Fruit CocktailI’m back…but it’s been an effort. It’s been nearly two months since I’ve sat down at my computer to create what had become a weekly discipline for four years. How quickly one gets out of a routine when other things in life take precedence. But seriously, I have a good excuse. Many of them in fact. From mid-June to the end of July I’ve spent my time cleaning, purging, sorting, and packing our home of forty-five years – save for the five years we lived in Spain and England in the second half of the 70’s. Since I have a well honed penchant for orderliness and organization, it was an effort I thoroughly enjoyed.

However, it was a bit stressful when the movers began to dismantle the house in what seemed like a haphazard fashion. But their job was to put all our possession in a huge moving van like a jigsaw puzzle…to be shared with two other folks moving across country. One to Durham, NC and the other to Pennsylvania. Taking longer to load the van than expected, we left for a dinner engagement. Relieved to not see the moving van back out of the cul-de-sac with all our possessions, we nonetheless returned later to lock up the empty house enjoying one last bittersweet walk through. All was as it should be…well almost. In an awe-inspiring effort to empty the garage, it was more empty than expected. The movers had packed our mailbox!

A number of years ago my husband had created a mail slot through the wall next to the garage door and built a laminated wood box large enough to receive several weeks of mail when we were on vacation. It rested on support braces, but wasn’t attached to the wall. So the movers being faithful to their mantra “if it’s not screwed down, it gets packed,” did exactly that. What could have been a sad, saying-goodbye ending became a hilarious farewell to our beloved home. I will be forever grateful for their diligent efforts.

There was a lot of happy/sad saying goodbyes to family and friends over the next several weeks, but the day finally arrived when we took possession of our new home and the effort of moving in began. Although unaccustomed to high 90’s heat and humidity, we both worked at breakneck speed because there was ALWAYS one more thing we could put away. By the beginning of the second week we were working at half-speed. The house was largely in order…but not yet quite what we could call home. In many ways a house becomes a home through the routines learned by living in it over time.

I knew my medications were in a left-hand cupboard, but I looked in all three left-hand cupboards in the kitchen before I found them. And that is just one example of what my very wise friend Melinda calls “the effort of imprinting a new routine.” There is no question that there’s a huge amount of physical effort that goes into moving. And that isn’t as stressful as the thousands of questions that have to be asked in the process, or the thousands of decisions that have to be made…all having implications one way… or the other. BUT we are finding the effort of imprinting a new routine to be the most stressful. Enough so that it invites a hankering for old timey comfort foods.

My husband returned from the store with a carton of small curd cottage cheese and a can of fruit cocktail one afternoon. These salad ingredients haven’t appeared on our dinner menu for three or four decades. So looking a little sheepish, he confessed to feeling a bit stressed out and in need of some comfort food from childhood. Days later he fixed a more sophisticated, grown-up salade nicoise for a dinner guest. Leftovers remained from both meals. They appeared on our dinner plates side by side a day later…perhaps an edible expression of our growing efforts toward imprinting new routines. Both of us are aware of our lessening need for old comfort foods as we get more familiar with the fruit cocktail routines of our new life, our new home, and our new community. Some days it requires more effort…and comfort… than others.

What new routines might you be in thel process of imprinting? What is most stressful about that effort? What old timey comfort are you most drawn to during times of stress?

14 comments to Effort

  • Kay Galloway

    Hello, Lynn and Bob:
    Where have you moved to?
    I enjoyed the saga of your packing out and moving in to your new home.
    Please say “Hi” to the “kids” and their families from me.

    Kay Galloway and Giulio (four footed friend)

  • Linda young

    I am in the process of learning a new routine around how I do and do not respond to stress. The very strong imprint is to put something in my mouth. I still occasionally find myself in the kitchen before I recall that I am now choosing alternative ways to deal with life. I even reached for a brownie prepared by my daughter only to draw my hand back as though from a fire. I’m now aware that the imprint is beginning to take. With the gradual but steady change in thinking and responding differently I’m finding a lovely freedom rather than a prison.

    Part of this new routine includes a recumbent stationary bike and walks with my oh so sweet little dog. At first I kept forgetting but now it begins to come more naturally.

    Lynne, it is so great to hear about some of your experiences with this move. And to be able to enjoy reading your blog again. Welcome back!

  • Lynne Farrow

    Kay,we’ve moved to Cary, NC to be closer to Karen and her family.

  • Judy Alexandre

    getting used to retirement and identifying the appropriator meaningful activities in which to worship God, serve community and of course decrease spending.
    an adventure in next phases of life.

  • Robyn Lynn

    The story of Robert’s fruit cocktail and cottage cheese is very endearing.
    My husband has given a close friend the ultimate compliment: he calls her “pot pie” because he thinks of her with the same loving feelings as he does his favorite childhood comfort food.

  • Erin


    Wow! NC!! I have now, 7 friends from CA who have moved to NC. All different cities and
    they love it. And cousins there. Hope you come to love it.

    Cottage cheese and fruit cocktail! Memories! In order to get the kids to love cottage cheese, she would drizzle honey on it. Makes me laugh just thinking of it because it worked. Same with the peanut butter on the lettuce wedge.

    May your new spaces become familiar soon. Blessings!!


  • cynthia Hashbarger

    Dear Lynne.. This is so dear. but I miss you in the pool. Give me your home mailing address.please.. I loved the purchases I made at your home of your art work and many pieces now adorn our home.. But the all time favorite is the gleaners.. and it is so precious.. I have it hung outside (covered in the car port.) next to our red door .. Looks great.. Folks asked if it is home made.. and I gently answer of course it is.. and then leave it at that as to who the artist was.. Thanks for it all.. Love and happy new home.. Cynthia Fabulous memorial for Roger Lucic on Saturday at CPC.. Full house.. many tears.. but also lots of smiles.. wonderful guy he was..

  • What a change for you, but sounds like a great choice, not made without much consideration. I have to admit, when I saw the photo of the fruit cocktail, I thought it was going to be one you found in the back of the cupboard from thirty years ago. (That’s what movers would find in my house!)
    Think I’ll go purge my spice cupboard.

  • Deanna Bowling

    One of our roommates is moving on in a couple of weeks after being here for a couple of years, and our newest roommate has spent his first week of many here in the house. New people to learn, old people to say good bye to. Neither one easy.Having different people in the house always calls for different routines.

    I am glad you are doing well. North Carolina has yet to appreciate the great gift they have received in having you and Robert move into the neighborhood. Bless you both for being open to the LORD’s plan for your life.

    Love, hugs and prayers,


  • Sharron Luft

    Hi Lynne Dearie, and Robert too of course,
    It’s so good to hear from you and to hear you also! I’ve thought about you daily of course; asking Him each day to see to your well-being. I miss having the chance to chat about my final 2 weeks of spiritual direction training. It went very well and I’m excited to introduce the ideas to my congregation. They know very little right now but I’m sure that will change. I loved hearing about the process of your change and will continue watch for your postings. My love to you both. PS I’m going right home and will snack on cottage cheese and fruit cocktail; both are in my kitchen already!

  • Lee Hodges

    Four months of remodeling the kitchen…almost there, but not a day goes by that I don’t say, “now where did I put that?” We really are programmed to be creatures of habit. I guess that’s why I’ve gained 10 lbs through this process. You are greatly missed by me as well as many others, especially on Fridays when I don’t have a sushi partner.

  • Dana Thompson


    I can relate to your moving experience, but mine was much more stressful. In March we moved from our large house of almost 50 years on the top of the Santa Cruz Mountains above Los Gatos, CA down to a small house in the Town of Los Gatos within walking distance of town. Purging some of the collections of fabric and yarn were easier than all the historical accumulations of our lives and several generations. Decisions made quickly were not my idea of the way to do it. I still wonder “what happened to …”. The movers moved what furniture we could fit into the house, and we spent several weeks packing and moving boxes the 10 mile distance to town. Now I am finding places to put things in a small old house and continue to sort and get rid of more things. The next move will be my kids responsibility.

    Enjoy your new environment.

  • Judy Siudara

    Well, Lynne, I think you should ocassionally( but not very often) take some time away from your blog because I think this is one of the best recollections of the moving process I’ve ever read, even if I didn’t know you! I hope some day these blogs will appear in written form , to read over again and savor. Blessings to you and Robert in your new location. i will be back in N.C. in Sept. and hope to have Karen and I come over to visit you after that.Of course, at your timing! Love and thanks for this inspiring journey process. Judy

  • Pat Alexander

    Thank you so much for your continuing inspiration and encouragement. Your description and analysis of moving is so helpful, describing what we have already experienced and reminding us to prepare wisely for the future. I know your CA friends will miss you deeply, but your family in NC is blessed that you are near. Now we’ll eagerly await what God will do in and through you in this new ministry field.
    Warmly in Christ, Pat Alexander

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