reconciling things

“Allow it all to happen: beauty and terror…” Rilke

We drove. About 7,000 miles (give or take a thousand). We saw both coasts. Canyons, mountains, rivers. We watched elephant seals fight on the beach and an otter swim up river. We drank California wines and Colorado beer and ate hotel breakfasts which is always a thing all its own.

But the best part of everything was people.

First of all, the people with whom we traveled—the family. All shoved in a van, blasting music, eating too many snacks, laughing, napping, sometimes fighting, praying the Divine Mercy as close to the hour of mercy in whatever time zone we happened to be in. (You can still view those prayer times on our Instagram.)

Also the people we visited. It was precious. Some friends were new. Some friends date back decades. It has been a lot of years since we have hugged some of these people. We have grown and changed and so have they. And yet, to embrace them again—there were some tears, because our hearts are still connected. Bless God for that. As the kids say, if you know you know.

Here’s a sampling. (If I have left anyone out, I apologize. I tried to coral all the pictures.)

The Villegas family were our first friends when we move to Pasadena. Fourteen years later, we just pick up where we left off. Ice cream and laughs with them was the ideal way to kick off our first night on the road!
I have known this precious Plowman family since I was in middle school. They have stood by me through thick-and-thin. Check out Cory’s photography; it’s magic.
We dropped in on my niece in New Mexico, tracking her down at a park on her day off. So much fun!
We met the Velascos, if I remember correctly, when I was pregnant with Captain—who is 15! One of my first Catholic friends!
Jordan and Kristy, my people
My folks, in our furthest point from home. It has been six years since we have been there. It was Cyril’s first time at Papa and Nana’s.
Sarah Awad and I look like we could be sisters. We used to teach Sunday School together about 13 years ago. To be with her again was an overwhelming gift.
My little sister, who is the cute one in the family. (And wise beyond her years.)
Margaret and I met on Instagram! And it providentially worked out for us to meet on the beach for a picnic!
Kelsea and I are OG homeschool buddies—way back in the day. (Also the designer of my great jewelry.)
Prayer time with my grandparents. May they Rest In Peace.
Alice (Captain’s godmother) a good and faithful friend. Our gratitude for her presence in our lives is immense.
Robert Vorhis, who fixes things and shows up whenever you need him. And feeds my kids donuts and coffee under the code name: Kale and Kombucha
Clare and I met in probably 2007. Both in the homeschooling trenches, she was just a few years ahead of me. She is such an inspirational person. I always carry her in my heart.
Robert and Kaylee and their little dog Pippa. If you need love, acceptance, and truth telling, they are your people. Even if we don’t talk for eons, it is like we were never apart.
The Kniftons, Heather married my childhood friend and then became mine. ❤ Look at this big beautiful family!
Ed and Nina, Tegshee’s godparents. They nurture my heart and love people so well.
When I saw Micha walk up at the park, I screamed! And then cried. She is my big sister and I miss her all the time.
Karen and I met in the glory days of blogging before things were monetized and before there was such a thing as being an “influencer.” We just wrote. And we just read. And we enjoyed each other so much, we have been dropping in on one another for the past decade or so.
My goddaughter, Anna, meeting her godson Cyril for the first time. It was joyous.
Kristina is the family that God gave me later in life when I was ready. She is a part of my heart in a way no one else has ever been. Wherever life takes us, we have each other. All of life can be full of uncertainty, she is one thing I do not doubt.
Delana and I met on Instagram last year and quickly progressed to the point that I texted her and said, “Hey could I sleep on your basement floor with just like 9 other people?” And she said yes, because she is the same kind of crazy as me.
Allison and I met when both our lives were very different. But we kept tabs on each other and she prayed for me. One day a decade or more ago she sent me a Rosary and a book on Marian devotion. The rest, as they say, is history.

I wish I had words to express my gratitude to these people that God put in our lives, but who have also chosen to stay in our lives. It has been a bumpy road these last few years and those who have said in word or action, “I am not going anywhere. I am here, holding space for you” mean the world to me. It is so incarnational and beautiful and true.

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