Journey to Joyful Living

Editor’s Note: 

Please help us welcome Terry as a new monthly contributor here at Two Drops of Ink. She has a unique voice, and we look forward to her future posts. 

By Terry Gassett

Shortly before my 60th birthday, I left home. It was a planned departure, carefully thought out and prepared for, but that didn’t make it any easier.

The morning of the move, I remember opening my eyes, and thinking that this would be the last time I ever opened them to view the pale lavender walls of our bedroom, the cream-colored lace curtains, or the joyful rabbit faces greeting me from the platter held by my favorite wrought iron plate rack.

It would be the last time, in this house, in this home, that I would wake up in the beautiful cherry wood sleigh bed my husband and I had purchased for our 20th anniversary. It would be the last time I would roll out of bed there, and step barefoot onto the oak floors, that I had lovingly polished one last time, a week ago.

There would be no more opportunities for either of us to relax in “Le Jardin”  the lovely Country French Cottage which my husband and I envisioned, designed and built as a way to share a place of beauty and peace to those who needed it. No longer would either of us be able to sit outside under the pergola in the surrounding gardens listening to the sounds of hoot owls in the early evenings, lulling us to a slower pace of life, while we drank deeply of both the beauty and aroma of Southern Magnolias, Camellias, Crepe Myrtles, Sweet Olives, Honeysuckle, and over 29 different rose varieties; gardens my husband had planted and cultivated with love, first as a gift to me, then as a gift for those who visited our Bed and Breakfast.

I could smell the familiar scent of coffee beans as the whir of the coffee grinder interrupted my thoughts. I walked the distance from our bedroom to the kitchen as I had thousands of times before, but this time was markedly different. Harder. Almost impossible. I felt as if I were in the final steps of a marathon, using every ounce of energy I could muster to somehow cross the finish line, only knowing that the finish line was both the end of one race while simultaneously the beginning of another. Each step seemed to me surreal, as if I were the observer, rather than the participant, much like watching a replay of a movie clip in slow motion. Somehow, I made it across the finish line and collapsed in my husband’s arms sobbing.

“I can’t leave,” I whispered in his ear.

“Yes, you can,” He whispered back.  “We are leaving together.

And so we did – this leaving together – crossing the finish line only to find ourselves at the start of a new journey …

It has been over a year, since we pulled up roots that ran both deep and wide, and left our home and friends of over 20 years to move to a new location to pursue new opportunities. The journey has not gone smoothly, nor been easy. In fact, it has been a much harder transition than I anticipated, and I was not prepared for the grief that has ensued. I have discovered that I can’t rush the transition process, but I am trying to stop fighting against it and lean into the lessons beckoning me at this season of life.

As a life coach, I founded my business, “Here to There”, with the tagline, “Journey to Joyful Living”, in order to help my clients design and live a life they will love. I thought I had made the journey myself and designed not only an interior life that reflected my values, but an exterior one as well. I went from a place of being stuck and feeling purpose(less) to living an intentional and purpose(full) life. I believe in life coaching. I practice its principles in my own life, as well as using them to coach others. I have bridged huge gaps through the process of coaching, and have been privileged to help others do the same. I love seeing potential and possibility in a person, place, or thing become reality.

But somehow in my passion to see potential become reality, I had missed something along the way: I wrongly perceived that the joy was in the destination – not in the journey!

As I find myself in this difficult season of transition, I am beginning to see that there are gifts of joy, even here, hidden within the suffering.

I am beginning to see that although I feel as if my life is falling apart, it may actually be falling together.

I am learning that the death of one dream can mean the birth of a new one.

I am learning to breathe in God’s grace and hope, not just in small shallow breaths, but with slow, deeply inhaled breaths that bring oxygen and newness to every cell of my body.

I am learning to love this beautiful mess of my life and to encourage others to love and appreciate their own beautiful mess in the midst of the journey.

Most importantly, though, I am learning that the “journey to joyful living” is not a one-time destination but a daily pursuit. A daily pursuit of living an intentional and purpose(full) life. It is about following our passion, living our calling. It is about opening our eyes to the beauty around us and opening our hearts and hands to the suffering among us. It is about practicing thankfulness, gratefulness and kindness. It is about choosing to love, choosing to forgive. It is about breathing in the extraordinary gifts of God on ordinary days, deeply inhaling their fragrance, each and every day. It is about joy in the journey.

Terry Gassett



Hi, I’m Terry Gassett, Jesus Follower, Wife, Mother, Nina, Life Coach, and Writer. I was born and raised in the “Deep South” and I still live and work there. I have been married to my heartthrob for over 30 years, and we have three grown children, three granddaughters (two who are twins!) and a Chi Chi/Jack Russell perpetual pup.

I am a Life Design Coach and I work with Creative Christian Women to design lives of purpose, passion, and joy!

When not listening to women’s hearts through the coaching process, I am expressing my own through writing.  Currently, I’m writing my first book – “Breathe, Just, Breathe: Breathing in the Extraordinary Gifts of God on Ordinary Days.”

Published posts on Two Drops of Ink:

1) An Instrument of Beauty

Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing

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  1. Terry, what a beautifully written piece. I was spellbound, wondering exactly what the “leaving” was that you were embarking upon. One of my favorite quotations is: “Leap and the net will appear.” I have taken my own great leaps into the unknown–and that leap is both terrifying and exhilarating. As many times as I’ve leapt from one incarnation to the next,my life expands and enriches tenfold. My last great leap was months before my 60th birthday. I am a month away from 64 and already plotting the next great adventure. Here’s to joy and discovery at every age!

    • Thank you lafriday! I love your favorite quote – thanks so much for sharing it here -I will be expecting the net to appear at any time now 🙂
      I raise my glass in response to your toast of joy and discovery at every age!
      Happy (early) Birthday wishes and may you next great adventure expand your life all the more 🙂

  2. Hi Terry. I enjoyed your beautifully written memoir/testimony of walking through a life change and a change of address at the same time. It’s hard to say goodbye to a beloved home; you’ve shown this poignantly. You’ve also shown that loss can lead to gain when we view the suffering as necessary growing pains. May your new venture be blessed more than you imagined it could be. I admire your wisdom in focusing on the joy in the journey rather than setting your heart solely on the destination. I’m working on having more “joy in the journey” too.
    Blessings ~ Wendy 🙂

    • Hi Wendy – Thank you for reading and for your generous comments. You know, I haven’t changed my address on many of my social media profiles and each time I go to do so, I just can’t for some reason. It wasn’t until you put the change of address and life change together in your comments that I realized why. I am still processing this life change and am not quite ready to let go of what was (my old address) to embrace the new (my new address) and this new season. Thank you for your words of blessing and I continue to be right there with you “working on” (intentionally pursuing) joy!

  3. Terry,
    I want to go to your B and B! It’ sounds like a lovely place, and I can feel the rending of your heart in leaving it behind! I can imagine the grief of moving must be a regular visitor for you. However, I also know that adventure rarely comes as we expect and finding joy in the journey is a skill which will lead right to it! Here’s your new adventure!! I am so glad you are here at Two Drops of Ink!!

    • Michelle,
      I would have loved to have you as a guest!
      I never put it in those terms before, but grief is indeed a frequent visitor these days. I purposely have to choose joy (by God’s grace) so that I am not consumed by it.
      And your words so encourage me to look for adventure in unexpected ways!
      Thank you for reading and I am delighted to be here!

  4. Terry, first, I’m so happy you are going to be a monthly contributor! Second, your post was absolutely so beautiful and elegant.

    I enjoyed the story you illustrated about transitioning. My wife and I are planning that very next step to come in the very near future. Reading this made me think of a road map for my journey to come. Thank you and welcome. I’m a fan Terry!

  5. Good morning, Terry. This is such a powerful piece on the journey. We’re all programmed to ‘get there’, that sometimes vague place. We don’t seem to be conditioned to watch and be aware of the steps, lessons, joys, and hardships we encounter on the way to there. You’ve managed in a few hundred words to capture the emotional and mental pulls from ‘A’, the leaving of one place – be it physical, mental, or emotional to ‘B’, that other place.

    Change is one door, opportunity, or life closing and embarking on a journey through and to another. Most are not mindful nor appreciative of the through. I can imagine that people could learn from this post that through the door, opportunity, or life is just as important as the arrival.

    I’m thrilled that you’re going to be a monthly contributor.

    • Hi Marilyn,
      Thank you for your kind and insightful comments.
      Through this transition, I am learning to be more aware of the steps, lessons, joys and hardships. I have always been “programmed to ‘get there’ ” as you so aptly put it.
      I love your metaphor of the door! I have a
      fascination for doors, so the visual image you created of the process of closing one door and not only opening another, but stepping through it is powerful!
      I am delighted to be here among such awesome writers and editors!

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