I hope everyone is enjoying their Monday!  

We have been going non-stop since we got back from Italy three weeks ago and I haven't had much of a chance to get on here and post much...

Rebecca and I had such an amazing trip to Italy,  it was hard to switch back to "home" mode, but that's life right?  And a week later my hubby and I were off on a mini vacation for a couple days for our 27th Wedding Anniversary, so not really "real life" quite yet...

So we decided to get away to Laguna Beach for our anniversary, and before Rebecca had her surgery and we knew we were going to be home for a while with her.  It was so nice to get away and relax in our old "stomping grounds."  We lived in Laguna Hills for almost 12 years and went down to Laguna Beach almost every week. So it was like going down memory lane last weekend!

I can't tell you how many times we drove this part of PCH, and I still think this is one of my favorite places in all of Southern California.

I text this photo to Rebecca that day b/c this is the girls' childhood!  I think we were down here at the playground in Laguna almost every week!

So it was fun to come back... even though it was a little strange to come back without the little kids.  Where did the time go?  It's amazing to us that we have gone through the "little kid" phase and 2 out of 3 girls are almost out of the nest!  What a reminder of how little time we have with our kids at home and to really try our best to enjoy each day that we DO have left...

So many of these places haven't changed over the years and it was great to see them.  We checked out this vintage poster shop because if you've seen our photos of the house, we love vintage posters!  This guy who owns this store is one of a very few collectors in the world and it was fun to talk to him about this hobby of ours, that he is passionate about!  And... we found out he used to LIVE on Lake Como!  Crazy fun little encounter on our anniversary.

I have to tell you about this amazing encounter too.  We had decided to go to this little "Shake Shack" in Newport Beach on our way back to our hotel on the afternoon of our anniversary.  So after some shopping we headed to this little spot with a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean.  We've never been here in all these years and wanted to finally take the time to stop! We ordered some shakes and sat down at a bench overlooking the ocean.  I don't know how it started but we started a conversation with this couple.  No big deal right?  Well, actually it was a God designed meeting... and I am in AWE of it!  We were telling them we were celebrating our 27th wedding anniversary and guess what?  They told us they were celebrating THEIR 44th wedding anniversary!  WHAT!?  Two couples at the same little shack on their anniversaries... that was cool.  But what was even cooler?  They started talking and we start talking and find out all kinds of "God winks" that made it so evident that we were supposed to meet on that day.  They are also believers.  He's a Pastor of a church in Mission Viejo.  They love to travel and do mission trips. We start talking about my Art & Faith Creative Retreats and that ministry.  They tell us they've always wanted to go to Italy but don't know where to go or what to do... We talk about how awesome the Lord is about bringing people together, about how the Lord's calling on our lives is something you can fight for a while, (he didn't want to be a pastor and fought it for a while...) but it's amazing when you just allow Him to work it all out, because he will definitely BLOW your mind on what He has for you!  A conversation I had with Rebecca earlier that day was something that was just totally confirmed talking to these wonderful people and it was such a GREAT encounter to see how the Lord works and gives affirmation on His will through all different ways and means!   It made Lance and I just laugh at how the Lord works!  How He WANTS to show us how much He loves us and He wants us to connect with other believers.   Such a GREAT day... God is SO good!

A beautiful last night at Pelican Hill Resort for dinner and a perfect sunset with an amazing view of Catalina.  (the photo doesn't do it justice b/c it was so much closer in real life and the tips of the mountains on Catalina were so clear all day) We have been SO blessed to be able to get away for these kinds of romantic trips over the past 27 years, thanks to our parents who have always been so helpful to watch our girls.  I can't wait to do the same for our girls some day and watch our grand babies!! Woohoo!  (but not quite yet... lol)

But it was time to get back home and celebrate Rebecca's 18th Birthday with her friends!  She turned 18 in Italy but didn't have a chance to celebrate with her girlfriends until last weekend.

Then it was time to get her surgery done.  We've been avoiding this for a long time but after her last shoulder displacement back in May that landed her in the ER, we knew it was time.

You gotta love the sense of humor this girl has!  She was pretty nervous about this but still had fun being a goofball before they wheeled her away for surgery!  hahaha

The surgery was successful and we were able to bring her home that day.  But Sophie new something was up with Rebecca and would not leave her side!  Lots of puppy kisses, lots of pain meds and ice and this girl had quite a rough week!

Now it's been one week today that she had her shoulder surgery and it's been rough getting her pain levels down.  Shoulder surgery is no joke!  But we wanted to thank everyone who is praying for her and all your kind thoughts and emails!  It's a long road ahead with therapy and no driving or writing for a while... Guess I get to be the "mom" again to this girl who can't drive or cut her food, or drive herself places!  lol

But we actually got her out of the house for the first time on Saturday night.  Sunday was a quick trip to church and she was exhausted already.  So today I have a feeling she'll be asleep before it's dark since she was back at school today!  hahaha

Oh, I have to tell you how excited that pancake Saturdays are back!  We've been so busy and on different trips but we just love relaxing on Saturday mornings and making pancakes, of course.  I have to say... We are SO close to perfecting the recipe... and it all has to do with BUTTER people!   (The little succulent and dwarf olive plant is from last weeks trip to Roger's Gardens and I just love it!)

We also took this bad boy home in the middle when we were on our little trip.  Happy Anniversary to us! 

Since I was home all last week taking care of surgery girl... I was able to do some bible journaling!  I wish I had time every day for it, but if I did I wouldn't get anything done.  But this one I really wanted to spend some time of because I am working through a new devotional, that I LOVE.  YouVersion has an app that is incredible and I highly recommend getting it.  It had all kinds of devotional series that are from all different people and on any subject you can think of.  The current one I am reading is called "The Pursuit" and it really spoke to me.  It's amazing how the Lord can bring something that you know, you know, you know... back to your mind in such a FRESH way to speak so deeply to you!  That's what this bible study is doing in my life.  And it was all about how Yes, we are to pursue the Lord... but guess what?  He is PURSUING US!  Psalm 23 is one of the most common chapters in the bible that we hear throughout our life.  But I learned something so AMAZING when I read this devotional and it showed that in verse 5 &6 some versions (like the NLT) word it"

"Surely your goodness and unfailing love will PURSUE me all the days of my life..."

How great is that?  I am so thankful for this!  He loves us first and is pursuing our hearts!  He delights in YOU and ME!  

I am working on a three part bible journaling based on this study that I will try to share later this week... it's a good one and I highly recommend getting this study on YouVersion if you can!

Have a GREAT week in the Lord everyone!  And I hope YOU find refuge in Him this week...



P.S.  I haven't forgotten about the GIVEAWAY I want to do!  I will put that up later this week when I post the rest of The Pursuit bible journaling I'm working on...