Planning a Decade?

In Tahoe with Steve celebrating ten years of marriage – and enjoying the beauty of the mountains.

Reading together A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Can’t stop thinking about Afghanistan. Keeps me up.

Planning out our next ten years together.

How do you plan the next ten years? I can’t even plan dinner.

This first ten went by so incredibly fast, my head is spinning just thinking about it. There is no way we could have planned all that has happened. What we did plan, at least in a general sense was swept aside by circumstance and choices in the moment – where priorities realign themselves.

So… we’re “planning” to do more backpacking and exploring in the high country.

We’re “planning” to make some career changes.

But who cares what we plan? Life shows up unexpectedly and sweeps away our plans. What is coming our way that we are NOT planning?

When we got married one decade ago, we had no idea what was coming our way. That’s why those marriage vows are so all inclusive! We’ve had our share of for better and for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, and we still love and cherish each other, and, hopefully that until death do us part part is still a long way off. I had no idea that in the first decade of my marriage I would become a grandmother to four, going on five, grandchildren!

Not to say that some of our plans didn’t work out. They did. Like our plan on being hospitable, balancing our personalities, establishing our marriage, strengthening our family relationships… these things have been a constant guiding light that we are still following.

So… what do we plan on now? Ever heard the old evangelical pick up line? “Hi. Did you know that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life?” Actually, I think it should be more like “Hi. Did you know that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your plan?” I imagine He must be amused as we sketch out what we want the next ten years to look like. The only thing I’m pretty sure of now, is that whatever we sketch, it will NOT be that.

We do our best, day to day to be prepared for emergencies and for the unexpected, but we can’t plan for them. We can set good intentions about hobbies and activities we want to participate in. We can set financial and career goals. All these are good. But they’re just like throwing darts blindfolded in a fog.

So what can we plan for? We can plan for who we will be. i.e. I will be grateful – and content. I will live in the present – let go of old regrets – let go of those evil shoulds –  “I should be doing this or that by now” –  and the pressure to measure up to my “potential”.

I plan to just BE – fully, abundantly, gratefully, presently, lovingly, – ME. No one else, nowhere else. Just BE HERE NOW. Period. So much energy is wasted on trying to DO THERE THEN or HAVE WHERE WHEN!  (I’m playing with these words, but hopefully, you get my drift.) Whatever! I want to be with whomever I am with, right here, right now. And nowhere else, with no one else. When I am with YOU, I am with YOU. Fully present. Fully aware. Fully alive. Whatever “potential” lies in me either shows up here and now with you or it doesn’t exist. Period.

So my plan for the next ten years of my marriage to Steve? BE HERE NOW. Give myself fully, abundantly, without reservation to our marriage – Show up, speak up, get up. Engage our life together with curiosity, wonder, and full participation. I have NO CLUE what the next ten years will hold. It’s like this wonderful book we are reading. I don’t know what’s in the next chapter, but I can’t wait to turn the page and find out.

So… to do that… I need energy. I need to take care of my fifty-year-old body. Exercise, diet, maybe take some supplements to increase my stamina. I find that my energy increases when I’m engaged fully in life… but a few vitamins can’t hurt. Time to shed the resentments and regrets along with the old papers and books; eliminate the distractions and engage the uncomfortable present. Time to clean house. Get rid of old clutter both physical and emotional that ties me down. Find the treasures hidden under the dull, beige, dusty clutter. Dig for the gold. Time to decorate – make it MY home – I’ve been here ten years after all. It’s time to paint!

Who do you plan to be over the next ten years?


12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Shirley Paulson on October 16, 2010 at 4:04 pm


    You are such a lovely person! It’s been a long time since you were here in South Bend and alot of things have happened, both good and bad, but our God is very gracious and patient, isn’t He! Congratulations on 10 years. I would love to meet your husband. Isn’t it great being a grandmother? I don’t see my grandkids alot but I love them so much! Thanks for sharing your blog!


    • Posted by fawngilmorekraut on October 17, 2010 at 9:01 am

      Hi Shirley, so good to hear from you. Twenty years since I graduated and bid farewell to South Bend. Wow. I always appreciated your hospitality, friendship, and support. Like cold water in the desert. Yes, many things have happened, but I’m grateful for all of it, even and perhaps most especially for the hard things.

      Come on out to Northern California and we’ll have a great time.


  2. Posted by Sierra on October 16, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    As always, so clear and concise, thought provoking and genuine. Love it!


  3. Posted by Cachy Brister on October 17, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Hi Fawn, how can I improve on perfection because the writing came from your heart??!!! Totally agree with you..we make our plans but God appoints our steps so He says and it is true. Glad you are planning on more hiking, etc. and in taking care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually I believe God is right behind those plans, He wants us to live to the fullest and to dothat we have to be good stewards of what we “have” so we don’t have to worry….you used the words “uncomfortable present”..perfect, perfect….yes…the present can be very uncomfortable and painful at times yet….But God By His GRace and Mercy….He always show up…I heard the other day something like this “Hang on to His Word when His presence is not felt”…isn’t that good? Bill and I have been talking too about the next 10 we downsize our home? do we stay? move? to where? ministry? where do we volunteer? I’m clear about that one, it has to have kids in it!! when do I retire? 64 or 66? being PRESENT is one of the hardest things to BE yet the most fulfilling….meditation is teaching me that…so I’m committed to continuing with that part of my journey…..seeing the grandkids as often as we can….the rest? God knows…we are willing to listen (have to be quiet to do that) and follow Him so..thanks for the opportunity to share and hear about you two….may you two find the grace, strength and courage to have another 10 years of a marriage worth having……it was good seeing you last weekend…will be in touch…cachy


    • Posted by fawngilmorekraut on October 18, 2010 at 9:14 pm

      Thanks for your comments, Cachy. And for sharing your thoughts about the next ten years. Ah yes. Willingness to listen. So hugely important. I have to not only get quiet, I have to also set aside my agenda and create a space for the Other to speak. Such an act of generosity and love. Thank you for the encouragement. I look forward to sharing the next ten years with you in whatever way brings life to us both.


  4. Since I read your e-mail yesterday (before I read your blog) I have been thinking about the next ten years for me. I came to many of the same conclusions. I plan to continue to exercise, eat the right foods, drink the right wine, live in the moment and apply “I Am” to each question regarding the future. I believe the answer to my ongoing prayers regarding what is next, has always been, “You will know as you go, just go!” The next ten years I will continue to stay clear from any debt, I will speak encouraging words to others, I will think the best, speak the best, hope for the best. I will love my wife and my family and my friends. I will live as though this is my last day on earth and I have only today to love. Tomorrow has yet to arrive in my 68 years on the planet. As I awakened this morning the thought came as it so often does, “I was just 16 and now I am 68.” Oh, how time has gone by, so fast, like the bible says, ‘We are but a vapor,’ here for such a short time. But oh, how love can make such a difference in this short time on earth! I heard of a man who loved the entire world in only 33 years.


    • Posted by fawngilmorekraut on October 18, 2010 at 9:22 pm

      Laude, it sounds like you will live the next ten years the same way you have lived the past twenty that I have known you. It does go by fast, but you are so right. It is love that makes the difference. As Steve and I were pondering how quickly this first decade of our marriage has flown by, the markers that we acknowledge along the way are those that have to do with the love of our family and friends. Nothing else really sticks. Thank you for showing us the way.

      I love your blog, by the way, and hope everyone will check it out!


  5. Posted by John Newburn on October 20, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Harrah forwarded me your recent blog entry about Planning the Next Ten Years. I’ve read it several times and must congratulate you for capturing beautifully in words what so many of us wish for in our relationships and our futures. What you wrote is really quite intoxicating. After reading it I was left with such a positive feeling…for you, your husband.. and for anyone who aspires to live so completely in the moment as you so clearly do. You managed to express somethiing many of us would like to express but are unlikely to as well as you have. I’m reading A New Earth, one of Harrah’s books she’s encouraged me to read. There’s a section about an Indian teacher who late in his life offers to share his secret with his followers. ‘I don’t mind what happens’ he tells them. The implications simple but also profound. It strikes me that you’ve declared as much…so long as you both are truly present in the moment with each other…open accepting, loving, trusting, enduring, etc.,,,…it really doesn’t matter what happens…You’ll get through it together…you have what you need…each other, being alive to the each moment. So, I’m rambling a bit here, but you really did, as Harrah said, strike a lot of little nails on the head with this one. Good job. Not a bad ten-year plan for someone who can’t plan a meal. And my best to you and your most fortunate husband. Hope to see you again sometime. John.


    • Posted by fawngilmorekraut on October 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm

      Thanks for your comment, John. I know you can relate to the reality that life does not turn out according to our plan, unless our plans are about who we are committed to be regardless of the circumstances that come our way. You are a shining example to me of this one.

      I definitely hope to see you again on my next visit to the north east, and of course hope you’ll come visit Northern California sometime.


  6. Hey Fawn… I was so glad to see that you’re still reading my blog. (I still read yours, too, but zip away without commenting, mostly just pondering in good ways, instead.) I loved your comment about how we’ve both been unraveling these past years simulataneously. Makes me happy, too. More than you know. Blessings, Debra


  7. […] Lake Tahoe with Steve to celebrate our anniversary, review and renew our goals, have some much needed time together enjoying Autumn in this beautiful place, and spend time […]


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