The end is here

          We headed up the coast along the beautiful and scenic highway one which took us a couple of days. We stopped along the way to see the elephant seals, the Hearst castle and then drove until Seaside and stayed the night. Friday we spent most of the day in Monterey which was a beautiful little city with lots of shopping, restaurants, and Eis. The boys found this crazy mirror museum, which was hilarious to watch them enjoy. We walked a lot and toured and then we piled into Rita and headed onward. We were hoping all along to find camping and again in Santa Cruz but we never had luck and ended up staying in another hotel, for about the same price. The plus side was this hotel has a Jacuzzi and a kitchen! We made pasta and cucumbers and then were going to Jacuzzi it up until we found out it was broken…lame sauce. So we laid around-in the hallway for most of the time because that’s the only place we could reach the wiffy. And then we had some good conversations before we all were exhausted and went to bed. Christoph and I watched the sun come up the next morning early and then we had breakfast and left the hotel pretty quickly. 
          We spent almost all of Saturday at Stanford. We did a walking tour of the campus and then saw the library and the Herbert Hoover tower, which overlooks the campus and has views of the mountains. It was a beautiful campus, but in a very California way. We ate lunch at subway-yes eat fresh- and then spent the afternoon on the big “drill-field” of Stanford where there were some rec sports and a wedding party taking pictures and people just relaxing. We watched some volleyball and talked to Christina! And then Christoph played ultimate Frisbee with some guys before we left. From there we grabbed food and then frozen yogurt of course and then headed to San Jose to a drive-in theatre. The boys would finally get to experience the drive-in! I missed most of the movie talking to Laura, which was wunderbar, and then slept through the rest, but the boys had fun and it was definitely an experience for them. We again planned to camp but the park we had found was closed, so we navigated around the city and finally got directions to a cheap hotel from a cop. It was probably the second most ghetto place we stayed for as high as the price was, but oh well-another experience!
            Sunday morning we went another random church I had found online. Walking in was a little scary…it was a teeny place and very quiet. But the sermon was incredible. The craziest thing was that in his opening prayer for the sermon, pastor Sean prayed through Lamentations 3. Tears filled my eyes and the Spirit made my heart race…our God knows everything. He knows every fear, every doubt, every worry, and every tear that falls and yet he loves us, yet he speaks to us so tenderly and corrects us so gently. Man we are so unworthy, but he is so worthy.
            The sermon asked the question “Who are you?” He talked specifically about the Israelites and the theme of their decision-making based on who they saw themselves to be. He talked about how our self-doubts play into seeing ourselves the way God sees us-how they lead us to find the answer to that question in all the wrong places: people, relationships, children, alcohol, sex, drugs, sports, etc. He mentioned so many things, and the Holy Spirit brought so much conviction. How often do we see ourselves that way? Even harder-how often do we see others that way? I left that room with a heavy heart but also an encouraged heart to answer that question yet again. Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose on this earth? The minute I lose sight of that answer is the minute I start looking in all the wrong places to find the answer. I know who I am in Christ and I know that he has called me first to know and love him and second to know and love others. That is my purpose, that is the reason for my life. That is the only thing that makes sense. It was so good to remember that. The boys really enjoyed the sermon too, which was so encouraging as well, God brought us all to that place for more reasons than one. After the sermon a couple came up and introduced themselves to Christoph and I and asked us about ourselves and our travels and then later invited us to stay at their home in Redwood City. We spent the afternoon at the park and then hiking in Wunderlich Park and then we took them up on their offer and spent the evening with the Uribe family. It was fun to get to know them and also to see how they had come to know God and experience him through their lives and within their family. It is crazy writing this now to look back and realize how many Christians we met along the way. We met tons of people, saw hundreds and hundreds of homeless, but we also saw Jesus. In every city, through a billboard or a license plate, but mostly through people. That is a beautiful thing and a part of these adventures I will never forget.
            Monday we went on to San Francisco and started the day in hopes of selling the car and has some luck, and then we met my cousin Forrest and spent the whole day touring the city with him. We did a short driving tour that took us by everything and then we walked through Chinatown, across the Golden Gate Bridge, and rode these sweet glass hotel elevators that overlooked the whole city. It was so good to see Forrest and catch up with him and also to learn so much about the city from him-he knows so much! We had dinner at none other than subway and then dessert at Coldstone-Claus’ last Coldstone for a while J And then we went back to the hotel for the night.
                        This morning we woke with the sun again and hung out for a while until Christoph brought me to the Amtrak station to catch my train back to Santa Barbara. Now I am en route to SB and left the boys in San Fran to sell the car and explore before they fly home to Germany. It already feels weird to think crazier adventures won’t be happening tomorrow or anytime soon. I’ve learned to stop planning and start living for the moments, and that was a great lesson learned from this trip, so many great lessons. God taught us all a lot on this trip and I hope and pray those are things we carry home with us. More than the pictures, the stories, the souvenirs, I pray we carry home Jesus and take with us the things he taught and revealed over these four weeks on the road. What a God we serve. What a mighty God we serve.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him. The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
            Lamentations 3            

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