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  • Beth Hoffman

The Peace of Making a Decision

The choosing was agony. So many sleepless nights, listening to the air conditioner chug away, my eyes wide open as John snoozed peacefully next to me.

The full moon behind the clouds

But then, once I decided to stay in Iowa, peace settled back in. It is not that I am now sure everything will be perfect, it is just that moving on with life and committing to a decision feels really good after weeks of being paralyzed with fear.


It also doesn't hurt to feel supported by everyone we know. Brilliant advice poured in from so many of you, like from Pego who recommended that I should visualize the positive outcomes instead of just the negative possibilities of the change. And Terri's Peace Corp trick not to think about whether or not you made a good choice for a block of time (6 months) so you don't second guess yourself, is pure gold.


To ease my way into Iowa and not close every door behind me, USF granted me a Leave of Absence. My job will be there for me in the spring if I want (or need) it, lifting a giant burden - I don't have to completely decide anything until I get a chance to live here and experience it for myself.


We've settled into a nice, super busy, routine. We rise around 6:00 and John heads out into the dew covered dawn to move the cows before the heat of the day arrives. I continue my tree trimming - now battling limbs to uncover farm equipment hidden for decades in the brush, looking for the hidden gems we might want to keep or could be able sell. In the afternoon I try to write the hopefully soon-to-be-completed book proposal.


The garden it going off!

We work in the garden, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers now growing at a remarkable rate, while the watermelon and squash plants take over any patch of empty soil. The two vining plants seem to hold hands when their tendrils meet.


And then there is the hay, one of the centerpieces of farm life in southern Iowa. John cuts and rakes it, another guy bales it, the process always at some stage on the farm - whether we are talking about it, getting ready for it, or just completing it.


Often the sheer amount of work there is to do feels overwhelming, work for a small army and then some. 50 years of deferred maintenance have caught up with the farm, and at times it feels like the place resembles more of a trash heap than a vibrant landscape of any kind. Add to that all of the logistics we now need to work out - from where to now get health care to how we can afford to buy the four wheeler we desperately need...it sometimes makes my head spin.

New kittens! The small one on the left was abandoned by its biological mother, then rescued by a different mama cat and added to her litter

The days fly by, the summer steadily waning, tiny birds and kittens growing larger each day. And it feels good. Good to have made a decision and moved forward in life. Good to be committed to spending time with my husband and watching our relationship deepen. Good to work hard and sweat a cleansing, soaking sweat. Good to work on this blog and on the book idea and to see how much I can learn.


Who knows all that might bloom for us this fall.