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What I Learned From Getting Lost in the WoodsA long detour through the woods in our new home has helped me to reconsider my expectations as we head into the school year...

We moved to our new, temporary, home two weeks ago. We will move again next week into a more permanent temporary spot. The final move is slated for February.

That much I knew ahead of time.

What I didn't know was that we were moving to a place without a phone line and where cell phone service is, well, nonexistent. I didn't know we wouldn't have consistent wireless internet. I didn't know the logic board on my computer would die three days into our stay. I didn't know I would be cut off from blogging, emailing, phone calls, and almost all contact with the outside world. For that week–in between cell phone providers, with my computer at the Apple store–I missed you all. I missed checking in with my family and closest friends. I missed listening to NPR.

But on the first morning in our new home, I woke up inspired. We live half a mile from 2500 acres of hiking trails, and so I set out with confidence. I ran down the road and jumped onto the trail that leads into the woods. I followed the blue blazes, forcing my mind to attend to the details of the forest–the sound of the river, the sight of a deer leaping across my path, the ruins of an old stone building. After about thirty minutes, I realized I was running in circles. I doubled back. A few times. It was getting later and later, and I wasn't getting anywhere.

I finally had to give up and run all the way down the hill to the parking lot that serves as the main entrance to this park and its miles of trails. I knew what this held–a three mile run back to our new house, much of it straight uphill. I considered stopping at a house along the road to call home, but of course we didn't have a phone at home, and I hadn't yet memorized my husband's number at work or his cell phone (which receives sporadic service). I could have asked the guys who had just gotten to work on a construction site for a ride, but I was too prideful or stubborn or maybe wise for that. And so I just kept running. I knew how to get home. It was just far away. And very very uphill.

By the time I reached our driveway, Peter was gone. He had piled all three kids in the car to start looking for me. Thankfully he circled back a few minutes later. He got out of the car and I blurted out the apologies and explanations I had been rehearsing all along–"I'm so sorry I've made you late for your first day of work... I got lost and I haven't memorized our numbers yet and I won't do it again and..."

He stopped my chatter with tears in his eyes, shaking his head. "I'm not worried about any of that. I'm just so glad you got home."

He got to work, and he effectively communicated that his concern for me trumped his desire to do his job well. Since then, I've only gone back to the trails with a walking companion. I'm still inspired by their beauty, just a little more cautious about my ability to navigate them.

I'm not going to take the time to tell you all the other details of the past few weeks– the trip to the hospital with Marilee (two little shards of glass in her foot), Penny's first day of first grade, William's recent obsession with finding coins and saving money, the series of people who have blessed us and been gracious to us throughout our transition...

But as I start to reenter the blogosphere, it seems appropriate to reflect upon that run my first day. I had confidence things would work out exactly as I had planned and upon my timetable. Just as I had confidence that I would be posting here regularly, finishing up my ebook on schedule, getting started on a proposal for the next book, and...

When I was running, in the end, it worked out. I ran for a longer time than ever before. It was beautiful and exhilarating and challenging and disruptive. But I got home.

And I suspect that's what the months ahead will hold for me.  A lot of disruption and confusion and having to run harder and farther than ever before. And a lot of beauty and grace and gratitude.

Thanks for your patience with me as I navigate this new place.

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