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Work, Hike, Pray

That’s what went down these past two weeks while we toured southern California.

From networking to hiking to politicking to praying in three mega-churches, we did it all! It was a trip filled with inspiration and the most fun we had in a long time.  I was like a kid with something exciting happening at every turn.

We won this trip!

The first amazing thing about it is that we won the trip to my favorite city, San Diego, to meet Dr. Ivan Meisner, the founder of Business Networking International (BNI).  Dr. Meisner gave a fantastic lecture on business networking like a pro. He also talked about showing gratitude and focusing on constantly improving with the right mindset and a great attitude.  It was quite an inspirational message.  

Checking out San Diego

We then spent a few more days in San Deigo, checking out dog parks by the beach and, of course, Balboa Park, and all the good stuff one does when touring. 

We also visited a mega church in the area to compare to Northridge.  Very interesting! We then headed out to Anza Borrego Desert State
Park.  This our third trip there and we love it.  It is full of hiking trails and beautiful starry nights.  And, ahhh, Jilberto’s – the town’s little Mexican joint.  A real dive, but all the tourists and locals are there … mmm mmm good food. We stocked up on our groceries and checked in for a three day stay. 

We took on a serious, pre-breakfast three-hour hike up the desert into Palm Canyon.  This time it was good to see other people on the trail besides us.  It’s usually so deserted (pun intended)!  Breakfast at Jilberto’s and then relaxed in the town “square”, Christmas Circle. Enjoyed a gorgeous starry, starry night before we headed out the next morning.

The Very Inspiring Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

The next stop was Santa Barbara and Simi Valley to visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.  What a treat that was!  What a great man he was, and a great president. I had no idea how many great speeches he made. A couple of his brilliant quotes stuck with me. 

I know in my heart that man is good.  That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there’s purpose and worth to each and every life.”  And, “There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.”  Cool stuff.

After six hours on our feet, my knees were killing me, totally swollen and ready to be iced (that’s a whole other story). 

Here’s the Pray Part

Okay.  Now that you know my political affiliation, I may as well bare it all and get into the topic of religion.  We decided to go to the most popular and gigantic church in the area, Saddelback, where we wanted to hear Pastor Rick Warren.  Well, we got a double-whammy.  While I was on their website to scope out the times of services, I discovered that Dr. Oz was going to be there for a health rally that morning.  I was beside myself.  I love Dr. Oz!  Lee stayed in bed as I got up at the crack of dawn to get a good seat for the rally.  I wasn’t the only one thinking that, but I still managed to get in the second row.  And what a show!

Pastor Rick has initiated something called The Daniel Plan along with Dr. Oz, Dr. Amen (the brain doctor) and Dr. Hyman. It’s an initiative to help his congregation get back on the path to health and well-being. It was a very fun morning with lots of bantering between the four of them.  Check out The Daniel Plan to see what it’s all about.


And more big names!

That evening we went to a service at Saddleback and got another surprise as the guest speaker there was Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church in Illinois.  Then we happened to catch Rick Warren out on the patio and got a great picture with him.  What an exciting day!  A glass of wine capped it off and I went to bed with a big smile on my face.

The next morning, we headed out to another mega-church, the Crystal Cathedral to meet the Schullers.  Shiela Schuller is one of my role models as she stepped in to fill some pretty big shoes:  her dad’s –  Dr. Robert Schuller.  Although attendance was quite low there, it was still very exciting as I have watched The Hour of Power on tv for many years now. 


So, what’s next?

Well, that was our trip, full of inspiration and excitement!  It reminded me of how fun life is and there is so much to get excited about.

As for the next trip, it’ll be New York City with my fabulous family for Thanksgiving!

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