Life Reflections

View of Lake Champlain: Photo by Saloma Furlong

Yesterday David and I signed the Purchase and Sale agreement on our home. When we first signed the offer on our house, we were thinking it would take us a few weeks to find a place to live… it ended up taking less than 24 hours. What a relief! We’ll be moving to a condo in Harrisonburg, Virginia. As Providence would have it, friends there own a condo that became available right around the time we needed it. So they offered it to us, for which we are most grateful.

I’m packing up a storm. I packed a whole lot of glassware yesterday. Even though we have purged many items from our household, I realize I’m still pretty Amish when it comes to liking pretty dishes and glassware. I packed four boxes of it yesterday, and I still have three sets of dishes to go. As I meet up with my cousins and nieces younger than myself, I will be offering them the pieces that have been passed down through the generations.

David and I so enjoyed our soul-restoring trip to Vermont a few weeks ago. We had temperatures in the 80s, so we went swimming in Lake Champlain, watched the sunsets over the lake, and gazed at the stars at night. And we enjoyed observing nature.

There is a buoy to the right of the sunbeam. That other buoy with ripples around it is my head.

We watched young ducks skimming across the top of the water, as if they were playing a game. A great blue heron stood by and watched them.

There is a beautiful place on the western shore of Isle La Motte that feels like it’s heaven-blessed. It’s called Saint Anne’s Shrine, and it even has an outdoor cathedral. It actually feels like a sacred space, and it has several little shrines, where one can sit in candlelight and be contemplative. Right across the street is a beach, where people may swim in the lake. There is also a monument of Samuel de Champlain, the explorer who the lake is named after. I thought I took photos, but I’m not finding them. So you can see photos of the shrine and surrounding area by going to their website.

Inn at the Isles

We stayed at a cottage at the Inn at the Isles, owned and operated by our friends, Paul and Janel Gamm. This inn dates back to the days of the stagecoach. They have kept the rustic feel of the inn, while offering their guests modern amenities. And the inn is on a spot of Lake Champlain that is truly magical. So we returned home feeling restored and ready to take on the challenge of making this move. Since then, I’ve had lots of moments of push and pull. It’s hard to say good-bye to this home that we’ve put so much into, but I’m also very much looking forward to integrating into our new community and exploring a whole new part of our big country. I’m finding as I get older, I’m less agile when it comes to making major life transitions. So this one is taking me some time to become acclimated to.

I read an article this morning that felt like it was written for me. The term for de-cluttering over time in one’s life is called “Swedish death cleaning.” A quote from the article is, “The ultimate purpose of death cleaning is to minimize the amount of stuff, especially meaningless clutter, that you leave behind for others to deal with.”¬† As I’ve been sorting through our belongings, I’ve often had Paul and Tim in mind as we decide what to keep and what to let go of. I can never know which items will bring back memories for them, and which ones they will consider clutter to be gotten rid of, but I can make some good guesses. Keeping the next generation in mind is realizing that we are pilgrims on this earth for a time and we cannot take our earthly treasures with us. So our decisions of what to keep and what to let go of is like choosing the legacy we leave.

On a different note, I wanted to link to an article I read this morning that I found heart-warming. It’s called America’s Amish Refugee Town Faces Fresh Challenges. I did not know that these people in Lancaster are welcoming refugees. Bless these Mennonites and Amish for giving back what America gave to our ancestors centuries ago… a safe place to carry on their religion and culture.

And one more article: I’ve been extremely worried about our relations with North Korea, and I kept praying for Divine Guidance towards a peaceful resolution to what seems like a dire (and sometimes hopeless) situation. I kept looking around for wise leaders to step forward to steer this ship out of troubled waters. And then I read this article about Jimmy Carter offering to help defuse the tensions. Time will tell whether the Trump administration will allow him to do so. God, I hope so! Perhaps there is a reason Jimmy Carter still walks this earth, even after his cancer diagnosis. Thank God for the wisdom Carter has accumulated in his 93 years. May our prayers for Divine Guidance be answered, so that we may be delivered from the consequences of an outcome beyond our comprehension. May future generations and the life of the planet prevail.

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10 thoughts on “Life Reflections”

  1. So glad things are moving along well for you and David. Is Vermont just the most beautiful state or what!! I love it there. Only wish i could pay it a visit every year. I don’t envy your long road of packing. Though I have been slowly doing my version of “death cleaning” it would still take about five large moving vans to hull out all that I have accumulated in 32 years. Question,you don’t mention your sons all that often and I assume its to protect their privacy, but I am wondering how they feel about your move? Also, while I am on the subject I have often wondered how they feel about their Amish heritage. Do they embrace it, or are they disconnected from it. Do they see it as something that is a part of who you are, but not necessary part of them? Just wondering, feel free to ignore these questions!!!!! Lastly, I am so happy for you and David, you are going on quit the adventure. Thanks for taking us a long.

    1. Pamela, thank you for your kind thoughts. Yes, Vermont is just. so. beautiful. We feel fortunate for having had a reprieve from our otherwise hectic life on that weekend trip.

      Death cleaning is definitely something we’re doing during this move. I think we’ll be able to haul everything in one 20-foot truck, including David’s machines and tools. Good luck with letting go of selective parts of 32 years of accumulation.

      No, I don’t mention our sons that much because they don’t care to be written about on my blog. I remember some years after I left home, there was a time when I needed separation between myself and my parents. I don’t want to be a mom who clings. David and I’ve been giving our sons lots of leeway in establishing themselves separate from us. That comes with a price, though. One can feel too separate from one’s grown sons or daughters.

      I can say this, though: Neither of them are happy about our move to Virginia, though, that I know. But then again, we would not have chosen Brooklyn and Newark for them, either. We all realize that we have to choose a place to live that is right for us.

      Your other questions are also really good ones. I don’t know that I want to answer for Paul and Tim, but I will ask them the questions and in a future post, I will include their answers if they are open to that.

      Yes, David and I are one quite the adventure. Sometimes it’s exciting, sometimes it’s scary, and sometimes both at the same time.

      1. One 20 foot truck, that is amazing. I would like to think I could do that, but I am probably fooling myself.
        I know what you mean about the boys and letting go.It’s important to let them find their own way in the world.It’s not good to hold on too tight as you said. I was never one of those women who didn’t know what to do with themselves after the children left the nest. I have never been bored. Guess there are too many books to read,gardens to plant,new things to discover, to learn. Or it could just be because none of our six boys & their families live further away than 45 minutes!!! Paul and I keep talking about moving, but here we still stay. Some times I think it would be easier to move if they all lived in other states!
        It would be interesting to know how Paul and Tim feel about their Amish heritage, but then again maybe their too young to ask. For me at least, my heritage, my ancestors, didn’t become important until I had children of my own. Why is that? Why is wanting my children to feel some kind of connection to their deceased great and great-great aunts and uncles, their grandparents and great grandparents suddenly so important? The only answer I have come up with is that I often think of all the questions I would ask those people now if I had the chance. Questions I did not care in the least to know the answers to when I was young and now it’s too late. I suppose I just want the boys to know “from whence they come”, even if they don’t! Ha!

  2. You can see the Lord’s hand providing what you need in the time set by Him.
    I checked your new place on Google and it looks very interesting.
    All the best with packing.
    Say hi to your husband!
    Love, Wilma

    1. Thank you, Wilma, for your thoughts. I do think God is guiding this move. I also feel an angel at my left shoulder, as Marie promised she would be when she left this world. She predicted Virginia would be our next home, and it looks like she’s right.

      I will say hi to David for you, thank you.

  3. It looks like things just fell in place although I know there was much more involved. Once you are moved and settled I hope you get to know some of the horse and buggy Mennonites. Many speak the Pennsylvania Dutch with a southern drawl and I love getting them engaged in a conversation just to hear them talk.

    1. Katie, there was a lot involved, as you mentioned, but in the end, things are falling into place. We are grateful for that.

      When I was down in that area in July and August, I visited a store and got to talking with a young woman. She certainly had a southern drawl in English… I cannot imagine it in PA Dutch. I can’t wait to hear that!

      Did you know that the preachers are now giving their sermons in English in the OOM churches? It’s usually only a generation or so before the language is lost after they stop using it for community events.

      1. No, I didn’t know about English preaching in OOM churches. One of my historical friends said in almost any given culture the language and the food are the last two things to go

  4. I bring you greetings from Geauga Co. We moved here in July after 45 years in Lake Co, but my first twenty some years were spent in Newbury! We may have frequented some of the same places but at different times. Would love to hear from you.

  5. Congratulations Saloma and David!

    I do not know why exactly but after reading your updates the last few months what flooded into my heart and mind was the benediction of old that was always given to the congregation I grew up in after every single church service (see below);
    Best Regards;
    Delmer B. Martin
    (R4 Elmira Ontario CANADA)

    Numbers 6:24-26King James Version (KJV)

    24 The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:

    25 The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

    26 The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.


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