Plan B

Upside Down: How We Got Here
Looking At the Water

It was clear that our wheels were spinning.

I don't do spinning. Not very well, anyway. It's a feeling before it's recognition. I begin to feel unsettled, something isn't quite right. I feel a change coming long before the change actually comes - and WAY before I know what the change will be.

It began months ago. Just a twinge, but I recognized the feeling. The same twinge sent me to Washington a few months after graduating university "on a whim". I didn't know why Washington was calling me, but moments after the twinge, I was online buying myself a plane ticket and emailing my cousin about crashing on her couch. I had one week to find out why I was roaming the Pacific Northwest instead of doing what I had been doing - waiting tables at Los Hermanos and hanging out with my boyfriend on the weekends.

One day before my return ticket brought me back to Utah and life as I knew it - I was offered a job. I took it. "When can you start?" my new boss asked. "I can start Monday," I said. Because when the twinge compels me to act, that's what I am. Compelled.

So Friday afternoon I flew home and packed up my life. Saturday I quit my job, broke up with my boyfriend, and said goodbye to my friends, my family, my mountains. Early Sunday, I drove my car (my parents following behind in their SUV stuffed with my physical belongings - because my parents have always bent over backwards to be supportive of my happiness) through the dry fields of the Midwest and into the hilly trees of my new home.

Where I found Bill.

Where I found myself.

And so, when a few months ago, I began to feel that familiar feeling - I paid attention.

"Something needs to change," I told Bill.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"I feel it coming. It's things don't fit right, anymore. Like this isn't our life, anymore. It feels like we're supposed to be doing something else. Something is going to change, and it'll probably be big."
And - because it's pretty hard to alarm that man of mine - Bill said, "okay."

Bill - waiting, biding, calm and patient.
Me - what is it what will it be I want to know I felt the twinge I want whatever is coming to happen NOW.

(Wyatt - should we play trains, mom?)
(Daphne - rowrowrowr!)


There was this Grand Plan, see, and we were executing it with the precision of rocket surgery.
The Grand Plan was perfect - a tailor made situation for our little family (which, when the Grand Plan was first executed, was just Bill, Stepper, and a great ball of charm and delight crammed into the tiny package that was Wyatt).
The Grand Plan involved a delicate balancing act that kept kids out of daycare, Bill in school, Stepper working only part time (but with benefits), and still managed to keep food on the table and a few date nights for Bill and Stepper thrown in for sanity's sake.

Then a certain Hummingbird joined the clan - and things lurched forward. We were really sailing, now! Two kids! A Delicate balancing act! Food on the Table! Shoes for tiny, growing feet! Diapers on adorable little bottoms! And still, an occasional sanity-saving date night for Stepper (who has no illusions against the fact that it's HER sanity we're saving, here).

The Grand Plan was grand indeed!

And then, as suddenly as it became the plan years ago - the Grand Plan abandoned us. It no longer fit the puzzle of our family. We were no longer sailing. We were no longer balancing.

And one day I recognized with great horror what we were doing.

Spinning our wheels.

No. No! No, we don't spin wheels. Wheel Spinning is synonymous with SOUL CARNAGE! Spinning wheels is our Kryptonite!

Alright. Deep Breath. So the Grand Plan was no longer OUR plan. We needed a New Plan.

And so Bill and I - as the appointed wheel turners of our family - began to scheme.


Discussion. Mulling. Discussion, panic, ignoring, then discussion again.

Slowly, a Plan formed. It went like this:

Bill would find a job in his field - something that would give him Golden Experience (which would excuse putting school much further down on the priority list, because Experience in the Graphic Design field is far more coveted by employers than a silly old degree). This job would increase our family income, give us excellent benefits, and push our family back into glorious wheel-turning, non-spinning movement.

Not to mention the all important STEPPER STAYS HOME WITH THE KIDS part of this plan.

It was a Good Plan. We plotted, we prayed, and - well - it didn't feel like we shouldn't go with this plan.

Bill began setting up interviews.
Polished the resume.
Reworked his portfolio.

And then, one day in the car (probably on the way to Costco), I say, "What if you can't find a job by the end of the Summer? We'd better come up with a Plan B. Just in case."

We were both confident that our shiny, bright plan A would work out. But a Plan B is responsible, right? Life insurance.

"Well," I said. "If you don't get a job that gives you experience instead of schooling - then schooling should be the priority for Plan B."

And then...out of nowhere...I remembered an off-hand comment my mom made once while we were doing Sunday Dinner dishes together at her house. You guys should just move in with us and Bill can work at Costco and finish school.

Grinning, I suggested this plan to Bill.

I was mostly kidding - but we were both surprised when this plan became our official plan B.

Days went by. Weeks. Plan A still sat on the shelf, producing nothing. But Plan B? Just like an idea, Plan B began to grow, solidify, until it humbly slid in front of the line.

Plan B became Plan A.

Plan B became the new Grand Plan!

And, after throwing several mental tantrums and swallowing my rather lumpy pride, I conceded to the universe that Plan B actually was a pretty darn good plan.

Sometimes to move forward, you have to go back to the start. Because maybe somewhere along the line, you started to move off-course. Still moving forward, but slightly to the right. And as you moved forward on this new path, you were moving farther from where you were supposed to be going. There's no path jumping in life. No cheating. So you have to go back to the point where you started to deviate, and fix your course.

We had moved ever so slightly to the right. Things began to feel off. We felt the change coming...

...and it came. And when it came, it came FAST.

Mom and Dad were coming for dinner on Thursday night. We would ask them about moving in with them then. I was nervous. Thursday, Thursday, Thursday.

Wednesday we found out I was pregnant.


When Peter saw Christ out on the water,  he felt compelled to leave the safety and known-ness of his boat, and in a great and desperate act of pure faith, walked out on the water to join Him.

As he walked, he began to think about what he was actually doing. I imagine his thoughts must have been something like this:

I'm walking on water. But...that's impossible! This ocean is so much bigger than I am - I'm going to be overpowered! There are so many dangers, creatures, and unknown terrors just beneath my feet! What am I doing?! This can't be right!

Even though Peter HAD been walking on the water, he doubted he could.

It was when he took his eyes off of Christ and looked at the water that he began to sink.


What are we doing? I think.
We can't sell a house in this market - it's suicide! I think.
I'm going to have another baby, I think. This is not the time to throw caution to the wind and leap into the unknown, I think.
Is Plan B just incredibly irresponsible and fool-hardy? I think.
What about what we're losing? I'd think. Our home, our neighborhood, proximity to friends, and - along with that - a significant (SIGNIFICANT, you horrid little economy!) amount of money. Can this Plan B business really be worth all that we'll be giving up?
How are we going to - 
But what about - 
Doubt, doubt,
Nag Nag.

I take these concerns to Bill - again - who reminds me - again - that this Plan has God's stamp of approval.


Bill and I remind each other that we are in God's hands (seriously good spot), and we know what that feels like because we've seen His hands push us gently (but persistently) forward, before.

Like Peter on the water - he already was walking on the water. It was only when he took his eyes off Christ and began to pay attention to where he was that he began to fail.

"Stepper," Bill said. "You're looking at the water."

And so we leap.


Diana Larson said...

We sold our house last January in the midst of this dismal economy for more than what we listed it for. It definitely was an act of God. God's plans are always WAY more cool than what we can even imagine. Now we live close to Brian and Amy in a beautiful smaller place so we can go camping more. We will pray for you all. Keep with God's plan. It's the best! Diana

Jeff and Ari said...

I almost started to cry ... you guys are an inspiration. We wish you the best of luck!! And insist we still get to see you often.

Kim said...

Congrats on everything!!! But especially about the new baby! You guys need to have lots of babies because you're just so great!!

MikkSolo said...

You are closer to us now!