4 Business Days

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No one understands the concept of “burning the candle at both ends” quite like myself.

I can feel exhaustion creeping up behind me, ready to lay me out, have me begging for death.

Maybe that’s a tiny bit dramatic, but not by much. You know it’s bad when your mama calls and tells you she’s worried about you and how tired you look.

So, I marched my happy ass into my boss’ office yesterday with a vacation form and decided to use a few personal days.

I try to use them sparingly, not knowing what will be happening when with the house project, I need to save some of my vacation time. But, the thing is, I am “on call” ALL. THE. TIME.

Even when I’m home, sick, or off for an appointment, everybody and their mama has my cell phone number. And they use it. Little things. Big things. Things that couldn’t wait. Things that most certainly COULD.

And I, usually, answer these calls and texts. Because I am my father’s daughter and I don’t know how to take a proper day off without being accessible to the people that are part of the reason I have a paycheck.

But I’m getting snappy. I’ve had to delete 3 or 4 emails this week before I just made completely smartass comments that would have come off as bitchy. To my superiors.

So, it would appear that it’s time for some vacation days, and another round of HRT!

Several things have tipped me off that it’s time to go in for more hormones, but when the darkest of humor starts to make me cackle, I know I’m getting close to that headline-making stage of crazy and need to practice some self-care.

For example, my husband and I have been texting those “Feelin’ cute” memes to each other all week. But this one ended up being my favorite.

Putting myself in time-out next week. I can’t wait!

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Alive

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In Mississippi, it seems to occur overnight.

One minute, everything is merely on the precipice of new life, and the next, the landscape is awash in what I call “new green”.

We have a lot of evergreens in this part of the country, but even they take on a new hue as the oaks and other seasonal bloomers start leafing out.

It’s peaceful to see. It inspires hope. The old things are passing away, all things are being made new again.

I draw a lot of strength and inspiration from nature, no matter the time of year. But my heart settles down and basks in the joy of new beginnings this season.

This time next spring, I’ll have a new view. And it’s incredibly exciting to know that.

For now, though, in these next few weeks, I’m going to savor every moment of the view I have.

These green rolling hills and shade from the comforting arms of Oaks and Poplars have seen me weep. Have seen me smile. Have cooled me in stifling summers and looked ethereal with new fallen snow in the winters.

St. Francis has looked out over them with me. And his prayer is on my lips as the seasons of my life begin to change in profound ways.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

“In dying we are born to eternal life.”

I never had so much of a profound understanding of “dying to self” as I have over the past year. About turning 180 degrees from what would have been easy, and clinging to the hope of an eventual resurrection. Those who know me best know exactly where I was then, and how close I came to giving up on that hope.

Even though I haven’t actively participated in any intentional way for Lent this year, the last couple of years have been their own type of introspective and challenging time.

The journey of Lent takes us to Easter, but not before we reach the cross. And the journey is different for all of us. For me, it’s been about mustard seed faith. Tiny. Unimpressive on the surface. But when coupled with the Lenten discipline of denying oneself, something transformative begins to happen.

It’s painful. Harsh. But then, just when it seems as though winter is going to last forever, that “new green” just….appears.

Holy week is here. Joy is coming. The theme of resurrection not only plays out in the observances of my faith, but also in the details of my life.

What has been dead is being reborn.

A season of weeping is being turned to joy.

All the world is alive, as is my heart, my hope.

Holding pattern

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I’m pretty sure the hallmark of anxiety and those who deal with it on a daily basis is a defense mechanism that can come off a lot like pessimism.

And it’s not really pessimism, it’s our brain’s way of trying to protect us from pain and the possibility of disappointment.

I am a person of faith. Which throws even more…..conflict into the mental mix. Because it requires me to fix my eyes on what is unseen. Unknown. And trusting in Something bigger than myself.

We’ve signed the contract on our house. And I think all 3 of us are elated that it happened so quickly. But the holding pattern we enter now is stressful. It’s the point where my brain shifts from joy to “don’t count your chickens”.

May 10th, our prospective closing date feels like an eternity away, and there are still appraisals, inspections, and the possibility of anything changing floating around in the unknown.

I try to be content in the fact that we have done everything we know how to do. My brain understands that. But it also won’t let me breathe completely easy.

“Just in case.”

What is so frustrating about having a mind like mine is the fact that I know we will get through these next few weeks just fine. That whatever, if anything, comes up, we will work through. And it won’t be the end of the world. But it also tries to prepare me for anything. Which involves endless scenarios running through my thoughts.

The mental exhaustion then turns into physical exhaustion. As we wait. And wait. And wait some more.

I don’t expect anything to come easy in life. I’m a believer in “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. Again, my brain’s way of prepping for possible disappointment.

But I’m fighting that line of thinking these days. Everything so far has fallen right into place, even if getting there feels like it takes an eternity.

I’m not one of those “visualize it and it will happen” kind of people, but when I was in the hardest years of my return to college, I would get on my treadmill and, as I walked to burn off nervous energy, I would imagine myself walking across that stage to accept my degree.

It got me through some rough days.

From the moment we signed the contract on the sale of this house, I’ve tried to stop thinking about it as “mine”. Because I’m trying to prepare to let go of where we have made our home these last 13 years.

That process has made my heart ache. Not for the letting go, but because I’m ready to “go home”. I’m ready to walk through the front door of our forever home. I’m ready to stroll familiar country roads and wooded paths and breathe the air where my heart’s roots thrive.

The building process will take time too, but that, that I think I can withstand. It’s the limbo that gets me. The waiting to begin.

But it will begin. Soon enough. But the waiting is hard.

Full circle

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If you’re wondering where I’ve been of late, I haven’t given up writing my or reading YOUR posts.

“Busy” is such an understatement of my life over the last month.

It seemed like February would never relent in terms of rainfall, so when it finally did, in March, work began in earnest to get our house ready to put on the real estate market.

For three straight weekends, instead of my hermit-like habits that keep me indoors with books, TV, napping, laundry and such, Hubs and I have been cleaning up the yard (which is huge), pressure washing the exterior and preparing it for paint. The completion of the new roof, which was finished a couple of weeks ago.

Then our attention turned indoors which consisted of deep, deep cleaning, purging, and the moving of non-essentials to a storage unit.

I took photographs last Sunday, posted them on Facebook and Zillow on Monday, and by Wednesday evening, we had an offer on the table. By Friday morning, we were under contract and hope to close by mid-May.

I think we are all in a bit of shock. I expected to sell the house in a relatively short period of time. It’s a great house, it was priced to sell, and the market is pretty bare in this area. Not to mention the location is optimal. But having it sold in under a week? I was floored.

In addition to our personal busyness, the last 6 months of my professional life have heavily centered around the liquidation of a 25,000 s.f. furniture store that was filled to the GILLS with merchandise. Two public sales later, we are down to about 1,000 items and have been lotting it for an online auction to take place later this month. This involves a lot of driving (because it’s an hour away) and some long days of inputting data into the auction software.

In short – I’m tired. Beyond tired. And started feeling the effects of all the stress and long days yesterday afternoon when my body finally started pushing back in terms of the allergy attack it has apparently been postponing just in time for my birthday today!

Thankfully, other people are feeding me, my house is spotless, and I plan to spend the weekend doing nothing except just what I feel like. Which, ironically, is just that: NOTHING.

My parents bought me a beautiful birthday cake, and, this morning, my dad sent me a picture of it. And I burst out laughing. Nothing could be more fitting for this particular birthday.

I’ve spent the last 12 birthdays in the home that will soon be someone else’s.

When I met our buyer, I was touched to learn that she is a newly single mother of two little girls, making a fresh start in her life.

Reagan and I moved in to this home after her step-dad and I married and we, too, were starting a new life.

I see things coming full circle now, as we prepare to hand this special place over to someone else to make a home. And as we begin building something new for our family.

You see, in addition to being physically busy, my emotions have been all over the place from anxious to excited, weepy to elated, as I contemplate the changes that lay ahead for all of us in the next few months.

About 2 hours ago, the clock rolled over to 37 for me. Close to the age my dad was when we made our big move back home to Mississippi from Oklahoma after 11 years on the plains of the southwest.

Some people loathe getting older. My dad was never one of them, and I haven’t been either. I, like he always has, see another birthday as being another year closer to the best years of my life. Because, I can honestly say, while I might not have recognized them as such at the moment I was experiencing them, every difficult year has led me closer to the life I want and have been working with my husband and daughter to build for ourselves.

To see those years of growth, heartache, pain, joy, disappointment, uncertainty, and stubborness/resolve finally begin to reveal their fruits has been both humbling and exciting.

My life feels just like the cake, that apparently went through some horrific transportation disaster from the bakery. It’s a glorious mess, but, I am assured, that it tastes wonderful.

A year ago, I felt like so many things were impossible. But I dug deep, and I held on to what I knew was good. And right. There have been a lot of disastrous, messy moments of the last decade or more of my life. Changes that were not pretty from the outside, but made the moment I’m in now sweeter than if everything had always been easy.

And in the midst of all of the changes that my 37th year will hold, I will cling to those things even more – the lessons learned from the bad, and the faith that love truly never fails. I’ve seen the blessings that come from leaning into that mindset, and I plan to continue looking ahead, not back, at all of the joy that I know is coming.

Because I can already taste it. And while it’s been messy, it’s beautiful indeed. And sweeter than I could have ever imagined.

Lucky 13

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13 years ago today, my now-husband proposed to me.

It wasn’t a surprise. We had been talking about it for some time. And when I look back, I often wonder if he knew then what he knows now, would he have still asked me for this lifelong committment?

Marriage, in short, is hard. Especially when a bachelor of almost 30 marries a headstrong, stubborn woman with a headstrong, stubborn 2 year-old daughter.

So much of these 13 years has been a healing process for me. I’ve had to learn, really learn, how to trust someone.

I’ve had to learn how to love myself. Which is something that, until recently, I never knew how to do.

One of our biggest fights as a married couple was over my returning to college.

I felt, deep in my gut, that it was something I had to do. My logical-minded spouse had other thoughts. Practical thoughts. Thoughts that, so many times, I wished I had heard without feeling like he wasn’t hearing me.

Those years I was in school were some of the hardest of our marriage to date. And the years following were just as trying.

My husband has flaws, don’t get me wrong. He’s imperfect. But when I look back, I only think about how difficult I must have been to live with in those years that I was healing, and searching for that healing.

I put him in some impossible situations where he had to simply stand by, love me, and silently support ideas that he knew were going to make life especially hard for him. For me. For all of us.

But he did.

He has had to stand by while I learned how to let him co-parent a child that isn’t biologically his, but that he is responsible for in every way, as if she was his own.

And he’s never once complained about supporting her or being the present father in her life.

When I think back to where we were, just a year ago, I am amazed at how far we’ve come. The grace we’ve extended to one another. The healing that has eased into not only me, but how he and I relate to one another.

We spent some time in marriage counseling, and when it started getting real, and difficult, we stopped going. But, amazingly, I believe the few things we learned in those sessions have had a lasting, positive impact on how we communicate, and how we perceive what is important to each other.

I don’t write about our marriage very often, mainly out of respect for my husband’s privacy. He isn’t the open book of feelings that I tend to be.

One of the things I love about him is his thoughtfulness. Yes, he’s thoughtful in terms of putting others before himself, but I mean a different kind of thoughtfulness, too.

My husband thinks before he speaks. He measures his words. He has incredible self-control when it comes to conversation. And I’ve come to view this as a plus, when, in the past, I have nagged and pushed him to speak when he wasn’t ready. I’ve come to appreciate that ability to consider, to contemplate, and to not just say something, but something real. True. Honest.

People say building a house is one of the most stressful things a couple can do together. That it can break people. I find that the opposite is happening. I find that we are leaning more on each other and into our marriage than ever before. I find that we are still a great team. And I find that we both view this opportunity not as a stressful event, but as an experience that can afford us a new beginning. A chance to incorporate all the things we’ve learned about ourselves and each other these last 13 years.

For us, I believe it is the start of something new. Something powerful. Something strong.

They say 13 is a lucky number. I only know that I’m the lucky one. And that, if I knew all those years ago what I know now, when he was on one knee with a ring, I’d still say yes. And I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that he would still be asking.

Understanding

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I hope.

I have spent much of my life hoping for different kinds of things.

When I was little, it was the tangible. I hoped I got what I wanted for Christmas and I hoped my parents would say yes when I wanted to go somewhere or have a friend over or get pizza for supper. I hoped.

When I was a teenager, I hoped the boy I liked would like me back. I hoped I would find friends and acceptance among my peers. I hoped I would make my parents proud and would be what people wanted me to be.

When I got married, I hoped I’d live happily ever after.

When I got pregnant, I hoped for a healthy baby and a safe delivery and that I would be a good mother.

When I took a new job, I hoped I would succeed and flourish.

When I write, I hope it touches people and I hope it means something.

I’ve hoped for love. For forgiveness. For reconciliation. For truth and charity to win in the face of bitterness, hatred and dysfuntion.

Sometimes I’ve gotten exactly what I hoped for, or even more. Sometimes, not. Not even close.

But in my day-to-day living now, I hope for peace. For understanding. To be understood and to understand others. Truly know them, and be fully known.

It’s a vulnerable scenario.

Approaching another human and offering to “trade shoes”. Especially if they are vastly different from our own.

And not just to stand in their shoes, but really feel all the places they have walked in them. Feel their hurts, their joy, the stretches that have made them grow.

More than my interest in Psychology and human behavior and personality, I honestly believe that offering up our understanding, our empathy to one another, even when it isn’t reciprocated, that is as close to being like Christ as we can be. Because, after all, before He did anything else, that is exactly what Jesus himself did.

He became us. He humbled himself and immersed himself in what it was like to be like us.

I hope for that kind of understanding in my own life, and I hope to give it. Grow from it. Be better for it.

I hope.

I hope.

2019 Randoms – 4

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Let’s just dive right in, shall we?

WHAT I’M READING

I have turned into a slothful reader. So let me just tell you what is on my “to read” list, because I’m just now finishing up the same books I mentioned in the last 3 “Randoms” posts.

Book club will hopefully resume this month. In between my family preparing to put our house on the market and the busyness of everyone’s lives and the fact that I picked a CRAP BOOK for last month, we didn’t meet in February. So, we are moving forward with this new selection:

“Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.”

In addition to the Book Club selection, Reagan got me this one for Christmas:


Steve Carrell, like many comedic actors, has a depth and range in his artistry that is most profound in his dramatic roles. I haven’t seen the film based on this book yet. I want to read it first. But I’m ready to get started on it so I’m going to make a concerted effort to finish up “The Hate You Give” and finish my stupid January book club selection so I can move on to these new reads.

WHAT I’M HEARING

I always have a podcast on standby, and always need new suggestions for good series, so if you have some, please leave them in the comments. I would definitely welcome them!

Right now, I’m listening to this one:


Nothing about dysfunctional families surprises me. I come from a very messed up extended family dynamic. There has been a lot of trauma and heartbreak, and every family story carries secrets.

What I like about this podcast, and the goal of the host, is the shining of a light on things that have hurt us, because when secrets are brought into the light, they lose their power over us.

WHAT I’M WATCHING

As I wait impatiently for the next season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, I have turned to a series I never watched when it originally aired, but always wanted to check out.

I’m only 2 episodes in, but I enjoy political dramas. There are plenty of series that I watch with the family, but this is my solo indulgence.

SOMETHING SPECIAL

Today is Ash Wednesday, and the first since I became an Episcopalian where I won’t be able to attend a service. It makes me sad, but just because I will miss the liturgy doesn’t mean I can’t move forward with my Lent observances.

I always try to do some introspection during this season, but I also try to shift my focus to what I can do for others. I try to do little things – pay for someone’s meal behind me at the drive thru, send an unexpected happy to someone, be extra generous with tips, and trying to strike a balance between focusing on what I can do to better myself while also paying more attention to others.

I long ago gave up the notion that Lent was, for me, a fasting of chocolate or something of that nature. It’s much too easy to use what should be a time of spiritual reflection and turn it into a diet.

I don’t want it to be that. I want to dig deeper than that. And I’ve been neglectful of my spiritual side lately. So maybe that in itself will be my larger goal. To just get back into a place of regular meditation and focus on the “other”.

Leading up to Lent, of course, is Carnival or Mardi Gras. I’ve spent the last 3 years making at least one trip to Mobile during the Mardi Gras season.

The weather and rain have been so unpredictable lately, I wasn’t sure if I’d make any of the festivities this year, but I took a chance, grabbed my kid, and set off for Mobile last Saturday morning, arriving in time for the noon parades.


We caught up with our favorite cousin and her fella and ended up with a tote bag full of beads, Moon Pies, and other assorted goodies.

We stuck around for the evening parades as well, but those Krewes were much more stingy with their merchandise. Though, their floats are some of my favorites.

The noon parades had a theme of Children’s Literature and the floats were a lot of fun! Everything from Peanuts to Dr. Suess to Rainbow Fish to If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

The weather ended up being PERFECT, with even a visit from some sunshine! Even for a whirlwind trip, we had great fun in Mobile and, as always, I can’t wait to go back.

Unwritten

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Can I still consider myself a writer if my posting frequency becomes sporadic at best and utterly inconsistent at worst?

I think I can. I write, all the time, in my head. Doesn’t that count?

I blame detachment. Something I have had to learn to be good at my job. Something that my medicine has given me a greater ability to control. But it’s also the thing that keeps me out of my feelings and out of the place in my brain where my best writing tends to originate.

It feels like a sick sacrifice of sorts: offering up (what I consider) some of my better assets and qualities – i.e. empathy and sensitivity to my own feelings and those of others – for the ability to function at a higher level professionally and maintain a semblance of equilibrium personally.

But I think it makes me a shittier friend. Daughter. Sister. And writer.

That is my perception though. It may not be that of others. But I do not feel like I’m operating very authentically right now.

I feel like I’m…..functioning, but, sometimes, on some sort of emotional autopilot.

I still cry. Laugh. I still feel things. I’ve been on meds where I didn’t. But I’m struggling to determine if it’s the meds I’m taking that have produced this more profound ability to detach, or if it is just the practice of living that has taught me what I can and cannot handle.

For years, most of my life in fact, I’ve tried to be good to others. Be what they needed. Even, to my own detriment, what they wanted. Even if that version was nothing like my true self.

I no longer feel the need to do those things. Not for everyone, anyway.

I find my focus is very centered on a small handful of people that need me more than anyone else, and me giving all I can to them. And making room for very few others.

This goes against my historical behavior patterns. But I have learned how much I can and cannot bear. And I have learned where my commitments should be focused.

My health, physical and mental, has limitations. I took my daughter to Mobile for the day last weekend – just a day trip, and I’m still paying for it, physically. The long drive and large crowds drained me. The autoimmune demons are not kind and energy is a resource I try not to waste.

My job is high stress and often a non-stop wave of bad news, aggravation and disgruntled, difficult people.

I take care of myself mentally, detach, take the meds, so I can deal with it. Because, if I didn’t, the stress of my job and of all the anxiety and depression I have genetically and chemically would literally kill me.

But I should be writing. I want to be writing. But I also want to just live, and soak up moments without thinking about how to articulate them later.

I tell my daughter sometimes, when we go to some event, “Put down your phone. Just enjoy what is happening around you.”

And while writing is important to me and something I miss doing when I’m not doing it, I also, at times, just want to put aside everything that isn’t fully present with me in a given moment.

And that is anything but detachment. That is absorbing and feeling and listening and seeing and knowing. And sometimes that is enough. Even if I never write about it.

2019 Randoms – 3

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I honestly feel like I’m living an out-of-body experience lately, things have been so hectic and busy.

When I have a minute to catch my breath, I plunge deep into laziness, desperate to reclaim some solitude, rest, sleep, and a tiny hint of sanity.

That being said, I still read, watch, and listen to stuff, so here’s the latest scoop.

What I’m Reading

You! Yes, you! Well, some of you. Those of you who write. I’m trying to play catch-up on all of the posts I’ve been missing over the last few weeks.

My book stack is one book shorter…almost. I’ve a few chapters left to finish in my book club selection, but, honestly, it’s so horrifically bad, I don’t know if we’ll even meet to discuss it. February was, frankly, a shitty month for a lot of book club members, and extremely busy for all of us. We may have to regroup in March.

In any case, I’m looking forward to trying a better book. Because surely the next book selection will be better. I certainly don’t think it can be worse.

What I’m Watching

So much. The Walking Dead’s second half of the season premiered recently so, I have a standing appointment on Sunday nights. My daughter and I finished Parks and Recreation (great series finale! One of the best I’ve ever seen.), so we have moved on to Brooklyn Nine-Nine. We also binged Fear the Walking Dead this past weekend so she will be all caught up when it premieres later this year.

There has been a lot of tv viewing in my house lately, but, in our defense, it’s been a nasty, wet and rainy month.

Podcasts

The Teacher’s Pet is a podcast about a woman who went missing in Sydney, Australia back in 1982. She just….vanished. And the story surrounding her disappearance is so suspicious and bizarre, it’s mind-boggling to think that no one has solved the mystery.

It’s a long, thorough, and very detailed series, but I’m over halfway through it and feel like it has been done really well. The host of the podcast isn’t just about trying to solve this obscure puzzle. He is taking measured steps to actually present the story of the victims, and do it in such a way that they get some semblance of justice.

I have found the series completely riveting.

Something Special

I’ve yet to write, in detail, about our trip to Nashville last month, but here are a few little snippets of things we enjoyed while visiting the music city.

No trip is complete without a stop by the full scale replica of The Parthenon.

Complete with a creepy statue of Athena, this mind-blowing structure was a great place to take my mythology-loving teenager.

While said teenager was at a movie with her bestie, my mom and I explored a former factory in Franklin, which has been converted into a shopping mall.

The building itself is extremely unique and houses 5 Daughters Bakery, which boasts something called the “Hundred Layer Donut”.

Mom and I split one, reasoning that just 50 layers each couldn’t be considered too rich an indulgence.

More on the trip in later posts. Happy weekending, y’all!

Brain retreat

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The last few weeks have been hectic. Weekends have involved trying to prep our house to put on the market and the work weeks have meant some long, extra hours, just to stay ahead of an onslaught of issues and responsibilities.

Writing has taken a back seat, unfortunately. As well as reading posts by others and interacting with my community of people here on WordPress.

No rest for the weary appears to be imminent, but I’m going to try to do better. Writing is a stress reliever for me, and I’m feeling the effects of not having exercised that skill in my mental and physical health. This post, for example, feels….rough. It is entirely unplanned and off-the-cuff. But when writing is hard, that’s when I should be writing the most. Pushing through. Writing crap. Just exercising the muscle that gets lazy so quickly and easily.

My philosophical side is lately overridden by my practical side. So my mind is doing its best to convert these thoughts into a post.

Most people will say that building a house is one of the most stressful things a person can ever do, and can put extensive strain on a relationship.

We haven’t starting the actual building process yet, but I find that the opposite seems to be true in my life.

The future project gives me somewhere to take my mind that is away from my work/life stress. I am a daydreamer, so when I find myself in the midst of a crazy, aggravating day (of which there have been many lately) I mentally escape to the construction. Or visualizing the successful sale of our existing home. Somehow these brain retreats boost my mood and spirits – give me something positive on which to focus. Future gazing, as it were.

Sometimes that can be a treacherous path, but I’m finding that, in this instance, it is more than gazing, it is planning. And there is nothing like making plans with your life’s partner, and working toward the same goal, together.

When my husband and I first began to discuss the possibility of building a house, it seemed like such a grand undertaking. Overwhelming, really. In many ways, it still can be a lot to process. But, somewhere along the way, it felt like our hearts and minds aligned.

We are very different people, Shey and I. But I’m finding that, when we are focused on a goal like this enormous life change, and we have unity over it, we lean on each other more. I believe this process has already made us better, together, and I have no reason to think that will change.

I know there are more stressful days ahead, but I don’t fear them, or the circumstances that will create them. I have peace. And hope.

A few weeks ago, I was visiting a local small business. This shop had recently relocated into a new, remodeled building. The proprietor had brought in a new selection of merchandise, and I fell in love with one of the pieces of metal art work.

I came home and told Shey that I had found the first piece of art work I wanted to hang in the new house. This house that, for now, only exists in our minds.

Now, my husband is a great guy. Patient, steady, thoughtful. But he doesn’t like change. He is a creature of habit and he likes it that way. So I have been incredibly surprised at his enthusiasm over the prospect of leaving the house where we’ve shared our lives for the last 13 years to build another.

I think a part of me has worried that he would just shut down our plans and decide it wasn’t worth the stress and uncertainties that exist in the process of selling, then building.

But I came home one day last week, the 13th, after a very aggravating day to find roses and candy on the kitchen table. “Happy Early Valentine’s.” he said.

Later that evening, I headed to our bedroom to change clothes and there, propped against the wall, was the art work I mentioned to him weeks ago. This beautiful sentiment of what I want for him, myself, and our family.

It was more than a gift. It was an affirmation of our joint commitment to each other and the life we want to continue to build together.

It was a promise. A reassurance. And the most meaningful gift he has ever given to me.

So, no, I’m not writing as much these days. I won’t slack on it like this often, but just like when I left Facebook, absence from WordPress these days simply means I am trying to be more present in my actual, physical life.

I’m still here, but, right now, I need to be here. And right now, my journey is taking a new direction. I want to embrace it. Live it. And enjoy every moment.