Last Thursday night, my husband and I returned from a week-long trip to England and Iceland. The trip had been in the planning stages for a year; we’d be surprising a friend in England for her 50th birthday, spending two days with her lovely family, and then circling the Snæfellsnes peninsula in Western Iceland to drink in its stunning natural beauty. We’ve been to Iceland before, but we never get tired of its breathtaking landscapes (or the sheep and Icelandic horses that dot every hillside during the spring and summer months).
It was a wonderful trip, if at times a bit stressful. For me, international travel feels more difficult than it used to be. I don’t know if I’m less used to traveling since the pandemic or if the process of rides and airports and security and flights has somehow gotten more nerve-wracking. Although I enjoyed every moment when we were in England and Iceland, I was somewhat relieved when we were at the airport in Keflavik on our last leg of the journey home.
Everything (except the plane of course, thank goodness) came crashing down as our trip came to an end. While at the airport in Keflavik waiting to board, I learned that my mother was in the hospital. Then, the day after we arrived home, the long-term contract that served as my professional job for the last year was terminated without any notice. Cease work immediately and send in your final invoice. Wow, what? And ack! THEN, while I was wrapping up the job, Jean-Paul was at an appointment learning that we were about to have a big expense to cover – something that would have been easier for us to navigate had I not just lost my job!
Sometimes the universe seems to do this sort of thing to us – pile on the challenges as if to make sure we’re not sleeping on the job of living. In truth, for a good day, I did just want to go back to sleep, or at least to close my eyes and be back on the Snæfellsnes peninsula watching thick, woolly sheep wander among the volcanoes and waterfalls. Take me back there…
That wasn’t possible, however. I was home, life is life, and there wasn’t much I could do except deal with it. For the last week I’ve been working with my siblings to help my mother through her hospitalization (she will hopefully be back at her home tomorrow, though her health remains fragile) while I’ve started the search for what’s next professionally – searching both online and in my soul for what the future really should hold for me and for us. It’s a lot to ponder all at once.
I’ve also been trying to get back into some kind of routine that includes getting back to my writing. I recently sent a new manuscript to my publisher (Huntsville Independent Press), a sequel to Soul to Soul: Tiny Stories of Hope and Resilience (which is scheduled to be released on December 1). The new book will need further work before it’s ready for publication. In the meantime, I’m anxious to see the first author copies of Soul to Soul, which apparently will be available any day now.
The only direction on this road is forward, right? I just wrote a whole book about hope and resilience; I have to practice what I preach, so to speak.
On that note, I look forward to sharing the book – with its beautiful illustrations by amazing European artist Anya Lauchlan – any day now. Stay tuned.