that you can choose – actually have to choose where you are going to be living.

 

How long are we going to do this?  As long as it is right.  We’ll know when we are ready to stop.  This is a really important lesson for me – in grace, in joy, in peace.  I have a great sense of peace about this choice we have made.  God has shown us, every step of the way, that we are on the right path.  That sense of peace comes with feelings of excitement and wonder.  I know that we will find joy in this journey.  Sure, there will be challenges, but those make the joy greater.  The other great lesson (for me) in this adventure is letting go of control.  Getting “okay” with not knowing every next step, trusting and exercising my faith.

 

Here’s to lessons, joy in the journey, and faith exercises!

Lessons After 5 Months…

Retro from 22 February 2017…

IMG_0785Some things to share…because I’m old, and old people get to do this. I really hope that this will be important to someone reading it, and maybe make a difference.

1. Love yourself. Believe you are enough, just the way you are. You don’t have to save the world, the dolphins, or the unicorns. You were created as a unique, beautiful being. You just have to believe it. Be gentle with yourself. At the same time, be connected with your higher power – (God, for me). The One that created you did so out of love. That is a two-way street.

2. Move and sweat each day. It makes things really good – like a bigger smile, more love, more energy, more happy. You get to know your body a whole lot better, and it is an amazing body. Push your limits – see if you can find them.

3. Leave your comfort zone. Everything doesn’t have to be an “extreme” adventure, but try something new. Often. Alone or with friends. Good things happen – maybe you succeed, or maybe you learn how to circle back and take another run at it. When you start feeling comfortable, it might be time to move again.

4. Laugh more. It’s a choice. Even if it doesn’t seem like there is much to laugh at, find something. Contemplate your belly button or name your toes….whatever it takes to get a giggle.

5. Stop judging others so harshly, and to do that, you must first stop judging yourself. This is closely related to item #1.

6. Ask for help. It’s OK. It sure makes things easier. Choose your helpers wisely, and be open to those you least expect to be helpers in your journey.

7. Don’t make too many finite goals. Resting points and milestones are good, goals are like endpoints or stopping points. The journey isn’t over if you are breathing….

8. Start with a safe milestone if it makes you feel better, but after that, choose big, scary ones. Open your heart and your mind, and believe that you can.

9. Surround yourself with positive people, and find two or three people that you trust to help you navigate the really challenging times, and kick you out of your comfort zone when you get stuck there. Try to be that kind of person for someone else!

10. Don’t try to do it alone…remember, you are already enough, just the way you are. Sharing journeys and adventures – so much more fun than being alone. Sitting quietly and enjoying silence, or the beauty around you – so much nicer to look at the person next to you and share the joy with them. It is good, though, to enjoy some quiet alone time – everything doesn’t have to be an adventure all the time.

These are things that I am working on, things that I had to learn the hard way. When I am able to remember to incorporate this stuff into my life each day, I really do smile more, laugh more, and love more. Some of the lessons were harder than others to learn, some are still really hard to practice. But it gets easier each time. Perfection is a myth, no room for messy fun. Get dirty, cry, laugh, hug, run, sing out loud….do it with passion. It is totally worth it!

Goal Setting

Retro – from 10 March 2017
Let me start off by saying that I was not a fan of goal-setting (detailed and specific), vision boards, or being patient and persistent about attacking what I wanted. Until the last 6 months. Some of you know that we (Bill and I) have been off on a little adventure that began at the end of September. Our 6 months is rapidly drawing to a close. When we left, I had a few vague goals, but wasn’t brave enough to write them down. I did talk to Bill about them. About the same time, a few very special people crossed my path, and encouraged the goal-setting thing.

I spent some time yesterday reviewing what has been accomplished, and what is yet unfinished. Not only did I accomplish every goal I set before we left (vague as they were), I added and accomplished many more. I have two particularly pesky goals that I will be finishing up in Cadillac. The benefits are amazing – physically, spiritually, psychologically – and I have already started setting new goals/intentions. I am shortening my time frame from 6 months to 3 months, and this time, I have clear, concrete ideas about what I want. That’s the really cool thing about this goal-setting stuff. You set the goals first – don’t worry about how they will be accomplished. Believe that you can, and you will. The “how” will appear (I have this on good authority from a very wise person) – and it really does!

I challenge you – set some goals. Pick a time frame, pick specific goals. It’s OK if they are big and scary – it works with them too! Start small if you must, but you’ll soon be aiming for outrageous. Once you have those goals, write them down, put them where you can see them. Think about them often. Enlist a few trusted friends to keep you on track and remind you of them. Then – watch the magic happen!

Never Too Late to Learn

September 20, 2016 was the beginning of another one of our adventures.  This time, we were leaving “home” for 6 months.  Escaping winter was our reason, and we were also looking forward to trying out new jobs as campground hosts at Osprey Cove on Naval Station Mayport.  This also gave us the chance to try out the “full-time” RV lifestyle.  At the time, I didn’t realize the profound impact this journey would have for me.

There were so many lessons crammed into the past 7 months.  Lessons about grace, life, joy, peace, and growth.  It is my hope to capture those lessons here as I remember them, and record the new lessons we are about to learn.  Over the next 32 days, we will finish packing and storing “stuff”, moving out of our house and selling whatever we don’t need, become the proud owners of a 5th wheel that we have yet to discover, and dive into a full-time RV lifestyle.  I’m pretty sure I have a lot of learning in my future!

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