Midweek Meanderings: a Photo Essay

The 5-point (meaning I pivoted 5 times to get the whole thing), 240 degree view from our back terrace this week. Sigh.

The rain last night was lovely, clearing the air, greening the hillside,
encouraging a warming fire in the fireplace. 
This morning, all the clouds are piled up to the south,
slowly making their way to our real home,
and the homes of our children.
 These shots taken on my afternoon circular walks around the driveway. Once, this was a grand central CA home. Now it is an amazing view with a very run-down house. It makes me sad to see homes neglected, but we are grateful for what there is in this spectacular vacation space, hanging over the bluffs with the hills just behind. And there’s lots of room to spread out, which is a good thing with so.many.of.us.

We’ve been together since last Friday,
spread out in a large, hacienda-style rented home.
A place in need of some major TLC – 
but with a killer view of the Pacific coast.
Birds flourish here.
And so do children.
The 2-year-old runs headlong down the hill toward the bluff,  causing gasps on all sides.
But someone bigger is always nearby 
to step between her and the abyss.
May it always be so!
Eastertide is a season for celebration and for gratitude,
for remembering who we are as the people of God.
And here, on this rugged shore,
with a 17-year-old asking good, hard questions,
two 13-year-0lds sharing a kayak adventure,
a 10-year-old giggling his way through a great game of ping-pong and two 6-year-olds alternately 
adoring and infuriating one another,
we are celebrating.
And we are grateful.
Even the 21-year-old was here for the weekend,
before heading back to school and responsibilities,
four hours south of this gathering place.
Our adult children are good and interesting people.
Their spouses are kind and good-natured.
All of them are attentive parents and generous housemates.
We observed Easter at a church unknown to any of us and followed with a feast, just as the Christian church has done for centuries. We are also celebrating the 70th birthday of Poppy, 
our loved and lovable patriarch, the acceptance into his 1st choice college for the 17-year-old and a good private high school scholarship for one of the 13-year-olds.
After so many years of struggle and loss,
it is good to gather in gratitude.
We even took a family photo … the first ever … 
to round out the weekend just past.
The photographer is working on the touch-ups
and we will soon have a lasting memento of this time spent together, 
possibly by week’s end.

 The hunters and the hiders – not sure who enjoys the Easter Egg Hunt the most.
Though she loves the idea of hunting and hiding, Lilly does not quite fully grasp the concept. Generally, if she hides, she guides the hunter until she’s found. :>)
In the meantime,
we soak in the beauty around us,
explore the small towns that circle round the sea,
while some play tennis,
and others a little b-ball.
One daughter and her husband paid for two days of heating the pool on the property and about half the crowd
jumped in and enjoyed getting wet and tired.
We’ve had an egg hunt or two,
enjoyed delicious home-cooked meals,
even traveled to a local ice-cream maker’s
“All You Can Eat” Tuesday celebration.
In a beat-up side room, there is a pool table and ping-pong,
and someone contributed a 2000 piece puzzle to pour over.
Settlers of Catan has made an appearance and Bananagrams, too, 
so no one seems bored. 
Many naps are taken in this house, 
signaling the welcome arrival of true relaxation
and energizing Sabbath rest.
We all point and shout, 
thanking God for sightings of otters,
sea lions, an occasional dolphin – 
even a whale, far out in the bay.
Avila Beach, just north of where we are.
A creekside restaurant for lunch in San Luis Obispo
Through it all, we thank God for the richness of family life,
the push and pull of living in the same space,
sharing the work and the fun,
watching the children grow in wisdom and in stature.
Friday, we return to reality.
Or at least to our usual list of responsibilities and commitments. 
Sometimes, though, I do believe that experiences like this week are the true reality,
life as it was originally designed to be lived.
Maybe everything else is mere illusion,
the structure that has been overlaid on human life
in the wake of Eden.
So, we’ll take these windows of grace.
And we’ll savor them, thank God for them,
take lots of pictures 
and build reservoirs of stories to share 
as the years progress.
And once in a while,
I’ll write about it here.
Because I really do believe that
this is the truest part of me.
At least, until Friday.

I’ll sign this one on with Michelle at “Graceful,” Jen at “Finding Heaven,” Ann at “A Holy Experience,” Em at “Canvas Child,” Laura at “The Wellspring,” Laura at “Seedlings in Stone,” and Jennifer at “Getting Down with Jesus.” I encourage you all to check out these fine blogs – but I am having increasing difficulty getting buttons to show up in the new blogger format. If anyone has any shortcuts for this tedious job, I’d love to hear them.


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  1. All of this is so lovely. It takes my breath away. And strangely, Diana, it makes me miss you. And I have never even *met* you. How can that be? It must be something in my soul…

  2. Oh, Deidra – I ‘miss’ you, too. Maybe someday, we’ll actually have physical cause to say that. Thanks for stopping by tonight – always so glad to see you.

  3. wow all kinds of peace and fun…love the dolphin capture….and all the water shots just set me in a place of serenity…

  4. Jen Ferguson says

    Beautiful, D.  Full of life and love.  (And I so want to be at the beach now!)

  5. Oh, my. I so want to gather all our troops and head off for some time away like this. It’s more of a challenge, of course, because our children didn’t grow up together.

    But I dream anyway.

    (If you want to email me about your button-posting problem, I’d be happy to see if I can help.)

    Love you, Diana. Enjoy. 

  6. Oh, I feel like I’m right there with you. Like part of the family. And those seagulls just checking you out and those bright chairs begging for a sinking down with a cup of tea…

  7. Thanks so much for stopping by, Brian. And I was delighted to get ONE picture of dolphins and not just a blank slate of grey water. Serenity is a good word for being near the water, seems to me.

  8. Oh, Sheila, I’ll be happy to dream right along with you. If you can find a space big enough (with enough bathrooms, too) and if you allow folks to do their own thing as well as hang together, it can be a wonderful way to relax. Thanks for stopping by, friend. And maybe next week I’ll email you about that button thingy.

  9. Yeah, I loved that row of chairs! Caught that out the window of a moving car- the story of my life sometimes. These ever-present gulls are hilarious. So noisy and cranky. Reminds me of myself on a bad day. :>) It’s raining here today, on our last full day. Lisa and husband returned home yesterday, we’ll take their 2 boys with us. Eric and family leave tonight so Joy and I will close the place up and then head home. Then on Saturday, we drive 3 hours the other direction for a family wedding which I am conducting. A big step back into real life!!

  10. Hang on, Jen-the beach will wait for you! Thanks for stopping by, friend.

  11. I recognized the CA coast right away – love the days the islands are that clear. We’ve lived in Santa Maria, loved the child-friendly beach at Pismo, the drives up and down the coast. Perfect place to have a family gathering. Lovely photo essay. You made me take a deep breath of peace right along with you. Thanks.

  12. Emily Wierenga says

     But someone bigger is always nearby 

    to step between her and the abyss.

    May it always be so!oh yes, friend. i love this, and it speaks my heart about all children, especially my own. i understand what deidra says below… it does feel like you’re far away. and i miss you too 🙂 but i’m so happy for you, experiencing all of this joy and love. xo

  13. It’s the CA coast, alright – but those aren’t islands. We’re on the southwest side of the Pismo Bay, looking toward the sand dunes on the peninsula. There are no islands this far north – those are mostly off the Ventura and Santa Barbara Coast..It has been a lovely, lovely getaway place. Today we stayed in all day due to rain and it’s been really nice, actually. Tomorrow, we head home, back to the push of April and May. This break has been just delightful. Thanks for coming by, Maureen.

  14. Thanks you for coming by, Em, with your loaded life these days. Thinking of you and Trent as you stand at the edge of the abyss for these two extra boys you love as well as your own precious duo.

  15. how WONDERFUL!  we just spent five glorious days in california, bookended by good extended family time, too.  nothing like either:)  this is beautiful–and your grandbabes look so much like you!

    as for button troubles–i usually click the HTML button after putting in code, and when i press COMPOSE again, it’s good.  you can always use text links instead–that’s simpler and just as good.

  16. Thanks, Suzannah, for stopping by and leaving such kind words. I’ve been thinking of just switching to text links – maybe emailing myself a list of them all so i’ve only got one stop to make for the copy and paste stuff!

  17. Thanks, Suzannah, for stopping by and leaving such kind words. I’ve been thinking of just switching to text links – maybe emailing myself a list of them all so i’ve only got one stop to make for the copy and paste stuff!

  18. Such blessings we are given! You have a beautiful family. We were alone at Easter this year but are now looking forward to the arrival of a daughter and two grandchildren next Tuesday. Time together is so precious! Glad to see these wonderful photos and know you are enjoying yours.

  19. With views like that, and games like Settlers and Bananagrams, and all those precious loved ones around…*wow*.  (And I’m reaching for one of those croissant sandwiches.)

    Praying you’ll have a smooth return and transition after this getaway.

  20. Thanks for coming by, Carol, to bless me with your kind words. Enjoy your family when they get there!

  21. Thanks, Monica, for the kind words and the prayers! I can use them actually. We’ve just returned home (in a pounding rainstorm) and will sleep here tonight, then drive 3 hours the other direction so I can do a family member’s wedding tomorrow evening. Haven’t done anything remotely pastoral for 15 months now and am feeling VERY rusty. I hope it’s like gettin’ back on the bike, you know? (And those were not croissant sandwiches – which would have been a great idea! – but ‘resurrection rolls’ – crescent rolls wrapped around butter and cinnamon dipped marshmallows, which disappear in the baking process, leaving an ’empty tomb…’ kinda corny but fun for the littler kids. And they tasted good, too!)

  22. Glenda Childers says

    Sounds delicious to be away with family.

  23. What a great word for it, Glenda! Nice to see you out here tonight. :>)

  24. Oh my goodness, Diana. Your photos are just so stunning. The view. The birds. The adorable children. The eggs. Those chairs. … Just all of it. So glad you’ve shared. You have an eye for the BEAUTIFUL. 

  25. Thank you, Jennifer. It was a lovely, lovely week. It ended in major rainstorms – which was also nice as we need them so desperately in these parts and all that wet forced us to slow down and set a spell. Played more games, said good-bye to those who couldn’t stay the whole week and generally enjoyed the beauty of the place and the blessing of being together. I am feeling very grateful tonight.

  26. *sigh* I want to go meandering with you.

  27. And you would be most welcome to come along, too. Meandering is almost over. Topped off a lovely week of quiet with a busy driving day to do a wedding tonight. Back in the hotel, I’m DONE. Tomorrow, home to recuperate!

  28. What beautiful photos! The view there looks so peaceful. 

  29. You know, that is exactly the right word for the entire week – it was peaceful, restful, reviving. Thanks for stopping by, Amy!