Change is in the Air…

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Wow, this week!  Ever so often, you experience a period of time where you can literally feel life changing all around you.  This has been that kind of week for me.  But, the difference this time, is that I have been much more present and soaking in each new experience, each new feeling.  I feel alive and excited about the future, trusting God for everything.

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The kids’ first day at The Cambridge School was awesome!

However, the morning involved some unanticipated situations.  First of all, the long awaited backyard construction project we’ve been looking forward to, finally started!  We had a crew of workers at the house, which made our sweet, neurotic dog Claira bark her head off half the morning.  Goodness gracious.

Then, when we arrived at school, Sienna ran off with her friend Alice and Teo walked out to the blacktop alone.  Dennis and I were standing off to one end of the playground and watching Teo. He had his hands in the pockets of his khaki pants, looking around the playground.  It broke my heart!  Teo didn’t look upset, but he clearly didn’t have a friend or group of friends to join.  It was hard to watch and tears sprung to my eyes.  Soon Sienna and her buddy ran up to us.  Dennis pointed toward Teo and said, “Maybe you could include your brother?”  Sienna and Alice ran to Teo and gestured for him to follow them toward the jungle gym.  It was very sweet.  Such an emotional rollercoaster for me!

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To begin the day at The Cambridge School, they gather as a grammar school to recite the Pledge of Alliance and then have a morning devotion including singing part of a hymn and prayer.  What a delightfully wonderful way to start the day!  I plan to stay for the morning devotion as often as possible.

So, the backyard is torn apart and we can’t wait to see the transformation.  We’re all getting settled into a new school routine, which is so fulfilling and inspiring.  We’re looking forward to having a backyard with more entertaining space so we can host fellowship opportunities for our friends, old and new!

The Cambridge School Chapter

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Although it doesn’t feel like fall in San Diego yet, and probably won’t for another couple of months, that back-to-school, back-to-routine feeling is in the air.  After being on the go and very relaxed about our routine for much of the summer, it felt so good to be home cleaning, organizing and getting ready for school to begin this week.  For the first time, my kids will be wearing uniforms, so I’ve been making sure everything is pressed and ready to go.  Tomorrow we meet the kids’ teachers in the morning and then gather with Sienna’s class for lunch.  The Opening Convocation is tomorrow evening, and the kids are super excited to wear their dress uniforms.  Funny the things they’re enthusiastic about!

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I’ve been reflecting on my emotions this week.  The last time we made a big switch to the kids’ school routine was different – it triggered extreme anxiety that ultimately led to my awakening.  This time, I am aware of my apprehension.  I like the familiar.  I like knowing what to expect.  Not knowing how everything works makes me uneasy. Also, this school is quite academically rigorous, so there’s some nervousness, as in: what are we getting ourselves into!?  But, as the mom, I’m trying to keep my emotions steady so the kids can process theirs.  Change is hard.

When I’m quiet and prayerful about it, I keep thanking God for making me grow and change over these past five years.  Had we embarked on this educational opportunity while I was still enmeshed in a fixed mindset, it would have been disastrous. For all of us.  If I still needed to stay “happy” by disconnecting from the moment, I would never be able to sit with my kids as they struggle and provide encouragement and support. My need for everything to go as planned would have heaped so much additional stress onto our family.

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Over the past few months and even just this week, Sienna had a couple breakdowns where she just sobbed.  She didn’t want to leave her friends or her old school. The old me would have shushed her and diminished her feelings with platitudes, such as “You’ll make new friends,” or “You’ll get used to it.”  But, knowing that her feelings were real and needed to be felt, I just hugged her and said, “I know this change is so hard.”

God is growing all of us, all the time.  When I recognize and embrace this, I am able to be gracious to myself, my kids, my husband, and everyone I encounter.  As our family embarks on the next chapter of our life – The Cambridge School chapter – I am so grateful for this awesome opportunity to give our kids a classical education in a Christian school family.  All the challenges will be faced within a community that will love and forgive and extend grace each day.

Please pray for us this week!

Where the Heart Is…

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We just returned from our annual trip to northern California to visit family in Humboldt County and Marysville.  It was a great trip!  My brother Rob and his family made the trip up north too, so the whole gang was there! We got to spend a lot of time just hanging out with our loved ones, watching the cousins play and make precious memories.  I got to cuddle my sweet, little nieces a bunch!   The only missing part of the trip was a visit to the ranch.  We opted out because we couldn’t pull the kids away from their cousins!

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Over the past several years, I find myself romanticizing the idea of living back in Humboldt County again.  There’s so much I love about it – the natural beauty including the amazing redwood trees, the quaint homes and shops, and the fact that I lived there for the first 18 years of my life! But, mostly I want to live closer to my mom, dad, stepmom, my sister Sarah and her family.  I love these people so much!  As all the cousins have bonded over the years, it’s especially sweet when we’re together.  They love one another and run around in this big pack of kids, it’s the best.

This trip, I let my thoughts wander to the possibility of living up north more than usual.  My thoughts became judgements as I mentally listed the pros and cons of Humboldt versus the pros and cons of San Diego.  Then, I started to brood.  Why did we all have to live so far apart?  Why is California such a long state?  Why does the traffic in Southern California have to be so terrible??  This last part kicked in as we sat in a traffic jam at 4:00 p.m. on a Saturday.

By the time we arrived home, I was super irritable.  Maybe it was the transition back to “real” life, or the fact it was 90 degrees in our house, or the annoyance of traffic.  Or, all of those contributing factors!  I could feel my crankiness growing as the evening went on.  I prayed for patience and tried to get to bed as soon as possible.   The nagging feeling of being conflicted between wanting to live in Humboldt and San Diego continued the following morning.  My thoughts were swirling with a negativity that was not helpful.

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Then, as I unpacked some of my purchases from the trip, I opened a little bowl for holding jewelry.  I read the quote inside: “Home is Where the Heart Is…”  This very familiar expression caught my attention with its poignancy.  Instead of feeling conflicted, I thought, what if I fused with another thought: “How lucky am I to have some many places that feel like home?!  Aren’t I fortunate to have a heart that loves people in both places?” I sighed a peaceful sigh as I put the little bowl on my dresser.  What a great example of reframing!

At church later that morning, God continued to reveal a lesson I needed to learn.  Pastor Brian preached on the metaphor of Jesus being the bread of life.  He started by describing the universal human condition of searching for life’s meaning: “There must be more to life…” we’ve all asked at some point.  When I heard that expression, I related deeply.  That’s exactly what I was doing on this trip.  Looking for the idyllic, perfect place to live.  When, in reality, no place this side of heaven is perfect.  They all have their strengths and weaknesses.

This lead me to think about the concept of home along with the verse from Matthew, chapter 6: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”   What am I treasuring in this seeking?  Ultimately, what I treasure is God and the people he’s called me to love and serve.  My family are the most treasured, so it makes sense that I feel a pull to be with them more.  However, I have friends and a church family in San Diego that also feels like home.  So much love.

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I also jotted down this part of Pastor’s sermon: “When Jesus says he’s the bread of life, he means he’s the most important part of your life.”  Ah, yes.  I reflected back on my lack of prayer during this trip.  When I get into one of my “control” mindsets, striving to figure things out overwhelms my thoughts.  Turning to God and asking him to enlighten this seeking didn’t occur to me.  Until it did. When I released my desire to “figure it out” and surrendered to God’s perfect will, I felt peace, which after all, is what he promises. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 5-7.