Categories
Travel

Relaxing in Rosarito

One of the commitments that I made for 2012 is to rest better. I know, that sounds silly. But with all the stress and craziness of 2011 I forgot to take more than a few sporadic days off. That’s not healthy or sustainable. 

With that in mind, and Kristen’s parents in town for the week, we jumped on the opportunity to take a 36 hour getaway down in Mexico.

Hotel: We stayed at the Rosarito Beach Hotel. It was great. We stayed in the Pacifico Tower, which is only 4 years old. It’s gorgeous. We got a king suite with a beach view and balcony for a little over $100. The property is right on the beach, has great beach access, a kickin’ pier, and all the amenities. Free parking was a nice added bonus. We’re already planning to go back with the kids. Seriously, the hotel was like 45 minutes from our house. I really dig the old world charm of the older parts of the hotel. This thing dates back to the 1920s. All the stars have been there. I mean… Marilyn Monroe stayed there back in the day. How cool is that?

Beach: I don’t know how long the beach is. It’s long. You can walk about a mile south of the hotel and… we got tired after about a 1.5 miles to the north. It was very clean and mostly empty. We thought it was cool that there were some fun things to do on the beach if you were into that. Like, rent a horse or ATV or drink a piña colada or eat shrimp. In the afternoons there is even a dude that will take you up in a sail plane. We didn’t do any of those things but it was all right there.

Food: There’s no lying about it. One reason you go to Mexico is to get your eat on. And that we did. The star of the show is El Yaqui. They basically do one thing and do it very, very well. They have a skirt steak taco (perrones) that is perfect. The steak, onion, guacamole, cheese, and tortilla make love in your mouth to produce a love child called delicious. We had 4 tacos and 2 sodas for like $11. You can’t beat that deal. For dinner we went to a divey place on the main strip and shared a fish combination. We had shrimp, white fish, calimari, and lobster plus drinks for $20. I mean, get real. It’s so cheap and good and fun! For breakfast we grabbed coffee and a couple of pastries and walked the beach. Simple and magical.

Shopping: Kristen had actually never been to Mexico. So we had a good time exploring Rosarito’s shops. The main market has dozens of little stalls with every souvenir you could imagine. We didn’t buy much but had fun. The main thing we bought stuff was in a big candy shop! They had everything you could ever want to put in a piñata. $10 in that place could get you a very serious sugar high.

Safety: I’m so sick of hearing how unsafe Mexico is. Yes, if you’re in a gang or you buy drugs or you’re in the red light district at 2:00 AM… Mexico is probably dangerous. (Um, just as dangerous as Omaha or Dallas doing those same activities) But it’s also a country with millions of people who are very proud of their homeland. Believe it or not, not every person in Mexico wants to illegally immigrate to the United States! I’ve been to Mexico several times in the past year or so and never once felt the slightest bit in danger. In fact, when we walked back to the hotel after dinner at about 7:45 PM the streets were basically empty. If you’ve stayed away from Mexico because you heard it was dangerous… my experience in TJ/Norther Baja have been awesome.

An invitation: Whether you are thinking about bringing your youth group/church to Mexico for a mission trip or maybe you’d like to find a sweet getaway spot. I don’t know any other way to make it OK for you than to simply invite you to come down. Drop me a line. I’d be happy to either connect you with some friends who live/work in Mexico or, if I have time, take you myself.

Categories
Christian Living family

When Daddy is Away

It’s inevitable.

All of the chaos happens when I leave town. 

On Monday afternoon Kristen dropped me off at the San Diego airport. All was calm and under control in the McLane clan. Leaving Kristen for 5 days with Megan, (10) Paul, (7) and Jackson (4 months) was hard. I really didn’t want to leave them. We all wished I didn’t have to do this trip. Not because I was dreading going on the trip or being in Minnesota but simply because it’s been so long since I’ve been away. And I’ve really loved being home more.

At the same time we were prepared for daddy to be gone for a few days and for Kristen to manage the kids, and the house, and her job, and the kids school. (They go year-round, getting out July 15th) The older two are growing very independent… helpful even. In many ways, when I’m gone is like an exam. Can they handle more responsibility? Let’s hope so because they need to! 

I checked in with Kristen Monday night when I landed in Minneapolis. All was calm and everyone was tucked in and sleeping away.

My Tuesday was rushed in visiting with all of my fellow co-workers at YouthWorks, meetings, the normal. Then I got a call from a weird 619 number. I let it go to voice mail but quickly checked it. It said, “Mr. McLane, this is the nurse at Darnall Elementary School. We have Paul here in the office and he’s been injured on the playground. We’ll need you to come get him as soon as possible. Please call us right away.”

My heart leapt and sank at the same time. My instinct told me to grab my keys and go get him. But my reality was that I’m a 4 day drive away. I quickly connected with Kristen, who was dashing to get him.

He had broken his arm in an accident on the playground. Our first ER trip as parents and I missed it.

Kristen and I exchanged a hundred text messages while they were at the ER. Paul and Amy, dear friends, came to the rescue and took Megan and Jackson for the afternoon. While Paul waited nearly 3 hours to get an x-ray and a cast… I wasn’t there. 

It seems like this always happens. Important things happen when daddy is out-of-town. Last year, Kristen was rear-ended while I was on a trip to Washington state. I’ve missed kids losing teeth. Or winning an award at school. Or epic small group nights with major breakthroughs. Doctors appointments when Kristen was pregnant. Bed times, quiet times, crazy times, thrills, spills, shrills, and the immediate stills of realizing it’d all be OK.

When daddy is away stuff happens. Life doesn’t stop at home. It’s inevitable. And it kills me. And while I know Kristen is a trooper/super power mom/amazingly strong woman who can handle it all I want to be there, with her, when these things happen. I want to be there.

What does this have to do with you?

Our Heavenly Father is the same way. While He never leaves us sometimes we go far from Him. And life moves on. Stuff happens, chaos reigns, victories occur, and sometimes bones break. For every bed time, quiet time, crazy time, thrills, spills, shrills, and the immediate stills of realizing it’ll all be OK– Our Heavenly Father wants the intimacy of sharing those moments with us.

His heart breaks for His children when they are away from Him. He wants to be there.

Maybe it’s time for you to come home? 

So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20

I’m going home tomorrow to Kristen and the kids. But maybe today you need to go home and be with your Father? 

Categories
hmm... thoughts

The weekend ahead

I’m looking forward to a fun and crazy next 5 days.

We’re going to Disneyland!

We might be the only family in Southern California who has never been to Disneyland. And that’s all Megan wanted for her 10th birthday. So today, after school, we are going up to do just that. We’ll be in Anaheim tonight through Sunday. I’ve actually never done anything at a Disney park, either. So we’re all pretty amped up about it and a little nervous, too.

Sunday morning, I’m getting up at the butt crack of dawn to leave Disneyland and come back down to La Mesa to teach at Encounter. My talk is called, “So I’ve been thinking about how to be good news in my neighborhood.” It’ll be all about unleashing your creativity to be good news. (I’ll post the notes in the free section.) After church, I’m back to Anaheim to hop in the pool and then drive everyone home.

Monday afternoon through Tuesday, I’m off to Chicago to help out my friend Andrew Marin. He’s working with a publisher to produce some training materials for his smash hit book, Love is an Orientation. Actually, I’m not 1000% sure what my role is in that. But I know that I’ll be speaking into the youth ministry portion of the content, helping youth workers practically minister to adolescents in matters of sexual orientation.

I’d appreciate your prayers for this whirlwind 5-days.