Life in the Empire

We have been told that Loma Linda Ca. has been declared the healthiest community in the United States.  In particular the community is proud of the health quality of the senior adults here and boast about the extended life expectancy here in comparison to the rest of the country.  People eat better – exercise more – and have the best health care available.  They also will tell you they worship on the right day.  I’m telling you these people have got it together.  Which is why Lisa and I just don’t fit it.

I really can’t speak for Lisa – but I am writing today to admit – I don’t have it together and I never will.  If not for God’s grace and forgiveness – I would not have a chance.  The positive influence of living a healthy lifestyle that Loma Linda has pressed on us is to be appreciated and perhaps will rub off.  But of late I have thought about driving my gas guzzling SUV past the health club with my windows rolled down playing AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell” while eating a Big Mac.  There will be no beating or joining them – so might as well piss em off.  Perhaps that is why Jesus hung out with sinners – the people who had it together were just too boring.

We live in what is known as the “Inland Empire” (or the I.E.) which is the metro area of Riverside, Ontario and San Bernardino in southern California.  Of course “valley” would be too quaint a description for Californians.  They would never want to be in the same category as the “Ohio Valley” by which our home in Kentucky and surrounding area is known.  Nor would they want to be equal to the beautiful “Susquehanna Valley” which is the area in central Pennsylvania where we lived this past summer.  Here it is an “Empire”.  Give me a break.  But enough sarcasm – people here have been nice – just a little different.

The old adage, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” has certainly held true for us as we think about home.  Entering our sixth week here we are glad to be at the halfway point of this assignment.  We miss some things about home that may be a surprise.

You may not believe this one – but part of us misses the Kentucky winter.  According to the locals we are experiencing an unusually brutal winter here in southern California with highs in the mid 50’s.  (We may need to get dog sleds).  During the writing of this post, I understand it is sleeting in Owensboro and students and teachers are right now praying for enough to shut down the town tomorrow.  Not here.  Kids (and teachers) in southern California will probably never know the joy of a snow day.  And as bad as winters can be back home – springtime is all the more welcomed.  Here in California the January weather has reminded us of spring in Kentucky.  That’s great, I admit.  But what is there to look forward to.  Here it seems one season sort of blends in with the others.  Kentucky (for the most part) has distinct seasons and with those seasons it easy to turn a new leaf – set a new goal and landmark your life and time.  I would miss that.

So Lisa and I have about six weeks left here in California and we will soak up all the sunshine and fat dripping calories we can.  Just leave us a little really bad winter when we get home.  Maybe even throw in a snow day for old times sake.


Steve and Lisa


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