Unpacking Four Lessons Learned From Our Move


Our hilltop barn.

I didn’t plan to be away so long.

When I went away on our family beach vacation in early September I fully expected to return to blogging the following week. This, despite the fact we had only a handful of days to pack our life up in brown paper boxes, close on two houses, and move to our new place in the foothills of the mountains, almost an hour away. But that’s not what happened.

My time away from blogging, however, allowed me to clearly see certain things that were once clouded by chaos.

canstockphoto5176462Four {Life-Changing} Lessons Learned from Our Move:

It’s not what we hold in our hands that will leave the legacy, but rather, what we hold in our hearts. While packing, I came across a dozen Precept workbooks where I’d marked up words, pages, made extra notes, etc. They represented studies that quite literally changed my life. It was through Precept years ago that I learned about the Bible, and more importantly, where I learned to love the God of the Bible. (Thank you, Kay Chandler and Kay Arthur). My initial thought was to keep them so that my grandchildren and great-grands would one day be able to read them and know they had a grandmother who loved the Lord with all of her heart, in spite of her pre-Christ choices. It wasn’t until I began sliding the tape over the seams, that the Holy Spirit reminded me that future generations would not be convinced of my love for God by seeing what I did, or even what I knew. They will know that their grandmother loved God by how she lived (imperfect but intentional) and the choices she made birthed from that kind of love.

Community. It’s a beautiful thing. Moving supplies passed on from long-time friends (our daughter-in-law’s parents!). Two vintage metal gliders delivered to my mom’s house. Another glider and two children’s car seats temporarily housed at my bestest buddy, Teresa’s, house. Brian’s musical instruments (including an upright bass) along with umpteen boxes of vintage LP’s, landed in the living room of Beth Saadati’s dad’s house. (Gary was even gracious enough to open his home to us if we’d needed a place to stay between houses. Gentle hearts and spirits run in this family.) Zach recruited friends from college to help in the move and one of Brian’s friends, whom he’d not seen in awhile, simply volunteered his Saturday morning to help. People who are a long-standing part of our “community” via family ties, friendships, and various churches, all came together at different times and in different ways to help us. We remain humbled and eternally grateful.

Releasing “stuff” isn’t just a step in the right direction, it’s a delightful destination. In the past, I’ve hauled stuff from place to place vowing to one day figure out what I really needed to keep. Not this time! For the most part, I went piece-by-piece evaluating if I would use it. I asked myself what my first reaction would be to the item when unpacking it on the other side. If there was the least bit of hesitation, it didn’t make the cut. I also asked myself if I would purchase it again. If not, why would I want to keep it now? I even released some sentimental things which proved to be the hardest part for me. But I knew if my relatives in heaven could speak to me, knowing what they know in heaven, they’d scream from the top of their lungs, “Let it go! It’s so temporal!” While I kept a few things that meant the most to me I took a picture of the things I didn’t keep and felt pure delight in knowing those things I couldn’t use would now be a blessing to others.

Jesus is in the details, not the devil. I’ll elaborate more on this in future posts but I marvel at the ways God led us to our new place. Honestly, it’s not a place, house-wise, I probably would’ve chosen were it not for the land, views, etc., but that too is part of the beautiful plan for Willoughby Way (the name we’ve given our place on the hill). I look forward to sharing more details, along with “before” and “after” pictures in the near future.

Can you relate to any of the above lessons learned during a move? If so, please share in the comment section. I’d love to hear from you and there is no doubt it will encourage others. Thank you!

4 Things I Didn’t Know When I Began Blogging

Eight years ago I linked arms with other word-lovers and began blogging. {I shared a snippet of how the journey began in this post.}

Today, however, I’m sharing four unexpected things I’ve learned since I began blogging:

How Long Does It Take to Write a Blog Post?

The time required. Some of you blow me away with the speed in which you create a post. I stand in awe. I can count on one hand how often I’ve whipped up a post in less than an hour…or two. I usually don’t write it all in one sitting and my perfectionistic tendencies tend to hit the draft button multiple times, unfortunately. Suffice it to say, what I thought would be a quick way to express my thoughts has evolved into a love affair with the mingling of life and words. I wouldn’t change a thing.


There are clever and creative ways to cut prep post time. I wish I’d known this when I began blogging in 2008. Of course, I didn’t know social media whiz Edie Melson back then either. Today there’s a plethora of information waiting to be leveraged, some of which I’ll share at the end of this post. I’m trying to cut my prep time by setting a timer and rebuffing the bully within when it tells me everything must be perfect for it to be meaningful.


We must embrace the learning curves. My insecurities can sometimes send me scurrying like a squirrel trying to dodge headlights but gradually they’re disappearing, one by one. I’m learning how to operate my new camera, how to manipulate images, and create memes, among other things. All this, while spiffing up my SEO skills, has given me creative whiplash but hugging these curves have helped me progress along this spectacular blogging journey!


Some of my sweetest friendships are forged through blogging. I knew when I began attending my local writer’s group (Cross N’ Pens) that my circle of friends had eternally shifted upwards but I wasn’t prepared for the friendships developed through blogging. Although miles divide most of us, the distance is shortened when we support and encourage each other through comments, emails, and Facebook private messages. The eternal circle continues to widen, grow, and deepen. And for this one fact alone I will always be grateful for the blogosphere.

What’s one unexpected thing you’ve learned since beginning your blogging journey? Please share in the comment section.

Additional Resources:
Connections, by Edie Melson.
The Write Conversation
Fistbump Media (They switched my blog from Blogger to WordPress and continue as my support – amazing group!)


When Spiritual Clutter Hides Beneath the Physical

blogmoreoflessMaybe it’s the sentimental clutter crying for relief in my attic. Or perhaps it’s the upcoming move signaling a fresh start. Point is, Joshua Becker’s latest release, “The More of Less…Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own” left me questioning what spiritual clutter might be discovered beneath my sentiment-driven, what-if-I-need-this-some-day, because-two-of-something-is-always-better-than-one kind of debris.

My desire to tuck away pretty things began at an early age. As an eight-year-old, I hid a true blue Easter egg in my headboard bookshelf. Why? Because I wanted to know it would be there when I felt the need to gaze at beauty for a moment. It didn’t take long to figure out that even beautiful things eventually decay…and reek.

It wasn’t, however, until I was in my thirties purchasing Beanie Babies {Did I really just admit that?} for no apparent reason that I began realizing there was more to those purchases than a fuzzy little feel good. Thankfully, they ended up in the hands of children in an overseas orphanage but unfortunately that was not the “why” behind the purchases years prior.

Those are just two snapshots from my past but even today when I find myself aimlessly wandering up and down the aisles of Target I have to ask myself the “why” question. I don’t want to subconsciously find peace and, dare I say, joy, in all the wrong clearance spaces.

Joshua’s latest release, “The More of Less” is a daily tool in my back pocket. The pages hold clear and concise wisdom, less a beating. The tone is conversational, friendly. It’s an easy but enlightening read, to say the least.

Snippets from The More of Less, some paraphrased:

  • Minimalism: the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them.
  • The beauty of minimalism isn’t in what it takes away. The beauty and the full potential of minimalism lie in what it gives.
  • Decluttering will help you clarify your purpose and values.
  • Remember, the goal of minimalism is to unburden our lives so we can accomplish more.
  • In the end, your particular practice of minimalism is going to look different from that of everyone else because your life is different from that of everyone else. You may have a large family, a small family, or no family. You may live on a farm, in a house, or in a studio apartment. You love music, movies, sports, or books. You practice art, or maybe you don’t. Maybe you believe you were put on this earth to host beautiful dinner parties or offer your home as a place of respite and retreat for others. Follow your passions to the best of your ability with the resources you possess. Fulfill your purpose with great focus by removing the distractions keeping you from it. And find a style of minimalism that works for you, one that is not cumbersome but freeing.
  • The more you believe you are not influenced by advertisements, the better they have done their job.
  • Generous people have less desire for more. They find fulfillment, meaning, and value outside of the acquisition of possessions.

{Told you it was good!}

buy-686337_640As I clear out the physical clutter in preparation for the move, a subtle, more insidious kind of clutter lies in wait. I find evidence of mindless shopping. Clothes with fancy tags but little wear. Books that wouldn’t be read anytime soon but bought because I refused to deny the rush of happiness that surged through my veins. Misplaced values and unhealthy dependencies now made visible because I {finally} took the time to look at the “why” behind the purchases.

Peeling back the motives behind our “stuff” allows us to discover not only what we value but also where we find it.

Although you may have enjoyed a large house in the suburbs with the accompanying comforts of life in the past, perhaps now you are thinking more about the value of experiences over possessions. Maybe you are more focused on leaving a legacy than adding to a pile of possessions. {To the Baby Boomers, like me.}

Did a particular excerpt from Joshua’s book resonate with your current circumstances? If so, please share in the comment box. It’s always nice knowing we’re not alone.

Amazon: The More of Less, by Joshua Becker

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