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Turtle Run Ranch Changes Everything

If you’ve been following my blog, you may have noticed that I’ve been absent for quite some time. In spite of the fact that my hubby and I never got COVID, “2020” seriously did a number on me and I had to let some things go…

Letting go has always been hard for me…my old thought habits make me feel that, in laying something down, I have been a failure or, at the very least, a disappointment. So while 2020 was extremely difficult, I grew a lot as a person.

I learned that setting something down does not mean I’ve failed…it means I can pick it back up later when I can give it more attention.

One reason I needed to take a break from my routines had to do with travel. My hubby had wanted to move back to FL for a very long time. He’s not a happy camper in cold weather, even though TN is considered to have “mild” winters. He asked me what I thought about moving south. “Warmer” sounded good in February, so when both of our businesses came to a screeching halt in March, we hit the road looking for adventure and possibly a new life. Our first road trip in March, covering the FL panhandle, came up completely empty. The only thing we found that even remotely resembled our downsizing dream, was a 2 1/2 acre lot, mostly cleared, but we would have to build. As we started researching what the FL building codes, permits and requirements would be, we quickly knew that was NOT the option for us. Road trip #2 in April was much longer as we explored first the east side of the state going as far south as Delray Beach and then back up the west side. We put an offer in on a property and were outbid, so we started the trip back to TN. We had been on the road for several hours when a new listing came up and we both felt we needed to turn around and look at it.

I learned that home really is where the heart resides.

My hubby and I are opposites…I mean, as in 100% opposite. The fact that we both felt pulled toward this property was a miracle in and of itself. But when we met the realtor at the house, we knew the minute we walked in that this was the one. “Turtle Run Ranch” was born and today it’s a place of peace and rest for both of us. (More on the “ranch” later)

I learned that saying good bye is hard, but if you use it, technology can ease the pain.

When we moved to FL, I had to leave my family behind… My 3 kids are now grown so I wasn’t seeing them as often as I would have liked but at least they were in the same town and I could be there if they needed me. Same for my mom…she is not in the greatest housing situation and I spent many sleepless nights trying to figure out how to fix that (I’ll save those thoughts for another post.) My dearest friends, who are like sisters to me, are still connecting and we are able to support each other through video chats and texts. I was worried I would lose touch with many of the people I care about, but I was wrong and my heart is so blessed by each of these beautiful people.

I learned, on more than one occasion, that life is fragile and deserves love and gentleness.

2020 brought 2 near death experiences into our life. A spring tornado passed by in the middle of the night, just 2 blocks away from our TN home. We heard it coming and were able to get to safety in our walk out basement…for those of you who have never lived through a tornado, it is a sound you don’t ever forget. We seriously thought these were going to be our last living moments as we clung to each other in fear. Once it passed, we stepped outside with our flashlights in hand, to survey the damage. Aside from a few downed tree limbs and losing power, our house and our neighbors and their homes all appeared to be ok so we went back to bed and tried to get some sleep. About an hour later, I knew something wasn’t right as emergency vehicles continued to travel up our street…all night long. In the morning, I took a walk to see what was going on and was in shock as I rounded the bend in the road. Entire blocks of houses were completely gone…as in, just the foundation remained. I learned later that one couple was killed just 2 blocks from our home. While I’ve always considered life to be sacred and fragile, I suddenly realized just how fleeting our life and lifestyle truly are. I now cherish little miracles and snippets of time with a whole new perspective.

I learned to be content.

For the first time in my life, I am truly content. I don’t drive a new car but I love the one I have and enjoy not having a car payment. My house was built in the early 80’s and has had very little updating, but it’s a log cabin and I love the rustic nature of it. Are there things I’d like to change, oh yeah! But I realized yesterday, as I swung on my porch swing, I’m content. I’m at peace with where things are at. I could live here for the rest of my life and not change a thing…and still be content. Maybe part of it is my age, but after 2020, I no longer feel the need to have the latest and greatest. My appliances are old…the dishwasher has rust stains inside from the iron deposits from our well, the freezer door doesn’t seal properly unless you close it just right, the microwave is missing the turnplate inside…I could go on but it really doesn’t matter. I truly have everything I need and that is a beautiful, warm and wonderful feeling of freedom.

I learned that joy and laughter are vital to a healthy life.

The second near death experience came in October when the love of my life almost died. He had a “widow-maker” heart attack at the age of 51 and, thanks to a friend of his, got to the hospital in time for an emergency stent. The stress of 2020 had finally caught up to us…tornado, finding a home, prepping a home to sell, putting a house on the market, downsizing, packing up and moving out of state, getting settled, and building fencing, all by ourselves, had taken a a hard toll on us. We were in survival mode, ate a lot of “drive through” and weren’t taking care of our bodies. We didn’t smile or laugh much for several months. STRESS. When I thought I was losing him, I realized how much pressure we had put on ourselves to complete tasks and realized that we had forgotten how to live, how to enjoy the moment, and how to have fun.

Yes, 2020 was HARD and yet it changed me in ways that I’m trying hard to maintain.

I learned to speak kindly to my own heart and that doing the best I can is a gift to others, even when my perfectionism thinks otherwise. The smallest of actions carried out in the spirit of love is all that’s really needed in this world…

What did 2020 teach you? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Reflection

In the Blink of an Eye

You’ve heard it all before…

“everything can change in the blink of an eye”

“you never know what tomorrow will bring”

“live as if today is your last day”

and so many more.

It’s easy to spout off these cliché’s without even thinking about it, but they will haunt you after you’ve had a brush with disaster.

I live in Mount Juliet TN on Clearview Drive. Monday night changed our world.

My hubby and I are some of the fortunate ones and so thankful for that. Our carport was moved three feet and dented my truck. (This is a pretty heavy item that we normally move by pulling with our truck and work van.) But for us, that was the only damage on our property.

We are grieving for our neighbors… some lost a little, some lost a lot, and some lost everything. When I walked down our street, it was clear that our little dent was trivial.

It took me 2 days to process what I saw on that walk. A block away, there were some downed trees…2 blocks away, add some missing shingles…3 blocks away, add gutters and shutters missing…4 blocks away roofs were gone…after that it was a war zone…entire blocks were leveled.

People say “Get over it; you’re alive and your house is fine” and yes, I agree, at some point I will get over it. But I heard the freight train coming and thought we were going to die and when I walked through our neighborhood, I realized just how close that thought was to being true. That realization changes you on a deep level. There is something more for me to do with my life. There is more encouragement, help and love for me to give to others. I was created for more than the status quo I’d been living.

Yes this tornado changed me and I’m still processing it all, but I do know that I will be keeping a reminder in a place where I can see it every day…a reminder to live a life fully in the moment and completely through my heart each and every day.