We’re home. Landed, unpacked and adjusted to another time change. We’ve had time to process the early months of 2022. It feels good to be home. We returned changed; different from when we left in January. We immersed ourselves in the Irish culture of County Kerry; we reconnected with old friends and made new. Any time one opens themselves to another or something new, they change.
Our return in 2019 and again in 2020 started me thinking I needed to slow down and not rush through life as I was. I had no plan for implementing this change, but recognized it was something I needed. (Enter Covid), which made the change possible. Ha-ha.
The Pandemic left me (Linda), believing God was refining his church. What Ireland revealed to me convinces me of this belief even more. Pastors would tell us they lost some members, they gained some members during Covid. We saw them last in January/February 2020, just prior to the world closing its borders because of Covid. The difference in those congregations/fellowships between 2020 and 2022 was discernable, and so encouraging. People appeared more committed to their faith, and so much more compassionate and committed to their fellow believers. Covid did not surprise God, nor has he stopped working in the hearts of believers around the globe. These communities were more confident in themselves and what they believed. I returned to America with hope in my heart. Hope that we too in America will draw strength from our faith, that we’ll become more committed to the basis of our faith and that we’ll have more compassion for those around us.
When I think of the friendships in County Kerry, my heart is overflowing. I’m grateful for the time I spent with fellow believers, fellow writers, friends of mine.
Between Ireland and home, we spent a week with friends/family in Dorchester, England. It was a time of relaxing, refreshment, and renewed friendship. Sometimes I wish the Atlantic Ocean was not between me and my friends.
There may be more thoughts later, but for now, I’ll just share some of my favorite photos.
While holiday songs fill the airwaves and pine fragrances permeate the air, I find my days filled with decorating, getting holiday letters written, gifts for children and grandchildren to be mailed. With those things going on, my personal pattern finds my mind pulled to evaluating the year’s writing goals, and developing plans for the next year. This trend has been consistent, and you’d think I would expect it instead of finding it to be an annual surprise.
Reflecting on 2021 writing was an interesting project. My major goals were accomplished. I have “first drafts” of three distinctly different writing pieces completed. It also means many hours of editing, creating cover designs and proof copies will fill 2022.
Be on the lookout for upcoming information on:
The sequel to Dream Glasses, which is Finding the Way Home.Liz returns from Paris excited to start the future she has planned, only to discover life doesn’t always move in the direction we expect.
A collection of short stories, poetry and little quips—Clouds. Most of this writing occurred during COVID, and was inspired by various writing communities I am involved with. The inspiration and camaraderie of like-minded artists is invaluable to me.
A children’s story, Charley’s Great Adventure. The story of Charley the Chipmunk on his first big outing without his mom. He’s excited, he’s nervous—and he’s totally unprepared for what he encounters. How does he react to a fearful situation, to knowing he failed to follow his mother’s advice?
On the less than stellar accomplishments, my commitment to write as regularly as I had in 2020 was a struggle. Between moving and connecting in a new community, there were more interruptions. My excuse “shiny objects distract me.” I’m fortunate to have another writing mentor who assures our group, even when writers are not writing, they are processing information for future writings. I take heart in her words.
As your year is winding to a close, where are your thoughts and dreams for the coming year? Did you feel stuck in 2021, or did you discover new passions and interests this year?
… the mountain casts a spell over people who live near it. When one leaves the area, the spell causes that person to never really leave, but at least continue to return.
We left the area about six weeks ago, then returned to retrieve a vehicle we’d left behind. Our conversations revealed we each felt happy to be back in town, driving the streets, seeing a few friends, enjoying the sights and having food from several favorite places.
Let there be no mistake. We know our new home, the region where we live, the town we’re part of is exactly where we are supposed to be and we’re thrilled to begin this new adventure in our life journey.
We’ve returned to locations from our past homes because of the people, but never experienced the feeling of simple happiness by just being in the area. Perhaps there is a spell on us from the mountain, or maybe it’s because we each experienced so much personal growth and deepened our spiritual lives here; made many friendships and memories. We changed living here. We’re not the same people we were when we moved here. We smile, knowing we’ll be back again.
Have you ever felt like living somewhere changed who you are?
I’ve written earlier how Covid-19 has helped me establish some better writing habits, and it has. Yet the last two weeks provided some interesting self-learning opportunities for me. We traveled to California (via car), to spend time with family. This hasn’t been a trip for sight-seeing, but has allowed us to connect with some family members while staying in one location. A location different from our house. Everyone here has their normal activities, as do we.
Yet the environment differs vastly from home. The sights, the temperatures, the plants—I’ve found all these differences sparked additional creativity for me.
In the past, I’ve found traveling ignites creativity, or time appreciating natural beauty, or enjoying another’s art creations. Just spending quiet, uninterrupted time in a different environment from home provided an unexpected burst.
This gift of creative energy was a surprise, a very pleasant surprise.
A daughter commented that she’s heard other writers say that’s the reason they enjoy going to a retreat. I’d always thought one went on a writing retreat to remove one’s self from their routine and have more time. So like me to consider “time” as the limiting commodity. …and so, incorrect! I’ve enjoyed this “writing retreat” to work on multiple projects.
Reflecting on the first half of 2020 brings many thoughts to mind. It’s a year that has affected everyone.
Civilizations around the world all touched by Covid-19 have dealt differently with it, each in their own way. Even in other cultures, individuals have responded diversely to the impact. Recognize that I will only address the affects to me, and in no way mean that to minimize or marginalize anyone else’s experience. Personally, Covid-19 allowed me to slow down; no really, forced me to slow down. I considered myself to be a grateful person, yet this slower pace allowed me to recognize even more things to be grateful for. Regular Zoom meetings allowed me to stay connected with writing friends from Ireland, and the local writing group, now on-line connects more frequently. I’ve been able to establish some new patterns or routines in my life, resulting in more consistency in writing. A new children’s story awaits art work; a compilation of short stories (some new and some former writings) is coming together; there’s noticeable progress on the sequel to “Dream Glasses.” With this slower pace, I find after an initial writing, it’s easier to go back and review it with a more critical eye and make corrections. I recognize I’m more calm. Life feels less hectic, and more relaxing.
The question that plagues me is, what of these new patterns will I bring to my future when life returns to some semblance of normalcy?
Have you found aspects of these last few months you want to carry forward? Are you willing to share them?
We’re each on earth at this point in time, traveling to… No one knows for sure. Early in the year, we found ourselves confident; we knew the direction. We thought we knew at the beginning of the year. We were all headed “someplace” in 2020.
And then Covid-19 hit.
We’re all home now. It took some longer than others yet now, we’re home. Now, we’re living life on “pause.”
Are things getting in your way, in your home? In your previous rush to get somewhere, did you lose sight of what’s important to you? Has the time of “pause” provided the opportunity to find your true north? Has revelation set in that around the globe, we are all shuttered? Life has slowed. Has the change of pace, caused you to ponder your life’s ultimate travel plans? Do you recognize others are on the same uncertain roads?
When life moves from “pause” to “reset” I expect there will be a gradual buildup of activity. I expect many of us to come out of our homes, a little dazed. Uncertain, perhaps, of what to expect from this point in history. I expect some will burst out of their homes expecting life to pick up where it left off. Will they bump into an unexpected reality, or will life simply return to what it was before Covid-19?