~ A quick trip to Cali ~
Hannah and I were able to enjoy a quick trip to California last fall, when the boys were all away on a hunting trip. A dear friend watched my little girls, which allowed Hannah and me some special mom-daughter time while we visited my best friend and my mom.
Recently as I reminisced about that time, I decided to check airline prices just for fun.
$130 for round trip non-stop into Burbank! UNREAL!
So we booked a trip, just she and me. Twice makes it tradition, right?! ;-)
I seriously have the best husband, who not only encouraged me to go in the first place, but also took the time off to be with the kids who were at home, and drove us to the airport at o'dark : thirty.
We chose an early morning flight so that we would have a full day to enjoy upon arrival, even though on the front end it meant getting up super early to try to avoid the morning rush hour traffic and to allow for all the extra time needed at the airport.
First on his list of fun things to do with the children...return home with donuts.
but I digress...
Only a few days.
Only carry on luggage. That is by far, the best way to go. So simple and easy!
The trick is to roll everything. Another trick is to plan for one pair of shoes to go with everything. /except for flip flops, but they are easy to pack. :-) /
It's not hard when the climate you are going to is warm and sunny, and your plans are for simple things like baby-holding and beach days.
Hannah had iced green jasmine tea. Karen and I both got iced decaf lattes with coconut milk. Yum... a perfect start.
She's always noticing the unusual and artsy.
After coffee -
First things first - meeting the newest little grandbaby. Oh what a lovey. I can't tell you how good it was to hold a newborn again! (1 month old.)
Grammie with Duke, who looks exactly like his dad.
His beautiful mama, Stephanie
And then later in the afternoon, we did a little of this...
The benefit of having a friend for over 30 years is that they know you like a book. She always includes a beach day in our plans. :-)
Since it was after Labor Day and everyone is back in school, we pretty much had the beach all to ourselves - just Karen, her husband, her daughter, her granddaughter, Hannah and me.
It was so fun to be there with a baby. It took me back to all my beach days as a little one.
What's better than a nap on the beach?
I miss this sight.
And this one especially!
Darsy found this flat stone that kept her occupied the whole day.
We ended the day with a yummy dinner at Emma's home, and by then her husband could join us too. :-)
Side note: On our way home, the truck broke down, but the Lord worked out so many details to protect us. Because there were six of us, we took a different car than originally planned that day. It was pretty obvious that God sovereignly planned for it to happen, which always makes it easier to trust Him and His wisdom. He also allows opportunity for us to purposely choose joy. (James 1: 2-4)
Day 3: SHOPPING, CONVERTIBLES, and a CONCERT at the HOLLYWOOD BOWL.
We found this old bookstore. It was stuffy and smelled musty and of old books. The perfect place for treasure hunting.
And look at the treasure I found! I mentioned to Karen that I was on the lookout for Susan Branch's older books as well as Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
We hadn't been looking for very long, when Karen found Heart of the Home. That was Susan Branch's first book. As I was checking over the condition (which is perfect, by the way) she found Vineyard Seasons, which is Susan's second book and currently out of print! SCORE! And... each only $4! YES!
I'm sure when you are a local who must endure lots of really hot days, that riding with the car top off isn't as novel, but for us it is quintessentially California. We adore it.
We found some prime real estate on a small grassy area to enjoy or picnic dinner at the Hollywood Bowl.
Look... the Hollywood sign in the background.
Day 4: SAYING GOODBYE and HELLO and GOODBYE AGAIN.
Photos before my mom came to get us. Hannah and Karen were twinning in a new dress they found when we went shopping.
I LOVE visiting their home. My two favorite things (beside Rich and Karen) about it are...
the wild peacocks.
And the verse of Psalm 103: 1-4 they have stenciled on their porch soffit.
I don't have a great photo of it, but you can see it partially here.
If I had a place to do that, I so would. I love that.
I can't believe this was the only photo I got of us.
We did do the photo booth and it was a hoot.
shopping, lunch, talking with so much to catch up on, and then off to the airport.
(It's tradition. We always hold hands at take-off.)
And just like that we were off, leaving this perfectly gridded metropolis of sunny So.Cal. for home.
Cali was my home for so long, and in many ways still feels so familiar and comforting.
I must leave ones I love in order to be with others I love. Good-byes are just hard on the heart.
And the weather - each of the changing seasons in the PNW are just simply beautiful. It's the long stretches of gray and/or rain that can slowly and silently bring me low. It's really amazing how sunshine can lift my spirits. When I lived there, I took for granted the ability to do just about anything (hike, bike ride, eat outside) anytime. Now, I appreciate those things so much.
I'll be honest - enjoying those things while on vacation there makes me yearn for them a little more when at home. BUT - I need to choose contentment. Choose joy. Because God has us where He has us because that is His will for us. And in the end, I know that no amount of sunshine or beach-going or convertibling will bring me true and lasting joy apart from Him and outside of His will.