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Thursday, December 30, 2010

We're Moving

We’re moving!  We have a contract on the house and just had the home inspection today so we’re waiting to hear the results; assuming this is a “go” and I’m busy tearing apart my lovely home.  Oh, how barren it looks without all the special touches that we’ve enjoyed having around us.  We left our walls white but we had lots of “eye candy” to feast upon and now it’s scattered throughout boxes stacked in the garage.  I’ve got to get as much packing done as possible by the first of the year since we do not yet have a home in Lake Havasu to move into.  The closing is scheduled for February 2 so I need to get to Havasu and do some house shopping!  Funny thing … but I can’t be here packing and in Havasu house hunting at the same time.  How neat it would be if I could!

We’re planning to rent for at least a year, maybe longer, as we start a little business with our son and see how it goes.  It will also give us a chance to check out all the different areas in Havasu so if and when we decide to buy we will know exactly where we’d like to live. 

And, if you read my previous post, you know how much I hate packing for a trip.  But this packing up of the whole house is actually easier – no decisions about what to pack.  Everything goes!  Except some items that I know I haven’t or won’t use … so it’s pretty easy in the decision department.  The hard part is the actual packing in boxes and moving them around.  My two sons are already in Havasu and my husband lives and works in Phoenix during the week SO the bulk of the packing is left to me.  I must admit I’ve accomplished a lot in the last week or so and I’m on box #62 today and counting.  And I’m developing muscles – that’s a bonus!



 Miss the "eye candy"


Next week, it’s off to Havasu to find a home.  Hopefully I will find just the right one for us and get things settled there quickly so I can return and finish the rest of the packing here in Tucson. 

Wish me luck!  Blessings,



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Butterfly Magic

Saturday was a beautiful winter day in Tucson ... bright sunshine, clear blue skies, and temps in the 70's.  We took a tour through the Tucson Botanical Gardens, known as one of the best small gardens in the country.  We usually go about once a year, especially during the season they have the "Butterfly Magic" display where you can enter a specially warmed and tropical atmosphere and spend time in the midst of hundreds of beautiful butterflies fluttering about.  Here are some pictures ... hope you enjoy them and it brings thoughts of springtime to those of you who are experiencing the blizzard conditions that are raging through parts of the States.

The tropical flowers in this display are beautiful too!


Sometimes you have to look carefully to find the butterly ...
this little guy has a bright spot of red dressing him up.


This one has an all-over lace design.

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There is a matching, but smaller, butterfly hovering over this beauty.


 Isn't this a beauty!  Look at the colors!



Not colorful, but a beautful, lacey design


This fellow didn't want to have his picture taken but I loved his blue color!



The gardens also showcase a number of different style "gardens" and their appropriate plants.  This one is considered a patio garden.


And this brightly colored one is a "kitchen garden".


And, of course, Arizona is loaded with the spiky and prickly plants!!


This is a "jumping cholla" -- if you get close to it, your body heat will attract it to you and it just reaches out and grabs you!


And here is an Organ Pipe Cactus ...


Hope you've enjoyed!


Blessings,


Friday, December 10, 2010

Oh, Lucky Me!

Winter in Tucson ... I grew up in Vermont -- long, cold, snowy winters.  Then I lived 25 years in Boston -- long, cold, wet, windy, snowy winters.  We moved to San Diego and lived on our sailboat -- yeah!  Now we're in Tucson and this is winter in Tucson ... oh, lucky me!



We got hit by a frost about 10 days ago but we're back in the 70's for the past week and looks like it's going to continue a bit.  Oh I love the warmth ...

Hope you enjoy wherever you are ...  Blessings,

Monday, December 6, 2010

Waiting

Waiting … not one of my better attributes, but I’m learning.  We’re waiting for a buyer for our home; we’re waiting to get on with life in Lake Havasu; we’re waiting to pack everything up and be on our way; we waiting to be together with our boys in Havasu.  But God has a plan and His timing is not necessarily my timing … He sees the big picture … I see today, tomorrow and maybe next month. 

Always before I’ve become really driven to get done what I want done when I want it done and how I want it done.  But in my latter years of increased wisdom (!) I’m trying very hard to step back, take a breath, and look on the bright side … God has a special plan for us and He’s working it out for our benefit and I should not try to rush Him or coerce Him or change His plan in any way. 

Perhaps He is waiting for exactly the right house to become available for us to rent when we arrive.  Perhaps He is priming my husband’s company to be ready to allow him to work from home so he can continue in his position yet still be available to oversee our new venture.  Perhaps He is putting the final touches on the situation for our new venture to succeed. 

I know my ways and my thoughts are not God’s ways and His thoughts and I’ve determined that I’m going to let God be God and me be me and don’t get the two mixed up.  He is smarter than I am; He sees more than I see; He has plans for me and my family that I know nothing about and I don’t want to upset His plans.  How dumb that would be.  The best place we can all be is exactly where God wants us to be at the moment. 

And on that note, I’m going to relax and let Him be the boss and I’ll do all that I can do and then just look forward to seeing the result of what He is doing today … and tomorrow … and on and on.

My, that’s much easier than me just worrying and fretting over everything … and it doesn’t accomplish anything anyway.

Blessings and sweet dreams,


Monday, November 29, 2010

Family

Family … mixed blessings some say but I come from a different perspective.  Family that comes back together after years of being separated is a special blessing.  The personality differences, the differences in outlooks on life and how it’s lived, friends and associates and lifestyles – they’re not as important as just having family around the table together sharing stories and laughter, games and good food.  Thanksgiving is a time for families and this year I am blessed to have my tiny family together and I’m going to look forward to many more of these occasions in my future. 

Be blessed if your family was able to come together and enjoy this time.  If not, look around you for others who are alone and make an impromptu family of your own.  Sometimes that can bring as much joy to you and you to them as getting together with “real” family. 

My own mother died over 40 years ago just two weeks before my first son was born.  She never had the opportunity to see my baby boy and I did not have the benefit of her love and wisdom during those early mothering years.  But I had a landlord who was so loving and kind and caring of my family that she became a surrogate “grandma” and a great blessing to me.

Forty years later I have a close and loving relationship with a widow whose own family are not very responsive to her needs and we are secondary mother and daughter to each other and this relationship is a blessing to both of us. 

Whatever the case -- enjoy the blessings of family whether blood or bond … and be thankful for all the wonderful people in your life.

The Story of Jonah

This is precious!  Hope you enjoy ...  http://vimeo.com/16404771

What a lovely little girl with a wonderfully expressive presentation.

Blessings, Ann

Monday, November 22, 2010

Being Thankful


Being thankful … it’s harder than we think.  Oh, it’s pretty easy to list the big things – family, health, job, friends – but it takes a bit more thought to really look at your life and see the specialness of it – the things that God has provided for you … things that He knows you need even if you don’t know it. 

I don’t like upheaval in my life … had plenty of that in the past; but God knows it’s good to shake me up a bit from time to time so I don’t get too set in my ways and become accustomed to the ease of life as it is from day to day.  A few bumps in the road keep me closer to Him, the source of my strength and peace.

When I look around me and see so many friends whose families are struggling with life-threatening illnesses I give thanks that my family is doing well at this moment.  We’ve had our major health issues and we will probably have more in the future, but right now we’re all doing okay and I am grateful for this time. 

I see families who are facing the stresses of unemployment and know how mind boggling it can be.  In 21 years of marriage my husband has been unemployed seven years.  We’ve gotten down to our last thousand dollars with no prospects of work and then a blessing comes and we’re working to get back on our feet again.  Now during this very difficult economic time he is working and we’re putting aside all we can to prepare for whatever may come in the future.  We are thankful for the blessing of work.

I am distressed by the condition that our Country is in at this time and the path that we seem to be destined to follow and I pray that we will turn back before we lose all that the Founding Fathers desired for us when this republic was born.  But I am still thankful to live in this beautiful land with all the freedoms I still have – freedoms and opportunities that so many others will never have in their lifetimes – and I know that I am blessed.

I am grateful for eyes to see the wonders of creation around me every day … the early morning sun coming up over the mountain, the green of tree leaves blowing in the wind, words on the printed page that give me wisdom or take me away from my everyday life.  I am grateful ears to hear the singing birds and the voices of my loved ones … grateful for arms and legs that allow me to move about and work or play … for a body that basically functions as it should with only a few glitches from the stresses of life. 

And as Thanksgiving approaches and the kitchen is filled with the aroma of apple pie and other goodies, I give thanks for the food provided for us every day of the year.  And for the sense of smell to enjoy all the fragrances of the foods I love.  I read somewhere that without a sense of smell our sense of taste is compromised as well … they go hand in hand.  We are wonderfully made! 

May your Thanksgiving Feast be bountiful both physically and spiritually and may the coming year bring you many more blessings … 








Friday, November 12, 2010

Are You Under the "Overs"?


There is an insidious trap that lurks in all of our lives – it steals our time, our money, our well-being and our joy leaving us exhausted, broke, sick and depressed.  Because of its nature we don’t notice it … we experience the results and don’t like them but we don’t recognize the problem.  We think we’re missing something so we work harder, play harder, spend harder and pat ourselves on the back saying “you’re doing ok” in this world.
Is that all you want?   To do ok in this world?  Isn’t there more … isn’t there a hole in your life that never seems to be filled … a craving that never gets satisfied?  Isn’t that what makes you want to feel more, do more, accomplish more?
Are you caught in the trap of the “Overs”?  Are you overstretched?  Overspent?  Overindulged?  Overconfident?  Let’s take look.
In today’s world the more you have scheduled in your day planner the more important you are – or at least that’s how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you.  The more you can multitask the more others look up to you and marvel at how you can get so much done.  There are not enough hours in a day to get to all the things on your list and this gives you a sense of value and worth.  This is the trap of being overstretched. 
Take time to breathe ...

Is that really how you want to place value on your life?  When was the last time you spent a quiet time alone with your own thoughts and discovered who you are?  When was the last time you spent a few minutes talking to your Creator about your life and where you’re going? When was the last time you just took a deep breath and enjoyed those minutes of your life right then? 
Perhaps you feel you have to run – that your day planner has to be full – that you have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet.  And maybe, for some, that is the case at the moment because you have been caught in the trap of overspending.  This is a merry-go-round that will not stop on its own … it’s a conscious decision one has to make to live within our means.  It’s not easy in today’s world.  We are bombarded from morning until night with every imaginable “treasure” sure to bring us happiness. But how can we find peace and contentment in our lives if we are always under the bondage of debt to others?
If you’re overstretched with your time or overspent in your finances, it affects your willpower; and if your willpower is out of control, then most probably your health is out of control as well.  God created a wonderful and awesome body for us and it has miraculous abilities to respond to whatever comes its way; but it does have its limits.  God intended for us to take good care of our bodies.  Paul said  in I Corinthians 6:19-20 that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  What is the shape of your temple?  Have you overindulged in food and drink and fun to the point that your body is run down and wearing out?  If so, you can’t enjoy your life when your body is overtired and overstimulated. 
Finally we come to the point where we need to decide where our confidence needs to lie.  Are we overconfident in our own abilities?   Do we place our confidence in God and trust Him to lead us and provide for us and work things out for us?  Or do we think we can do it  -- we don’t need help – we’re successful in our work, drive a great car, have a big house, and a great family.  But what happens if the job disappears, the car is repossessed, the house is foreclosed, and the family doesn’t live up to our expectations?  What happens if just one of these scenarios occurs?  Where is our confidence then? 
God created us to be in His image; He has a good plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11) and He wants us to be free of the “overs” so we can be all that He has designed us to be.  Living up to our potential in Christ will bring us peace, freedom, good health and a balanced lifestyle; and our true confidence will be centered in our Lord who gives us every good and perfect gift.  I say it’s time to free ourselves from the “overs”! 
Take time to enjoy your life ... Blessings,



Thursday, November 11, 2010

Waiting

Waiting … not one of my good points.  Patience is not one of my virtues but God has taken me around that mountain many times and I’m learning … much better than I used to be at just waiting.

So some stuff is packed – crystal and some dishes I only use a few times a year, knick-knacks that needed to be thinned out for the “viewing” – all of which take a long time to pack because they are so fragile. 

I lucked out in buying a slew of moving boxes from someone who had just moved a four-bedroom house from Massachusetts to Tucson and had many, many boxes in all shapes and sizes.  Now they are sitting in my garage rather than his and reminding me that they all need something in them.

We’ve had a couple of showings and the real estate agent says both parties are interested.  Hmmm, I wonder what that means exactly.  Like interested enough to talk about it, interested enough to possibly make an offer, interested only in passing? I’m going to assume something good – we did have two showings in the first week on the market and this is not a good market … I’m sure you know what I mean … probably not so hot in your area either. 

So today will be another day of packing … time to weed out my closet of the rest of the things that don’t fit since I’ve managed to lose some weight – that’s a positive way to look at losing some clothes I really like.  I did, however, find a great pair of new jeans yesterday that fit great and look good!!  Yeah!  Yeah!   Last year I couldn’t even fit in a pair of jeans – that’s progress.  Very slow progress but ongoing and I’m getting closer to my goal of 50 pounds.  This time patience is proving good for me. 

Well, off to stuff some boxes! 


Make it a great day, Blessings, Ann

Monday, November 8, 2010

Neatness



  Neatness … is next to craziness!!  Yikes … I’m reading through the instructions for what to do to sell your home quickly (a nice notebook of info from the real estate agent).  It includes such things as it’s nice to have a separate laundry room – which we do – however, no dirty laundry should ever be seen in it.  So … where do I put the dirty laundry … it’s only me living here during the week and the pile of laundry I generate is rather small. 
 
But it shouldn’t be kept in the laundry room and it shouldn’t be kept in a closet.  Other than the backyard or the garage, both of which will be inspected by any prospective buyer, there is no other place to put it.  Except … the trunk of my car!  There!  Problem solved. 


My husband was home for the weekend and his usual Saturday lunch is tuna fish … has been for years.  He’s the kind of guy that likes his routine and sticks to it.  But this week I had to remind him that the smell of tuna is not one that we want to have permeating the house.  So from now until the house sells (I wonder how long that is going to be) … no tuna for lunch and  no fish for dinner.  You know how fish smells linger … you get used to it and don’t notice until you leave the house for a few hours and then when you return it assaults your nose again – and you haven’t cooked fish for a week!

Everything I’m reading in this little notebook tells me that I want my house to have that lived-in look but don’t have anything showing or smelling or sounding or looking like it’s lived in.  That’s a pretty good feat if you can pull it off.  Before I leave the house to do some errands I run around looking to see what activity of daily living might be visible to someone visiting my home.  It’s funny really … how we have to give the impression that no one lives here, that this house just looks this way because it does and for no particular reason … just so someone else can picture themselves doing exactly the same thing we normally do from day to day.

Who are we kidding?  We all know that the pristine environment we see when we visit a home for sale is not how it’s going to look when we’ve moved in and made it ours.  Ah … but for the moment, the fantasy is alive and well.  And I’m doing my best to make sure it works.

Enjoying a chuckle from all this, Ann

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Changes

Changes … sometimes they are welcome; sometimes not but almost always they require effort.  We’ve put our house on the market and my fun is beginning.

I’m not fond of packing for a weekend trip so you can imagine how thrilled I am to be packing up my life into itsy bitsy boxes! 

To start, of course, is to hide all the personal items in your home – while you still live day to day!  I understand the concept … buyers do not want to envision your life; they need to envision their life in what is still your home.  So where did all this stuff come from?  And I’m not talking about the furniture, pots and pans, and linens.  I’m just talking about the mementoes of life, the eye candy that decorates the walls and tabletops, the comforts of home. 

Thirteen years ago we decided to sell our home and all our belongings and move onboard our 44’ sailboat, “Rainbow’s End” and move to San Diego from Boston.  What a freeing experience that was to get rid of the accumulation of 50 years of life.  It really was a load off my mind … an amazing feeling.  We lived onboard in San Diego for five years with only an antique secretary and personal family treasures kept in storage. 

Then the time came to move to Tucson so we bought a three-bedroom house and I spent eighteen months shopping to fill it with furniture and decoration.   Bear in mind we had nothing, not a thing to put in this house when we moved here.  Whatever everyday items we had were still being used on the boat so there were no linens, no dishes, no chairs, no table, no bed and no wedding shower to give us a start!

Somewhere along the line that all changed – now there is an abundance of linens, dishes, chairs, tables, lamps, beds, sofas, and knick-knacks! 

And eventually when someone else decides to make this their home all of it has to be packed into those itsy bitsy boxes! 

The saga continues …

Blessings on your day, Ann




My Oasis in the Desert


Friday, October 22, 2010

Solitude




Solitude … aloneness, separateness, privacy, seclusion.  How often in today’s busy rush-rush world do we find times of solitude?  Why would we want to find it?  Is there a benefit to periods of aloneness?  Are we afraid to be alone with ourselves?

Working out our path through life requires times of privacy and seclusion so that we can look at our lives and see where it is that we have been and make course corrections for our future.  We need to come to know and understand who we are inside.  This kind of introspection takes time.  Time is a gift and one that we should learn to use wisely.  We all need to work; we all have projects we need to finish; we have goals we should be working toward; we have things we just want to do; but we also need time to be refreshed.

Not every waking minute of every day needs to be filled with activity.  Spending some quiet time thinking, reading, writing or just gazing at something beautiful and serene brings a sense of calmness and peace that is sorely needed by all of us in this 21st century.  

The old saying is “take time to smell the roses” … I would add to watch the birds soar, the ocean waves roll in, the sun come up or go down with all its painted beauty, the lacey pattern of sunlight streaming through the branches and leaves of a favorite tree,  or listen to the sound of your favorite soothing music.  Notice the beauty of the creation around you; take it in and make it a part of your being. 

Learn to enjoy a bit of time alone with your thoughts, your feelings, your desires – see who you are and if you are who you really want to be.  If not, make plans to alter your life in such a way that you can become who you want to be so you can fulfill your part in God’s plan for your life. 

May you enjoy your times of quietness,




See Mark 6:31-32; Matthew 14:23; Galatians 6:4




"Letters to God" ... the movie


“Letters to God” … the movie.  My son showed me this movie last night and I want to highly recommend it to all.  It is based on a true life story and tells of an eight-year-old boy who is in the midst of a battle with brain cancer.  

His “Letters to God” remind me of the journaling that is often suggested for Christians.  But his letters and his desire to see others come to know the God who loves and cares for him reaches more people than one could imagine.

It’s an uplifting and encouraging story – reminding me that no matter what our circumstances, we can and should be sharing the joy and peace that we have in our relationship with our Creator.

I have no idea how old the movie is but it is readily available and I hope you take a couple of hours to watch and enjoy this poignant gem.

Blessings,

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Restoration

Restoration … is an on-going process of the body, the mind, and the spirit.  It is a process that brings with it acceptance and appreciation.  We begin to look forward to the rituals of restoration, to await their return in the cycle of our lives.  They bring us a measure of comfort.

Each morning a cup of tea enjoyed in my garden surrounded by the sound of the trickling fountain and the sweet sounds of the morning birds brings restoration to my soul and peace to my mind.  It is a time of reflection and preparation to meet the new day … a brief period of time that is mine before I meet the world and all that awaits me for that day.

When my body is tired or stressed from a busy day, a hot shower washes away not only the grime of the day but also removes the tension and strain from tired and aching muscles and prepares them for rest.  It is a thing of comfort for my body as are soft pajamas and a cuddly robe when the weather turns cool.

Taking a nap in the middle of a busy day when your mind is running in many different directions at once seems like a waste of time but your mind doesn’t think so.  It is a welcome respite from all that is churning inside … another time of comfort and restoration.  How much easier life’s challenges seem when we’ve had a bit of rest.

Enjoying a day of rest at the end of a busy work week is not only therapeutic for the body and the mind but rejuvenating for the soul – that inner part of us that cries out all week to be noticed but we are so busy we fail to take the time to consider the weightier, more transcendent matters of life.  In society today we plan, we work, we rush, we play – all on a tight schedule as if we are on a merry-go-round and there is no way to get off.   

Our bodies were created with inherent natural rhythms.  Studies have shown that our natural bodies are designed to work on a seven-day cycle.  Our heartbeat, blood pressure, body temperature, hormone levels and red blood cell count (to name a few) rise and fall in seven-day cycles.  If we want our bodies to be healthy and able to work and play hard all week, we need to allow for a day of rest for body, mind and soul every seven days.

Our Creator planned for this when He created the Sabbath on the seventh day by resting and declaring it holy in Genesis 2.  As Lord of the Universe and Creator of all things He did not need to rest; He set apart a day of rest for His children so that they might find comfort and restoration every week.  In Isaiah 58 He says that if we will honor this day of rest, He will bless our lives and we will “ride on the high places of the earth”.

As for me, I look forward each week to this day of rest and restoration.  My body needs it; my mind needs it; and my soul enjoys every minute.

May you come to experience the comfort of the Sabbath in your life.

Blessings, Ann

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oh Happy Day!

Oh Happy Day  … what an amazing day this is!  Watching the Chilean miners being rescued from deep inside the earth after 69 days is so gratifying.  I cannot imagine how they and their families feel and the intense stress they must be under as each awaits their return to the land of  light and living once again.  At this point they are preparing to lift out the 29th miner.  Each reunion is a beautiful testament to love and faith and endurance … how fortunate we are to be able to witness these precious scenes.

The Chilean government is to be applauded not only for the feat of drilling the rescue tunnel but for all the planning that has gone into the execution of the actual rescues.  They have done an incredible job rescuing unbelievably strong and resilient men.


May God bless each of them and their families as they resume their lives together.

Blessings, Ann

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Better and Better

Better and Better

As I contemplated reaching my 65th year this past January I was motivated to take more control of my life especially as related to my weight gain and eating habits.  I had gone to a new doctor for an initial physical and she said that everything was fine except for my blood pressure that I keep under control with medication.  I have had fibromyalgia for over 20 years and work at keeping it at bay with chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, and neuromuscular therapy and have good results with these combined therapies. 

I think I was feeling old (extra weight can do that) and not looking forward to turning 65; and in the midst of my pity party it struck me that since I was otherwise so healthy why not do something about the excess weight and see if I could feel as good as I had just been told I was doing.

I’m happy to say ten months later that I’ve lost 34 pounds and am still working at it.  And I feel great!  I tell my friends that I’m not getting older – I’m getting better and better. 

My morning devotions this week took me to both II Corinthians 4:16 and I Peter 3:3-4.  In II Corinthians we are told not to become discouraged, that though our physical body is decaying and wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day after day.  That is, of course, if we are looking to God and allowing Him to do this work in us.

And in I Peter 3 we are admonished to not let our beauty be only that of external adornments (hair, jewelry, clothes, etc.) but to develop beauty in our inner being to reveal a gentle and peaceful spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

It is so easy to become overly concerned with the physical and fail to take the same time and care to deal with the spiritual aspects of our lives.  These two verses are gentle reminders to me that both have their place.  We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and as such we need to take care of our physical bodies; but we also have a spiritual side that needs just as much care and nurturing so that we can become all that God has designed us to be.

May you become better and better every day, Ann


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Provision

Provision … do I trust God to provide for my needs?  Isn’t that one of the most difficult things to hand over?  We all want to be secure … in our homes, in our jobs, with our health, with the condition of our families, in our finances.  And when we don’t have that feeling of security, it’s so easy to give in to the whispering in our ear from the devil that we’re going to lose everything, we cannot pay that bill, we will not survive the latest health scare, our children will not make it through this or that – and on and on he goes.

We end up being totally stressed out, tired and depressed and many times nothing bad has happened yet.  We’re rehearsing the worst-case scenario when we don’t even know if that is what is going to happen.  Most times our thought process is more frightening than the real thing.  If it sounds like I might know what I’m talking about, it’s because I’ve been there many times over the years.  And I got tired of going around that mountain over and over again so I’ve been working at letting go and letting God … be God. 

God is all powerful, all seeing, He knows the beginning from the end, He formed me, He chose me, He loves me and I chose to let Him take care of me and everything that concerns me and my family.  That’s my new mantra and I’m working hard to make it a part of my inner being.  Intellectually I know it is true but emotionally sometimes I can feel the old fears rising to the surface.  I’m learning to button it up and to think of whatever is good, is perfect, and is lovely as the Bible suggests. 

Such a book … filled with such wisdom … and  though we read it we often fail to put it into practice.  It was written for us – our instruction manual for life.  If there is a problem, it tells us how to handle it; if we are worried and upset, it gives us comfort; if we are lost, it gives us direction (like a spiritual GPS).  The words there are like gold … never losing their value … and to be desired above all else.  It is one of God’s great provision for our lives … we must remember to use it so we can walk a successful journey.

Blessings on your walk, Ann 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Vacation Fun?

Vacation Fun? … So far I’ve not discovered anything that I might need and didn’t bring.  Yeah!  However, the morning after we arrived in Lake Havasu we went out to the car and “Betty” didn’t open her trunk, her doors, or start her engine … oh, oh.  This is not a good start I think.  A call to AAA brought a truck and a jumpstart for the engine and shortly thereafter a trip to the local garage resulted in “your battery is borderline okay but the alternator is shot” … shot to the tune of over $400 … oh, oh.  But we’re about ready in a couple of days to embark on a trip to Oatman (waaaaaay out in the boonies) and don’t want to get stranded so we go ahead and bite the bullet.  Three hours later “Betty” starts right up and off we go. 

  Off to Oatman … , we decided to take the scenic route on Historic Route 66 … after all we are on vacation and we do like roaming around … a long, winding drive through the desert with rocky mountains jutting up from the parched earth.  It was a nice drive but not like any Route 66 we’d been on before.

We arrived in Oatman and were completely surrounded by nosey burros who were very well behaved … no nibbling or poking in your pockets (they must be well fed) but they were very friendly and liked very much having their ears scratched and we obliged. 

Funny thing was when I went to get out of the car after George had already closed his door I couldn’t get my door to open and I couldn’t get the power door locks to work … hmmm, strange.  George opened my door and off we went to explore the little town … very quaint, very conservative … neat. 

A couple of hours later we were back at the car and presumed to be on our way, but “Betty” seemed to be having some difficulty … very rough idle and she didn’t want to keep idling.  Up went an instant prayer – “oh God, there’s no garage …”  Since I talk to God on a very regular basis I know He knew I didn’t mean any disrespect … it was an actual plea for intervention.  And He did … the battery finally started to charge (thanks probably to the new alternator) and we made a slow exit out of town with a prayer that we would not end up stranded who knows where with iffy or no cell phone service. 

The next hour and a half provided to be a beautiful drive … again continuing on Historic Route 66 through gold mining country and some  of the steepest and sharpest mountain turns we’ve ever driven on.  It was totally awesome in a very barren, rugged sort of way and neat to think that we were someplace that many do not ever go to or see.  And fortunately the battery held a charge.

Upon arriving in Bullhead City we decided not to take any more chances and opted to install a new battery … another $100 … hmmm.  Well, that’s two repairs we won’t have to make when we get home … I consider that putting a positive spin on things.  After all, God is in control of everything that happens to us … better Him than me. 

Now we’re enjoying a few days of R&R and some fun with the slots.  We’ve managed to lose $10 and had a couple of hours of fun doing it. 
Obviously we’re not big gamblers … money is too hard to come by and we’re instilled with the Puritan instinct from way back when.  But playing like a couple of kids on the penny slots has brought us a bunch of chuckles.  And bringing George some much-needed down time. 

Happy Day, Ann

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Baggage

Baggage … it’s not only something that we pack and carry with us when traveling.  It is often what we carry around with us day after day, year after year.  It’s that aggravating burden, thought, worry, guilt, shame – whatever – that chips away at our peace night and day.  We ignore it, or at least we try to, but it keeps popping up its ugly head.  We bury it, or so we think, and it suddenly is uncovered again.  We beat it down until there couldn’t possibility be a shred of life in it anymore, and yet it shows up time and time again when we least expect it. 

It hinders our relationships, our fun, our growth, our happiness and it’s heavy to carry around.  It often makes us who we are, not what we’d like to become.  What to do?  Paul said in Romans (chapter 7, starting with verse 15) that even though he knew to do the right thing, he still did the things he did not want to do and was sometimes unable to do the things that he knew he should do or even those things that he wanted to do.  After consideration he said that there was a war going on between his mind and his reason.  His conclusion was that God could do in his life what he could not do on his own.

How many times do we battle our battles alone without the help of our Lord who desires to be strong for us, to relieve us of the things we cannot handle by ourselves.  But we just continue to plod along carrying our old heavy burdens that keep us from developing and growing into the person that He has planned for us to become.  Why do we find it so hard to part with our old problems?  Could it be a sense of security that comes from dealing with the familiar no matter how difficult and our fear of the unknown, the new, and perhaps the exciting adventure that awaits us if we were to let go of the things that are weighing heavy on us? 

Why not make the decision now to seriously consider giving up some of the old baggage in our lives, turn it over to the “Conductor” who has already paid the price and is more than willing to carry it for us?  Food for thought … maybe life could be a little brighter and the load a little lighter if we would just let get of some excess baggage.

Blessings, Ann

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Packing

Packing … ugh!  But if we’re going to take a little vacation I have to pack.  I always take too much – well, not quite always.  One time many years ago I arrived at our destination with everything for everybody (I did all the packing) except for my underwear!  Now, how does one forget to bring your own underwear?  Off to the store I went.  Another time in the winter we were going from Boston to Vermont where my parents lived and where there was a lot of snow and I forgot my boots!  Another trip to the store.  So now I make a list and check it twice and three times and on and on.

It’s frustrating to try to decide today what I want to wear 10 days from now.  I have enough difficulty deciding today what I want to wear.  And how do I really know what the weather is going to be for the next week?  And what exactly am I going to be doing?  Women have way too many choices to make when choosing what to wear on any occasion.

Since we live in Arizona the dress code is pretty casual.  My husband either wears jeans and a knit shirt or khakis and a sport/dress shirt.  Either sneakers or casual dress shoes and he’s all set.  I have to decide whether a skirt or pants; and if I choose pants, then I have to decide shorts, capris, cropped or slacks.  Then come the shoes  -- sneakers, sandals, closed toe, casual or dressy – and of course, then there is color.  That’s a story by itself.  The only time I have managed to have a completely color-coordinated wardrobe with appropriate shoes, etc. is when we lived on our sailboat in San Diego for five years.  I didn’t have any choice then … space was at a premium and everything needed to go together to make different outfits or I was going to be pretty bored wearing the same thing day after day.  It was an interesting experience … and I survived.  Actually it was my idea to move on board … that is another story.

The handbag used to be a dilemma too.  I need to bring one big enough to hold everything I need but not so big that I can’t carry it around if we’re doing a lot of walking.  I think I’ve found the solution to this one.  I bring a good sized purse and my “wallet” is a small clutch type purse that holds a wee bit of everything I need on a jaunt and that’s what I carry when I’m shopping the mall or sightseeing.  Much easier on the back and the arms.

The bags are packed and sitting in the family room; tomorrow I’m off to Phoenix to meet my husband (he lives and works in Phoenix during the week and I live in our home in Tucson) and we’ll be on our way to Lake Havasu and Laughlin for a few days of rest and relaxation. 

I wonder what I forgot … hmmm.

Blessings, Ann