I've been lucky to have travelled a bit this summer, more than usual.
I had the chance to make it out to my home state twice, and both times I visited some new places, including Old Mission Santa Barbara, founded on December 4, 1786 and the tenth of twenty-one missions founded throughout California by the Franciscans.
This was a place rich in beauty and history. I can understand why it's known as the "queen" of the missions. We were blessed to have beautiful weather during my two-day stay, and it was made all the better because I got to share it with some of my family.
A couple of years ago, one of my friends spent two weeks, beginning in San Francisco and ending in San Diego, and visited all 21 missions. He said it was a trip of a lifetime, and I hope to one day make that pilgrimage myself.
One of the things that struck me as I made my way through the grounds was the rich history of the place. Over two hundred years is a long time here in the United States, and to think that people have worked and worshipped here for so long greatly impacted me, and left me wondering what will become of our modern houses of worship?
On my most recent visit to sunny California, I had the chance to mix some business with pleasure. The trip started with a weekend in Idyllwild, a little vacation community tucked in the San Jacinto Mountains. On our first evening, my family and I took a little walk down the street from our cabin and captured this beautiful sunset.
If the name Idyllwild rings a bell, it's because you may have heard about the recent forest fires there. In fact, just a few weeks before our visit, the entire town was evacuated because a huge and quick-moving fire was just a ridge away. A shopkeeper told us that, just when they thought all would be lost, the wind changed and blew the other way. There were banners all over town thanking the firefighters who battled the flames.
Well, my summer travels have come to an end. I was grateful to enjoy some new places this year,as well as make trips back to a few old favorites, like the L.A. Zoo and Descanso Gardens. As Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, there's no place like home.