Monday, September 3, 2012

Friends, Visits and Family

This has been a week of terrific activity and driving and fun and family.

Last Tuesday morning, Sondra and I left town heading for San Francisco.  Our good friend, Vicki Smith, was flying out on Wednesday to stay with us for a week.  She flew into S.F. but will fly back to Tennessee out of Ontario Airport (which is close to us).  She had never been to S.F. and this is her vacation time, so we told her we would take her around to the various sites of the city there.  It is a great tourist town!

On Tuesday night, we arrived and checked into our hotel (Doubletree between Vallejo and Napa) on the East Bay side.  Drove over to see our good friends Don and Judy Nason.  We sat and talked and had some excellent take-out Italian food with them.

The next day (Wednesday), we picked up Vicki at SFO and started our day of activities.  We did all the things every tourist does -- go down Lombard Street, see Coit Tower, walk on Fisherman's Wharf, eat at Boudin's Bakery on the Wharf, look across to Alcatraz Island, get chocolate at Ghirardelli Square.

On Thursday, we got up early, went to Starbucks (Vicki's favorite place in the whole world) and started the day.  We went by the town of Hercules (where I started a church during Seminary days in the 80s), stopped at San Quentin Prison, took some time at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley where I attended, drove through Sausalito, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and walked it as well, drove through the picturesque Presidio and National Cemetery, wound around through Golden Gate Park, went to Seal Beach for lunch, took some time to see the Haight-Ashbury section of town, went to Ghirardelli Square, rested a bit and then went to the Beach Blanket Babylon musical revue downtown on Thursday night.

On Friday, we checked out of our hotel and headed up through the Napa Valley wine country.  It was gorgeous and spectacular.  We found a winery that has a castle!  We drove through Napa, Yountville, Calistoga, St. Helena and ended up in Healdsburg in Sonoma County.  A dear friend of ours, Diane Tucker, lives there and we had lunch with her.

We drove the rest of the day to get back to Rialto.  It was the start of Labor Day weekend and traffic was horrible.  We arrived home Friday night/Saturday morning at 1am.  Sondra and Vicki went shopping Saturday afternoon, while I went over to see a man in Moreno Valley (David McCullough).  David just found out a couple of days earlier that he has colon cancer and may only have months to live.  He is a member of our church and currently lives in the Sober Living House on the property of the Coronado Stone manufacturing plant in nearby Fontana.  He is a house manager and just recently graduated from Chaffey College.  We shared, we cried and we prayed.

Saturday evening, we had a houseful of people.  We invited Evan/Callie and Shawn/Crystal/Bailey/Brynnlee over for dinner to spend time with Vicki.  Our kids grew up with the Smith family when we lived in 29 Palms from 1986-1992.  They had a great time reminiscing with Vicki through the evening.

On Sunday, we had a special time of worship.  I talked about how life is precious and fragile and short.  My message was titled "When Our Hearts Are Heavy."  From the book of Ephesians, I drew from the Apostle Paul's life to show how we need to handle the sorrows we face along life's journey.

What must we do when our hearts are heavy?  Some of the things we must do are:
(1)  Accept the circumstances, deal with them and move forward.  Disappointments are part of human existence.
(2)  Allow others in, which means we must build friendships and relationships that allow us to share our hurts.
(3)  Pray to the Lord for steadfastness, which is internal.  Patience and endurance are external and flow from a steadfast heart.
(4)  Lean on the promises of the Savior, knowing that our God is able in any and all situations of life.
(5)  Seek God's presence.  This is not simply taking time to pray quickly and hopefully.  It is taking time to know God more intimately and fully in daily life.

Last night (Sunday), we ended it at Dairy Queen for a relaxing time of friendship and ice cream!

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