Santa Barbara

In Santa Barbara we were hosted by the Parsons, some of the sweetest, most encouraging, most hospitable people we’ve ever met. Also some of the busiest – though they always seem present in the moment and you never get the sense that they’re overwhelmed or stressed when you’re with them. Someday I would like to learn that skill. Among other things, they oversee the Former Soviet Union region for Young Life and spend a whole lot of time in airplanes.

They only had a few days to be at home in between trips, and they were willing to share that time with us. What a joy to be with people who love so well and who we view as role models in so many ways. And to do it in a setting like Santa Barbara, which is such a beautiful blend of beaches and mountains… what a blessing our time in Santa Barbara was!

Mountains on one side, beach on the other, palm trees in between

After we arrived, set up the camper in their driveway, and did a little catching up, we piled all 7 of us (the 4 of us plus Gary, Jeanne, and their daughter Tatyanna) into their suburban for a driving tour of the Santa Barbara area. The next day, the four of us set off on foot (well, Peter was more ‘on stroller’ than foot) to explore the town a bit for ourselves. We walked down the main street, window shopping, browsing in stores, and having lunch before we eventually came to the beach. After a bit of play time at the beach, the Parsons came to pick us up and the whole gang headed off to the pumpkin patch! (Even though it’s November as I write and post this, it was October when we were there. Perfect timing for a pumpkin patch.) Picking and carving our pumpkins together was so fun and special that it deserves its own post.

Where shopping meets beach

These musicians just jammin’ on the beach got themselves a back up dancer

Peter knows it’s important to drink lots of water when you’re out in the sun!Great shot of Gary and Tatyanna

That evening, Jeanne and I gave the kids baths and Tatyanna braided Emelie’s hair. (Why she can sit perfectly still while other people do her hair but kicks and screams if I come anywhere near her with a brush is beyond me, but I digress…) We sat out on the porch by the light of our newly carved jack-o-lanterns until it was past time to put the kids to bed. They were being loved on so well that it was hard to tear them away so they could sleep. In the morning it was time for us to go, and for Gary to take to the skies once again.

A beautiful backyard/driveway, perfect for Home Sweet Pop-up!

Thank you Gary, Jeanne, and Tatyanna for sharing what little time you had at home together with us, and for all the ways you blessed us. We hope one of those airplanes brings you to Sweden sometime soon!

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