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Exactly what I needed…

Expect this post to be similar to the movie “Up”, in the sense that the first part is going to be really depressing and then it gets better. Okay? Good.

So, last week was a rough week, actually the past two weeks have been particularly emotional. First, a couple weeks ago, two girls we know from volleyball were walking down the mountain road that runs alongside our church, a motorcycle hit them. One girl escaped with relatively minor injuries, bruised, scraped, and sore. The other was seriously injured, lucky to be alive. In what can be described as miraculous, she is recovering quickly! Not only that, but she was early on in her pregnancy and the baby is fine! Physically, she is well enough to be released soon. Although the head trauma will result in a long road to recovery, we are told she is doing better daily. Her recovery though still weighs heavy on my heart and in my prayers daily. Secondly, one of my best friends just found out that her father’s cancer has spread. There is no official prognosis yet, they are still running more tests, but the outlook is grim. My emotions are torn between heartbreak for my friend and her mom as the potential to lose a dad and husband is there, and my own mourning as I love her family dearly. Her dad is a wonderful man whom I love and respect, he has always shown me so much kindness and love, even referring to me as their “other daughter”.

Paling in comparison, I also had a bad week at work. We cancelled 12 classes 2 weeks before the semester begins. This meant countless phone calls, yelling students and almost constant student interaction. Not the best when you are already at a heightened level emotionally. I found myself repeating something throughout the week, “Saturday is going to be a good day.” We had plans to head down to San Diego for some burgers. Yes, that’s right, we drove to San Diego for food. Did I mention this is the best burger I’ve ever had? Mmm… Anyway, this was the light at the end of the tunnel at work this week. “Saturday will be good.” And it was great!

We headed out a little later than planned but nothing horrible, but already hungry for lunch. Knowing we were going to eat down there resulted in all of us eating small breakfasts that morning. Brian, Dennis, Matt and I all headed down the 405 with all its slowing and stop and go traffic. We stopped for gas down near Huntington Beach and grabbed a few snacks for the drive. Matt had a granola bar, which I stole a bite of, and Brian grabbed a bag of apple rings. And off we went into… traffic. More traffic than I have ever seen on the way to San Diego… Matt checked the traffic on his cell and it was red all the way down until Carlsbad. No accident, just red. So… DETOUR. PCH seemed promising.

At least if we were going to sit in traffic we could do so with a view of the ocean!

And anyways, a road trip with friends is about the journey right? It’s all an adventure! Unless you are all starving because you didn’t eat breakfast and are required to survive on one bag of apple rings. Sure that we were never going to get to San Diego, we began rationing the only food we had. One apple ring per person, every 10 miles.

Okay, I could be being a little overdramatic. We could have been all starving but still laughing about whatever happened to be around or going on at the moment. All in all, it took us about 4 hours to FINALLY get to Hodad’s in Ocean Beach!

Picture shamelessly swiped from Brian's photos

Just in time to….

….wait in line. This place always has a line, we’ve been here 3 times and there is always a line. This is how you know that a place is amazing. So we waited patiently for about 30 minutes, sure again we were going to starve before ever seeing a burger. Now, the best way to describe Hodad’s is probably….


We sit down and order our food. Because the burger isn’t amazing enough by itself, we all order it SAC-style (Swiss, American and Cheddar cheeses), the boys opt for doubles with extra bacon. I go for a single bacon cheeseburger preferring the rest of my calories go to a chocolate shake. An order of Frings (Fries+Onion Rings) for the table and we are set!

God Bless them for bringing the Frings and Shakes out first. I would argue that sitting there eating hot/crispy/salty onion rings in contrast with the cold/creamy/sweet chocolate shake might very well be one of the top 10 happiest food moments of my life.

Chocolate makes me happy...(Another one of Brian's photos)

Now, when we went here with Matt’s blood brother, Steve, a while back, he made the astute observation that the most truly unique thing about Hodad’s  is that they have hit the trifecta. Any place can have good burgers, good fries/rings or good shakes… but to have ALL 3? That is amazing. And honestly, all three are GREAT.

I’m not sure if it was the fact that my hunger was finally satisfied, or maybe that I am the definition of an “emotional eater”, but for whatever reason, sitting there, eating onion rings and a mammoth of a chocolate shake, laughing with friends, I felt the week melt away. I took stock for a second and thanked God for all of this. Thank you for good friends. Thank you for this moment. Thank you in the midst of so much sadness and stress you provide a respite, a chance to be renewed through fellowship.

And on that note, it was time to dig in, get messy and egg each other on in ridiculous eating competitions.

I've been waiting a long time for this! (you know, if I'm in the photo, just assume I stole it from Brian's album...)

Brian gave up about half way through his burger… although he did have one of those chocolate shakes, a huge disadvantage.

A burger this large requires a plan of attack...

Matt made it about two-thirds of the way before he gave up. He said he stopped because bacon stopped tasting good, “which just shouldn’t happen.”

(Another shamelessly stolen photo, thanks B!)

And Dennis, well he was the winner. He made it about 4 bites away from finishing the whole thing.

We thought about baiting him on through those last few bites but we just couldn’t do it. I mean, look at the guy…

My ordering the single burger excluded me from the contest, but no matter, I was too busy enjoying it to care. The best part about this burger is the bacon…

Mmmmm Bacon! (You guessed it, Brian's photo... hey trying to give credit where it is due!)

They cook it more like hash browns, so you end up with a full patty of bacony goodness the same size as the burger itself. If you ever go, you must get the bacon burger. It isn’t an option.

The damage...

Once we could pry ourselves away from the table, walking was necessary. So we went exploring. We walked the pier, took lots of pictures, talked and laughed. I believe the final consensus was “this was a great day! But I’m never eating again…”

Saturday was exactly what I needed, A reminder that through whatever is going on, God gives us exactly what we need to go through it.

Even if our role is supporting our friends through their grief and difficulties, God will make sure we have a chance to catch our breath, laugh and be refilled. Sometimes that fulfillment includes bacon and a killer chocolate milkshake…

(Thanks for letting me steal all the photos Brian!)

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  1. Christine said

    Sounds like you all had a great day—sans the traffic! That chocolate shakes seriously looks yummy. And you have now made me crave a burger ( thank you very much!). Of course, my order would be “Cheeseburger, well-done, NO BACON.” I HATE BACON. But I won’t hold it against you that you like it 😉

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