Best of 2016

the-best-2016Wow, what a year 2016 turned out to be! From setbacks to comebacks, 2016 was a mixed bag of emotions, where we saw God work in remarkable ways.

This past week, while traveling to San Francisco, Jennifer, Zach, I recalled some of our most favorite times together as a family and here is a recap of our Best of 2016.

Best Dining Experience –
Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch

We’re a bunch of foodies, so we headed to Saint Helena after my grandma’s memorial to enjoy some fried chicken in her memory. My grandma made some of the best friend chicken this side of the Mississippi and Farmsteads take on this classic meal did not disappoint.

Honorable Mentions: The Place in Roseville, The Monkey Pod in Maui

Best Day Trip – Pinnacles National Park
I can’t tell you how many times I have driven through the city of Soledad, especially on my way to and from Santa Barbara on Highway 101 back in my college days. And I never realized that their was such a treasure known as Pinnacles National Park just miles from the freeway. Our family enjoyed a wonderful spring day hiking the trails, exploring caves and taking in God’s beautiful creation.

Best Hike – Yosemite Falls
Yosemite Falls had plenty of water flowing through it this summer, which made this hike all the more enjoyable as we got to experience moments of replenishment from the mist of the falls. It was a glorious day as we enjoyed distant views of Half Dome and a bird’s eye view of Yosemite Valley.

Best Movie – Rogue One
Zach and I saw a bunch of movies this year, but Rogue One clearly lead the pack! The ending of Rogue One might just be the best movie sequence ever. And for this kid, who saw his first Star Wars movie back in 1977, the story line fit into the larger sequence of Star Wars events and rounded out the story in an amazing way.

Best Vacation – Hawaii
We took time in November to celebrate all our birthdays on the island of Maui during Thanksgiving week! We enjoyed a wonderful time hiking, snorkeling and spending time with family.

Best Sermon – Albert Tate: VIP – Jesus and the After Party
While we heard some amazing messages from some fabulous commuicators at Bayside @ Adventure, our hands down favorite was Albert Tate’s retelling of Jesus and the Samaritan women from John 4. Albert brought it home with a great blend of humor and hard hitting application. To watch Albert’s message online, click here.

Best Live Show – Oklahoma 
We saw several shows and concerts this year, but throughly enjoyed William Jessup’s production of Oklahoma this past spring. William Jessup is doing some marvelous work in their theatre arts program and its fun to see some of the college kids we know singing and dancing their hearts out.

Best Wedding – Chris Hardwick & Lydia Hearst’s Wedding
Having officiated several weddings this year, this one took the cake. Outside of the celebrities we saw, it was the largest gathering of the Hardwick clan in some time. A wonderful evening with lots of fun surprises. Harpers Bazaar touted it as one of the Top 10 celebrity weddings of 2016. We also enjoyed our first ever Blue Star Donuts, which we hail as the best donuts in the world!

Best Sporting Event – Zach’s Championship Game
While we took in several San Francisco Giants games this year, our favorite event by far was seeing Zach’s basketball team from Adventure Christian School go undefeated in 2016 and take home the championship trophy!

Favorite Overall Memory – Zach’s 8th Grade Graduation
It was wonderful having all our family together to celebrate Zach’s graduation from Adventure Christian School. Afterwards, we enjoyed time together at our home eating some of Zach’s favorite foods and playing some of his favorite games.

It was truly a year to remember. Looking forward to 2017! Happy New Year!

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