Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Day in "The City"

We decided to meet at the Cliff House in San Francisco for lunch.  It was a beautiful, clear and unusually warm day for mid winter. It was January 20, Martin Luther King Day, a holiday for almost everyone.  
So come along with us!
Michelle was away at Azuza Pacific University, but my grandson Evan, his dad, my son Tim and his mom, Cheryl and I... met with my oldest son, Ron and wife, Elisabet for a day of joyful family fun.  It was our annual belated Christmas celebration since we had not been able to get together during the holidays.  

The Cliff House has a nice restaurant mounted on a rocky point jutting out into a raging ocean that beats against the rocks.

As we were eating our meal we could see a couple of dolphins playing in these waves.
After a delicious lunch we drove to Bakers Beach just west of the Golden Gate bridge.  It is mid-winter, but it looked like summer with the beach covered in people enjoying the sun and water. 

The view of the Golden Gate bridge from Baker Beach is awesome.

Just above Baker Beach are solid cement military bunkers hidden behind the bank.  In 1904 huge guns were mounted long before World War 1 to defend the entrance to San Francisco Bay.

One of the guns has been preserved, covered with canvass to protect it from the elements.  I understand that it is uncovered for special events.  It looks like Evan is trying to maneuver it into position to fire.  

"Us boys" went hiking down behind the bunkers...

And of course our "Spiderman" decided to scale this smooth cement wall.  

How do you get that high up on a wall with nothing to grasp? Easy, you leap!

On our way to Golden Gate Park we stopped to admire the exquisite archi-tecture of the Legion of Honor Art Museum in Lincoln Park.  (It was closed for the holiday.)

In Golden Gate Park families were enjoying the lake, the weather and the sights. 

We found a bench by the water and took a break to open Christmas presents.  Ron and Elisabet have many trees on their property.  Tim and Cheryl gave them some cute tree faces.  

So when you visit them and see a tree smiling at you, don't be surprised. 

We left Cheryl to care for our gifts, crossed this old rock bridge and hiked completely around this island mountain on the right.

On the other side of the mountain we found this pretty little Japanese "tea shelter"... 

complete with a marble table and stools...
and an artistic ceiling
with some silly looking people looking down at the camera.
We also discovered a waterfall.  

Evan, how did you get out there?  And how will you get back? The answer again was "leap!".
Evan is always loaded with energy and this nice tree was just calling to him to climb up.  

When I was a boy we had lots of trees in our yard and throughout the entire neighborhood.  I loved to climb them, sometimes to the very top.  I must have passed on some Hiatt genes to Evan. 

It all happened in a single delightful day at "The City."

(Photo taken from Lincoln Park)


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I'll Be Home for Christmas!

The old song says, "I'll be home for Christmas!  You can count on me... I'll be home for Christmas... if only in my dreams."  It's an emotionally charged song written during the 2nd World War for military men that could only dream of being home for Christmas. And may we not forget our many brave men and women that are still out there risking their lives for our protection!

Well, I have been privileged to make it home each Christmas in recent years. 

And who might drive the 200 mile round trip to pick me up at the San Francisco Airport?  I was delighted to see it was my two grand-kids, Michelle and Evan... who both have their drivers licenses now.  Wow! 

But how do you do Christmas when your family is scattered over many miles? Answer: You get in the car and go visiting.

This year I started with Tim and family who are closest to home. Sunday before Christ-mas Evan (green sweater) sang with the worship team and even did a lead part in "Come Oh Come Emanuel."  

Also we enjoyed a beautiful Christmas Eve service at church where Michelle, on break from her first semester in Azuza Pacific University, played the keyboard and Tim led the worship. They also sang a duet called "This is Love" relating how God stooped down to become a man to bring us salvation.

At Tim's house I joined in the fun for Christmas Day along with Cheryl's parents and their extended family.

Then I headed north.

My first stop was Portland, Oregon where, on Sunday PM, December 29th I ministered in Family Worship Center, the church where Frances and I were married 62 years ago. Dan Hatton was a young boy in Sunday School back then. Now he is pastor of this exciting, thriving church!

On my 82nd birthday, December 31, I couldn't resist climbing to my secret "Bethel," a hilltop on Mount Tabor where I met with God many times as a teenager. Now the city has provided a nice bench to sit on while you pray. 

Then on New Years Day we had a family Christmas celebration. These are my two remaining siblings. Carol, in the red jacket, is 91, healthy, still driving and very active. Joanne is 84 and has recently been facing serious health issues. And I'm the kid brother in the middle.

My youngest sister Joyce and my older brother Mel are now with the Lord.

The family celebrated at Joanne's grandson's home in Gresham. We had a truly blessed time.  Joanne's son Dan played the piano and we worshiped as we sang all the great Christmas songs.  Our three sons were not able to be at this gathering however.

From there I drove to Seattle, visiting my brother's widow Ruth Alice and some nephews.  Dan and Nancy Hiatt, who spent 5 weeks with me in Argentina recently, gave me a comfy "bed and breakfast" while in the Seattle area.

Our son, Mike and his wife Mary joined me for a delightful dinner in downtown Seattle.  I still have to visit my oldest son, Ron and his wife Elisabet, who live in Felton, California. We have the date set for January 19 to get together with them.  

On my way back to California I drove the Oregon coast highway, staying overnight at Oceanside. 

I hiked below this cliff where, at 13 years of age, but for the mercy of God I would have fallen to my death while climbing it. 

Erosion over the years has changed its face drastically.

I still love the Oregon coast with its raging ocean dashing against the rocks. It speaks to me of God's great power.

I can remember once fishing from that rock behind me. I had just caught a nice flounder and had unhooked it and set it on the rock behind me when I heard my sister yell something.  I looked behind me and a seagull had just swallowed my prize fish whole!  How do they do that?!

Psalm 136 says "He gives food to every creature." But, hey, that seagull didn't even squawk a "Thank you!"

Have a wonderfully blessed 2014!