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The Houses That Built Me: California

I was with Pete the first time he put his feet in the Pacific Ocean.  We weren’t even married then. He had always lived in the midwest and Florida.  When we met, Colorado was the farthest west he had ever been.  

We were interviewing for a church job that didn’t pan out but we had a great time.  We did the tourist-y things at the San Francisco Wharf and Golden State Bridge.  He wore his favorite-ever CU Buffalo t-shirt.  One of my first married snafus was finding out how attached he was to that shirt, when I threw that t-shirt away because it had holes in it.  Oopsie daisy.

Luckily, during our marriage, we had several other opportunities to be in the Pacific Ocean and bring our daughters there.  

When we lived in Ripon and Modesto, we drove to the coast several times.  One time, in Point Reyes, we found Pete’s ideal scenario with so much beauty and no people on the beach.  We had a great picnic and time in the water.  We then had the sinking feeling that we would be that family with 5 kids and too many earthly belongings on our backs, needing rescue in the dark if we didn’t hurry back to the car!  We made it back in time but it was not pretty or without tears. 

We also drove Highway 1 and had an amazing tent cabin stay in Big Sur when our girls were little.  We also loved Half Moon Bay, Stinson Beach, and Santa Cruz. Once we went to Yosemite National Park with our newfie, Molly, and Pete was pretending like he was drowning and she was freaking out because she wanted to save him but was tied up.  

One of our favorite memories of our time in California was when Pete and I wanted to have some time to ourselves and we sent them to the backyard.  They were contained but kept asking to come in.  Then, just a few minutes later, we realized that it was really quiet.  The girls were naked and covered in mud that they made with the hose and the kid pool.  

One afternoon, Pete and I were wrangling a non-fruiting mulberry tree in our front yard. I was gabbing his ear off then I turned around and he wasn’t there. He had grabbed a bat and was going down the road to get a man to stop beating up his girlfriend. When he would retell the story later, he would say that the man said that Pete didn’t need to get involved, that it wasn’t Pete’s problem. Pete then yelled, “When you started hitting her, it became my problem.”  That’s when he turned around and saw all of our neighbors backing him up. We were in a highly-Hispanic neighborhood that our all-white church ostracized so we were working to build rapport and relationships but we never really knew how it was going…until this day. 

We also had an amazing bike ride in Monterey.  It was memorable because Mia was in the phase where she did not want training wheels but still probably needed them.  We were all riding along well and seeing sea lions, etc., then she rode her bike full boar into a yellow concrete pole!  She also learned how to ride this training-wheel-less bike down a big hill in Lynden, WA, giving us multiple heart attacks when she would fall in the middle of flying down it. 

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the Pacific with Pete again.  I walked the beach looking for rocks, which was one of Pete’s favorite things to do on a beach, and found some sea glass too.  I got in the water and was reminded of how big the world and God are.  I was reminded of His power and all that He’s carried me through.  I was flooded with so many special memories that I’m very grateful for. 





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