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I took one of my trips into the store yesterday before I met J for a quick lunch.  I was met with smiles and hugs and “When are you coming back?”… “It’s entirely too quiet with you gone”… “It feels like you’ve been gone forever!”  I was handed my schedule for two weeks, told I would be moving my stuff into an office shared with the other Senior rather than sharing the communal assortment of desks with everyone else and teased about the fact that I’d grown up enough to have my own nameplate on the door. 

And I was served a huge plate of realization….Good Lord, my time off is almost up! 

I’ve spent the last month healing (both physically and emotionally), catching up with little house projects, re-learning how to just take the time for myself gracefully, and becoming closer to my God in ways I can’t even begin to express with words.  I’ve learned so many things about myself and the world.  I’ve treasured this time!

In less than two weeks, a part of my life will be caught up with helping set a new store to open, training new people, catching up on the changes that have occurred while I’ve been gone, and processing the myriad of information that it’s going to take to have a hand in managing my own store.  A bit overwhelming to think of at times… but I’m ready to be back among the people who have become my Illinois family and a huge piece of my heart!  And I will treasure that time as well!

They have all managed quite well without me there on a daily basis… better than well with J at the helm.  But what an incredible feeling it is to know that while they can do without me, they don’t want to!

So I walk through the days off that remain… looking forward to the challenges of what lies ahead for my days, but ever mindful of the lessons I’ve learned about life and what is important over the time I’ve had off.  For they’ve become etched on my heart.

May I NEVER lose sight of them!