May you…

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May you wear polka dotted dresses, and dance through the wildflowers.
May you never stop seeking joy.
May you understand, it’s only temporary.
May you stop and take in your glorious surroundings – wherever you are.
May you have peace knowing you were uniquely made to be you.
May you feel God’s indescribable peace, in the midst of war.
May you trust there is something bigger than you, that loves you.  Yes, you.
May you feel peace when you’re alone, and rejoice that you will be just fine.
May you grasp, though beyond understanding, it is how it is meant to be.
May you realize you command your destiny through your words.
May you smile, even through the heartbreak.
May you know it will get better when you decide it will.
May you know, this is the day the Lord had made, rejoice and be glad in it.

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The best sundae EVER

Heaven. Also know as the Rim Trail from the Red Hut Cafe in South Lake Tahoe
Two scoops of vanilla ice cream
Hot fudge
Melted peanut butter
Whipped cream
Cherries
Pretzels

It’s so good it even got its own post!

A Day in the North Bay

After an extremely lazy day 1 of 2016 (I mean LAZY!) I had to be out an about the next day.  I can only sit on my painfully comfortable couch for so long…

Since we were long overdue with our wine pickup, we decided to make a day of it – and it twas lovely!

Breakfast in Petaluma
Tea Room Cafe (A MUST!!) 316 Western Ave, Petaluma, CA 94952
You may have to wait in line, but it’s worth it!  We showed up around 11:00am on a Saturday and had no trouble finding a table.  We had the croissant breakfast sandwich and the chorizo scramble, with a chai latte and coffee.  Everything was delicious.  Don’t forgot to stop at the darling little shop next door (got this cute red beanie there)!

Wine tasting and relaxing
Paradise Ridge Winery  4545 Thomas Lake Harris Dr, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
We became members here… so you know it’s good!  Love love love this place.  The grounds are gorgeous – they have TONS of artwork/sculptures all throughout.  The tasting room is super cozy and the view is lovely.  This was the first place that I loved all the wines – red and white!  Definitely check this out.

Cruise down HWY 12 and enjoy the scenery between spots!!

Sipping tea and strolling
Sonoma Plaza 453 1st St E, Sonoma, CA 95476
There are so many great shops here!  From wine shops, to estate jewelry, from consignment boutiques to “general stores”.  A must stop if you’re in the area.  The plaza encompasses a beautiful park, and has plenty of delicious restaurants to choose from!

Basque Boulangerie 460 First Street East, Sonoma, CA 95476
We stopped here for a mocha, hot tea and chocolate covered macaroon.  YUM!

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A truly lovely way to start out the new year!

SF Date Night! Redford & Magic

In an effort to break the cycle of lounging on the couch, watching re-runs of Big Bang Theory, I decided to plan a fun date night out in the city.

First off, I am not a city girl.  I avoid the city at all costs.  Oh, and by “city” I am referring to San Francisco.  On the other hand, my partner is a city boy, and gets giddy over the sky scrapers and city scape.  Ergo, I decided to plan a date I knew he would love.   Boo loves magic, and having never seen a magic show myself, I thought I would give it a go.  I did a simple yelp review and came across the Marrakech Magic Theater.  I figured I would give it a shot, after all, it did have 240 five-star reviews!  I purchased tickets from www.goldstar.com and saved 50%!  They only had tickets for the 9pm show – so I sought out a cool dinner spot – and was pleased with my selection.  We ended up with a corner booth at Redford – a “hipster american rustic chic” spot that we loved!

Redford

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LOVE the look of Redford!

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You HAVE to get the Antipasto plate. Have to. We didn’t even have room for dinner after this! Absolutely delicious.

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This tastes even better than it looks…

Marrakech Magic Theater

The best part is that this is a show for an intimate group.  There was maybe 25 folks in the room – and almost everyone got to assist in the show!  Was a blast and very deceiving…

IMG_0826 IMG_0832Keep the spark alive!  Plan a fun date night you know your partner will love!

Crater Laker & Bend, Oregon

I’ve always imagined I would end up in a small, mountain type town, with beautiful lakes and snow capped mountains, great restaurants with outdoor seating, and residents really making it feel like a community.  Though I have dreamed of this place, I have never actually been to said destination.  Then, I went to Bend.

On the cruise up we decided to swing by Crater Lake.  WOW!  This place is gorgeous! It almost looks fake – this volcano inside a volcano!  A must see if cruising through southern Oregon.  I would also recommend staying at the Green Springs Inn & Cabins outside of Ashland.  It was in the middle of the… forest?… and we loved it!  The rooms were amazing – and the restaurant was great!  The gift shop even had a box for PCT hikers like I read about in Wild!

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Ah yes, Bend.  Bend is… well, it’s perfect.  It’s technically high desert, but Mt. Bachelor sits just a stones throw away, snow capped even in mid summer.  The downtown is absolutely delightful, with the Deschutes Rivers meandering through – full of folks floatin’. You can stroll the darling shops, great restaurants, craft breweries and chat with all the NICE people!  We actually saw a sticker saying “Be nice, you’re in Bend“.  Ha!

We had the privilege to spend the 4th of the July weekend there – and boy oh boy do they do it big!  The parade was massive, and after the parade everyone heads down to the park by the river for a huge festival.  Tons of booths, drinks, food, games – you name it.

Accommodations:
We rented the cutest studio!  Just 2 blocks from downtown and perfect!IMG_8409 IMG_8410IMG_8412 IMG_8411

Exploration of the Cascade Lakes:

Devil’s Lake – The most clear, turquoise lake I have ever seen!  And freeeeezing!

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Loved this shot I got of some paddlers!

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Todd Lake – super peaceful and secluded with beautiful views from the parking lot!

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Mt. Bachelor in the background

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Elk Lake – not a great shot – but a perfect spot to rent a kayak or lounge on the beach.

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4th of July Madness!  This is where you want to celebrate ‘merica!

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Yes, that’s a dog up there 😦

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Pano of the post parade festivities!

Craft Breweries! 

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Side trip up to Sisters
must do!  

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The town of Sisters is absolutely darling – and not far from Bend. You MUST eat at Cottonwood Cafe!

First Fridays! SO happy we stumbled upon this!  I would actually encourage you to plan your trip to Bend during a First Friday.  All of the shops offer free beer/wine/cocktails and snacks and the whole town comes out!  There’s live music on just about every corner, and it really solidifies the sense of community.

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Beautiful Bend

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We had an incredible time, and can’t wait to return!  (I might be actively seeking career opportunities…)

Until next time… I’ll be dreaming of Bend.

God is good friends.  God is good.

The sunset that took my breath away

Have you EVER seen anything so glorious?  No, no you haven’t.  I promise you my friends, there are no filters on this image.  I took this photo in my back yard when I lived in Colorado.  I remember walking outside, feeling like I just stepped into Heaven.  This is one of those “Awe” moments.  The world stops, it takes your breath away, makes you feel so incredibly small yet so blessed for experiencing it.  Friends, I have witnessed some amazing sky-scapes, but this one, this one… there’s no words.  God is good friends.  God is good. IMG_0389IMG_0388 IMG_0390

Challenge Day

Do you all remember Challenge Day from when you were in middle school?  If not, here’s an overview of what they do:

Challenge Day is created to build connection and empathy, and to fulfill our vision that every child lives in a world where they feel safe, loved, and celebrated. Challenge Day is more than a one-day program. Our programs go beyond traditional anti-bullying efforts, building empathy and igniting a movement of compassion and positive change, known as the Be the Change movement. (www.challengeday.org) 

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I attended Challenge Day when I was in 8th grade at Martinez Jr. High School, and I remember it being incredibly emotional – breaking down walls, raising awareness and creating community.  I don’t remember if the momentum lasted long, but I remember being incredibly moved in the moment.

I had the opportunity to be an adult participant in a Challenge Day event for a middle school in Oakland. I figured it would raise the same emotional scars it did for me 14 years prior, and it did, but that wasn’t it.  When we had this event in Martinez, a relatively well-off, and mostly safe Bay Area community, it was hard to see my peers cross the line, but for the most part, I was crossing it with them.  We all had similar circumstances for why we crossed, and there were minimal crossings for other scenarios.  Today, well, today was different.

As an adult, watching these 12 and 13 year olds cross the line completely broke my heart.  How could these children have gone through this much?  HOW? Though I crossed over with many of them, it was different now.  I have healed from a lot of my scars, and these sweet children were in the midst of it.  I was grateful to be there, but felt such anger, sorrow, sadness – pain, for these kids.  They’re just kids.  KIDS.  Why are they going through this?  WHY.

I know asking why isn’t going to do anything.  I believe things happen for a reason, I believe we heal from our scars if we work at it, but today, being submerged with these young humans, seeing their pain, the tears on their face, it broke me.  I hate that each one of them has experienced what they have, are experiencing things daily – so with that, I’ll do the only thing I can do.  PRAY.

Lord, let the bonds that were formed today remain. Let these sweet children feel peace in knowing they are not alone.  Let them seek help, stay strong in believing this too shall pass, lean on each other and feel your love completely overwhelming them.  In your sweet, sweet name I pray.  Amen.

God is good friends.  God is good.