Reflection Time...

September 17th, 2009

It’s been one year since my family made the move from California to Cape Cod, MA.  This entire week I have been reflecting on this year’s journey and can’t help but feel so much pride and love for my family.  As you can imagine, making a move over three thousand miles away from everyone and everything we know, has had it’s moments of complete despair and at the same time, clarity.   Losing both my parents to brain cancer by the time I was twenty eight years old has been the most difficult thing for me to deal with in my adult life, and the only other thing that even compares to that feeling of loss would have to be our move to Cape Cod.   Yes, taking a leap of faith, even when you wished for it, still presents emotional challenges and hurdles we had to overcome as a family.  Everything in life must have balance, and even when things were pretty dark, there were also moments of light. 


Here’s a quick recap of some of the “dark despair”:


• That last week of packing and seeing our California home full of boxes.
• Seeing our home of 12 years empty and each time the movers took a box into the truck I wanted to say, “Hey, put that back.”
• Seeing the house empty and closing the door one last time.
• Saying goodbye to our families. The last 15 minutes saying goodbye to everyone was so gut wrenching.  I’ll never forget my son crying out, “What!?  It’s time?  It’s here already?  Why do we have to leave!!!?”
• The drive to the S.F. airport and everyone crying.
• The wait at the airport for the red-eye.  How symbolic.
• That feeling of flying over CA for the last time knowing we had just left everyone and everything for the hopes of a better life, and all I had was my family and two dogs.
• The fear of the unknown… now what?
• Our dog of 15 years dying only after one week of our move across the country.  We still miss you Spunkmeyer.  You were the best beagle ever.
• Discovering there were no jobs for Melinda.
• Discovering there were no jobs in the entertainment business for me.
• Moving in.  The movers stole $300 out of my wife’s purse.
• Discovering the move cost more than we had planned.
• For weeks we would all sit down at the dinner table to eat and everyone would be in tears.  It would always start with our prayer, “Dear Lord, please watch over our family and friends in CA…”
• My son and daughter saying, “Okay, we’re done.  Now can we go back home?”
• Having the constant feeling in your gut of, “What have I done.  Now what?” 
• Feeling lost. 
• Feeling lost in our new home.  We couldn’t find anything and it didn’t feel like our home at first.
• Feeling lost in our environment and neighborhood.
• Feeling alone.
• My wife breaking down in my arms telling me how scared she was.  I was scared too, but I kept saying, “It will all work out.”
• Having doubt that it “would work out.”


Now here’s a quick recap of the “Clarity and light”:


• Our neighbors brought so much baked goods to our doorsteps; we could have had a bake sale.
• Many children live in our neighborhood and go to the same school and ride the same bus as our kids.
• My wife went to the First Church of Christ and the sermon was about taking chances and moving.
• I went to church the following week and the sermon was about sharing your gifts and talents with the community.
• The same night Spunkmeyer had his first seizure, I attended the first Jobs on the Lot with Plymouth Rock Studios.  David Kirkpatrick and his team made me feel so welcomed.  We were only in town for one week, and we didn’t even have a home yet.  That night I spoke to the entire team of the studio and turned in my resume.
• The kids having a great time in their new school even though they missed their old friends.
• My wife and I didn’t have jobs, so we spent so much time together, supported each other, and lifted each other up when we felt down.
• Our dear friends Christy and Eli stayed with us on Halloween, and we made some great memories with the family.
• We were invited to trick or treat with our neighbors and they invited us over for soup before we went out.
• Our neighbors would check in on us and invite us to dinner, to family gatherings, and take us to their favorite restaurants.
• The kids had so many play dates with neighborhood kids.
• I attended every town meeting in Plymouth to support the studio since I made the move.
• I got to witness the final town meeting when they voted YES to the ROCK. The following week, Kate Ayson called me in for a chat, and I met with her and David Kirkpatrick.  What a day.
• The studio asked me to write the Actor’s Forum and to teach film/TV acting classes.
• Presenting my Actors’ Forum to a sold out crowd and having Mr. Kirkpatrick sitting in the audience watching the magic. 
• Teaching my film/TV acting classes and watching them grow every week.
• Melinda volunteered to sing and play keyboard at our church.  She also took over the direction of the drama ministry.
• Thanksgiving with Christy and Eli and New York!
• Morning walks with our wonderful neighbors.
• Going to the beach in our neighborhood.
• Visiting California in Feb.  Going back really validated why we made the move. 
• We love living in an environment where there are so many trees and wild life.
• I can’t remember the last time I heard a police siren. 
• The air smells like ocean.
• We can hear the fog horn from our house.
• I love that I can actually wear all my sweaters in the winter.
• I love living within the four seasons.  It’s a constant reminder that we live on a living planet.
• Lobster rolls.
• We have chickens as pets.
• We have a fire pit in our backyard.
• We have a real backyard.
• We get to spend time with Melinda’s family on the East coast and her grandparents.
• The stars are brilliant.
• No smog on the Cape.


Of course, I am summing up the year fairly quickly and so much more happened, but those are some highlights of what happened with our new journey.

Currently, I am still working with Plymouth Rock Studios and I have trained over 500 people, and my free acting labs have generated over $5,000 dollars of donated food to the Greater Plymouth Food Warehouse.  My acting classes are a huge success with the community.  However, even with proving my passion and dedication, I also know I can’t count on anything, and I know I could be let go at anytime.  At this point in my life, I am open to anything, and I have learned from this year that all I can do is appreciate the moment, and that’s exactly what I am doing.  It’s been so exciting to work with Plymouth Rock Studios, and if they will have me continue with them or move into another position, that would be wonderful and another dream come true.  At the same time, I also know I am expendable and they could let me go and hire anyone else to take over what I have created, or just cut the program all together.  Who knows?  Only time will tell.  Whatever happens I am in a place in my life where I truly know my job does not define who I am.  My wife and kids do.  My family defines me.   I am not expendable at home and that’s what truly matters in this journey.

My wonderful wife is now teaching music in our community at a local school, and she is being well received there, and she is already making an impact with every door she goes through.  We are both working full-time now and doing what we truly enjoy, and we are sharing our gifts and talents with our community.  We are making a positive impact with people.

Who knows what this New Year will bring us or what people will come into our lives to share this journey with.  We do know this much though, we have no regrets moving out of CA, and we love our community and life here on the Cape.  Sometimes, as I observe my surroundings, I feel as if a Norman Rockwell painting has come to life right before my eyes and we have the privilege of taking part of the creating the art.

So here’s to more of the unknown and appreciating every moment we have as a family.

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