The last few weeks have been filled with lots of work and lots of play. First, a week of play in Scottsdale, AZ, with Steve’s extended family. We celebrated Steve’s grandfather’s 88th birthday with a big bash, and we cherished the moments of having four generations of family together. Such precious times. I grew up with one aunt (who died in her thirties), and I never had any first cousins, so it’s been very cool to inherit all this crazy family. Arizona was a needed break, and the first vacation-with-kids that actually felt relatively relaxing. Amazing.

On the heels of AZ, I flew up to Northern California—rain, rain, and more rain—and enjoyed some incredibly meaningful time with the women of Menlo Park Pres Church. First, I spoke at Mothers Together Mountain View, a satellite campus of MPPC. We talked about authentic community, something I believe these women are serious about practicing. Since this was my second time with this group, I loved seeing familiar faces and felt so at home.

Two days later I had the chance to speak at MPPC’s “Day of Renewal,” a one-day retreat for women at the amazing Mercy Center, a Catholic conference and retreat center. What an extraordinary campus, nestled in the hills of Burlingame. Truly inspiring to pass the Sisters in the hallway and see the radiance of love and hospitality in their affect. Like you had just seen Jesus.

We spent the day talking about the themes of Exile and Belonging in our lives as women, following Jesus’ healing of the woman with the issue of blood from Mark 5. We thought about the “issues of blood” in our own lives, the things that keep us isolated and exiled. And then we talked about Jesus’ treatment of this woman, not only restoring her physically but restoring her emotionally as well, bringing her back into a sense of belonging after 12 years of living on the outskirts of community.

At the end of the day, we transitioned to the *stunning* chapel and participated in a Taize and communion service, with a very personal and poignant devotional by my mother-in-law and beautiful music led by Debbie Schaeffer. We sang amidst what felt like a thousand candles all reflecting off of the enormous stained glass. What a place.

Sprinkled before, during, and after these trips were moments with dear friends. A highlight was getting to see Kara—who moved up to Nor Cal over a year ago—and laugh and catch up as if no time had passed at all.

Today, I find myself tired, and yet filled up too. I spent every spare minute yesterday putting my house back together again after the cyclone of the last few weeks had ransacked it.

Today, I return to the reality that our future is still in limbo (thanks to a job in the Navy and a world in chaos)—an inconvenient truth I shelved for the last few weeks. And as the time grows closer to a decision from the powers that be, I try to process my fears of the unknown.

Doing laundry, making coffee, building blocks with my kids, paying bills, writing . . . just trying to participate in the small moments of life that help us put one foot in front of the other and be present in this moment. Thankful that Jesus sees me. And, trying my best to remember what I shared this last week—how powerful safe community can be, how truly loved we are, and how deeply and mysteriously God heals us.

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