Learning to Start Over
I am a stranger in the earth; do not hide your commands from me.
Psalm 119:19 (NASB)
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
Ephesians 2:19-22 (NASB)
It’s an odd thing to reinvent yourself. No matter how old you are, how many places you’ve lived, or why you might change your name, shifting from one perspective to another changes the color of your world. My husband and I sold the home we’d bought together when our children were toddlers. It was our first home, an old, old house with a growly charm and no square angle. We worked and worshiped, made and lost friends, enjoyed nature in the community, and raised our family.
In the middle of our lives we planned for the next step and bought a farm across the state where we spent occasional weekends. Years later my husband retired and we tied up loose ends, sold the old home to a young person who we hoped would appreciate its foibles, and built new.
We may have always known we were going to repot ourselves, but the reality is, we are starting a new life nearly from scratch in our late fifties. It’s surprisingly refreshing, a little daunting, and just as full of trial and error as when we were in our twenties. My husband and I have rediscovered how to spend time with each other and are learning how to make new friends. We fill our empty spaces with grandkids and a new church, different places to shop, experiments with how to heat our new house and ways to share the new arrangements of rooms.
My career came with me. I write and coach writers. In my stories, my characters often undergo radical changes, some by choice and some by outside forces they can’t control. Conflict drives the story! My new mystery series is a microworld of people who need a fresh start, and come together through a mutual love of their pet cats. Ivy had a long-time relationship crumble to dust, and Adam’s family died tragically in an accident. They were coping, but jumped at the invitation of their friend Donald to uproot themselves and help him revitalize a community he loved. Just like my husband and me, Ivy and Adam have to figure out how to meld with their new community. They are strangers, and have to face a scary situation with others they don’t know.
Ivy had a peripheral relationship with God; she’d just let it slide. But she always knew faith wasn’t something tangible a person could set aside or pick up at a garage sale. Her move came with the opportunity to refresh her faith and remind Adam that their struggles weren’t personal affronts from a lofty, out-of-reach God. They found more friends and learned how to trust and fit in, despite the miserable situation that developed shortly after they arrived in their new town.
Personality definitely plays a part in how well we adapt. But we are creatures capable of great change. One day our new neighborhood will be the greater kingdom of heaven where there will be no strangers and we’ll all fit in.
Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your encouraging story! Readers, Lisa is giving away an ebook copy of Meow Misteltoe, a novella that introduces her series (more information below). One winner will be drawn from the commenters on January 30th!
Lisa Lickel is an author, editor, and mentor who lives with her husband in the rolling hills of western Wisconsin. She writes inspiring fiction both short and full-length, including mysteries, romance, and family drama, feature articles, and radio theater. She belongs to the Wisconsin Writers Association, the Chicago Writers Association and is a writing coach at Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp & Retreat. Lisa loves to encourage new authors through mentoring, speaking, and leading workshops. Lisa also is an avid book reviewer and blogger, and a freelance editor. Find more at www.LisaLickel.com.
Ivy has just cause to be wary of men. Her long-time fiancé backed out of their wedding. The slow fizzle of their undramatic relationship leaves her wondering if romance is a myth.
Then, Adam, an intriguing new member of her pet organization, catches Ivy’s attention. Unfortunately, his cat Isis, a beautiful purebred Egyptian Mau, prefers to pick on her cat, Memnet. Ivy would like to get to know Adam better, but with her self-esteem in the gutter and feline fights at every turn, she wonders how to proceed.
When Ivy agrees to help a clingy friend find her missing pet, she learns that true love doesn’t need theatrics. There’s hope for Adam and Ivy, if only their cats would approve.
After being left at the altar, Ivy Amanda McTeague Preston
uproots herself and her cat, an Egyptian Mau named Memnet, from her boring and
lonely life to start over at the urging of Mayor Conklin, a fellow pedigreed
Ready to move in a fresh direction, Adam Thompson accepts the mayor’s invitation and uproots himself and his beloved Mau, Isis, to open a branch of his trendy bookstore and coffee shop in the small town.
When Ivy takes a mysterious message while the mayor is away on business, only her criminology professor mom and Adam believe there’s something rotten in Apple Grove. Then Ivy discovers the community grant money that Adam was allotted to start the store is mysteriously being siphoned off, a dead body surfaces, and the victim’s missing Mau becomes the primary suspect. . .just another day in Ivy’s far-from-boring new life.
In love with Apple Grove and with Adam, Ivy hopes to carry on their romance while saving the town from further mayhem.
Buy Meow Mayhem from your favorite retailer, print available February 1
THE FINE PRINT: CONTEST VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. ONLY US RESIDENTS WILL BE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE A PAPERBACK COPY. EACH COMMENTER IS ASSIGNED A NUMBER AND THE WINNER IS DRAWN USING RANDOM.ORG. WINNERS WILL HAVE TWO WEEKS FROM THE DATE OF THE DRAWING TO CLAIM THEIR PRIZE.