May 21, 2016

New Directions

It is a blessed Saturday here in Phoenix. The skies are clear, the sun is shining and the air temperature is hovering right around 90. It is beautiful outside, and much cooler than our normal May 21st days. This is my Mom's Birthday weekend. She always gets a full weekend celebration thanks in part to my brothers who drive over from Southern California. My oldest brother and his wife arrived yesterday. My third oldest brother comes today. We have a nice celebration planned for her -- Olive Garden -- for dinner tonight. It has been nice to visit with my family, and spending time with them is a good reminder of the gracious God we serve. He has provided us with families.

We are surrounded by people who know us best, who love us, and who often stand up for us when the chips are down. In my case, I am thankful for the life that my parents have given to me. I am thankful for my brothers and their families. I am thankful to be able to share my family time, to enjoy visiting, and to having such a good, comfortable family to love. I am looking forward to spending more time with my siblings, and to enjoying the blessing of my Mom's birthday dinner. I am also enjoying my day off today. It has been a long week, and with my proposal draft finished, I am ready to take these next steps. Of course, I am waiting to hear from my professor, and since there is nothing I can do to rush that process, I simply have to let this go. I have to trust the Lord, His timing, and rely on Him for the "best" outcome.

So today is a good day. So far, everything has gone as planned. However, last night was another story. My cat, Winston, decided to pound on my parents' door at 1 a.m. He wouldn't stop, even when I yelled at him, chased him away, and finally, tossed a pillow down the hallway at him. Finally, I had to corral him in my bedroom for a good 10 minutes. Then I had to go out to the kitchen, give him fresh water, and allow him time to eat. I don't know what got into him last night, but it was enough that it disrupted my sleep. I am feeling the pinch of exhaustion today. I want to rest, to lay down and sleep right now, but I know that I have some work to do, and my brother will be coming here shortly. Oh well...perhaps a snack is in order!

Update: The snack did the trick. I also found out my brother is delayed, so nap was successfully completed (Yah!) Toss in the 141st running of the Preakness Stakes, and Shazam! It was a good afternoon of resting and relaxing. 

Thinking About Options

I guess now that my proposal has been sent off, I have some downtime, free time to think about my future. It is not that I can do anything about it, per se, but I still enjoy thinking about possibilities. I woke up this morning thinking about summer and how much I enjoy the summertime. I mean, I don't like summer in Phoenix, but I do enjoy summer, itself. I really like all the seasons, but I enjoy fall and winter best. I love the crisp autumn air, the leaves as they drop from the trees, and then I enjoy the wintertime with snowfall. I know, weird. I cannot really help it. I just enjoy the four seasons, and I miss them terribly. Summer in Phoenix is unbearably hot, miserably hot. I have been here 20 years now, and I am so ready to leave, to go some place else. I've thought a lot about where I would like to settle eventually, and while I am open to going just about anywhere (except the Antartica or the frozen tundra of Canada), I would probably be happy living anywhere so long as I could have the kind of lifestyle I want or have wanted. You know -- when you were a kid and you imagined what your life would be like -- that sort of lifestyle.

Growing up, I pretty much knew that I wanted to live in a white farmhouse. Yes, I remember driving through the outskirts of Bluffton, Indiana on my way to my Dad's family. I would see these farms dotting the roadside and they all had white houses with red or white barns. My Aunt's farmhouse looks similar to the one above. I remember spending holidays there, sleeping in the upstairs bedroom. The thing I remember most is waking up with the sunshine as it streamed through the open window. The breeze would blow through the curtains, and the sweet smell of farm life would waft in. This was perfection to me. It was my dream as a child. I wanted to grow up and have a house just like my Aunts. Of course, I didn't think I wanted to be a farmer, but I thought it would be really nice to have the farmhouse.

Later in life, when I was a teenager, and then young college student, this was my dream. I thought of all the places I could live, this would be it. Except that it would have to be in California. I was living in Northern California then, in San Jose. There weren't any farmhouses near me, but whenever I would drive further north, like to Sonoma, I would see them. Wonderful places with gardens filled with flowers. Of course, the cost to live in such a place was beyond my radar, not even comprehensible. Still there was something about the house, the type of house that made me think that it would be the "perfect" fit for me.

Now, I am in Phoenix, and I am stuck in the desert. A lot of my friends love living here, but for me, it is like death valley. I mean, it is hot all year round, and the ground is brown, baked concrete. I miss the trees, the green, the life that you find in more temperate climates.

When my heart thinks of home, it travels back to the midwest, to Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. This is where my family is from, well, from the 1800s or so (further east to PA and MD for original history). My heart sits somewhere in the middle of the midwest, right between big cities and rural farms. Yes, my dream lifestyle is to live in a small midwestern village, some place where I can have a white farmhouse, a small plot of land, and room for a big garden.

I know I can live in many places in the USA. There are a number of states that have similar homes. It is something about the midwest that draws me. I guess it is because of my childhood memories. I guess it is because of the people. I guess it is just because it always has been my dream.

I've blogged about this before, but now that I have some free time on my hands, I am starting to envision it, imagine it, and want it more. I don't think I am being demanding, it is just the idea that has been with me for a really long time. Ever since I was young, I have wanted this life. I guess if the Lord decides that this is the life for me, then this is the life I will have. For now, I am content to just think about it, dream about it, wish for it. I surrender the dream, the idea to the Lord. I accept His provision, whatever it may turn out to be. Amen!

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