Saturday, February 28, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from our corner of the world where the phrase of the week is, "I rebuke you in the name of Jesus".  Yes, I am talking about a virus that has been playing havoc with my body and mind, but I could also be speaking about the bitterly cold weather.  Really.  Thursday night's low...NOT wind chill but temperature was -18.  Last night' low -17, Come on!  Cold and then again, cold.  And over 5 inches of snow on Wednesday which closed schools and churches, along with a few businesses, etc.  due to the winds that came with it.  When the longing for the desert starts to get too strong, I think about the Northeast in this record year of snowfall, ice, wind, and cold.  Wow.  Really the whole country has been under siege. 

I have been making the effort to focus on being thankful: for a warm home, a fireplace that turns on with a remote, quilts, homemade soup, and snow blowers!  And then there is the gratitude for Jesus...His healing power through His touch, through prayers, through the medical world.  Gratitude for the Internet that brings into our home conferences and teachings on joy, healing, the prophetic.  God's Word.  And even though we all get irritated at those telemarketers that find us, the phone is a blessing too.  Just pick it up and talk to someone you care about.  Or text!  Just yesterday a friend who lives far sent me a text, and another friend called to talk.  Both  blessed my heart!

Last Sunday Joel had a full schedule with church services, officiating at a wedding, and a farewell for a retiring Associate to the Bishop all in one day~~driving nearly 4 hours from morning to evening.  His energy amazes me. Especially when I compare, since I have walked only twice in 8 days.  I feel better, take off, and crash later on or the next day.  The flu symptoms of headaches, sore throats, nausea, weakness.  It seems to be the rhythm of this winter's virus.  Feel a little....feel better...feel worse... Better stop before it becomes a poor me whine!

I finally finished writing about our latest adventure.  Such a great journey we took, so packed full I needed to come home to rest from our vacation.  Isn't that how it goes?!  Our memories are keeping us warm and making us smile. grateful. Just sayin'.

We headed to the mall yesterday as I was eager to walk again.  I made it only about 1/3 of my usual trek when I decided to pull the plug.  Actually the plug was pulled from me.  We did go to a home store where we ended up getting some Fiestaware on sale 50% off.  We were able to add a few plates and bowls to our growing collection.  We like that there is a guarantee of no lead and they are made in the USA.  Nice.   Speaking of plates, we realized some of our Corelle plates we still use are from the 70's!  That stuff just never breaks or wears out!  Just like the old Corning Ware casserole dishes with the little blue label on them.  Yep.  Still in our cupboard 40 years later!

We spent a great deal of time this week watching a prophetic conference live stream from Bethel in CA.  It was very good and blessed us with new insights.  We always use discernment when learning something new or experiencing something out of our comfort zone.  Although in this season of our lives, there is not too much that falls in the latter category. 

That last statement made me think of one of our favorite phrases that describes ourselves. "Just a little to the right of crazy" which in turn made me think of a sign our oldest daughter saw and sent to us in a text when they were in Texas.  She said it reminded her of us (giggle).  Yep.  Just west of weird and we like it!

Dripping Springs TX

I have been re-reading a book called, "Doubtless:  Faith That Overcomes The World", taking in the usual TV and watching many teachings in-between listening to praise music during this time of rest.  What have you been up to?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gardens, Graves,Grief, and Glory!

 The morning we left Woodland Park CO we headed back down the mountain to Colorado Springs.  On the way we stopped to view the Garden of the Gods.  Years ago one man owned this whole area, and when he died his children gave this beautiful, vast place to the state of CO on the condition that they never charge anyone to visit.  I knew our son Kevin had gone there and I wanted to go somewhere he had visited.  Joel was right with me on this, and we both were so glad we took the time to go through.  It was amazing.  Another stunning example of the Creator's best artistic works of art.  No matter how they were created, God is the Creator! 

We were able to stop and walk through more than one area, along with many other people who were out in the beautiful weather, hiking and walking, taking photos and enjoying the views.

Behind Joel is the "Tower of Babel"

Balance Rock

Walking the trail at
Garden of the Gods

Walking area at Garden of the Gods

The view of Pike's Peak and Garden of the Gods
 from the Visitor's Center

After spending a few hours at the Garden of the Gods we headed into Colorado Springs to find the cemetery where our son Kevin is buried.  Kevin died over 10 years ago when a virus attacked his heart.  He suffered briefly from congestive heart failure before dying at the age of 25.  I was too ill to travel to CO for the funeral , but Joel and our oldest son Matt went along with my nephew and his wife who lived in the area at the time.  Circumstances kept Joel from going to the graveside that December, and then my illness got worse, Joel was put on disability with Lyme, and traveling was not an option.  This was our first time to visit the grave, and we had plans to also order a gravestone.
Kevin and his wife were divorcing at the time of his death, so there was no stone.  Our hearts were heavy with this, and we now had the opportunity to remedy it and do right by our son.

The cemetery was so large.  There were 22 miles of paved roads inside it.  They have a staffed office and we were able to call ahead and then talk to someone who was there when we arrived.  We did find out that legally we were able to place a stone.  Thank you God.  We were given a marked chart to find the area, and once we got there we walked through the 500+ graves in that section until we found where Kevin was buried.  I cannot describe it, but one friend said, it was "holy ground" we were experiencing that day.  It was a beautiful way to describe that day and the next, when we met our grandson.  God is so good.  We stood at our son's grave, , we were able to order a stone, and we were able to find closure and peace of mind.  We left Colorado Springs struggling with deep sadness, but also with a sense of relief and closure.  Thank you God.

We drove to Castle Rock, a nice bedroom community between Denver and Colorado Springs, for the night.  It was a beautiful hotel and a great place to regroup before heading north to visit our grandson. 

We were so excited to meet our grandson Eli.  Joel had actually spent a little time with him at Kevin's funeral, but Eli was only 2 at the time. We had sent him cards and letters periodically, but his mom had remarried and Eli did not know that Kevin was his birth father until a couple of years ago.  When his parents shared this information with him, we felt we could then be a bigger part of his life.  His parents graciously invited us to come by and spend time with him and we were eager to do so.  It worked out that Eli and his sister B. both had basketball games that Saturday morning so we arrived at their home around 10am with the plan to go to the games.  When we saw Eli outside, and watched him walk towards the van, we were stunned.  He reminded us so much of Kevin at that age and even his mannerisms and actions were familiar.  It took my breath away. 

Elijah Christian, age 12

Papa, Grandma Na, and Eli

Throughout the day I would find myself just staring at him and quietly giving thanks to God for working all things out for good.  His Grandma Tracy was there too and we were able to thank her for staying in communication with us about Eli over the years.  We went to the games, and then out for lunch at a super fun restaurant called Cinzzetti's.  What an a amazing place.  Huge.  Inside were several stations, like one for desserts, one for seafood, one for pastas, pizza, etc.  Each was staffed by chefs, etc. and you went around finding what you wanted, eating as much as you wanted.  We went back to the house for awhile where we gave Eli a book of photos of his birth dad that I had put together.  We headed back to the hotel after spending the day together with him and his family.  It. was. wonderful.  A very special day with some very special people.  Only God!

Eli with his family

At Cinzzetti's Italian Restaurant

Those two days were very emotional, but we would not have missed any of it.  God answered our prayers in so many ways.....up at Charis Bible College, at the cemetery, and with the time we had with Eli and his family.  God keeps His promises.....He work all things out for good.......

Our last two days on the road were pretty uneventful except for the heavy fog through parts of Nebraska.  We were not ready to come home, but we were ready to sleep in our own beds.  Our hearts are filled with wonderful memories of our trip to the SW.  Nine hotel beds slept in, nine states visited.  Twelve great days with my sister and her hubby, gathering with friends, worshiping at Charas, grieving at our son's grave, getting to know our grandson.  Three weeks and 2 days filled with an adventure orchestrated by a loving God.   Giving God praise for so many beautiful days ending with such amazing sunsets.   To God be the glory!

Our last sunset on the road...
Kearney, Nebraska

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Santa Fe and Woodland Park

We drove to Santa Fe after leaving Sedona, staying at a Comfort Suites.  I mention the name because our first room was dark, smelled bad, and the closet door was broken, so we went back to the front desk, and they gave us a different room...upgraded with no extra cost, which was nice.  They were pleasant about it, and the hotel was mostly empty so there were extra rooms available!

The next morning we headed to downtown Santa Fe to see San Miguel Mission, which is known as the oldest church in America.  It was built in 1610 and was impressive to see.  Well worth the $1 to go in.  We are so blessed to be able to worship freely in our country.  As I stood in this old church with such a deep history, I could not help but imagine people filling the seats to worship God.

Sanctuary of San Miguel Misson

Altar in church

After leaving Santa Fe we headed into northern New Mexico through some pretty intense weather.  Winds between 40-60 mph and fog, mist, and freezing rain.  Not. fun.  Getting into Colorado was a relief.  We had the worst time finding a decent place or any place to get lunch so we pulled over at a rest area and dug out some yogurt and fruit to eat.  We then drove through the southern side of Colorado Springs and up to Woodland Park CO to stay for 2 nights.  The elevation there is close to 8500 ft. and we both felt it as we unloaded the car and climbed up and down the stairs to our room.  It took Joel one evening to adjust, but by morning I was feeling a bit dizzy, nauseated, short of breath, etc.  Still we were dressed and out the door by 7:20am.  We were there to visit Charis Bible College, hopefully see Andrew Wommack (founder), and attend the healing school worship that afternoon.  Nothing was going to get in my way! 
We were able to hear Andrew speak the first two hours of classes, and then listen to two other teachers we were familiar with.  We ate lunch with a young woman from Montana, so we had something in common with her, and she turned out to be part of the worship band.  We attended the service, and afterwards we went up for prayer.  I did not experience anymore healing of the symptoms that make themselves known, but all the altitude sickness symptoms left immediately and I had no trouble after that.  It was a very interesting and exciting time for us to be at the school.  Andrew is not often there, but he was, and Joel was able to share his healing story with him.  You see, it was Andrew Wommack that we were listening to on the internet that amazing night three years ago when Joel was instantly healed.  I watch the Healing School livestream almost every Thursday, so it was great to be there for worship and prayer.  Thank you God!

Charis Bible College
worship center

View of Pikes Peak from Charis Bible College

 We had been seriously considering going back to a Bible College (we attended The Lutheran Bible Institute where we met) and Charis in CO was where we were looking at.  But we believe that God closed that door for us to go there.  His plans are always best, but sometimes it still takes effort to walk away from a closed door and not question His plan.

We spent our last night in Woodland Park shopping at an organic store and a grocery store to stock up for the trip home.  Nice little town nestled in the mountains.....a little short of oxygen, but nice little town!  We would head down the mountain the next morning, as we had another adventure of a different kind waiting ahead. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sedona Sights

When we had said our tearful good-byes to my sister Jan and BIL, Lanny, we headed north to Sedona AZ.  About an hour into the trip, we were at a stand still due to an accident miles ahead.  It seems like an everyday occurrence with the way people around us shut off their cars, got out of their vehicles to smoke or visit, and even climbed the hills nearby to see what they could see.  Eventually Joel joined the crowd and visited with a man who had moved to Phoenix from Chicago.  His wife worked near Sedona and they had a long distance marriage 5 days a week.  Not ideal, they made it work.  After about a half hour of backed up traffic, with cars parked on the Interstate bumper to bumper for miles, someone ahead yelled that traffic was beginning to move and soon we were off.  Even our drive up to Sedona was an adventure! 

Trucks and cars at a standstill
on AZ interstate

Joel (in the hat of course) talking with a traveler

As we left the Interstate for Sedona, we could see all the beautiful red rock mountains, boulders, and foothills that made this place famous.  We stopped at an information center and looked at their displays and when we were leaving, a man behind the counter asked if we wanted a map of the area.  He asked us where we were from, and when we said Iowa, he told us he was originally from Minnesota.  When we asked him where, he said Fergus Falls.  I said, "That's where Joel is from"!  Turns out he had graduated with Joel's brother Doug and knew him.  He still returns to the class reunions, and visited with Doug while there.  It really is a small world.

Driving to Sedona

Road view
We had heard that there is supposed to be a special "energy" found in Sedona and we saw enough advertisements for psychics and crystals that led us to believe others thought so.  We focused on the beauty in the views around us.  We had been told we just had to see the church in the rock, which is a Catholic chapel built right into the rock.  It was a sight to behold.  I attempted to climb up the steep, steep road to the chapel, but only got about a third of the way before the altitude and the incline had my body complaining loudly.  So we got into a handy courtesy cart and rode up the rest of the way!.  It was a looooong way down, especially after we climbed all the steps to the top.  What a view!  As I said before, the heights made both of us a bit dizzy. 

Red Rocks of Sedona
Chapel in the Rock
Outside of the chapel
The chapel was awesome with the sun coming in the windows..  You could sit on benches and rest, pray, or light candles in there.  A lovely place filled with God's presence.  We also drove out to the airport road and joined others who were watching the sun set, as it cast different shadows on the rocks changing the colors, shapes, etc.

Sedona Red Rocks

A McMansion built in the rocks of Sedona

There were many tourist places to shop and we did stop at Tiaquepaque, an upscale arts and crafts village that also had within it's streets a mission church, but mostly we were really not interested in shopping so we moved on to spend our time looking at the landscapes.  A wonderful work of art by our Creator.
Mission in Sedona at Tiaquepaque

I do all the hotel bookings, so I decided to surprise Joel with a small villa like place to stay called Las Posadas.  It was an adobe style place, with a kitchen, living, and bedroom area.  Nice two-sided fireplace and the smallest TV's I have ever seen.  Maybe 15 inches.  We could open the floor to ceiling windows and take in the fresh night air which was nice.  And we ate a Mexican breakfast fixed and served by a lovely woman the next morning.  It was yet another adventure :-),

Las Posadas
 The next morning we left for Santa Fe.  It was recommended that we take the back highway to Flagstaff so we did.  Amazing.......scary at glad we did it!  There were a couple of times where I said out loud, "Thank you Jesus that this is not our day to die".  After it came out of my mouth twice, Joel told me to STOP saying it.  It seemed he was stressed enough trying to drive the windy road.....So, I did....and praised God instead for the beauty He was letting us experience! 

A view from the top where we stopped and walked around

Some where down there is the road we
just traveled!

Side of the road as we drove up the mountain
The speed limit was 35-40 mph with mostly no passing zones.  It was exhilarating for me to be the passenger in the car.....a bit more hairy for Joel, the driver!  So, this pretty much ended our visit to Arizona.  Truthfully it was hard to leave AZ behind, but we still had more adventures ahead!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

It is Saturday morning in our corner of the world and to be honest I'm really missing the nice dry weather of Arizona,  Part of it is the virus that I am fighting and the return of pain.  Interestingly enough, the pain I still battle was around 50% less while we were in the Southwest.  So I'm whining about the -30 wind chills and endless cold temperatures.  I know it could be worse.....lots worse.  We all know that the East coast is going through a brutal winter!   Cold and endless snow, records broken.  The pictures have been amazing!

Speaking of pictures, I have been posting pictures on Facebook and my blog of our latest journey.  After being homebound for so long, anytime we pack our suitcases and head out it is an adventure!  On this trip we stayed in 9 hotels and each time we were located on the second floor.  After a few hotels, I would confuse our rooms....numbers 209, 220, 216, 207, etc. etc.  I would wake in the early hours and think, now where is the bathroom in this room?  (We forgot our nightlight, so it was dark in the rooms) And when I went out of  the hotel room door I would always stop and try to remember which way the elevator was located.  For two nights after we arrived home I woke up at night and thought..."What hotel are we in?" and then answered my own question..."Oh, yeah, we are home.  I'm in my own bed."  Joel enjoyed more than a few laughs over my inability to get myself to the lobby.  Especially since I am the navigator on all our trips! 

Speaking of Joel, this week has been a busy one for him.  Sunday services, Ash Wednesday services, getting two sermons ready, church council, Men's Breakfast, and pre-marriage counseling.  He came home from vacation and took off running. I have been a bit slow out of the gate this week.  A virus, an increase in pain, and fatigue have come to visit.  They are not taking up residence though. We don't give unwelcome guests a room to stay it!  We continue to walk at the mall, and even though we prefer being outside, we are thankful to have a place to walk!

Last night we fixed a new recipe....a salad, but with a "Linny" twist on it.  When we went to their home for supper we ate a gluten free, meat free meal and it was delish.  Salads are a staple for us but they added rice, black and pinto beans, cheese, sour cream, salsa, and tortilla chips to theirs.  We decided to treat ourselves to a few meatless meals and followed suit.  It's good and good for you!!

Life moves us through so many seasons, and today I smile as I think about this moment  in time when those little nieces and nephews who we rejoiced over as they entered the world, are now marrying and creating families of their own.  Periodically Joel has the privilege of officiating at one of their weddings and today he is doing pre-marriage counseling for one couple planning a summer wedding. We pray God's blessings on them as they begin their journey.......and we cannot help but reflect and rejoice that we have had 46.5 years of married life to reflect on. 

I plan to continue sharing our latest adventure with you readers who have interest.  Writing it all here helps me keep a record/journal of the journey.  What an amazing time we had.  Joel is sitting on the ledge/bench up at the Chapel in the Rock in Sedona AZ.  It is a Catholic chapel that is built into the rocks.  No railings made the heights of this place dizzying for both Joel and I.  The sun shone into the chapel and it was as one friend would call it, "holy ground".  More on that this coming week!

I am still reading a Kris Vollotton book and a light mystery.  I have been watching more online teachings, a little TV, and catching up with blogger friends.  What book graces your nightstand? 

Until next time..............

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Laughing, Hugging, And Praying Together: Only God!!

Linny and me

Sharing a hug and a laugh
When we made plans to go to Phoenix, I contacted my friend Linny about getting together and hugging in person for the first time.  I began following Linny's blog, A Place Called Simplicity a few years ago, and that led to emails and then conversations on the phone. We soon realized we have a lot in common, as Linny says in her blog post  HERE:

One day there was a need and we spoke on the phone for a long while.

She and I shared similar pasts and were in similar situations.
Adoptive moms.
Large families.
Pastor's wives
Among other things.

We have talked and texted now for a few years.  I also have the privilege of facilitating her prayer group, The Knee Team, which has been a blessing for me.  I never thought much about meeting in person, since I was very ill when we began our friendship, and was not leaving home except to see the doctors.  But God had other plans.  Joel and I were both healed and life has been quite an adventure of thanksgiving ever since!  Joel and I were both so thankful we were able to get together with the Saunders! 

Linny and Dwight

Joel and I with the younger kids
What a delight they were!

So, a visit to Linny's world was on our list and God opened the doors.  We were able to fellowship with them, enjoying a meal together, and ending our time in prayer.  As I said before, it was surreal to sit with the family and break bread.  I found myself very reflective, emotional, and so grateful that God guided us over the years for us to be friends.  Only God!

I am showcasing Ruby here because Linny just finished writing her
book about Ruby's amazing journey.
I will let everyone know when it comes out.
I can hardly wait to read it!

Isn't God amazing?  He loves us so much and is in every detail of our lives.  Who would have thought that Linny's life in Colorado and my life in Iowa would bring us together in Arizona!  I just love how God orchestrates our lives, bringing joy and blessings into our days. weaving the tapestry of our journeys into a beautiful work of art!  To God be the glory!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cross People

It is Ash Wednesday.  In the Lutheran tradition, Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent.  A time to reflect, remember, and repent during the 40 days before Easter.  A time to remember our life, and what God has done for us through His Son, our Savior, on the cross.  A time to remember we are dust and to dust we will return.  A time to release our burdens and trust our sins are forgiven.  I time to forgive. 

I find our Wednesday evening Lenten services a blessing, as long as I keep my eyes on what Jesus has done for us.  If lent becomes only about me, my sins, my burdens, my imperfections, then I have the wrong focus.  We visit those places, but we don't take up residence there.  We take up residence in the arms of Jesus knowing that in our brokenness, we are forgiven people of God.  We are, as Ann Voskamp writes, "people of the Cross". 

Ann wrote an amazing post about "people of the cross" that speaks so well of our response during this time of great evil in our world.  It must be shared, so I hope you will stop over to her blog and read, The Call For The Next 40 Days.  It is lengthy, but it is life changing.  It is one of the most powerful writings I have ever read.  I pray it touches you as much as it has Joel and myself on this Ash Wednesday.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Twelve Days of Delight

Jan and me
We arrived at Jan and Lanny's on Wednesday afternoon, January 21st and loaded up again to head north on February 2nd.  We packed a lot into the time we spent with them.  They were such gracious hosts, opening their home to us for 12 days and nights. We enjoyed good meals at home and in restaurants,. worshiped in the two churches they like to attend, and did some shopping.  First and foremost a new hat and boots for Joel....second a bit of shopping for myself. 

Lutheran church we attended
Joel and Lanny goofing off
on boot shopping day
Joel biked almost every day and we walked several days.  Joel rode close to 90 miles while we were there and we enjoyed a few brisk walks around the area, including one down to the coffee shop 1.5 miles away.  On the way there a coyote crossed in front of us.....Joel saw several while biking.  Quail and many kinds of birds too. 
A  photo op with a Saguaro cactus
on one of our walks

We did some sight-seeing, too.  We went up to Tortilla Flats in the mountains and ate lunch at a place looking out over Canyon Lake.  The roads had us taking deep breaths while our phone cameras captured the amazing views.   We went to a huge swap meet and a small art festival.  We played cards, talked endlessly and laughed often.  Great fun!


While in Arizona we visited our friends Linda and Jim.  I have known them since I was a child, and they are Godparents to our oldest daughter, Bethany.  They hosted a mini-school reunion where I connected with a few people from high school.  We also went back to see Linda and Jim on another day, visiting again to catch up with each other.  Such fun to see them.  What a blessing they are!

Linda and me
Reunion ladies....
Karen, Mary, Linda, Vickie and Barb
We were able to spend an evening with Linny, Dwight and the family, too but I will share about that next time.  We celebrated with Jan for her birthday, and spent a few hours with their good friends going to church and out to eat. 

Much to our surprise, Joel really liked where we were in Phoenix.  Lots of nature, rugged landscapes, and mountain views.  The weather was great with a morning chill, warm sun in the afternoons and cool off at night.  Reminded us of summers in eastern Montana.  We have many good memories of our time with Jan and Lanny, and we are so grateful for their love and hospitality!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

It is Saturday morning here in our arctic corner of the world, and we are bundled up this Valentine's Day since wind chills are -25!! Ugh!  We Arrived  home to cold, snow, sleet, and -19 wind chills and the weather has only gotten worse.  We really were not ready to come home, and we are definitely longing for Gold Canyon AZ today!

We came home tired.  Okay, to be honest I was exhausted after averaging only 6 hours sleep per night.  I have been playing catch up with naps, and 8-9 hours sleep every night under my Woolie.

We unloaded as soon as we got home Monday night, and unpacked most everything.  Then Tuesday and Wednesday we washed several loads of clothes.......although not the dishes because we discovered the kitchen drain was clogged.  Wednesday afternoon the roter rooter guys came and all is well now 😊.  Thursday I rested and.....rested. Two naps and lots of sofa time. Friday was a full day including a good walk at the mall.  Today we walked at the mall and then ate lunch at Ruby Tuesday's.  The fireplace sure felt good when we came back home.  Before we left for Gold Canyon/Phoenix I used to tell Joel what the temperature was there every that we are home,  he tells me!

Speaking of home, our twenty-three days of vacation were great.  4,140 miles on the road, 22 nights away from our cozy beds, 8 states visited and great times with family and friends.  Amazing.

I have been writing about our latest adventure here, so today I thought I would share about meals eaten.  69 meals to be exact.  Normally I eat a Paleo modified diet.  We don't eat out a lot, so on this adventure we made the usual plan to take our trusty cooler ( 33 years old and a true testimony as to the endurance of heavy plastic!) and food basket along.  We always stay in hotels with a microwave and fridge, and eat suppers in our room. We replenished our food stash at a Whole Foods or local grocery stores along the way.  Joel ate out mostly for lunch, while I ate yogurt.  Sometimes two meals a day of yogurt.  That was not cool, but necessary. Mostly we ate free breakfasts at the hotels.....eggs, etc.  When we stayed in Las Posadas in Sedona we enjoyed a yummy Mexican breakfast...... with taco shell, pinto beans, fried eggs, etc., minus the peppers for me. There was only one time while on the road that we both ate out and that was our last day, only an hour from home!  Ha...  We always carry snacks and plenty of water, too.  Of course Joel's coffee breaks kept him fueled to drive the whole way.  Poor guy.

While at my sister Jan and BIL Lanny's we enjoyed really great meals, and it was fun going out to some good restaurants.  Linny also served us a delicious gluten free meal when we went to visit them. It is on our menu to make here.  It was almost surreal to sit at the table with the Saunders family and break bread.  God is so good!

The most fun we had eating out was on our way through Colorado when we went with our grandson Eli and his family to a place called Cinzzetti's in north Denver.  It was an Italian place...huge.....and you paid a set price and were able to go from station to station where you could choose pastas, salads, seafoods, desserts, pizzas, etc.  Every station had their own staff and the food was delicious.  What an adventure!

Lunch at Cinzzetti's
Joel and grandson Eli on left
Grandma Tracy (Alisha's mom), Alisha (Eli's mom)
Brianna (Eli's sister) and Ivan (Eli's dad)

Eli, age 12

Me, trying Canole' for the first time
Of course it was delish but so sweet I only ate one bite

I think we watched TV or the news only a few times while we were gone.  We were saddened this week to hear of the death of Bob Evans who was a news correspondent for CBS and 60 minutes.  All those wars he covered, and then he was killed in a car accident.  Our prayers are with his family.

I have spent the past few days catching up on the online teachings I have missed, catching up with family, doing a little reading, and catching up on sleep!   What have you been up to?

Happy Valentine's Day!  May you all experience the love of family and friends, and the joy of knowing how much our Lord loves each and every one of us!

Until next time.................

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Destination Driving

We did not do any touristy stuff on the way to Arizona.  Just gas, potty break, and hotel stops along with way as our goal was to get there.  Destination driving! 

 We left snow and cold temperatures behind the day we headed for Arizona and did not need our winter coats again until we came full circle back to Iowa 23 days later!  Heading south into Missouri we passed by a town called Bethany that bragged about it's famous restaurant, "Toot Toot"!  (giggle). Bethany is the name of our oldest daughter so we had to text her about our find! 

We arrived in Wichita in the dark, but when we left the next morning what we noticed in the city was how BIG the churches were!  As we headed south through Oklahoma and into Texas, we stopped for lunch at a small, old McDonalds where I visited briefly with a woman who was about my age.  Her husband sat like a stone across from her.  They had a conversation-less meal before he got up and left with her following behind.  Sad.  I must say I could not help but give thanks for more time.....Anyway, this woman's accent fascinated me....quite a twang and somewhat hard to grasp for this northerner.  I turned to Joel after they left and said, "We are not in Iowa anymore!"  Later when we were in southern Texas we expected to hear the same accent, but did not.  Interesting.  (I always wonder what people think of our accent when we travel!)

Driving along the interstate, what I remember about Oklahoma mostly was that it was rugged and flat with a lot of brush...The bright blue sky was vast and the land seemed endless with no ranches visible, only a few oil wells.  We took more of a back road down through southwestern Texas, but when we were only twenty miles into the state we saw cactus!  We drove past cotton fields, and many, many small towns that looked desolate.  Once in awhile we saw beautiful ranch homes scattered few and far between on the landscape we viewed.   Our BIL Lanny, says we missed the most beautiful part of Texas (a place he has called home) and saw more of the not so nice part of that vast state.  We stayed in Sweetwater TX for the night.  Later we discovered it was famous for being the rattlesnake capital of the country.  Okey dokey....

Cactus in southern Texas

Texas oil well
Tuesday was our longest day on the road.  As we left Sweetwater we saw the largest wind turbine farm in America off to our right.  It seemed like we drove for hours through SW Texas, with oil wells dotting the landscape everywhere.  Eventually we crossed southern New Mexico, and spent the night in Wilcox AZ. New Mexico has it's own beauty, and being there again took us back to 1970 when we lived in Albuquerque for nine months.

Southern NM or AZ.......
On Wednesday morning we drove to Tucson, found a Whole Foods Market where we ate lunch and shopped before heading farther north to visit Marie and Lyn in their RV park.  I shared before that Marie and I have talked on the phone and emailed for years when we both battled Lyme, but this was our first "in person" visit.   They live most of the year in the bush of Ontario Canada, far from Iowa.  We went for a long walk, looking around the area where they lived, and enjoying a nice visit at their place before heading to Phoenix. We even were able to hear Lyn play banjo for us.   How wonderful to see them!

Lyn, Marie, Renee and Joel

Our destination drive brought us to my sister Jan and brother-in-law Lanny's Gold Canyon home late that afternoon.  We were so excited to be there!

Lanny, Jan, Renee and Joel