Thanks to my iPhone I am able to bring you a view of the Pacific Ocean for the theme of “Infinite” this week. Standing on the beach just below Pacifica, the ocean seem to be an expanse of endless waves on the horizon. Rhythmically the came in and out on the beach in an endless cycle. Cheers!
When I think of “carefree” I think of growing up on the lake, working for the family business, and hanging out with friends… either local or seasonal. The reality of life on the lake was seldom carefree, and working for family… well, it’s family. But the memories, they’re carefree. It was a time in life I look back upon with carefree longing, a time of great memories, friends, and family. As I look forward to the future it’s great to have dreams based in such good memories and upon such a firm foundation.
At the first mention of this weeks photo challenge I got excited. If there is one thing I like to do it’s cook… and when it comes to photography, my first muse is most naturally food. The only questions then becomes what to cook, photograph, and post.
I often think simple is better, so today’s photo post is of a Fried Tomato Sandwich with Avocado. This sandwich is thick slices of ripe tomatoes tossed in herbs and cornmeal, then pan fried. They are then place on whole grain bread, lined liberally with Miracle Whip, and joined by fresh romaine lettuce and thick slices of avocado to make a most excellent sandwich. I know Miracle Whip is not the most healthy or natural of choices but what can I say… I like “zesty” alternative.
Last night my wife found ourselves talking with some friends in town after more than a year of living in Asia. It was great to hear about, and in some small ways, share their life experiences living outside the United States. As with most conversation with expats, the topic eventually made it’s way to the things one misses most when living in another country; Chocolate chips, Dr. Pepper, marshmallows, good bacon, and sliced bread. I found I could not think of many things I would “miss” once I no longer live within the united states. That is, until I went to make coffee. As I ground freshly roasted coffee I found there was one thing that I would truly miss. Good Coffee! Each cup, each roast, and every bean holds different and truly unique caricaturists. Above is a photo of 2010 “washed” coffee beans from the Aleta Wondo region of Ethiopia. A truly unique bean and cup of coffee.
I must confess that I was troubled by this weeks challenge to capture “love” through the lens of my camera. Love can be represented in so many different ways, which may well be why it is our subject for the week. Because I was having such a hard time with the challenge, I played word association with myself. The first two things that came to mind were God and Family. As I have recently written about God I thought this would be a great time to write a little about my family. You may ask why a picture of a greasy hamburger represents my family and love. Well, I’ll tell you. It’s not because we are unhealthy eater, though at times we are. It is much more.
The picture above is not just of any hamburger. It’s of a “Lassen View Hamburger” from the now closed Lassen View Resort on Lake Almanor! You see, I grew up on Lake Almanor and spent my summers helping my parents and grandparents run Little Norway Resort. Lassen View made the best hamburgers I have ever had (I’m still looking for its replacement) and it was a treat when we got to have them. They were special as were the people who handmade every one of them. They may not have been blood relatives, but they will always be family.
This last summer my grandmother celebrated her 80th birthday and invited us all up the the lake for a grand celebration. It was a time to celebrate my grandma, our family, and all that living on Lake Almanor meant to us. As part of celebrating, the previous owners of Lassen View came out of retirement and brought their grill with them. It was amazing! Out of everything they saved from their lives at the resort the hamburger grill is one of the prize positions. Not only by them but everyone who gets the chance to bite in to the product of it’s perfectly seasoned grill.
You see, this hamburger represents much more than my families love to gather around the table and eat (though we LOVE to do that). It represents a chapter in my families life as we lived, worked, and gathered around Lake Almanor. When I think of this hamburger I can’t help but think of my life around the lake. Whether it was sitting on the deck at Little Norway Resort watching the boats come in and out eating a hamburger before going back to work on the gas dock, fishing with my brother up in Hamilton Branch and working our way down the path to the Hamburger Hut at Lassen View to grab a burger (at random hours of the day), or sitting down at the PG&E camp ground after Labor Day and basking in the peace of the post-tourist season, there are so many powerful memories tied to the sight, smell, and taste of this burger.
It has been long since my family sold Little Norway and our friends sold Lassen View, but the memories still live on. Over the years I have been able to take my wife back to the place where I grew up, but until this last year I was only able share with her stories of the Lassen View Hamburger. Being able to share the real thing felt like being able to share a part of my history, a deeper part of myself with her. It’s much more than a hamburger, it’s a part of who I am, who my family is, where we came from, and the love we share. When I think about love I think about my family (past, present, and future) and this juicy hamburger brings all that love flooding back into my memory. It’s amazing how food can do that. So while my photo for this challenge is hamburger it’s really all about love…it’s all about family.
This weeks “Beyond” photo challenge inspired this series of photos taken along the Mendocino coast in Northern California over the weekend as my wife and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. It was a great time of rest, planning, re-centering, and looking “beyond” the present to see what the Lord has for our lives. (Above is a photo of the road we walked out Pt. Cabrillo light house. If you look between the trees you will see the light house off in the distance and the ocean beyond.)
The light house serves for me as a reminder of what we center our lives around and what our guiding light is in this world. For me and my wife that guiding light is the Word of God and His will for our lives. The light house is a reminded that in the fogs of life, without the light of Christ to guide us we will be blown into the rock as countless ships have the without lighthouses. (Photo above of Pt. Cabrillo light house above)
Being in such a beautiful place it is hard not to take time for a photo or two. My wife is vary patient with me as I drag my camera case around from place to place. She has to constantly remind me that I need to put my camera down and enjoy our surroundings. She is right! This was an amazing weekend away with her that I will not soon forget. (Photo above of Martha and I)
Looking out at the coast I am reminded that while the light house was a guiding light for ships, it was only useful for those at see. It was a beacon and landmark for the traveler, the adventurers, as they made their way along their journey. For those who remained upon the safety of the shore it meant vary little, often only an annoyance with its light and resounding fog horn. But for those upon the sea it was the difference between life an death. (Photo above: Rocky Mendocino coast)
While it was the light house that drew us to the edge of the see, it is the unknown adventure that calls us beyond. As my wife and I stood looking out at the see where the heavens touched the water, I realized that the light house did not beacon us to safety but called us to a life of adventure somewhere over the horizon. Yes the light house brought ships into harbor safely, but more than that, It kept them safe on course as they made their way up and down the coast and to port unknown. A ship may dock for a season but it was never long before the wind in it’s sails and the taste of salt in the air drove it back out to see. So should be our live. God gave us His word that we may set the course of our lives by it. At times it may bring us into safe harbor but He never intends for us to remain there. The light house is set to keep us off the rocks and to help us to aline our course. It is the wind that drives us forward… and all by the great mercies of God.