Hello everyone! Remember me? I’m still alive! Thank you to all of you who have contacted me the last few weeks to ask how I was doing. I appreciate that. Everything is okay and we are blessed. We got back from California on July 11th and it has been a crazy two weeks since we’ve been home. That is why I have not been able to get back to blogging like I wanted to right after the trip. We had a lot of fun enjoying eleven days out in Cali, but it was not without adversity. We encountered some unique challenges and troubles when we were out there and we have had even more troubles to overcome here at home, but the Lord has been with us and His blessings and deliverance have been with us too. After this vacation, we are all just really glad to be home!
We flew into California on July 1st and we just chilled that day because it was already late afternoon. We stayed at a VRBO rental house in Anaheim right next to Disneyland. We could hear and see the fireworks from the park every night and it was a cool little neighborhood. The homeowner was professional and he made sure we had everything we needed. We were even able to meet him later in the trip due to some issues in the house, which I will get to in a bit. On July 2nd we did some grocery shopping, then we just rested and enjoyed the pool all day. The plan was to do Disneyland July 3rd, 4th, and 5th and then do the beach and chill for the rest of the trip. That was the plan anyway.
It was a beautiful home and it was the perfect place for our family. Gotta love those Cali palm trees and a little fun in the sun! The kids went swimming just about every day and they loved it. My wife and I did too!
July 3rd was our first day at Disneyland. I call it the Gauntlet of Disneyland because of how many miles of walking it takes to complete the whole thing. I prepared myself the best I could for the physical punishment and we had a great time. We had the 3 day park hopper pass, so we could go anywhere in the main park and the California Adventure park. The kids were pumped and we had a lot of fun.
Our son wanted to see the new Star Wars land (Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge) first, so that is what we did. It was really cool how they had it all set up and we even saw Chewbacca at the entrance. My wife and son did the Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run ride and our son said it was like a big video game. My wife had to close her eyes because the images on the screen were too fast and intense. I stayed off that one and waited with our daughter because she didn’t want to go on it. I took her to the Winnie the Pooh ride instead and we just chilled.
The guy in the Chewbacca suit was great. He looked real and he walked around the crowd giving hugs and taking photos with folks. I grew up with all the Star Wars movies and so have our kids. It was really cool walking through all the different scenery. They did a great job with it.
The kids loved visiting the Droid Depot. They were able to choose which droid they wanted and build it themselves. Both of our kids chose the BB-8 droid. Our son got his in black and our daughter chose purple. They were ridiculously expensive, but they are actually real remote controlled robots and they move around just like BB-8. Pretty cool!
July 4th at Disneyland was a fun, long, and even a bit crazy day for us. My wife and son decided to ride Splash Mountain in the morning and while they were on it, there was an earthquake. Our daughter and I did not want to ride crazy Splash Mountain, so we were waiting outside to take pictures of them when they came over the waterfall. My gut can’t take big drops like that anymore. We were waiting for a long time and then we saw empty logs going over the waterfall, so we wondered what was going on. We didn’t even feel the earthquake, but my wife said later that the park operators had to stop the ride and make sure everything was okay. My wife and son eventually made it over the falls at the end of the ride and they had a blast. Check out the photo below. My wife is sitting in the back with the blue shirt and our son is at the very back behind her. I told my son he was very brave. My wife is screaming and closing her eyes, but she loves it for some reason, hilarious!
Praise God that nobody was hurt during the earthquake! That would be the first earthquake we would encounter on the trip, but not the last. The 4.5 magnitude quake that hit southern California on July 5th was much worse and we felt all of that! I will get to that in a moment, but first fireworks!
Disneyland put on a great show for July 4th with music and fireworks. The homeowner of the rental house gave us some great tips about Disneyland and he told us the best place to watch the fireworks is from the New Orleans district, so that is what we did. He was right. The show was right in front of us and it was one of the most memorable 4th of July shows I have ever seen. They had water spraying up out of the lake that they used as screens to project various patriotic images on them while a narrator talked about the history of America. They played several classic American songs like “This Land Is Your Land,” and everyone was singing along. The fireworks display topped the whole thing off and it was just awesome. It was really cool to be in such a huge crowd of people of all different races celebrating together in peace. Thank You Jesus, please bless our country and spread revival here and throughout the world!
It was hilarious trying to leave the park that night. The fireworks didn’t start until 9:30 p.m., so it was after 11 p.m. when we left. It was a very long day and late night for all of us. We had fun, but we were exhausted. There were huge lines waiting for the trams that take people back to the Mickey and Friends Parking Garage and it was like herding cattle trying to organize all those people into lines. Everyone stayed pretty civil though, although I did have a small lady try to push me out of the way and cut me off when I was getting on to the tram. My wife, daughter, and son were in front of me and they all piled into the seat. I was about to get on and sit next to my son when this lady started pushing me from my left. It was actually kind of funny. Even though I am really skinny from Celiac and I don’t weight much, I am still 6 foot 1 and the lady was only about 5 feet. I didn’t say or do anything to her. I just stood there with her pushing against me and she finally just gave up. I finished getting on the tram and said a quiet prayer for her. She is one tough little lady, I’ll give her that! We laughed about that for awhile.
On July 5th we decided to stay home because by the end of the day on July 4th I was limping. I wasn’t going to let Celiac stop me, so I went all out for my family until I was completely done. Specifically, my left hip, hamstring, and right foot were done and were telling me they didn’t want to walk anymore. I left it all on the field at Disneyland that’s for sure! I just needed a little rest before we did our third day at Disneyland on the 6th, so we spent the day swimming and enjoying the nice weather. Around 8:30 that night the house started shaking and it lasted for about 30 seconds. It was one of the craziest things I have ever been through and I can say with all my heart that I do not like earthquakes!
I was in the living room and my wife and kids were in the bedrooms. I was looking out the windows at the pool when I started seeing the blinds shake back and forth slapping against the glass. I immediately knew what was happening and I ran to a door frame and called the kids to me. Our kids came running to me and I put one arm around them while holding one side of the frame with the other. The house swayed violently left and right and it was scary for the kids and for us. My wife said that 30 seconds is a long earthquake and she was getting worried because she wondered how long it was going to go. Praise God it stopped and nobody was hurt!
I don’t know how people live in an area where the earth beneath you can move like that, but I don’t like it one bit. God bless and protect all of you who live in earthquake prone areas! The news said it was a 7 point something magnitude quake out in the Mojave Desert near Ridgecrest about 120 miles north of where we were that caused the 4.5 quake we experienced. Crazy! So, we were five days into our vacation and we had already gone through two earthquakes and I was recovering from the first two days at Disneyland, but there was still more fun and trouble to come.
July 6th was our third and final day at Disneyland. Many of you might have heard on the news about a big fight that happened at Disneyland that day. We were actually in Toon Town that day, but we were not there when the fight happened. I really pray for that family. Toon Town is specifically designed for really little kids and it is crazy those folks were having a brawl there. I called it the Toon Town beat down and I’m glad we were not there during the fight. Sometimes the magic does end and Disneyland really needs to get better security procedures in place, so that doesn’t ever happen again. We had a good time at Disneyland, but we were all done by the end of three days there.
On July 7th and 8th we were worn out, so we just chilled at the rental house. The night of July 7th more trouble hit as water started leaking out from the base of one of the toilets and then sewage water was coming up into the tub. I figured it was from the earthquake on the 5th and I immediately notified the homeowner and he sent out a plumber. Thankfully, he was able to fix the problem pretty quick. While the guy was fixing it, an alarm started going off in the house. It was a loud pitched sound and we couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. The plumber finally figured out that it was a moisture alarm in the crawl space, so he crawled down there and got the alarm. Quite a guy and we were thankful for him being there.
It wasn’t fun having to clean up the floor and the tub, especially on our vacation, but that is life. Jesus said in this world we will have trouble. Trouble doesn’t stop just because you are on vacation and I have learned that many times. We can keep a positive attitude and overcome all the troubles through Jesus though!
On July 8th, the DirecTV in the house stopped working, so the homeowner came over to meet us. He was a great guy and we had fun talking with him. He got the TVs working again and he appreciated us communicating with him about all the trouble in the house. He ended up inviting us to come back sometime and we now have a friend in Anaheim. It is amazing how God turns trouble into good and I praise Him for that!
On July 9th we decided to go to Laguna Beach for the day. It was a gorgeous day and the beach and ocean were beautiful! Laguna Beach is a very nice area. My parents took my sister and I there when we were kids and it was awesome being able to take our kids there now. It was awesome splashing in the waves with the kids. The beach and ocean are one part of California I will always miss.
Unfortunately, our day at the beach was not without trouble either. On the way to the beach, I stopped at a gas station to get a bag of ice and some water to put in the cooler. When I walked in the store, there were no other customers inside. There was a guy behind the counter, a guy in the back room, and a guy stocking shelves. There were also a couple guys delivering sodas just outside the main door. As I came into the store the guy behind the counter grabbed at the right side of his chest and started wincing in pain. He was an older gentleman from India and I thought he was having a heart attack. I asked if he was okay, but he was in so much pain he couldn’t speak. He started grimacing in pain much worse and then he slid down with his back against the wall all the way to the floor.
I ran to the guy in the back room and said, “hey, this guy is having medical trouble!” A young guy came out of the room, but he seemed shocked, so I ran to the other guy who was older and said, “sir, this guy needs help” as I motioned for him to come over. By that time the two guys outside the door came to see what was going on. It turned out that they worked with the guy from India who was hurting and they were just there delivering products to the store. We all made sure the man was okay and asked if he needed an ambulance. He denied medical care and after sitting on the floor for a little bit, he said he was okay. All of us took a deep breath and had a sigh of relief. It was pretty intense and I’m just glad he wasn’t having a heart attack. He thanked me for helping him and I told him, “God bless you.”
Whatever is causing the poor guy that much pain, I hope he gets it checked out and God heals him. I was really praying hard the entire trip because I could feel the spiritual battle intensely out in Cali. I am really glad the Lord put me in the store, so I could help the man and pray for him. Please bless that man Lord.
I packed my lunch that day since I can’t eat out, but my wife and kids ate at a Gyro place in Laguna Beach. My wife mentioned that the cilantro didn’t taste right, but the rest of the meal was fine. That night she was really sick with food poisoning. Thank God the kids did not get sick, but I felt so bad for my wife. She was laid out for the rest of the night and the entire next day on the 10th. We flew back to Denver in the morning of July 11th, so that was how the trip ended. Thankfully, we had a relaxing day on the 10th and my wife felt completely better by that night. For a minute there I thought we were going to have to change our flight.
I was feeling really down on the 10th. We had been through so much during the trip and I was upset about my wife being sick. I had to go to Walmart that day and while I was driving there I saw this sign while stopped at a red light:
That says it all right there! There was a really encouraging song playing on the Christian radio station in the car at the same time and the Lord lifted me up! I immediately began to praise Him and thank Him. It was an awesome moment with the Lord and I drove back to the rental house encouraged with a better perspective on everything. Thank You Jesus!
We heard on the news there was another earthquake in the L.A. area on the morning of July 12th, so we got out just in time! Sometimes you go on vacation and you never want to leave. Other times you go on vacation and it just gives you a deeper appreciation for where you live. The latter was the case for us this time and it is so good to be home! I am so glad we don’t have earthquakes or crazy freeway traffic!
By the way, I celebrated my 41st birthday last week and we had a blast! I took my wife and kids to Boondocks, which is a fun place with arcades, go karts, and laser tag…and no earthquakes! You can’t see him in the photos below, but my son was sitting with me in the go kart and he loved it. He told me to go fast and keep the pedal to the floor, which I did. Drifting the corners was awesome!
I was like Dale Earnhardt out there! Go karts are so much fun! I highly recommend driving one on your birthday! It was fun watching the kids drive them on the youth track too. It was their first time driving a go kart or any motorized vehicle and they did great. It was a great birthday!
We came home from Cali to a broken garbage disposal and an HOA violation letter about our fence needing staining, but all that is taken care of now. It has been a fun and challenging summer, but we made the most of all of it and we praise God for protecting us. My wife goes back to school next Tuesday because the teachers have to go earlier. Our kids go back on August 7th. The last two weeks since we got back we have been fixing things, buying school supplies and clothes, and enjoying the last days of summer break. It has been a whirlwind at times and I apologize for being gone from my blog for so long.
One of the biggest things I learned from our vacation to California is to be ready for anything and don’t expect it to be perfect. Be prepared and ready for challenges to come, so you can meet them head on and keep moving forward. There were many things that could have ruined our trip, but praise God He gives us the victory over our troubles. God is good and He cares about us and loves us more than we could ever imagine. Trust in Him when those troubles come and He will see you through it!
I will be back to blogging more regularly now, especially once the kids go back to school. I turned the comments back on and I look forward to talking with all of you and reading your blogs again too. I hope you all have had a peaceful and fun summer break!
Grace and peace to you all!
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus speaking in John 16:33
The flights there and back were awesome and we didn’t have any trouble on the planes or with our luggage. That was a huge blessing! I didn’t feel sick on either flight and both flights were shorter than expected. Check out these photos I took from the plane coming home. The first one is flying over the Grand Canyon and the second one is flying over the Rockies on our way into Denver. God is so awesome!