Category Archives: Travels

Caturday 10.1.11: Cambria Builds a Cat Fort, And Also, We’re Moving

Like a small child, Cambria likes boxes more than toys. She especially likes boxes that are already turned on their side so she doesn’t have to waste the effort to jump in.

Cambria is very good at being as lazy as possible while still getting what she wants. She feel’s this is a talent that should be shared, thus she wants to present to you…

Cambria’s “How to Build a Cat Fort for Dummy’s and Smart-But-Lazy People”

Step 1: Sniff out the box that is a:easiest to climb into, and b: filled with the least amount of stuff and the most sunshine.

Step 2: Try to lie in it in several positions to check for ultimate comfort.

Step 3: If/when your human tries to get you out, purr loudly and look as cute as possible. They will melt, and let you keep the box.

Step 4: Relax and enjoy your victory with a nap in your new cat fort.

And there you have it, one of Cambria’s greatest talents, along with always managing to spill her water, and somehow tunneling under the bed even though there is literally no room down there because we use it for storage. Seriously, it’s like her own personal Moria, and I have no clue how she does it.

I guess I should tell you about the second part of the blog title now, and why there are so many boxes available to Wonder Cat, huh?

As the title implies, we’re moving. What the title doesn’t tell you is that we’re not just moving apartments, we’re moving cities. Two weeks from yesterday we will be moving to San Diego, California.

Long story short, Tyler has a friend who works down there, and had been after him to move. We always ignored him, figuring that there was no way God was calling us away from Hingepoint, the church plant we moved here to help start. But his friend is a persistent little man, so after dismissing him out of hand for several months, we decided to pray about it, assuming that God would confirm that we should stay in Bakersfield. Nope. So here we are, almost four weeks later, packing and apartment searching, and already resigning our jobs.

I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet that we’re really doing this. A month ago, moving wasn’t even a thought in our minds, and now we’re off on yet another adventure. And though we don’t know any of the details yet except for where Tyler will work (and admittedly large detail that we’re very happy is nailed down), we are excited! God is doing big things, and we don’t ever want to miss out on it.

Cambria, of course, is blissfully unaware of any of this. When I asked her what she thought of moving, she just got super excited and licked my ear, because moving=boxes. And because cats are just weird like that. As long as there are boxes and tuna, she will follow us anywhere.

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Filed under California Dreamin', Cambria, Cats, Caturday, Faith, Travels

Stories From Inside A Whale, French Food, and Other Micsellanious Updates

Just a quick update, since I neglected you so unjustly this weekend.

The fair on Saturday went really well. Thanks to everyone who prayed! We shared Jesus through story with fifty or so kids, and several prayed to receive Christ! It was such a sweet experience. I’ve never really thought of Jonah and the Whale as an evangelical story before, and I was really impressed with how they pulled it off. And, of course, the kids were a ton of fun, as kids are prone to be.

We told our stories inside this air conditioned plaster Whale, because we told the story of Jonah and the Whale, duh. Some of the comments we got from the kids were:

  • “If the whale was air-conditioned, why was Jonah complaining?”- Jocelyn, fives years old
  • “Is this a real whale? Did they catch it and stuff it like my dad does deer?” – Emily, six years old
  • And my favorite, “Whales have nothing to do with Jesus. Jesus would not have been swallowed, he would have ridden the whale like a surfboard.”- David, seven-ish years old

Clever, those kids. Also, one of the kids called me a heathen because I’m not Catholic, and stormed out. All in a days work.

After my story shift ended, Emily and I wandered the fair for several hours. We basically watched the pregnant cow exhibit and ate a ridiculous amount of fair food, which included gelato, some heavenly cheese fries, and a huge plate of ribs and corn on the cob. In order to properly enjoy our ribs, we hid at a dark picnic table and unleashed our inner-man. Seriously, we scarfed these babies messily and without shame. Or at least a minimal amount of shame, which we chose to ignore.

No shame!

More recently, we just got back last night from an overnight trip to San Diego. It was our first time there, and we loved it! We stayed in a suite at the Andaz Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter, which was pretty legit.

The Living Room

Big, Comfy Bed. You can't see it, but there's another flat screen TV in front of the bed.

We had dinner Sunday night at the Cafe Chloe, a little French Cafe in downtown San Diego. It was incredible! I had some superb French onion soup, mussels in a cream sauce, and a fabulous pistachio bread pudding. It was all wonderful, but what was brilliant about my main course was the unusual choice to put shoestring french fries in with the mussels, which I nicknamed Americana Chic in my head. They soaked up the sauce and were waaaay too delicious for words. I am drooling just thinking about it. I wanted to take a picture, but we were with a few people I’d never met before, and Tyler made me promise not to do anything embarrassing. I figured taking pictures of each course as they came would not be considered normal, so I abstained. (This is also why I only named the seafood-and-french-fry dish in my head and not out loud.)

*Sigh* Now that I got my hopes up only to have them dashed, you know this legendary sushi is all I want to eat.

We spent Monday driving around, through Balboa Park and around Coronado Island, and being generally touristy. Our friend Kristen used to live in San Diego, and she really talked up Sushi Deli. Unfortunately, they closed fifteen minutes before we got there. My sushi-loving self we rather sad, but oh well. It gives me an excuse to go back!

And now it’s back to the daily grind. This week is going to be busy. I’m working my usual schedule, and building one of my larger sets ever…in five days. Am I crazy, you ask? It’s looking like that is the case.

Also, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that today is the Birthday of not one but two of my lovely sister-in-laws! Happy Birthday to Charity…

Charity is the beautiful one looking at the camera, in case you were wondering. 🙂

and to Allyson…

Sorry for stealing these pictures from your Facebook, Allyson!

We love you two an awful lot! And in typical Stroud fashion, your gifts will be late. But I bought them early, so that must count for something! Have a wonderful day, mes soeurs!

And have a wonderful day everyone else, too! I know I will. Especially because I got to skip Monday for this work week. No case of The Monday’s for me! Woo hoo!

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Filed under California Dreamin', Odds and Ends, The Monday's, Travels

In Which I Fail At Adulthood And Write This Blog Instead.

I am reverting right now and acting like a total college student, which is to say that I have about 10,000 things to do today, you know, boring stuff like shower/pay bills/work/clean my kitchen/write something with real meaning, but instead I’m surfing Facebook and taking pictures of the cat while she plays with my shoes. Consider me writing this blog the official equivalent of skipping class. Ooops! Adulthood fail.

Since I am failing so magnificently, I might as well tell you what’s on my mind…

1: I really need to re-color my hair. The red of summer has turned into a rather streaky version of dirty blond, and it needs to go away. I want to go a darker brunette with some black, Tyler thinks I should do red again. It’s a stalemate. What are your opinions? I’ll do anything but straight-up blond or an un-natural color, like green. Help! I am truly, sincerely asking for opinions. I’m so indecisive.

2: I still have not seen The Help, but I really want to . The only problem is, Tyler has zero interest in seeing it, and all my friends I have asked have seen it already. Even my mom has seen it. I reeeeeally want to know what all the fuss is about! Who will save me from my pop culture crisis??! This is my overly dramatic way of saying if we live in the same town and you have either not seen The Help or wouldn’t mind seeing it again, please contact me ASAP. I will even buy you popcorn in reward for your charity toward a poor, socially awkward girl like me who has no one to got o the movies with.

3: Our second week of small groups last night was a success! We have an interesting mix of people- young marrieds, engaged, single, parents, soon-to-be parents-but we seem to blend really well. Our last small group this past spring was such an amazing experience- we truly met some of our best friends through it- that I was a little worried: would I ever be able to love another small group as much? My fears were misplaced. These people are awesome! I love the candor and openness everyone shares with. We’re going through the book Chazown (pronounced something like khaw-zone. Kind of like calzone without the l.) by Craig Groeschel, which is all about finding God’s vision for your life. I had gone through it quickly a few months ago as part of my church internship, but I’m excited to go through it more slowly and along side others. Tyler and I have already had some great conversations because of it.

I’ve never been one of those people who makes a vision statement for my life or who has had an over-arching goal in mind. I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl. If I had to boil it all down to defined goals, I’d say my goals are to love God, show His love to people, and be a good wife and mother. I think those are great goals but there are a plethora of way to achieve them, and I’ve quickly realized that I need focus. Last night, one of the things we talked about was how having the focus of a clear-cut chazown would simplify making decisions. If I already know that God’s will is for me to carry out this vision, to asses a choice, all I need to do is decide if it fits with-in my life’s mission. No? Then we move on. Yes? Then we pray about it. That’s so much simpler than the agonizing I’ve done in the past! And simplifying life, living with purposeful focus, would undoubtedly lead to increased peace and contentment, not to mention confidence.

One of the passages from the reading that stuck with me this week is this:

“Before God starts something, He is certain of the outcome. And God’s map of history includes a unique plan for your life. (Psalm 139:13-16)…God created you with a divine undertaking in mind. Before you were born, God knew you. And knew what He wanted your life to be like. That’s why God calls us to live on purpose, keeping the end in view. And what’s more, He invites us to seek Him in order to learn what His perfect plan is for our lives. Then, with that plan in mind, we can reach His our our greatest dreams. Anything less in a mistake, a lie, and a ripoff. ” -page 7 (emphasis mine)

I’m not willing to settle for a mediocre life. My Father created the universe, why should I ever settle for a lie, or even worse, boring?! I’m excited to see what the coming weeks hold. This small group is sure to be an adventure!

4: Speaking of boring, I have realized that I must be the most boring person to follow on instagram or twitter. All I ever post are pictures of my cat, books, and the occasional oddball like this:

This is my Chazown reading buddy, Eddie the Book Monster

5: I’m pretty excited for this weekend! We’re taking a mini vacay to San Diego! We’ll be traveling down Sunday after church and staying all day Monday. The high is supposed to be 73 while we’re there, and, obviously, there will be beach. Color me excited!

6: Also, the Fair started this week. My friend Emily is a missionary here in town with an orginization called Child Evangelism Fellowship. Every year, they set up a booth where kids can play games and hear a story about Jesus, and every year children give their hearts to Him. Please pray with me for Emily and all her volunteers! The days can be very long and hot, but the work is so worth it!

7: And finally, for those of you who have stuck with me this long, I present you with this gift:

An early Caturday picture of a very sleepy Cambria, as a reward for your patience with this ironically un-focused post.

And now, I really do have to go shower and be a responsible adult. A girl can only use dry shampoo so many days in a row before it becomes socially unacceptable, and smelly. Wish me luck!

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Filed under Books, Cambria, Chazown, Faith, Odds and Ends, Travels

A Tiny Vacation

We’ve been trying to get away just the two of us for months now, but something always manages to come up last-minute.

Saturday night we decided to just do it. Tyler had Monday off, I switched shifts with a friend, we booked a hotel, and Sunday afternoon we jetted off after church. We arrived in San Buenaventura (aka Ventura), around 4:30, just in time to check into our hotel, get settled in, watch a wedding on the beach from out balcony, and eat some amazing sea food at Aloha.

This is the restaurant, which we could see from our hotel room. I forgot to take pictures of my food because I a: was starving, and b:am really new at this. Forgive me?

The food was really good! I had the crab stuffed shrimp, and Tyler had the herb crusted Salmon. I also ordered a tangy Zinfandel, but wound up with a plumy flavored Merlot. The poor waitress seemed to know zero about wine, and was kind of flustered about it, so I just drank it anyway.

After dinner, we took a little stroll down the beach and out onto the pier. It was dark and a bit chilly, but it was beautiful none the less. The moonlight on the water at the end of the pier was magical, but unfortunately we only brought camera phones with us, not actual cameras, so equally as magical pictures were not to be had. Just this sad picture of a sign:

So much for rules three and four. We literally saw a couple of chain-smoking vagabonds not merely camping but living on the pier.

We did, however, get some great pictures the next morning! Our hotel room was tiny, but we had a decent view of the ocean and pier, we were very close to the beach, and our bed was so comfortable that I never wanted to leave.

The view to the right of our balcony...

to the left...

and directly in front.

Some scenes from our early morning ramble along the beach…

You can't really tell here, but the tiny white dog in these pictures has a life vest on, and he surfed on a surf board like a human. It was really funny.

A little friend we made.

You can tell Tyler was the main photographer because, sadly, this is the only picture I got of him. But I promise he was there the whole time, looking as dashing as always!

It was so refreshing to be out on the beach so early. The sea-salt breeze does wonders for a sleepy mind. There were some surfers, and a few people walking their dogs, but it was quiet other than the sound of the waves.

After our stroll, we decided to walk up to Main Street to the Busy Bee Cafe for some breakfast. Again, I forgot to take pictures like the amature that I am, but Tyler did get this funny one:

The world's largest mug of orange juice. And no, I'm not wearing a pilgrim hat, that's just a poorly placed lamp.

I got one also, of the mini jukebox at our table:

I put in a quarter. My selections: The Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers, and This Magic Moment by The Drifters.

The authentic 1950’s decor was really fun, and again, the food was great. I had cheese blintzes, and Tyler had some amazingly fluffy pancakes.

Full and satisfied, we headed back to walk the pier in the daytime:

While I enjoyed the view like a normal human being, Tyler took pictures of seagulls and signage:

This one's actually pretty good.

These signs were scattered all along the pier. The homeschoolers in us had to stop and read every one.

After our walk, we packed up and checked out of our room before heading back up to Main Street to explore a little more. We found this really cute book store called The Calico Cat, which, sadly, did not happen to have a real book store cat inside. But we both discovered some treasures:

An original 1913-ish French printing of some preludes for Tyler...

And a few old-ish books for me. (Pardon the cat. I clearly took this picture at home. I tried to move so she'd get out of the picture, but she kept following me, so I gave up. What can I say? She really likes books. )

We also found this cool fountain…

…and some food.

I, yet again, was too intent upon demolishing my meal to remember a picture. I had one of my favorites, fish and chips. The fish was delicious, but the homemade tartar sauce was what really made the meal. Tyler had a pulled pork BBQ sandwich, and, of course, we had a few drinks.

We then decided to cruise down the 1, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway , a little bit just because we weren’t ready to leave yet. We ended up in Santa Barbara, which we really liked a lot. We didn’t go many places, but we drove all over town, and we’ve already decided that we’re definitely going back sometime soon. We did stop for a snack at Rockin’ Yogurt though, and it was delicious.

This yummy blend of vanilla yogurt, mango, kiwi, and strawberries made me one happy girl!

And then our tiny vacation came to a close. It was short, only about 34 hours, but it was so good to get away and just be with each other. And I can honestly say that the California coast line is one of my favorite places to visit!

Until next time, Ventura!

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Filed under California Dreamin', Travels