Many people want to know how we are doing a week into our Vegas residency, and all I can think to say is, “We’re playing hopscotch.”

On Tuesday I walked Landon to his first day of kindergarten at Givens Elementary, and we were all smiles with sun on our shoulders and mountains in our view. We couldn’t believe that after spending 2 ½ months commuting (in the cold and snow) from our temporary residence in Eagan to Landon’s school in Hastings (35 minutes each way) that we were on a street lined with red berries and palm trees, walking six minutes to his new beginning. It was the kind of morning that made me believe in grace all over again.

After arriving early for a brief tour of his new school and a stop at his classroom to say hello to Ms. Kern, it was time for me to do what all mothers must do: let him go. Confident and cheerful, my sweet, Jesus-loving boy (who insisted on wearing what he calls his “preacher shirt”) ran awkwardly toward the playground where he towered over a sea of 6-year olds, all of them strangers. I stood at a givens elementary schooldistance on the other side of the chain-link fence to see how he would cope, grateful for sunglasses to hide my tears.

While the rest of the kids chased each other and made their way around the playground with the kind of ease that comes with knowing and being known, Landon wandered and explored with a lonely optimism I recognized as my own. Not only have I’ve been in his shoes countless times in my life stops through Iowa, California, Arizona, England, and Minnesota, but I’m there again now, summoning the courage to be brave in the face of so much newness.

After watching him climb and play aimlessly on his new turf for five minutes, a part of me expected Landon to run to the fence and tell me that it—that starting over—was going to be too hard, too inconvenient, and too scary. Instead, he did something I will never forget: he played hopscotch. In the middle of discomfort, sacrifice, and uncertainty, he ran, not to the fence where I was, but to the far side of the playground…

right foot, right foot, both feet, left foot, left foot, both feet, right foot…

When he eventually made his way back to near where I was standing, he flashed me a quick smile and I was reminded of something Elisabeth Elliot once wrote:

“It is God to whom and with whom we travel, and while He is the end of our journey, He is also at every stopping place.”

As hard as it is to watch Landon sacrifice his comfort and security right along side of us, Ryan and I know that we are not the only ones standing by the playground fence. God is with Landon. God with us.

So we’re taking Landon’s lead, and we’re playing hopscotch. We’re setting up home; we’re learning to navigate the plethora of Summerlin traffic circles and parking lots; we’re trying not to feel awkward in our mini-van and Pumas while everyone else is driving far more expensive cars and wears way sparklier shoes; and we’re learning to see the people around us not as strangers, but as potential new friends. I’m sure we look a little funny doing it, but that doesn’t bother us. We’re having fun, we’re loving it here, and we truly feel prayed for. We could not have asked for a better first week.