The Long View and Happy New Year

As usual, I am reflecting on the year that is coming to an end (in just a few hours) and looking forward to the new year, wondering what it will bring. The year 2017 has brought many changes to my life. I am not labeling them good or bad, but merely thinking about their ramifications for what they mean in the coming year for David and me. I still have pangs when I think about the home we left, but open to finding a home here in the Shenandoah Valley. I try to keep the long view. This photo I took on our way to Charlottesville the other day helps me to keep my eyes on the horizon. In this case, it was a beautiful view, with all the colors in the sky that day and the mountains off in the distance.

Photo by Saloma Furlong: Scenic overlook near Waynesboro, Virginia

David and I traveled to Vermont for Christmas. I did not keep my promise of taking photos as I’d planned. In fact, I never even pulled my camera out of my backpack. It seems David and I were in survival mode the whole trip. Our plan was to leave in Friday before Christmas, but I happened to look at the weather predictions on Thursday afternoon. I said, “Oh, oh, we better leave today.” We hurried up our packing and headed out at 5:30 PM and drove all night to arrive at our son, Paul’s place in Barrie, Vermont before sunrise on Friday. We had dry roads the whole trip, and after midnight we had the roads pretty much to ourselves. We traded off driving and pulled over to sleep a few times. Were we ever travel weary when we got to Paul’s place. So we went right to bed and slept five hours. When we awoke, we were snowed in. Interstate 89 was closed between Montpelier and Burlington for part of the day, it was so dangerous to be on the road.

Paul owns an all-wheel drive vehicle with snow tires, and he was able to drive us around for the first two days. Then when we could drive out the van, we did and stayed at a hotel in Burlington for the next two nights. Tuesday, after visiting with David’s siblings and our sons, we then headed south and drove all night again. We were so glad to arrive home safely. And was our car ever a salty mess! Yuck! We cleaned it at a self-service car wash the next day. I’ve never seen so much grit and salt come off a vehicle before.

David and I enjoyed visiting with three of his four siblings and their spouses for Christmas Day and the following day. We hadn’t been to a family gathering for several years. It was also good to spend time with Paul for two days. We saw Tim and his girlfriend, Niina, for just a few hours before we left to drive home. We’ll be seeing them next week when we travel to New Jersey. We’ll be staying with them for the first time since Tim moved to New Jersey.

So overall, David and I were glad we went to Vermont, but we’re also glad to get back to Harrisonburg, our new home.

Upon our arrival home, I discovered a nice surprise in my email inbox. It was from Tucson Festival of Books, and the first word in the email was “Congratulations!” I read on to find I have won first place in their literary contest in the category of nonfiction. Wha… I could not believe my eyes! Then I could not stop smiling for the rest of the day. I just kept saying, “Oh David, I am so excited!” (I think he got tired of it after about the tenth time).

In March I’ll be heading off to Tucson to accept my prize an to attend the Masters Workshop offered to winners. David will travel with me, and we plan to visit the Grand Canyon while we’re in Arizona. Neither of us has ever been there before.

David and I continue our search for a new home. For us there is a question of whether to settle within the city limits or in the countryside outside Harrisonburg. We’re leaning towards the countryside, so David has plenty of room for gardening.

David and I will head off to First Night here in Harrisonburg tonight. We need to bundle up… it is cold out there for Virginia. It is predicted to go down into the single digits here tonight. Predictions are for Barre, Vermont to get temperatures of -18 and windchill factors of -32 tonight. Good thing Paul is rugged. I hope he manages to stay warm. We’ll do our best to do the same.

I’ll close this last post of 2017 wishing you all a Happy New Year. May you realize your hopes and dreams and find tranquility in the little things. I also want to thank all of you who have read my posts and commented over the past year(s). Without you, there would be no point in writing these posts. I am grateful for your readership.

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28 thoughts on “The Long View and Happy New Year”

  1. Saloma,
    We have traveled together for several years now. Whenever I feel the need I play the Amish videos that contain your voice. You are a strong model for me. I love this new adventure that you are on. All the best as you look for the house that defines you.
    May God bless and keep you in the New Year,

    1. Janeen, I appreciate your kind words and I am humbled by what you wrote. I never know how to feel about being names someone’s role model, but it is good to know that we are on parallel journeys.

      Blessings to you in the new years as well.

  2. Happy New Year from southern Indiana! How cool that you won that award and get to see a new-to-you part of God’s creation! I’m not Amish, just enjoy reading non-fiction Amish memoirs, how I found your books and blog posts. I still need to read Bonnet Strings. I look forward to following your continuing story.

    1. Thank you, Anne, for reading my blog and books. Yes, I’m looking forward to seeing the Southwest in March. I’ve been wanting to travel there for a long time.

      Happy New Year to you.

  3. Congratulations, Saloma! That sounds like quite the honor and will alsol make for a memorable trip :) I hope you have a Happy New Year with bright blessings ahead.

  4. Congratulations, Saloma! In the past I used to ponder on this question: Which would I prefer- being given a million dollars by someone or earning HALF a million through my writing? Again, congratulations! It’s got to be a thrill.

    Your picture of the Waynesboro area reminded me: In the 1950s my family lived about three miles from the Waynesboro city limits. I have visited since and discovered there are prettier places in the world. :)


    1. Elva, thank you. That is an interesting question. I’d take the half for my writing, hands down.

      I can only imagine that the grandeur of Alaska’s mountains make the ones around here look like molehills.

      As you have pointed out before… it’s nice when we find the place that feels like home. Though I’d love to visit Alaska, I think I’d perish in the long winters there.

      May you have a wonderful 2018!

  5. Happy New Year to you, Saloma. I’ve enjoyed your blog for several years now. 2017 was exciting with every post as you’ve made big changes. Looking forward to 2018 as you continue to settle in. Congratulations on your award.

  6. Congratulations!! So good to read. I would mention it non stop I guess…
    Travel in snow is not fun. But God brought you all safely home.
    Hope you will find a house soon. If you find not one right now then He will direct you to a place He has for you.
    Blessings from our home to yours!

    1. Wilma, thank you for your kind words. Yes, that is what I am relying on… that the right house will come up for David and me and that we’ll be able to afford it.

      Blessings to you in the New Year!

  7. Congratulations Saloma! First place – how wonderful but I am not surprised. Your books are hard to put down. Hoping you have a new book soon.

    Every blog entry I read of yours I find out how much more we have in common. A blog you wrote in November you mentioned waiting in line to get gas at Sheetz and how David makes you laugh. We thought Sheetz was only here in PA – we have a couple close to our home. Bob also makes me laugh and our pastor and his wife even mentioned how we make them laugh on their Christmas card to us. When I signed their card from us Bob said to sign it Ricky and Lucy. A week or so prior to that Bob had several of us at church laughing so hard we were crying. Bob has a way of making me laugh often and we really enjoy each other’s company.

    We both have the same van, and we both have a son who lives in Vermont. Our son who as you know lives in Georgia grew up in Barre and so did I (lived in Springfield MA 1968 to Dec 1976 where Bob grew up). We lived on Walnut St in Barre for almost 30 years – just up the hill from the library. My mom worked at National Life Insurance Co in Montpelier for many years. My dad worked at Rock of Ages quarry for years until he was crushed by falling ice when he was 50 – he never worked again. I recently found a 30 minute movie on youtube about the granite industry called The Stone Whistle and watching that I saw the quarry the way my dad saw it everyday from inside the hole.

    A very good friend of mine who still lives in Barre and works at the library has a daughter who lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

    I do not miss the cold and snow of Vermont. Nor do I miss rusty cars and salty roads, nor the muddy dirt roads. It seems like the snow up there does not melt all winter. When I was in high school we had about a week of minus 20 to minus 25 and we had to walk to school. The 5th day of those temps my dad woke me up for school and I asked him what the temperature was and he said -25 so I stayed in bed. It was in the 1960s and we had to walk.

    Happy New Year. It is exciting to be able to look forward to a new house this coming year. I understand what you are feeling as it was exactly 10 years ago we were looking for a new home here in PA while we lived with our daughter. I was missing our 100 year old Victorian in Barre (I still do miss it.)

    Don’t stop writing.

    1. Michele, I love hearing about our parallel lives! I so hope to meet you and your husband someday.

      I don’t miss the cold and snow of Vermont either, especially the long stretches of sub-zero temps. But last night it felt like we were back there when David and I were walking to our van after the shows we attended at First Night… I had tears from the cold by the time I got in the van!

      I’m so sorry to hear about your dad’s accident. That is the thing about those quarries… they are so dangerous.

      Looking for a house can be both exciting and anxiety-provoking. I think I found it more on the exciting end of the spectrum when I was younger, but now not so much.

      Thank you for your kind words about writing. I have every intention of continuing to write, thanks to loyal readers like you… thank you!

      I appreciate your comments, as always.

      Happy New Year to you and your family.

      1. Hi again,

        We did meet once at a book talk at Mt Joy, PA several years ago. When I read Bonnet Strings I felt I had known you my whole life. Of course we did not get much chance to talk then but I am hoping we can take a trip down and visit your airb&b. You are about 3 hours from us.

        With our connections to the same areas in VT we may even run into each other there one day. I have not been back to Barre since my mom died in April 2014 but I still have relatives and friends there. A friend and neighbor there has called a couple of times lately. We are planning on going to Barre when we go up again.

        I agree with you about the anxiety of looking for a new home. We did end up settling for a house without a porch and oh how I miss my porches. But we are warm – warmer than our old house. Although I miss the wood stove. I think if I were you I would move a out of the city and more into the country even though I love being so close to everything.

        I do have wonderful outside clothes lines to hang my clothes out. I also love the smell of my sheets when they have been hung out in the cooler weather.

        God Bless you both,

  8. Saloma,
    Congratulations from a Native Arizonan reader! I hope you get to enjoy as much of this wonderful state as possible. And that the weather is as perfect when you’re here as it has been most of this winter. There are SO many interesting and beautiful places in Arizona. I’m happy that you and David are going to get to see the Grand Canyon. Although the weather there will be considerably chillier than Tucson’s. I love Arizona and hope you have an amazing time while you’re here!

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