Talkin' 'bout California...where the sun is always warm...

IMG_1584There is a song in those lines, though I've forgotten the title and the rest of the words. I'm writing this from our hotel room in Marina Del Rey the night before we fly home to Michigan after being in California for over a week. We flew to San Francisco last Saturday and spent about four days in Monterey for my agency's retreat. Pics are on my Facebook Page if you're interested. IMG_1591The retreat setting was the gorgeous Monterey Peninsula, which never ceases to bring me joy. Randy and I rode bikes along the boardwalk and stopped for organic ice cream, saw the spewing foam from the spout of a whale off shore, though not close enough for IMG_3003a picture, and loved the salt air in our faces. We had a great time walking along Cannery Row, watching the sea lions and birds and the surf hitting the shore, then had a romantic dinner at the Chart House restaurant overlooking the bay. While I attended meetings, Randy went kayaking, something I would have liked to try if my tendonitis hadn't been acting up. Great memories to keep us warm in the coming cold months in Michigan!

IMG_3084From Monterey we drove to L.A. to see our two oldest sons. The landscape along Highway 101 was as barren as IMG_1631the drought indicated it would be. Sad to see our beautiful second favorite state so barren, from what used to be such beauty.

Of course, L.A. is as busy as ever. The streets are familiar now, and Siri managed to be the best GPS system ever. She had to reroute us a few times, but we were never lost. We had the privilege of attending a small premier where our sons had their short film on display along with two other short films. All were enjoyable and well done. I see a lot of talent in the future for these young artists. And I truly hope the next time our sons direct a film, we can be on set to watch part of it. There is something about film that is just so much fun to watch being created!

IMG_3260IMG_1659Randy and I rented bikes again and biked along the boardwalk of Venice Beach. We ate at a restaurant near the beach, and spent time with our kids at various locations around the city. Santa Monica promenade and mall was a fun place to spend an afternoon, and I drove the streets of L.A. for the first time. (Normally Randy drives and I navigate. But he was golfing so the car was in my care.) Saturdays are actually not as crazy as weekdays, but it is strange to have to watch for bikers (who can bike on the main roads), motorcycles (who can drive between lanes), and pedestrians who are everywhere! I thought Michigan drivers were crazy sometimes, but L.A. puts a whole new spin on impatient driving.

We had some amazing pizza - who ever heard of pumpkin pizza? And

IMG_1690of course, you can't visit L.A. without stopping at Beard Papa's. Yum! Chocolate volcano cake at the Chart House totally ruined my diet, but I really don't care. :) Sometimes you just have to remember that God gave us all things to enjoy!

IMG_3148Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and give way to new memories rather than in-the-moment experiences. I cherish every moment with my family but I also know that life is in constant motion and always changes.

IMG_1695Sometimes I don't always adjust well to those changes. So I'm making it my goal to look for ways each day to be thankful. November, the month of Thanksgiving, seems like a good time to start seeing that each day is a gift, each moment is one to find a way to thank God for something, however small.

I'm thanking God for this trip that has meant so much to us. Seeing out kids never lasts as long as parents would like. But we are blessed to have time with them, have time to do things together, to take breaks from the everyday stresses of life.

And now we are heading home where the sun isn't so warm anymore. Ah least we have seasons and color and sometimes we even enjoy sunshine. And Tiger is waiting. For that I am thankful.