And now for this month’s installment of Share Four Somethings.
Our mountains top my list of things I love about Virginia. Just an hour or so outside of Washington, D.C., are the Blue Ridge Mountains, which provide spectacular drives and stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley and River. On my first non-date with John, he took me on a motorcycle ride through Skyline Drive out there and I fell in love—with the mountains first, then the man who took me there. Since we’ve been married, we’ve taken several trips out there for camping, bed and breakfast, luxury inns and more recently to a borrowed cabin. And almost since that first non-date, we’ve dreamed of having our own place out there. That dream came true this month. On a road almost as curvy as the path to the property, we went from finding the listing online to being home-owners in about six weeks.
There’s a tinge to this, though, because right after our initial offer, my sister-in-love, Jessee, went into the hospital, starting one of the saddest chapters of my life. My heart felt like a yo-yo, and eventually, I had to stuff the excitement about the mountain house, which we’re calling The Shed, into a deep pocket to give room for the grief of losing Jessee.
There’s no way a beautiful view of nature can make up for the incomprehensible loss of a gorgeous friend and all the future that changed with her death, but I know she’d have loved it up there and I know she wouldn’t want me to miss out on the joy of it for missing her. So, I’m slowly accepting this long-awaited yes and looking forward to hosting family and friends here so they can also feel the love.
“When can I start?”
Because it makes perfect sense to not only buy a house, but to also start a job three and a half months before moving to a new country, I did. I’m going to be teaching parenting classes for the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center a few times a week. The folks I’ll be teaching are residents of transitional homes, where they’re working to move out of homelessness and addiction.
I wish I could say I was offered the job because someone noticed what an amazing parent I am and said, “We MUST have you teach classes, you are clearly an expert and have such wisdom others need to know!” But no.
I’d seen the ad for this job in my church’s bulletin for the past several years, but seeing as how I either had tiny babies, was a solo parent, or lived in another country, it wasn’t right for me. Then last year, I saw the announcement again and it seemed to line up with my background (seven whole years of parenting, baby, with a few bonus weeks of doing foster care), passion (family preservation) and I actually had the time for it. They didn’t hire me right away but called about a month ago to see if I was still interested. I told them I had four months left in country, but if they were game, I was.
So, I’m doing it!
When my church announced a church-wide 40-Day Fast (in conjunction with Lent, but not because of it), my first thought is that I needed to give up something very near and dear to my heart. Entertainment. I tried to get out of it, think of other options, but that was the thing. I’ve gotten so used to winding down my days with Netflix, staying up too late to watch more than was healthy for me. Entertainment isn’t a bad thing, I love it a lot! I just wondered what I could fill that time with if I gave up entertainment for a short period. I limited my social media time and didn’t watch any TV or movies. I didn’t read fiction books. I spent that time reading non-fiction and spiritual development books. I wrote in my journal or wrote letters. I had more conversations with my husband. And maybe best of all, I just went to bed at a more decent hour! The fast is over now, and I’m excited to catch up with the Pearsons (This Is Us) and some others. This month I learned that saying no to entertainment, meant saying yes to many more good things.
When three or four friends from different circles talk about the same author or book, I see that as a sign I would probably like it, too. “Tell Me More: Stories About The 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning To Say,” by Kelly Corrigan was one of them. I listened to the audio version, which made for excellent listening on my long drives out west and back in recent weeks. I loved it!
Kelly is such a good writer. I’m not a big non-fiction reader but am trying to get there. I appreciate the depth of Kelly’s writing that comes with a heartfelt humility and a sense of humor that hits the right tones for me, not coming off as fluffy or preachy as some of these personal story/advice books can be. And, I’ve actually been using some of her “hard conversation” phrases, and by gosh, they are working!
In this book she tenderly, and honestly tells stories of her love, loss and grief of her father and best friend, both lost to cancer. You better believe I had many moments where cathartic tears flowed, only to be interrupted by obnoxious “lols.”
If someday I publish a book and someone compares my writing to Kelly Corrigan’s, I’ll be a happy girl.
There’s my four somethings for the month. What about yours? You can join the link up here at heathergerwing.com or just comment below with your Something Loved, Something Said, Something Learned, Something Read.