Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I have endured the looks, the comments, the eye rolls. The sorrowful gestures that say, "I am so sorry you live in Fresno." The worst was the pity I received from a woman while passing through Barstow, California. She sadly nodded her head and clucked her tongue as she said, "Oh, you live in Fresno? I am so sorry for you." I couldn't help but lean forward and whisper, "You know you live in Barstow, right?"
I will declare here and now, without shame and downcast eyes, that I unabashedly LOVE Fresno! While I now live on the outskirts of town, I still consider Fresno my home. I have lived here since 1987 and now I am raising my own family in this amazing place.

Everyone hears and focuses on the negative media that Fresno receives. Yes, the city certainly has its fair share of problems. But, what about the good parts of Fresno? Yes, there are indeed good parts...oodles of them!

Fresno is centrally located in this grand state of California. We sit with the beautiful Sierras on one side and the rolling Pacific Ocean less than three hours away on the other side. We have repeatedly satisfied my husband's craving for fresh clam chowder with  day trips to Pismo Beach and we love to spend winter days playing with our children in the Sierra snow just west of our home.

Yosemite National Park sits grandly in our backyard attracting visitors from all over the world. No less than five times have I gotten up early to hike Half Dome and been back to sleep in my own bed that night. I marvel at the sheer beauty found in the park. It is breathtaking and inspiring. I don't think one can visit Yosemite and doubt God's existence.

Fresno offers more beauty found in the great agricultural landscape. I relish traveling home from business trips to be greeted by the fragrant smell of orange blossoms. The rich, citrus smell is the smell of home to me. It is comfort and security. A seasonal trip through the Fresno Blossom Trail is an amazing trip for one's senses. From the incredible beauty and colors found in the Almond, Plum, Peach, Nectarine, Apricot, Citrus and Apple blossoms to the incredible sweet and savory smells to the buzzing of hundreds of dutifully busy bees.

Fresno offers an array of great places to shop and there are numerous places to treat your palate to any number of cultural cuisines. Fresno offers the best Mexican food I have ever tasted. While some towns boast Taco Bell as true Mexican cuisine, Fresnans know that has nothing on Sal's, Javiar's, Mexicatessen, or Casa Corona.

One thing I truly love about Fresno is the small town feel it has managed to maintain while growing steadily in population. I love running into friends in random places. From the Woodward Park Library to SaveMart to The Shops at Riverpark, my husband and I always seem to encounter the friendly face of someone we know.

Fresno may not sit at the top of a list of the best places to live, but for me, it truly is the only place I can imagine raising my family. My kids are learning good, solid values not only from me and my husband, but from the community that surrounds them. They are seeing the rewards of hard work and the joys of a more simple life. They don't require 8-lane highways and skyscrapers dotting the skyline. They enjoy trips to the movie theater and swim lessons. They love picking fruit from our own trees and adventures to the coast and mountains.

Fresno offers many of the perks of a metropolitan city without the congestion and delays. Fresnans appreciate a less-intense lifestyle than the larger cities to the north and south of us. To me, Fresno is home.  To those who pity me because I live in Fresno I say Fres-YES!