How is that for a great opening to a blog? Of course, the few of you who read this will know, by the time this is read, that we are saying, “Good-bye! to yet another chapter in our lives.” As I’m writing this however, most of the people in our church are unaware that Ron will be retiring…for real. He plans to make that announcement tomorrow after the morning worship service.

This has definitely been an interesting chapter! We thought we were coming here for a year and stayed four. During the four years here, our family has grown by two additional grandchildren–Quinn and Walker–born within a month of each other (2006). So that gave Caroline (4)a new cousin on this branch of the family tree as well as a sister. We are also close to adding a final adult member in the person of Steve Sparks, our future son-in-law (April 2008). So to paraphrase Jacob, the Lord has prospered us:)

We have also had some hard times, mostly related to my mother. My first Christmas here(2004), she had to go into a nursing home in the retirement community where she lived because of a degenerative brain problem that affected her ability to get around and also caused degenerative dementia. She passed away this past March 2007. As dementias go, hers probably was not as lingering as many…mercifully. Even this period was bittersweet. It was a time of bonding for my brother and sisters. The October before she passed away, we were able to all get to FL at the same time, to be with her and have some good time together as well. It is in those good times that I always realize how fleeting time is. The good times last for about as long as you can snap your fingers and then everyone has to go home in different directions. For us, that means PA, MD, IL and Amsterdam (yes, the original one!).

Our house in Tyler, TX has been rented out all this time–four years–and has been stressed by it. The yard is a wreck. One of the summers there was a drought and the renters didn’t use the sprinkler system! So I’m not sure there is any grass left there at all. Last summer, there was too much rain and everything grew…especially the weeds. Hopefully, they will die off and we will get the fertilizer on the grass quick enough to get the grass going again.

Finally, the church where we served has had their “new” pastor since May 2004 (I think). So he is well settled in. The people that decided they weren’t going to be able to adjust to him have left the church. The others have made the adjustment and of course (as usually happens with a new pastor) there are lots of new people as well. It will be different for us…I have no illusions. I don’t know yet HOW it will be different. I only know that IT WILL BE DIFFERENT! I think the bigger adjustment will be for Ron. After forty+ years of pastoring, he is not sure he will be able to find a useful niche. I think that if God has brought him this far, He will certainly find a niche for him now. I do appreciate the scariness of it for Ron however. It must feel like he is stepping off a cliff in the dark and he doesn’t know how high the drop-off is.

In many ways, I feel like I’m going home. Yes, I’m returning to the house that we lived in for 16 years. But it is not the same…nor am I. The house is empty…or will be by the time we move back in. When we moved out that rainy day in January 2004, I feared I’d never live be back in it again. That could be, but it is looking like I actually might get to live in it again. I’ve thrown out a lot of what filled the closets…but probably not enough. I’ve gotten rid of many of the books that sat on shelves and were never read or used as well as many of the extra clothes, fabrics and crafts. But there is more that still needs to be tossed and a freedom that comes with tossing so that will take the next month rapidly as I get ready to return to Tyler, find a job, order some appliances, prioitize what work needs to be done before the wedding and what needs to be done after. It is work I love…making a house look like a home. It will be fun, exhausting, creative work.

And that is always what keeps me going. I have old and new friends from Hanna City that I will miss. They have been a part of my life for the last few years. Most have been very patient with me in my impulsiveness. I can’t go through all their names for fear of leaving out one. There have been those that I know to go to when I need prayer…badly! I know they won’t be preachy or condemn. They will love me and smile. They will ask me about my children and grandchildren. They understand that I feel like an outsider…because they often do too…after many, many years! Others like to talk about books…and know way more about them than I do. It stimulates my brain…and I love it. Yes, I will miss my Hanna City friends.

I look forward to seeing my old friends. These are the ones who know my kids. They saw my kids growing up in high school…at least. We’ve been through a lot over the years. I look forward to seeing them (and their ages are quite varied). I also look forward to meeting new friends and adjusting to new challenges…in a warmer climate! (I’m writing you now as the weather outside is 5 degrees.)  That is the one thing I won’t miss.  After all the years I have lived in warm weather, I have had difficulty adjusting to this weather.  BRRR!


13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kathy
    Jan 22, 2008 @ 19:09:54

    It was so nice to read your news and recap of these last years as you make this change. I hadn’t thought of how your home might be after renters. After my experience trading houses for the summer, I can only begin to imagine. Anyway, I think you will really enjoy breathing life back into the place. I would imagine it will be great having Dawn nearby, so unexpectedly. I’ll be thinking of Ron as he transitions. Also, really appreciated the Amsterdam reference :>) By the way, I have been really frustrated trying to put pictures on my site. Maybe I need to make a change.

  2. Patti Heininger
    Jan 22, 2008 @ 20:07:01

    We are happy to welcome you back to Texas though it will be hard to leave your friends there! Oh, it’s a little chilly here too- 33 degrees today, so don’t toss out all your long underwear.

    Come on down!

  3. Megan
    Jan 23, 2008 @ 01:57:34

    Wow! That is big news (to me!). When do you plan to make the official move?

  4. martha10
    Jan 23, 2008 @ 02:32:43

    This will be a two-pronged move–something new for us. I will move in about a month. Ron plans to stay through Easter.
    I’m packing, mailing resumes, doing all kinds of errands and in many ways, getting into mental overload:( (too many details do that to me.) I’m also trying to plan ahead on what has to be done on the house, what to wear for the wedding and on and on…m

  5. Dawn
    Jan 23, 2008 @ 16:31:02

    Hey! The new picture at the top of this blog is cool!

    It really has been a pretty active 4 years for our family, hasn’t it? By the way, I’ve just been listening to another Midday Connection podcast that you might like. It’s from sometime last week and the interview is with the author of the book No More Mondays. Very interesting so far on the concepts of vocation, work, and job.

  6. martha10
    Jan 23, 2008 @ 16:58:28

    Thanks. Believe it or not, I took the photo:) It has been in my head to be at the top of my blog for quite awhile. Now it is! I just piled up some of the quilted items I have around here (most of what I have made is given away!), added scraps from some of my projects and voila’. (this spell check drives me nuts! They give me the dumbest “corrections”.)
    It came out better than I expected. m

  7. caron
    Feb 16, 2008 @ 12:24:55


  8. TulipGirl
    Feb 16, 2008 @ 17:45:39

    Thinking of you, praying for you. . . So many transitions.

  9. TulipGirl
    Feb 16, 2008 @ 17:46:18

    Posted before I typed what I really wanted to say. . . You’ve been such an encouragement to me during the transitions I’ve had, Martha. I want to thank you for that.

  10. caron
    Feb 18, 2008 @ 20:07:36

    well, see ya in heaven.

  11. martha10
    Feb 18, 2008 @ 22:46:42

    i hope it will be sooner than that! 🙂 m

  12. Beth Schwartz
    Apr 03, 2008 @ 01:49:14

    Hi Cousin ! Martha, I am REALLY impressed with you doing a blog and all.
    Also, Dawn, as I mentioned in our RSVP we have had fun learning about everything from your wedding website. Martha, you and Ron have our
    prayers during your readjustment period back to Texas… also for all the family changes ,as we know what you are going through there. Hopefully I can send or post you some of Jeremy & Kates wedding pictures ..we havent seen them yet but there are about 4 cd’s full of pictures,and we hope to see them this friday night when they come over for dinner. They had a good honeymoon at copper mountain, CO. and got back just in time for Easter . love to you all.
    Beth & Larry

  13. Patty G.
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 12:01:17

    I didn’t realize that you had a blog Martha. How cool is that. That is much better than writing email, huh? Anyway, I love the note on your life, past, present, and future. You and Ron have been truly blessed! One day at a time and in no time you will look back and think all those changes and we made it through in one piece!? 🙂
    I like to think of you both in Tyler and in your old home. Who would have guessed?
    We’re excited about Dawn and Steve becoming man and wife and all they hope to accomplish together.
    See you soon!

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