Saturday, October 15, 2016

Not your average Hollywood

When I moved to California, I knew God was calling me to a different kind of mission field. One that many people back east don't understand to be a mission field. I mean, California is still part of the US. It's not like moving to a foreign country. And yet Los Angeles often feels very much like a foreign country to me. I'm a small town girl. I grew up in the middle of the woods in upstate New York.  I graduated high school in a class of 96 students. Never having a desire to move west of the Mississippi, my life goal was to marry and settle down in Michigan. California was NEVER on my radar. But when I moved home from Costa Rica, I prayed the seemingly innocent prayer of, "Here I am, send me," thinking God would send me to some normal mission field, like El Salvador or Croatia or Uganda. The Lord heard my prayer and does what He does best: surprise me with the answer. He called me to trust him and move to Los Angeles as a missionary to the nations. Because every nation under the sun lives in LA.

The past three years have been a journey for sure. I thought living in Los Angeles was God's goal. Being a small town girl, the first year I lived outside of LA in the sleepy city of Simi Valley where the motto of the city is "Relax and slow down". It was like God was easing me into the waters. The next year I moved into Studio City, which is a burb in "The Valley", yes where Valley girls come from. When Dave and I got married, we legit lived in Bel Air. We had a tiny little apartment in the old section of the canyon that drops down from the valley into Los Angeles. When we had Violet, we undoubtedly needed more space with cheaper rent. We prayed and told the Lord we were willing to move any where in the city that He wanted us to be in. We were open to any place as long as it was the place He wanted us to be. Open the door to the right place and shut all others. And of course I wrote out a list of everything we needed. He obviously heard our prayers We tried for three months to move to the beach where the life style is slowed down and relaxed. We went to open house after open house and applied for half a dozen apartments, literally never hearing back from any of them. We would have been closer to Dave's work and let's all admit it, its so much fun to live at the beach. But then we found out there were going to be some changes at Dave's job and we decided for the best of our family that I would go back to work full time and Dave would stay at home with the baby. As soon as that happened, we decided to look in a totally different area of the city. We looked at one apartment and BAM! here we are in the heart of Hollywood.

In the few weeks we've lived here, Dave and I have had new revelation for why we are here. We were not only called to Los Angeles, but specifically to Hollywood. And what better way to do missions in an area than to go in and live there. Every day we strap Violet in the stroller and walk the Hollywood Hills. We have worship music blasting in the stroller as we prayer walk through our new community. We've been able to explore some really cool areas of the city. Now I don't know about you, but if you're not from Los Angeles it's easy to have a stigma and preconceived notion about what LA is really like. From either Straight Out of Compton street sketch to hoity-toity Beverly Hills entitlement Kardashianism, the perception of LA is either that it's full of flaky, rich, Hollywood stars; Hollywood star wannabes; or criminal street gangsters and bums. While LA has it's fair share of the later, there are also just good, old-fashioned, hard working Americans that just want to have a quiet life that just so happen to live in one of the biggest cities in the nation. What I've come to love about Hollywood is that it's nothing like what I thought it was like. Sure there's Hollywood Blvd with it's fancy star walk and tourist trap bars restaurants, and museums. But Hollywood is so much more than that. It's classy and quaint and charming. Hopefully these pictures I've taken on our walks will change your opinion about what Hollywood is all about.

Is this earthquake tested? Reminds me of some of the houses in Anonos

Life is better under a palm tree

Baby in the front, coffee in the back

Adele super fan

Neighborhood lending library. Take a book, leave a book.

Building is a challenge

I want to live in a castle

The lamp post that leads to a wardrobe

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