Heaven Is a Warm Ocean

I am an ocean lover, through and through. The warmer, the better.

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I like pools. The warmer, the better. (Unless it’s because you couldn’t make it to the potty in time. Then, not so much.)

And then, there is a special spot in my heart that is reserved for all the things I tolerate.

Lakes.  Lakes are there in that spot – right next to lizards.

And cold pools.

We have an ocean near-ish. We get there as often as we can, in the summer.

It’s cold.

We also have a town pool. We get there as often as we can in the summer.

It’s mostly cold.

This Floridian still can’t muster up the courage to jump into our town pool before July 30th or after August 30th.

If you’re doing the math, that equals up to Not Much Pool-time.

During this thirty-one day stretch, I must continually remind myself that I chose to move to New England because, Boston!  And because, Sweetman!

So, I was thrilled to find out that one of my sweet friends, who also happens to live in our neighborhood, is planning to have a beautiful new pool put into their backyard.  It’s one of those super fan-cee salt water ones. It will have the standard stairs, to get into and out of, of course. But, the best part about this pool?  It’s soon going to be heated. Oh, yes it is!

I’ve come to the conclusion that this is necessary for anyone who chooses to live above the Mason-Dixon line.  Otherwise, you might just find yourself jumping into a pool that is barely pushing 65 degrees.  Even if it is 98 degrees outside.

And people?  That is just not right.

I should have taken a clue when I began teaching water-skiing in the Berkshires of Massachusetts some twenty-odd summers ago.  That first crisp summer morning, when I jumped into the lake to begin instruction, it took less than 10 minutes for me to tag the other instructor because I was too cold to stay in. Plus, my foot touched something slimy.

No. Just… no.

Therefore, it might surprise you to learn that I was somehow convinced to become part of a three-woman relay team, as The Swimmer, in a local women’s triathlon sprint. Yes, you read that right.  Come early September, this girl, right here, will be doing her darndest not to die as she competes in the swim portion of a women’s triathlon sprint.

“It’ll be so much fun,” they said.  “You’ll have so much support,” they promised.  “We’re not doing it to win,” they assured me.

The part they forgot to mention?

Training.

In the local lake.

Or town pool.

Neither of which are heated.

Oh, and…the race itself? In a lake.

I don’t have to wonder about what hell is like.

I think I’ll stick with my plans to go to heaven.

There will definitely be warm ocean water there.

Yes indeedy.

Finding the Treasure

You might not have realized this about me yet, but I march to the beat of my own drummer. And my Spring Cleaning Drummer often drums in the winter.

I’ve been itching to clear out a ton of few Things that have accumulated inside these four walls. As winter sets in, up here in New England, I’m bent on getting rid of All The Things that are taking up space in my house. Things have begun to fill up spaces that were meant to be filled with other things like hospitality and laughter and love.

Friends, who I now consider to be brilliant and best, introduced me to the world of local online yard sales.  You know the old saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”?  Yeah. That. Oh, what I have been missing! Not for all that can be bought and found, but for all that can be sold and lost. I don’t have to set up a table and drag things out and wait for 5 hours while people kick tires and pick through things and haggle over prices. Oh, no I don’t! I can do it all from the comfort of my couch while wrapped up in a warm blanket and sipping hot chocolate. BOOM!

It makes me seven kinds of happy to clear out shelf after shelf of toys that no longer hold appeal, and gadgets that are no longer used, and clothing that I might fit into again “someday”.

As I take picture after picture of some Thing that needs to go, I’m made painfully aware of just how many Things we’ve collected over the years.  The books alone… mercy! In fact, the more books I go through, the more I realize just how bad our book addiction is. We’ve held on to more than our fair share of books because, well… BOOKS!

If you do the math (and I think we all know that I try not to, whenever possible), it adds up to a Whole Lotta Stuff.

Stuff that we don’t need anymore.

Or want anymore.

Or use anymore.

Here is where the spiritual boom really gets dropped on this thick-head of mine: the more I clear out of our home, the clearer my mind has become about priorities. I’m discovering that with less stuff to maintain, the more time I have for maintaining relationships.  I’m finding that the more I give away, the less I feel the need to hang on to.  And, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that emptied out is a much more comfortable feeling, for me, than filled up.

I’m embracing The Empty because this is where I find the treasure has been all along.

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I can’t help but wonder if this is how we’re really meant to live – pared down and thankful for all the we do indeed have. As I chuck the stuff, I find the real treasure is more time to spend with The One and the ones I love. And, maybe this is why those who are wise encourage us to accumulate people, not things?

Because, that’s where I want to be.  I want to be with The One who created me and those He’s given me to love.

Treasure indeed.

Falling Back to Thankfulness

Used With Permission

 

We are about to “Fall Back” tonight. Sadly.  Sweetman’s thoughts on this sum up mine perfectly: “How depressing. That means I’ll be coming home from work in the dark for the next 5 months.”  For crying out loud! Why do we still do this “time change” thing, again?

 

But, in my effort to remind myself of all that there is to be thankful for this month, I’m going to try to focus on the good in this.  There is good in this.  I’m gonna mine deep, people.

 

Bedtime comes earlier.  And at this stage of parenthood, I am beyond thankful for that. Do I really need to elaborate?  I think not.

 

With Fall comes all things pumpkin.  And I am so stinkin’ thankful that God created the pumpkin. Without it, I wouldn’t have my beloved pumpkin coffee, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin pie; to name a few.

 

God endowed me with a strong “homebody” gene.  In case you didn’t know this about me, I like to be at home folks; the extroverted introvert that I am.  Dichotomy though it may be, ’tis true. My Southern roots betray me on more than eleventy occasions up here, in New England.  I like to just sit a spell and visit with people. Once we Fall Back, people are outside less and inside more.  Now, to those of your dear souls who love the great outdoors and the fresh air and all that jazz, this may seem like a mini-death sentence.  Not so for me.  Oh, no indeed.  This just means that I can visit people more often.  At their homes.  Because they are home.  Not out and about.  We can sit a spell.  See how nicely that works?  And, I’m so thankful for that.

 

I feel better already.  Off to make some pumpkin muffins and then sit a spell with some neighbors. Yes indeedy, because that’s what us southern transplanted New Englander’s do, y’all.

Fish Out Of Water (And Breathing Just Fine)

Moving to New England was a brave endeavor for a Floridian. Yes indeedy! Especially given that the pace of life is vastly different.  It’s FAST.  And I don’t mean, road-rage if you don’t keep out of the left lane, kind of fast.  I mean busy, busy, busy, kind-of-fast.  And I like it like that.  In South Florida, things move at a much slower pace. (Mostly because it’s 85 degrees in the shade.  In the dead of winter!)

With age comes wisdom. (I know, right? Even for me!)  I now see the folly in moving so far away from the people who have to help you in times of crisis simply because they share the same blood lines, (family is great that way, isn’t it?). Moving practically across the pond, as The Nana would have you know,  makes it awfully hard to find help and support.  Basically, I am the epitome of ‘Miss Independence’ because I have to be.  I’ve learned the necessity of a well-developed network.  Neighbors become lifelines, as do friends, when you need to race a dog to the ER because she’s ingested 5 red grapes and needs to have her stomach pumped immediately just to survive.  Just, you  know, for example…

And so it is that I get by with a little help from my friends. And neighbors. And church family. And, truth be told, I’ve done more than get by; I’ve thrived!  You could even say, this fish out of water is breathing just fine! Yes indeedy!