Life outside of the OysterBed for 2016-2017.
I hesitate to write anything about my life for the past 12 months because I’m afraid the negativity will have you running for funnier and possibly more profound blogs.
Have you ever uprooted a healthy, luxurious plant? The roots cling to the deep rich earth and you have to use all your might to rip it out of the ground. Yeah? Well, my hard, firm, deep roots were ripped up and I naively didn’t anticipate the depth and breadth of grief I would experience after moving to south Florida.
In spite of my grief, I’ve carried on with life. I found a new jazzercise center where the ladies are welcoming. Invariably, the first question that’s asked by anyone who finds out we’ve just moved down is, “Are you “seasonal” or “year-round”?” Now, if the person asking is a local, I earn major street-cred for being a new “year-round” resident because “seasonal” means you only visit during the winter to clog the roads with bad driving and fill up the restaurants (and, of course, boost the economy).
The second question is, “How do you like living here?” This question is usually asked with a chipper tone that means they expect me to give a glowing reply. I just hated letting everyone down when I was completely honest. So, I’ve learned to paste on a smile and say, “I’m learning to love it.” And hopefully, this phrase will sink into the morrow of my bones and come true. Will it if I will it?
There are a couple of bright spots. My oldest son, his wife, and my first grandblessing live close. Also, I have developed friendships with two lovely ladies in the area. After spending 459 hours in the car with my realtor looking at houses, we are now really good friends.
Dave has been holding my hand as I navigate excruciating homesickness. We are solid. He is not traveling nearly as much for work which is nice. He reminds me that I make friends easily. He helps me remember that in spite of being comfortable in routine, I do enjoy experiencing new things. I have resilience.
God keeps whispering in my ear that there is a reason we need to be here.
What I’ve found is that contentment can live amidst the sadness. I intimately know the one who gives me true stability. Christ is my heartbeat. I’ve only come to know him this closely in the last year. Sometimes, God has to rip you out of comfort to show you something. I was lulled into complacency when my head was nestled sweetly on the bosom of familiarity, family, and friends. Now, he has my complete attention.
Other snapshots of our 2016 include
A trip to Nicaragua (we won a raffle!) – After our trip to Nicaragua, I see my grief as a first world problem. My suffering over a move from one nice house to another nice house in a well-infrastructured community is put into perspective. But, even with perspective my emotional life hurts.
Hurricane Matthew – On one forecast map it was due to make landfall on top of our new house. Thankfully, it did not or this blog would be a memorial site, which you might think it is already with all this crying. 😊 Also thankfully, I was able to hunker down with my realtor-friend because Dave was in Barcelona. Here’s a photo of our new house:
Siblings Weekend – I met my brother and 2 sisters in Tennessee. We had a lovely time at Pigeon Forge. Two weeks later, Gatlinburg was on fire. (My brother is the man on the right.)
Stress Eating – From July to December, all I could manage without a nervous breakdown was unpacking the house (which we bought in July) and doing my online classes. There was no exercise at all. That, plus the fact that I’m a stress eater, means I gained 18 pounds. I made sure Christmas was delectable because I knew come January 2017, I was back on the wagon. I returned to jazzercise in January and have lost 8 pounds thus far. I am not one who can rely on metabolism. I have to work to keep the weight off.
This part overlaps into my personal life and is making me aware of God’s hand.
One thing is for sure, God cleared my proverbial plate which made room for me to become a better helper for you all.
College Classes – In July, I began online classes through Liberty University to complete my Bachelor’s in Christian Counseling. I have a 4.0 (#humblebragfail). I should be done with the BS by Fall 2018 and plan to continue on and earn my master’s.
Dr. Ruth – The cool thing about being in “Little Manhattan” (because there are so many people from Manhattan here) is that there is a wonderful performance and cultural arts center in West Palm Beach. I attended a luncheon with Dr. Ruth Westheimer. That was interesting! She is of the Jewish faith, however, her practice is very secular.
Authentic Intimacy – During the year we’ve lived in south Florida, Juli Slattery and Hannah Nitz have had several conferences here. I’ve been able to attend 5 of them helping as the bookstore lady. The message God has given her resounds with me and I’m hopeful to be able to continue helping AI. I am in agreement with Juli that every woman is broken sexually in one way or another. Her message is full of hope and healing.If you read Authentic Intimacy Roadtrip, you already know that my belief in AI led me to Texas where I met J. Parker of Hot, Holy, & Humorous. She sacrificed her weekendto hang out with me as we drove 4 hours to a San Antonio AI conference. It was an amazing coincidence that we happened to cross paths with Sheila Wray Gregoire of To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. My time with J was great! We’ve already developed a friendship through the podcast. She and I had lots and lots and lots of discussion. Of course, you already know she’s one witty, smart girl. I can confirm she is the same in real life as on the blog. We also sang (maybe you saw our facebook live performance?). She has some pipes, let me tell you, a stunning voice!! I conceded that I’m the back-up, she’s the headliner. Oh, and she was recognized at the conference as Mrs. Hot, Holy & Humorous!
Podcast – The brain-child of J and Chris, Sex Chat for Christian Wives is an audience favorite. There’s a lot more preparation to have our little chats than you might think. I was thrilled, honored, and humbled that they asked me on board. We are hoping to one day have a real-life podcast session with the four of us in the same house!
Another bright spot…looking forward doesn’t hurt. In spite of my sadness, I know good things are in store. We serve a God who delights in us.
I know for sure that this year will be spent immersed in my studies. What a relief to discover my brain was only dusty, not broken! I love learning now just as much as I loved it as a kid. (Yeah, I know, I’m weird like that).
We are very close to pinpointing our new church home, I think.
Other than that, I’m not sure exactly what the future holds. But, you’ll find out as soon as I do. I plan to continue this blog until the Lord says the OysterBed7 season is over.
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