10 things 4 weeks after the move

IMG_61641) Peace has resided within my soul since my first night here.

Boxes linger in every room. The big furniture from our great room doesn’t exactly fit in our smaller living room, meaning furniture decisions still have to be made. Also, my clothes don’t fit in these itty-bitty closets, yet there is a peace that rests within me. What a gift.

2) The dogs and my FitBit have seen increased activity.

The smaller quarters and yard mean Lucy and Emma need more exercise, so each morning I take Emma on a walk, drop her off and then take Lucy. We walk past the ladies that run the valet parking at the hospital and they greet us each time. After dinner Kevin and I walk the dogs together on one last loop. This has been good for all of us!

3) I’m grateful we moved only 90 miles up the road.

Appointments on my calendar have kept me running back and forth between Marshall and Fort Wayne this whole time. It has been been wonderful for continued connection but also a little draining; there might not be as many boxes maintaining their position if I could stay home for an entire week.

4) It’s been a little lonely.

I’ve been reminded anew that noticing others matters. When someone moves into our neighborhoods, let’s all agree to go say “Hello, I noticed you moved in!” and “Welcome!” I’ve had one neighbor stop over to welcome me to town, it meant a lot. Other than that its been pretty quiet. Nothing and no one is familiar, so a friendly face and extension of some kind has the potential to go a long way. We did finally walk down to the brewery last week for pizza, and my favorite waitress welcomed me with a hug and asked if I was officially living in Marshall yet. When I said yes, she invited us to church.  I want to be like her!

IMG_6165 (1)5) My girls are coming “home” for the first time this weekend and I am both excited and nervous.

This has never been their home, and their stuff doesn’t have a spot – at least not yet. (I mean seriously, my stuff doesn’t even have a spot yet!) I find myself hoping and praying they will find a high level of comfort and peace here. Home is where we are and we are here, may they feel at home. I want to be strong enough to allow them room to feel whatever they feel.

6) Living in the same house with my husband once again is what I’ve been waiting for.

When we entered this arrangement two years ago to grant Erin the opportunity to graduate from high school in her home town, I told Kevin we would be better or we would be worse, but we could. not. be. the. same. You cannot live apart for two years and be the same. Over the two years, sometimes it felt worse, and a few times it meant counseling, but we came through the two years and are stronger. I am so proud of us.

7) I love living where we walk everywhere!

We have one of the very old homes in historic downtown Marshall and so we walk everywhere…the bakery, the farmer’s market, to dinner, for milk,  the flower shop, the hardware store and more. That is one of my favorite things about living here.

8) We have 1,200 square feet less space, but the unique features of this old house are making up for some of that.

I love the french doors, the screen porch, the small upstairs deck, the huge pocket door, the wood burning fireplace, the back porch/pantry room, the vestibule, that the front door has a mail slot and so our mail lands on my floor each afternoon. I love all the windows this home has. I really do love this old house.

9) I’m taking a year to figure things out.

My friend, Cathy, gave me a valuable piece of wisdom, “Take a year to figure out what you want to do.” In the quiet and loneliness it could be easy to join things and sign up to volunteer to fill time, but I am intentionally deciding to work through the tension I sometimes feel in the quiet days. I’m working on a logo for my blog, considering some options for an old project that belongs to my sister and I, and spending more intentional time in prayer, my Bible, devotions. In the silence I am discovering it is well with my soul.

10) Leaving our church family has affected me more than I expected.

Kevin and I will begin our search for a church community. We will. We have only been in town here for two Sundays, but we have not gone to any church. It almost feels like too much right now. As we discussed the invitation to church from the waitress, we just felt unable to muster the energy and emotional strength to walk into a new church. We will, we need, and will crave, a church community, but I’ve been surprised a bit by the grief I feel. I wonder if this is normal. Jesus is the reason we attend each Sunday, but the people we attend with became like family, and I do miss our big, huge extended family each Sunday.

On a final note, I have taken the 100happydays challenge. The premise isn’t that I’m happy all 100 days, it’s that within each day there is something that likely makes me happy. I’m on day 29 and it’s been a great discipline to intentionally be aware of at least one thing each day that makes me feel some level of happy, joy, or even peace. I have photographic proof that it really is the simple things in life that create that happy feeling within.

Peace,
Sheri

 

#100happydays after the move

Goodbye house...ErinThe move to Marshall is in motion. A week ago we drove Zach back to college in Minnesota, leaving his childhood home for the last time. This past weekend Courtney and Erin finished packing up clothes, books, baby dolls and Barbies, then Erin said goodbye to her room and her house. Tears and hugs, and more tears and some squeezes ensued, and then Courtney drove Erin back to college before she continued on to  her home in Illinois.

Kyler began school today ~ we are so grateful that Michigan begins after Labor Day! (Also thankful for a late Labor Day this year, we needed it.) What that means is that yesterday we loaded cars with much, finished a few small projects, cleaned and got the house “show-ready”, because Sunday the For Sale sign went in the yard and today the realtor is taking pictures of the house for the promotion pieces of this process.

It was a physically exhausting and emotionally hard weekend. We attended our church for the last time as every Sunday kind of people. The emotions caught me off guard and tears streamed as I worshipped alongside my faith family. A gentle hand reached out from a friend creating a picture of the love and support we have received for fourteen years within this church – these people helped us raise and shape our children. We’re 90 miles up the road – and we’ll be back, but it’ll be different.

Moving is hard. Leaving friends who are like sisters is not easy. Creating new community takes time and investment. Discovering and then building within a faith community requires much, and yet there is so much for which to be grateful. So today I checked out the 100happydays challenge. I loved this line: The ability to appreciate the moment, the environment and yourself in it, is the base for the bridge towards long term happiness of any human being. I also loved this: #100happyday challenge is for you – not for anyone else.  It is not a happiness competition or a showing off contest. If you try to please / make others jealous via your pictures – you lose without even starting. Same goes for cheating.

100happydaysI believe intentionally seeking to be aware of the small happy moments in this first 100 days in our new (well, actually 98 year old) home is valuable. Focusing on the blessings, having a mind of gratitude will all help float me to the place and person I want to be. Moving is hard, and not getting stuck is important. The #100happydays project for me begins now.

(In conjunction with this project I’m also going to attempt to try something my daughter, Courtney, did this summer. She video recorded a few seconds each day and put all those seconds together in a video. We got to preview it the other day – it was beautiful, touching and funny. It made me want to capture the happy, boring, funny, normal moments for a year. We’ll see if I can do it!)

Previous posts on the moving process are here and here.

Moving ~ Everything’s in Motion

In January I wrote here about doing what matters in 2015. Even as I hung my empty new calendar on the wall, I knew it was swollen with big events that would transform the shape and feel of our family. As I look at the calendar today, somehow January became August and the days are swishing by as quickly as they can.

  • Our child did come home from the program. He did great for a few months, but it has been difficult for awhile nSheri 50 birthdayow and we are working towards what’s next.
  • I turned 50 and discovered it’s not that different from my 40’s! (Check with me on that at 60 :) Kevin threw an incredible party with many wonderful friends and family so it was hard to feel anything but good about this birthday!
  • Courtney graduated from Purdue with a Chemical Engineering degree and we are so, so proud of her! It was an amazing day and I haven’t found time to write about it, but I will.
  • She also has her first job! Whoop Whoop!! It’s an amazing position at a great company – and she has relocated only a few hours away! Our excitement for her and pride in her remains off the charts.
  • Erin, our baby graduated from high school – her graduation party at our house felt like a celebration of her, many friends, family and sixteen years of life in Fort Wayne. It was magical.
  • Kevin & Sheri July 2015 2Kevin and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. We decided a big trip was not in the cards this year, but we got away and it was exactly what we needed. Living apart for two years has made us grateful for any extended time together without lists and projects.
  • We took an ahh-mazing family vacation with my sisters and some friends. It was an incredible cap on a crazy~full summer.

family vacation3But the day we returned home from vacation I felt as if my heart was breaking; I realized that what is left on the calendar is a lot of good-byes. And now the moving company has contacted me about scheduling the packers ~ the wheels of this move are truly in motion.

Chalkboard countdownI put this countdown on the chalkboard this week. I needed the visual of how many days we have til Erin leaves for Purdue, til Zach leaves for the University of Minnesota, til Kyler starts school in Marshall, til the movers are here packing up our life.

Oh, be still my beating heart.

It seems time is slipping through my hands like sand and I cannot stop it. There are so many people to have lunch or dinner, coffee or wine with. We have couple friends we are aching to spend time with but see limited dates remaining on the calendar. I have a moving/garage sale to organize and of course a few more kids to move to college. (I find myself grateful time and time again that we are only moving 90 miles up the road ~ it is this relatively short distance that brings me a level of peace. Friends…we will be back for those dinners – and our little town has a great brewery for those of you who like us and beer or pizza!)

This week is focused on the baby who is preparing to leave not only for college, but to move away from the home she grew up in. I’ve held her as she’s said some tearful goodbyes to friends over the last few days. She’s packed up her attic full of baby dolls and clutter, and she’s found her way into my big bed at night since her daddy is away. Last night we held hands in the dark as she talked about how hard it will be to go away to college – even though she is so excited and ready. Be still my heart.

The next week we’ll help Zach, our boy man-child, pack up and move to a house in Minnesota. He will likely be staying in Minnesota for the summer next year for an internship, meaning it’s another last with this boy who has such a big chunk of my heart. This momma stuff is not for the faint of heart.

There is much good to come from this move. Living with my husband is at the top, I’m grateful he has a job he loves and at which he is so valued. God is about to grow and stretch me ~ that can be uncomfortable, but it also leads to new places. Also, I’m not moving across the country, I’m moving a bit up the road…all good stuff.

I like to write with a purpose but as I wrap this up, I’m not sure of the purpose of the words on this page. Maybe it’s just to record what’s going on in our lives right now. Maybe it’s to preserve this snapshot of life.

As I think back to the original post in January I wanted to make sure I focused on what matters, whether it was packing boxes or sitting with a friend. Eight months later, in the midst of all the chaos, it’s a good reminder for me to do what matters.

Whatever season you are in, whatever you may be counting down…still your beating heart and consider what matters, then do that.

Heart1

New Chapters

Its time to report that everything did not change on August 14, 2010.

If I felt everything changed the day she left for kindergarten, then surely everything really would change the day she left for college. The sadness I remember feeling when she left for elementary school surely could not compare to the grief I would feel as she left for college.

I remember the first time it hit me. It was spring break of her junior year. She and I were at the college for a visit. The day was sunny, beautiful and rather exciting. I remember thinking how fun it was to be doing this with her; my parents had not taken me on college visits and I was feeling blessed by the experience.

Then I glanced at her walking beside me and my chest suddenly felt crushed. It came out of nowhere. My throat constricted, my eyes welled up and the first wave of grief crashed into me.
It hit at random times over the sixteen months. The waves came more frequently those last few weeks before the move. One day while on the patio by myself a big one hit out of nowhere. I felt like my heart skipped a few beats and I had a sharp intake of breath, tears sprang to my eyes and I felt consumed as grief washed over me.

With that as my backdrop, I spent little time thinking of the upcoming moving day. The calendar just kept us moving toward it, and then rather quickly it was here. The day we moved her was beautiful; sunny and hot. The college had the whole freshman moving day thing figured out. There was an unmistakable air of excitement. We got almost everything up in one trip, laughed hard as she and I tried to figure out how to make this lofted bed! Even as I helped, I tried to stand back as she figured out where to put her items in her tiny space…so hard for a mom who loves to organize. Then it was time for lunch, then time to meet her lovely roommate and saying a quick hi to her family, off for a Target run, back for last touches and then good-byes.

She was as excited, comfortable, and confident as you could expect. She had dinner plans with Katie, her friend since second grade, and her El Salvador traveling partner. It was good. I was feeling stronger than I expected.

Then her baby sister wrapped her arms around her neck and about broke in two. Oh, oh. Tears sprang to my eyes. . .but grief stayed at bay.

Her 6’2″ brother wrapped his arms around her – practically engulfing her. Pride at these sibling relationships swelled within me. . .and grief stayed at bay.

Even when her dad pulled her in for a hug. . .grief stayed at bay. When I wrapped myself around her I knew in my deepest parts that she would be fine. I was not saying good-bye. I wiped a few tears and knew I was saying hello to this amazingly, wonderful young adult daughter of mine, and new chapters were about to unfold.

I credit God with granting me strength for those moments and the ones that followed. The drive home was quiet for awhile as these siblings took in the new dynamic that would unfold as these three musketeers became the two amigos. It was good for me to be one who was strong and confident in the knowledge that we would all be okay, that indeed we would all be good.

To be sure…I miss her in this house. I miss her in my daily life.I wonder about her more times than I could count in a day. And in all of that, its still good. We parented toward this. She is making friends, being responsible, becoming independent.

Everything did not change, many things did and will. But its kind of like finding out your favorite book didn’t end, there were many more chapters captured in volume two. . .and you just discovered volume two. . .and you cant wait to see where the story goes. . .

(For those of you wondering, yes we have 4 children. We did make some fun arrangements for the youngest to be home where he could experience a successful day and not cause disruption which could have been avoided. Sometimes a mom just has to make decisions like that.)