Saturday, August 30, 2008

Last Post - Thank you, California!

There is another way of being that I discovered in San Diego. The six months prior to our time this summer were incredibly stressful. I realize that now. It's amazing how helpful it is to have a disruption in your standard way of life to gain perspective.

A large part of that stress was created by me - I realize that. Much of the stress was not created by me but I allowed it to register with me. There was, most certainly, stress that was unavoidable, undeserved, and demanding. Still, that stress, if recognized and its costs counted, could be balanced with self-care.

Of course not working made it extremely easy to live without stress. My only responsibility was to cook dinner and be home in time to pull it together for my hard-working husband. I did also complete an online course on School Finance and Budgets which required about a day per week of work in July and early August. I found the time I never seem to have to work out at the gym or take part in a regular yoga practice. I read novels and non-fiction. I did a lot of sudoku. A lot. "This is my wife Lisa and she loves sudoku," is the refrain the Mr (literally) sings.

And I was able to smile freely and with good will. I had time to talk to shop clerks and my yoga teacher and other folks I would encounter in a leisurely day. And my muscles were not tensed. My heart did not race. I gave up coffee and did not miss it. Did not NEED it as I have felt that I do in the past.

I want to hold on to this calm, this mellow feeling - this peace! I have long felt that the Lord was telling me to find His peace and live in it. That the lifestyle I had been leading - constantly booked up with appointments, full of anxiety about job expectations, rushing around late for everything - this was no life. This allowed no time for the casual encounters with folks in my life, opportunities for grace and love. This had me on edge and distanced me from Him. My health was suffering and I could not seem to figure out why.

Late in the summer I had a conversation with a friend and colleague from school. As we talked about all the issues of working in an urban school and what the coming year would bring I felt a familiar feeling arise. I was feeling anxiety. My heart beat was louder and adrenaline began to course through my veins. I was getting excited with stress. I could recognize it because of the weeks where this once-familiar feeling had been absent.

I know that working in such a tough environment and living in the city will bring stresses. I hope that I can continue to recognize it when it encroaches because I maintain a lifestyle where such feelings are foreign and not the norm. So that I can take steps to relax when the stress arrives and take steps to return to a place of peace.

Our condo is only 2 miles from school. In one of the late summer days before school opening I walked there and it took about 45 minutes. I felt the familiar peace from the summer in San Diego. I was able to smile at the folks working on some road construction project (and if I had been driving I probably would have been late and irritated at the disruption in traffic flow). I took long notice of the ocean at Carson Beach as I walked along the bay (and when driving it is a quick nod of appreciation to the God of creation). I could think about what needed to be done or just meditate on the sounds around me. It felt great when I finally arrived at school.

It will remain to be seen if I can forgo my comfortable sleep habits to accommodate walking to school in the mornings - I would need to leave the house by 6:15 at the latest. Perhaps I will take the train in and walk home? Most importantly, I hope that I am able to maintain the importance of this level of peace in my life. How it opens my heart to others and makes time in my life to love and listen and live deeply.

So ends Mrs. California Housewife. I am so truly thankful for the gift of perspective that this summer of love and leisure has given me. The adventures of a working wife/daughter/sister/aunt and teacher and disciple in Boston continue...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Some of the Best, Some of the Last

This couple is Nate and Hope Peterson. They hosted us for our small group Missional Community on Tuesday nights. The Mr has known them for a number of years and counts them as dear friends. They are earnest and courageous in their love of God and their desire to share with others their faith and commitment to follow Christ. They have two of the loveliest children I have ever met: Kelia and Silas (I hope I spelled their names right!). And they have one more on the way. They have been so incredibly loving toward both of us and we pray for their continued ability to be such faithful ministers of the gospel.

The Mr really bonded with Si and we thought about stealing him away in my Mary Poppins handbag. But we didn't have a car seat. And we are not about to put children in harm's way! Hee. Well, anyway, my husband looks rather nice with a baby boy in his arms, so we'll have to speak to the Big Guy about that one.

We have been blessed by our community in San Diego and will miss them all so very much!

Saving Almost the Best for Almost the Last

Later that evening, the Mr took me to the Hotel Del Coronado on the island of Coronado to witness yet another sunset over water. As the Mr tells it, the folks on Coronado are very proud of their island. You have to take a very long bridge up and over the bay to get there. Everything is just a little nicer, a little more manicured, a little cleaner, a little richer. I quite enjoyed it. But what I enjoyed more was the Hotel Del.

The View from the bridge looking back at downtown San Diego:

The Hotel Del - what's not to love???

We got there just in time to see the last sliver of sun disappear behind the clouds. No green flash for me (this time). The Mr and I had a very memorable conversation about life and location. We had the orange glow on our faces as we sat facing the west, looking out over water, land, and sky. We were in love, and married, and uncertain of our future. Wait - that's all still true! Well, it was romantic and wonderful. What a way to say good-bye to San Diego for the wife.

Later, upon exiting the hotel we managed to catch with the last of our camera's battery juice, a picture with a most strangely dressed man who claimed he was a psychic. I should have asked him, "What am I thinking right now?"

Interestingly, given our conversations, as much as I would like to know what the future holds for us, I did not feel tempted to ask this man with his claims to see the future. Need an explanation? Because (1) I know that the Lord knows and will reveal it in time - it is better to trust him in this, I know. (2) Look at this man's hair? Can I really take him seriously? His name is Gary! and (3) I honestly did not think to ask him such a thing. I know where my focus should be, strong and certain on the Lord. But do enjoy the picture (even though it's blurry)!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Last of sightseeing in San Diego

Friday and Saturday found me and the Mr attending to some last minute sightseeing. He did save some of the best for last, I think. Midday we went in search of the secret insider beach at La Jolla Farms. Even though the Mr has been going here for four years, he still consulted the map to find it. That's how secret it is!

We found the last open parking spot in the neighborhood that hides this gem and ducked under a closed gate to get into the UCSD Biodiversity Trail. Walking along I tried to avoid rattlesnakes, lizards, and gophers. That occupied most of my lazy summer brain's thinking until the path brought us right to the edge of cliffs we estimated were 300 feet above "the best surfing in San Diego." The surfers were like little ants - little floating ants with ant surf boards. The waves were exactly how a surfer described to me a short time ago - blue corduroy. The Mr asked if I could see any naked people - there is a clothing optional beach about 600 feet into the distance (and 300 feet below). If they opted for no clothing it makes no difference at this distance. Not even arms and legs are visible.

It was stunning. Stunning. Just as we were about to leave a para-sailor came swooped in and glided past us on the cliff. He pulled a cord and floated up on a thermal away down the cliff top and out toward the sea. Then another pull - Swoosh! He was back in front of us again, so close we might be able to touch him if we tried. Back and forth - it was thrilling to watch.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

When we met in 1970

The Bachelor Mr in the 70s

The Bachelorette Mrs in the 70s