Beautiful Day

Friday, August 14, 2015

Reagan Presidential Library

So I mentioned that during our California Getaway , that we took an afternoon excursion to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.  I think we both knew that it would be inspiring (and we could use some of that!), but I don't think we knew just how much so it would be!  Warning---LOTS of pictures in this post! :)

We entered here and were on our way.

I would just like to say, that I appreciated the professionalism of this place.  I have never been to any presidential libraries in the country (and I don't think there are many I would even want to visit), so I would imagine they do this in every one.  But from the professional attire of the docents, to the helpful enthusiasm expressed at different points in the museum, I just thought it so respectful and appropriate.

We started with a short film overview of President Reagan's terms in office.  It was only about 3 minutes long, and already the tears were welling up in my eyes.

There is a lot to see and take in here.  And many rooms that depict different aspects of Ronald Reagan's life as well as his presidency.  What strikes us here is how much of a work ethic he developed as a young man.  He did not live a silver-spoon life in his growing-up years.  Yes, he became a "movie star."  But that was one of his goals in life that he determined to work toward, and achieved.  He had a great capacity for communicating, which as you may know, earned him the title The Great Communicator.
I came away with a much deeper understanding of how this was both his gift, and a discipline that he cultivated.  It reminds me that I have a stewardship to develop the gifts that God has uniquely given me.

At this podium/photo prop, each one can take their turn "giving" a Presidential speech!  In the company of other VIP's :) 

One of the highlights for me, personally, was to dwell on this little island that shows Reagan's collection of quotes in his own handwriting.  I do so love the written word, and this display, among others, captures something precious to me----the (quickly-becoming) lost art of handwriting by pen-and-ink.  I often wonder what will become of some aspects of history when all we have is typewritten emails and text messages, and even tele-prompted speeches.  This display alone made me want to write, write, and write some more!

The base of the above display has some of his quotes emblazoned on all four sides.  They were all great, and characteristic of what he believed.

Speaking of letters.....His legacy in letters is astounding.  But the most touching are his love letters to his wife, Nancy.  Oh, they are BEAUTIFUL!

President Reagan certainly had a great wit and sense of humor.  It was even displayed in the moments he entered the hospital after he was shot.  I think this sense of humor is something he and his wife both shared, and it had to have made the heavy responsibilities just a little lighter each day.

There were a few of these cute little telegrams he sent her.  

I am surprised that I did not take more photos in the Nancy Reagan portion of the gallery.  This was a place that really captured my heart (and hence more tears followed).  Mostly because what I saw here was a woman who exuded grace, charm and beauty in that she served her husband well.  She seemed to grow into her public role very well, though I am sure it was very challenging.  I miss the public examples of women who bring finesse and beauty to the things they put their hands to in their capacity as a helpmeet to their husband.  She was event-coordinator-extraordinnaire.  She did raise life above mere existence, not only for her husband, but for others.  And her husband certainly "praised her in the gates," as Proverbs 31 says.  His appreciation for her shines in so many of his public, and private, words. 

On a side note about letters, I noticed a letter written to Nancy from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher upon the death of President Reagan.  I loved how personal it felt between these two women, sharing in a grief.  And Margaret Thatcher was so encouraging of Nancy as a woman walking through grief.  She praised her for how she had witnessed her strength in bearing the sorrow, especially in a public funeral.  It brought such a sense of real.  And a sense of friendship.

Replica of the Oval Office during Reagan's administration--to the exact dimensions!

Of course, there are MANY displays of gifts from leaders around the world, given during the Reagan's travels.  I took this picture primarily for my children.  We had just finished an old "Mickey Mouse Club" movie on "The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of the Applegate Treasure."  It was all about Spanish doubloons and pieces of eight and there was a catchy song at the beginning of every episode.  So I HAD to show them real Pieces of Eight!

One of the primary attractions here is Air Force One.  This one served 7 presidents, if I remember correctly.  It is quite amazing to have one on display in a Presidential Museum!  Cool plane to travel in, for sure!  And Warrior says this one is smaller than its successors.  No pictures allowed inside of it.  But for a price, you too can have your picture taken at the entrance to the plane with your lovely Presidential and First Lady wave!

And Marine One--the presidential helicopter.  Not as posh as Air Force One, but certainly comfy seating for a helicopter!

At this point we were only about halfway through the museum!  So we paused for some lunch at a little sandwich shoppe made in the replica of an Irish pub that the President visited (he has Irish roots).  It was a most excellent sandwich! :)

This doesn't do justice to the view.  It is quite a lovely view from atop the hill where the museum is.  Since our family are Roy Rogers fans, I couldn't help but think of Roy Rogers movie sets everywhere I looked.  (The names of towns were certainly reminders as well!)

My girls would find this the fun part of the museum, since it is primarily about his ranch life....and horses!  Here is a saddle collection (and some belt buckles).

Quote which my girls very much believe.  We have a cup that attributes a similar quote to Winston Churchill.  So maybe this is one he borrowed?

Just a ride with the President.

My moment to capture the gorgeous Southern California flowers!

A piece of the Berlin Wall.  WOW!  So appropriate that they would display one here.

With all these photos, you might think I spoiled it and showed you the whole museum.  But I promise I didn't!  There is a lot to see here, and different aspects will stand out to different people.  There are galleries full of exploring his role in the fall of Communism in Russia, his boyhood, the assassination attempt on his life, the Iran-Contra affair, and more, all the way up to his death and funeral.  In all, a very honoring tribute to an honorable President.  His life represents one of character, integrity, and humility (when is the last time you heard a President publicly apologize for something that happened under his watch, even if he was not directly involved?). 

They've done a fine job of paying tribute to President Ronald Reagan.

If you visit here, I do recommend giving yourself a minimum of 4 hours.  At least if you are a history afficionado.  I suppose you might breeze through it faster if you don't care to read much.  But you might be surprised!  At many museums I have a hard time reading through what's written, even though I really love American history in particular.  But this one had my attention from start to finish.  Except for maybe small portions on the economy.

Of course, almost every museum tour, lands you in the gift shop at the end.  I wanted to be careful here, but I chose two primary books that captured my attention.

I'm looking forward to spending time with these in the coming weeks.

If you are ever in Southern California and have yet to venture to this museum, I highly recommend it!  I think I left with, on one hand, a sadness for where our country has gone since his era of leadership, and on the other hand, a renewed and profound respect for great leaders and for history, a deep gratitude for true, loyal love stories such as theirs, and the desire to try my best to preserve a legacy in letters to my loved ones--to keep at that discipline of writing!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

California Getaway

Warrior had a work conference in southern California....rough, yes?  And on the beach no less!  How to remedy this sad state?  GO WITH, of course!  It being just a little in advance of our anniversary, it was also opportune time to celebrate the occasion.  How GLAD I am to have had this opportunity!

First up, flying into Santa Barbara.  Can I just say that I LOVE small airports??  So easy to navigate.  And this one is so charming.

It nearly looks like a mission.  And with lemon trees, of course.

We found a place to park near the pier and harbor areas.  We found a quiet and lovely al fresco corner of a restaurant to dine at for dinner.  Then we walked the pier, enjoyed seeing how MANY sailboats there were, and took in this most gorgeous of sunsets!  It's true, that we took the above one with the vivid setting on our camera.  Because it just wasn't quite capturing the color hues.  But it really wasn't too far off from this.  The azure and fuschia-type colors are only my two favorite colors combined!

Ahhhhhh, palm trees.  We decided they just have this thing about them that says "warm" or "vacation" to Northerners.

We ended the day by driving to our hotel in Ventura and getting settled.  As I mentioned, Warrior had to work.  So I had to decide what to fill my day with.  Since we were on Ventura Harbor, the choice was easy--walk the harbor, and find the beach.  My primary goal was to still and quiet my heart with the Lord and refuel my soul at the oceanside--in short, to live and breathe beauty.

It was a charming little village with tons of "toothpicks" sticking up out of the harbor.  So many sailboat masts, that's what they looked like.  The sailing schools for children would line up the little sailboats and they would head out of the harbor.  It would look, sometimes, like Mama sailboat and her babies following along.  It reminded me of our own days of learning to sail on that little sunfish boat on a reservoir in Idaho.  We're a bit out of practice 20-something years later!  But it did look fun!  Too bad there were no one-day sailing lessons.

I oriented myself to the village, and then found this Channel Islands National Park Museum at the end.  I didn't know these islands existed until coming here.  And it looked fun to explore them by hiking or sea kayaking.  As we were there a short time, there was no planning ahead.  And we must not forget we're only an hour out of LA!  Which means any cruises or island excursions are booked long in advance.  We consoled ourselves with the fact that it was cloudier than usual the days we were there, and we decided we wanted to do that when you could actually SEE from the islands (and if a bit warmer, would be nice too!)

My little snapshots of said Channel Islands, on display at the museum.

After meeting up with Warrior and some of his colleagues for lunch at a Greek restaurant, I was off to the beach!  Hurray!  But first....a stop in the shops.  You see, I forgot to pack a couple of essential items.  Those being a beach towel and sunscreen!

The book I took along was Sarah Mae's "Longing for Paris."  Maybe I'll review it sometime.  It arrived just before I left, so I decided it would be a quick read that I could actually accomplish in one trip!  The subtitle says, "One Woman's Search for Joy, Beauty and Adventure Right Where She Is."  That resonates with me, so I thought I would check it out.  Plus, the cover is just lovely :)

It just so happens, there is a delightfully delicious french bakery in the village!  Oh, JOY!  So, I brought my little taste of Paris beachside with my croissant and iced blended mocha.  My croissant is barely peeking out of the bag to keep it out of sight of the seagulls!  I didn't want any intruders.  I think this croissant is one of the best I have ever tasted.  I do have to laugh at myself, though.  I went into the bakery/cafe and asked if they made the pastries right there.  The man in the chef's hat opened his mouth and out came, in his strong French accent, "Yes, everyday, except Mondays." (when they are closed)  That answers that! 

Amidst other experiences, I actually also got to eat at a French country restaurant.  Warrior's colleagues held an after-work dinner there.  Though I was not in-the-know about all the goings-on discussions related to the work project at hand, I did find the discussions interesting and the company intriguing--half of our table (which is 3 out of 6) were from other countries-- Holland, Quebec, and Scotland.  We were so trying to be good and eat small dinners (we weren't that hungry, anyway) that when the waiter asked if anyone would like dessert, we all said, "No, thank you."  As our table was dispersing for the evening and we were trying to figure out how to pay, we were informed that the grant was paying for the dinner.  Needless to say, we were a little bummed that we passed up the opportunity to have a French dessert! :)

One evening we took this walk at sunset toward the pier.  'Twas a bit chilly, so my beach towel doubled as an extra-layer skirt.  The Ventura County Fair was going on, and I guess it's a big one.  We laughed as we listened to the Huey Lewis concert coming down the walkway.  Guess it was that middle-school nostalgia.

A fisherman had caught a little shark off here.  Oh, and I learned that this is one of the biggest squid harbors on the West Coast!  Calamari, anyone?  (Not me, thanks!)

What a place for a county fair!

We watched sunsets every opportunity there was!

When work was over, we did arrange to have one extra day that we could spend together.  When we arrived in California and were looking through those tourist books of what there is to see and do in the area, we discovered that the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library was not far off!  After a leisurely morning and a return trip to that French bakery (tres magnifique!),  we spent the afternoon being greatly inspired by one of the heroes of our lifetime!  Come back next time for a whole post on that experience!

We soaked in the last moments of sunny California beach, bare feet in the sand, with our little breakfast before heading up the highway for our return flight home.  Only us on the beach with surfers in the waves.  We never get tired of this scene.  Ever.

Leaving this entry with a favorite song.  In the quiet morning of a beach run, all alone, it was the perfect opportunity for worship.



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