Thursday, December 19, 2013

Home for Christmas!

I made it... And, now I'm home for Christmas!
Home to enjoy my mother's lovely garden...
Mom and dad have made the most of their postage-stamp lot!
When we bought our homes new, there was nothing in
these back yards, which were originally strawberry fields!
I'll never forget renting a jack-hammer so that Army dad could
install piers to set a redwood deck into the rock hard ground at our
house, which is still just around the corner from mom and dad's. Of
course, that's a problem we didn't encounter in North Carolina!
There's a routine when I come home... Hot Bavarian-style pretzels
from Whole Foods in Monterey and straight to the Carmel Mission!
Unfortunately, smoke from the Pfeiffer Big Sur fire obstructed our view!
Still, an obstructed view of Carmel beach is still the most beautiful view I know!
There is peace for me here...
And, it just gets better right around the corner at the Mission!
As soon as I see it I know I'm really home!
And, there it is - the beautiful Carmel Mission!
I have run out of holy water since I was
last home so dad got me a quick refill!
Of course, I had to stop in for a look where
Ranger and his brother were baptized. I've never told
anyone this but you see that heavy, hinged wood cover over
the baptismal font? Well, it came down during the baptism of
the child before us. It was a horrible scene, as I'm sure you can
imagine. It's impossible to recall Ranger's baptism without still
feeling sorry for that poor baby and his parents or remembering
how insistent my father was about holding it up during our turn!
It's Advent season at the Mission!
Of course, no visit is complete without
candle lighting and a tour of the gardens!
Candles in remembrance. Candles in thanksgiving. Candles in hopes of...
What a beautifully perfect place!
Purple bougainvillea!

Inside, is this memorial to Father Junipero Serra
who is buried at the front of the alter inside the basilica
After our visit to the Mission, mom and I popped
into my favorite antique mall on Cannery Row!
Where I seemed to find a plateau in every booth! You
may remember how much trouble I had finding one to
bring home to mom for Christmas last weekend in Atlanta!
Not only did I find the perfect plateau for mom, I found this
one I liked too! I'm a sucker for vintage dental office equipment!
Plateaus, plateaus, everywhere plateaus!
Getting it out of the antique mall without mom noticing was
impossible so when she busted me I didn't try to hide it!
She loves it!
After the antique mall, mom and I went home for dinner with
dad and then popped back out again to attend the reconciliation
mass at San Carlos, which I still consider my home parish
It was beautiful. And, it was quite a happy surprise to see
Father Patrick, the priest that baptized our Ranger 25 years ago!
This morning we stopped back at the Mission for a quiet prayer
at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. I love this little chapel...
Mostly because it's part of the mission and mostly because it's where we
renewed our vows to be married in the Catholic church on our sixth wedding
anniversary, which was also the same day our youngest son was baptized!
It's incredibly warm and comforting!
While I sat here, I received an e-mail from a dear friend
requesting a prayer... So I lit the tallest candle there on
the left and immediately sent this photo to comfort her!
There are no coincidences... I was meant to be here this morning!

After lunch we drove over to San Juan Bautista for a
stroll through the Saint Francis Retreat gardens...
Then it was on to Mission San Juan Bautista for more holy water!
It was a beautiful day!

Father Serra's here too...

My first stop inside was to the gift shop for candles!
One for my friend and one for our family...
My faith says we're all in good hands!
Now that our tour of my home parish and the Missions
is complete, I feel firmly planted at home for Christmas!
Thanks be to God!


  1. Thank you for the "tour" of the most beautiful part of California! I lived most of my adult life in the San Jose area and really miss Northern and Central California. Merry Christmas to you and your family and congratulations on Ranger's return!

  2. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing. We are on
    The way to Charleston, SC for the weekend.
    I've never been before.

    I hope you Have a wonderful time. Merry Christmas.

  3. So funny about the plateaus, none, then loads! Over here we would say that was like buses, none, then they all come at once. I am sure that your Mom will love this for many years, it looks beautifully at home already!! You know the rest dear friend!! xx

  4. I love Monterey! My husband met while stationed at the Presidio and were married at San Carlos Cathedral.....waaaayyyy back in 1974

  5. It's fun to see photos of my home from the eyes of someone returning home. I went to Carmel Mission School...sure did! My brother went to San Carlos School, and I went to Junipero Memorial High School, which closed right after my freshman year, so I went on to Carmel High School. Nice photos, my dear. I never, EVER tire of living here.


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