Saving on airline fares

Drove over 2900 miles, twice across 7 states. Listened to hours of podcasts and Public Radio. Visited dear friend and her family. Camped for 4 days with life-long family friends. Great vacation!

Body is sore and tired. 

Missing my kids. 

Didn’t take any camping pictures – what was I thinking?

Laundry is done. Camping boxes are repacked. Went back to work. Saw the masseuse and chiropractor today. Almost returned to normal routine. 

Just another memory. Time went too fast. 

The older I get, the more I have is just memories. Having a hard time living in this moment. It was easier on vacation. Now I’m left with longing for family and friends. 

Visiting the kids

I always thought that my children would move away from home, but never considered that “home” might move away from them…even though this happened to me. Oh, how life repeats itself! My parents moved out-of-state during my sophomore year of college. I had no idea then, but am guessing now that it was hard for them to move far from their daughter.

My husband and I moved to FL two years ago during my son’s freshman year of college, then last year we moved to VA. Kids don’t come “home” for their breaks, because this isn’t home to them. They come to visit Mom and Dad for the Christmas holiday – we get to see them for a week or two then.

In the meantime, we travel to visit them. We just got back from a 5-day trip to Colorado Springs, where our son is interning for the summer. We had a great visit, and explored his new temporary home with him, enjoying Garden of the Gods, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, a drive along the scenic Arkansas River, and even the Colorado Springs Rodeo Parade in the downtown.

My husband and I lived out West when we were first married, and so we really enjoyed being back in the red rock mountains.  The whole visit was good, but the best part was just being with our son.

from Garden of the Gods
son and husband, along the Arkansas River

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

family graduation photo

A couple of months before that, we celebrated my daughter’s college graduation with the entire family. While it was only for a 3-day weekend, we packed it full of fun and memories.

We’ll see our daughter again in a few weeks at the annual camping trip we take with another family – we’ve been camping with them for 27 years now! This will be the first year without our son, and one of their daughters got married last year, so we’ve added to our group. But again, what I’m most looking forward to is seeing our daughter.

Our visits with the kids are not regular, but do seem to be consistently frequent. The couple of weeks at Christmas, plus these visits we can do in between. I wish it were more, but it’s the way it’s supposed to be. We raise our kids to be independent people, and then they go and do that – be independent!

I can’t help but think that if we lived closer, we might drop by more often. For one of my daughter’s shows, or for my son’s concert, or simply to take them to dinner. But we’ve never wanted to be hovering parents, so maybe this is better in the long run.

husband and me at Pikes Peak, CO

My husband and I are learning to be empty-nesters. Everyone told us it would be a challenge, they just didn’t tell us it would take so long to get used to it! But we are learning to enjoy our time together – just us – and the freedom that offers to see and explore what we want to do. So much of our lives has been about the kids – it’s good to get back to us.

But we still miss the kids.

So we’ll pack our family visits full of memories. And we’ll enjoy our kids all we can while we’re with them.

And I thank God for texting and Skype in the meantime. And visits to Colorado and camping. Good times!

Thinking about writing

(Thank you to K at Walking After Midnight for the prompt.)

Thinking about writing and actually writing are not the same thing. I’ve been thinking about writing for several weeks, but I haven’t blogged for several months. And the longer I wait to write, the harder it is to write. After this long of a delay, do I even have anything to say that anyone would want to read?

I have a friend (https://theapplesinmyorchard.wordpress.com) who started blogging in the past several months, and she is doing a fantastic job of writing every day, something I long for but haven’t figured out how to do. She is a prolific writer, and I urge you to check out her blog – she’s got all kinds of fascinating topics, from education to home life and everything in between!

Can I write about things that don’t tie to my tagline? “I am not my depression.” Even though I have lots of subject ideas on living with depression, what it was like going through depressive episodes, the impact of depression on family life and work.  How to-s on living with it, living after it, etc. I have a whole file folder of topics I could address. I still think I want this to be my focus.

Then there’s just stuff from my day-to-day life. Granted, my days are pretty quiet. But as I’m learning to be content and appreciative of what is around me, I could write about those things. My backyard birds, the spotted fawns by the brook, the recent hikes I’ve taken. The peaceful days. The joy of sleeping in. Daily-ness.

I can write about special people in my life. My daughter who just graduated from college, and our fantastic weekend of family celebrating her. My adventurous son who took off for Europe for 14 days, then promptly moved west for his summer internship – where did he get such courage to take on these adventures?! My amazing husband could be part of lots of my stories – he’s in the center of my days.  My relationship with Jesus, and how our connection ebbs and flows with my effort. He is faithful – I tend to vary; so I could write about my journey with the Lord. Or searching for a church home. Finding friends. Settling into my job.

All topics of interest to… me. Anybody else?

Then again, why do I write? The question that every author must answer. Who is my audience? Do I write for myself, for clarification and release, or do I write to be heard or to start a dialogue? Maybe the answer is all of the above – something for everyone, anyone, or someone.

In which case, someone may read and identify with what I write. So I’ll write again. And I’ll start right now. Thanks for reading.

Missing my kids…

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My 20-something kids left this morning after two weeks of vacation. Our daughter arrived a week earlier, our son on his 21st birthday a few days before Christmas, and we’ve enjoyed a wonderful long visit. We shopped, read books, watched movies and Netflix (have you seen The Crown?!), took a two-day history tour that included Harper’s Ferry, Gettysburg, George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum.  We played with the cat, shared opening presents and making meals, and really enjoyed each other’s company.

And now the house is very quiet.

When we lived in WI, we could get up to visit them at school pretty easily. We didn’t hover, but could pop up for an event (concert, shopping). And being closer, even though we didn’t see them except every few months, somehow made it easier to be absent from them.

When we lived in Florida, I knew they would come for the beach and sun and escape from the winter cold of the upper Midwest.

Now, they just feel so far away and time stretches so long between visits.

And this is the way of things. We raised our kids to know Jesus, to be strong and independent, to be able to tackle problems with heads on straight. To grow to need us less. So we did it right. And it’s hard, because they’re great people and I really like spending time with them.

So I’ll choose to focus on the fun we had together and I’ll plan for our next visit northward. Who knows when, but we’ll be visiting great people!

 

The Church’s Rooms

Lately I’ve been thinking about floor plans. Old ones, like from my childhood. I’m picturing our house from my early years, my old church, my grandparents’ Lake house. I’m drawing them in my mind, and imagining the flooring, the room locations, the wall colors. These are a kid’s memories, so I don’t know about the accuracy of them, but I do know the magical recollections in my head.

I woke the other morning thinking about the layout of Macedonia Christian Church. I grew up there –  we were at church all the time in my early years – Sunday mornings and evenings and mid-week evening services. Add to that Vacation Bible School and church revivals – we spent hours there. My folks were very actively involved in Children’s Ministries, so there were even extra hours for them to prep, and that meant that my sister and I often had run (i.e., without adult supervision) of the building to play and explore.

My favorite part was the old section of the basement. The ground floor of the Sunday School hallway was uneven and slanted – it felt like the cement had simply been poured over the ground below, without any leveling involved. The five or six classrooms were paneled, so very little light came into the hallway, and it was fun to run through the hall in the dark or play hide-and-seek.

Up the stairs at one end took me outside to under the covered driveway, and another half flight went up to a hallway with a large room used for Sunday worship for the youth group and other gatherings. There was also the Pastor’s office, the church library, bathrooms, and the nursery area. Then a short hallway with coat racks went from there to the narthex and the Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary seemed huge with lots of long wooden pews, the two side aisles and one center aisle all leading to the front of the church where the worship leader led singing and where the preacher spoke from behind a podium.  Below the podium, still on the main floor with the pews, was a large heavy wooden table with a chair on each side – green upholstery, I think. The table was carved with “Do This In Remembrance of Me” along the front edge. This was where the communion trays were brought and from where it was distributed. There was a door on either side of this center space at the front of the side aisles, one leading to stairs to the basement of the church, one leading to two tiny rooms off the baptistery. The organ sat on one side of the front of the church, and the piano was on the other. Behind the communion table and along the raised platform was a small railing to guard the edge. The podium was centered on the stage behind the communion table – it had a small microphone attached to it. Behind the podium was a little space, then the choir seats. Behind that was the baptistery.

There were two rooms at the back of the sanctuary. One was set up as the “overflow” room and the other was sometimes seating and sometimes the folding door was pulled so it could be a classroom.

There were two sets of stairs from the narthex to the outside. One went down to the front of the church, and the other went to the side parking lot. All the way down those stairs was the hallway – to the right was the old basement hallway again, and left took me into the Fellowship Hall – a large room that was full of tables and lots of food on Sunday pot-luck days, with the kitchen to the back. More classrooms lined this area, and there were the bathrooms, a tiny elevator, and the drinking fountain that smelled and tasted funny because it was well-water. The back stairs were mostly off limits – they went up to the door by the side of the sanctuary platform – a big no-no when my sister and I were running around!

I have lots of memories of the different rooms at Macedonia for all kinds of different reasons: Sunday Schooling, helping in the nursery, putting together communion trays and washing them all at the end of a service. Visits every Sunday to the library. Walking into the tiny baptistery room on a Wednesday night to get ready for my dunking after I had told the church that Jesus is my Savior and Friend forever. Hours in the large community room for Junior High Worship or Vacation Bible School evenings. Running in the hallways. Playing in the churchyard. A very good place to grow up. Indeed.