Santa Barbara is the perfect place to visit. I have gotten to see it with all fresh eyes on this amazing trip--reddened, tired, craziness fresh eyes that is! Rest has been a bit elusive... but oh, I am in love with the sea! (I might remind you that my name means 'the sea.') Believe it or not, though, we didn't actually GO to the beach until 6 days after we had arrived in California! But once we did, we got sunburned straight away and have been getting redder ever since. Now there are five days left, and i am in awe of how God worked it out, and just in deep thankfulness for friends, trips, and beautiful, sea-kissed coast. A few anecdotes from the road...
The Daring Journey
When Thomas said he was taking the car to San Francisco, I got a wild, crazy idea--if you are going to take the car...you can also take US! Except we are going to stay in Santa Barbara! "OK," he says. He was so supportive of the idea! Soon after, I was introduced to "the trailer." He wanted to sell the motorcycle in San Francisco, so the plan was to tow it there on a trailer. Indeed, he bought a trailer kit from home depot (which he had been wanting for a long time anyway) and built the thing together. You should see these things! They are just skeleton--no floor, and no walls! But instead of a floor, Thomas put down a board. Then he drove the motorcycle up onto the board. In the rain. And asked me to "steady" it if it slipped, which it almost did--what was I going to do against the weight of a 400-lb. motorcycle? It seems that God sent an angel to steady it at that point, because it did not in fact slip off of the narrow board. Those 1st few minutes of driving were some of the most nerve-wracking of my 15 million on this side of the womb! In case you didn't know, we live on a hill. A very. Steep. Hill. So we had to go up. Then we had to go down. At an angle. I was having visions of the motorcycle crashing off the trailer, into the car, and ending our trip 40 feet after it began. But by some miracle of physics it actually stayed on the trailer. I could not understand how just a few tie-downs were keeping that thing upright. But Thomas got out and adjusted it a few times, and eventually I had to sit back and trust that if he trusted the trailer with his machine, then it must be somewhat stable. That was a happy realization. The trip took only eleven and a half hours! I had predicted twelve. (Can't drive over 55, 60 with the trailer!) And, oh yes, were you...praying for us? I had been asking people to pray for COLD weather on the day we left, and not only was it overcast and raining, it was SNOWING!! Er... and as for Arizona roads...they are AWESOME! Not til you drive the horrors of pitty, bumpy, uneven LA freeways towing a vertical motorcycle on a narrow board with a volvo do you fully appreciate the beauty of the smooth and well-maintained AZ roads. Thank you, Jan Brewer, or whoever you are, Secretary of Arizona Roadways!
Victory Over the Enemy
We stayed at my former boss Rod's detached guest suite for a week. The first day, we saw a huge, hairy, scary bug scuttle into the door and disappear before we could get it, in the crack between the carpet and the door. Some kind of centipede? After it absconded, I eventually gave up looking for it and decided, well, we'd just have to forget about it and trust that it wouldn't try to mess with us while we were sleeping. The next day, Golden spit out some medicine I was trying to give her, so I had to take her clothes off and soak them in the bathtub. The morning after that, when I went to take the clothes out, what should I find but the evil, heebie-jeebie centipede--drowned in the tub! Self-destruct! That's what I call spiritual power right there.
|Yes, it was that gross.|
(continued on May 10, 2011)
Who Thought This was a Good Idea?
Sparrow got sick on the day before she turned 5, and thus we had to postpone her birthday party with friends…indefinitely. Instead, on her birthday, we tried to rest in the morning and around lunch time we headed out to have a picnic at the rose gardens. That was her wish for the day; she LOVES the rose gardens, and I figured as long as she was outside, her hacking and coughing couldn’t bother too many people. The sun even came out as we were driving around! I had to go to lassens and get her some elderberry stuff and colloidal silver. Then, passing by the hospital where she had been born on this very day exactly five years previous, we had to get out and take pictures! At last we did make it to the rose gardens, and the flowers were all in bloom and happy to see the sun! it was a great time until we had to leave again. Then it seemed the whining faucet got turned on and nobody wanted to listen. And I still had to figure out dinner! Rod and his guest room were great, but it had no kitchen, so every day we kind of had to go shopping for picnic food, or eat out. Anyhow, we went to whole foods, where I figured we could all find something to our tastes, and get a vegan, sugar-free dessert for my girl. And while we were there, of course sparrow had to poop, so…more time in the bathroom. My favorite! I think I spent more time in the public bathrooms of Santa Barbara on that vacation than in any other single location! Finally we got "home" and I tried to convince them that eating cold beans on a tortilla was a yummy idea. Golden had completely skipped her nap and was so not listening! There were times that week--quite a few times--when I thought I must be insane for attempting this adventure...
The following day, of course, we went out again. Glutton for punishment, I know, but am I going to just sit in a room all day with three children and no kitchen?? Of course not!! I had figured out that going out two times was the expedient thing to do. Once in the morning, to tire them out. Then back for a rest, then out again after nap time. This particular afternoon we were going to the clock tower, one of sparrow's other favorite places in Santa Barbara. It's a lot of fun until someone runs into the corner of a metal sign with their head and begins to dispense blood and high-pitched shrieks. Sparrow. Yes, Sparrow. I quickly grabbed my nursing cover for her to hold over the wound, and we gathered ourselves and left. Back down the stairs. Back up to the parking garage. Back to my car to get the band-aid kit. Then down and over a few blocks to peet's coffee and see if we can use the bathroom. I stood there with my bleeding child and my behemoth of a stroller (borrowed from a friend) for five minutes right in front of the counter, being totally ignored by the employees! finally they turned around and addressed the man who had come in behind me, and he ordered! Where is the love?! at that point i got completely flustered and just asked for the bathroom key, which it turned out, had been sitting on the drink counter the whole time. I went outside to the bathrooms in the complex, only to find that the key did not work. Over and over I tried it, then had no choice but to go back into Peet's. And what did I find there inside? A bathroom! What? That was certainly new since I had been there last! A bathroom inside now?! I felt like a dork! Nonetheless, it was a happy find, and I lunged for the door, only to be cut off by an employee saying that the bathroom was temporarily out of order. But someone had just come out of there! "But my daughter is bleeding!" I said incredulously. "Sorry," was the response. "Someone dumped a whole bunch of toilet paper and paper towels in the toilet so I have to unclog it." I could not believe this verdict! Discouraged, I ordered some coffee and we sat down outside. It was then that I remembered that everything I needed to clean and dress the wound was right in my hand! my car "1st aid kit" which normally only contains band-aids, had been beefed up with hydrogen peroxide, cotton balls, and Neosporin just for the road trip! Hehe, SCORE! The Peet's patio will do for an infirmary, thank you.
Rainbow of Grace
On Good Friday, Thomas was driving down from San Francisco to spend Easter weekend with us. We had been picnicking at the park, and hopped in the car around 6:40 to go to church. Traffic was hoooooooorrible. It took us over 45 minutes in traffic to get there! We were grossly late. But the amazing thing is that while we were sitting around on the freeway, we experienced the most awesome, vibrant double rainbow, stretching from Montecito, right over us, to the ocean. It was a little bit rainy, a little bit sunny, and all the way magical. Even when we don't get to church on time, His grace is everywhere.
Beauty in the Breakdown
Sunday noon,we all piled into the Volvo to drive back to my brother's from our last invigorating California church service.When we started the engine, we heard a strange sound. An ugly sound. An in-our-engine sound. Thomas was extremely alarmed. Sounds in the engine just don't mean that much to me. "It's just a noise; let's get home." Yeah, I've lived with sounds in the engine before. We did start for "home," but just as we were about to turn into the freeway, the engine died. Just cut out. ooooookaaaaaayyy... Thank God there was a little side street right off the turnstile so instead of going onto the freeway as planned, we coasted onto Ogan street and into a nice, shady parking spot off the side of the road. Wow. Now what? We ended up calling my brother, who was still at church. He got Chris Atkinson to drive over with him; we transferred all our car seats into his car and drove home, and Chris gave him a ride in his car. We took a nap. We woke up and had a leisurely family afternoon at Alice Keck Park. The next day we had the car towed to Swedemasters Auto Shop and later that day they gave us the verdict: $4000. I almost spit out my lunch! I thought that it would be $400, or so, not $4000!!! Apparently the timing belt had broken, and messed up a bunch of stuff in the engine. Yeah. No one had ever told me THAT could happen! Long story short, that is more than we paid for that car, so... now we were looking at our other options for getting home. and thomas was supposed to be at work the next day. We decided to rent a car, donate the volvo to charity, and leave the trailer with friends in California for now. Thomas would have to ride his motorcycle all the way to Tucson... and he did! There are many, MANY indicators of God's grace on this whole situation; some of them are listed below. It was a bit of a shock never seeing my car again, you know? One day we got out, and I thought, "We'll get it back running again tomorrow," and the next day it was lost to me forever. Whew! But before I get too sentimental about Tozer, my faithful Volvo, let me dwell on the beauty in the breakdown:
-Ogan Street--the fact that that turnstile in Carpinteria HAS a side street going off of it, a side street that had plenty of parking, was sloping downhill, and had a shady tree for us to stop under, was miraculous. I feel like God had put that street into the heads of the Carpinteria city planners a long time ago, JUST for us on that fateful day.
-the Timing of the broken Timing belt--the fact that it was right after church when we hadn't even packed yet, and not not as we were leaving to go back to Tucson--or worse yet, in the middle of the desert--was such providence.
-the taco fundraiser--my brother and I had both bought tacos after church. this proved to be God's will in two ways: 1) I had eaten some and was not mad with hunger when we had the breakdown and had to sit and wait for awhile for it all to work out, and to get home for some lunch 2) my bro eats slowly, so he was actually still at church eating when we called him, and able to get a friend to help him right then and there.
-my headache--ok, that wasn't the blessing part, but the fact is that i was getting a really gnarly headache around the time that all this occurred, and was beginning to DREAD having to make that 12-hour drive on a hot day in such a state. Instead, I got to have a nap and a restful afternoon in a park in Santa Barbara.
-Air Conditioning--Since we had had such amazing cold and overcast weather on the trip out, I was confidently praying for the same thing on the way home. When Sunday was proving to be a cloudless, hott-ish day, I was a little disheartened, but God knew what He was doing. He never did send clouds that day, nor on Tuesday, the day we did drive home. Instead, he let us drive home in the comforts of air conditioning! (AND the car had a working radio, which helped me to stay awake on that drive, since I had to do the driving all by myself!)
-Thomas' work--He was supposed to be teaching classes by Monday afternoon. But God had orchestrated it in advance, that the studio had already covered his afternoon classes. So he didn't miss too much work in the end!
-Two extra days in SB--yup, that place is somewhere in the center of my blurry little universe!
To further let it sink in, enjoy the song.