New Year’s Traditions

My husband, Bill, and I never go out on New Year’s Eve. Not that we don’t like to socialize with family and friends, we have many opportunities to do that throughout the year, but 30 years ago, Bill and I started our own New Year’s Eve tradition. We decided we always wanted New Year’s Eve to be spent with just the two of us enjoying each other’s company. We have a nice dinner, and spend quality time talking about things we want to do in the New Year that will help us be overall better people. We talk about what we want to do that will help us continue to keep Christ front and center in our lives, what we can do to continue to grow our love for each other keeping our relationship and our marriage strong, and the priority in our lives, how we can help our family and friends that may need our help, and now that we are full-time RVers, we talk about what we want to do in regards to summer travel plans in the New Year. We find it is a great way to reflect on the past year, center ourselves, and make goals for the New Year ahead.

Making sure we get enough exercise is a big part of our lives. We try to take a walk or hike at least five times a week. So today we took a lovely walk around the Fountain Park in Fountain Hills. This park is a little gem that sits right in the center of the lovely town of Fountain Hills, just 4 miles from where we host at McDowell Mountain Park.

The fountain goes off every hour on the hour for 15 minutes. We can see the fountain from our host site at McDowell Mountain Park.

It was a beautiful day and lots of folks were out taking advantage of the beautiful mid 70 degree weather… This is why I never want to be anywhere but Arizona in the winter months.

From every angle around the park there are beautiful views.

They even have a Veterans Memorial in the park. So special. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

 

 

 

 

The park is surrounded with beautiful plants,

and artwork is everywhere…

There are sculptures with memorials to loved ones lost throughout the park. This one brought tears to my eyes.

 

This one was titled “my buddy.” So special.

As you make your way around the park, there are lots of shops and places to eat…

The park also has frisbee golf. That looks like it would be fun!

Bill and I had a fun time exploring this beautiful park in the middle of Fountain Hills, something we have talked about doing but haven’t done until today. We loved it and will be back.

Over the years, I have had many people say to me “you and Bill always seem so happy and in love. What is the secret after 30 years together?” The answer is there is no “secret”. Bill and I were friends first, then, over time, that grew into a love relationship that we treasure, and decided right from the start we never wanted to lose. We are certainly no experts (we have both been married before) but we have learned, from past mistakes, if you really want to keep any relationship alive and well, you have to give it the time and attention it needs. It is now our number one priority. For us, we never keep score, but we know that as long as we keep each other first, me giving all I can, and him doing the same, the rewards triple any effort.

I thought the next picture from the park expresses what I am sharing in regards to relationships, so much better than I can say. Just like you don’t mind the time and attention you would give to your child, pet, etc, We give that time and attention to each other, but we don’t think of it as a “job”. You get the idea…

Bill and I wish all of you the very best of 2018. Whatever your heart’s desire are worth the effort you put into achieving it..

Stay Tuned!

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Heartwarming Update

I wanted to post this update to my previous post, Random Acts Of Kindness. I spoke to our daughter, Shantel, and she told me that she was in the laundry room at her apartment complex again yesterday finishing up her laundry, and a man came in and asked her if she had some clothes in a washer with tide pods in it and quarters in the slot yesterday..? Shantel said yes, and he said he was the person that removed her clothes, and used the washer with her tide pods and quarters. He didn’t say why he did that, but he did give her money back and said he was sorry.

I asked Shantel if she knew him and she said she didn’t, but that he told her he sees her in the laundry room a lot and he said he felt bad about what he did. I asked if she got his name, she said no, but he sounded like he was an older man, and that he seemed to really be sorry about what he did.

 

I believe in miracles, do you?

Merry Christmas!

Columbia River Gorge

We are all settled in at Viento State Park in Oregon, right on the Columbia River Gorge, which of course is one of the seven wonders of Oregon. Bill and I will get to spend some quality time at three of the seven wonders of Oregon while we are here. In addition to the Columbia River Gorge, and Mt. Hood, we will spend six weeks in Prospect Oregon, which is about 30 miles from Crater Lake, which is another of the seven wonders of Oregon.

Our campsite here in Viento is nothing to dance and shout about… but the surrounding area just outside the campground is gorgeous!

 

Shantel, the trees are amazing. Huge, with branches full of leaves that cascade down to the ground.

There are trains that run 24/7 right beside the park and every time one passes by the park they are required to blow their horn at least four times, and it is loud! The pictures I took today are all cloudy looking, but actually it is smoke from wildfires burning in Montana and Washington State. The wind is carrying the smoke all over our area…

This next picture shows how close the train tracks are to the campground. There is a fence pole just a couple of feet to the left of the train tracks and that is the gate to our campground.

Papa/Bill and I took a walk down to see the Columbia River Gorge this morning and saw a big ship pushing a barge down the river. Just on the other side of the Columbia River Gorge is Washington State.

Papa and I decided we both needed to dip our toe in the Columbia River Gorge… just to say we did. The next picture is Papa going first.

Then, I took my turn, and tried to be as graceful as possible, while trying to balance on one foot as I dipped the toe of my other foot in the river.

This next picture is just showing the mountains on the Washington State side of the river.

And another shot of a huge rock, as big as a small mountain, sitting out in the middle of the river.

Papa/Bill and I decided to ditch the freeway, and took a nice drive up Historic Highway 30 to the city of Dalles. It is the largest city on the Oregon side along the Columbia River, outside of the Portland Metropolitan area. It was a beautiful scenic drive up one side of a mountain and down the other side. We could see the smoke from the wildfires even more as we got closer to the top of the mountain.

Everywhere you look are big beautiful trees, mountains, and of course that spectacular Columbia River Gorge.

 

Papa/Bill took a picture of me sitting on a wall overlooking all the scenery, and I said “yep, nothing but just pure beauty everywhere you look”. Ha!

We had lunch at the Dalles, and even through all the smoke-filled air…it was still a beautiful day. And, I’m hoping all this smoke will make for a spectacular sunset picture since I never did get one at the ocean.

Shantel, Papa and I love and miss you and are so proud of you.

Stay Tuned!

 

 

Tears in Heaven

I’ve heard it said that when we get to heaven there will be no more tears and no more pain… But I now believe there will be tears in heaven, at least for me there will be.

Today is our daughter, Shantel’s, birthday. She is 24 years old today.

Shantel lost both her eyes to cancer before she was two years old. Because she was so young when she lost her sight, she doesn’t know what Bill and I look like. In fact, when she first lost her sight, I would always say “hi, Shantel, it’s mama” whenever I picked her up from her crib etc. so she would learn to recognize my voice.

As she got older, and I would go to pick her up from daycare, or even a little later when I would go to pick her up from school…, I would always approach her saying “hi Shantel, it’s mama”, and she would always answer “hi mama”.

A couple of weeks ago I had a dream that was so real, and affected me so profoundly, that I couldn’t even tell Bill about it because it just overwhelmed me with emotion. I dreamed I had passed away, and was in heaven, and I became aware that it was Shantel’s time to come to heaven, and I was sent to meet her at the gates of heaven. I stood at the gates of heaven and watched as Shantel approached me. Of course, she could see now because she was made whole and had both her natural eyes again. As she came closer to me I said “hi Shantel”, and she looked into my eyes and said “mama”? I said “yes”, and she said “oh, mama, you’re so beautiful”, and we hugged each other so long, and so hard, and let me tell you there were tears in heaven that day… tears of pure joy!

Happy Birthday, Shantel.

I love you,

Mama

Danny And Bea

One year ago this coming July, my brother, Danny, lost his beloved wife, Bea. Bea died in their home, very suddenly, and very unexpectedly.

Danny and Bea were married 28 years. In addition to being husband and wife, they were the best of friends. Bea was a beautiful person, both inside and out. She loved Danny with all her heart, and was the perfect mate for him. They both worked hard, and enjoyed the life they built together. With Bea’s passing, Danny found himself alone in their home, with just their three dogs, and memories of Bea everywhere you look.

It goes without saying that this past year has been very, very, hard on Danny. Bea’s passing was so stressful for him, he got shingles, so bad, that it got into his spine, and was in his ear, to the point the doctor was afraid it was going to get in his brain. So the doctor had to put him in the hospital, on morphine, to try to get the pain under control, and to give him anti-viral medications through an IV. The shingles caused some nerve damage in Danny’s neck that he is still dealing with today.

At her request, Bea is buried in Winslow Arizona where she grew up. Winslow is about an hour and a half from Cottonwood, and Cottonwood is just a few miles from where Bill and I are staying in Camp Verde.. Yesterday, Danny called me and asked if Bill and I wanted to go with him to visit Bea’s grave and see the headstone he bought to mark it.

We stopped along the way and bought flowers to take to Bea. Danny gave her the pink roses that have a small heart-shaped stone attached that reads “my angel”. Bill and I took the red, white, and blue flowers so she would also be all fixed up for the upcoming Memorial Day Holiday. We love and miss you Bea, rest in peace sweet lady.

After a lot of consideration, thought, and research this past year, Danny decided he wants, and needs, to make a change now. He is going to sell his home in the town of Maricopa, and move to Cottonwood Arizona. He has already purchased a piece of property in Cottonwood, and is going to have a Cavco modular home built, and put on the property.

Bill and I went with Danny to see the property he purchased. Here are some pictures.

It is a large, fenced, corner lot, surrounded by big, beautiful trees. It has all city utilities i.e., electric, water, sewer, and he is going to have a 50 amp electric receptacle installed so when Bill and I come to visit, we can just plug our rig into his electric…

Danny said he will have the property smoothed out, and have the fire pit that is currently in the front yard removed, and put gravel, and pretty landscaping in his yard.

I asked Danny when he expects to move to this property. He said he hopes to have his home in Maricopa sold, and be ready to move to his new home in Cottonwood within a year. I’m so happy for you Danny, and I love the property and know that this is going to be the perfect place for you, and your three dogs to live. I honestly believe Bea would agree.

Now, I want to note here that Bea was the one sister-in-law I had that enjoyed having wine with me when she came to visit. We had many good times at my house just talking and sipping our wine. She also enjoyed going to the casino every now and then. She and Danny would go to the casino for breakfast sometimes, and she would always want to go play the machines for an hour.  So, in honor of Bea, and to celebrate Danny’s new soon to be home in Cottonwood, Bill, Danny, and I went to the Cliff Castle Casino last night. We sat at the bar and I sipped wine, Danny had some beer, and Bill, being the designated driver, played a round or two on a poker machine. And we all shared some nachos.

While we were enjoying our drinks, nachos, and talking about what all Danny wants to do to his new place, a man sitting beside Danny struck up a conversation with us. He said he was a used car salesman, and that he also had a upholstery business in Cottonwood. He was well dressed, and looked like your normal run of the mill guy. However, as we were all getting ready to leave, that man looked over and noticed we hadn’t eaten all the nachos, and asked if he could have our leftovers!!! I mean, who does that? I swear we laughed about that all the way back home. It was just the perfect comic relief we needed to end our day.

Stay Tuned!

Down By The Creek

Bill and I took a walk down by the creek yesterday. Look at all the cool things we saw, and I captured with my “big girl” camera. I don’t even know what a lot of this stuff is, but I thought it as pretty, and I had fun practicing taking pictures.

Halfway through our walk, we came upon the creek. Picture perfect spot with the sound of the water running, and the birds were chirping, so, so, peaceful.

The roots of this tree we exposed due to a time when the creek ran a little high. “how high’s the water, mama..”

I don’t know what happened to this tree. Kind of reminded me of the last day’s of summer…looks spent to me, but I also thought it was very cool looking!

Couldn’t resist trying to capture these tiny orange butterflies.

I noticed there are a lot of spider webs throughout the park.

This plant was growing right on the side of a cliff that over looks the creek.

Love the tall grasses dancing in the wind along the side of the creek. So graceful.

There are cairns everywhere…

And there are spots where the water is still, and reflects the shadows of the trees around the creek.

Don’t know who, or what, lives in this whole, and I wasn’t going to poke around to find out!

This place is so pretty, it just makes me want to hug a tree!

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.

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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”.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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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!

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

Stay Tuned!

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