Filling the Gaps

This is a continuation of the last two blog posts….

It was at that first happy hour that I drilled him several times to find out what he had been doing for the last 20 years. He had been divorced for 14 of those years, and I couldn’t honestly believe he hadn’t met someone else or even remarried for that matter. I had remarried and had another child! Finally at the end of the evening, he said he had a “lady friend”. He made it sound very casual, said he was never going to get remarried, and they definitely had their differences. I didn’t probe for any more information, but my heart sank–he wasn’t single.

For the next seven months, though, he continued to text and call me throughout the week to meet him for happy hour. Sometimes happy hour started at 4 p.m. for us, and sometimes it started at 6 p.m.–whenever I could get out of the office. It was mostly always on Tuesday night and at the same sports bar, which was about a 15-minute drive for him and only 2 miles from my house. He would send me little texts throughout the week, often times out of nowhere. I’d be cooking dinner, and all of a sudden a text would come from him asking me if I was watching a certain football game or if I was catching up on work, something I do frequently in the evenings.

Every night that we left the sports bar, he gave me a very quick hug. Every time, I hoped he would kiss me, or at least pull me a little closer to his body as he hugged me. I started to fill in the gaps–why did he continue to ask me to happy hour when he was in a relationship with someone else. Maybe “lady friend” was really just a “friend”. But why didn’t he kiss me or hug me tighter? He rarely flirted with me at the bar–never touched my leg or put his hand on me anywhere. This was not what it was like 20 years ago when we briefly met. He had his hands all over me that time. Maybe he was being truly faithful to his lady friend, but then why did he continue to ask me to meet him over and over and over.

After about six months of this, it seemed his asks to happy hour, as well as his texting and calling me late at night started to accelerate. He was calling me at least 2-3 times a week, and we would talk for almost two hours every time he called. If I was busy with something, he seemed like he wanted to know what I had been doing–a bit of a jealousy perhaps?

I was so confused, yet I never asked what was going on. I would have one, two and then three beers at our happy hours and try and work up the courage to ask him why on earth we were continuing to meet for happy hour. Was there really a lady friend, or had I imagined that he said that–maybe he said it in past tense–I HAD a lady friend. He never mentioned her, ever. Why was I chicken to ask? I didn’t want to be rejected. I didn’t want him to say, “Oh, I just enjoy the conversation.” I wanted to know that he felt something for me. I wanted to hear that he was buying time until he broke things off with his lady friend. I didn’t even know how long he had been seeing his lady friend. Every day, round and round my brain would circle with every scenario in the book as I tried to fill the gaps as to what was really going on.

And why was I doing this? Because I had fallen for him again–hook, line and sinker. The way he would slightly laugh and shake his head. The way he would tell me the same stories over and over again, but I still liked to hear them, because, well, it was his voice–it is by far the sexiest voice I’ve ever heard. I would look at him, and just hope this time when we walked to the car that he would grab me, pull me close to him and kiss me like he had in the past.

Then one evening, I asked him to come over to my house, and he came. After three beers and two hours of mindless conversation, I finally mustered up the courage.

“What’s going on between us?” I asked.

He said, “What do you mean…do you want me to sit closer to you?”

And then I let it all out. He took it as I was interested in something more, and I was quick to point out that the signals he was sending said he was interested in something more. He seemed shocked that I was interested in something more–said he had no clue. Really? Did I just show up every time you asked me, because I literally had nothing else to do?Yes, there was a lady friend, a relationship that had been going for a long time (approximately 12 years from what I gathered). He described it as “difficult and complicated”, and a situation that wasn’t going to change any time soon. They would never get married or live together, they don’t do sleep overs, and they have little to no physical contact. “Why is it difficult and complicated?” I asked. He couldn’t answer me, and totally admitted he didn’t answer my question.

And so, now what…seven months of just hanging out with someone for conversation? Only to find out that he’s probably never going to break it off with his lady friend? How much of this story was I supposed to actually believe? Isn’t this what they all say? What do I do now? Continue to meet him for happy hour and just stare wishfully past him and pretend that I can just be friends when the urges to touch him are bubbling up inside of me?

I told him that night that I couldn’t or wouldn’t be the other woman again. My words were, and continue to be, “It sucks. I can’t text you when I want to. I can’t call you when I want to. It sucks.”

And he said, “I know.”

 

 

The Voice

This is a continuation of My Affair….

Ironically, it was at a bowling alley, 22 years since the last time I saw him and 32 years since I originally met him, that our paths crossed again. Since 1995, I had remarried, had a child and divorced again. But this time, I had no intention of trying to find this man as I had the first time I divorced. I struggled with the sin of adultery for many, many years. I asked forgiveness over and over, and even though I knew God forgives, somehow each time I asked, I really didn’t feel that sorry for what I had done. It took years of this before I finally accepted what I had done was not morally right and felt peace that God had actually forgiven me.

So when I divorced my second husband, I had no desire to see where this man was 22 years later. I went bowling with my children from time to time, and I would often peruse the high-bowler boards and the local bowling newsletter to see if his name would appear, and actually at one bowling alley his picture was on the wall. He had bowled an 800 series. He looked different–heavier in the face, and he was wearing glasses. I looked at the picture and quietly said to myself, “I know this man, and this is a part of my life that I have successfully put behind.”

I joined a woman’s bowling league when my youngest left for college. Now an empty nester, I had to get out and make new acquaintances, and while I’ve never been a great bowler, I do like the game. It was one Monday night in February of this year that I heard his voice. I recognized his voice, and in all the years we were together, I never realized how unique his voice was. I turned around, and he was sitting at the snack bar above the lanes talking to two women on the team we were bowling against. I wasn’t 100% sure it was him, but the minute I would hear his voice again, I was sure. Pure white hair, a bit heavier in the face, glasses and a bit of aging in the face–man, he would be 65 years old now. Me, I was 30 pounds heavier than the last time he saw me, not to mention, my hair was a mess, and I was wearing the least flattering top I could’ve found to wear that night. I couldn’t possibly go up to him, but I tried to work up the courage. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t recognize me. He even glanced over my way a couple of times, but I quickly looked away. Before I worked up the courage to talk to him–he left. After we were done bowling, I asked the ladies on the team he was talking to who he was, and they verified that it was him. I asked if they knew if he was still married, and one of the ladies said, “I’m pretty sure he’s been divorced for a long time.”

I drove home that night, angry at myself for not talking to him, and thinking now may be the right time. What would the odds be that we would run into each other again? I had to do something, and so when I went home, I looked up his cell phone number online and called the number. Probably one of the gutsiest things I’ve ever done. He answered right away, and of course, I knew by the sound of his voice that it was him.

We chatted for about 40 minutes, high-level overviews of kids, careers, etc. And he said he would come down to the bowling alley the following week and buy me a drink. That trip to the bowling alley led to a “happy hour” at a local sports bar, which led to a series of happy hours at that same sports bar for seven months. Seven months of nothing but happy hours every two weeks intermixed with random texting in between.

An Affair

Finding Mr. Right in your 50s can be a daunting task. I’ve tried on-line dating, and while I will admit I’m not booking three or more “meet ups” a week, I’ve had no success. The few dates I have had have proven to be men who were either too short, too boring or wanted more than what I was willing to give that night or in the short term. Most men are overweight, bald and can only trash their ex wives. I’ve tried just being content in every circumstance (something I learned from the Bible), thinking that God would put just the right person in my path at just the right time, and so I should just relax and think that this person would magically appear to me somewhere, whether work, church, the grocery store or at some volunteer opportunity. But it’s been five years since I’ve been divorced, and nothing has ever happened.

Until last February.

There was a man that played a very important role in my life 30+ years ago. It was important in the sense that it caused me to do something that I would have never considered given my Christian upbringing. It was important in the sense that it taught me that I am not a perfect person, and that I am thankful that God forgives. It taught me to look at the mistakes I made as opportunities for learning and becoming a better person.

I had an affair with a married man when I was 25 years old, and I was also married at the time.

The affair last for over two years. I innocently met him at a bowling alley where I bowled in a couples’ league with my first husband. While he was “loitering” in a bowling alley (and no offense to those who hang around bowling alleys), he was by day a highly-paid professional who worked for the federal government. He was extremely intelligent, and I believe our conversations initially centered around politics. He later admitted he was surprised to find someone of my intellect at a bowling alley. I felt the same. He was reasonably attractive–tall, thin, slightly graying with personality and charm that I couldn’t resist. He was seven years older than me, something that was attractive to my innocent youth. He grew up working in bowling alleys, and as such, developed a love and a talent for bowling, which he continued to carry into his adult life, bowling on six different leagues at the time. He knew another couple that we bowled with, and it seemed he found himself visiting every Friday night just as we were finishing up our league bowling–whether or not it was because of me, I’m not sure, but every week I looked forward to him showing up as he always made a point of talking to me.

It was one December Friday night when my husband was out of town deer hunting. After bowling, we went to someone else’s house to continue “partying”, something we usually did every Friday night. I made sure that he knew where we were going and got his commitment that he would indeed show up, which he did, just as I was leaving, and so he followed me to my house. I invited him in, and we sat on the couch having another beer, even though we were both already fairly intoxicated. He leaned over to kiss me, and well, that was it, we went straight to the bedroom, and that was the beginning of a two-year adventure that despite my attempt to often times forget never happened, will always be a part of my history and what made me who I am today. I saw him again 10 years later after I divorced my first husband, and we briefly picked up where we left off, until I realized I couldn’t be that person again.

Fast forward another 23 years, and he’s in my life again.

Let’s Get Healthy!

I have progressively added approximately 30 pounds over the last seven years or so. I weighed 140 when I turned 50. Now that I’m almost 58, I saw the scale tip at about 175+ right before the Holidays.

Every week, I would start my diet over, trying everything from diet apps to counting calories. I reluctantly went to my local gym and would either go on the stationery bike or treadmill for my standard 30 minutes, not even breaking a sweat. But nothing happened. I just kept adding on the pounds and started to feel more and more out of shape.

It was right around the Holidays that I looked at picture of me that was taken at a Happy Hour. Gosh, I was fat. The bulky dress I liked to wear really didn’t hide my rolls. But since the Holidays, I have now officially lost 15 pounds. I started Weight Watchers again, something I’ve done off and on throughout my whole life. I’m not going to meetings, because quite frankly, I don’t think any of those leaders really understand what I’m going through, and they talk about the same thing every time. No offense, but I know that the chocolate cake I had last night is why I’m up on the scale, and I know why I ate the chocolate cake–I was either upset, tired or bored, or maybe all of the above. The only thing to get me to not eat the chocolate cake was the ability to change my thinking.

In addition, I dropped going to my fitness center. I needed a variety in exercise, and I signed up for the Daily Burn and started the exercise plan New Beginner. It mixes stability, mobility, cardio and core exercises, and I never thought I’d feel the effects of a video workout, but I am. Not only am I losing the weight, but I’m actually trimming down the stomach bulge due to the core exercises. And, if I can do it, just about anyone can.

It hasn’t been a fast process, but every day that I’m down even .2 pounds on the scale, I’m doing the happy dance, and it gives me incentive to keep going. Overall, my mood is better–I’m happier, more confident and when I look at myself in the mirror, that double chin and belly roll is getting smaller.

So, tips for losing that weight, which we all know gets harder and harder to do the older you get–

  1. Look at yourself in those pictures and be honest with yourself–how do I really look, and remember that image in your mind and remember how you really feel when you see yourself like that.
  2. Weight Watchers–tried and true, as boring as it may seem sometimes, it most definitely works. The plan has changed so much and when I compared some foods in calories to number of points, it was no wonder I wasn’t losing weight when I was counting calories. Remember the 3-point McDonald’s ice cream cone? It’s 6 points now.
  3. Workout variety–switch it up. The Daily Burn has lots of different exercise videos/programs that last for 6-8 weeks, ranging from beginner to advanced. I’ve never liked to work out, but the fact that I have a different video to watch every 3 days keeps me engaged.
  4. You can’t cheat–no matter what! Every time I think I can just go out and have that special treat or elaborate meal at a restaurant, I work 3-4 days to get back to where I was. I like to cheat on my Weight Watchers points, thinking that the fat-free Ranch dressing I’m using for my carrots is so low in calories, it can’t possibly have points (it has 1/tablespoon). Also, I would never count those beers at bowling–it’s liquid, but my particular beer is 19 points. I’ve started counting them.
  5. Don’t eat out–cook at home. There is no excuse not to cook at home. I’m single and only have myself to cook for. I’ve signed up for Home Chef and have chosen their low-calorie meals. For about $59, I get three meals delivered weekly, two servings each, so I have leftovers for the next day. That price includes all the ingredients except for salt, pepper and olive oil. You can’t buy it cheaper in the grocery store. These meals are fresh and healthy and usually fall within the Weight Watcher 10-15 point range.
  6. Be patient–the weight doesn’t fall off quickly at this age, but know that every tenth of a pound adds up, and that’s why I’m down 15 pounds now.ing. Overall, my mood is better–I’m happier, more confident and when I look at myself in the mirror, that double chin and belly roll is getting smaller.

    So, tips for losing that weight, which we all know gets harder and harder to do the older you get–

    1. Look at yourself in those pictures and be honest with yourself–how do I really look, and remember that image in your mind and remember how you really feel when you see yourself like that.
    2. Weight Watchers–tried and true, as boring as it may seem sometimes, it most definitely works. The plan has changed so much and when I compared some foods in calories to number of points, it was no wonder I wasn’t losing weight when I was counting calories. Remember the 3-point McDonald’s ice cream cone? It’s 6 points now.
    3. Workout variety–switch it up. The Daily Burn has lots of different exercise videos/programs that last for 6-8 weeks, ranging from beginner to advanced. I’ve never liked to work out, but the fact that I have a different video to watch every 3 days keeps me engaged.
    4. You can’t cheat–no matter what! Every time I think I can just go out and have that special treat or elaborate meal at a restaurant, I work 3-4 days to get back to where I was. I like to cheat on my Weight Watchers points, thinking that the fat-free Ranch dressing I’m using for my carrots is so low in calories, it can’t possibly have points (it has 1/tablespoon). Also, I would never count those beers at bowling–it’s liquid, but my particular beer is 19 points. I’ve started counting them.
    5. Don’t eat out–cook at home. There is no excuse not to cook at home. I’m single and only have myself to cook for. I’ve signed up for Home Chef and have chosen their low-calorie meals. For about $59, I get three meals delivered weekly, two servings each, so I have leftovers for the next day. That price includes all the ingredients except for salt, pepper and olive oil. You can’t buy it cheaper in the grocery store. These meals are fresh and healthy and usually fall within the Weight Watcher 10-15 point range.
    6. Be patient–the weight doesn’t fall off quickly at this age, but know that every tenth of a pound adds up, and that’s why I’m down 15 pounds now.

Life Goes On

My daughter has officially been off to college for three weeks now, and by every account that I’ve heard and seen (through social media), she is doing great! As she told me tonight, “She is rocking it!”

I’ve managed to keep quite busy, although weekends tend to be the hardest. I reflect back to Sunday nights when we would quickly run to the local ice cream store at 9:30 p.m. for a last-minute weekend treat. The time driving there and back was priceless as we discussed friends, latest news and gossip. One of the last times we went to the ice cream store, as we waited in line for our shakes, my daughter looked at me and said, “I’m really going to miss you.” Tears still welt up in my eyes as I think about it now.

But, she is doing fine–actually more than fine. I don’t think she misses me like I miss her. In fact, I would wager that she doesn’t miss me at all. When I’m feeling sorry for myself, that hurts, but then I realize how proud I should be of myself for raising a daughter that is so capable of adapting to almost any situation.

So what am I doing? Well, I’m line dancing and started a bowling team with people I work with. That takes up two nights every week. And, almost every week, I have dinner with someone. I come home at night whenever I want, because I don’t have to have dinner ready by a certain time–no concerts to go to, no trumpet lessons to escort someone to. It’s just me, and I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. I still have much to do to replace all the time I spent with my daughter. Just knowing that it’s OK to hear silence is a learning in itself.

I can say that I am slowly moving from what I have termed my “grieving” period to a time of contentment, but it is a slow journey. The satisfaction that I receive knowing that she is just as much of a success at college as she was here at home is helping me know that whatever happens, life goes on, and thank the Good Lord above, it has always continued to be a life filled with many blessings.

The Last Week

One week from today, I will be an empty nester. My daughter will be leaving for college, 11 hours away, in Cleveland, Ohio. There are days when I can’t wait until she’s gone, so I can “get on with my life.” And, there are other days when I start to think of her as a little girl pulling all my pots and pans out of the kitchen cupboard, slowly moving forward to her Confirmation, her first prom and then graduation.

What I will miss the most is hearing her play trumpet. I will miss the concerts. I will miss the practicing. I will even miss her preparing for “auditions”. I will miss her always changing the music in the car, whether it be classical, Prince, Michael Jackson or Chicago or Earth Wind and Fire. I will miss the countless compliments I receive on her playing. I will miss those proud moments when I hear her solo echo throughout the high school auditorium, and yes, even Orchestra Hall. I will miss her coming home and waking me up to tell me she’s home and to give me a recap of her night.

What I won’t miss is the “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” drama, the fights–especially when we both were overtired or perhaps a week out from having her period. I won’t miss the messy room, the messy “everywhere”, as she seems to leave a trail wherever she goes. I won’t miss having to yell at her to wake up 10 times every morning, and I won’t miss telling her to get to bed. I also won’t miss the extra laundry.

I see the list of what I will miss is far greater than what I won’t miss. That aside, I’m scared. For the first time in my life, I will be alone. And, I’m not sure what that is going to look like long term. Some people say it’s a great time to “reinvent” myself, find out who I really am. Look back at those things that you enjoyed BEFORE you were married and became a mom. Except, I went straight from high school to college to marriage, and being married, I always catered to what my spouse wanted to do. One friend said, “Take time for yourself and take a vacation…I went to Ireland.” Yeah, right! First, I’ve taken so much time off for college visits, auditions and now moving her, and second, this single mom is tapped out financially.

Regardless, I’ve started to put together some things…I joined a line dancing group with some friends, and I want to start bowling again. Perhaps I should pick up my scrapbooking, too. Finish my son’s senior year (only 10 years late) and finish my daughter’s middle school and high school years, of which I’m sure will bring many tears. And, I have my work, and I pray that I will be able to continue with that far beyond normal retirement age.

All in all, life is good, and I know in my heart, I’ve done everything possible to equip this little girl to be successful in her future endeavors and that I should be proud of that, and as we all know, even though I will be an empty nester, my job as a mother will never be done.

 

Hey Ladies…I’m Back!

Well, it’s been a long tenure, but I am back! Life has been extremely busy, which has caused me to neglect my blog writing. Today, I went to my stats, and oh dear, I actually have quite a large following, and so, “Hey ladies, I’m back!”

I don’t even know where to begin, other than the fact that I will soon be an empty nester. My daughter has graduated from high school, and she will be leaving for a college 11 hours away from home. I’ve had an opportunity to know what this is going to feel like already, as this summer, she was gone for about four weeks touring Europe with a national music organization. That being said, lots of emotions running through me right now–

First, what is it about this age? They are on the verge of adulthood, and with that comes every opportunity for them to push and/or pull away from you. I’ve been fortunate that my daughter and I have a very close relationship, but lately, every day is mixed with harsh words, tears and apologies. I think it’s all part of “growing up” and “pulling away”, which is all necessary for her to become her own person and for me to let go. So, I’m thinking, “I can’t wait until she is gone…no more sassy attitude, no more fighting.”

But then, the house is extremely quiet. Just me and the dog. Just me and me–talking out loud to me and me. I know I’m going to miss the nights that she walks in the door after having been out with friends, and she yells, “Hey, lady! I’m home.” Then she comes up to my room, sits on my bed and proceeds to tell me all about her night. Then the shopping trips, eating out, ice cream at the local ice cream shop on Sunday nights. Yup, those are the things I’m going to miss.

My life has been about 80% focused on her this last year, and now I need to fill that 80%. I’ve also realized that for the first time in my life, I will be alone–literally alone. A friend of mine, who lost her husband several years ago, and said goodbye to her twin daughters last year, told me that she had to try and remember what her life was like back in her twenties and remember what she used to like to do and what made her happy. Problem is, I was married right out of college, so I never really had the chance to discover who I really was.

So, now that’s my challenge–figure out who I am at age 57. Wow! Most people are ready to retire, but I’m just beginning. It’s scary, but exciting!

ALSO FOLLOW MY NEW BLOG: WOMEN50PLUS-MARTILYNNLEWIS

 

 

To Be Young Again

As I struggle with dating in my 50s, the last thing I need is my soon-to-be 16-year-old daughter to be dating a guy that is drop-dead gorgeous. I can hardly stand it, and everyday I wait with anticipation to hear how her day and/or date went with her new-found friend. I wonder what’s wrong with me that I obsess about her life with him and how I fantasize about young love–wondering what sweet nothings he is whispering in her ear or if he looks at her with fondness in his eyes.

Yes, I long for the same thing. It was something I never really had when I was her age. I never had the drop-dead gorgeous boyfriend. In fact, I didn’t have a boyfriend at all in high school, and this is something that I believe contributed to my reckless behavior with relationships once I got into college, resulting in two failed marriages.

And now, it doesn’t get any easier. The pickings are slim for women my age–balding, gray, overweight. No finesse or romance at all–just older guys actually looking for younger women. I’ve noticed most men my age end their “looking for a woman in her (age range)” at about 50, and they start at 35.

There’s even a part of me that is jealous, because I don’t think my daughter really understands how fortunate she really is. Boyfriend aside, she has a phenomenal talent as a musician, she’s smart, very pretty and she has a parent who gives her every opportunity she can–private trumpet lessons with a world-renowned musician, private music camps in the summer, expensive clothes and the ability to do just about anything she wants. I look at my life growing up, and my parents never had time to foster my talents.

So, yes, I’m guilty of living vicariously through my daughter, but at the end of the day, tears begin to form as I wish I could be young again and have another opportunity have the same things in life that she does. I wonder if she will give her children the same things. I wonder if she will covet what her children have. Hopefully the opportunities that I am giving her will position her in life to make good choices that will ultimately give her a stable life with a loving spouse and family. Then when she is in her 50s, she won’t be longing for anything, because she will have what is most important–a loving relationship.

It’s the Time of Year–Influenza Season

I have turned into a germ-a-phobic (Is that a word?) Never used to be, but with all the flu, colds and, not to be mean, but the increase in people, for whatever reason–poverty, cultural–who do not seek medical care, I think that there is a plethora of gems and diseases everywhere. I never take off my gloves in a store anymore for fear I will touch something that a sick person has already touched.

But then, the place where people should be smart about it–that’s where you end up catching it. Work, my place of employment. The fact that two people said, “It’s nothing more than a cold,” only to find out three days later after I’m flat on my back in bed with chills, aches and a fever, that they now decided to take their temperature, and guess what–they have a 101-degree fever. The responded, “Sorry if I passed on my happiness.” Really? Are you kidding me?

So, I have been laid up for the past three days–starting out with chills, aches and a tight chest. Then I began running a mild fever, no more than 100.5. Today, I think I’m back on the mend, but still very weak, and only to realize that tomorrow it’s back to the grind, which means no more rest. It doesn’t help that temperatures outside have been barely above zero the past couple of days, with windchills in the -20 range.

Now I want to clarify that I do not ever get the flu shot. I have an issue with someone inoculating me with germs, and quite frankly I’ve heard too many cases of people still getting the flu. They say that if you do get the flu, having the flu shot lessons the symptoms, but so does Vitamin C, Airborne and Zinc. This year they say that the flu shot didn’t even cover the strains that are going around. Personally, I think it’s a crapshoot, and as long as I can stay relatively healthy, I’m never getting the flu shot–even though I’m probably in that category of the “young and elderly.” To me it’s just another hype by the medical world to increase the revenues of the pharmaceutical companies, and I believe they are all in cahoots with the government, aka the Center for Disease Control.

So, just a word of caution, please, please stay home from work, church, shopping, school, etc. if you are sick. Don’t spread the germs. Use plenty of hand sanitizer, and of course, wash, wash, wash those hands. Also, don’t touch your nose with your hands and don’t bite your fingernails–mucho germs! Take Vitamin C on a regular basis–I love the gummies. And, start taking AirBorne the minute you feel a cold coming on. I actually work with someone who normally gets several colds a year. This year, she decided to take AirBorne every day, and so far, no cold.

Finally, my biggest pet peeve–do not sneeze or cough into your hands. This is something they teach in elementary school–cough and sneeze into your sleeve. I get so irritated, especially when it’s someone with children in school, because they seriously should know better.

Take care, and best of health to you in this influenza season.

Carry the Peace & Serenity of Christmas into the New Year

The Holidays are over, and it’s back to the old routine. There are some things that are welcoming, like taking down the tree that’s been dropping needles for the last two weeks and rearranging the living room furniture to spark a new, fresh feeling.

But, then there’s the dreaded back to work. With Christmas and New Year’s falling on Thursdays this year, and the “Eves” falling on Wednesday, almost everyone at work took the majority of these past two weeks off. In addition, my daughter was off a full two weeks for “Winter Break”. (Yup, they don’t even call it “Holiday Break”–it’s “Winter Break”.) I, myself, worked a couple of days each of the two weeks, but with a lot of people gone, it was slow–nice and slow.

Tomorrow, it all starts again–the business, craziness and stress of it all. Back to a full week of work, and back to school for my daughter with all the early morning drop offs for her extracurricular music activities. The company I work for is under resourced (what else is new), and most of my team, including me, puts in 50-60 hours a week.

The last two weeks also gave me an opportunity to get more organized at home. With less going on at work, and my daughter being off from school, there was more time in the evening and weekends to get things done at a manageable pace and watch a little TV to boot. I’ve been journaling, doing my devotions, reading, exercising almost every day, keeping up with the laundry and house cleaning, and posting blogs! Can I keep it up once I’m back into the old routine tomorrow?

A bit of advice to take me and anyone else reading this blog into the work week–it was our sermon theme today. Deuteronomy 31:6–Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. These are the words that I am taking to work with me tomorrow. These are the words that I will remember when life feels overwhelming. These are the words that I will remember when I start stressing about the work deadlines that I have this week.

Have a wonderful and productive back to work/school week!