Sleepless

What. is. going. on?

We went to bed 3 hours ago, and I’m still wide awake. I tried chamomile tea. I tried warm milk. I tried Advil. This all in addition to the sleep med that I take. But it’s no use. I’m still wide awake.

Contrast that to other nights this week. Hubby was traveling, and I found myself bored and tired by 9pm, collapsing into bed and asleep by 9:30 at the latest.  And I’d get a full 10, even 12 hours of sleep! This happened all week long, until tonight.

Now here I am at 1:09am, typing a blog because I’m too awake to even close my eyes. They keep popping back open!

My mind isn’t racing with a long to-do list.  I’m not worried about anything. I’m not anxious for anyone. I’m just awake.

There are two variables to which I might be able to pinpoint a cause. One – I had a glass of wine right before bed. But I’ve done that many times, and have rarely had a problem falling asleep. Two – my husband is home and back in bed with me. Hmm. Perhaps I’ve gotten comfortable having the bed all to myself!

This second scenario would imply that I’m sprawling out in the middle of the mattress, hogging all the pillows and blankets, and taking over the bed. But this is not the case. I sleep on my side of the bed, even when he’s gone. I might occasionally pull the blankets my way, but I’m not sleeping down the center.

So what has caused this nighttime wakefulness? I haven’t had insomnia for several months – is it cyclical, and it’s time for me again? Is this going to be a repeat pattern, every few months? I can’t draw that conclusion from just one night of wide-awakeness.

The cat just wandered in, wondering why I’m awake. I’m sure. She usually has the house to herself at night! She sniffs my computer and then saunters off to explore another corner of the home. Maybe out to the garage, where she can hop through the open window and curl up in the seat of the car and nap. Oh, that sounds nice!

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. Psalm 4:8 NLT

32 Years and Counting

Today is my – make that “our” – 32nd wedding anniversary. He surprised me by sending a bouquet of roses and baby’s breath. He broadcasted “Happy Anniversary!” over our Google Home – he’s in PA and I’m in VA, but he still wished me a beautiful day.

He’s on the road right now, headed home for the weekend. I have white wine chilling so we can clink our glasses to 32 years of marriage.šŸ„‚

It hasn’t always been easy. There were tough times: the job he lost when the entire department was downsized; my several years of depression, including the lowest pit I’ve ever experienced.

Fun times, too: lots of camping and vacations; laughter around the family dinner table with the kids – at all different ages of their lives; driving the convertible with the top down (that’s a recent fun pastime!) and exploring back country roads (we’ve been doing that since before we were married).

There are some details about our wedding day I remember, and lots of memories are prompted by photos. I remember noticing that the candles next to the Unity Candle weren’t lit, and not hearing a word the pastor said as I worried what we would do (the pastor was prepared with a lighter, and he calmly came over to the candles and lit them so we could proceed with the ceremony). I recall my dress falling off my shoulders as we walked down the aisle together as husband and wife. I remember my uncle rushing away from the reception when an emergency came from down the road – someone had fallen off a low bridge, I think. I remember asking the photographer to take a picture of our rings, our hands together.

Other details are a blur. But the memory of the day itself is warm and full of promise and expectation.

And now, 32 years later, I realize I had no idea what was coming. None of the details match what I imagined that day. How could they? Who knows what the future will bring?

That goes for the next 32 years. Who knows what we’ll experience – what joys and tears and celebrations and struggles?

All I do know is … I’m grateful to God for this wonderful man I married all those years ago. And I look forward to the remaining adventures of our lives together, side by side.

Beaches

My husband and I went to Virginia Beach this weekend. It’s the third time we’ve been there in three years. We’ve seen dolphins each time!

It feels wonderful to be at the beach. The warm sand, the roaring waves, the blue sky.

In the case of Virginia – the people watching is fantastic! We went Friday evening as many folks were leaving, and the seashore wasn’t too crowded. We went back Saturday morning – got there at about 9:30am – and there were plenty of places to set up our chairs. But as an hour passed, the beach began to fill up. Many people had large canopies, and there were lots of little children digging in the sand and running from the waves. So many people to watch playing in the water, riding surfboards, dogs chasing balls, distant parasailing.

We can’t help but compare Virginia Beach to the beaches we used to frequent in Florida, when we lived there four years ago. Less commercialization. Less crowds. More seashells. More sunsets.

We lived in Fort Myers, and the congested tourist town of Fort Myers Beach was 45 minutes away. It was busy, with one main road going between all of the T-shirt and surf stores, passing the ice cream shops and umbrella-ed picnic tables. But once we got off the main drag, there was plenty of room.

There were other wonderful beaches, too. Delnore-Wiggins Pass State Park. Lover’s Key State Park. The beaches on Sanibel Island. Little Hickory Beach (our favorite).

On all of these beaches, we enjoyed watching the various birds instead of people.

And there was a huge advantage of facing the Gulf of Mexico – those western sunsets. We’d try to catch the notorious green flash as the sun hit the horizon. And everyone on the beach waited for the sun to go down. I was surprised the first time when all the people began to clap as the sun dipped past the ocean, but I quickly learned to join in. And I marveled at how God gave us this show every night!

I think we prefer Florida, but any beach – including a crowded one – is a good place to be!

Living far away

I live 1,188 miles away from my parents. 1,142 miles from my daughter. 1,576 miles from my son.

I live 6 states away from my lifelong Wisconsin friends and my in-laws, and 5 states away from my sister.

I’m not living in the wilderness by any means, but I’m far from family and friends (not counting those I have here, of course). I live in Virginia – the furthest East and South of anyone in our immediate families.

This is especially difficulty when someone is sick or in need. Like my mom, or one of my lifelong friends. I want to be with them, but there’s no easy way to do so. I have to plan way in advance to be able to afford the plane ticket. And I need to be there for several days – so I’m at my destination longer than it takes me to travel to and from there.

I wish I could just stop by my daughter’s for the weekend. Or plan a 3-day holiday at my son’s. But it’s cost-prohibitive.

Don’t get me wrong. I live in a beautiful part of the country – in the valley of the Shenandoah Mountains, and the views are spectacular. Our town is small, but near a couple of larger cities with college campuses, and 45 minutes from an airport, which connects us to the rest of the country within a day’s travel. We have easy access to concerts and breweries and museums.

I’ve lived further away. When my husband and I were first married, we lived in Utah, far from our families in the Midwest. And more recently, we lived in Florida for a little over a year. But Florida is a vacation destination, so we saw family and some friends while we lived there, with the promise of many others to come visit.

It’s hard to live so far from family and friends. Thank goodness for instant messaging and texting and FaceTime and Facebook. For phone calls and video chats. For vacations and an understanding husband, who tells me, “Go,” when I need it.

Over the course of the years we’ve been married, we’ve talked about living overseas. Now that’s far away! And quite honestly, I think now would be the time, before the kids settle down and have families of their own. I don’t want to be far away when there are grandbabies to hold!

All this means that we probably have another move in us, sometime in the not-too-distant future. And maybe a move after that, to wherever we’d like to retire and live out the rest of our lives. That’s hard to decide, because while we long for the western mountains, we loved the beach. But neither of those are close to family! I guess our biggest deciding factor will be access to a national airport, for easy travel to all the places we’d like to visit!

National Best Friend Day

June 8th is National Best Friend Day.

According to whom, I’m not sure – either greeting card or calendar companies. “Best friend” implies exclusivity, which I don’t want to do. No matter, as this day gives me a chance to reflect on wonderful women friendships.

Female friendships are a beautiful thing, and I’ve had the privilege of having many of them over my life. Here are a few, tho’ I’m leaving off names so as not to miss anyone. Still, I’ll throw in some pictures for fun.

In high school, I had two best friends but I had many others who were very important to me. And I’ve reconnected with a few of those, thanks to Facebook! It’s fun to see these old friends’ families and celebrations via photos and posts, and even catch up with the rare phone call.

In college, I had great friends – one I met at Freshman Orientation, and we still text regularly and our families have been together a handful of times. Another I’ve seen over the years for a few visits, and one I just exchange Christmas cards with. A couple I’ve lost track of, unless I look them up specifically on Facebook – they don’t show up on my feed, but I remember them fondly.

I’ve been very blessed in my adult life with amazing relationships. My husband and I are lifelong friends with one of the first couples we ever hung out with as adults – we’ve been camping together for over 25 years and even travelled in France together!

We stay in touch with other couple friends from those days of early family life, though we don’t get out West to see them since we moved to Wisconsin 23 years ago.

When we first moved back to the Midwest, we met another couple and instantly connected with them – more lifelong friends.

I had the opportunity to form close relationships with women at Bible Study at my church – in leadership and ministry and doing life together. I talk with one woman from that time every week! Lifelong friend! I formed special relationships in my neighborhood – by the garden or by the backyard swing set. I became friends with women who were my kids’ friends’ moms. I made close bonds with women I prayed with through my years of Moms In Touch. And I’ve mentioned before the amazing women I worked with in my jobs at the Church and the Children’s Museum.

We moved south, and I formed all new relationships. And it took time, but even the short year we lived in Florida brought several close friendships with marvelous women.

And now I live in the East – in Virginia – and I have more women influencers in my life.

Most of these women have been incredibly encouraging to me as I’ve walked through depression over the past 12 years. So many friends I’m thinking of as I write these words! Perhaps I should buy a stack of cards and send them to all these amazing women. This blog post is certainly a “Thank you!” to them!

I’m very lucky to have a best friend through all of these years – my sister. She’s amazing – a great mom, a talented writer, a hard worker, a generous woman, a fabulous friend. I’m proud to have her as my bestie.

Happy National Best Friend Day, Stace!