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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Dial-A-Ride, Or Dial-A Problem

As many of you already know, our daughter, Shantel, is totally blind. She recently was hired at a large company, that can accommodate her computer needs, and she is currently in training for a new position that will allow her to take “live calls” regarding declined purchases and/or reporting fraud… She loves her job and looks forward to getting to work everyday.

Because Shantel is blind, and cannot drive, Bill and I help her out by paying $65.00 a month to Dial-a-Ride that is supposed to allow unlimited trips for her to travel to and from any destination throughout the Valley for $4.00 each way…

However that is not always the case. And what happened this past week, is but one example of what continues to happen over and over again. And, I’m sure this type of thing is not only happening to our daughter, but to many other people that depend on Dail-a-Ride throughout the Valley. In fact, I know for a fact, that the other two blind co-workers that Shantel works with report the same type of poor service from Dial-a-Ride.

Here is what happened to Shantel just today: She scheduled a 4:30 a.m. pick-up that would allow her to get to work at 6:00 a.m. (allowing for all the other folks that have to be picked-up and delivered along the route) but, keep in mind, that when you schedule your ride in advance, you are supposed to be guaranteed delivery to your destination “on time”. But, today, Shantel didn’t get to work until 6:25 when she is supposed to start at 6:00 a.m.

Of course Shantel was upset that she was late for work, due to circumstances beyond her control, and of course she called Dial-a-Ride the first chance she could to make a complaint. She explained the situation to the person taking her call, letting them know that the person that scheduled this ride should have to be put into the same position to lose their job as she is put into when they cause her to be late.

Shantel went on to tell the person taking her complaint that on the return trip home, her pick-up time was supposed to be 3:00 p.m. but Dial-a-Ride notified her that they couldn’t get there until 4:45 -5:00 p.m. So Shantel decided to take Lift ride service home (costing her $30.00). She had already been riding Dial-a-Ride since 4:30 a.m. and just wanted to get home at this point… I don’t blame her.

However, when she made her complaint, she was told the ride service was over 25 miles from her home  (which we have never been made aware of that making any difference ..) and “Rules are rules”,… and that perhaps she should move closer to work… then they hung up on her!!

Yes, this job is more than 25 miles from Shantel’s home, but that should not make any difference when we are paying a monthly fee to make sure she can get to and from her destinations on time… This is but one example of how our daughter, who is not the only person out there that could just sit home and collect Social Security Disability payments and food stamps every month and not work…, but wants to work, and earn her own way in life… but is met with more obstacles than you and I could ever imagine dealing with each and every day just to get to work..

There has to be a better way for people with disabilities that want to work to be able get to and from work safely, and  on time. Shantel can’t take a bus or light rail because that requires her being able to cross a street by herself, and because she lost hearing in both ears due to the chemo she received while being treated for the cancer that took her sight, she wears hearing aids in both ears so she is not able to pick up on the traffic surge when the light changes to cross an intersection safely, and now with the electric cars, she can not pick up on them at all.

Shantel, Papa and I continue be amazed at how hard you work to get to work… We love you and are so very proud of you, and we continue to pray that things get better for you and all people with disabilities that just want to work… Never give up on your dreams baby girl.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring Prospect Oregon

Bill and I are spending the summer getting to know Oregon. We’ve seen some amazing and beautiful sights. It’s hard for me to say what I loved the most about our summer Oregon adventure to date. I don’t have words to give justice to the  beautiful Oregon Coast. And we are amazed at how many waterfalls there are in Oregon. Seems like every place we’ve visited had numerous beautiful waterfalls to see, and amazing hiking trails.

This week Bill and I went to see the Mill Creek Waterfall. It’s a little hidden jewel within the woods around the town of Prospect. The air is very smokey from the wildfires that are contained, but still burning themselves out, just outside of Prospect. But that didn’t take away from the experience once you get there.

We hiked up to the waterfall viewing spot, and sat and just enjoyed the beauty of the forest, and the waterfall cascading down from the mountain. So, so, peaceful.

The hiking trails around the waterfall are very pretty as well. Its like walking through an enchanted forest.

When we left the Mill Creek area, we went a short distance down the road to the Rogue River Gorge. The hike we took here started where the water coming into the Gorge looked calm.

But very quickly picked up speed as we made our way down the trail along the Gorge…

Of course the rushing water took on very different looks as the Gorge widened and narrowed, but all of it was amazing and really gave us a sense of the power of nature.

You never know who, or what, you will meet up with when you are hiking through the forest. This little guy/girl was slowly making its way across the forest floor towards the water. Looks like a snail without it’s shell to me.

This tree stump caught our eye and we just had to go over and read the sign in front of it that read “Living Stump: On the flat surface of the lava flow, away from the Gorge wall, the trees live as a group rather than as individuals, the roots of these Douglas-Firs have grown together, providing each other with nutrients and water. Before it was cut, the roots of this tree had grafted onto those of a neighbor. Because of this, the stump continues to live”. I find that AMAZING, and I LOVE that!!!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if everyone in the world, would take a lesson from these trees, and help one another (family, neighbors, strangers..), like that? Just imagine what a beautiful world that would be.

Stay Tuned!

Crater Lake

I know I said I didn’t think I would be able to do any blog postings here at Crater Lake RV Park, in Prospect Oregon. But we were finally able to get logged into the free WiFi they offer here, and even though it is really, really, SLOW, it’s free, and presents an “opportunity” for me to practice patience.

I read somewhere that you should never pray for patience, because then God will send you many, many, challenges in your life, to help you learn patience. Unfortunately, for me…, I didn’t read that until I had already prayed for many years for patience. That said, I do have my limits on how much patience I can endure. So I will keep my postings short and sweet due to the fact that I could do a load of laundry while I’m waiting for my pictures to load..

Anyway, we arrived, and are all settled into our lovely campsite for the next six weeks.  Surrounded by lots of big shade trees, and parked right next door to one of several camp hosts here in the privately owned RV Park. I met the owner of this adorable RV Park this morning when I was taking my walk. We chatted it up for a while, and she told me if we ever want to come here and spend the summer hosting for her, she would love to have us. She said her hosts work one day on, and three days off…one on, and three off… Sounds pretty sweet to me, and if we were ever going to come back this way for a summer we would look into taking her up on her offer. Great way to see this beautiful area with free space, free full hook-ups, free propane, and even free Dish TV… Sweet deal!

 

After we finished getting settled in this morning, we couldn’t wait to go and see Crater Lake, which is only 30 miles from our campsite. OMG! It is everything we have been told it would be and MORE! I’ve never seen a lake with that color of blue water. The next two pictures are what I decided to keep out of 22 pictures I took. I will make one of them my background picture for my FB page.

After a quick view of Crater Lake, we stopped by the Visitor Center to find out about boat trips to the island in Crater Lake. You can fish for free in Crater Lake, but it is another 700 ft hike down to the lake, and of course the same distance to get back up after your finished fishing… And, don’t forget you have to carry all your fishing gear down to the lake, and back up again, not to mention that 20 plus pound big fish you are going to catch… And, the only rule is you can’t clean fish at the lake. You have to pack them out and clean them at home… After the 700 ft. up/down hill hike Bill and I just completed at Mirror Lake, we are still pondering if we are up to this next 700 ft. challenge. More on that later

On the way home, we stopped by an adorable little ice cream shop “Cones and More” Bill “took one for the team” again, and tried their ice cream. And, right next door is a little restaurant that has been in that family since 1922. We will go there for breakfast or lunch sometime soon.

In the yard between the ice cream shop and the restaurant, which is owned by the same family, along with the country store and B-B-Q smoker across the street…, is this HUGE chair and end table. Big enough for the Jolly Green Giant to sit in. Of course I had to have Bill take a picture to show this off. He said all you need now is a BIG glass of wine to match the chair and end table…  Well, OK, I guess I’ll take one for the team…  bring it on.. Good thing I didn’t have any wine, because it was harder getting out of that huge chair than it was getting into it. Ha!  🙂

LOVE it here, and can’t wait to explore all this area has to offer.

Stay tuned!

 

Trillium Lake, Oregon

Today, Bill and I took a scenic drive to Trillium Lake. We stopped on our way along the side of the road so I could capture this picture of the mighty Mt. Hood. So reminds me of the first time I saw the Grand Tetons.

When we arrived at Trillium Lake, we were greeted and captivated, for the entire afternoon, by the stillness of the water (minus a few tiny ripples when a row-boat, or paddle board, goes by), and the sight of Mt. Hood in the background, casting its mirror image on the lake.

The water of Trillium Lake is crystal clear.

The lake itself is not natural: “The boggy meadows here were submerged by a dam built across Mud Creek in 1960.” But, regardless how the lake was built, it is beautiful, and the perfect place for folks that want to spend time in nature and having fun on the water.

The hike around Trillium Lake is a lovely 2 miles.

Around every curve in the trail is another opportunity to stop…, and take in all this area has to offer, like these pretty purple wild flowers that surround the lake.

I couldn’t resist getting a picture of these three canoes, one red, one silver, and one black, just lined up in a row on the edge of the water. So inviting..

As we made our way around the lake, I just loved how the trees seemed to part, and make space for me to take another picture of the lake and all the beautiful trees that surround it. Bill and I shared a lovely picnic lunch enjoying views just like this.

And how could anyone, with a camera in their hand, resist taking a picture of this adorable little blue canoe, sitting on the edge of the water between the trees, just waiting for someone to get in and take a spin around the lake? I couldn’t!

Another beautiful day exploring the FABULOUS state of Oregon.

Stay Tuned!

 

 

Lavender Field And Blueberry Patch

Oh my, my, my, what a lovely, fun-filled day Bill and I enjoyed yesterday. We took a drive to a beautiful lavender field near Mt. Hood. Bill and I have never been to a lavender field, and it was a real treat for the senses.

When you arrive at this lavender field, you are greeted by this adorable little purple farm stand that just begs you to sit a spell and take in all the beautiful lavender aroma. Inside the building are lavender products of every kind. Soaps, body mist, bunches of dried lavender, bath bombs, lip balm, etc. I could stand in that little shop all day just taking in the smell of lavender.

 

Then we made our way out into the lavender field… So, so, beautiful. Bees were very busy, busy, busy, but not one of them paid any mind to me taking pictures all around them.

The green, tree-covered hills, surrounding the lavender plants, and the smell of lavender in the air, just make you feel like you are in a dream…

We didn’t know that there are several varieties of lavender plants. Some are almost white in color, and each has a very unique scent.

We finally had to tear ourselves away from the lavender field, and made our way to a “u-pick” blueberry patch. Bill and I had never picked blueberries before, and we are so glad we stopped and had this experience. This blueberry patch had three different types of blueberries, each tasting different. We sampled a few of each type and decided on the taste we liked best.

We started off picking the blueberries one by one. Then, we very quickly learned the fastest way to pick blueberries is to put your hand under a big bunch and roll them very gently between your fingers…

And, in no time at all we had our bucket almost full. YUM!

We stopped and had lunch, then made our way down to the edge of the Columbia River Gorge, to watch the activity on the water, and the cars going across the toll bridge over to Washington State.

Another day of “firsts” for Bill and I here in Oregon.

Stay Tuned!

 

 

Starvation Creek Falls, Oregon

Bill and I took an amazingly beautiful hike today at Starvation Creek State Park, located in Oregon, just west of Hood River.

One of the trails we hiked was called “starvation creek” because it was said that a train was stopped there by snow drifts, and passengers had to dig out the train. No one actually starved there. The passengers were kept from starvation by men who packed supplies in from Hood River on skis.

There are several amazing waterfalls in the area. The first waterfall we saw was coming down from the top of a mountain, in a beautiful water cascade, that flowed down to a small creek at the bottom of the mountain. Huge, green trees, all around the area, made for lots of shade, and a beautiful picture.

The second waterfall we saw wasn’t as big, and I didn’t notice anything strange about it, until I got home, and started looking at the pictures I took. That’s when I noticed what looks to me, to be the image of a face of a man inside the waterfall. Don’t know if my sighted readers can see it, but Bill said he does. The man’s face is towards the top of where the waterfall begins. I can see two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and one ear. If you look closely, you can also see what looks to Bill and I like a snake that wraps around the man’s head just in front of the man’s ear, going over his forehead, and over the other side of the man’s head. The snake looks like it has its mouth open… This was early morning and no, we were not drinking…Ha!

When we got to this next waterfall, the water was coming down so fast and hard, we could feel the mist spraying out over the surrounding rocks and trees. It felt wonderful just to stand there and let the cool mist spray over us too.

It was a lovely hike, with stunning views. Like this view I captured looking down from halfway up the mountain trail we were on. The 24/7 train that runs by our campground is in the foreground, and there were lots of sailboats, with colorful sails, out enjoying the waters of the Columbia River Gorge.

When we first started our hike, we saw two men hiking up to one of the waterfalls we were looking at. They were carrying a large ice chest cooler between them. One of the men had on a white shirt and tie, while the other was dressed in shorts and a T-shirt. The man in the white shirt and tie left immediately after the ice chest was delivered. The other man was taking pictures, and we got to chatting with him, and found out the man in the white shirt and tie was his friend who was getting married this morning right at that very waterfall. I asked if the bride was going to hike all the way up there in her wedding gown and heals… and he said no, they were going to ride bikes up to the trailhead, and then it was just a very short distance to the waterfall. He said the bride would be wearing a wedding dress, but it was not a big, puffy bottom gown. He said we might see the bride and groom getting married when we make our way back down the mountain after our hike. And, sure enough we did. An adorable young couple were saying their wedding vowels just as we arrived back to that spot. The bride was in a long white gown, but it was more straight fitting, and something like you would see when a couple are getting married on the beach…

As we made our way down to the beginning of the trailhead, we saw the “bikes” the bride and groom rode in on… How adorable is this three wheel bike with a sign on the back that reads “just married” complete with the traditional tin cans tied to the back of it?

Yet another fun-filled day in Oregon…

Stayed Tuned!

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