I was invited to celebrate our nation's 245th birthday at the home of Gray Beard and Blondie, which happens to be next door to where I'll be moving sometime next year!
While in that town, I met with my home builder to sign the contract and this week my bookkeeper and banker are taking care of the financial paperwork. The adventure has officially begun!
My land has been partially cleared by the man who sold it to me, but for the most part it is undeveloped. I took my mud boots on this trip so I could tromp around my acreage (1.6 to be exact) with abandon. As you can see, there are a lot of trees, and I love that.
We don't know just exactly where the house will sit because the health department has to determine the location for the septic tank. Apparently they get the first word and everything else will conform around that decision.
But the weekend was not entirely about the contract for my new house. It was also the opportunity for all eleven of my grands to be together under one roof. Pictured above are four of them, representing two families, along with Surfer Girl.
This was also a meeting of my three grand puppies from two families. Surfer Boy was holding one of his who looks content but was a little stressed with so many people and animals. I am happy to report there no squabbles, human or canine!
For those who have been concerned over my weight loss since Beloved's homegoing, I'm sharing a couple pictures of the calories I consumed during the weekend visit.
Blondie served us Indian cuisine the first night to accompany the viewing of Sight and Sound Theatre's "Esther" on DVD. No, the old Testament Esther did not live in India, but it was still an appropriate dish to go with the theme of the show.
My contribution was a Jewish recipe for a cookie referred to as "Hamen's Hats" (also called "Hamen's Ears"), or Hamentaschen. I have done very little REAL cooking these past seven months and am therefore out of practice. It took me TWO tours of my kitchen to locate my rolling pin! I couldn't remember where it was kept! The cookies didn't turn out like the picture on the recipe, but the family gobbled them up, so the taste was not adversely affected. Grandson #1 (who at 21 years of age, definitely knows his way around the kitchen) even asked for the recipe!
On another night Blondie made the most wonderful meatloaf. Since I live alone now, preparing meatloaf is something I haven't done in a long time. It was soooo good!
We also enjoyed cupcakes that met with misfortune in the trip home from the grocery store. But Granddaughter #1 gave them a make-over which resulted in this festive display.
I suppose I should have taken more effort to style the food on my plate, but it tasted so good that I just dove in before even thinking to take a snapshot. You're looking at Cranberry Pork Roast, Cabbage Salad, an orange salad with Cool Whip, well-cooked green beans (prepared the yummy way), and a Hawaiian dinner roll.
The weekend was fun, kinda rainy, full of good food, and I got hugs abundant, which, like meatloaf, are in short-supply for me these days. I was able to attend my family's church again, which is always a treat. It is huge and we sit in the balcony so we can see everything. I love that.
Switching gears here, gradually I am getting glimpses of who I am, now that Beloved is gone. That's "a thing" in GriefShare. We talked about it in this evening's session. This may be true with the loss of any family member, but most surely in the loss of a spouse, we come to the place where we need to think about who we are in this different chapter of life.
We are learning that the experience of loss should not define us because it is Christ who defines us. It is not healthy to stay in the arena of loss for the rest of our lives. Moving on is the better choice.
A part of me wants to remain sentimentally close, attached to everything that is connected to the Love of My Life. But choosing to find myself, to discover who I am without him, is the healthy alternative. Being a widow is an experience but it should not be my identification. This is a new freedom I have not considered seriously until now.
I am a child of God, the God Who loves me and gave Himself for me. For a time (a long time) He blessed me with Beloved but now it's time to allow God to take me where He wants me to go.
These conclusions are not realized overnight. Through the initial hours, days, weeks, and months changes in thinking take place and when guided by the Lord, it gets a little easier.
"There are no shortcuts to grieving. We're going through the pain in order to heal, because pain does heal." Dr. Susan Zonnebelt-Smeege
I close this out as we wait to see what Hurricane/Tropical Storm Elsa is going to do. I'm praying she stays out in the Gulf and just fizzles out because she is forecasted to stomp directly over my county as she changes direction toward the Atlantic.
Outdoor furniture has been secured, I've got my hurricane supplies in the pantry, and if the generator needs to be fired up, I've got neighbors to help me with that. But in the meantime, I'm heading to bed and expect to wake in the morning to hear Elsa was a "no show."
God will keep in perfect peace all who trust in Him, all whose thoughts are fixed on Him. Isaiah 26:3