Oh, I wish I could describe to you all I saw on our trip up to Redding. It started out crazy, just after getting through the spaghetti bowl of freeway interchanges and nasty afternoon traffic, we realized that the bag with my wallet in it was still sitting on the floor in the kitchen AT HOME. So we found the next exit and exchanged drivers. It is strange for me to be a passenger as I am almost always driving when we are together. It was a gift from God. Instead of freaking out, I decided to trust Him and be spontaneous!
Once you get north of the airport you are driving through more open valley, flat. It reminds me a little of driving through places in eastern Montana and North Dakota except that there are hills/mountains on each side of this valley. There were so many things to "ponder" in my heart...no where to pull over for pictures, so I just sat there and soaked in all the grandeur.
The further we drove from the city the more my spirit soared. I am not a city girl. I grew up in what once were small towns, though they have since joined yuppydom like many west coast towns and small cities. I was never more than a stone's throw from a farm or a beach and water was prevalent, green surrounded me and the air was moist and fresh. It is the total opposite to the asphalt and concrete and lava rock that surround me now and the soaring summer temps with an open tan (smog filled) sky. There is much beauty in northern California but it is not generally found in my neighborhood. In the 9+ years I have lived here, I have learned that I must bloom where I am planted and I must look for the beauty that God places everywhere if you only open your eyes to see.
After a long last couple months with multiple stressors, my spirit was ready for reprieve. My soul needs clouds and green and fresh air and I found the most incredible scenery along I-5. Vignettes to the left and right drew my attention, begging for an artist to paint them, a camera to capture the glorious light and someone to just notice that they were there. Have you ever looked around you and seen the awesome beauty in the smallest, most common details?
What the heart feels cannot always be captured by brush or photograph, nor can it necessarily be explained with words. I can only say that I saw beautiful rays of Shekinah Glory, partial rainbows, hillsides of blue bonnets (though we call them Lupine here), water reflecting sky, gnarled hundred + year oaks and fluffy pink blossoming trees that I've never seen before. Green pastures, peculiar to the California spring (and turn brown in several weeks time), the hint of snow on distant peaks and jagged buttes surrounded us. There were almond orchards, olive orchards and newly ploughed furrows holding yet to be discovered crops while large silo shaped storage buildings hold rice of all kinds. You've probably eaten many of these crops yourselves. Peacefully grazing in the newly green pastures were Holsteins, Herefords (we did have a conversation on where our cheeseburgers come from! LOL) and either Jerseys or Guernseys. But, most delightful were kid goats who skipped along without a care in the world. Many homes along the freeway had goats, I was surprised.
We saw some huge mansions overlooking the freeway, sitting in the middle of nowhere - what is that all about? Then I saw a trailer home and told Tim our location was not so bad. On one side there was the freeway, on another the state Rest Area and on a third, a really, really old junky, wrecking yard. D saw the wrecking yard and all the car parts and proclaimed, "WHOA! COOL!" He wouldn't mind living there! PERSPECTIVE! Age certainly changes it.
As we drove along, with that magical warm light that we photographers love, lighting all these scenarios, the girls fell asleep. They rarely nap, so this is a miracle. D was way in the last seat of the van and could not hear us. Hubby and I were able to discuss this beauty we saw, the events of the day and the recent week. We had real adult conversation. Without interruptions. Without refereeing arguments. Without disciplinary action. WHOA! Where did that come from?! I was thankful for this brief and rare time alone, but not alone, with my husband.
The drive was not terribly long, just under three hours and we split it with a stop to a Mexican restaurant. The girls like "Messican" restaurants because of the tortilla chips and salsa. D loves the chips but not the salsa. We had a really nice server tonight who interacted with the kids and that always makes it nice. It was a far cry from when they were smaller and dining out meant multiple anxiety attacks! LOL I must remember to be thankful for the small things!
So, we did arrive in our destination city, Redding, California and this is a picture of our room in the Best Western. I took a picture so the girls could see where they slept on their Birthday Eve and where they will likely open their birthday presents. For my 5th birthday I had a family dinner and a chocolate cake my Mommy made me with plastic dancing ballerinas on it. My Grandparents gave me Malibu Barbie, which shocked my Grandma Hopkins. Now I know why! LOL
SIGH...I guess it was only a momentary reprieve, but who can resist Angels with dirty faces?
As I sign off I am reminded that in another hotel or motel or guest room of a friend, Amy is sleeping or trying to anyway, on the eve of meeting her miracle daughter for the first time. Would you please pray for their family as their adoption is sorted out, as they begin to bond and as their boys adjust to having another person to share Mom and Dad with?
I better sign off before my children's batteries are recharged and they are waking me up again! :o) If you made it this far, thanks for reading!