Saturday, February 4, 2012


(are periods in between letters still cool? . . . They never were? . . . Oh )

So . . .I had never been to Northern California (that I can remember, at least). I have however, met people and have had friends from the Golden State who swear that there is no where better on the planet than California. For that reason, I was not going to love it - I could like it, but that's it.
Goodness, I hate when I'm wrong. Northern California was beautiful and I did in fact, love it! I do have to say, though, it might have been because of the company:)

Nevertheless, here is my grand adventure:

This is actually the aerial of me leaving but I mostly put it here because far in the distance, if you look close, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge - that's right Mario, I was right:)

The first day there we went into Campbell and then over to Stanford. Here is Ethan hanging out in their garage before we headed out -

and here you have the cutest Xander that has ever lived - I loved getting to know this boy better:)

They took me to a fun and crazy candy shop - so cool, I wanted to bring home all the signs

Then we headed to Stanford - ummm, if you have never been here - - - go. It was one of the most beautiful campuses I have ever seen. Mario - I am jealous!

Here is the beautiful church that Leland Stanford's wife had built in his honor - interesting tidbit - it is where the family of Steve Jobs had his funeral

Here is a view from the bell tower - so amazing!

Here I am trying to get an artistic shot, how am I doing?

Ethan and his daredevil ways - Wendy was not liking his brush with adventure, neither was I, I hate heights.

Here is the view inside of the church. There are amazing stain glass windows all around. Interesting story behind the light you see shining through. The first window depicts the Angel Gabriel coming to Mary to announce that she would be the mother of the Savior, the second window shows the birth of the Savior and the last, shows a depiction of Christ's resurrection. I don't believe that it is a coincidence that the light shines brightest through the window showing the resurrection.

Here is my little hippie hanging out - he was super intense about doing cool poses:)

I LOVE that smile!

The next day we got to go and see San Francisco - I loved the Golden Gate Bridge - amazing!

We lucked out on the weather - fog, what fog? The whole trip was beautiful.

Me, Mars and little E. (who wanted to be part of every picture) - I am super California in these pics with the sunglasses - Most times I hate sunglasses, but hey, "When in Rome . . ."

The cool Chard family - I love that you can see the city and the bridge:)

We decided to walk across the bridge and it was awesome, loud but awesome. I was in awe:)

View of the city from the bridge -

Mario and his pensive look into the distance - we did it the whole trip and it is kind of an inside joke in the Chard family, 5 bucks to the first person to explain it:)

The lovebirds - - - -

and the one lookin' for love:) - maybe I should move to San Fran to find it:)

After our jaunt on the bridge we head to Sausalito - someone was diggin' the ice cream

Really? People get to live here? It doesn't hurt to be rich, however, everything is soooo expensive!

Before we headed to the beach we went to the touristy lookout place - so worth it. I wont trouble you with the ten shots I took trying to get a self portrait of me and the bridge. Mario and Wendy could only drop me off and make a loop with the car and so I was left to do the self portrait thing. I was struggling to get me and the bridge in the pic and not one stranger offered to put me out of my misery and take the picture - I even offered to take a picture for these two girls also doing the "myspace" thing hoping they would reciprocate - - - no such luck. Lesson learned: always offer to take someone's picture when they are alone,they are obviously in need of the help.

The view to the other side - - - I love the ocean, seriously, let me live right at the top of that tree!

Then we hit the beach - Ethan and I went crazy!

No words - - - -

Check out the California hair I had going, awesome right? Since being home I have tried to pull it off - nope, it was just a moment in time:)

One of the only pics of the group - Ethan was hilarious, this was after he had fallen head first into the ocean and was rolling around in the sand. In this exact moment he was covering his father in sand - I love the pure joy on his face, haha.

Love this picture and that perfect little boy I'm holding - it was such a great day!

There is nothin' cuter in all of California!

There you have it - can I go back now and live on the beach? I promise to always look pensively into the distance - - - - -

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Now, don't you wish you grew up in a small town?

Monday night was special, for the town of Peterson that is. If you're not from Peterson you probably went about your Monday night, business as usual. But for those who have been blessed by the service of the Hind's family it wasn't business as usual, it was so much more. Cars lined both sides of the street and every available spec of pavement in the small parking lot was taken. People had come to say thank you.

My dad called me at work the Friday before. We talked and laughed and at some point he asked if I had heard the news. I told him he'd have to be a little more specific and he mentioned that the Hind's family had sold the store and that he had met the new owner that morning. Well, neither he nor I was prepared for the emotion that I experienced at hearing the news: I began to cry – then laugh, then cry some more. We both laughed at the fact that I was crying and all those around me at work wondered what possibly could have happened. It was humorous to consider telling them that I was crying because the corner store from my hometown had traded owners – they would think I was insane, and in fact, most of them did. That didn't matter to me however, because Hind's Quick Stop is more than your normal gas station.

For twenty-seven years the Hind's family had opened their doors - to locals and traveler alike – but more importantly they had opened their hearts. It wasn't just a place to fill your car with gas, get soda and candy or even just for that last minute grocery item that you had forgotten to purchase and that dinner couldn't do without; It was the first place that you ever got to go to on your own to purchase penny candies when they really were only a penny, it was the summer hang out where you met friends for ice cream and a hot dog, it was where your ten year old self learned to pump gas into a can and before going home to finish mowing the lawn telling Debbie or Sandra to charge it because your dad would pay it later, it was the place where on any given day you could walk into the shop and find five or six men from the community sittin' around talking about the good 'ol days and staying until closing time.

You could always find a listening ear and someone who cared about you in anyone from the Hinds family. We weren't just their customers; we were their friends and neighbors. That is what made Monday night all the more special. The Hinds family finally got to see the impact that they made on the lives of so many. Tears and smiles flowed, as the usual ring of the door became all the more incessant. It was wall-to-wall people and moving through was slow and cramped but no one seemed to mind. There was a sense of love and community that was palpable. Gratitude and a little awe is what I noticed in the eyes of those I passed that night. Gratitude for the love and service the Hinds family had always shared and awe in the fact that the love so freely given was individually felt by so many. Somehow I had always felt uniquely valued by the Hinds family but Monday I realized that so did most everyone else.

Hinds Quick Stop has always been the heart of Peterson and it will continue to be but at least for me, without all of the Hinds family, it won't be as bright.