Photo 101: Triumph & Contrast


Photo 101: Triumph & Contrast

This photo shows a completely empty bedroom in my old apartment. I spent the entire month of August 2015 cleaning out, sorting, bagging, boxing, hauling to Goodwill, labeling and stacking many boxes. Unfortunately, there was no one to help, so I was flying solo. This was in addition to winding down my work at work. Talk about overwhelming! Throw in the emotional aspect of moving 1,000 miles away and I felt sure that I wouldn’t make the August 28th deadline. 

But I did.

As I walked through each room, for the last time, I snapped a picture. Somehow, I felt like I needed proof. From the largest piece of furniture to the bread ties in the kitchen drawer, everything from the prior eight years had been accounted for. 

I saw the contrast of rooms once filled with my life, which were now empty. I was leaving it the same way I found it. Of the many emotions swirling through my heart, bittersweet triumph ruled the day.

“Shift Happens”






Earlier this week I posted a quote about Change. This is because I’ve spent the last few days preparing, once again, for more changes. Actually, it feels like “things” have been changing for the past several years:

  • It began with my graduation from college in 2013. I had a consistent schedule of work, school, and homework for the prior four years and that changed once the degree was in hand.
  • My dad’s health decline over several years, placement in the nursing home, and  eventual death brought many changes as well.
  • Then came my daughter’s graduation and move to Florida, which followed two years after my son and daughter-in-law’s move to the Sunshine State.
  • The decision to leave my old job was the right one; the verdict on whether my decision to move south with the kids remains to be seen. I need to get some clarity regarding where I’m headed.

So, how does one find clarity regarding life choices amidst all this change? Do we find it by doing the same things, in the same places, with the same people? Or, is it more likely that we’ll find it by making some changes? And why is change so hard?

“They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.” ~ Confucius

Like it or not, “shift happens,” to borrow the phrase, with a slight twist. It’s always happening and I lost sight of that. Looking back over my life I see time periods that defined who I was: child, adolescent, single adult, married adult, parent, etc. During each of those periods life followed a specific script and set of activities. Those things became familiar, routine, and very comfortable. When we get comfortable, we tend to get stagnant and that’s when change begins to feel scary. 

Coping with life changes discusses six common situations that can create a lot of anxiety. After reading it I discovered that I’ve already experienced four and I’m still standing! It offers suggestions to help calm the fears and help us better understand why we’re feeling the fear in the first place.

I’m also reminded of the framed quote that I kept on my desk at the job I left to create something better for myself. It said:

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch

Jump for joy

Well, I’ve most definitely stepped out of my comfort zone; the only thing left to do now is enjoy the adventure that living everyday is!












When you’re born and raised in the Northeastern United States, December usually means snow, ice, and wind, in no particular order. I knew moving to Florida would mean a much warmer Christmas, something I was looking forward to. After complaining for years about the long, cold winters, I would finally be able to leave the house without three layers of clothing, boots, hat, and gloves.

The last couple of winters have been particularly brutal with heavy snowfall and very cold temperatures. I lived in an apartment with no garage and spent quality time digging my car out from under a lot of snow and scraping ice off the windows. It required an extra thirty minutes in the morning and I was cold, tired and wet when I got to work. I dreamed of living far enough south to not have to deal with this issue anymore. I dreamed of Christmas lights strung through palm trees.

So, imagine my surprise (and mild annoyance) when I read the weather forecast for my home state of Pennsylvania predicting temperatures in the 60s for Christmas week. That’s unheard of and I’m thinking to myself, “Sure, I finally make the move to warmer weather and warmer weather makes the move to PA.”

Some folks back home are actually whining about not having a white Christmas and that it feels more like Easter weather. Others I’ve spoken with are quite pleased that Old Man Winter hasn’t found them yet.

I guess this means I’ll have to hold off on sending those postcards I bought: the ones that are split in half with the left half picturing a blizzard and saying “You,” while the right half shows a tropical sunset and says “Me.”

I have to admit though, with Christmas only a week away, I’m feeling a little homesick for home…and snow.