Tag Archives: bay area

the most hopeful thing I’d ever done

Two years ago this week I came to the Bay Area to look for an apartment.  I vividly remember Jen driving me across the bridge from the East Bay (where she lives) to the Peninsula (where I would live).  I had this tremendous sinking feeling in my stomach – “What the heck am I doing?” – “Oh my gosh I am very far from home” – “Oh crap, I’m going to live here” – “This is a really long bridge.  I’ve seen pictures of an earthquake and bridges like this!”

Ok, I didn’t really have that last thought then.*  But since Kevin and I moved to Union City, I cross that same bridge every time I go to my office.  It’s normal now – the new normal.  Life has changed so much in the last two years.   I met a wonderful man – now we’re married.  We’ve found a church community we love, and I feel so much more settled in my InterVarsity work here.  I’m almost done with my master’s degree.

Moving to California was the most hopeful thing I’d ever done.  And I knew it.  I kept saying it to myself as I packed up all my earthly possessions.  I said it to myself when I was looking at tiny apartments that cost twice my Austin mortgage. And I tried to say it to myself through the tears when I dropped Carrie off at the San Jose airport to fly home after our giant roadtrip here.

Hopeful because I had a great life in Austin.  I loved my job, my church community, my house, loved it all. And still I sensed my own desire and God’s invitation to pick up and move.  So moving, leaving what I knew to try something new.  I had to be hopeful, or I’d never leave.  I am grateful for all the meaningful goodbyes I had in Austin, they carried me through the darker and colder times here.  A shoebox of affirmations from the IV Regional Leadership Team and a shoebox of sending notes and prayers from Mosaic are still treasures of mine.  Like the writers of the psalms, I got to stretch my faith – remembering the community and good times of the past while looking forward to the new communities here.

Every year we graduate students (and send staff) who are off to new things.  I told the graduating seniors that it takes at least a year, more like a year and a half to really transition.  Leaving their college communities can be really hard.  I imagine they have sinking feelings too sometimes – and I pray hope for them – that they would find joy in these growth opportunities of transition.  Here’s to many more ‘most hopeful things.’


*I still have yet to feel an earthquake, though K says that most earthquakes won’t be much worse than when the train goes by our condo


has it already been a year?

This time last year I was packing up everything to move across the country.  In fact, exactly a year ago, the truck pulled away with all my earthly possessions (except the essentials).  As I rehearsed many times last fall moving is like a break-up – at first you notice every day or week that passes, and then the month-versaries, and then eventually you start to notice less how long it’s been.

So now it’s been a year, and I swear the fall went by so so unbearably slowly.  So many days of waiting for the sun to come out (*not* just figuratively).  And now it’s summer, and HOT.  I love it.  Don’t get me wrong – I still think Austin may be the best city in the country – I haven’t gotten rid of my real estate there and visited 4 times in the last year.   But I guess I’ve sorta made a home here too.  It still doesn’t feel comfortable, but better than just bearable.

So this time this year, I pack again but for a week-long vacation with my co-conspirator and awesome family.  Looking forward to a week of sharing a bed with my 3 year old niece, and lots and lots of sunshine.

*picture above taken with my old canon point and shoot.  cal botanical gardens.

this too shall pass (transition edition)

Today, I want to move back home to Austin.

It’s been awhile since I’ve felt this way – so there is definitely some celebration in that.  Seriously, there is – I’m not just being optimistic – God-knows that’s near-impossible for me anyways.  So despite the general tone of this post – I am also reminding myself that hopefully these days will get fewer and farther between.

But today is one of those days.  Perhaps it was getting lost on my way to the main post office three times.  Or the fact that I had to go to the main post office because my tiny apartment mailbox got full with other people’s mail (my old mailbox never got full, nor did I get other people’s mail and dangit – I miss my house).  Or that I woke up 4-5 times coughing last night because of allergies/super-dry-air and I’m tired of not feeling good and just plain tired.  Or that it’s beautiful and about 90 degrees outside and I miss that and there are no snow cones to be found here.  And no fireflies west of the Rockies either.

Or maybe it’s because I heard a gorgeous sermon yesterday at Kevin’s church, and it’s been forever since I heard one of those.   Well, except that I was in Austin last Sunday for Carrie’s ordination and that was a beautiful, beautiful sermon.  Or maybe it’s that my birthday is coming up and there’s nothing like a birthday around people who love you, and most of the ones I know live 1700+ miles away.  And I just got back from there.

But this too shall pass.  I just got done telling the new Stanford graduates this week that I think it takes at least a year or year and a half to make the transition out of college.  I thought I’d get bonus time for being so far out of college and having a grip on my life.  But, I guess not.  It’s always easier to tell other people what it’ll be like than to live it oneself!

Thinking back, I know there were hard things about moving to Austin 10 years ago.  You long-time friends can feel free to remind me of those in the comments.  It’s never easy to make new friends, or find a new church, or learn a town whose streets change names at every other intersection (Austin, not here).  I like to think that it was easier 10 years ago though, when so few of my friends were married and had no kids, when they had more time.  To be fair, I also wasn’t trying hard to finish a master’s degree back then.  But, this too shall pass.  Or at least, I hope I’ll pass my classes. 🙂

This too shall pass.  I don’t think I’ll forget how to get to the main post office again.  Hopefully it’ll be another long while before I have a whole day where I want to move home.  But hey, I thought of something that I don’t miss from Austin.  Giant roaches.  I haven’t seen any here, and for that I’m really glad.  Just thinking about them gives me the shivers.

A few weeks ago I taught on Elijah (the super-prophet).  So in line with that, for now, I’m gonna go make a breakfast taco for myself and drink a Mexican coke.  Then, a nap if I need it.  And then I’ll talk to God.  I heard he knows all about Austin.  😉  It’ll get easier to BREATHE here too.

the stuff of life (or not)

I’m moving apartments this weekend.  It’s just up the road a little, about a mile and a half.  But this move should be a lot easier than last time – I don’t have to pack so sturdily, and there’s not as much emotional attachment to this apartment.  In fact, I’m ready to start over – now that I have some more footing in California – I’m ready to be in a new place.

I just packed up my guitar, and remembered that when I drove out I had put only the most important stuff in my car.  Besides some clothes and stuff for arrival, I packed in my legal documents, bike, guitar, computer, scrapbooks, a teddy bear, friend Carrie, and a thick file folder of all the sermons I’ve ever given.  [I print my sermons out and scribble added things in the margins – they’re always better after giving them.]

In a way, I miss that simplicity.

I’m grateful for all the other furniture and clothes, etc.  but apparently, when it comes down to it, I care about just a few things.  And even those things, I could live without.  I am not the sum of my stuff – houses I own, sermons I’ve given, or great hobbies.

That’s reassuring.

favorites (new and old)

new favorite restaurant: tofu house (for soondubu!)

new favorite accessory: scarves (purple, burnt orange, bright pink, shiny blue, red, and various patterns)

new favorite grocery store: tie between Trader Joe’s and Ranch 99

new language I am learning: koine greek  (jury is still out on whether I know the verb tenses)

what I miss most:

quirky, artsy, every-week-eucharist, and God-seeking family: mosaic*

best anytime food: breakfast tacos the NYTimes agrees with me

crazy cool staff and students: UT Austin

a great gift from God with an orange/red room and a view of beautiful sunsets:  my mueller townhouse

That’s all for now.  I was procrastinating a paper earlier and started this.  Now I’m procrastinating studying the above-mentioned Greek verbs.

*9 years ago tonight I went to a house in East Austin for the 1st interest meeting for a new church.  It was an awkward hangout with the Seays and Vanderslices since no one else came.  I love that Mosaic has so many awkward stories in our history. 🙂


I had some InterVarsity meetings near San Antonio last week, so of course booked my ticket to fly into Austin a little bit beforehand to see people.  It was too short and I didn’t get to see anyone for as long as I’d like, but I’m still grateful.  I’m not eloquent enough to write about how good it was to be there – but I will still try.

–  I walked into 5619 and got to hug so many different people.  I had forgotten what it felt like to be known and to know people at church. It has been too many Sundays of summoning strength and energy to walk into a church where everything is new.  It was kinda nice to have a little bit of a big deal made about me being there… to feel like I’d been missed.  I felt the same way when visiting my staff team at the office.  If I could bottle that feeling, I would – to save it up for the lonely days here.

– One morning, CG had gone out and bought my favorite Mrs. Johnson’s doughnuts – the chocolate cake kind.  It was nice to wake up to familiar donuts, but even more touching was the thought and knowledge that went behind it.  Hmm, I see a theme here.

– I knew without thinking where the grocery store was, and how to get there.  I had a lovely walk in my old neighborhood.  I was so glad to be able to navigate, to remember that I am a fairly competent person who knows where things are and maybe just maybe that will happen for me someday here.   It’s amazing how much brain overhead I didn’t realize I had been using just to exist here in California, and how exhausting it is to be lost all the time.

– And friendly people – it was nice to be around them again.  I’m sure Californians are nice enough once you get to know them, but that’s the tricky part – getting to know them – overall they’re not warm people.  It was great to be back in a place where people say hi on the street and feel like you could have a conversation if you wanted to.  Recently someone described Silicon Valley to me as more intense than New York City, but people fake that they’re laid back because it’s California and you’re supposed to be.  Great.

– Visiting with my old staff team and friends felt so normal and familiar, it was a little scary.  Partway through the sermon I had to stop and remind myself that I didn’t live in Austin anymore and to try and soak in the evening even more.  To pay attention and not just let it slip by.

– Late night chai at flightpath where JB reminded me that I had made a califorward list before I left.  Just her remembering that and telling me was encouraging.

– And, I got to have breakfast tacos.  Twice.  And there is an awesome seesaw mustache at El Chilito now.  Rock on.  (Austinites, you gotta try it).

the picture does not capture how awesome this is

I’ve been trying to be thankful this week amidst my exhaustion and being sick again.  I’m thankful for the chance to have been around my Austin family.

now playing: Patty Griffin – Burgundy Shoes

what a difference a year makes

A year ago, I came to California to see whether I wanted to move here.  Well, at least to check out the job I’d take here.  I’d of course been to the Bay Area many many times.  And then, three months ago – I finally moved.

So here I am.  Not a study abroad… not on some sort of extended trip… definitely here in this crazy Giants-loving land.

I’m still excited about the job – even more so than last year.  I like the staff and am enjoying seeing the ministries at the different campuses.  I feel like I have something to contribute to our area and region.

I like school.  Reading the New Testament in Greek is really rich.  And my spiritual disciplines class has fed my soul.  I like the biking.  I love easy access to good Asian food.  I like Caltrain and how it helps me get to the city easily with my bike too.

But it’s nights like tonight (I wrote this on Saturday) that I most miss my Austin friends.  I had class all day, and was a little bit tired so wanted to hang out with people that know me.  The kind of people whose parties I always go to, or come to mine.  The ones that I can call when I haven’t planned well for the weekend and can just see if they’re up for something or when I go to their house I can bike over all grungy.  The ones who visit when I’m crazy sick.  The people who’ve seen me do stupid stuff and still love me.  The ones I see week in and week out.

This is the stuff of shared experience, of life together, and I know… it takes time.  Hopefully, another year makes a big difference.  I’m depending on it.

now playing:  Hollywood – Kasey Chambers