Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

An end. A beginning?

There are only 3 weeks left of this sabbatical.

I went for a walk in the snow this afternoon (only an inch or two, so no big feat…).  The quiet was amazing.  Even the birds seemed silenced by the peace of the countryside today, as if the snow had transformed the world into a sanctuary of calm.  Yet I was not alone. I saw and heard the rustle of birds as they escaped bushes and trees as I passed. I interrupted 4 young deer grazing in the near pasture and watched as they leaped across the field, flagging me with their bright white tails and then disappearing into the brush. I saw the paw prints of rabbits across the path down to the bottom field.

But the peace. Oh, the peace.  My mind was at rest, except for one thought that kept nagging at me. “I don’t want to go home. I don’t want this to end.” It was a shocking thought. I have to go home. We have jobs, friends, obligations.  I can’t stay here. And I thought I didn’t want to, until today.

Am I trying to avoid or escape responsibilities? What is it that is holding on to me? And how can I bring that into life at home? This peace feels so elusive, so tied to a place. Can I bring the peace I feel out here into my life at home?

I am different than I was when we arrived six months ago.  I don’t want to go back to the old me. God has worked in me. In some ways I feel stronger, but mostly I feel my inadequacy and weakness to accomplish what He seems to have for me to do. That’s ok though, really. It just means I need to learn to rely on Him to do the work in me that needs doing.  After all, Philippians 1:6 is still true.

 

My dad’s favorite view
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Time flies

Here it is, the end of October and the days of sabbatical are waning.  It has been a wonderful few months, though not at all what I expected this sabbatical to be.

I envisioned long leisurely days of reading, writing, working, knitting and enjoying the countryside.  Instead it has been filled with caregiving, cleaning, hosting people at the house, along with some reading, knitting, and enjoying the countryside.  In some ways I am fighting disappointment that our time here is coming to an end. I want that idealized version of things I imagined! However, I understand that those plans were definitely idealistic. I am still me, and a long day with no plans is not really what I do best. I have learned a few things through this process.

Planing helps.  I do have long days by myself – but if I do not set out a plan of what I hope to accomplish, I end up wasting a lot of time which is quite unsatisfying.  I don’t always end up doing what I planned, but somehow writing things down makes me more accountable for being productive. And I am happier at the end of the day when I can look back and see that I have used the time well.

Down time is ok.  I fight the urge to keep busy at all times.  Really, it is ok to have some down time to just relax, read for fun, pick up a magazine and enjoy it, or go outside with no agenda of exercise or yardwork.  This new revelation is going to be harder to apply when I return home where the demands are more urgent.

God is good.  All of the things that have ‘interfered’ with my plans for sabbatical were arranged for my good and His glory.  Dad’s final days and his death and funeral, spending more time with Mom and then moving her to Danville and spending even more time helping her settle in, trips back and forth to Cincinnati – all of these things seem like interruptions. But God is showing me that what I consider interruption is His way of teaching me to rely on His grace and strength.  It’s not pretty or easy, but it is a necessary process to transform me into who He intends me to be.

Sabbatical.  Our last one until that long sabbatical called retirement. I pray that the lessons I am learning now will carry through to that time in my life!

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Sabbatical twists

Life is unpredictable.  I started sabbatical with thoughts of long unstructured days that would be pretty much at my disposal to do whatever I wanted.  Ha!  If only……

Don’t get me wrong, it has been wonderful to take a step away from my usual life and enjoy the slower pace of living in the country.  Just the environment has caused me to relax.  But, God does have  a way of de-railing my plans.

My Dad, who has been struggling with dementia for the better part of at least 15 years, took a sudden turn for the worse a few weeks ago and after a little over a week, he passed away peacefully. My two brothers and I were there with my mom, and I am so thankful that I was close by through his hospitalization and then transfer to hospice care.  God knew the timing, and He was so obviously present all during the weeks before and since Dad’s death, even in the fact that my blood glucose numbers were better during the week of the funeral than they have been in months.  That was a huge blessing, and a total surprise considering how little exercise I was getting and how badly we were eating.

And now we are back home in Cincinnati, catching up on work here, and preparing for a postponed wedding shower we were to have had the week of the funeral.  Two months of sabbatical are gone, only 4 left to go.  I am having to adjust my expectations so that I do not set myself up for disappointment.  I would like to think that I am prepared for this and will just accept that whatever I am able to accomplish during sabbatical will be enough. That needs to be true.  But expectations are powerful and can set me up for regret.  I need to remember that my ultimate satisfaction comes from being in Christ, and that the rest is gravy.  When we return to Illinois, I am praying that it will be with renewed appreciation for the time we have left there, rather than panic at looking at all that I had hoped to accomplish.

And, not for nothing, but a new, fun haircut has given me a happy boost. It’s the little things that lighten the days!

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