“The finest men in all the world are not to be found in the warm, genial climates, where the earth has only to be tickled with a hoe, and it laughs with plenty; but the strongest and the most enterprising spirits have been found at the back of the north wind, where there are frosts and ice, and long, dreary winters, and men have a hard struggle for a livelihood. They become really men under that stern training. Now, if there were no thorns and thistles, no struggles and no trials, should we have any brave Christians? Should we have any great and noble souls at all? When did the Church yield her best men for her Lord’s service? It was in the persecuting times, when they had to swim through seas of blood to hold fast the truth of Christ. These are silken days, and we have wretched specimens of Christians everywhere; but if the times of persecution were to come once more, with the rough winds blowing, and the whole sea of the world tossed in tempest, we should then find brave sailors who would put the ship’s head to the wind, and ride safely over the stormy billows in the name of the Eternal God.” Spurgeon, C. H.

From the Thorns and Thistles Sermon, Vol 39.

Phil’s Fish Market

With a Bluegrass Surprise

I found myself at the end of our Monterey Bay Aqaurium visit trying to decide where we will eat. Sometimes it seems like I can spend more time deciding what to eat than the time we spend actually eating. And to make things worse I'll ask the kids where they would like to eat and I'll get two different preferences. I finally decided that we will try Phil's Fish Market in Moss Landing. The kids were already expressing their disappointment and it was a depressing walk from the car to the restaurant. Jenn reminded them that dad was taking them someplace special and that I didn't have to take them out anywhere at all. 

After a short time in line to order food, we sat down to a wonderful, relaxed ambience. The front room was filled with the sound of bluegrass music. This was a welcome surprise to hear live music. Now I don't normally listen to bluegrass music, but somehow it was the perfect fit for this time and place. The kids took some time to loose their grumpy demeanor, but at one point Matthew thanked me for bringing him here and said "I would like to come back here, I think." It's as if he's still unsure, but all he knows is that he's really liking the place and the food. 

Jenn had a crab cake sandiwich, Claire had the grilled-cheese, Matthew had chicken-nuggets, and I had the Cioppino. Everything was amazingly good and the music seemed to be more than just a garnish to our meal. The music was every bit as good as the food. The musicians sang wonderful harmony and played their instruments with ease. One of the songs, 'Jesus Cry from the Cross" hit our hearts in a special way. 

I highly recommend visiting Phil's Fish Market on one of the evenings that they have music. Check their website for days and times.

Hiking Roller Coaster Goofiness

Lameness and Coolness Collide

The hills of the South Santa Teresa neighborhoods are the stomping grounds of my childhood. As a child I enjoyed being so close to the hills. I could hop on my bike and ride a few blocks to explore the winding trails.

We asked the kids if they wanted to go hiking and they objected. But I insisted, knowing that they will likely enjoy it. Within moments of arriving, the kids were running around as kids should. It was a beautiful thing and we desire to go out hiking more often. We really have little excuse with the hills so close to our house!

The video below shows a short stretch of trail that feels like a roller coaster. The trail descends, falttens out, descends again, and then steeply ascends, with slight twists and turns. The video shows us going in the reverse diretion of what I just described. It's a special thing to show my children the very same stretches of trail that I enjoyed as a child. However, I don't remember ever doing what you'll see in this video. 

This is our version of self-proclaimed lameness and coolness. 

The video below if of the entire trip.