Reflections for Joy

Reflections for Joy

December 21, 2022

2022 has been a heck of a year for us as it has been for many.  How do we function post-pandemic?  Financially, where there was little value to be found in any corner of the market, how do we remain calm?  AND, through a polarizing political landscape that supported division rather than unity how do we maintain relationships? 

With Gratitude.

Despite the very real and sometimes daily challenges of 2022, we survived, and I would daresay we thrived!!  We’ve ALL grown personally, spiritually and professionally.  I, for one, am grateful for that growth.

When we sold our home in January 2021 and left for our cross-country journey to find the “next best place,” we had intention.  We had no idea that in January through May 2022, we’d buy and completely renovate a mobile home in Largo, Florida for our winter home. During our trip, we came to realize that we needed to be near water, as we longed for the ocean and the open expanse that the ocean (and the plains of Iowa) render.  Our winter home is ½ mile from Indian Rocks Beach; a beautiful sugar-sand beach along Florida’s Gulf Coast.   

My youngest sister passed away unexpectedly in March 2022.  Of my 7 siblings, I was closest to her.  Grateful we spent time with her in Iowa City during our cross-country trip. We were grateful for her friends that loved her.

Knowing we didn’t want to be in Florida for the summer and still seeking our “next best place”, Sean applied to the state of Vermont for a volunteer position.  We interviewed and became caregivers of North Hero State Park for the summer 2022. 

Apparently, this renovating/rebuilding thing is in our nature.  Our home where we lived for 31 years (built in 1879) was a continual work in progress, restoring it to its original grandeur.  This 1956 Mobile home we took down to the studs and modernized with a new layout accompanied by all new plumbing and electrical.  So, reviving a neglected state park in northern Vermont seemed like a natural progression.

When we accepted our summer “assignment” it was to bring back to life or give care to this near-forgotten state park on the northernmost island in Lake Champlain, VT with the guidance of, “Do what you think is best.”  And we did, lovingly and deliberately, we brought the natural beauty of this 400-acre day-use park, back to life for guests, throughout the summer.

In September I was diagnosed with a malignant Melanoma on my lower back.  Surgery and infection followed with a full recovery.  Grateful.

Back to Florida to the home we created but had yet to enjoy.  Thinking, I/we need consistency.  Up until now, it is my business that has kept me grounded despite the many challenges or market conditions and staying connected with my clients.  Now, we get to be, not do.  Easier said then done (at least for me 😉.)  In the past (before we hit our 60’s), change and adaptation was easier.

At our winter home, we got memberships at the local recreation center.  We joined the Freedom Boat Club.  We rented a garden plot at the local 4H grounds.  We’re hosting Christmas Dinner at the Mobile home park in which we reside.  Distraction does not alleviate the mind from thinking or the thoughts of “I should have” or “why didn’t I” OR, “why isn’t that relationship better?  OR, What did I do or not do to nurture that relationship?”

What I have learned (again and again) is that life is happening for me, not to me, AND, I am not my thoughts.  Trust and surrender serve me far better then trying to control any situation.  Setting boundaries and/or letting go of relationships that are not reciprocal or not life-giving is liberating.

Trust was one of my words for 2022.  Trust brought surrender (does not mean to give in) but to let go.

Letting go allows for absolute presence in this moment, not the past or the future, but now.  We all have that choice.

So I ask each of you reading this blog to trust more and judge less (as judging is there from your past).  Be grateful for all (the good and the bad) for therein is presence, and therefore Grace. 

My words for 2023:  Presence and Grace

The Days only get longer from here . . . .  Enjoy every moment!!!    And Let the baking begin!

From our home to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!