A Little Perspective

I’ve driven across the country 21 times now; every time I am astounded again by the artistry and diversity of the landscape. From the majestic mountains of the Mojave desert and the sunsets of West Texas to the rolling hills of California, there is much to soak in and thank God for.

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On this trip, the drive through the desert (always my favorite part) was extra special. Due to some unusual rainfall in the area, the hills and mountains were covered in grass so green I found myself wondering if it was real.

The brown hills of the I-5 had been completely transformed from this:

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via Les Schwab 

To this:

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via Pinterest

I dared not try to capture the scenery with my mediocre iPhone photography. Even pro photos don’t do it justice.

Imagine! Lying just beneath the surface of the desert dryness are seeds, ever ready. With just a little bit of rainfall, the entire landscape is transformed (into something I imagine heaven to look like).

I wonder if you could turn that into a metaphor for the dry spells of our lives?

The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it…

Isaiah 35:1-2a. 

Another highlight of the trip was taking my niece and nephew up to my favorite lil spot on planet earth, Muir Woods National Monument.

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Once again, I didn’t try to take photos. The trees are just too big, too majestic. If you have never been to a redwood or sequoia forest, put it on your bucket list right now. Muir Woods offers a short 1.5 mile walk that I personally believe every human should experience at least once in their life.

The best part was that my nephew seemed to enjoy it as much as me. As I walked him through the forest, he bounced his legs and arms and gurgled almost constantly.

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. 

-John Muir 

 

Reverse culture shock and other snapshots from America

Oh yeah, so I went to America. Not HOME to North Carolina, but to SoCal for my big brother’s wedding. I told a British friend that and she gave me “the look”. I threw my hands up… “I’m not complaining, I’m not complaing… just sayin.”

Anyhow, the trip whizzed by so fast and things were so hectic that I woke up in Wales a couple days ago and was pretty sure it was all a dream. I had to check my phone for photo evidence. Here is what I’ve got:

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Sweet California sunshine. Seriously guys, I used to hate Southern California. Mostly because I moved from Orange County to North Carolina when I was a wee one. I thought that my overwhelming love for the North Carolina mountains meant that I was duty bound to dis my old home whenever possible and that wasn’t difficult. I thought of it in terms of pavement, concrete, and smog. I see old friends that still live there as prisoners in pollution and victims of the cruel lie that there is nowhere nicer on earth. But they have seriously cleaned up their act. Planting palm trees everywhere and restricting emissions on cars has made a huge difference. It was sunny and CLEAR every day, waaaay less polluted than I remembered it.

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Sweet lil bro trying digestive biscuits. I hadn’t been out of the UK for a full 24 hours before I started craving a hot cuppa and a digestive.  And one of my favorite parts of the trip was watching my family enjoy all my new favorite treats.

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Costco did not disappoint. Is it just me or is Costco the happiest place on earth? Seriously, good food, cheap prices, and the FEED YOU while you shop. Tell me that isn’t the greatest store on earth. Just look me in the eyes and tell me that.

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I made sure to overindulge in all the riches of America. Check out my lil bro’s macaroni and cheese grilled cheese with bacon. God bless America. God bless our arteries.

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Reverse culture shock was fun. For one thing, I was strangely aware of all the American accents. The whole trip I found myself wondering, why does everyone sound SO American… like in the movies you know? I forgot how strong our accents are. My British accent still needs work, but I was able to put it on enough to feel a bit fancier when we snuck into Nordstrom to use the bathroom. For another thing, I forgot about bulk shopping. I am pretty sure those kinds of amounts of mayonnaise should be illegal though. BLAH.

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Sisters. Oh how much I need them. They tell you when your hair looks awful and when you really are too much of a mess to be seen in public. The girls hounded me for my creepy picture face and attempted to teach me how to “smile natural” for photos. The result was a series of awful selfies that I will treasure forever.

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So there it is. California dreaming, and now I’m awake but I’m still in Wales so it is okay.