Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Guided Reading Program


In my regular life I read a decent amount.  Not as much as some, more than those who don’t read at all.  But I think that what I read is weird.  Strange, even. 

I read book club books, of course.  (Because with an awesome book club like the one I was privileged to be a part of for the last few years, why wouldn’t I?)  But after that, what I read is anyone’s guess.  What usually happens is that I’ll see or hear a book mentioned somewhere, and I’ll go online to the library and put a hold on it.  It usually takes long enough that long before the book arrives I’ve forgotten what on earth possessed me to read it in the first place—but I am beginning to believe that this reading ends up being anything but random.

I am amazed at how often that exact book, or part of that exact book, is exactly what I needed in my life in that moment.  Take, for instance, the book I read (who knows why!) a few months before we moved, MWF Seeking BFF.  I’m sure that in the instant that I placed it on hold I was just entertained by the stunt-fictionness of the idea of a woman recording her search for new friends.  But I wasn’t very far into the book before I realized that this was actually a book for me in that moment—because I, a MWF, was soon (as sad as it makes me) going to need to find some new BFFs, and I could sure use some ideas.

Another time I had a burning, and I mean burning urge to read Stephen Robinson’s book “Following Christ.”  This book haunted me night and day, literally.  I finally went to the bookshelves, found it, and started devouring it.  I’d read about 60 pages when it was time to go visiting teaching one night.  During the conversation that night with my dear friend she asked a question with some serious spiritual despair behind it.  And thanks to Robinson and “Following Christ,” I was able to open my mouth and regurgitate out his beautiful Parable of the Diver which brought comfort to her and humility (on any number of levels) to me.  Weeks (WEEKS) later I happened upon the book laying somewhere in the house and remembered that I had been in the process of reading it.  I had no desire left to pick it up and read it—that was totally gone.  It took me a long time to put those pieces together, but when I did I could arrive at no other conclusion than that I had been guided to that book for that moment.

The most interested “guided” reading I do is always in the scriptures.  Without fail, every time I read there is something in what I read that speaks to me specifically.  Pointedly, even.  I’m so curious about this.  Is God able to bring out what I need to hear regardless of what I’m actually reading in His word?  Does God know just how wacky my reading schedule is going to be and so nudges me this way and that so that I’ll arrive at the right places at the right times?  I do not have the faintest idea.  But I’ll tell you, however He is doing it, He is good.


Here was a recent moment—keeping in mind that I have been struggling for months now with my anger towards God about this move and all it means for our family, and have been so fearful about our house not having sold.  I should also tell you that about a week or so I had the distinct feeling (even started a blog post on it that never got finished) that I should be reading my own blog more often, particularly the posts early on in Russ’s unemployment where I recorded the spiritual impressions that I had and the faith that they gave me. 

From the 7th chapter of Nephi—this was literally the 4th verse I read this morning:

Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten what
great things the Lord hath done for us…

The verses just before that were also powerful to me, but this was that one that just pierced my heart and was the reminder that I needed.


I think I’m going to try to stop being surprised when God provides the answers I need in my reading, and just start being grateful for His direction. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Failure and Moving Forward

Several years ago I read the book “The Happiness Project.”  I loved it.  I loved each chapter that described a different facet in the author’s search for more happiness.  Except for the chapter on failure.  When she said that happy people enjoy the fun of failure, I just didn’t get it.

After all, my entire life is and has been an effort to succeed, and to succeed well.  I won’t afflict you with the details of my successes, but let’s just say that I’m reasonably intelligent and fairly accomplished and I don’t often do failure.

Until now.

When Russ lost his job I was resolved to handle it well.  I was going to have the Right Attitude and the Right Heart and Trust in the Lord.  I even publicly declared my resolution in testimony meeting.

There are things about this experience that I believe that I have handled well.  I think that for the most part I single parented well.  I think I did a pretty good job of doing the things that needed to be done in my house, even when they were outside of my skill set.  I was really good at finding help when I needed it and accepting it when it was offered.  (Something that is not always true for me.)  I think that I did a good job of celebrating relationships and rejoicing with all of my dear friends before I left. 

But Trusting in the Lord?  Accepting His plan??  Following Him willingly???


Total Fail.


I’ve always wondered if I could have succeeded as a pioneer.  Would I have been able to obey when it was time to leave everything and walk across the entire country?  Would I have been able to handle my husband leaving with little preparation and no money to serve a mission in a foreign country?? 

I think I probably would have done it, but only because I am at heart an obedient person.  But oh, it would have been ugly.  I think that after the last 6 months I can safely say that I would have been angry, resistant, unwilling, complaining, and whiney.


For years now I’ve had this fantasy of being able to handle adversity with a kind of Maxwellian yielding of the heart—of being able to gracefully submit my will and my plans to His.  The reality could not have been more different.  Despite plenty of spiritual impressions and reassurances, I have not yet been able to achieve more than a modicum of submission, and sometimes none at all.  I have spent most of my time in fear rather than faith, unable to trust that Heavenly Father’s plan is really what is best for me.  I have not yet been able to let go of my own desires and want what God (obviously) wants.  I have been angry and ungrateful and unloving much of the time.


Epic Fail.


Thankfully I am obedient, and so we start our new life in Oregon, regardless of the fact that I was kicking and screaming most of the way across the country.  (Emotionally more than physically.)   I’m sure that eventually I will begin to see the wisdom in the Lord’s plan.  I hope that one day I will rejoice in it—but I truly cannot imagine that at this point.  And I just can’t help feeling that it would have been so much nicer and cleaner (and successful) if I had been able to follow my original plan to handle everything just right spiritually. 



I’ve also realized that I am not good at moving forward after such a failure.  Going forward after a success?  I know how to do that.  But in this moment I find myself almost stalled, unsure of how to regain forward motion.  The other day I opened my Book of Mormon to the 5th chapter of 1st Nephi and was reminded again of some insights I’d had a couple of months ago as I’d read the chapter.  What were merely interesting insights before were especially meaningful as I thought of them again this week.

We don’t know much about Sariah, Lehi’s wife and Nephi’s mother.  She must have been very faithful to give up her home, friends, and possessions to follow her husband out into the desert.  However she’d handled everything up to that point, though, when Nephi and his brothers went to Jerusalem to get the plates and took longer getting back then she thought they should, she lost it.  She was sure that her sons had died and she blamed it on Lehi and his visions. 

What was so interesting to me when I read this a couple of months ago was to see what happened next.  The boys came back, Sariah rejoiced, told how her testimony was strengthened because of the experience, and then they offered a sacrifice & burnt offerings and thanked the Lord.  There is no mention of Sariah beating herself up endlessly over her lapse of faith, no continued commentary from Nephi on his mother’s moment of weakness.  It happened, she learned from it, and she appears to have moved on.

As these thoughts came back to me I realized that they are exactly what I needed to “hear” in this moment.  A message from the Spirit that I can learn from this, that my faith can be strengthened, and that instead of dwelling on the agony/frustration/humiliation of having failed, I need to move on. 


So on I go.  And hopefully the next time failure comes around (as I am sure it will) I will remember this moment and the lessons learned and be able to handle it a little more gracefully.



This is a song that really touched me recently—seemed to have a lot to do with my inner struggle.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Is there an app for that??


We were driving in the car one day after leaving Cindy Lynn’s.  From the back seat Jared was telling me one “yo momma” joke after another.  I could just barely see him with my peripheral vision and it looked like he might be reading something.  I asked him, “Jared, where are you getting all of these jokes?”

Then I continued, “Did you download a ‘yo momma’ joke app?”

Right as he said, “I downloaded a ‘yo momma’ joke app.”


Really?!?!?  I guess there is an app for everything…

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I wonder how this happened?


This popped into my inbasket yesterday…


Friday, May 25, 2012

Food Thoughts

[We interrupt the travel bloging with some other thoughts.  Back to the travel stuff before too long…]

Russ was clearly prepared for my arrival.  Raw tortillas!  Hooray!!  I’ve been here for 4 meals and had raw tortillas 4 times!!



Last night the bishop’s wife (who I’ve spoken with on the phone before) came over with a plate of brownies to welcome us.  (Very welcome indeed.)  Which resulted in this scriptural paraphrase this morning…

And the husband commanded the woman, saying, Of every food in the kitchen thou mayest freely eat:

But of the plate of brownies that the bishop’s wife brought as a welcome gift, thou shalt not eat of it for breakfast: for in the morning that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely feel like thou art going to die.


Back to unpacking—surely there are clothes for me somewhere!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 17: In which we close Sea World and survive on funnel cakes

Our last day at Sea World started with a stressful morning packing up all of our stuff so that we could check out of the guest house.  (One of the moments when I question my frequent decision to travel.)


As we left the little neighborhood we’d been staying in I had Cindy Lynn hop out of the car and take a picture of one of the roads.  I didn’t realize before we arrived that San Diego is really built on hills, and I was unprepared to see a street like this one. 


These pictures really don’t do justice to this hill—once I turned onto it I was actually afraid to drive up it.  I mean I would have if I’d had to, but I didn’t have to and Rachel was begging me not to.  So I made an illegal u turn and went back to Cindy Lynn.

Then we were off to what definitely is for us one of the happiest spots on the earth.


I started the day resolved to do five things:

  • watch the dolphin show twice
  • watch the Shamu show twice
  • get a picture on Atlantis with Rachel looking towards the camera
  • get a picture taken with all of us riding Shamu (green screen Shamu, that is.)
  • eat funnel  cake

As it turned out, my day was pretty successful.

Cindy Lynn and I watched the dolphin show twice and were deliriously happy.  When we found out that there was a sountrack and a dvd available to buy we were even happier.  (And were singing the songs in our sleep for days after!) 


It might not make sense, but every time I watched the dolphin show (and in other moments throughout our Sea World time) I felt as if my soul was being healed by the beauty and wonder of it all.


My head was so sunburned by Tuesday (and I forgot to bring my hat) that I resorted to putting my shirt over my head during the shows.  It was kind of embarrassing but the pain otherwise was more than the embarrassment.  And I figured it was not like anyone there knew me…


The kids didn’t want to see the dolphin show the second time, so we gave them one of the cell phones and left them on the other side of the park to see some different things.  I think they did a great job of being on their own, and Cindy Lynn and I enjoyed seeing the show without them complaining about having to be there.

We also saw the Shamu show twice, loved it almost as much, and bought the soundtrack and dvd for it too.  (And you just can’t imagine how unlike me that is…)


We also went to see the Sea Lion show again, and the little girls and I went to see the Pet Show which thrilled them.  (I’ve told several people that all the kids really needed on this trip was to visit an animal shelter, as it seems that the best part of every day was seeing stray dogs.)

We decided not to ride Shipwreck Rapids on our last day because we didn’t want to get so absolutely wet again.  Unfortunately Cindy Lynn got even wetter while riding Atlantis.  And we never quite succeeded in getting Rachel to look at the camera, even when we tried coercive measures.


We got a great picture of the five of us riding Shamu.


We never could bring ourselves to stop all of the fun and go to the parking lot to get our sandwiches, so we did the next best thing.  We subsisted the entire day on string cheese and funnel cakes.  Another brownie funnel cake, an apple pie funnel cake, and a strawberries and cream funnel cake.  All I can say is that each one was yummier than the last and we are probably all now on the short list for diabetes.

When the last Shamu show was over and the last funnel cake eaten we tried to dash over to the shark exhibit but it was already closed.  So we watched the seals and sea lions (and the birds who apparently live to eat their regurgitated food) until a very friendly but firm park employee told us we had to leave.


We left Sea World and headed north, determined to see the Pacific Ocean before leaving California.  First we found a bay. 


Even though it wasn’t the ocean that we were after, we still took a few pictures.


(In case you’re wondering what is going on with my hair I can explain.  That is my “I left my hair down until we took the Shamu picture and then my sunburned scalp was hurting so bad that I pulled some of it up without the help of either comb or mirror and yes then I went around the rest of the day looking like that” hairstyle.  You’re welcome.)

We were going to leave and go to dinner after that, but on our way to dinner we happened to glimpse the ocean in the west and that was all it took.  We were on a treasure hunt to see the actual Pacific and our hunt culminated in a fierce moment of parallel parking and then a beautiful sunset watching surfers from the beach.  Aside from being cold, it couldn’t have been better.



Then we got back in the car, drove around and saw some neat houses and the corner of “Starlight” and “Moonlight” (I kid you not) and finally called Russ to help us get back on the right street so that we could go eat dinner.  After dinner we drove to Barstow where we stayed in the nicest hotel I’ve ever been in—cookies 24/7, free chilled bottled water for all, pool open 24/7, and no checkout till noon.  We were absolutely exhausted by the time we got there and just collapsed and didn’t wake till late the next morning.


miles travelled: 234                                                                                         total: 3570

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 16: Sea World Memories


On Monday morning we got up and (eventually, and kind of slowly) went and picked up Cindy Lynn at the airport in San Diego.  We were so excited to see her and tell her all about our Sea World fun from the previous Saturday and talk about the things that we wanted to do that day.  I had decided on Saturday that buying $lunch$ at Sea World was a bad use of our financial resources, so we had sandwich makings in the car with us.  When we got to the Sea World parking lot we made sandwiches and ate lunch before we went in.  Then we went into the park, picked up Cindy Lynn’s wheelchair (which keeps her from getting overtired, or at least as overtired) and we were off.  And I mean OFF!!!!

There are some ways that Cindy Lynn and I are very different.  But in this way, we are exactly alike.  WE LOVE SEA WORLD!!  Many years ago in Sunday School (and I may have posted about this before) a thinking-outside-the-LDS-box kind of guy suggested that if we have a particular affinity for some part of creation, then perhaps we had a part in assisting in that creation.  If that is so, I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was helping with: ocean water, beautiful fish, dolphins, and whales.  And Cindy Lynn might have been right there with me.  (Russ was helping with the sea turtles—I am certain of it.)  All of that to say again that we really really love Sea World.

We started our day by riding Atlantis again—the water/roller coaster ride. 


Because Cindy Lynn was in a wheelchair we got to go to the handicapped entrance.  We were a little puzzled at first when we got into the boat there and wondered how on earth we were going to get over onto the regular tracks.  What happened next took us by surprise.

As you plunge over the first (and biggest) drop on this ride a camera snaps your picture.  Then when you get off and walk around to ride again (should you be so lucky as to be there at a time with no lines when you can just ride over and over again) you look at the screens to see your picture. 

I’d almost gotten one of the pictures on Saturday but then realized that what I really wanted was a picture with Cindy Lynn in it too.  And I was determined to get a good one.  Unfortunately every time we rode the ride, Rachel ducked her face just as the camera took the picture.  We ran out of time and had to go on to the next thing, which was the dolphin show.

Cindy Lynn was so excited to see the dolphin show that she had loved so much when we saw it in Florida years ago.  The little kids enjoyed it, but she & I sat there in ecstasy.  (Seriously not an exaggeration.)  Here are some of the highlights.

Or you can see the full dolphin show here.  (We bought the dvd so we can watch it at home and pretend we’re still at Sea World.)

Next we moved on to the Sea Lion Show.  We were so excited for Cindy Lynn to see the pre-show—it had been hilarious when we’d seen it on Saturday.

The sea lion show itself had some funny moments too.

Next on our agenda was the other water ride, Shipwreck Rapids.  Because it was a slow day at Sea World (yay for us!) we were able to ride the ride 5 times in a row without even getting off.  We were drenched by the end.


You really can’t see how wet we were in the pictures, but we were ENTIRELY soaked.  Dripping water from hair to shoes.  Fortunately for us they had people-sized driers we could use, for a small fee of course.


Our last show of the day was the Shamu show and it was fabulous again, of course.

IMG_3677 a

If you’re interested, here’s a recording of the whole show.  It’s just talking until about minute 5.

The most magical moment of the day happened as we were walking past one of the dolphin training lagoons.  There was music from the dolphin show playing in the background, and we noticed that a few of the dolphins were jumping.  As we stood and watched, all of the dolphins in the lagoon swam and jumped, over and over.  Sometimes one at a time, sometimes two, over and over.  Cindy Lynn theorized that they were enjoying the music and responding to it.  Whatever the reason, it was so neat to stand there and watch this impromptu show.  I made a deliberate decision not to grab my camera so that I was about to fully watch and be in the moment, and it was amazing. 

As soon as the Shamu show was over we hurried out of the park so that we could go back to the guesthouse to change our still wet clothes.  Then we headed north on the 5 (don’t we just sound like San Diego natives???) and went to dinner at our friend Megan’s house.  Megan lived in our ward in NC and was one of our friends who threw Cindy Lynn’s bridal shower.  She made us a delicious dinner and we loved holding her baby and talking with her.  It was a great end to a wonderful day.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Day 15: A new temple and our mother’s day reunion

Our Sunday in San Diego was a lovely relaxing day after the long (but wonderful) hours at Sea World the day before.  We all woke up late, did laundry, and then went to a mid-morning sacrament meeting.  The kids were happy when I said that we didn’t have to stay for the 2nd & 3rd hours (reason to follow) because the ward we went to was a university ward and all of the other kids there were toddlers. 

After church we went (thanks to a lot of help from BlondeStar) to see the San Diego temple.  I was so excited about this—I’ve always thought this temple was beautiful but didn’t think that I’d ever have a reason to be in San Diego to see it.  It was just as stunning in real life as in the pictures I’d seen and we had a great time walking around it.




I was also taking pictures with my phone and texting them to Russ, Josh, and Alisyn, when I received a text remind me that I was going to be late for the most important part of our day—our mother’s day skype session with Jason.

We rushed back to the guesthouse and got online, then waited, and waited, and waited.  We had a good time all chatting together while we waited.  Josh was on in NC, Cindy Lynn and Mahon in Utah, Russ in Oregon, and the little kids and I in San Diego.  After an hour Jason popped on and we were all so excited to talk to him.  I figure this must have been one of the most scattered Mother’s Days a family (who’s children aren’t all grown) could have.

I took some screen shots to help preserve the memories of this very unusual Mother’s Day.




It was great to see and talk to Jason.  He seems so happy and we all loved hearing him speak Spanish! 

Then we went out onto our lovely guesthouse patio



where I successfully grilled some yummy steaks for dinner. 

It was a wonderful and unique Mother’s day.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 14: Making lemonade at Sea World


I know, I know.  What does lemonade have to do with Sea World?  Well wait just a minute and I will tell you.


We arrived at our little guesthouse apartment in San Diego late and went straight to bed in preparation for our big day ahead.  During the week right now Sea World is only open from 10-6, but on the weekend it was open from 9AM to 10PM.  And we planned to be there for most of that.

We first went to Sea World in 2002 when we took the big kids to Disney.  I didn’t know what to expect and it was all a delight to me.  The animals were beautiful, the shows were amazing, and the highlight of the trip was that I got to feed dolphins.  You could buy little fish, 3 for $5, and then hold them up in the air and the dolphins would jump up and take them from you.  The best part was that you were encouraged to pet the dolphins while feeding them.  It was one of the most satisfying experiences in my life.  In the intervening years Russ & I have done several different dolphin “interactions,” but truthfully the most satisfying interaction I’ve ever had was feeding the dolphins that day.  And that is what I planned to do every day at Sea World. 

Imagine our shock and surprise when we got to the dolphin area at Sea World on Saturday and found that you can no longer feed the dolphins there.  It was NOT a happy moment—right up there with that Monday morning in San Antonio when I realized that Sea World was closed.  [just a note: Sea World San Diego and Sea World Orlando NEVER close.  They are open even on holidays.  I don’t know what’s up with San Antonio…] 

The dolphin feeding enclosure has been replaced by a place where you can come and watch the trainers interact with dolphins.  We were lucky enough to each be given a fish by the trainer to feed the dolphin, but it was a “throw the fish into the dolphin’s mouth” rather than the “pet the dolphin up one side and down the other while getting ready to give it the fish” encounter that I’d been so looking forward to. 


We stood there and watched for almost an hour and the whole time I just felt choked with disappointment.  Sure, we saw some beautiful dolphins, but it wasn’t the experience I wanted. 


After we were done watching the dolphins we walked over to see the baby otters.  A trainer saw the kids looking through the window and invited us to come by ourselves into the baby otter nursery to see the two 6 month old otters that were rescued this winter and have been raised by the Sea World staff. 


They were just darling and we got to watch them cavort and play for almost a half hour.   They never stopped moving the whole time—swimming around, jumping and diving, it was so much fun.  After we’d been in there a while another family was brought in and one of the women kept saying “it has been my dream to see this.”  It made me think that we were really fortunate to have been invited in to see the little otters, and that I needed to focus on whatever experiences we had on this day at Sea World, rather than wishing they were different.


After we were done with the baby otters we went to ride Atlantis.  Our other sadness about Sea World was that they don’t have a roller coaster yet, though we were never able to forget that they have one that is opening in just a few days.

Called the Manta Ray.


So Atlantis had to be enough roller coaster for us.  Fortunately there was not much of a line, so we were able to ride it over and over again without stopping for a couple of hours.  We loved the water splashing on us and Jared had a great time practicing all of his screams.  (My favorite was when he did the Geico piggy “wheee-wheee-wheeeeee” one.) 

Then we went to some of the shows.  The kids were sad to leave the ride, but I promised them that we would come back lots and lots before we were done.  We went and saw the Shamu show, the dolphin show, and the Sea Lion show.  What can we say—these shows are absolutely amazing.  I could (and did) sit through them more than once in a day, but more about that later.

First, the Shamu show.  It was definitely a different show now that the trainers no longer get in the water with the orcas, but still just amazing.  The special effects & music were also terrific.  IMG_3229

Next, the dolphin show.  We actually saw this show in Florida when we were on Cindy Lynn’s make a wish trip in 2005.  It wasn’t officially opened yet because it was a brand new show, but we walked by the stadium one day and there was a sign inviting people to come and see the still imperfect show.  We loved it so much then and I was excited to see that the same (essentially) show was still playing.  It was even better than I’d remember—beautiful music, exciting diving, and up to 10 dolphins leaping and jumping around the tank. 


It was magnificent.

The kids’ favorite show was the sea lion show.  It definitely had the best pre-show entertainment—a dance parody of 80ish music that had me laughing like crazy.  I videotaped it another day so hopefully at some point I’ll have time to post it. 


We rode the other ride, Shipwreck Rapids, after all of the shows, but decided that we weren’t willing to stand in line for 30 minutes again so we went on to other things. 

Other things including this chocolate funnel cake topped with ice cream, whipped cream, and hot fudge.  Amazing!


Our last two activities of the day were the two night shows.  First, the the sea lion’s night show.  This was hilarious.  Right now their daytime show is a parody of different tv shows, but their night time show parodies the different Sea World shows.  Which meant that they had all of the right music and costumes, and they mocked the other shows mercilessly.  I laughed until my throat hurt.

The last show of the night was Shamu Rocks.  The huge stadium was FILLED with people.  For the last few minutes before the show started they got everyone revved up with the music they played.  First they played “I Love Rock & Roll” and everyone was singing along with the choruses.  Then they played “We Will Rock You.”  Everyone was clapping and stomping and singing—it was amazing energy.  And then they brought out the orcas. 

Here are a couple of video clips from the show.  I didn’t have time to make the video nice, so it’s choppy and you can hear all of the oohs & aahhs, but it’s still pretty cool.

That was the end of our 12.5 hour day at Sea World.  By the end we were wet, tired, sunburned, and footsore.  But oh, so very happy!!!


The other “making lemonade” moment came at the end of Shamu Rocks.  When we’d seen the nighttime Shamu show in Florida there had been fireworks, so I assumed that we would see fireworks this time too.  We sat through this amazing show, the music and lights and special effects were spectacular and then Shamu leaping and jumping and splashing all over the place.  But—no fireworks.

So what is the first thing Rachel said, and the only thing she said for the rest of the night?

I can’t believe there were no fireworks!


I thought about this for the rest of the night and all day on Sunday.  The whole day Saturday had been an exercise in adjusting my expectations and finding happiness in what was available.  Now admittedly, there was a LOT that was available to be happy about.  But the fact was, the one moment that I have dreamed of and fantasized about for the last 3 months was not available.  I could have spent all of the day at Sea World slightly frustrated, or I could do what I eventually did, shrug it off, and enjoy what was there.  I saw that again as Rachel complained and complained about the lack of fireworks.

I realized on Sunday that we are in a making lemonade moment of our lives right now in another way.  I am really really stressed about my house not selling.  I thought I’d made a deal with the Lord that I would work my hardest for months on end, be a good single mother to my kids, and then He would make my house sell right away.  Or at least soon enough that we didn’t have to pay for temporary housing and our mortgage at the same time.  Or at least…

Apparently this is not His plan, and it is so frustrating.  After 3 months of unemployment and 6 months of fixing up our house and a new job that is a paycut our budget isn’t in good enough shape to sustain many months of rent + mortgage.  And yet that is what is happening.  I am filled with fear about what it means for our future.

I realized on Sunday that our day at Sea World was a perfect metaphor.  I thought I was going to get to pet the dolphins.  But I didn’t.  Where was I going to go from there?

I thought the house would sell quickly.  But it hasn’t.  Where am I going to go from here?  So here is my new goal.  First, to (as much as possible) stop worrying about it.  I have fixed everything that we can afford to fix.  I have prayed like crazy.  I have to let it go a little.  Second, I’m going to find what I can to enjoy about living in the apartment for the time being.  No yardwork for the summer—yay!  A pool—yay!  Not having to worry so much about things while we’re gone later in the summer—yay! 

I have no idea how this will all end up.  I have no idea where we will end up.  (Ok, the pacific northwest…but you know what I mean.)  I have no idea how we will afford everything.  (Ok, I have some ideas, but they aren’t very palatable.)  But I am going to try to let go of my worry about what the future will bring, and focus on enjoying the baby otter moments that come my way in this moment, and then the next, and then the next. 

Wish me luck…

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 13: Arizona Rays

We had a lovely time visiting Russ’s brother Dave, and his wife Susan.  The last time we visited them was when I was pregnant with Josh right before we moved to North Carolina, so it was kind of fitting that we visit them as we were leaving North Carolina.  (No pregnancy this time though!) 

Susan made yummy homemade wheat bread (it’s been way too long) and strawberry freezer jam for us, and the kids spent a long time swimming in their pool and wondering why I wouldn’t get all the way in.  (cold water wimp, remember?) 







Jared was funny—after he was out and all dried off Susan asked him to get all of the pool toys out and put them away.  He managed to get everything out without actually getting in—he was very creative.

Here we all are before we left, along with their darling grandson Brody. 


The rest of the day was a long drive from Arizona to San Diego.  The kids napped and I enjoyed watching the rugged mountains and all of the cactus.  We got to go through several more border patrol checkpoints and I did my best to be a normal person. 


The only other notable event of the drive was the wind.  I saw some wind advisory signs but really didn’t pay much attention—other than the day of rain in Texas, we’ve really had terrific weather this whole trip.  But I started paying attention pretty quickly.  It was after dark and I was already kind of tired, and I noticed that the van was harder to control than normal.  When I looked I could see that the plants along the side of the interstate were blowing like crazy.  I had to slow down quite a bit before I felt in control again.

We arrived at our little guesthouse in San Diego at about 10:30, tired but excited about the next day!


miles travelled: 391                                                                                    total miles: 3244


PS—Cindy Lynn points out that I may have handed down the inability to be serious in serious circumstances.  In February of 2002 we left the little kids with a babysitter and flew down to Orlando with the big kids.  Cindy Lynn had all of her breathing treatment equipment in her carryon, and when it went through the xray machine they stopped it.  (Remember, this was just a few months after 9/11.)  They asked what was in her bag and she said, 13 years old and quite sarcastic already, “It’s a bomb.”  And then they searched her very carefully, and Russ & I told her over and over again for weeks and years that if there’s one place you should never joke around, it’s airport security.

PPS—I must also point out that Russ and I had seriously neglected Cindy Lynn’s “appropriate airport attitude” lessons up to this point.  An omission that we seriously regretted and have spent years rectifying.