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Fat City EntrySet in an old brick building that has filled its corner of the town since the mid-1800s, Fat City Café in Old Sacramento is filled with stained glass lanterns, antique furniture, an amazing wood bar, and delicious food.

Lunch here was our first stop en route to Tahoe City, a getaway that was a gift from Don’s children for his birthday. And Don has never been in Old Sacramento, so this was especially fun.

This original part of the town was established in 1848 to supply miners flooding to the California Gold Rush. Originally called Sutter’s Embarcadero, it was a successful commercial enterprise until floods wiped out the riverfront area in 1850, ’52, and ’62. Fires also engulfed its wood and canvas buildings over the years. Later in the 1860’s, thousands of cubic yards of dirt were brought in to raise the street level.

But as the commercial area moved east, the original city became “the worst skid row west of Chicago.” (1)

In the mid-1960s, the City began to redevelop the area to become the first historic district in the West. Flourishing with restaurants, shops, and office leasing, this National and California Historic Landmark is again thriving and beautiful–beauty from ashes.

There’s a promise God gives His people in Isaiah 61:1-3, where Isaiah says this:

           … the Lord has anointed me …              

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.

I grieve with those in Paris, Beirut, and other places who are losing families and/or lives due to unfettered terrorism. But a day is coming when God will again bring beauty from ashes, the oil of joy rather than mourning, to all who put their trust in Him.  As we pray for those who suffer, let’s also pray for those God is bringing into those situations to bring help and hope.  God is still sovereign, and a day of His judgment will come. May we be ready if suffering comes directly into our lives; may we trust Him for strength to stand firm; and may we be ready when He comes.

(1) Information from


  1. Columba Smith says:

    That’s fascinating, Carol. I have visited Old Sacramento with my children a few years ago. We saw the train museum. I didn’t know about Sacramento’s “rebirth.”
    Thanks for that hopeful perspective on the sorrows our world is experiencing. The news has been getting to me lately, and I needed that message.

    1. carolnl says:

      Thank you Columba. I too need to remember these truths amid all the pain and violence and suffering going on in our world.

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