Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Miracle of Our Move

It's true, we've moved from our beloved home in H.B. in the O.C. If you haven't heard, don't feel unloved or slighted. It's all been a whirlwind that started only a mere 3 months ago.

The first thing everyone asks is "why?" Why would we leave the beach, where it feels like we're living on a vacation 24/7 with perfect weather, the wonderful ocean smell and feel?

First, I just want to say I have treasured every single moment living in Huntington Beach, CA. I have literally got to live out my dream. When I was 8 years old living in Utah, my dad's parents in Anaheim, CA, paid for our family to take the train to visit them for Christmas. It was something I'll never forget. The trainride there was exciting, a Christmas with Grandpa Junior getting a tree we all knew was too tall, except for him; he said he wanted it to bend at the top when it hit the ceiling. Mostly, I remember our drive down Beach Blvd. to visit the beach because we kids have never seen the beach. We got to Huntington Beach and I LOVED it. We hadn't brought our bathing suits, of course, since it was a Christmas vacation in the middle of winter, but I loved the feel of the sand between my toes, the sound of the waves pounding the shores, the feel of the breeze on my face, it was so calming. I would LOVE to live here I thought. But alas, we went back home to Utah.

4 years later, 1985, dad came home and said we were moving to CA. Not to Huntington Beach but Inland to Norco, Ca. It wasn't the beach but it sounded fun and it was a step closer. I had a great growing up experience in the wonderful little horsetown (which in 1985 Corona/Norco was the fastest growing city in the U.S.). I made so many lasting memories with lifetime friends. After we got our lisences, many memories were of driving down to the beach, oft times, H.B. and enjoying it. I often thought, wow, it would be so fun to live here!

In 1992, I met the love of my life and he just so happened to live in H.B. We married and he moved me there, he being a native of the area! I LOVED it!

In 1999, we bought our first dream home in H.B. Here is what it looked like:

Danny's dad came to take a look. He walked through, took Danny outside and said "Danny, I think you've made a big mistake!" We're not trying to rub it in your face Fred. A lot of people later confessed they secretly thought we were in over our heads. You see the picture. We had a 5 year old, a 2 1/2 year old and a baby on the way with a MAJOR project on our hands. But I knew Danny was good at his profession. He's a miracle worker. He takes something like this and transforms it into a thing of beauty. I would have a mansion by the time he was done. He got to work. Here are a few pics:

Our Kitchen....

The Side Yard

A couple of the piles of stuff removed....

After a lot of work, sweat, more work, sweat and some $$$ this is what Danny lovingly transformed into our beach home:

If you didn't get a chance to come visit us, WELCOME TO OUR HOME!

Would you recognize it? We almost don't. It was very shocking to see the pics of the before I dug up. Did you see the beautiful bay window in the before pic? No? It's not your eyesight, it had a tiny sliver of a window on the left side, let no light in. I would LOVE a big bay window to sit and look out. Danny got to work, voila! I sat many days looking out that window at lovely sunsets! See any Cypress trees? No? Much to my grandfather's dismay, we removed about 12 Cypress trees that harbor opposums, rats and dirt out of the front and back yard not to mention tons of other vegetation! We replaced it all with an avacado, plum, apple & nectarine tree (we did keep the original orange and palm date trees).

Here is my kitchen, expanded and custom built with maple cabinets to my height:

Dining Room/family room
kids bathroom
downstairs bathroom
living room/bay window

Front patio with swing Danny recently installed where
Kierstin spent many evenings listening to her IPOD.
I never ever took for granted living there. The perfect weather, the instant vacation of driving 2 miles to the beach, within distance to all sorts of fun. WONDERFUL stake, many, many lifetime friendships and memories we will AlWAYS cherish.
Mostly, I will remember all the cherished moments of raising my kids there with so many things to do outside all year long in that perfect weather! We had a blast at the beach, the library, central park, Disneyland, etc., etc.
So -Why? Well, Danny is self employed. Our kids are getting older. We realized things are getting more expensive and we need to start really saving for the future; college, missions, marriage, retirement. It was too hard to do in O.C. What to do?
In mid-may we were seriously talking this over and pondering what the future would bring. Should I get a job? How could I supplement our income? I was thinking it over one day and on an impulse checked out the home prices in Murrieta, where several people in our stake have migrated to as it is more affordable. Some dear friends of ours had moved out there 6 years ago when it was just booming. The prices had plummeted. Foreclosures had really hit hard there. Houses were affordable. We be able to pay off our debts and save for the future. An answer to prayer, a light at the end of the tunnel.
The rest is a whirlwind. We found out school started early, mid-August. It was the first of June. How would we fix our home up to sell, sell it in a stalling market and find a place within a 2 1/2 month period of time? It WAS an answer to prayer we do this so we knew if we did our part we would have a miracle.
Here we are, 3 months later, looking back with MUCH gratitude in our hearts for our miracle that will help us have a solid future for our family.
Like I've told my kids. Just because something is right doesn't mean it is easy to do. We miss H.B. terribly but look forward to our new adventure. It's a great new community with good schools and lots of good young families. We are renting right now until we find just where we want to set down roots.
For now, our new address is: 41121 Engelmann Oak St.,
Murrieta, CA 92562
(951) 894-2235
Thanks to all our family and friends who helped, loved and supported us through this. We have give you our thanks in the best way we know how, the form of many prayers in gratitude for all you did for us!
Come visit us soon!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Heart, Mind & Soul of Gold

I LOVE watching the Olympics. It is such a wonderful thing that the World can, for the most part, put aside enough differences to let athletes from all over the world, some of whom have beliefs that are the extreme opposite, even to offense, into the same piece of the world and compete against each other with sportsmanship and consideration, for the most part.

But the most exciting, outstanding and inspirational moment in this Olympics happened Sunday Night during the Men's 4 X 100 meter relay with Michael Phelps, Garrett Weber-Gale, Cullen Jones & Jason Lezak. I can't even explain it to you other than to say that everyone, even the commentators, thought the French were going to win it by a slim margin. The French certainly believed it to the point of going around telling anyone who would listen "we are going to smash the Americans."

You especially believed that during the last lap of the pool on the way home. The French were ahead by a whole body length. If you have been watching swimming you know that if that happens on the final stretch home, they never catch up. But literally, the last half of the length of the pool,
Jason Lezak, the oldest member (like my age) and his 3rd Olympics, defeats the limits of the human body and pulls ahead of the French in literally the final seconds and brings home GOLD for the US. Wow, was he amazing and inspirational all at the same time.

Bradley & Bryce were up with me watching at 11:30 p.m. that night. I'm so glad we watched it all together. I'm sure we woke some neighbors with our yelling and screaming. It was really astounding, I can't explain it other than I had goosebumps watching it and am getting goosebumps now, every time I think of it.

When asked how he did it, Lezak said that he was "tired of losing." I told my boys, he didn't just have a heart of gold, he had a mind and soul of gold. Anything is possible. Never give up; so many object lessons taught in that moment. They both agreed and I hope they remember that always. I sure will. If you haven't seen it, here's the link: