Surviving Sandy

On Saturday there was absolutely zero hint that a massive storm was heading our direction, but by Sunday evening it was perfectly clear we were in for a treat. Virginia didn’t get hit as hard as some of our friend states to the north, but with tree limbs down and still no power after losing it at 6:25pm yesterday, I am thankful they went ahead and shut the government and schools down in this area yesterday and today. As I am recovering from a bugger of a cold, it has been nice to have a few extra days to lay low.

Losing power in the house always makes me feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder. Candles everywhere, cooking on the stove and eating by candlelight, taking a candle upstairs with you to bed, blowing it out right before you go to sleep, needing three blankets because there is no heat in the house, it all just feels so rustic and pioneer-ish. Yet even with a lit candle in my hand, I still keep trying to turn on the light switch. Ah, the banes of modern technology that we never seem able to part with (as I watch my computer battery slowly fading away…).

Oh well, it is the perfect day to sit in front of a roaring fire with a book and a warm cup of tea or hot chocolate, snuggled into a blanket. Thankful to be inside and safe, and praying for those who had a much harsher experience with Sandy.

 

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Hanging out in Chaosville

Transitions are a part of life. There are always people coming and going. Jobs don’t remain forever. Houses get bought and sold. Children arrive, and then leave again (that one takes a while though, and sometimes they come back!). But even though transitions are constant, it does not always make them easy.

During my time on staff with Cru we learned about this fabulous thing called the Cycle of Transition. The cycle has 5 stages: Settled, Disengaging, Chaos, Re-engaging and Settled. So it makes a circle, if you draw it out. You start off in the Settled stage – life is good, you know your schedule, your friends, what to do, where you are, what to expect and how everything works, for the most part, of course.

Then, when a transition begins you start to disengage from your nice, calm, lovely, settled life. You begin saying goodbye to the people you love, packing up myriads of boxes of belongings, ceasing the activities that used to keep you occupied and entertained, and transitioning out of your job. Life begins to un-settle, and as the one departing or changing, it is not necessarily the most comfortable spot to sit.

After the disengaging is in full swing, you begin to enter into my favorite stage, chaos. “Favorite” is not actually the word I would like to use, but it seems most appropriate at the moment. We’ll come back to the chaos stage in a moment.

Stage 4 is re-engaging, where you begin to settle into a new routine, find new friends & hang-outs, start your new job, learn a new schedule, maybe wake up earlier, shop at a new grocery store, unpack boxes, hang things on the wall, discover restaurants that will become “the usual”, explore a new city, find a new church and small group, locate new doctors, dentists, hairdressers, change all your necessary addresses, and move towards being settled, which is stage 5, or the return to stage 1, however you want to look at it.

I like being settled. I love routine and knowing what is going on.

That is not my life at the moment, nor will it be for the foreseeable future.

At the moment, I live in Chaosville. Now, part of my life will soon be starting up the re-engaging process, albeit with the knowledge that any settling in is temporary. The other part, the hoping-to-be-overseas-by-next-fall part, will remain in Chaosville for a long time. One of my former office-mates reminded me of that about a month ago when I had a momentary emotional crisis over what I am doing at the present (leaving staff, nannying, trying to go somewhere that doesn’t already have an organization sending people to that spot, finding a teammate, etc). She helped bring me back to reality and remember that Chaos and I are going to become good friends over the next few months, and I can either fight it or learn to enjoy it.

If you have tips on how to enjoy living in Chaosville as a type-A, OCD planner/scheduler who loves details and knowing what is going on, please share. I personally find it helpful and freeing to know about this cycle. It makes me realize that I am not going crazy, I am just in the Chaos stage, and that is ok. Chaos can somehow be enjoyed and embraced, and hopefully over the next year I will learn how to enjoy and embrace it fully. In the meantime, I am going to go unpack another box.

Sorting my life

In preparation for this upcoming move (countdown: 5 days), I have been doing a lot of sorting and purging. Downsizing from a 2 bedroom apartment to one room in the basement and a storage unit down the street causes one to re-evaluate absolutely everything you own. Will it fit in the bedroom? Is it worth paying every month to store? When was the last time I wore this shirt or these pants? Why do I own _______? Where did ________ even come from? How necessary is ______ for my survival? Will I regret getting rid of _______ in 2 months, 1 year, 5 years?

And so began the piles, which then moved to boxes, or to the back of my car for a trip down the road to Goodwill. There is the “home” pile, the “storage” pile, the “Goodwill” pile, the “sell on Craig’s List” pile, the “throw-it-away” pile and finally, the “I have no idea pile” (I have a feeling most of this last collection is going to end up with Gaby, my neighbor).

As a side note, let me just tell you that I have learned a lot about selling possessions on Craig’s List. Pictures are vital. Always list it for more than you actually want for it so you can haggle. Be honest about the condition it is in – don’t sugarcoat it, or under emphasize its qualities. Give a phone number for people to text you (so many more responses than just the email…the difference was astonishing). And don’t always settle for the person who will take it off your hands for a much lower price. Chances are, someone will come along who wants it and will take it for closer to what you are asking!

Anyway, I digress. Back to my myriad of deep questions on the nature of possessions and their longevity in my life. Some items are no brainers. My 100+ year old Japanese Tonsu that was a birth gift will always be in the “home” pile, as will my antique iron bed that I have had since I was 6. Since Alexandre Dumas is my favorite author, my 9-volume collected works of his will also not be going anywhere anytime soon. The hope chest, tea set, pictures, china, photo albums and scrapbooks, gifts and keepsakes – those are the things that I consider worth storing and keeping for the long haul, no matter where life takes me.

But then there are things that make me stop and wonder where exactly my brain was when I put it in a box and carted it out here in the first place, and other things that make me laugh out loud.

For example:

  • An entire accordion file folder full of paperwork, maps, brochures and notes from my college Freshman year orientation weekend. Um, that was 9 YEARS ago. Pretty sure I am never going to need any of that information again.
  • The plaster molds of my jaw/teeth from my massive jaw surgery in 2003 (also, 9 years ago, just in case you were wondering), and yes, those went straight into the trash can
  • Hundreds of cards/notes from friends and family sent throughout the past 26 years, most of which were just signed “love, so&so”. I do still keep most cards that have substance written in them, though…
  • An entire jewelry box of mis-matched earrings that have been lost or broken over the years
  • My old AWANA notebooks
  • All of my summer mission trip support raising data, including every envelope sent by my fabulous ministry partners…from 2002-present.

What I have learned through this process is that I am really good at saving things (AKA a pack-rat…a condition that runs rampant in my family – at least I come by it honestly), especially if they have the remotest possible sentimental value. And that means that I am terrible at getting rid of anything that might be useful someday or to someone or just because I like it. But, necessity is a fabulous motivator, and I am learning as I sort and purge how to un-tie my heart where needed and re-evaluate the priority I place on my possessions.

Scaling down is surprisingly quite freeing, causing me to feel more mobile and less encumbered without all of this random stuff that I don’t actually need to survive. Although, some items aren’t a need, rather just an added joy or a blessing in my life, and I will keep those because they do mean something special to me. So as the piles begin to dwindle, the questions continue, and the answers hopefully come more easily. Keep. Go. Throw. Store. Give. Sell. Sleep. Repeat.

Thankful Thursday: February 2nd

Another week come and gone, and today thankful for these….

1. A comfy bed and a good breakfast at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Knoxville, TN on Sunday night to break up the long trek from SC back to Indy.

2. Running into my friend Katie in the middle of Spartanburg, SC at the only Starbucks in town…located in the Barnes and Noble! I was in need of a snack and some coffee, and it was literally the only place for several miles. How neat of the Lord to get me off at that stop and bring me to that shop so we could reconnect! Crazy fun.

3. Time to get things done, like cleaning my apartment and getting an oil change

4. Things being on sale

5. AIA students who love Jesus and live out their faith while playing their sport. It is always a challenge to get myself to a bible study that starts at 9pm, but once I am there, it is always worth it. Love to dig into the Word with them and experience life together.

Road Trip: Days 5&6

Back in the most beautiful place on earth, and enjoying not needing my coat for the week. Exploring downtown, finding the new amidst the old, wandering through the College of Charleston campus, eating at my favorite spots and even finding some new ones! It is impossible to capture Charleston in one photo, so here are 5 highlights from today’s meanderings…

Even in January there is green everywhere!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a neighborhood in Charleston called Harleston Village....love this sign!! Guess too many freshmen were saying it was misspelled. Haha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On campus....perfect shot as the sun was going down!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty. Love the College of Charleston! All hail the beloved Alma Mater!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunset over my favorite water retention pond down by the Sergeant Jasper apartments. 🙂