Runway lights

by Lesley on April 6, 2014 · 8 comments

in santa barbara



About six weeks ago, before the crazy began, I was talking to my wise friend Amy about our family’s future. You see, even though Jonathan and I didn’t anticipate God moving our family to Santa Barbara, we knew He was up to something. In fact we’d been praying over his career for months and months, and our hearts knew change was coming.

I asked Amy–But will we know for sure what God wants? How will we know where to go and what Jonathan should do? Do we wait for God to act first, or do we take a step of faith? She told me about a book she’d been reading by Priscilla Shirer called Discerning the Voice of God. In it the author says something about how when a plane is trying to land there isn’t just one big light at the end of the runway, there are small lights the entire way. Amy told me that often times when God works, and when he talks to us, he does so with lots of confirmations.

A few weeks after my conversation with Amy, Jonathan’s Santa Barbara job offer came in a way we’d never have anticipated or planned, and his Sacramento job came to an end in a way we’d never have anticipated or planned. It was just the beginning of our experience seeing runway lights.

There was our road trip to Santa Barbara to hear more about the position…and even though it was supposed to storm the entire weekend we literally followed right behind the clouds for most of our six hour drive.

There was the ease in which we found a home to rent. We signed the lease before ever seeing the inside just because I knew it was right for us. And it is.

Oh, and did I mention we already know our next-door neighbors? We were in their home group years ago! (And our other neighbors are opening a French bakery downtown. I think French bakeries are always a sign from God that He is present and working.)

And then there is the freelance work that fell into my lap, for just the right amount of hours, which makes living in this expensive town a lot more do-able.

I’m old enough to know that God doesn’t always speak as loudly as He has during this most recent change. There have been many, many times in my life where the runway lights have blinked faithfully but fog or snow made them less visible. This time around, I’m so grateful and happy to say we’ve landed on time, safe and sound, at the right destination: home.



What I’m Into (March 2014)

by Lesley on March 31, 2014 · 2 comments

in what i'm into

…Here’s a little peak at what I’ve been into this past month…

Books: Despite it being a really busy month, I did have some time to read on my girls’ cruise. (Oh, wait! I never mentioned that I went on a cruise in March to Mexico. Three nights with five of my good friends minus Jenny who we missed very much. The timing was both terrible and wonderful because Jonathan and his dad had to do a lot of our house packing. Great for me, awful for them.)

Anyway- books I read: She’s Gonna Blow, Forever Erma, and Known and Loved: 52 Devotions from the Psalms (still working my way through this one.) A winner from February was A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table

I did much less blog reading this month because I took my reader app off  to help curb some of my phone use. I feel generally happy and satisfied with my new phone boundaries. Anyone else trying to cut back on phone use?

Music: A little bit of the Frozen soundtrack, because, everyone is listening to it and Dana’s road trip CD which included the NBC Olympic medley and a bunch of other great songs. (Thanks, Dana!) As of tonight I’m also officially into Sam Smith (thanks SNL!) 

Food: Let’s just say I packed on some pounds in March due to my cruise and moving. For half the month we worked our way through freezer and pantry staples, and last week we lived off pizza and a few meals from generous friends. I’m happy to have a kitchen again. I’m also very, very thrilled about Santa Barbara favorites: Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, The Habit and Blenders.

TV/Movies:  I watched absolutely nothing on TV this entire month. Did I mention we moved and it took every last ounce of my energy?

Wearing: Jeans and sandals! (Helloooo Southern California uniform of choice!) Also, my box just arrived tonight from ThredUp and I love everything I ordered. The polka dot box it came in made the whole thing even more fun than I thought it’d be! 

A few other things I’m into this month which don’t fit anywhere else: family beach walks, The Little Free Library in our neighborhood, and living in a house with two bathrooms. (ANGELS ARE SINGING!)

Anticipating: My parents visiting this weekend, Sundays at our new church, starting my new job, family vacation in late April to the Outer Banks.

Any good music, book, tv, movie or recipe suggestions? You can link-up with What I’m Into by clicking here with Leigh Kramer. 



After the craziest two weeks of all time, we’re now Santa Barbara dwellers. I am still pinching myself. Did this really happen? Did we really just pack up our entire house and move to the beach? We did. It’s CRAZYTOWN. We packed up on Sunday, had a fantastic goodbye party on Sunday night, drove all day Monday, unloaded the moving van on Monday night, and have been unpacking ever since.

Here are a few reads and links from around the web. Enjoy! 

This ugly faces video led to a massive chain of texts from my college girlfriends posing with our own ugly faces.

The whole World Vision fiasco is the latest example of Christians tearing each other apart online. I can’t handle it. Bronwyn Lea hits the nail on the head with her My dear Wormwood, About World Vision

I would DIE if I were chosen for this Amtrak residency experience. Writing? By myself? On a train? Pick me! Pick me!

How to get a woman to show up (YES and YES.)

This article is for all the women who feel guilty hiring a babysitter or housecleaner or nanny or whatever: When a stay-at-home mom needs hired help. 

Now that we’re beach people again, I need a few new clothing items. I own only one pair of shorts and one zip up hoodie. Travesty! I’m trying ThredUp for the first time this month. I spent $50 and I’ll be receiving a (gently used) J.Crew tank top, Gap and J.Crew shorts, a Target zip-up sweatshirt, and four items of clothing for Anna. I can’t wait to get my box! Try it and you’ll get $10 off (and I’ll get a $10 kick-back. Thanks!)



Dear Sacramento

by Lesley on March 24, 2014 · 10 comments

in sacramento


Dear Sacramento,

I feel really terrible admitting that you weren’t love at first sight.  On a late August day in 2006, my little Civic loaded with belongings, I drove past your huge water tower off Highway 5.  I was hot, tired and annoyed at our long day of travel so your “Sacramento: City of Trees” water tower didn’t exactly feel inviting. I groaned out loud.

City of trees? That’s all they have to boast of? Trees?

I didn’t exactly choose you, Sacramento. My new husband had applied to law schools all over the country and got into two: UC Davis and McGeorge. It seemed obvious we were supposed to be in Sacramento, so I put on a happy face and helped pack our big Penske truck. I could make Sacramento work until he graduated, but then we’d be on to bigger and better things.  Little did I know you had plans to romance me.

During my first fall here, your chill surprised me so much that I didn’t particularly enjoy your changing colors. I was also unemployed, which didn’t help my attitude. The only thing I had on my calendar for weeks was a 6:30am running date at McKinley Park with Sharon. She’d moved to Sacramento a year before and was still deciding whether she liked you or not. We spent a lot of miles getting to know one another better and discussing our jobs, or lack thereof. The first thing you gave me was a real, true friend.

That fall, as my love for running developed, I also rediscovered writing. I took an extension class at UC Davis and realized that even though I hadn’t a clue of what to do from 8am to 5pm each day, I knew I could put words on paper.

There are a lot of other things I discovered as the months and years flew by in this town. I discovered that like me, you were floundering a bit. We both wanted so badly to grow up but we weren’t quite sure how to make it happen. I hopped between a few jobs, eventually landing at 3fold Communications where I fell in love with you in a new way. There were big, amazing, fun things happening within your streets and buildings from nonprofits like River City Food Bank to places like the B Street Theatre. What a joy to watch you become more than San Francisco’s step-sister or Tahoe’s layover. While I was becoming a grown-up too, you were too.

In the summer I’ll think about all the days we floated the American River listening to country music, and the hot nights at the drive-in. I will miss Gunther’s ice cream dripping down my hands and the paella at Aioli Bodega Espanol. And every July 17 I will think about that amazing glass of wine from Ella which I’m convinced sent me into labor with Anna.

In the fall I will remember the bright yellow leaves on that perfect McKinley Park tree. You know…the one right at H and 33rd streets?  I understand now why you’re the city of trees, and I love you for boasting of the beauty few Californians get to witness each November.

In the winter I won’t particularly miss the mornings I had to scrape ice off my car windshield, but I will be oddly sad to not bundle up for my 6am runs. I can guarantee I will think of your scones and Devonshire cream from Fox & Goose when the weather gets cold, and I’ll crave a sipping cupping of hot chocolate from Ginger Elizabeth.

In the spring months I’ll miss the way all our neighbors start emerging to tackle their yards again, and the way midtown livens up with more bikers and joggers. Each May, just before the weather turns hot, I will think about the day Jonathan finished chemo, and I’ll be thankful all over for the hardworking nurses at Kaiser on Morse.

Sacramento, I’ve run your trails, and biked your city streets, and walked my stroller around your quaint neighborhoods. I have swam in your rivers and meandered through your rose gardens and ooohed and ahhed every time I see the Capital building lit up at night.

But while there are so many restaurants and places I will miss in our new home, the thing I will miss the most are the people…from our neighbors on 13th Avenue to our Westmont friends…to my bible study girls to Jonathan’s basketball guys…to the 3fold gang and the wonderful people at Restoration Life and First Covenant Churches…and all my Twitter friends and my Redbud writers. Sacramento, you grow good people and my life is better and richer because of them.

Today I’ll drive past your big water tower again, Jonathan following me in a huge moving van. This time, however, there will be two babies in the back seat of my car who will forever know Sacramento as their birthplace.

It’s spring, and your beautiful trees are bursting forth with new life just as ours are starting again in a new home.

We will miss you.






Who’s grander than Hawk?

by Lesley on March 23, 2014 · 6 comments

in family


He is called Hawk, but he’s also called my Grandpa Frank. And he was grand.

Hawk was easy to spot. In his younger days–like when he was 70–he wore a sailor’s cap that I’d always steal and put on my own head. In his older years–like when he was 80–he wore a cowboy hat. By that time in his life he’d traded Newport Beach for Park City, and the hat change just made sense.

My Grandpa Frank was nothing like your grandpa or any other grandpa, for that matter. He tried to catch the garter at my wedding. He went to Burning Man as a Senior Citizen. He told us tales of that one time he was in jail. He was friends with Poppa Neutrino and made photo albums of all the pictures he took at our family gatherings. And he was always having the Best Day Ever (BDEVER).

Some people would describe Grandpa Frank as a “character” and he was, but he was also never anything but loving and generous. He didn’t necessarily show his love by coming to my school plays or soccer games, but he was the guy who always slipped me a $100 bill on birthdays and Christmas, who sent approximately 10-12 e-mail forwards per day to stay in touch, and who basically made me feel like I could do no wrong.

“Mizzzzz Lezley!” he’d say when he saw me, and I took delight in the way he emphasized the Z even though I hated it when anyone else said it that way. Grandpa Frank would always give me a huge hug and a big wet kiss, which I also liked even though wet kisses are usually disgusting.

Last week, in the middle of packing, I traveled to Salt Lake City for a night just because we knew his final days were drawing near. I purchased a plane ticket at 3pm, hopped on a flight with Owen at 4:45pm, and was chatting with Grandpa Frank by 8pm. For a guy just days away from passing, he was very alert, happy and talkative. He asked about Jonathan’s new job, and our big move to Santa Barbara, and told me I’d love the streams running through our new San Roque neighborhood. He also wanted to know about my writing. About a year ago he’d told me about Erma Bombeck and I’d downloaded a collection of her newspaper articles about suburban mom life in the 1960s. Erma, in my opinion, was the original Dooce, and led the way for female writers, particularly moms. “You’re going to be like Erma,” he said, “But better.” I loved being able to tell him that I’d bought her book based on his suggestion. “When you publish that book someday,” he said, “I’ll be reading.” I told him he would have the advance copy, if he wanted.

When my Grandma Jeanne passed away last year, I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. And, even if I had, she may not have understood since dementia had taken hold of her mind for several years. I’m so grateful I had the chance to spend time with Grandpa Frank before he left this earth but I’m even more grateful to have had him in my life all these years.

I began this post last night, knowing my Grandpa’s time was drawing very near. He passed away peacefully this morning in Park City, Utah. We will miss him dearly.



Erma Bombeck’s Who’s grander than grandparents?

4/6/2014…Hawk’s obituary can be found here. 

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