House for sale

My old house in WI is for sale again. I think this is by the people who bought it from us four years ago.

Friends told us, then we found it listed on Zillow. The advantage there is that we could see the MLS pictures.

Wow. That was hard. Everything was different.

New paint colors. I mean, every wall in that five bedroom house had been repainted. The vaulted living room wall. The cozy family room. The tall kitchen. Every bedroom.

New flooring. Beautiful wood kitchen cabinets – painted! A new walk-in closet, though I can’t quite figure out which room that is.

A workout room in the old hobby room. A study where my son’s bedroom used to be.

Each bedroom reconfigured. Strange large paintings on the walls. New bathroom fixtures and shower curtains.

Everything that could be changed… was.

They really made it their own. And erased us in the process.

I was surprised by how sad I felt.

Why would I have that emotional response? I mean, it wasn’t my house anymore. We sold it to another family. And they made it their own.

Maybe it just felt like the end of something. Not that we can ever go back in time, nor should we. Life moves forward.

But change is hard. And this was hard evidence of change.

The evergreens in the backyard had been replaced. There was a trampoline near the gardens.

It had all been redone.

Have I been redone? Am I different than I was four years ago? Yes. “Time marches on.”

And so part of me still grieves the move from WI, all these years later. It was the end of an era, of parenting kids at home. The start of our empty nest. Life with just the two of us now. First in FL, now in VA. What would make me think that WI would stay the same? We didn’t.


A Touch of Springtime

Back in November, a friend gave me four mini daffodil bulbs. I bought a small robin’s egg blue pot, and planted the bulbs tightly together in the planter.

I watered it, then stuck it on the back corner of my refrigerator, where it would stay cool and mostly dark. I made a note in my calendar for mid-January, to pull the pot out and place it in the window where it would get indirect sunlight.

Occasionally, I watered the pot in the fridge. More often, I forgot to look at it. Until it popped up on my calendar. I removed the planter from the fridge, gave it a good soaking, and set it in the windowsill.

I noticed that one bulb had popped through the soil, so I assumed that only three would potentially blossom.

I continued to keep the soil moist, and moved the planter into the window each day. Within a week, I had this:

The next week, my first bloom, plus lots of green:

Today, a second adorable bloom:

Springtime in February!

Not much to say

“They” say that women use 30,000 words in a day, while men use only 10,000. This sets up quite a difference of communication patterns between the sexes!

I used to talk a lot. It was an ongoing joke that the moment my husband shut off the lamp for sleep, I’d want to talk, tell him about my day, ask deep philosophical questions. Sometimes, he’d even turn the light back on in hopes I’d wind down!

But since my experiences with depression, I am much more quiet. I’m content to listen to conversations going on around me, and don’t feel the need to chime in at every opportunity. I’m happy to observe – I don’t need to contribute every thought I have.

It’s been a noticeable change. Several friends – especially those I don’t see regularly – will ask me if I’m ok. They’ve commented that I seem so quiet. Even my husband will ask me if everything is alright if I don’t say anything for a while.

I think the change is due to several factors:

Firstly, I think I’m a better listener than I used to be. I’m content to hear about others’ successes and troubles. I’m much quicker to pick up on subtext – those behind-the-scene  feelings. My therapist once told me that I’d find myself able to spot depression in others, since I’ve been through it myself. I think this is true – I sense a person’s unspoken sadness or struggle. So I find myself listening instead of talking.

Secondly, I simply have less to say. There’s just not much going on in my day-to-day to share. My hours are pretty quiet, and often silent. If I have lots of thoughts, I try to write them in my journal, so I don’t seem to have the need to verbally share like I used to.

Lastly, I’m more content with silence. That’s a benefit I gained from depression – being still. I pray, I journal, I don’t need noise to fill every moment. In fact, I usually look forward to my down-time, the peace that comes with silence.

On the Myers-Briggs test, I used to be an extreme Extrovert, which means I get my batteries charged from being around other people as opposed to being alone. But since depression, I’ve moved from the far extreme to closer to the Introvert, where my energy comes from my personal down-time. On the continuum, I’m still an E, but much closer to an I than before. I still need people, connection and community, to recharge my energy, but I’m more content being alone than I used to be.

This past week really tested that observation. My Tuesday small group was cancelled due to weather. I had to cancel my therapy appointment – where I talk most of the hour – due to illness. So my week was much quieter than normal. I still had my students/work, but that’s not socializing or even real conversation. By Friday, I was feeling the silence as loneliness, and I was crying because of it. I felt so alone – way past enjoying the silence. Instead, I was craving that connection and community I mentioned earlier. I journaled pages about feeling lonely. I cried out to God, and reminded myself that He was with me – I wasn’t completely alone. Still, it took me several hours to adjust to a week’s worth of quiet.

Then my husband got home from his business trip, and let me “talk his ear off.” And I felt so much better!

On Purpose

I started this blog post on June 5, 2016, but the theme is still running through my life consistently! The topic – my purpose.

My therapist pointed out to me years ago that I speak to myself in questions, so this post will be full of those. If you have any answers, please share in the comment section below!


Draft written 1.5 years ago:

Yesterday, the lesson was about my purpose, and God got my attention from 2 different devotionals and a conversation. What is my purpose? I’m asking myself that anyway, again now while I’m in between houses, and trying to find things to do to fill up my days. I met a woman a few nights ago who talked about her job in a way that showed passion and purpose. At the same time, I’m asking myself about writing this book – am I supposed to be using my time to do that? And how does my bent – the way I need daily interaction with people – how does that play into my purpose? What am I supposed to do with myself? Should I be looking for a job? Should I be volunteering? If so, where should I focus my energies? Once again, I ask myself what do I want to be when I grow up? Where do my previous work experiences lend themselves? To families, I think. To mentoring or some kind of teaching. But what does that look like around here? In this place in VA? Do I find a job to “tide me over?” What if I don’t want to, what if that doesn’t feel right? Do I do it anyway, as a way to meet people? (thoughts inspired by Edie Wadsworth’s blog post, Jennifer Lee’s blog post, Holy Experience devotional, daily devotional from YouVersion, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young)


So here I am today, still asking the same question – what is my purpose in this, the second half of my life? I know the Westminster Shorter Catechism – “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” But as a Christ follower, I can claim this already, What I mean is, what am I supposed to do with myself, with my time? Where do I put my energies?

I lived the first half of my marriage as “Mom.”  And I know that I will always be Mom. Therapists will tell you that this is not your identity, it’s simply a role. But after 26 years of it, it sure feels like identity. And now, with both kids grown, there’s a loss of this identity as it doesn’t take the time it used to!

I was recently asked what do I dream of doing? Problem is, I don’t really have a dream. I’m not sure that I ever had one, or even know how to.

Yesterday, I read a short book by David Ramos called What the Bible Says about Purpose, and I completed the shorter questionnaire, 5 Questions that Create Clarity. I put in writing some things I already know:

  • I need to be in some kind of leadership.
  • I need to be doing something with helping others.
  • I need to be connecting with people.
  • I’d like to still live in Florida, or alternatively, closer to my children.
  • I’d like to travel.
  • My closest friends live far away, though new friendships here are slowly developing.
  • I’m still not committed to a church body.
  • I might like to write a book. I’d certainly like to be more consistent in blogging.
  • I miss public speaking.

So how does all of this help me? I’m not sure, other than it gives me lots to pray about, and lots to process.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17, NIV (emphasis mine)

The Lord is…

…my rock, my fortress and my savior; 2 Samuel 22:2b

…a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9

…always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. Psalm 16:8b

…my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. Psalm 18:2

…my shepherd, I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23

…my light and my salvation – so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? Psalm 27:1

…my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy…Psalm 28:7

…close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18

…my fortress; my God is the mighty rock where I hide. Psalm 92:22

…a great God, a great King above all gods. Psalm 95:3

…God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3

…good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation. Psalm 100:5

…compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. Psalm 103:8

…for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Psalm 118:6

…my strength and my song; he has given me victory. Psalm 118:14

…close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

…righteous in everything he does; he is filled with kindness. Psalm 147:15

…your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap. Proverbs 3:26

…a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help. Isaiah 30:18b

…the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. Isaiah 40:28

…good. His faithful love endures forever!… Jeremiah 33:11b

…my inheritance; therefore I will hope in him! The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. Lamentations 3:24-25

…good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him. Nahum 1:7

…is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. Zephaniah 3:17

…the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17

…faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3

…full of tenderness and mercy. James 5:11b

In the midst of my depression, it can be hard to see anything other than my deep dark despair. But if I can raise my eyes long enough to look at Jesus, to see that He is with me, that He has never left me, if I can see who the Lord is, I am encouraged and lifted from the pit. Even if it’s only for a short time, I am lighter and refreshed.

all Scripture from YouVersion App, version 8.0.8, New Living Translation