A New Friend!

Bill and I have met so many wonderful people since we have been here at McDowell Mountain Regional Park. All of the staff, and hosts, are so welcoming and friendly. But I want to dedicate this post to my new “huggie” girlfriend, Bonnie.

Bonnie, and her husband, Craig, have been hosts here for about 10 years. They are both very friendly and willing to help in any way they can. Craig always stops by the visitor center when Bill and I are working and asks if we need anything, and always tells us to call him if/when we do need anything. He is really a great guy and we appreciate all he does.

Bonnie is one of those people you meet, and immediately feel a connection, and just know it won’t be long before you become friends. Bonnie is beautiful inside and out, and she has a personality that just lights up any room she enters.

Bonnie trained me to make camping reservations and/or changes to reservations for our guests that visit our park. She has the patience of a saint and never seemed to mind the endless questions I had while I was being trained.

Bill and I were scheduled to work Christmas Eve. We didn’t mind because we are one of the new host couples here and we know we all need to “pay our dues” and take our turn working holiday’s… However, Bonnie knew Bill and I were going to spend Christmas Eve at our daughter, Shantel’s home, in Phoenix, and a big storm, with heavy rain, was predicted to arrive in our area within a few hours of the time we would finish our shift at 4:00. The problem with big storms with heavy rain in this area is that we have three washes to go through to get out of the park and make our way to the highway to get to Phoenix.

Bonnie and her husband were not planning to leave the park on Christmas Eve, they were going to have a little after hours gathering at the visitor center with some of the other park hosts. Bonnie had already worked her scheduled hours for the week. But, Bonnie knew Bill and I were a bit worried about getting out of the park before the heavy rains came that could flood the washes we needed to cross. So, Bonnie, being Bonnie, sent me a text around 11:30 yesterday morning letting me know that she was going to come in around 3:15 and take over so Bill and I could leave and get to Shantel’s home to start our Christmas celebration!

Both Bill and I were very happy to be getting off a little early. Now, imagine our surprise when Bonnie walks in at about 2:00 and said she had finished up the things she wanted to get done and decided she would just come on in and let us go even earlier!! OMG, both Bill and I were so surprised, happy, and very appreciative. We both hugged Bonnie, and told her how much we appreciate her, and wanted her to know what a great person we think she is. I mean how many folks do you know that would give up their Christmas Eve afternoon off to go and let people they just recently met get off early…? I’m sure there are a few folks out there like Bonnie that would do that, but let me just say, Bill and I have found that those kind of people are few, and sometimes hard to find… And when we meet people like Bonnie and become friends, we never for one minute that that friendship for granted!

So, a BIG shout out to my new girlfriend, Bonnie. THANK-YOU for being the beautiful, fun-loving, kind-hearted person you are. We were blessed the day we met you, and we look forward to many years of friendship.

Merry Christmas!

What A Man…

I saw a TV Ad that featured a young father, supporting his  young daughter, by putting on make-up, and sporting a tutu for his young daughter’s birthday party. The song that went along with the ad was “what a man, what a man, what a mighty fine man… Well I have a man like that…

Wow! This is a very emotional post for me because there are so many reasons why I LOVE my husband, Bill.

I am dedicating this post to him because he has, and continues show me his heart, and soul ,everyday in every way…

If you follow my blog, and for sure if you are family or friends, you know I have always said my husband, Bill, is a Saint in my eyes… And, what I’m going to share in this post just brought that home to me once again…

As many of you know, our daughter, Shantel, is totally blind. She had both eyes removed before she was two years old, so she has no memory of colors… But, when she was very young, I would help her understand colors by telling her for instance that red is a very warm color, where as green, and blue can be very cool colors etc.

Well, to make a long story as short as I can… Bill has always baked Christmas cookies with Shantel, and that continued on this year… He spent last Sunday helping Shantel, and her friend, Jaz, bake two different kinds of cookies, and some fudge.

Then, on Monday, Bill and I went to Costco, and Bill mentioned that he noticed while he was baking cookies with Shantel, that she really needs some new cookware because her Teflon pans were chipping and not good to use… So, we looked around Costco, and found a 10 piece ceramic cookware set, for a good price, and picked up a set that was black…

Bill said that I should tell Shantel that we bought her a cookware set because she said she was going order a new set on-line…

I called Shantel, and told her that Papa and I bought her a 10 piece cookware set and it was black…, Shantel said thank-you,  I really appreciate it, I was just about to order a cook set in red…

Well, Bill thought that over, and surprised me today by telling me that he was going to Costco to get gas, and said he was going to exchange the black cookware set for a red set… OMG. What a MAN!!

Bill stood in a line 10 to 12 people deep to exchange the black cookware set for red, for our daughter that is blind…


Then, after he left Costco, he went to the Honey Baked Ham store, and stood in yet another long line, to pick up the ham we will take to Shantel’s home for Christmas Eve.


We supply the ham for Christmas Eve, Shantel supplies the cookies, fudge, and scalloped potatoes, while our dear friends, Holly and Chuck, supply the chips, dips, table, chairs, and table-cloth…

Shantel is having a really hard time in her second training class  for a job ( the first training class was not ready with the computer software she needs, but she showed up everyday and did the best she could) at a company that helps people select the right Medicare insurance plan for them. She does have the voice-over software on her computer in her training class now, but just like when she was in school, and used JAWS, if there is a picture, the software just says “image” and does not explain what the picture shows…. She asks for help from her peers, and the instructor, but she says they are now all getting irritated with her because she has to ask for help….

Shantel told me that she forgot her lunch the other day. She went to the break room and tried to scan a snack to buy, but she couldn’t get it to scan… She said as she struggled to scan the item, she could hear her peers at the table behind her laughing, but not one of them offered to help her. Finally, she said a complete stranger came up and offered to help her.

As her parents, we pray for Shantel to find the job that will be right for her, where she will obtain gainful and meaningful employment, in an environment where she will be accepted and respected for the beautiful person she is.

This, is why we help Shantel as much as we can..

Find someone to help this Christmas season…

Stay Tuned!



Tom’s Thumb

One of the many things I love about living in Arizona is the wide open spaces of the Sonoran Desert. Other than my devote faith, and prayer life, spending time walking/hiking in the beautiful Sonoran Desert is where I find peace, and where I feel the most at home.

This morning Bill and I took a 20 minute drive from our home at McDowell Mountain Regional Park, to the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve Trails, where the Tom’s Thumb trailhead is located. We have heard so much about the Tom’s Thumb hike that we wanted to go and see for ourselves what that hike is all about.

When we arrived at the Tom’s Thumb trailhead, and read the information provided about that hike, we quickly decided that was not going to be the trail for us. Tom’s Thumb is a 5 mile, steep hike, up a mountain, and is rated as extremely difficult. If my hips were 20 years younger, and I was about 20 pounds lighter in the trunk…, perhaps I would have considered taking that hike. However, as Bill and I looked at that trail before us, both Bill and I decided we are not about extreme difficult, we are all about extreme FUN!!!

So, we decided we would take the Marcus Land Slide hike instead. The Marcus Land Slide hike is in the same general area as Tom’s Thumb, but it is rated as moderately difficult, which is much more to our liking.

We were amazed at all the beautiful rock formations on the Marcus Land Slide hike. Take a look.




From the trailhead where we started our hike we were on a constant downhill walk that over looks the desert floor. However, as Bill reminded me… “one that hikes down…must also hike back up… True, but at least it was a gentle down and up again hike. My hips thanked me for the exercise without pushing them into “extreme pain”.


The rock formations in the picture below are called mushrooms and subsurface weathering.


Along with really cool rock formations, I am always amazed by the wide variety of cactus formations as well.


I was so busy trying to take pictures of all the things to be seen that I kept falling behind Bill on our hike…


But not to worry, we always catch up with each other and take time to just stop, be still, and take in all the beauty around us.




How can one not be at peace when looking at scenery like this in the stillness of the desert?


Then, after a few hours of hiking out in the lovely 70 degree weather, we came back home and had a delicious lunch of mini-bacon wrapped meatloaf, with crunchy fried onions on top, and mashed potatoes, gravy, and corn. I made this last night for our dinner and made sure to make enough to heat up for our lunch today… Yummers!


I couldn’t ask for any better way to spend a beautiful afternoon with my very best friend/husband! 🙂

Stay Tuned!

We Found Our Nitch

The reason Bill and I wanted McDowell Mountain Regional Park to be our winter home is because it puts us so much closer to our family and friends that live in either Scottsdale or Fountain Hills.

McDowell Mountain Park allows us to see our dear friends, Holly (my sister by choice) and her husband, Chuck, that live in Fountain Hills, as often as we like. Now they are within 15 minutes of us. So love that we can see each other anytime we want.

We also have very dear friends Robin (my frissy) and her husband, Bob, that live in Scottsdale, and are approx. 35 minutes away from us now, as opposed to about an hour away when we were at San Tan.

Robin and Bob visited us yesterday, and we had lunch together at our picnic table, then took the self-guided interpretive trail hike. We had so much fun on that 3.1 mile easy hike. Both Robin and I agreed that hike would allow us to have one glass of wine free of calories, due to the exercise we got.

I worked with both Holly, and Robin, when I worked in the Corporate environment…. They both were in my life as Bill and I were raising our adopted daughter, Shantel, who lost her sight to cancer before she was two. And they were both instrumental in helping Bill and I get through that period in our lives.

If not for both Holly and Chuck, and Robin and Bob, I don’t know how Bill and I would have survived emotionally during that period of our lives. They all played a HUGE part in my emotional stability…  And they all totally understood what Bill and I needed as far as friends that understood our situation, and accepted, welcomed, and included us into their lives…

So here is to you, Holly and Chuck, and Robin and Bob.

We would not have made it without you, and we love your MORE than you will ever know…

We love you for seeing us through so many challenges, that eventually led us to where we are today…

And we think we found our “nitch”,  for our winter months here at McDowell Mountain Regional Park.

Stay Tuned!


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