I know. I have been MIA for more than the six weeks I told you I would be gone. Some of you already knew why I was taking such a long break.

We took a month-long European vacation, and I didn’t think it wise to advertise that we would be gone that long. We have been planning this trip for a year. It was a retirement trip for Tom and me, but we also went with our daughter Becky, her husband Roger, and our grandchildren, Zach, Genevieve, and Grace.

If you talked to me before we left, you know I was ambivalent about going. It was VERY expensive, and we weren’t in the mood to travel after retiring from all those years of travel with CMA. We just wanted to stay home for a while. Fortunately, God had a better plan for us.

Venice in the Morning

First, we toured Venice. I think it is the most romantic and unique place I have ever been to! Yes, I had a gondola ride. We then took a train to Rome and toured the Coliseum, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. Then we boarded a massive ship for a ten-day Mediterranean Cruise. We sailed at night and, during the days, visited the Greek Islands, Malta and Sicily.

In Pisa

We went to Naples, saw the leaning tower of Pisa, and walked through the ruins of Pompeii. We had a special tour of a vineyard in Tuscany and were served a classic Italian meal under the grape arbors. We returned to Rome and flew to Palermo in Sicily, where we rented a house on the seashore for ten days near the town where Tom’s Palazzolo family emigrated from in the 1920’s.

It was the trip of a lifetime, and it felt like a gift from God. I am not saying it was a reward because we certainly do not earn our blessings from a God motivated by Grace. But God knew it would fill our hearts with joy and gratitude. We realized the money spent was why we had worked and saved all these many years, to be able to do something like this.

A Mediterranean Cruise was always on my bucket list. I never expected to actually have the experience! I would say now, if there is something on your bucket list, plan on it.

God gives us the desires of our hearts, even when we didn’t see it coming! It was money and time well spent.

 I planned to be back on Kathchats by late July. Toward the end of our trip, I got word that my nearest and dearest sister, Dot, was rapidly failing after a hard fight with cancer. By the time I got the message, while still in Sicily, she was already incoherent. She passed away two days after we got home. I am heartbroken and grieving still.

Me and My sister Dorothy

I needed to tell you where I have been and why I was not ready to return when I said I would. To be honest, I have struggled to settle back into my life when my life looks and feels so different!

My daughter Becky has observed that we have all come home to “a different normal” for various reasons.” She is right. My life does not look or feel the same to me. Being retired after such a busy life is a huge change for us. Losing my sister has been very hard. With the love and support of a few close friends, and time for prayer and meditation, I am beginning to step cautiously into this new season of my life.

In my last post, I wrote that retirement means we no longer live an obligation-driven life. Yet, I obligated myself to a weekly blog that took several hours of every day to produce.

I now realize that I need to adjust my expectations and my schedule. I have determined that Kathchats will be part of this season, although my posts may not be weekly, at least for a while.

I will post again soon, and thank you for hanging in there with me. I am on my way back, to my home, my home church, my home town and to me.

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17 Comments

  1. Thank you, my friend! It is so great, that you were able to experience this fantastic trip!

    1. Thanks Donna. I am adjusting to this new normal day by day. Blessed to have friends like you!

  2. Welcome home. I’ve missed you. I know you will settle in to your new normal and you will thrive. Just because you’re not full time missionaries anymore doesn’t mean your mission is over. Adjust your sails and continue to serve in the way that seems to come so naturally to you. I know I can benefit from your tutelage. ❤️

    1. You always encourage and bless me Crystal. Thank you for always making me feel good about what I do!

  3. Welcome back, dear friend. Praying that you God’s comfort, love and strength as you move forward. So thankful you had an amazing trip. Love & blessings to you and Tom!

    1. Good to hear from you Sue! Thank you for your kind words.

  4. Love you, Kathie! ❤🙏

    1. You know you are among those who have come along side me these days! Love you too!

  5. God Bless you both and be good to yourself.
    Wish I could take a European vacation. We had our retreat up here in Alaska and it was wonderful. Looking forward to get to know Terri better. Miss you guys. Your blog is a blessing. Take care always.

    1. Excited to hear you had a retreat! That’s wonderful! I know you will love Terri and treat her with the same kindness and regard you all always treated me. I was so blessed to know all you ladies in Alaska

  6. So glad you are back!! Your trip sounds absolutely amazing and so well deserved!! Our leadership ladies met twice over the summer via Google Meets to discuss ‘Women as Warriors’ and ‘Watching and Waiting’ – they were both great discussions- it was a blessing having your posts to dig deep in with other women. So many nuggets!! Looking forward to your next post – I know it will come at just the right time! Blessings!💗

    1. What a wonderful encouragement! Thank you for that. I miss you all but glad we can stay connected through this blog.

  7. I love you ❤️❤️ I knew the trip was going to be an amazing time, and one that you all needed as a family. Continuing to pray for you and for healing of your heart! Hugs ❤️

    1. Oh I love you too! I think part of my struggle is that I don’t get to see all my dear ladies in CMA- I know you all are there and we still love each other but it has changed for me. I miss you all. We will be at Colors and Leadership so I hope I’ll see you there.

  8. My friend, so glad you got to do that amazing trip, you truly deserve every good gift and blessing from our Father, you e served so faithfully. I am so sorry to hear about your sister. Sending love, prayers and a big hug. ❤️

    1. Oh dear friend, the seasons that change around us and change us! I still feel such a close bond with you and I am glad we are still in touch! Praying so many blessings for you dear heart

  9. My heart was so happy reading about your trip! You and Tom deserve that and so much more! My sincere condolences on the loss of your Sister❣️ Thank you for sharing your tender, heartfelt emotions with us! And Thank You for reminding us that it is God who puts these desires in our hearts. We never know why or where God is sending us… we just have to keep our eyes open to see what Blessings He has in store for us!
    Love you Kathie ❣️😘

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