A Sure Thing

Predicting the future has never been an easy thing to do, but these days, it’s become completely impossible.  If 2020 has taught us nothing else, it’s that life is uncertain and plans are often nothing more than optimistic hopes.  And I have to say that I really, really, don’t like living this way.

One of my coping mechanisms for dealing with difficulties has always been to have something…anything…to look forward to.  Dreaming of our annual January vacation on the beach is what gets me through the cold and dark Winter days, and even something as small as knowing I have dinner reservations at my favorite restaurant can lift my spirits on a particularly stressful day. 

I’m never happy to see Summer end, but knowing that the holidays are coming has always made it easier to accept.  Yet who knows if I’ll be able to host a family Thanksgiving dinner this year, or if we’ll see extended family at Christmas?  These days, it sometimes seems that looking forward to something is a sure-fire way to make sure it doesn’t actually happen.

Which is why I very deliberately didn’t think much about the family weekend getaway we had planned for the end of September.  My husband and I had booked a house at a nearby lake community for three nights and invited our children and grandchildren to join us.  I knew it would be great fun if we managed to pull it off, but I waited until the very last minute to begin buying our supplies and packing our things, just in case.

fullsizeoutput_5ceeAnd miracle of miracles, it all worked out.  The house had a gorgeous view of the lake and plenty of room for everyone, and the weather was great. We found time to relax and unwind, while some of us golfed, fished, visited a nearby winery, made crafts, went horseback riding, played games, or went for walks in the woods.  The lake was warm enough to try the paddle boards and I even managed to go kayaking without falling into the water (another miracle).

All in all, we had a wonderful time and it’s a weekend I won’t soon forget.  Finally being able to “get away” for a while was great, and spending quality time with the people I love was even better.  But perhaps the greatest gift of all was realizing that, even in these crazy and uncertain times, sometimes the things we look forward to really do happen.  And knowing that gives me all the hope I need.

93 thoughts on “A Sure Thing

    • Thanks, Janis! I honestly don’t mind what Thanksgiving brings, but I do hope that I can include my mom in our Christmas celebration. It breaks my heart to think of her having to celebrate alone in her retirement home, but only time will tell.

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  1. I’m so happy that you had those beautiful and precious days, Ann. Life is easier to face when we’ve had some respite and yours was just beyond lovely. God looks out for us and He gives what we need in His time. That’s not easy to trust in because we always believe we know best what’s good for us and when it should come. But when we keep our eyes on the path in front of us and not strain too hard to make out what lies ahead, it is indeed beautiful to discover that God places gentle surprises along the way.

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    • Thanks, Lorie! Personally, I can’t live without hope, so I am so very grateful for these little gifts along the way that provide it. Attitude is so important, especially in trying times, and the times we get to spend with our loved ones, just having fun, helps keep mine positive!

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  2. Getting away is the best. Unfortunately, 2 of our kids live too far away to join us and the other 2 are working, one in health care, so not yet in our bubble. Hopefully, once a treatment or vaccine is ready. In the meantime, we 2 are having a great time by the lake in the mountains. Allan

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    • I’m so sorry you aren’t able to be with your kids right now! But it sounds as if you have a great attitude about it, and I can tell from your blog that you and your wife are certainly making the best of the situation. Thanks for sharing your photos and adventures with us….it cheers me up!

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    • Yes, it was just what we needed! We spent a little more than we wanted to on the house, but the reason was just what you said: who knew how the weather would be? But the house had a lower level with a ping-pong table, a pool table, a piano and a TV, plus we all brought games and my daughter brought some Halloween crafts for us to do. So we figured if we were stuck in the house, we could still have fun. An extra bonus was there was a screened-in porch with a roof, so if it was raining, we could still sit in that at enjoy the outdoors, plus almost every room had a view of the lake. I also thought that if my husband was feeling especially bad because of the chemo, at least he could lie on the couch and look at the lake, rather than lying on the couch at home and looking at the same four walls. Luckily, he was feeling well enough to fish and enjoy our family!

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    • Thank you so much! Yes, I do feel so very lucky that it all worked out. As for the holidays, I’m okay if we just gather with our kids, but I don’t want my mom to be stuck at the retirement home all by herself, so I’m really hoping that we’re able to at least include her. Fingers crossed!

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  3. I am so happy to hear that in spite of all things that could have gone wrong your family get-away worked out just fine. The lesson we learn from this is to be more patient with ourselves and others when events don’t agree with our expectations and to rejoice and to be thankful when they do.

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    • That’s exactly the way to look at it, Peter! Accept when things don’t work out, and be extra happy when they do. Which, if you think about it, isn’t such a bad way to look at things even when we aren’t in the middle of a pandemic.

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    • This becomes harder with each passing week, and the dire predictions about how long it will be before it is over don’t help one bit. I think the trick is to figure out how to live as normally as we can during a pandemic, because otherwise we’re going to go absolutely nuts! (Not to mention broke.) This weekend was a good reminder that we can still have a family getaway, and I really needed that!

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  4. Hi Ann. I felt the same way after coming home from 3 tentatively planned day trips to the beach this summer. I didn’t want to get too excited about going, but after making some changes based on the first trip, we made it work. I felt almost normal!

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  5. So many of your posts inspire me. So many of your posts touch my heart. This one made me so very happy. God does work in mysterious ways on our behalf. He has the perfect timing…He knows the deepest wishes of our hearts. He knows those wishes before we ourselves know! Moments of joy are what we cling to in these hours of so much uncertainty. One thing remains constant….the love that abides in our hearts for God and one another. I am so glad you had a wonderful trip to the lake with family. I love the photo of you in the kayak. The lake looks wonderful, and so do you!

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    • You’re right, Linda, the timing couldn’t have been better, and the memories of that weekend will help us so much in the challenging weeks ahead. And I agree that trusting in the love of God helps so much too…that is enduring and constant, which is so very much needed right now.

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  6. So glad that this worked out for you and you had a wonderful weekend. I never thought back in March when I was saying to people “well, we can do xyz in the autumn instead” that we would still be living like this now. I think I’m now just about learning to lower my expectations and look forward to the small things.

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    • Me either, Anabel! I actually got very annoyed with people who suggested that the pandemic would stretch into mid-Summer, and then we’d get a brief break before it returned in the Fall. Now I would give anything for that late summer break! Like you, I’ve lowered my expectations….but I’m also hopeful for a vaccine and/or better treatment. It helps to know that scientists all over the world are working on it, and they are making progress. I’m sure it won’t happen as quickly as I want it to, but it still helps to know!

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    • This morning I was going through old emails for whatever reason, lo and behold I came across email exchanges with a friend I met online four years ago. There were so many of them and even a couple of pictures exchanged too. But what baffled me was my inability to remember the necessary details of how the interaction began online; then moved to emails and more importantly why it ended in December 2016. I decided to send a reply to his last email ( there you have it, a guy) just to check up on him really in this Pandemic era. But I received a response that the email address no longer exist. The lesson I learnt this morning are as follows: The problems of life though real tend to fade with time. But sometimes rather than wait for time to change our perspective, we can take the proactive step of deliberately changing our perspective even in the face of these problems. More like deliberately assuming g a stronger edge over the problem and believing that we will win and outlive the situation. Going through the emails reminded me of how frustrated I was then for being single, just not meeting the right man, not starting a family at the age I wanted..the list went on and on. But to think now I can attest to the fact that I have moved on from such burdens and living life from a positive lens. By the way still single, still value marriage, children and all the ups and downs that come with it. But definitely not worried anymore.

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      • Thank you so much for sharing that! I was recently thinking along the same lines, regarding the animal shelter where I volunteer. I remembered how very upset I used to get when they would change a policy or make a new rule that I thought wasn’t in the best interests of the volunteers, and honestly, now I can’t even remember most of the things that upset me so much. Which is a good lesson, as you say. When a problem comes up, just deal with it and then let it go. All that worry and angst isn’t worth it, and doesn’t really change a thing. Good for you for figuring that out!

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  7. Life is full of care but we try to pass anything.There are many problem in the our life .Some are happy and some are sorrow.Life has two edge one is sorrow .One has happiness.So we try to solve every problem.

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    • Thanks, Svet! It was very a very enjoyable weekend, and I’m glad I was able to kayak too. The first day, I just thought about it but didn’t actually try. But the second day, I figured the worst that could happen was I’d fall in the lake, which wasn’t very deep where we were and was very clean. So I went for it, and I’m so glad I did!

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  8. We’ve already cancelled Thanksgiving plans, Ann. That said, I’ve had some family visits over the summer, just being as careful as we can be. Summer is great in that we can all stay outside and find things to do without breathing all over each other. Lol. I’m glad you have a wonderful time with family. Happy October.

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  9. So great that you were able to get away. Since we can’t be certain of plans, yes, some of us have to do what we can and look forward to what we know will come. I look forward to the end of Summer AND the end of Daylight Saving Time. I long for the cold air and early nights. I am hoping that this heatwave we are in right now will be the last (GOOD BYE OBNOXIOUS WEATHER!) and we will soon have cool days. And one more month of Daylight Saving Time and we can be done with it for a few (too few) months! I am hearing about people getting out and visiting family more and more so hopefully it can happen more frequently for those who feel safe doing it! Glad you had a great time.

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    • Thanks, Terre! You sound like one of my good friends, who also prefers the colder weather. Personally, I like the warmer weather, even during normal years, but with Covid, the idea of a long cold Winter is especially depressing. But things really will get better one of these days, I just need to learn patience!

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      • To me the summer is depressing, especially right now when it is so hot but we can’t open the windows because the air quality is so bad. Summer is not only hot it is scary (although Fall is peak fire season). Could be that we live in different places, because no snow makes for a great winter. I don’t know that I would love winter so much if I had to deal with snow. 🙂

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  10. “looking forward to something is a sure-fire way to make sure it doesn’t actually happen”…I resonate with this. It is saddening sometimes. But it is really good that your getaway pushed through. Hope the holidays be the same 🙂❤️

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    • Thank you so much! And yes, theses days it does seem that if we look forward to something, it is definitely not going to happen. That’s why I was almost surprised when our weekend worked out! I hope that the things you are looking forward to happen as well!

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  11. I couldn’t agree more, when it comes to having something to look forward to! What I find most difficult with the covid situation is not knowing when it will end. I’m so glad you could have your getaway!

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    • Me too! If we just had an idea how much longer we had to cope with this mess, I’d feel so much better. And all the people who love to say it will be years before we’re anything near normal do not help at all. But the truth is, no one knows for sure. Yet i do have faith in the science and medical communities, which are working very hard on answers and solutions!

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      • Yes! The people who say things like it will be years or never should just shut up because they take away people’s hope. An Irish politician said something like that on the news a couple of weeks ago and I totally crashed. I’ve bedn struggling to keep up a decent mood since then. The hope to get back to a somewhat normal life is the only thing that keeps me going and if that’s taken away I don’t see a reason to go on with life. After that I decided to only check the news once a day for important updates, to totally focus on my creative and writing projects, and to only read research articles. I also completely trust science, and there is some hopeful news about new discoveries.

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        • I think part of the problem is that this pandemic has given politicians more power than they’ve ever had before, and they are in no hurry to give it up! But honestly, anyone who says that they know exactly how or when this will end is lying. I think it will be a long time before we go completely back to normal…as in being able to fly all over the world, even to countries that can’t afford to give all their citizens the vaccine…, but I do believe we will be mostly back to normal in a few more months. Like you, I need that hope to keep hanging on and I don’t need any of the doomsayers telling me otherwise.

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  12. I’m glad that you and your family were able to get away, and I’m glad you have a family to get away with. It’s been years now since I’ve had family to celebrate the holidays with, and learning to live with that has been an interesting experience. But it’s a fact of life, as they say: we adjust where we must, and create new ways of living along the way. In truth, that’s the way I’ve dealt with the pandemic. If there are ways I must adjust, I do. Otherwise, I go my own way, and pay no attention to the doom-sayers. It makes waiting for conditions to change somewhat easier.

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    • I’ve learned to ignore the doom-sayers as well! How they manage to live with no hope for the future, don’t ask me, but it’s sure not how I want to live my life. Nor do I think it’s how I have to live my life! I do believe that we will develop a vaccine for this which will be effective enough to let us get back to our lives, and we have already come a long way in effective treatments. And that’s going to continue. My husband asked his doctor about it the other day, and his doctor was far more positive about what he was saying now than he was when we first spoke to him in June. So we are making progress, no matter what anyone says.

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  13. I tend to be a planner, too, and if nothing else, this pandemic has reminded me of the saying “Man plans and God laughs.” I’m happy for you that you were able to get together with family — I haven’t seen my only sis in months, and both of us are eager for a return visit! Keep your spirits up and keep hoping for better times!

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    • Thanks, Debbie! I hope you are able to see your sister soon, and I believe that things will eventually get better. Meanwhile, we learn to be patient and to deal with living our lives in a much more spontaneous manner!

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