Jul 29, 2014

Travel Tuesday // cruisin' through San Fran [pt 2]

We continued our waterfront adventure as we rode closer and closer to the Golden Gate Bridge (see the first part of the day) and soon arrived to the Palace of Fine Arts. I felt like we had traveled through a time-travel machine back to the glory days of ancient Greece or Rome. Built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific Exposition, it seems out of place in the busy Marina District of San Francisco. But in reality, it is exactly what is needed to balance the busy district. It is a quiet oasis perfect for an afternoon stroll or picnic.

After resting amidst all that beauty, we were ready to tackle a few pretty steep hills to get to to . . .
 . . . the Golden Gate Bridge!
It was a perfect day to ride across! Not too windy, but also not too hot.

Stay tuned for the last part in our 11-mile bike ride around the waterfront of San Fran!

Jul 24, 2014

[belated] Travel Tuesday // cruisin' through San Fran [p.1]

I have been slacking on Travel Tuesdays since coming back from my 3 weeks of adventures in June, but for understandable reasons [my sweet grandma's passing, mainly]. But I find simple joys in reminiscing the sunny days in California, so I enjoyed looking back at the photos and remembering the stories that went along with them. 

Our fun-filled California roadtrip left-off a few weeks ago as we were meandering through giant redwoods. Today, I am sharing the first part of our biking tour of the San Francisco waterfront. My siblings and I rented bikes from a vendor at the Ferry Building and we ventured across 11 miles of gorgeous scenery of the Bay area:  Golden Gate Bridge, the Palace of Fine Arts, Fisherman's Wharf, and the adorable Sausalito. It was a perfect way to be active while still soaking in all the history and beauty of this corner of San Francisco.

Ferry Building, hub of many of the ferries traversing the Bay
Fisherman's Wharf with all it's distractions
There is something so calming and tranquil about being near water. It is the same for me whether near a bay, river, ocean, or lake. So you can imagine my pure joy riding in the somewhat windy -- but altogether glorious -- June day.
I really like marinas. There is something very calming about them, which may be related to my aforementioned love for any body of water. I could probably sit on a dock for hours, admiring the ripples of water as the boats rocked from side to side, as the reflection of the clear blue sky illuminated the bay.
Funny story: my youngest brother Timmy would not allow me to take any action shots on his bike because he had to wear a helmet, and lucky for him, the only one available that fit him had flames on it! Apparently, there is a local law that kids must wear helmets and will get a ticket if they're caught without a helmet, even if they're from out of town. He was in a sour mood at first, especially since we kept remarking on his adorable helmet ;-)

We rode our little hearts out that day!
Stay tuned for next week when I get to share the gorgeous Palace of Fine Arts during our biking tour of San Francisco!

Jul 23, 2014

He giveth more grace when burdens grow greater

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 
<< 2 Corinthians 12:9 >>

The past ten days have been really hard. My grandma, a woman who loved Jesus all her life and raised ten children to know and love Him too, went to be with Him a week ago. She was buried yesterday amidst an array of beautiful flowers from her family and friends. A role model of strength, faith, and love. She left behind a legacy of over 40 grandchildren and over 40 great-grandchildren who all adored her and miss her dearly.

I spent the last week surrounded by family until today, when I returned to my quiet little apartment thirty miles from where most of them live. I feel so blessed to have family that is united in both joyful seasons as well as grieving seasons. My guess is that I have seen them other more often in the last week than in the past year, and I am so grateful for that. But today was a quiet day filled with grocery shopping, cooking [or atleast attempting to cook. My paleo tortillas were a flop], and hopefully some journaling and reading later on.

I wanted to read something comforting today, so I turned to my favorite devotional, Streams in the Desert, which is soaked in comfort and encouragement through seasons of suffering and grieving. Here is a poem that helped me several years ago during a much different "desert" season, but which is a stream of flowing hope in the midst of drought.

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His mercy;
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father's full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limit; His grace has no measure.
His pow'r has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!

Annie Johnson Flint

Jul 15, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Redwood National & State Parks

During the second week of June, three of my brothers and one of my sisters hopped in my car and we started our five day roadtrip from Oregon to San Francisco.
We stopped for a bathroom break and our first view of the California coastline in Crescent City.
We had no idea the beauty we would experience, especially on our first day when we experienced a glimpse of the grandeur and majesty of the Redwood National & State Parks.

Little did we know how vast the Redwoods expanded. We drove miles and miles through northern California, yet were still considered in the Redwoods. The parks boast 133,000 acres to be exact! Multiple parks comprise the Redwoods and we only had a few short hours to get a sneak-peak. We drove by ginormous redwoods and eventually stopped to catch site of the well-known redwood, Big Tree. After 5ish hours of driving, we were eager to move around, so we explored the area around Big Tree and nearly lost one of my brothers since we did not have phone service and the winding trails all looked so similar.

Big Tree is big indeed. Towering at 304 feet tall and 21 feet diameter, it is located in an old grove full of character and charm near the Prairie Creek Visitor Center along the Newton B Drury Parkway (2).
Big Tree
 My siblings were teasing me because as they were craning their necks to gawk at the gigantic redwoods, I excitedly point out and squeek "Oooh! Look at the fern!"
This is one of my favorite photos because my little brother reminds me of Waldo, casually strolling through a forest! haha! I laughed so hard.

We soon hopped back in my car and drove to our next stop: a short 1.5 mile easy hike along the Lady Bird Johnson Grove. The fog and woodchucks in the distance created an eerie forest vibe, reminiscent of  Predator. The guys actually made the uncanny clicking noise of the creepy Predator that was on a mission to destroy Shwartzenegger in the 1987 film. And then one of them proceeded to freak me out TWICE by hiding behind trees and jumping out towards me. I scare easily, ok?!
 By the way, how absolutely handsome are my three youngest brothers?
 Because of its elevation (1,200 above sea level!), it is literally in the clouds and has more fog than the lowlands groves. Imagine that, we were hiking in the clouds! (3)
Adios from the roadtrip crew! 

Next week: an amazing day in San Fran!