The room was abuzz with Sunday morning patrons eagerly anticipating the consumption of French delicacies and brunchtime delights. We were seated in the front section at Bottega Louie, and although so much activity was swirling around us time seemed to stand still. I think time always stands still on Sundays. For a brief moment I see a glimpse of the Architect at work constructing my life and the lives of those around me. This is most clearly evidenced by the community He has blessed me with, for no brick means anything if it stands alone. I am so grateful for the other bricks in my life and the greater building we are a small part of.
Les macarons pour tout le monde.
^ Sassypants T-Pain.
Although the wedding festivities were over, the weekend most certainly was not. I arrived home to Tera after the reception and was so happy to be able to spend a couple days with her. Sunday was the usual: Reality LA and adventures in the City of Angels. After church I took her to Caffe Primo. Definitely one of my new favorites. We spent the afternoon exploring the city, lounging at the Bonaventure, and eating our way through downtown LA…lunch at Primo, ice cream and boba at the Grand Central Market, and I was helpless to a Bavarian Pretzel at Bottega Louie.
Each bite into this almond croissant was a tiny glimpse of France. I thought about it for the rest of the week. France and the croissant.
Tera had to test out the indoor running track.
Chariots of Fire status.
If there’s one thing I knew Tera would love, it was the funicular at Angel’s Plaza. I think the image below definitely confirms that.
I loved sharing this part of LA with Tera! Downtown is one of my favorite areas, especially on Sundays. I know I’ve said it before, but it is so incredibly serene on Sunday afternoons. Nothing like it is during the week when businesspeople are bustling about.
I realized the other day that it has almost been a full year since I’ve been regularly attending Reality LA, a Gospel-centered church in Hollywood. Although I had been a couple times earlier last year, it was specific sermon in a series on Ruth that really pulled me to making Reality a regular commitment. God blessed me so generously with a solid group of friends who were also determined to set Sundays aside for Him, each other, and Reality. I could not be more thankful for the past year I’ve had, the memories we’ve created, and the work God has done in my heart and my life.
I decided to go back and start this series on Ruth from the beginning. This book follows Naomi’s journey from sorrow and tragedy to redemption–something I think we can all look to for encouragement when life feels like it’s working against us. The most recent installment I watched is about relationships and the people God brings into our lives, illustrated by the surprising kindness Ruth shows to Naomi in the face of adversity. So often we become cynical about faithfulness and kindness. Pastor Tim Chaddick points out that faithfulness seems to have become optional and kindness has become random. Since we are so used to being hurt and abandoned by each other we begin to view relationships as completely disposable. But our God is a god of faithfulness, and his people are to be marked by this. We are called to be radically committed to the relationships that God gives us, looking for what we can contribute to a relationship, not what we can consume from it. Regardless of how ‘busy’ we are, we cannot use this as an excuse not to reflect one of the most wonderful characteristics of God: his faithful kindness.
Friends, I love you. So, so much. Even during this crazy transitional period in our lives I will do my best to remain faithful to you!
Below is the sermon, if you are at all interested in watching. I definitely was encouraged by it!
Surprising Kindness | Ruth 1: 6-18
This Sunday was pretty similar to the day we spent Downtown a couple weeks ago, except this time Katie and Sam were with us. We intended to pick up lunch at the Grand Central Market but ended up back at the Nickel Diner instead. Since neither Katie nor Sam had seen the Bradbury Building, we stopped in for another look. I decided to spend the day taking black and white pictures for a change, and I am so glad I did. To quote the Death Cab for Cutie song…”She loves the natural light captured in black and white”…
After brunch at the Nickel Diner, we walked over to CoffeeBar on Spring St. We passed this place the last time we were downtown and I really wanted to stop in for a drink. Seriously one of the best chais I’ve ever had…
From there, we walked to the California Plaza above Angels Knoll, and on the way I spotted this treasure.
I also want to share something I took away from the sermon at Reality LA this week. Whether or not you are a Christian, I just feel the need to share this because I found it to be completely relevant to my life lately. Basically, we live in a fallen world. It is because of sin that we experience pain, stress, and hardship…it is because of sin that we are separated from God and the immeasurable joy that he promises us in heaven. However, it is because of God’s grace and love for us that we are offered the gift of “stabs of joy,” as described by C.S. Lewis. Those fleeting moments when we feel so much more than happiness, but which can never fulfill our longing for complete and unending joy. These stabs leave us with a deeper longing for the source of joy: God.
I pray that each day brings me a little closer to The Source…
Today was yet another fabulous Sunday spent in LA with a wonderful group of friends. For the past few months we’ve been going to church at Reality LA in Hollywood and I couldn’t be happier with my experience so far. This church is truly Gospel-centered and I walk away every week feeling convicted and closer to understanding what it means to have a relationship with my savior. I have encountered quite a few surprised reactions when people hear that I’ve been driving the 40-something miles to LA for church every Sunday, but the fact of the matter is that it’s so much more than church for me. It’s a time of learning, of pure and uninhibited worship and response to God’s love, of re-dedication, and of community.
After church we have the day wide open for exploration, beginning with a new restaurant to fuel our usually starving bodies. Today I suggested we try a place I’ve driven past countless times, always making a mental note to go sometime, but never actually going. Just a few blocks up Sunset Boulevard from Reality, The Mercantile is a French-style wine bar that serves brunch on the weekends. The atmosphere is nothing short of idyllic, with sun-soaked brick walls adorned with white hand-painted signs advertising their cheese, wine selection, and pastries. Their menues are simple sheets of paper on wooden clipboards, and what they lack in terms of entrée choices they more than make up for with quality and overall tastiness. Three of us ordered a type of egg omelette taco thing, accompanied by the loveliest looking cubed potatoes I’ve seen in a while. Let’s just say their plates were practically licked clean. Katie and I both ordered the “mini” pancakes, although we both agreed that they were just about the same size as the pancakes we make at home. Since we were extremely tantalized by the chocolate cake sitting in the display case behind us throughout our entire meal, we opted to split a slice between the five of us before leaving. Unfortunately, it was very very mocha-y and I am not exactly a coffee fan, but everyone else seemed to greatly enjoy it. We are definitely looking forward to eating there again.
Since Nick is in law school and super important taking finals right now, he parted ways with us and headed off for some studying at the good old Bullocks Wilshire building aka Southwestern Law School library. The rest of us finished off the day with a quick trip up to the Griffith Observatory since Sam had never been, and the city really did look quite beautiful. Today was a day filled with giddy laughter over stupid jokes as we all basked in the glow of the end of finals week and the beginning of winter break (or the beginning of real life for me).
He caught me…
All connected, all the time.
It seems my lens was a little dirty. Oops.
Sundays are the best. I hope yours are just as lovely 🙂