Old Lady

Jumping with both feet in and the attitude that I will adjust faster to the cold water this way. I went to a community group this week at the church I visited just once. It’s close enough to walk to, Joe was home to put the kids down, and I am craving prayer with other Christians.

I knew it would be a group of strangers and because it was the first meeting I was relieved that it was mostly strangers making connections across the city and in faith. Besides the short introduction and prayer, it was a “get to know one another” time. Which I am terrible at and don’t know where to start. So I typically eavesdrop and then interrupt ( seriously terrible etiquette).

I overhear two guys talking about surfing next to me (vaguely interesting) when I suddenly hear “Ryan and Tammy with the three kids. Ryan the tall, skinny guy with glasses.” And of course have to interrupt. Because this is the description of my friends from high school, the same friends who invited me to church, and who is this guy? Do we know each other? How is he using my description of this same guy, that I have been using since middle school?

I tap his arm and ask how he knows these friends. He then says they are family. He tells me his father is Jason, Tammy’s older brother. My jaw drops. This is Nick.

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Nick the baby I held as a teenager when my arms were decorated in glitter bracelets. Nick the one who played baseball as a kid. Nick the one I have prayed for every time I have run into his father and grandmother. Nick the only child, with many siblings. Nick who now lives in Long Beach and will be twenty this month.

So of course as I freak out, he has no real idea who I am. For all he knows I am a stalker or a psychic but this young, charming, handsome man is kind to my crazy old lady memory. He even let’s me snap this picture as proof because I know Joe won’t believe me when I get home.

I leave the group, slowly under streetlights, in disbelief at God’s kingdom. It stretches far and wide, yet close and overlapping. A small confirmation for my wandering heart that I as I take one step forward, God will answer in wonderful ways.

Girl Boss

I might have borrowed the title of this post from a book cover I saw recently.DSC01241

It describes Olivine and what I am trying to practice more often. She gets my undivided attention for a few hours and determines where we go (I might have forced in a quick Trader Joe’s stop for groceries, but other than that, we were on “Olivine time”).
DSC01243Originally wanting to head to the aquarium, we had short detour after looking out the window and seeing the park near our place (closed most of the summer for renovation- a disguised blessing that kept us searching all summer for other parks) reopened. I slammed on the breaks, pulled into a spot, and felt silly living one block away, but she’s the boss.DSC01244I let her wander and discover (no boys to tell her where to go). It was almost perfect that she explored the playground first. Next time when we all go together she’ll be the one who already has prior knowledge.
DSC01255When she needed me, I came.

I did some quiet sitting. And yes. I noticed in myself how seriously restless my heart is. What’s not to love on a Monday morning in an empty park? For me, it is tied to productivity. What I am doing? contributing? producing?DSC01259And then I heard her voice “calling number 28”

DSC01263and when I looked over she was beckoning to me “Hey lady, your tofu sandwich and lemonade are ready!”DSC01265 She played store with the sand and demanded I gather leaves to pay, the only kind of money this pop-up shop accepts.
We eventually went to the aquarium and just like Joe has bragged, it is fairly empty on a Monday morning, then we came home just in time for lunch.
DSC01272 She sat under the window, thrilled to be undisturbed in singing practice with her microphone.

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We had a lovely morning together.

Football Season

We don’t have a television, but even better: a lego table.

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This place keeps me up to date on whatever is interesting and important to my second grader. Another way I get to see the world through his eyes.

I think my favorite part (because I really don’t like football) is that the little lego guys all have colorful helmets that are bowing forward, while the guy in front is standing straight up. It’s those little details that Paul is noticing and imitating in his play.

Invitation

A friend reached out in love and I said yes to her offer to join her family this morning in celebration.

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First impressions are a big deal and I was excited to hear the message focused on community and God’s kingdom. I like their vision:

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I took communion for the first time in months. This place is close to my house and has two services with childcare. Maybe this is where God is leading me in this next season. I didn’t feel any pressure this morning except to reconsider where I can dig deeper in my own heart. At this point I am on my knees, waiting and listening.

Impermanence

Some days are better than others. Not every day is rose colored. I am learning in my diversity class that discomfort is a place we can grow in. I don’t always need to feel comfortable. This is one space I use to try and make sense of my discomfort.

Recently the doors closed at a church I love. It was at that final service I heard one of many songs I love, but was unable to sing all the words. They ring so true, that every time I attempted to sing them I choked up. The following of God requires trust and faith that I don’t always seem to have. Not in a moment when I realize this church family won’t be gathered together like this again. That this closure is permanent.

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At the same moment these folks will scatter, a friend is diagnosed with cancer. A father, a son, a man who is showing no signs of sickness. And so I want to gather the church and insist they stay open or that we continue to gather because we will need each other in this next season to hold each other up.

I don’t feel like the words on my shelf:

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It is what I want, but not how I feel.

And yesterday I sat in my car, barely able to crack this book open that I love and read twice already. I can’t get past the first word in the title, let alone the pages contained within. It is my essential prayer: Help.

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Even as I walk the campus of the elementary school I taught for the first time since leaving (yesterday). Happy to see old faces and missing the children more than I thought I could. Wondering if I made the right choice. Joking about coming back as a substitute. I feel lost. I am wandering.

I remember Jim’s prayer a couple weeks back. I feel like those who wandered in the desert. I know that some days we blindly trust, we question, we experience discomfort, and the unseen promises are kept.

Meals in the Heat

Long Beach has been reaching one hundred degrees which means I refuse to turn on the oven and cooking becomes exhausting before it has even begun.

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And then I remembered fresh basil in the windowsill and a panini press in the cupboard. Inspiration comes easy in the heat.

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Cold salad, cold fruit, and a warm sandwich is a definite hit for a school night dinner.

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Did I mention dessert? Ice cream sandwiches from SF.

Don’t you just love the title. Sums up how I feel, including the period.

Simply Tuesday

Unintentionally opened this book today and found created a full thirty minutes to dig in, outside of readings for homework and preparing to teach.

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However, I am not willing to dismiss the book title and day as pure coincidence, because the title truly speaks to my heart.DSC01207

A few weeks ago this was the first podcast I ever listened to (gasp!) and can now see why folks get addicted. The author Tsh Oxenreider was interviewing Emily. Her down to earth, North Carolina spirit drew me in. Plus, this book is in my “wheelhouse”  or thematic attraction to slowing down.

I’m only a few chapters in and highly recommend it.

Petco Park with the Padres

The hotel was literally across the street with this escalator and attached “sky bridge” as an entrance.

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Everywhere I looked I saw the color blue and big smiles.

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Okay, maybe not on George, but that was only his frown for the camera. He doesn’t want to be told when to smile.DSC01172

Slowly, I am being converted by the pressure of these folks to enjoy myself at this great American pastime.

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It helps to have the eager excitement of this guy in my lap or at my side. He asks a ton of questions which someone else has to answer, but I sure learn a lot about what is going on.

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These two sat and whispered at the end. They didn’t require much attention at all. They sat captivated by the game.DSC01169

Meanwhile Olivine ate a ton of snacks and spent a portion of her time practicing opening sunflower seeds like a squirrel.

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Dodgers won and who knows…maybe this row brings a bit of a good luck charm. DSC01193

Seems like when we are there, they win.

This time our seats were in the shade and that made the experience a thousand times more comfortable and enjoyable.

The View

The windows in our rooms (next door to one another) were awe-inspiring.

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So much to see “over there” and “down there” with trains, the bay, and all the people. A busy space to play “I-spy”.

The light looked glowing at sunset.

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Even surprise fireworks on Saturday night.

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I could have sat at the window longer, just staring out over the city.

The Hotel

Two pools and twenty floors high. We were right in the middle, on the 10th floor.
DSC01068We spent an afternoon at the sixth floor pool. I am surprised at how easily I lay down, trusting my kids are good in the water while I chill out on the sidelines. I think I was spoiled in Palm Springs. I like to think of it as my thirty minute vacation, within the larger vacation where I exhale and empty my brain of list making.
DSC01064 It helps when papa is in the water and the entire pool is 3 and half feet deep.
DSC01062The filter Joe used is in theme with the Dodgers.

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This was right downtown with plenty to see and do in the Gaslamp District.

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Mimi had a student refer this pizza shop. Yum! Yelp reviews were accurate: good food, good prices, but not the best service.

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We mostly care about good food.

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Oh and good dessert. So within walking distance from our place we found macaroons

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in colorful flavors

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and gelato to fill up on.

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We did walk around and if we had more time might have gone into the Children’s Museum. Although free is so much better.

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This playground was close by and there was plenty of shade.

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I always feel like once I am there, I want to stay longer. Maybe that is a good thing.

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It leaves me wanting to plan another trip. San Diego is so close to Mexico, I feel like next time, we might as well plan on crossing the border. Or including Legoland in a trip.

DSC01112We are also thinking this is the best way to wrap up summer. Sounds like a great excuse to create a new tradition. Get out of town Labor Day weekend, before school is in full swing.

We will wrap Mario’s September birthday in to every trip. His shirt hints at the real reason for this trip.