Transition Time

The winter wonderland surrounding the farmhouse
The winter wonderland surrounding the farmhouse

It’s official. Whispering Winds Retreat Haven is on break. As of the first of the year, the farmhouse will be home to another family for at least two years. In January of 2015, the farmhouse may reclaim the name of Whispering Winds and come back to life as a B&B-style retreat center again, or it may move ahead into a new stage of its life, possibly with a new owner. The farmhouse is for sale as soon as God sends the new owner our way.

Our Chicago friend Ellen, the one who helped us turn our farmhouse into Whispering Winds Retreat Haven four years ago, was with us this past weekend. Ellen, Mim, and I got together in the living room of Whispering Winds to celebrate the blessings of these last four years and to pray for this time of transition. With the help of the book, For Everything a Season: 75 Blessings for Daily Life (written by the Nilsen Family for The Youth & Family Institute, Bloomington, MN, 1999), we created a special blessing ceremony for this occasion. Our opening prayer was:

Gracious God,
you gave us a home in which to grow and rest,
to find shelter and experience the many joys and sorrows of life.
Thank you for the blessings of this place
and what it has meant to all who have lived and visited here.
May this home be a blessing to those who come after us.

We spent some time remembering many of the blessings we have experienced at Whispering Winds, many of our guests, and some of the special occasions that have been celebrated here. We ended our short liturgy with the following blessing:

May God’s love fill our hearts with gratitude for our blessings
and help us treasure every new stage of life.

Abbey is the most popular caregiver at Country Comforts.
Abbey is the most popular caregiver at Country Comforts.

Now what? Several people have asked me what I’m going to be doing with all my time now that I’m no longer managing Whispering Winds. Mim is very quick to answer that for me. All the things I was supposed to be doing for our other business, Country Comforts Assisted Living, can now become the priorities. Most importantly, I need to spread the word that we have decided to specialize in providing end-of-life care in our condo. That has become the niche for Country Comforts Assisted Living.

When people draw near to the end of their life, often they choose to receive hospice care at home with their loved ones taking care of them. A hospice organization provides help, but the majority of caregiving is done by family members. Sometimes, family members are not able to give the care their loved one needs at home. That’s where Country Comforts can help. Their loved one can be moved into our home where we’ll provide attentive and loving care for them. Family members can be with their loved one as much as they want at Country Comforts, but they can rely on us (mostly Mim who is a registered nurse) to provide whatever physical, emotional, and spiritual support is needed – from medication management to prayer. We work together with a hospice organization and the loved one’s doctors, pastor, and family members to help the loved one peacefully live out their last months, weeks, or days on this earth.

What will I be doing? Whatever I can to spread the word about the end-of-life care we provide. That means updating our website,; meeting with social workers, doctors, pastors, and community leaders in the area; and starting another blog about “Creating Moments to Cherish” as loved ones draw near to the end of their life. (I’ll also continue to keep up this blog,, which has evolved into reflections on hearing God speak to us through everyday activities.)

Another thing I’ll be doing is writing and publishing more. I’m going back to Christmas Mountain the second week in January to do the final editing of my book on hospitality, Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest. I hope to have this book published by summer. Meanwhile, I’m reviewing the proofs of my first book, Listening for God: 52 Reflections on Everyday Life, and plan to finish that task this week. I’ll let you know when the book is available on Soon, I hope. It will be available in both paperback and e-book formats.

December 31 is a good time to talk about transitions. Hope you are looking back at the blessings of the past year and looking forward to a wonderful New Year, too!

Happy New Year from Marian, Abbey, and Mim. Family portrait compliments of Kevin Korth.
Happy New Year from Marian, Abbey, and Mim. Family portrait compliments of Kevin Korth.

3 responses to “Transition Time”

  1. Mardelle Burrowes Avatar
    Mardelle Burrowes

    Sending my blessings during this transition time. Personal experience tells me you are on the right track re: hospice care. I will follow it with prayer and great interest.

  2. Transitions mean endings and beginnings. Your ritual honored the loss and marked the new path. Blessings on this new journey!

  3. You have written about a subject that I know is near and dear to your heart. Whispering Winds is a special place for you for many reasons and, fortunately, it has become a special place for many of us as well. I enjoyed all the times I walked through the door there, spent time talking with other people at the retreats, listened and sang Christmas carols – and so on. And, I thank you for providing me and the others with the many opportunities that allowed us to participate there.

    I enjoyed your post because of the beautiful photos, your heartfelt prayer and blessing, the update on Whispering Winds and of Country Comforts, the information on your books, and the inspiration you gave in your closing to look back at this year and to look ahead to next year. I have to agree. Yes, it is a good time on December 31 to talk about transitions.

    If I may, I would like to share a few thoughts I have about my own personal transitions. Perhaps it will be interesting for others to read and perhaps it will be a way for me to sort through the various events that I have experienced in my church, in my family, and in my work.

    First, this year, as many in Cambridge know, the congregation at the Presbyterian Church experienced an extremely difficult situation. Our church became divided, misunderstandings occurred, and our pastor left in February. For me, I believe the departure of our pastor served our congregation well in order to end the conflict that had been building for several years. In 2013, with God’s guidance, we will continue to heal, to forgive, to repair the emotional wounds.

    Second, two major changes that took place in our family this year were: 1) two brother-in-laws in Jerry’s (my husband) family, who passed away, and 2) one big announcement from our our oldest son, Nick, who proposed marriage to his girlfriend. Yes, we lost Sattar in February. He, born and raised in Pakistan, lived in the U.S. most of his life, became a citizen and married one of Jerry’s sisters in 1985. Also, we lost Tim in November. He married one of Jerry’s sisters in 1981. Lastly, we received the news of our son’s engagement on December 16. He and his fiance, Maigret, will be married in the spring or summer of 2014. So, in 2013, we will continue to remember Sattar and Tim along with continuing to nurture our relationship with our future daughter-in-law and celebrate our excitement with having her in our family.

    Third, this year I experienced a change in my work. For about 25 I had worked as a stay-at-home Mom, worked 15 years as a volunteer in the community, worked a part-time job for 6 years as a salesperson at Purr-fect Presents (no longer in business), worked part-time for about 16 years as a church musician at the Presbyterian Church, and worked 1 year as a writer at the Cambridge News. In February of this year I started working part-time at Ripley’s Bakery. My time there seems to be an ongoing learning experience as I continue to become more and more familiar with the everyday business. It is more than selling donuts and coffee. It is more than serving soups and sandwiches at lunch time. It is more than making lattes and cappuccinos. It is more than taking orders for cakes, pies, and dinner rolls. It is about hospitality. I believe God has placed me in a place where I can interact with all sorts of people on all sorts of days and times for all sorts of reasons. Customers can be quiet and reserved or can be verbal and open about what is going on in their lives. I find myself often in a conversation about the personal joys and sorrows of those who come in and buy a beverage or a certain kind of food or both. And, I do believe that I am somehow making a difference by listening to people’s stories. And, I also believe that perhaps I am making a difference by offering a “hello” or “have a nice day” to those who do not share their stories but hear my words. Yes, I believe I am involved in a ministry of hospitality and in 2013 I will continue to try to understand what my role really means and how I can embrace it with more purpose and clarity.

    So . . .life changes have come for you as you wrote about in this post and by reading your post I have reflected on the life changes for myself. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Thank you, too, for giving me a chance to share my thoughts through my writing of this response.

    God bless you and your family.

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