Our friend Maggie lives in Orange County with her five kids. We connected over Facebook and she invited us to come and stay with them on our way through California. We happily took her up on the offer! A chance to catch up with an old friend and a free place to stay? Definitely!
Here we met our first driveway that was too steep to set up our camper (probably – we didn’t technically try) and so for the first time in 55 days, we slept in a house. It was really nice in some respects – especially not having to walk outside to a bathroom in the middle of the night. But even though we were in great beds, and the mattresses were, by any definition, better than what we had in the camper, they weren’t our beds. The kids didn’t sleep well, which means no one slept well.
So I mentioned Maggie has 5 kids, right? They’re older than ours, ages 10-17 or so. But until recently, they also had foster kids that were younger – like the ages of my kids. So the kids were great with little ones and everyone was used to crazy toddler chaos. On Sunday, before church, she took our kids for a walk and Staffan and I both had some alone time. Staffan borrowed their piano and spent his time making music. I decided to go for a “quick” run, which ended up being anything but quick when I made a wrong turn and got lost. Eventually I realized something was wrong and found myself using on the map in my phone (again, what did we do without smart phones?) and started back in the right direction… doubling my usual run distance. When I hobbled in the door after the time we had planned to leave for church, the morning became slightly less relaxed than intended. But still! Alone time! And then later on Sunday, Maggie said, “You guys should go to a movie tonight!” Seriously? A date? Alone time and couple time in the same day? Thanks Maggie!
And our church tourism continued. It was perfect timing to be in Orange County on a Sunday, and we worshiped at Saddleback (pastored by Rick Warren, of Purpose Driven Life fame). It’s hard to say if it’s bigger or smaller than Willow Creek, for example, but the sprawling, multi-building campus made it feel much bigger. For me, it seemed too big and disorienting. I have no desire to “rate” or “review” churches, but I have to admit I was disappointed. It’s not that there was anything wrong with Saddleback, but after having heard so much about it, I guess I was expecting it to be different than it is.
We had a great weekend catching up with friends and enjoying the beautiful southern California weather. On Monday, we explored Crystal Cove… which deserves its own post!