Feb 17 2011

Day 676: Update in Photos

by andrew

Before we left San Diego I snuck in a helicopter ride (actually the same morning we had to check out of the campground by noon) to shoot video for stock. Hopefully the adventure will more than pay for itself (it better 🙂 ).

Beautiful San Diego was our home for a month. Among other things, we made it to the southwest corner of CA and walked up to the border with Mexico on the beach, we played in the tidal pools at La Jolla and saw the seals and sea lions, we went to a vineyard / winery about an hour north and enjoyed tasting the wines, we played in the ocean in January and February at several different beaches, we enjoyed having a Trader Joe’s close by again, we had cook-outs with dear friends parked right behind us, we made new friends at the campground who routinely gave us fresh tangelos from their family’s tree, we went for an hour (1-way) ride on the 3-level Coastal Train along the coast up to Ocean City, CA had lunch way out at a restaurant on a massive pier and rode back during sunset, we went for walks around Mission Bay where the campground was, and many other adventures besides – all the while enjoying summer in winter.

This is our parking spot about 30 minutes south of Fresno, CA with a beautiful view to the Sierras. We’re staying on the farm of friends of friends and are so blessed to be able to make new friendships and have another taste of community in a place previously foreign to us.

We had an adventurous trip north that included lots of heavy pulling through mountains and an episode of overheating that forced us to pull over. We even lost our pyro gauge and I wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to continue at one point. But we all prayed about it and I realized there really was no option but to throw our trust completely on YHWH and keep going. As soon as the family finished praying, and I came to resolve in my heart and spirit (I was outside under the hood), the pyro gauge came back to life and we pressed on without any other setbacks.

And then there was Bakersfield! Wow. Enough words cannot be found to describe the Bakersfield miracle. We set out from San Diego with directions in hand and campground recommendations from our tangelo friends who travel between their home in Washington state and San Diego every year for the seasons. Our original plan was to head up along the coast and end up in LA and maybe Malibu to connect with friends of friends there. That door closed for a variety of reasons which ended up pushing us through a more easterly route. YHWH confirmed it was the right direction for us as we pulled into a campground in Bakersfield, CA that had been recommended by our tangelo friends. It was around 7:30pm and the office was closed, but I had called ahead and our site number (112) was waiting for us on the door. We pulled into our site after several attempts (it was quite slanted on one side and leveling a camper is everything), the kids exploded out of the truck crying shrieks of banshee freedom, and I began to set up. Enter stage right: very familiar looking gentlemen. Queue the line: “Hey, didn’t we meet you guys in New Mexico?” Turns our we had not only arrived at the same campground, but had been assigned a site immediately next to dear friends we had made at a campground in New Mexico a month and a half earlier. They travel full-time too and homeschool their 5 boys who instant friends with our kids, and we only overlapped in NM for 1 night. They went northwest to Arizona and we went west to California. We weren’t event going to stay in San Diego for a month but were supposed to go to LA and instead ended up in Bakersfield. They were only supposed to be in Bakersfield for a few days (weeks before we arrived), but ended up stuck there for weeks to work out insurance, plates, and a new van after theirs was crushed by a semi (thankfully no one was hurt). And here we wind up weeks later, without staying in touch, parked next to each other at the same campground. I would call it a freak coincidental act of fate except that I have seen YHWH do things like this throughout my entire life.

Bennah and Reayah made it into their blog post about the amazing encounter, and I wish I had pictures of the whole crowd playing in Bakersfield to post here! Here’s Patsy’s post (scroll down to the entry “It’s All About Perspective”):
And here’s Marty’s post about the accident:

Kidology is the children’s pastor ministry they are involved with during their travels. Amazing! All honor to YHWH!

Another highlight from Bakersfield was the not-quite-lukewarm-hot-tube-date. Renee and I had Bennah and Reayah watch the kids after bed time and managed a quick dip in the hot tub. We had Sky in the car seat and rocked him to sleep beside the water. The only thing was the water… it wasn’t even as hot as I’d make my own bath water. I ended up having to jump into the freezing pool and back just to get it to feel “hot” – even if only for a few seconds. But the night was beautiful and it was nice to have a moment of quality hangout time with my wife. That’s probably the first time Renee has ever shivered in a hot tub. Not kidding.

And here we are planting potatoes on the farm where we’re staying! Fun fun fun!

This was going to be a 10-photo post, but I ended up having to write a lot more than I had originally planned… the hour drags on… and I’ll have to make this part 1. More to come!

Feb 5 2011

Day 663: Better than the Zoo

by renee

We’ve been in California for 3 weeks now and have been staying just north of San Diego. Many beautiful rocky and sandy beaches, tall palm trees and clear blue skies. It’s a bit bizarre being somewhere so warm while hearing about our friends and family getting hit by winter storms. We’re praying they all stay warm and safe.

The campground here is completed paved which makes it an ideal place for riding bikes and scooters. Up until a few days ago, Joy was the only one without wheels. She now has Jaiden’s scooter. Jaiden inherited Zach’s. Zach now has a shiny new silver and red one that is, of course, the new favorite of everyone. Zach is gracious at times and shares it with his siblings, but makes sure he gets the first turn on it when he gets up in the morning.

Today was a great day. We spent the afternoon with some wonderful old friends who are visiting California. We explored our favorite neighborhood near our campground. We played in ocean tide pools and watched sea lions. At the end of the day we spotted the new moon at sunset. It was a beautiful way to enter into Sabbath.

Tide pool are small pools of ocean water left in the rocks and crevices when the tide is low. In these pools are hundreds of living things, hanging out, waiting to be swept out to sea again. Hermit crabs, anemones, star fish, barnacles and so many more bizarre and interesting creatures. Today was our second time at the pools. On our first visit, Bennah had said: “this is better than the zoo!”.  Tonight, Andrew overheard Bennah:

“This was the best day ever. Right Reayah?”
“Yeah'” Reayah replied.

I’m so glad our kids are fulfilled by adventures like these that don’t really cost anything. Exploring the Creator’s creation is one of our favorite things to do together as a family and it’s the most rewarding. And it’s almost always free. There are many things here in San Diego that offer too much excitement for one day for way too much money for a family of eight. It is very rewarding for me as a parent to see our children not just content, but fulfilled. Not just entertained, but quenched.



Feb 1 2011

ReayahMail #1

by andrew

We set up email accounts for our oldest son (9) and daughter (7). Our daughter Reayah turns out to be quite the writer (which we already knew from her exploits with pencil and paper). What is particularly fun is to see how the electronic medium captures the way she thinks. It really is quite thrilling and entertaining. So, after receiving the first email she sent to me I find myself compelled to set up a category for her musings and hope to keep up with posting at least some of her deep thoughts.

We can all learn a lot from the ponderings of a child (or at the very least enjoy a good laugh at their simple, amusing, innocent wackiness). I have not modified spelling or wording in any way whatsoever.

ReayahMail #1
(1/30/2011, age 7)

Dad  can you believe I got my own Email?  It is funny that we were in the same house but are sending each other an email.

I wonder what you will send me for your email.  Well you know what you will send. I to can not wait for emails. [ Funnys ] SO my old man you have much in comen.

DO you know that the first thing on earth is underwear?  Ha Ha!