Friday, December 14, 2007

And so it begins...

The movers come today, dropping off the shipping cubes that will eventually contain my entire existence in this place: the accumulated memories and material goods that we have gathered in over the past 12 years, 9 months and 5 days. It amazing to me just how relative time really is. I swear that just yesterday it was Thanksgiving. How did 3 weeks pass without me noticing? Oh, that's right - I've been packing!

But God is in the details! All of the loose ends have been neatly tied in a bow. All that is left is the leaving. And that will come even more quickly!

So - this is my last post from California. By the time I come back to this space, I will be in my new home overlooking a lake. I will be surrounded by my family - both my birth/marriage family and the folks in our new church home. And although, over time details of this place may fade - the people I am holding dearly in my heart never will. I hope we have left a memory of us here, too.

Shalom and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 2, 2007


'tis the season of Advent. Each year nearly everyone who breathes celebrates this time of anticipation whether they know it or not. Pregnant women certainly understand the combination of excitement and fear that leads up to the final moments before birth. Little children can hardly contain themselves and enter into a game of hide 'n' seek with the packages they see mommy bring home. Of course, some children wonder if there will be anything at all this year. School children wait for the "winter holiday" to come and we all wish for a White Christmas - amazingly even those who live in places where it never snows at all!

This year "advent" seems a bit more, hmmmm, real. I am the one waiting for the launch of a new journey - a new life. It's not an abstract concept. Oh, I've been following and preparing and listening for some time now but the actual process of putting one foot in front of the other and knowing that I will never return to this life again is filled with excitement, fear, a little dread, great joy, anxiety... you name it, I'm feeling it.

With a deep sigh, a look of determination on my face, and a quick squaring of my shoulders, I rise this day in full anticipation of what it to come. I am daunted by the work left to do in order launch, but I am in "countdown mode" now - there is no turning back. I accept and allow this journey to unfold in all of its mystery.

So be it!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Storm after the calm

I am confused. Dazed, stunned, overwhelmed and confused. As I said to someone recently, "I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop [with regards to all of the marvelously synchronous way this move has come about] but I never expected the entire inventory of Payless to come crashing down on my head!"

My car needed some minor repairs. I have discovered "minor" is relative to the make/model and availability of service. I did earn enough in our yard sale to cover three of the four repairs. The more major job of fixing my heater fan [a bit of an incovenience when you're driving cross-country in DECEMBER!] was another matter. Unfortunately, the day I had to take my car back to Pleasanton [beware owning a specialty car... service is rarely local unless you live in a major metro area!] was the day was had to say goodbye to our faithful and loving Lab, Abby.

Then, our son has been fighting with banks and other financial junk for a while but this week it seemed to be more conflicted, more inanely stupid [on the bank's part] and a real challenge for me to allow him to figure it all out. He did. And he's ok with the results for now.

Grace came down with the flu. And she found out she didn't pass all of the proficiency exam so that she can move in January with a diploma. I guess we're back to square one on that front.

Then Larry's 93 year old grandmother is taken to the hospital. She had not been well for a week and prescribed treatment was doing nothing. Larry's mother expressed her fear more than once that if Granny went into the hospital, she doubted that she'd ever come home. Granny died yesterday. Peacefully. She was so tired and kept asking to "just go home." We all knew what she meant. It is so very sad - it's sad that the kids and I are, once again, stuck on another side of the world from family.

Oh, yeah... yesterday my car decided to die in the middle of the grocery store parking lot. So once again the car has been towed an hour a way and I'm holding my breath waiting for the prognosis. Can you DNR a car? Oh, and did I mention all the doomsday advice I've been getting about the house and the current downturn of the real estate market??

And yet, despite all that I can whine about I still feel strangely calm. Sad. Done. Exhausted. Yet I refuse to be shaken. I refuse to curse God. If this is a test I'm struggling with the answers and I don't know if I'll pass, but, dammit, I refuse to give up. I know in my heart, as surely as I sit here and feel the keyboard under my fingers, that this road is the one we're meant to travel. Kyrie Eleison.

There will be a rainbow. There is always a rainbow. I count on the promise of the rainbow!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


We said goodbye today to a dear and loving soul. Rest in peace my precious Abby. Rest in Peace.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

More de-cluttering

Ok... I absolutely hate yard/garage sales. I never stop. I hate haggling and I despise it when I spend money on someone else's stuff thinking I'll have a use for it "some day." But when I'm the one who's set out all of my "treasures" for someone else to snatch up at a nano-fraction (I just made that up!) of it's true worth... ok, I still hate them. They are exhausting. And I still hate haggling.

The room in which my computer resides is echo-y tonight. I've moved things out in hopes that someone will take them off my hands. I've realized I've become very un-sentimental with this cross-country move. How is it that these things I've collected and gathered over the last 13+ years has become so meaningless? Is it really that it's all "just stuff" or is this a part of a bigger purging that has to take place for this new journey to succeed?

How is it so easy to shed myself of the attachments I have in this place? Was I ever really attached at all? Surely, I will find it difficult to leave the people and places that have become so familiar...

It's interesting that at this moment I just feel a sense of surreal-ness. Maybe it will hit me somewhere between Albuquerque and Amarillo that I've really left all of this behind. And then, maybe it's just the current loose ends creating this feeling and when they are neatly tied will find me feeling...peaceful.

I think what is truly surreal is that I do feel so sure, so peaceful. It's a little odd, this letting go. I think I kind of like it!

Be blessed!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Journey's End to Journey's Beginning

Roadtrips are supposed to be fun and I suppose the one I just completed was, in some way, just that. Yet, it was also full of stress, exhaustion, some fear, and a smattering of "what the heck are we doing?"

As Larry and I set out last Monday morning on our three day trip to South Carolina, we were both pretty quiet and introspective. We chatted about inconsequential things like, "Are we going to stop for Starbucks?" and "Where should we stop for gas?" At times the conversation turned to more anxiety-ridden topics like budgetting our expenses over the next few months, when and how Grace and I would handle our next phase of the move, and all of the nay-sayers who are listening to the media's account of how crappy the current housing market is. We stopped only for gas and to switch drivers. We ate only snack food and sandwiches and leftover pizza I packed from home. "Home." Hmmmm... where is that, exactly, now?

As we approached Gallup, NM that first day I think we were both amazed that we actually made 871 miles over 13 hours and didn't kill each other. We fell into our bed, slept fitfully and left again the next morning before our target time of 7am Mountain time.

We reminisced about the same trip we took in reverse nearly 13 years ago and spotted landmarks and other things we thought we remembered. We listened to books on CD, at times lost in our own thoughts that looked to the other like rapt attention. At some point, while still in New Mexico, my cellphone rang. The melodious southern voice on the other end, trying to be unalarming, asked me if I had an alternative phone number for my sister - my mother was in the Emergency Room in Raleigh, non-responsive. They were running tests. The question that hit me like a 2x4 across the eyebrows was, "Are you willing to honor the DNR request that we have in your mother's record?" Ok.... so how exactly do you respond to that? I mumbled something affirmative, found my sister's cellphone number and my nephew's as well. I was able to get ahold of my nephew who, like the sweetheart he is, headed straight for my mother's bedside.

For the next few hours, until I learned everything was under control, I mentally tried to figure out the closest major city we'd pass through so I could get a flight to Raleigh. By the time we stopped for some dinner in Oklahome City, however, it was apparent that would not be necessary and I actually got to talk with mom on the phone. Whew. Oklahoma City taught us a lesson in flexibilityand trusting our senses/faith to map out alternate directions when roadblocks are predicted. We took a large detour because of a nasty accident. We had stopped listening to the CD just a few minutes prior and had switched to local radio when we heard the traffic update. A few minutes prior to that we had called our son to look up the nearest Starbucks to the freeway and, because of his directions, were able to navigate around the accident and find food and coffee with ease. I don't doubt the subtle directional nudges and course corrections anymore! We didn't even lose time or add mileage!

By the time we made Van Buren, Arkansas (sounds like a line from an old Glen Campbell song) we were both beyond exhausted. Thoughts of doing this again the next day weighed on us both. I secretly wondered if I could actually get in the car again and that that maybe Larry would just have to leave me there! But we did. Thoughts of seeing our lifetime friends in Asheville kept us going. The third day was the only day with rain but even that was ok. The end of day three brought us through the grandeur and beauty of the Great Smokies and into the place where my soul has resided for the past 13 years! The welcoming arms of dear friends and a large pot of homemade chicken soup was just the thing these weary travelers needed.

The last leg was the longest - only two+ hours from Asheville to Greenwood, but the anticipation and anxiety added to the complete exhaustion made the trip feel like 100 hrs. We drove straight to my job interview and Larry set off to secure his housing - his home for the next two months. So this is where one journey ends and another begins.

I was offered and accepted a job. Larry is starting his new job and I have one that will start after the holidays. Exactly as I asked. Our new permanent home is out there somewhere waiting for us. Family and friends (new and old) are waiting to re-embrace us into the life we left so long ago. A new journey is beginning. It made the flight back to California even longer. I did meet some lovely people on the way back, though (Ann!). They helped pass the time - and even though we may not immediately understand why our paths crossed - they were a blessing to me.

What do I call this place now - "home?" I struggled so long with that word. For several years I refused to call this place "home." "Home" is where I'm from - this is where I "live." Hmmmm.... maybe the disconnect I've felt all these years has been of my own making - my refusal to see this place as 'home' has created the barriers I've railed about so often (with just about anyone who'd listen!). But that's all water under the bridge now. I can see, however, how difficult this may have made it for my children - it was their home - it still is there home. But I've tainted it for them, in some way. I regret that. And - I am sure it hasn't been easy for Larry, either - waiting for me to just accept this place and settle in.

The old journey isn't quite over yet, though. The minutae is waiting. The details are here begging to be taken care of. Not today, though. Today is for just "being" for a time. Looking around at the life that has been created and lived here with a discerning eye for what goes and what stays behind. So for now, I live in between the journey - somewhere on the circle that will lead to who-knows-where next...

Be blessed!

Saturday, October 6, 2007


So in the space of about 2 hours I managed to throw out approximately 10 years or more of my life! Actually - I shredded most of those years until I broke the shredder! I might not have taken on this task today, but since we're moving, it has to be done...

Clearing out clutter is daunting but necessary if we are to keep focused on priorities. Sometimes the clutter is just "stuff" accumulated over years of living. Sometimes, the clutter in our lives represents old hurts, past indescretions for which we have trouble forgiving ourselves or others, old relationships of which it is long past time to let go. Looking at the garbage I tossed, I remembered debts, purchases, material stuff that didn't really matter that I try not to regret. Yet also in the rubble were sweet memories - checks for various childcare, school fundraisers, music and dance lessons - that represented my children's early years of life. Just because I shredded all of those too-long-held-onto checks, the memories cannot be erased.

It's good to clear out clutter - even when we're not forced to by circumstances. The space on the floor under the desk that once held the box of old checks is clear. The space in my heart now devoid of a lot of junk is too! How I choose to refill those spaces is mine. And it feels really good!

Be blessed!

Monday, September 24, 2007


So much has transpired in a seemingly short amount of time. Under the heading of "Be careful what you ask for..." we are definitely moving. It's a bittersweet answer to a prayer. With every new adventure comes the closure of the old one - and that means leaving what's familiar and known (even if it's not always comfortable) and running headlong towards insecurity and change. I like to think I've always been a "champion for change" so you'd think I'd be jumping up and down. Well... in some ways I am turning cartwheels and skipping and singing and having a fit of the giggles... unfortunately, I am also feeling the stress of "ok... what now?" I want evey major decision to come with a how-to kit and idiot-proof instructions! I want it to come nicely packaged with a neat little bow and a note that says all the details are done. My son wrote in his blog that when we, his parents, make up our minds to do something then it's done. Oh, how I wish it were that easy!! I truly wish that we could just make the change already and not have all the subsequent decisions and times of uncertainty ahead.

That said - this is SO exciting! We are going home!!!! Well, close enough, anyway. I can't believe it has finally come. God is SO good! God is in the details. I do believe that. So, for now, I have to practice what I believe - that home, work for me, school concerns, et al. - all is taken care of; all is being provided to us even as I type this.

A few more pieces of the puzzle are in place... and I think I'm going to really like the finished picture!

Be blessed!

Friday, August 31, 2007


I like the word "synchronous." It describes that merging or meeting of seemingly disparate forces much like "coincidence" does, yet it definitely sounds more...hmmm...I don't know - grown up? And "accident" has such a negative connotation about it, doesn't it? The latter makes me think of either an impact to my auto insurance or a poop-y diaper. Either way, it's not good. If you are a believer of "The Secret" then, by the laws of attraction, everything that comes to us is drawn to us by the energy we emit. Coincidences are accidental occurrences by definition. In some ways, so are synchronous events given that occurrences happen at the same time, but there seems to be more of an intention that comes from somewhere about life being in "sync." Ok... I hear you... "So what," you ask? "What's with the English 101 lesson." "Sounds a little too 'new-agey' to me."

Despite how "new-agey" this may sound to some, I believe that when we become intentional about our discernment process - you know...really praying and studying about what God intends for our lives - that seemingly unrelated, accidental or coincidental things begin to happen. As soon as we begin to pay attention it feels as if there is a massive jigsaw puzzle called "life" out there and we're watching a master putting it together in front of us - with little to no assistance from us whatsoever, I might add. Yet it isn't as if it's all being orchestrated against our will. Maybe it's more like holding a kaleidoscope - the slightest turn will change the picture. We control how much or often we make the turns, but the pieces that are always there make new and beautiful pictures no matter what. We might like some more than others (which is why we keep turning, I guess) and some we like to preserve as long as possible.

The interesting thing is when the desire comes to turn the tube at a time when you thought you were content with the picture of the moment. That's what this summer has been like for me. Now I have to admit that some of the "turns in my tube," so-to-speak, have been the result of bumping the kaleidoscope accidentally. Or was it an accident? See... that's what I mean. ARGH... it boggles the mind to try to work this out logically. Nothing about this puzzle seems to make logical sense. But it surely makes sense in a synchronous way. And it makes me smile - you know the one... the Cheshire Cat sort of smile that makes everyone wonder what the heck you're up to? I guess the only real way to describe it is that "aha" moment when you finally, truly understand something you've be struggling to learn. Once understood you can't unlearn it. You can never go back to ignorance.

So I guess there's a warning in that somewhere. If you don't want your kaleidoscope's picture to change; if you don't want to find more puzzle pieces then don't ask. For it is written..."Ask and it WILL be given to you. Seek and you WILL find." What is more intentional than that assurance? It's not a 'secret' at all. And trust me... it won't be when you think you're ready, either. It will come in God's own sweetly divine right time! That will be no accident. Or coincidence. It will be beautifully synchronous - the words and music of your life will be aligned perfectly.

Be blessed.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Looking at the puzzle

Recently, I have been looking at the puzzle of my life. It is easy to see "brokenness" if I focus solely on the lines that separate the pieces. I have discovered that if I squint my eyes and blur my vision a little then I lose site of the separateness and see the picture more clearly. Hmmm. By going "out of focus" then I seem to get a clearer sense of the whole. Maybe we tend to focus too much in our hurried, busy lives. Maybe we have only a narrow view of each piece and forget to look at the whole. We lose beauty and fluidity and movement when we choose to see too narrowly. We lose some simblance of control, yes, but what we gain is a peace that tells us that there IS purpose and reason to our journey.

So now the border seems complete. The framework is built and now I get to spend time finding each piece that will continue to build the greater picture. I don't have the advantage of a box that shows the whole picture. I don't even know if I have all the pieces. Yet that is part of this fun pasttime called LIFE. I have been given the gift of the search - the gift of discovery. I can't wait to see what the finished product will eventually look like.

Be blessed.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Unanswered prayers

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers... and sometimes I just can't do that yet.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

After the Rain...

We've been deluged with emotions this past week... pictures and sounds that inundate our senses to the point of numbness; heightened fear and loss of our sense of balance - of what is right and good.
I grew up at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. I have always lived in relatively small towns - cloistered and secure environments. My sheltered life consisted of family and friends, acquaintances who always seemed to know "whose girl" I was (and am). Occasional tragedy would strike "elsewhere" - but I always felt safe. Even though I weathered some of my own tragedies I always knew I was deeply loved and accepted by someone.
When Larry, Caleb and I moved to the southwestern past of Virginia in 1988 I remember my daddy saying, "You've been looking at that mountain all your life - why do you need to move to the other side?" We laughed and I replied, "Just like the bear, daddy, to see what I can see." There is very little difference between the foothills of the Blue Ridge of Virginia and North Carolina... the accent's a little different :-) but the people are essentially the same: hardworking, salt-of-the-earth folks with a great deal of pride in their land, in their families, and their vocations. There's a trusting neighborliness (despite the ever-present wariness of Yankees!) that draws you in and makes you just want to sit and visit for a spell.
This week that changed. Many had to realize that there are no really safe places in this world anymore. Nowhere is immune to tragedy and chaos. Yet we have to keep moving in this world. We have to continue striving for peace; working towards justice and mercy. We must continue to look for the rainbow after the rain. That's our promise that we are not alone.
It poured today. I poured, too. Even though I still feel sad about so many losses and tragedies that struck my life this week - and those that were in my peripheral vision - I know the rainbow is there as are my beloved Blue Ridge Mountains. I hope you find your rainbow, too.
Blessings and shalom,

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Blessed Easter

Imagine my surprise when I walked out of my office to find my son sitting in the waiting room. He had decided to visit for Spring Break unannounced. I found myself clinging onto him with tears rolling down my face as if I hadn't seen him for years.
Imagine the surprise of the woman at the tomb. I pray you find your surprise today. Be blessed.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Say "Yes"

I don't believe in coincidences. But I know that there are synchronicities in life: a message in a devotional that just "fits;" a phone call from a friend about whom you've just been thinking; the letter with a rebate check for $50 at the same time you receive an unexpected bill. Take today, for instance. My horoscope (yes, I read it every day - for entertainment) always includes a "tonight:" section. Today this part said, "Say 'yes!'" Ok... given some things I've been contemplating lately, that was slightly amusing. Then I get into my car to head to work and the first song I heard on the radio (a song I've never heard before) was called, "Say yes!" Well... now you have my attention. Twice! - the same message twice in less than half of an hour. So I waited all day for the opportunity - the nudge - to come along to which I could say "yes." The blinding flash sort of moment never came. And then I realized... I'd said "yes" to quite a number of things today - seemingly insignificant to those outside my world, but to my family, the kids with whom I work, and my colleagues maybe not so insignificant. We say "yes" everyday to our call to be good citizens, good parents, good friends. We say "yes" to one thing when maybe that means we have to say "no" to something else. That also happened today.

So, tomorrow I'll start all over again looking for those moments of serendipity - those synchronous moments that make me smile. I wish for you those moments, too.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Today is a new day. It is a day of possibilities and potential. How will we spend it? Resting? Working? Stuck in details? Will we "go with the flow" or will we cling to our limitations? Be blessed in all you do today. May every moment be filled with grace, peace and beauty.