now I’ve got my mind back on the open air and you on Highway 1.

September 2008 I took a drive to southern California with my dear friend Andrea Scherpich and her son. She was relocating to the marine base in 29palms and was nervous about driving the whole way just the two of them. I jumped on board.

I borrowed her car to drive to Los Angeles for Dave’s CD release show. The GPS led me up a windy mountain and that road was eventually closed, but I found a beautiful place to sit and reflect on God’s beauty.

That was also the trip I finished reading Blue Like Jazz. I was staying the night at Dave’s house. Dave was gone and I helped his brother Jon-Marc bring his stuff in the house. Jon-Marc made lunch while I laid on the floor and finished the book.

Then I went to the Hotel Cafe for Dave’s CD release show, not realizing Josh was playing as well. Katherine Heigl was there, which made the trip even more interesting to recall upon my return home. On the drive back, my ipod suddenly stopped working which interfered with my non-stop listening to “For the Longest Time” by Billy Joel. So naturally I stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up a Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits CD to pop into the CD player and continue the drive back.

September 2009 I took another trip to California. This has a dramatic entrance.

The plan was to meet everyone at Redwood Glen for Family Camp, spend the weekend, and then head to Pacifica. Prior to leaving I googled “Redwood Glen,” printed out directions to the camp in northern California and left insisting that I didn’t need a car charger for my phone.

actually the WRONG drive.

Long story short: would you believe that there are two Redwood Glen camps within 25 miles from each other, both having Family Camps on that weekend? One at the top of a terrifyingly swervy, narrow road hill where there is no phone reception {not that it mattered since my phone died anyway}. One where everybody I loved was at. I made it to the terrifying one at the top of the hill. I wrote a blog entry from that Redwood Glen.

They were so lovely and set me up with a small corner to sleep in.

I arrived at the correct Redwood Glen with much laughing and teasing, and to this day certain people will ask if I made it okay {with a twinkle in their eye} when I visit Redwood Glen. It was the first of many highly anticipated trips to my camp home away from camp home.

We had fantastic sing-a-longs.

The girls convinced me to jump into the pool.

Just for memory’s sake, at one point Cameron threw a ball into the pool and Sadie {a dog, btw} jumped in to retrieve it, landing on a woman’s head. We were all silent in shock while Cameron laughed uncontrollably. Nick shook his head and quietly said “Stupid Cameron.”

Also for memory’s sake: I met Travis Yardley for the first time on this trip. At one point I had to go to the bathroom really bad but Nick was in the bathroom. I went in the room across from the bathroom where Travis and Cameron were and asked Travis if Nick was going to be in the bathroom for a long time. Travis quickly hushed me and said “sshhh, Cameron’s sleeping!” I stared at him blankly for a minute, trying to figure out if that had really happened. Cameron is deaf.

We spent Labor Day on the beach. Burying Emily, watching sea lions, and enjoying the company.

Then I drove on Highway 1 for the first time. It is beautiful, right along the Pacific Ocean. The house on Cutty Ct. quickly became familiar. There’s a Dave Barnes lyric that sums it up beautifully:

I will never be a stranger and I will never be alone
cuz deep inside of me I know that wherever you are is home.

We went to the Full House house.

Also visited the Chit Chat.

I ordered One Tree Hill online and had it sent to the Birks residence. Emily and I turned into hermits and watched it one day, feasting on oreos and egg rolls and Wheat Thins.

We tried having a photoshoot with Lauren, the squirmiest model around.

Then I went down south.

goin out to angeles...


My friend Dave gave me a new appreciation for the ocean…


I spent the night with Melissa…


Visited the Stearn family at Crestmont…


Inspired Adam to become a gas station attendant…


and had breakfast with Hannah & Aleen.

Then I returned north. Where we all experienced FOGFEST for the first time.

We got henna…

and made wax hands…

and ate at McDonalds.

The fun didn’t stop at Fogfest, though.
In addition to having lunch with Kim in San Francisco {and getting a parking ticket, my second of the trip},

Emily and I walked to the Chit Chat. En route I found one shoe on the side of the road and naturally tried it on. Cinderella complex.

Once we got to the Chit Chat, we proceeded to watch a lilve drama unfold right outside of the window. Lots of police men showed up and everything. By “lots” I actually mean two cop cars, but Pacifica is a small town. I have no pictures to accurately represent what we saw.

Lauren and I made dinner one evening.
dinner @ birks casa


Emily and I went to the bank and Target with Graham and Rob.

While they handled business in the bank, Emily and I.. well we did what we do best.

At Target we convinced Rob to buy us popcorn. And you can bet we wanted to keep our popcorn safe. We buckled it up.

Then myself, Graham & Emily headed out to Redwood Glen. Starbucks first, of course.

I insisted on stopping at the scenic view points.

We spent time with the Coverts. Went to Goodwill and tried on ridiculous clothes, and then pulled over on the side of the road to carve initials in the side of a cliff. It was a day so great, so perfect, that nobody really thought of anyone other than the immediate company. It was eerily perfect, like the scenes in movies that happen right before a tragedy. Luckily for us, disaster never struck.


in case you're wondering, yes we purchased those matching dresses....


taylor spelled her last name incorrectly πŸ˜‰

em & i?? not a fan of the heights.

and just like it {eventually} began, my {month-long} trip ended with the people I love the most in my life.

Blogs I wrote during that trip:
Family Camp at Redwood Glen, Night 1
There is such thing as a tesseract
#truthursday. number one
#truthursday. number two
Two weeks of California
I’m never coming home
…I’m tired of being alone
100 songs
Facebook friends
Dinner, people of walmart, 3-way calls
#truthursday – I frequently feel lost in life
The moon by night

September 2010, I took another trip to California. This one a little more permanent. I relocated.

Blogs I wrote during that trip down:
If you go to San Francisco…
Day 12 – My dream vacation
Day 13 – Something you’re looking forward to

But now I’m back. I’m in Washington and California is still in California, a whole state away. No more long, aimless days at Starbucks. No more coastal drives down Highway 1 or In-N-Out. No more Fresh ‘n’ Easy, Chit Chat mochas, stretches of empty boring I-5.

Instead it’s Burgerville, quick stops at Starbucks, Saturday Market, a bed that is my own, stops at the Centralia outlets, the Q Cafe, Dick’s, Fred Meyer. It’s the northwest.
Madeleine L’Engle once said “It is only when we are fully rooted that we are really able to move.” So here I am, a year after I wrote about being tired of being temporary, wondering if the grass is greener on this side or just different.

Jonny Lang sings,
“The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence
but the dog over there might be meaner on the other side of the fence…
Stay in your own yard,
play in your own yard,
be happy in your own yard”

and Gregory sent me a letter about this time last year and wrote “It’s so easy to be in multiple places at once and therefore not be anywhere!”

So in my brain it all gets put together and turns into what I must stand by right now. Be fully rooted; be happy in my own yard; be where I am at right now, nowhere else.

1 Comment

  1. Andrea scherpich
    September 3, 2011 / 2:28 pm

    Ahhh Sweet Stephanie! I love you and I love that your crazy journeys started with a roadtrip with me. I remember that trip so well, and being so grateful to have you with me. I was really scared, i was moving from everyone and everythigng i had ever known to a new place. I didn’t have and friends or family (except Jim), but you made it so much easier. Thank you for making the transition so much easier!

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