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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

On the Road Again

Blue skies and the highway is calling, but before we answer the call, I’m off to meet a friend of many years over a bite of late brekkie or early lunch. We’ve shared laughter and tears, though have lived on separate continents for nearly 40 years now. It’ll be good to catch up.

And then off to the Harris Ranch. The name itself is exciting – will I get to do some cow poking and branding? No, I think we’re in a King bed tonight; nothing very cowboy about that.

It’s such a different life from my usual rural idyll. People everywhere, mainly on the freeways. Such a different outlook here, where the concerns of this great nation occupy most of the news bulletins and not much from beyond the borders filters through. 

With the remarkable speed of internet connections these days, though, I may be miles from home but am still involved in the church and home news. Here but not quite here. There but not quite there.

A picture of a Christian’s stance in the world? Here, but not quite here. There, but not quite there.

Looking forward to a day or two at Bethel Church in Redding, where the ‘There’ seems to be pretty much breaking through to the ‘Here’. 

Awesome, in the full sense of the word.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Clear Skies

Yesterday was a glorious day in Los Angeles.

The sun was bright in a clear blue sky – yes, really clear. I don’t know where the smog and haze had gone, but they were outta there.

After dropping Robbie into the mayhem of LAX, I joined Mom and Mhairi at Mhairi’s garden apartment in Studio City. It’s a wee oasis in the midst of a sprawling city. A cul de sac without sidewalks, heavily shaded by overhanging bamboo, brightened up by deep red bougainvilla flowers. A Jacuzzi and small swimming pool are there for her use, and the small square of grass outside her window provides a backdrop for the antics of various animals. Squirrels. Possums. Birds.

And occasionally, horrifically, seven rats.

Well, only the garden of Eden was perfect.

We went up to the Griffith Park Observatory where we enjoyed panoramic views over the whole LA basin area. And a clear view of the iconic Hollywood sign. 

We saw the exhibits, enjoyed the sun, and ate well afterwards. 

A glorious day.

Making Plans

A road trip. Sounds fun, just the words of it. It’s awhile since I’ve driven north to Sacramento and beyond.

We put the car in for a service and to be given the once-over for road-worthiness this morning. The guy was so helpful and friendly. Made me feel better, watching Mom so able to drive over there herself and handle his questions. She is just amazing for 87. Please may I have her genes...

Now we’re looking at maps, talking through timings, hoping and praying no fog will materialize along the way. I thought the fog hugged the coast, but apparently the freeway up the middle of the state, 5, can also be socked in. 

Mom’s been calling her friends, telling them the good news that we’ll be stopping by.

Soon we’ll start calling some motels and making some reservations. One night we’ll just stop where we find ourselves, as we’re not sure of timings since we’ll be visiting people.

It’s good to make plans. It’s also good to be flexible. You never know when God might drop a diversion into your day, which he really wants you to follow up on. 

The sun is out and I’m in shorts and sandals in November. God is good.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

November heat

Feel that November Sun!

Now here is one thing I do miss about Southern California, when I’m shivering in Scotland. 

It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving and I am in a sleeveless shirt, putting on sunscreen to avoid a burn.
You just don’t get that in Banchory in November; only rarely in the summertime. 

Just back from the Muppet movie, which brought some laughs. And a sad smile when Miss Piggy sang, remembering how much Judy loved Miss Piggy.

That’s the thing about life, isn’t it? There is a thin line between the smiles and the tears.

It’s been a lovely weekend with Mhairi and Robbie here. We’ll be up at the crack to get Robbie to LAX for 7.30 am. Then a few hours with Mhairi before she needs  re-enter her working world.

Sunshine through the rain. 

A rainbow, the promise of God reminding me that he is in charge, and all is well.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Off to the beach for a walk with Robbie and Mhairi. That can only mean one thing – Thanksgiving in California, where although there is rain in the forecast, the sun is still shining.

First Thanksgiving without Dad. Going to the cemetery first. It’s hard, and good to be together with Mom, Mhairi and Robbie.

The clouds are blustering up out there and the ‘kids’ are waiting so I best be off. Got to work up an appetite for that turkey and pumpkin pie.

So much to be thankful for. I – we – are so blessed. And so undeserving. It is humbling.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Travel Traumas

What do you do when your flight is cancelled and the knock-on effect could be that you don’t get to California at all in time for Thanksgiving?


And have a good network of pray-ers. And a husband who goes the extra miles to do all he can to get you there.

At  7.45 pm I got the email from BA saying due to fog my early flight to Heathrow was cancelled, meaning I would miss the LA leg. All other options yielded nothing. Apart from a possible all nighter on the train.
They couldn’t tell us on the phone if there were a berth available, so I closed the suitcase without another thought of what was in or wasn’t, raced out the door and within an hour was in the last berth available.
Sitting in the bar drinking hot chocolate, I realized that even so, I would be hard-pressed to get across London to Heathrow in time for a 10 am flight. The army of pray-ers kept going and I even slept a little on the train.

Train arrived on time in Euston Station (another miracle), and as I reached the top of the first flight of steps down into the tube, a young man offered to carry my heavy case down for me. (an angel in disguise?) 

There was nobody in the queue for tickets. Paddington Station was only 4 stops away and the trains were on time. Another young man offered to carry my case back up the stairs. (another angel) 

The Heathrow Express arrived in 10 minutes and took 15 minutes to get to the airport.

The fog had grounded other flights but mine to LA was still flying, on time, and I made it. Though they thought I wouldn’t make it and had given my aisle seat to another passenger, there was another aisle seat available. 

Miracles all the way. Thanks to a great and gracious God.

And the sky is blue here.