Frequently, I’m asked how I’m enjoying my new home.
My response flows.
“I’m loving it more every day.”
Perhaps I’m under the influence of the intoxicating fragrances that waft through the air. Depending upon where I stand on the property today, I might smell orange blossoms, or alyssum, or eucalyptus, or other yet to be identified scents. Each offers aromas I enjoy, and I savor those moments of fragrance.
Regularly, I’m learning something new about the plantings on the property. The former owners enjoyed the diversity found in this locale, so there’s a variety of mature plantings to enjoy. Our styles may be different, but our love of plants and being outdoors to enjoy them is something we share with those owners. We’re grateful they invested in the property. We’ve relocated and moved some things to create different spaces or zones; this visually opened the approach to the house; yet maintained almost all the species we worked with. It’s a process and we’re comfortable knowing that it will all take time. I wake up, look outdoors and say,
This season finds us preoccupied with houses, selling one, acquiring another. What do these different house styles say about us?
We joined our lives together, each owning a ranch style home.
Together we sold those homes, then combined our assets to purchase the lake house. From the street it was a beautiful ranch home that morphed once you entered into a three-story home that overlooked the lake and embraced the glory of sunsets all year long. It was the house where we thought our children would come to make memories. Not so much. Instead, we made lots of memories ourselves there. It was the house with the impeccably manicured yard and beautiful plantings. We enjoyed the changes of the seasons, the wild wind off the lake, the opportunity to sail whenever we wanted, and even the sound of our winter guests who set up shacks on the lake for ice fishing.
From there we moved to the Colorado house, described as an old-style mountain home. We gave up the yard and the effort it took to maintain for more natural and rugged living. This house towered above the ground with the front prow encased in glass. Once you entered the home, you felt as though you could soar into the heavens. Your gaze always drawn into the sky. The air at this elevation was dryer and the skies clearer. All the seasons here seemed to arrive earlier than we expected, but each was a welcome change. Wildlife lived in proximity and sometimes challenged our abilities to cultivate anything green. The wind here surprised me and often prevented us for utilizing our outdoor spaces. It often caused me to ponder the ruggedness of life for the early settlers and wonder how they endured. But even more, I found myself surprised and mesmerized by how close and plentiful the stars appeared; I thought I could reach out and grab one… It was here that we would lie on the deck and watch shooting stars (a first for me).
Now we are relocating, even further west; something I never imagined. This time we move to a Mediterranean style home, in a rural location with different vegetation from anything I’ve known. Our trips these last eight years to California have introduced me to some of these plants so they don’t appear as foreign as they used to, but I know nothing of their care. Something new to learn. The daytime climate outdoors may be warmer, but the house design should keep us comfortable. The more temperate climate and house design should provide the opportunity to utilize outdoor living more—something we’ve both wanted. A dedicated art room instead of repurposing a room will be a fresh experience and the location where you may often find me. Many of the critters I’ve become accustomed to in Colorado will also live there, plus a few new ones. Our new home will allow an opportunity to absorb the new landscapes and vistas, which will thrill me. Enough space to entertain, yet enough private spaces for us to enjoy living in our comfort zone. Who knows what adventures await us there?
Change and change and change. Each house so different from the one before and each filled with pleasant thoughts. I expect the fresh change to continue to offer adventures, hope and another place for us to share our love.
To those asking questions about my last post, I’ll share some answers. First, I need to provide some history to show you the story of our journey of saying “YES.”
I’m unable to provide human response that makes logical sense for this move. This relocation is the result of saying “yes” to what we feel God is asking us to do.
In 2012, we moved to Colorado. After looking for a retirement location, I fell in love with the Roaring Fork Valley. We settled in, and the beauty and grandeur of this location continued to captivate me. My faith relationship continued to develop. I’ve gained friends who’ve become like family. This valley has been my home—and that feels secure.
During this faith journey, I’ve come to gain a greater understanding of just how much God loves each of us; meaning, even me. As my understanding of that love has grown, so has my desire to be where God wants me. One of my lessons has been the power of saying “yes” when God asks you to do something. Those “yeses” have stretched and changed me. (For insight on those experiences, you might want to look at my posts about Haiti and Ireland.)
Back to the current questions.
We visited family in California in July and returned home, refreshed. Both of us were feeling urgings of God saying, “I want you in Southern California.” This birthed conversation between us, causing us to ask questions about what such a move would look like; why; what happens; etc.?
I love living here—yet heard God saying, “Do you love me? Do you trust me?”
Again, we talked and my husband was experiencing similar thoughts. We’ve learned the best response to God is “YES” when he asks you to do something. So, we are taking one step at a time, following God’s leading. We don’t know exactly where we’ll land, but trust God has something for us. He provided our Colorado house, and all others in our past.
For anyone reading this, I encourage you to evaluate your faith relationship. Do you know you are loved beyond measure? Does your faith relationship influence your daily life? Do you feel challenged to stepping out of your comfort zone? (Stepping out looks different for each of us, so I encourage you not to judge your responses to someone else’s, and especially not to our journey.)
For our friends living in the valley, know that the relationships we have here are meaningful to us. We will miss you. Geography doesn’t have to change friendships, they just look different.
There is power in YES; there’s adventure, and there’s the unknown. Faith journeys always include perceived unknowns.
I recently read an article from the Washington Post about millennials who nix their parents’ treasures. I can see aspects of this story from both sides.
Several years ago, my husband and I performed a major downsizing effort to move west. It was an interesting experience. We have a large gaggle of adult children. Of things we wanted to find new homes for, some of the kids took a few things. We were surprised at several large family pieces we had no takers for. We sold those pieces of furniture, as they were not going to fit in our new life. It was a bittersweet revelation to us. Sad the heritage of the pieces won’t be maintained. Proud our kids could make those decisions and not take the pieces they didn’t want or couldn’t use just because they thought it would please us.
For us, or at least me, the downsizing project proved to be unbelievably liberating. We kept things with the most meaning to us, and things that would fit in our new home. It’s been good for me to travel lighter and have fewer things. Others who have gone through a similar process also talk about the freedom, which comes from shedding stuff. Perhaps the younger generation has it right. Hold onto things lightly and embrace life.
Yet I wonder if they may someday recognize the loss of some of the things they’ve passed on. We do genealogy research, so we have many photos, scrapbooks and family historical information. I have framed my great-grandfather’s original citizenship paperwork. There is only one original. I hope it will have value to someone in the family, as it is part of our roots as Americans. But I don’t know.
I’m sensory. I enjoy visual pleasures from art and photography; the fragrances of food cooking, flowers blooming or even autumn in the morning air stir me to life; the sounds of wind blowing through the tree leaves adds another dimension to the meaning of autumn for me; holding a book and actually turning the pages is part of the story coming to life; enjoying an old piece of furniture or dishes I remember seeing my grandmother use takes me back in time to her kitchen. Can one savor all those emotions without some of the things from those times?
For clarification – I do believe embracing life and all it has to offer is of far higher value than clamoring after ‘things’.
I look forward to some fun discussion. I don’t think there are any ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers, just different perspectives on this topic. Now for the questions:
1. As the parents, we aren’t ready to part with all those things yet, so how do we discern which things those kids might want later?
2. If you don’t want things, what method do you use to save memories for later enjoyment?
3. Are things of historical value important to you? Why? or why not?
2012 is the year that could be summed up in one sentence, but that would not do provide much insight into what follows. 2012 was the year of changes! In looking back, it was also the year of the blur…. There was so much change going on, there was little time to appreciate or understand all the happenings. We relocated from the Wisconsin to Colorado – from living on a large lake to living in the mountains. I went from waking at 5:15 AM so I could spend my day working to being retired and in control of all my time. Along with the control of my own time, was the opportunity for us to start traveling, on our schedule, when we wanted. The first half of the year was spent in preparation for the ‘move’, and the second half of the year was spent understanding ‘this is my new life and home’. It took awhile for the reality of all the changes to catch up and feel natural. I joined a book club after arriving in Colorado and one of the first books I read was “A Woman’s Life in the Rocky Mountains” by Isabella Bird. Her excited and detailed expressions of the weather, the land structures and the air quality where in sync with the feelings I was experiencing. It was refreshing to see those feelings penned by someone else in a much earlier time.