Saturday, April 14, 2007


I just returned from California—the Bay Area—where my family lives. And I got to return to one of my favorite places—Santa Cruz. After a lovely meal at the famed Shadowbrook Restaurant (a must for anyone visiting Capitola), we walked along the beach—watching beachcombers, jugglers, children building sandcastles, and surfers gracefully riding the waves of the Pacific Ocean.

This picture caught my eye and tears glistened on my sunburned cheeks as I remembered my childhood in Southern California—countless hours on the beach with my sister, Mom and Dad. Now that I can count the age spots on my face, I probably would have used more sunscreen (but what did we know back then!). It was a blissful time, frolicking in the sand, jumping waves and allowing them to wash over me—threatening to carry me away. I, too, built sandcastles and watched the ocean swallow them up. Precious memories, made more special, because for the first time in eighteen years I spent Easter with my family. We all went to church together (taking up an entire row!), had an Easter egg hunt in the front yard, and shopped until we dropped. But the best part was spending time with each other—talking about the things that really mattered.

One of my favorite times was spent looking at lost treasure (not in the sand), but in the tiny back room in the garage where all my memorabilia lay: old love letters, photos from high school, yearbook albums, birthday cards, books from high school (who could forget reading Crime and Punishment from Sophomore English?), diplomas, reports cards (one from Miss Wheeler in third grade: "Connie is an excellent creative writer"). Umm . . . .

I took what was most important and left the rest. My mom is going to send me the box and I look forward to poring through all the treasure once again (cross-legged on the floor), and re-living memories of when there was just the four of us at 5018 Concord Blvd. in Concord, California (before baby brother, David, arrived!). But that's another story!

To be reminded of what's really important was so refreshing: the love of family and friends, the deep love that God has for all of us, and memories that can't be washed away like sandcastles on the beach.