Happy Monday, sweet friends!
It’s great to be back with you after spending time at my childhood home Loblolly Manor, celebrating two big birthdays and enjoying Easter.
Our original plan was to be at the cabin for the two weeks surrounding the holiday.
But after giving up nearly every weekend from October to February for travel and family commitments, we found ourselves having so many loose ends to tie up in March they rolled into April which is something we did not anticipate.
Looking back, I can see how naïve it was to even think that way.
After all, there’s no way to make up for 5 months’ worth of loose ends in one.
I’ll be honest, by the time we hit the road for Loblolly, we were a bit frazzled yet equally hopeful we’d be able to get at least a small break.
In hindsight, we should have taken more time to plan instead of trying to “wing it”.
I think we were so tired from trying to keep all the balls in the air, we decided there would never be a perfect time to go, and waiting for things to ease up wouldn’t help us anyway – so we just went for it.
As I’ve shared many times, I’m an idealist through and through.
While I have a practical side, I’m a consummate possiblitarian who tends to romanticize the mundane.
And by the time we pulled into the driveway at Loblolly, I had already started visualizing myself having plenty of time to journal, daydream, take long naps, read late into the afternoon, solidify our Q3 plans, work on a big writing project, linger over lunch with my Dad’s family and drink coffee out of my Mom’s dainty white teacups each morning.
The minute we opened the door to Loblolly and our sweet rescue Piper saw the sun shining through the kitchen window reflecting bright white spots on the ceiling, though, I knew none of those things were going to happen.
Her anxiety immediately went into overdrive, and we began covering up nearly every sunlit area in the house as quickly as possible.
A few hours later, my Mom called to make sure we were settling in ok.
I tried to sound upbeat as I shared we had seen thousands of beautiful pink phlox blooms on the way down, but my Mom interrupted me midsentence sensing something was up, “What’s wrong? You sound upset. Was the house not ready when you got there?”
“No, the house is fine,” I said. “I guess in my haste to get away, I forgot we still bring our struggles with us no matter where we go.”
She sat quietly as the sentiment hung in the air.
“I’m really sorry things are off to a rough start. Dad and I were hoping you would not only come home refreshed but that you would have so much fun you would want to start using the place more,” she said. “There’s still time to change things around, ok? Don’t let a shaky start create a shaky finish.”
It took over half the trip but eventually, Piper settled in, and we did as well.
While I didn’t write a single word, plan out Q3, read books, or take long naps as I imagined, we were able to visit a community garden (pictured throughout the post), treasure hunt in antique shops in neighboring small towns, and tour one of the museums at the Capitol.
We also had a relaxing lunch with a few family members from my Dad’s side which was really nice.
I took extra time to snuggle with Piper, watch old movies, paint a piece of furniture, and gather a lot of project intel for my Mom too.
She’s desperate to turn Loblolly into a retreat space we all want to use.
And while it will be tough to get my Dad on board for some of her ideas, I’m excited to see her vision come to life *fingers crossed* this summer.
As we packed up to leave I heard a tired voice say, “This week was a lot. Let me know how you reframe everything because I’m struggling to see the bright side.”
I immediately started laughing out loud because, at that very moment, I was already looking for a silver lining.
How weird is it to be thankful to be seen yet feel completely predictable all at the same time?
“This was a trial run and nothing more,” I simply said. “We had no idea what to expect, where this would lead, or if it was even possible to work from Loblolly. Now we know and next time we’ll come better prepared. Besides, we can have a redo anytime we want.”
The drive home was a quiet one as I thought about how easy it is to get lulled into thinking things will be so much better once we get “there.”
As if new surroundings will magically change us, our attitudes, or the struggles we face each day.
While a different environment can offer a fresh perspective, it’s ultimately our responsibility to continue the necessary heart work and mindset shifts no matter where we’re at.
It’s up to us to look for and appreciate the tiny little gifts and the silver linings we’ve been given along the way.
As I was carrying the last set of luggage into the house, I quickly paused to pull a leaf out of one of the flowerpots on the front porch.
But as I reached down, I realized the leaf was attached to a well-crafted nest, and inside the nest were tiny speckled eggs.
Quiet proof that no matter where you’re from, where you’ve been, or the struggles you’ve endured along the way, there will always be room for tiny gifts of hope.
Cheering you on as you embrace the season you’re in. May you find silver linings and tiny gifts of hope when you need it most.