On January 7th, movers came to our villa in Bahrain and packed our belongings into wooden crates to be transported to San Diego. Once the house was empty, we moved into a hotel where we lived for five weeks, trying to time it so that we wouldn’t have to wait too long for our household goods once we got to San Diego.

On February 16th, we flew out of Bahrain on a 2am flight, stopped off in London for a long layover, and then arrived in San Diego. Our flight from Bahrain to London was about 7 ½ hours and the flight from London to San Diego was just under 11. While the travel was long, the kids were surprisingly amazing and we survived it all. Thanks, in part, to a lovely Irish woman on our first flight who basically took care of Lane so I could tend to Elle. At one point I looked up and the woman was covered in My Little Pony stickers. At another point, Lane was asleep in her lap. Thank you “Angel in Coach Class”! You saved us.

We checked into the Navy Lodge on North Island in Coronado, and within 12 hours the stomach flu hit. Commence jet lag, vomit, general physical and emotional exhaustion, and very, very little space for all 5 of us. This is what we call “making memories.”

On February 21st, our precious Elle turned 1.

On February 23rd, Steve left for the East Coast to attend a two-week course for his next job. Somewhere in the middle of all that, my mom arrived to help.

On March 7th, Steve returned from his course, and on March 8th (after 8 weeks of hotel living) we moved out of the Navy Lodge and into our new house. Totally nuts to see those same 18 crates that had been filled in Bahrain.

The last 14 days are a blur of boxes. And, in the very most generous way you can imagine, also a blur of people we love coming around us through the ministry of kitchen organization, kid entertainment, power tool wielding, room beautifying, meal delivery, steak grilling, and oodles and oodles of grace.

When we arrived in Bahrain, it was hard. I will not sugar coat it. It was hot. It was Ramadan. I was pregnant. I had two 2 ½ year olds. We had none of our belongings for 4 months. I cried. That’s pretty much how things began for us. I was anxious that our transition back to San Diego would take a similar toll. I am so grateful to report that while this transition has been tiring in every way, I do not feel desperate or panicked or despairing. I feel like we have been offered—through some unspeakable grace—a very soft place to land.

I see, yet again, that we survive transitions (whether they are going beautifully or terribly) in the same way that we survive life:

We do our best to be kind to ourselves (to be gentle with ourselves), especially when things are topsy-turvy. We take it slow. We allow ourselves to be tired or overwhelmed or scared. We fill up whenever possible because we cannot sustain good mental health during a transition if we’re perpetually empty.

We invite God into the chaos. We breathe prayers in his direction while we’re unpacking yet another box. We ask for the things we need. We thank him for what he provides. We keep the lines of communication open with him because allowing him in will save us. Every time.

We let people love us. We’d don’t assume that we’re a burden. Instead, we allow others to carry part of the load. This is how we build something. A community. A family. A home. This is how we feel as though we have a “place” in this world. We lean toward others, and they lean back.

If today finds you in any kind of transition whatsoever—a new job, new home, new way of thinking, new losses to grieve, new dreams, new baby, new relationship, new schedule, new school—I’m reaching my hand out to you through this screen and I’m saying I understand. I’m with you. I believe in you. I wish we could control everything. Make it all feel perfectly certain all the time. Alas. Instead, let’s all focus on what we can control: how we treat ourselves, how much we let God in, how we love others. And let’s remember to breathe.

May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

All my love,

Leeana

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