Fall Back:

In honor of TIME CHANGE tonight … some thoughts about TIME on the German blog:



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For Your Reformation Day (10/31):


On the New Blog:

a post about Reformation Day

and The Word for Sunday (from 10/30/2016)



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A Weekend Treat:

Boy, do I have a treat for you … literally!

On the “new” blog, I am sharing a recipe for German Apfelkuchen.

Click this link:   Ein Klein Bisschen German.

Have a good weekend!

Posted in recipes, Uncategorized

A Happy Project

I guess I am pretty good at having big ideas but never really following through on them …

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my life, my attitude, even my blog …  just contemplating my purpose in combination with God’s will – and what in the world I am doing with the few talents I have been given.

If I could live my life as I wanted, I think I’d go back to home-schooling my girls, stay at home, cook, clean, craft, putter around, be part of some co-op, tutor German students… and write.  But as I have to live life as it is, I have to work full-time right now.  Which really gets me down and overwhelms me because it conflicts so much with what I’d rather be doing with my time.

HOWEVER, I’ve decided since this is my lot in life for now … and GOD WILLING, it is temporary?!! … I need to find some outlet that gives me JOY!  I need to do something with my desire to write that isn’t negative and doesn’t just dwell on the mundane-ness that is my life right now – work, eat, sleep, repeat.

Granted, my girls are on “Fall Break” today, and I took the day off work (best idea EVER – although it makes me long for the days when I could just BE HOME …) and not only spent some time with my kids but started working on an idea I’ve had for a while … something that makes me happy and gives me a POSITIVE thing to share.

My idea was inspired – in part (though the idea has rattled around my head for a while now) – by the fact that my son is considering a double major in college:  international business and German.  He will be taking his first German class next semester and has a plan to continue over the next few years.  While I had no real influence on his decision, I am so incredibly pleased that he’d share an interest in our German heritage.

And so, I have started a blog in an attempt to give myself an outlet to share some of my best memories (my childhood and Army-life days that I spent living in Germany) as well as some of the vocabulary, culture, and grammar lessons that I used as a German teacher.  This blog will combine my love of Germany, my happiest of memories, and my German language skills and give me a positive “project” to work on.

If you’d like a peek at what I’ve begun, check out my link here:  Ein Klein Bisschen German .

And here’s hoping I am able to follow through this time …


Posted in blogging, every day life, Family, Germany, Joy, travel | 1 Comment

What Sustains Me Right Now:

There are days when I wonder what in the world I am doing with my life … Did God truly intend for me to just go to work, try to spend some quality time with my family, run errands, cook, clean, and go to bed (oh, and get in all the “alone time” that I require!! like 10:42 p.m right now!) – only to start all over again the next day?

I realize I have purpose – and in taking care of my family, I am taking care of what God has given me … but what else am I really doing with my life and talents?  Sure, I have organizational skills and can generate, reconcile, and fix medical claims … but that’s it?!   Was I just set aside because I failed miserably at connecting with people opportunities in the past?!  I know that’s not true – but I sometimes question what in the light of eternity I am doing.

Someone once said that being lonely isn’t being set aside, it is being set apart.  I am just here in NW Arkansas trying to figure out what in the world it is God has for ME.  And I guess this is it!  My “heart’s desire” is to do something completely different – to be able to use my German language skills, to study, to write, to travel … but for now, my life is here.

But most days I’m okay with that life.  I’m just thankful we’re alive and healthy … we’re safe and warm (or cool – depending on the temperature requirements for our climate control!).  While makes me think of Hurricane Matthew going on right now, too – devastation, poverty, losing your home … my worries seem so much less comparatively.

Here are the things that sustain my heart and searching soul these days:


We’ve been without a church “home” since the beginning of June … and actually, really, for the last 3+ years as our previous church in NW Arkansas just never felt like “home” as much as I tried to embrace it.  This summer we’ve visited a variety of churches throughout our area – and we have settled into one church in particular in the last 6 weeks or so.  Not all of our family is convinced it is “the one” … but for now, the Sunday morning sermons have stuck with me all week, and I call that a good sign.


It has been a long time since I’ve felt the need to eagerly write down sermon notes because I so needed to hear – and remember – what was being preached and that I felt the sermon actually applied to MY LIFE.  In this time of being “set apart”, I do think God wants me to just sit and listen to Him and His Word …


The other thing that keeps me going is knowing that I do have FRIENDS out there somewhere.  There is someone out there who says, “Me, too.”  Or who at least knows me and understands me and gets where I am coming from because they were there as well.

And it does my heart good to spend some time with those people – even though it is not often enough.  It is good to see my kids interact with friends from their past, too.

And it is good to have a spontaneous road trip with my kids.  To have my son drive me around and sing silly songs from the radio together and to get an update on his life … to hear my girls interact (and bicker!) in the back.  To just have FUN instead of just having obligations.


And then there are the occasional surprises.  After doubting – and regretting – my choice to change jobs this summer – only to have that confirmed by situations that come up there – then to have a day (today) when I was there while one co-worker gently talked to another co-worker about some struggles she was going through.  They are good people … I just don’t always see that side.  Another co-worker brought in a doll for Mimsy because she is letting her doll collection go.  Just a little reminder to give someone a chance – or a second chance.  I still regret my job change …. but it is a little less painful today.

And so, I continue to grasp my straws or the end of my rope or whatever you want to call it.  Looking for glimpses of joy in the ordinary.  It is there because God is there.


Posted in church, every day life, Family, friendship | 2 Comments

HodgePodge-ing! 9/14/2016

I wish I had more time to Hodgepodge … and tonight (Tues) I am making time to join Joyce and friends for some FUN blogging – no heavy, deep, introverted thoughts …. just answers the following questions:
1. What’s changed in your life, home, or community since your last birthday? 
My birthday is coming up in November.  Last November, I was pretty happy with my job as a durable medical equipment billing manager and part time pharmacy tech; it fit well into my life and family; it was pretty flexible and child-friendly (my 6 year old would hang out at my office or in the pharmacy if I didn’t have child care, etc) …
Then in May of this year, my job was down-sized – and I made a rash decision to pursue medical billing instead of pharmacy tech-ing.  By July, I was starting a new, full-time job with a regional hospital as a billing coordinator for their home health department.   This has changed my life and the dynamics how our home runs drastically.
Before I took this job, my husband gave me some advice when he reminded me that sometimes it is better to stick with the devil you know than face the devil you don’t.  And so, I continue to face this new devil every morning as I get up and drag myself to work.  I am thankful for a job because our family needs the extra income right now, but I have definitely confirmed that I am no career woman!
2. September is Classical Music Month. Do you like/listen to classical music? If so what’s a favorite piece and/or who is a favorite composer? 
I like classical music well enough; we have always had CDs in our house and occasionally listened to them.  My favorite was to listen to classical music is live and in a wonderful venue, which is something we experienced several times while living in Germany.  My favorite composer is Mozart and my favorite piece is “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”.
3. Besides The Bible, what’s a book that has positively changed your life, relationships, career, or perspective? How so? 
Introverts in the Church by Adam McVeigh has influenced my life greatly in the last 2 or 3 years.  It has helped me find my place and feel more comfortable as an introvert and a Christian.  A second favorite in this same vein is QUIET by Susan Cain.
4. I read (here) these ten hobbies will make you smarter…play a musical instrument, read voraciously, meditate regularly, work out your brain (puzzles, sudoku, board games, etc), exercise often, learn a new language, write your feelings down (blog, journal, just write), travel to new places, cook different kinds of meals, participate in sports actively
Are any on this list your current hobbies? Which hobby on the list would you be most inclined to try? 
I do read almost every night before bed and as much as I find time to … I do like to work crossword puzzles.  I attempt to write/blog/journal.  I wish I could travel more – and we used to travel a lot.  I’d love to travel more – if only for the sake of getting smarter.  😉
5. What sports traditions does your family have? 
We mostly cheer for college teams – and mostly football.  We are quite diverse in our teams because of where we grew up – Tennessee Volunteers for me because I grew up in Knoxville.  Iowa Hawkeyes because of Dan’s roots.  And now, the Arkansas Razorbacks because our son is a Freshmen at the U of A.
6. In a few words, weigh in on the current football/National Anthem brouhaha. Keep it family friendly please. 
I hate it.  I see the protesters of the anthem as disrespectful.  I can’t go on much more … but as a member of a family who has been involved with the military, I just can’t even believe anyone would want to enjoy America but not at least stand to respect those who give them the freedom to do so.
7. Where do you have loads of patience, and where do you most lack patience? 
Loads of patience with strangers …. lack patience with my own family.  Sad but true.
8. Insert your own random thought here. 
Hormones.  They are evil.  That is all.  (said the woman who is going on 46)
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Back to School

This is such a changing season of life for me … maybe because we aren’t where I expected to be … maybe because we are RIGHT where God wants us to be.  Maybe He needs me to be solely dependent on Him because if my life were easier right now, I’d forget to ask Him for the Daily Bread that sustains us; I might not see His Hand so clearly in small things such as an unexpected windfall.  I’m not sure what God’s purposes are … I just know that I need Him.

As with most families, our lives seem to be a series of ups and downs.  One of the highs is that our son has started college – the lows are that he had no idea what he was getting into that first day!  The university here has started with its highest enrollment ever – over 27,000 students, most convening on the same campus at or around the same time.

Take, for example, the premium of parking – as a town student, Drew has to drive in to school and despite the fact that he bought a permit for the commuter lot, there aren’t enough spaces there to accommodate all the permit holders.  The very first day of class, he didn’t need to be on campus until after 11:00 a.m. which left him trolling the lot with a few other unsuspecting students, looking for a parking space – and as class time rapidly approached, he, at least, gave up and paid $5 to use the visitor parking garage.  Now he has to decide how to go to a late morning class – either go and hang out on campus for hours in the earlier morning or plan something else.  And what to do next semester?  Buy a more expensive, more convenient permit or continue the logistical nightmare of parking in the cheaper remote lot.


(above image – a glimpse of campus with “Old Main” in the foreground)

Then once you park, you have to walk – many blocks – often uphill (the university’s Freshmen slogan is “HEADED TO THE HILL”) to get to the building where your class is held.  Then you have walk some more to get to the bookstore or the library or wherever it is you need to be.  At least Drew is getting A LOT of exercise!  That is one – actually fond – memory I have of my college days … walking all over campus in the flow of the hundreds of other students all around you.  For Drew, it is a little bit different as he says of the thousands of people he’s seen every day, he has seen only 2 or 3 people that he recognizes and only 1 he has actually talked to so far.  It is a sea of strangers, kind of like visiting a foreign city!

On the happier side, we found out this week that Drew has somehow merited another scholarship from a business college donor in the amount of $3000 towards his Freshmen year!  We are SO thankful for the blessings of several scholarships this year – and 2 of them that will seep over into the next years.  His goal to get out of college debt-free seems to be a little more realistic.

When I ventured to college 28 many years ago, things were so much simpler – even though I was pretty apprehensive as it was!  I remember what a blessing it was to secure an electric typewriter to share with a roommate so we could type our essays and papers.  Now, every student has their own laptop, and the campus has wireless access throughout as a matter of course.  My professors had moved on from blackboards to white boards with those smelly, erasable markers … the professors now have “online blackboards” on which to “post” their assignments and notes.

One thing that hasn’t changed a lot of the high cost of textbooks!  Thankfully, Drew was able to rent 2 textbooks this semesters – given that he returned them in good condition.  Well, today ruined that prospect because it rained.  Normally, if he didn’t need to be in class or a study group, he could have found shelter, but today he was going to have to get home to watch his little sister while our other daughter was on a field trip that extended beyond school hours.  And so, Drew ran through the pouring (and it was a gully washer!!) storm to get himself home after class – and in the meantime, all the textbooks in his backpack got soaked through!  Even the rented textbooks, which, of course, renders them un-returnable once the semester is over, and he’ll have to pay full price for them.  And it turns out Annie was back at school before dismissal time anyway!  One step ahead … two steps backwards, sometimes.

In any case, the first week of college is now complete!  Next week, Drew will approach campus a little smarter, better informed.  And I’ll be able to relax a little more as well.

I can’t believe my son is a college student.  At least I haven’t really had to “let him go” yet since he lives at home, although between his job in the evenings and mine during the days, I do hardly see him.  Then again, a boy needs to appease his momma sometimes, and we had lunch together on Tuesday after his early morning classes.  I love having a grown-up child – a friend, really.  He is understanding responsibility, making plans, and dreaming dreams.  It is fun to watch!

Meanwhile, we have the girls back at school for 2 weeks now.  Annie is doing SO MUCH better this school year, and in fact, there is a new girl, who has great potential of becoming a good friend.  Another creative, theatrical, old-time-TV-show watching, musical-lover, and vintage clothes fan – who also isn’t athletic!  Ha!!  In any case, I’ve enjoyed watching my Annie-Belle mature this summer – with the help of some good counsel and just the passage of time.  She is hopeful -and I too hope this comes to pass -that this will be her “best year yet”.


Mimsy is in 1st grade, and she LOVES her teacher.  Her teacher has many years of teaching experience and is very nonplussed by having a room of 20+ 6 year olds.  She is – I believe – the only teacher in the elementary school who doesn’t have a co-teacher or aide (this may change as she’d like to have one but they just haven’t been able to find her a helper).  I think we’re going to have another great school year!

And so, time goes on … I’ve written at least 10 other blog posts in the last month of things I’ve learned and observed and thought about – especially in regard to us finding a new church this summer as well as what God is doing in my own heart.  But I haven’t had the liberty yet to push the “post” button on those thoughts, so for now I will contain them and just share what’s new with the kids here on my on-line journal.

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Playing Hookie

As a mother/wife/adult/employee/Christian, I’m often confused about the Christian principle of “being a servant” and “being self-less” and all that (which are true concepts in the Bible) and its seeming conflict with “taking care of yourself” and doing things that make YOU happy (and isn’t the Christian life supposed to be JOYful and abundant??!) – but because of all my responsibility, isn’t taking care of ME being selfISH?!?!  Of course, that doesn’t stop me from taking care of ME – but I often find I do it while feeling guilty.


Some of that has to do with the family I married into.  Truly, my mother-in-law is the MOST self-LESS person I know.  I also wouldn’t trade places with her in a million years!  My husband says she enjoys “serving others” and doesn’t see it as a hardship or being put-upon as maybe I see it sometimes.  I see it as giving up everything I’d ever want to do just to please someone else.  I guess part of that is personality.  She is an extrovert – and the more people to interact with for her, the better.  I am polar opposite!

I have been at my new job now for two weeks … and today I called in sick!  I have no “sick days” accumulated and am not really sure what that means for me pay-wise – but I will deal with that later.  Since Tuesday, I really haven’t felt well; I haven’t coped well with all the demands on my schedule – things I need to be taking care during working hours that I can not take care of and have to fanagle during my 30 minute lunch period or get my son to deal with.  I’ve been headachy, and this morning I woke up with what I thought was going to be a migraine.  And so I made the call – I will probably go in to work in a little while (guilt, obligation, etc) … but at this moment, I am taking care of ME!


I am sitting in my bed, in my jammies at 8:30 a.m. – when I should already be sitting at my desk at work.  I am drinking coffee and processing my thoughts here on my blog – like I enjoy doing … and I am trying to NOT feel guilty at all.  The ibuprofen is working, and I am feeling better.  I think part of that is just being here, home, quiet.

Once I get done on the computer, I plan to have a little talk with God about what in the world He wants for me.  Like my previous post, I wonder if I didn’t make a big mistake in taking this new job … I just felt like it was “meant to be” – but maybe God doesn’t really use coincidences to confirm His will??  How much leeway does He really give us – how much free will?  What IS His will?  and is His will in the details or is His will in the fact that we are living our lives according to Bible prinicples and then we get to fill in the pieces however we want?!  Again, confused.

I thought “His Will” was me taking this job.  They called me for an interview exactly on my day off … everything went so quickly and smoothly with the hiring.  Then again, I had a choice to make — I am the one who set these wheels in motion.  I didn’t NEED TO get a new job, I was just upset that my old one had been down-sized in the way it had been.  Is this MY fault?  A result – yet again – of my choices? Did I push it?  Should I have said “no” to their offer as soon as I knew the salary was way less than I wanted??  And yet, the “door” seemed open?!  But did I force it to crack open or was it pushed open wide?

I hate second guessing myself – and I realize I have to live with my choices (oh, how I know this!!!) … I wish it were easier.  But as my motto for the last few months has been:  “It is what it is.” Acceptance … and yet, I fight with releasing control and believing that I am supposed to do things I don’t want to do just because “they are right” because I don’t even know IF they are the RIGHT thing to do?

Well, dear readers, if you keep coming back to this blog, perhaps you can at least be thankful you are NOT me.  🙂  EVERYTHING with me is a struggle, I swear.  I keep hoping that ONE DAY things will “settle down” … but apparently, the dream job is just pie-in-the-sky.  Not everyone gets to “do what they love” as the inspirational quotes will tell you.

I really am not a whiner – I just want to understand what is right and true and honorable. But I prefer not to fall apart along the way.

I remain optimistic however, that things WILL one day get better.  Right now, we are in so much transition again – my job, we are looking for a new church (NOT an easy task even though I thought NW Arkansas is still in the “Bible Belt”), always the financial crunch … but thankfully, everyone is healthy, and my kids are still safely at home with me still.  I just wish I could spend more time with them, especially while it is yet summer break.

But as the saying goes, “if wishes were fishes …” … which I never really understood quite well – because I am a beggar, and I’d much rather eat something besides fish.  :-/

I need a catchy closing statement to this blog post … but right now I really don’t have one.  Other than, I really DO believe that God is real – and in time, it will all work out. Just not today.



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How Our Van Teaches Me Life Lessons (just trust me on this one!)

Believe it or not, my van taught me a life lesson this week … That is a little “out there” – but that’s how my poor, over-thinking brain works.  If you read this post to the end, perhaps – and only perhaps – it will all make sense!


I am not a very decisive person to begin with.  I don’t always have strong opinions … except when I do.  And even then, I still get wishy-washy.  Fast.

For example – home schooling?  I loved it!  I desperately wanted to do it – and I did!  For a year.  And I don’t regret it – but now that it is impossible, I am ok with that too.  Now my kids marching off to school is just fine, and in fact, a relief in our current situation.

Another example – ministry.  When my husband first mentioned giving up his Army career to work for a small Christian school, I was on board immediately.  I imaged the wonderful things we’d do and how God would bless it and what a great thing it would be.  And it was …. for a while.  And I don’t regret it – but it sure didn’t turn out at all like I expected.

And on it goes:  my pharmacy technician certification!  Smart decision – I thought – leading to an easy job I’d like … and I did … sort of.  But in the end, it was just retail work, and I didn’t want to do it any more.

Commitment issues much?  Apparently so!!  The only thing I am truly adamant about these days is that I just want to stay home in my pajamas …

Thankfully, one of the few things I haven’t flaked out on is my marriage or parenting.  And that’s only because I think I married the most tolerant man on the planet.  That’s good and that’s bad.  People like me need someone to guide them with strong opinions – and my husband would rather see me be happy – if only temporarily – than try to direct the strong-willed person that I am.  He just sits back and watches me try to control everything, and then he picks me up when I crash into the next wall.

And guess what!!?  I’ve done it again:  I quit a perfectly good job because the owner of the business changed everything on me – and I didn’t like the changes.

But the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  I’ve been doing medical billing for a regional hospital for a week and a day now – and I am really doubting I made the best choice.  I’m thinking I took this job rashly, despite the fact that it “seemed” to be perfect timing.  I took a pay cut (and didn’t realize how much until today when I got paid for 16 hours from my old job and 16 hours from my new job … there is no comparison!).   Granted I have a “foot in the door” to a huge organization … but am I really a career woman who wants to work my way up to being Vice President in charge of the Revenue Cycle?!  Ummmm…..no thanks!  My new boss (one step above me) just spent today in the ER because she was having an elevated heart rate that has been determined to just be “stress-related”.  That is NOT what I’m looking for.

SO, now what??!  How do I get into things like this??!!  Thankfully, God often helps get me out of my dilemmas as well.  I have been contacted about a job possibility with people from my old job – people who I liked, people who understood my commitment to my family first of all, and who know I want flexible work hours, and who are Christians and have Christian values. And we may be working out something in the next few weeks.  (and I won’t be making any rash decisions, believe me!).

I know that isn’t something I should be writing all over the internet – but I don’t know how else to process it.  I don’t really have friends here – and my husband just shakes his head as he TRIES to talk sense into me while still trying to not make me angry by telling me the logical answers that I don’t want to hear …


We’ve had a major break-through this week with our poor, old Arkansas Chug-A-Bug van.  Not sure if anyone remembers my sad tale of the day the better-working of our 2 sliding doors ate my favorite winter coat??  Well, I shut the sliding door on my coat tail, and no matter how hard my husband or I tried, we COULD NOT get the piece of cloth out of the door mechanism … and for several months, no matter how I tried to pull, twist, and cut the fabric, the door was STUCK.  My kids got used to going in and out through the passenger side door, and we just pretended like we only had 1 sliding door.

This past Monday, Mimsy was messing around in the back of the van while sitting in there with Daniel, waiting on me to pick up Annie-Belle … and she pushed the sliding door button (the the broken door side), which is something I’ve done 13,243 times in an attempt to fix it, too … and door SLID OPEN, releasing the piece of my favorite coat:

20160715_193318 (1)

Since we’d even PRAYED for our sliding door to work again, Mimsy immediately said, “God healed our van!” …. and that is where I’ll leave that.  Maybe it was a long time result of all the pulling and twisting I’d done already … maybe it was just God’s favor??  But I chose to believe that God did us a favor and released that door.

It reminds me of my work dilemma now:  I’m twisting and pulling and forcing things to go my way – but they are just mucking up the mechanism.  One day, I’ll just release control … and suddenly, hopefully, GOD WILL OPEN THE DOOR WIDE!  And I’ll know it was Him – and not me and all my futile efforts that released it.

And then I’ll call it “The Parable of the Van Door”.


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The NOT-Bummer Summer Vacation

It seems like sometimes life is pretty mundane … and that’s okay because work is honorable even though not something to write about usually … and ordinary days are something to be thankful for because it sure beats being in the midst of a crisis!

Granted, our lives are seldom smooth-sailing – and there’s always something creeping up to remind me how very dependent I am on God’s provision and guidance …

But when something WONDERFUL happens, I want to remember to be ESPECIALLY THANKFUL.  And after the “Bummer Summer” of last year, this year we got to go away for over a week as a family!  Since we’ve lived in the Southern Midwest, we’ve always talked about going to Colorado because it is a somewhat accessible state by driving …. And FINALLY, we got to go!  And Colorado did not disappoint.

CO - Sun12 scenery2

If one is going to be at the Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park (on the east-ish side of the Nat’l Park) seems to be THE place to go.  It was recommended to us, but when I booked our time-share resort last November, everything in Estes Park for a 2-bedroom unit was already taken!!  And guess what?!  That worked out very much in our favor after all.

We stayed in a lovely little town on the west side of the National Park called Winter Park … and just beyond us were the small towns of Frasier, Grandby and Grand Lake.  And all of these areas were open for summer tourism but definitely NOT crowded.  Winter Park had access to some trails, and there were shops and a few restaurants (though we cooked and ate almost all our meals in our apartment), a McDonald’s and a Subway.  PERFECT for us!  🙂

CO - Sun10 lupines2

We are home-bodies and not great outdoors people (or I should say not ADVENTUROUS outdoors people, as we do like being outside – especially in Colorado where the weather is amazing this time of year!!!) – our idea of being “outside” is a comfortable, leisurely walk with access to ice cream or cold drinks … and 4 out of 5 of us are NOT morning people.  We spent our mornings in Colorado kind of like this:

CO - Mon1 morning

A short distance from our time share place, there was a lovely little trail that led to a park where Daniel, Drew, and Annie shot basketball, and Mimsy had a nice playground nearby, and there was a convenient bench for me – with an amazing view to remind me of how amazing God’s creation really is!!  We walked to this park several times over the week.

CO - Sun6 AnM

We arrived in Colorado last Saturday.  After resting on Sunday – and adjusting to the altitude (Mimsy got sick in the night, and I couldn’t get a deep breath – all our noses seemed dried out from the dry air), we were ready to do something on Monday.

We drove “down” to Denver and went to its aquarium.  It was not the best one I’ve ever been to – and I wouldn’t even recommend it to anyone because there are so many other options – but live and learn.  The exhibits were nice enough and we got to touch sting rays …

CO - MOn11 andrewrays

but otherwise, we were through the entire thing in a little over an hour.  (not a great value for the money we paid to get in!!).

CO - MOn9 jellyfish

(jellyfish exhibit … ^^)

The guys had tickets to a Colorado Rockies ballgame that evening, so the girls and I dropped them off at Coors Field – and we met up with my step-brother and his daughter who live in Aurora, right outside of Denver for dinner and catching up on the last 20 years since I had last seen them (obviously, they’d not ever met my kids).

Tuesday we rested up and just stayed local around Winter Park.

Wednesday, we went to the National Park ($20 entrance fee – wow! but totally worth it!)

CO - Wed2 rmnp fam

One thing I have to mention is how very, very thankful I am that our old van (the “Arkansas Chug-a-Bug”) was reliable and comfortable this entire trip!!  We’ve broken down and had enough car troubles in the last 5 years that this is something I do not take for granted!

CO - Wed4 van

(^^ shout out to our old Chug-A-Bug that you can see here in this picture)

We had a picnic lunch at the trail head of the Timber Lake Trail – a 4.8 mile moderate hike to a lake – and then of course, 4.8 miles back.  The boys and Mimsy made it almost to the lake, but a mudslide diverted them back a little short of hiking the entire trail:  THIS GIRL did amazing despite a sudden rain shower that came up and some fairly steep climbs!!  (So I’m told … )

CO - Wed19 miriam hiker

Annie-Belle and I did not make it, unfortunately.  A combination of dehydration, taking off too quickly after eating lunch, and altitude made Annie a little woozy, so we slowed our pace and enjoyed the scenery.  We spent some time sitting under a giant coniferous tree, waiting out the rain showers that rose up … and in the end, Annie said she was glad she got to spend some time “just the two of us”.

CO - Wed12 Conny

Thursday and Friday, we just explored the nearby towns and took it easy.

Saturday, sadly, we had to pack up and leave.  We met an old friend and some of her family, whom the Army stationed in Colorado Springs, on our way out of Denver for lunch – and it was wonderful to see familiar faces!  Then we headed into the flatter and far less impressive state of Kansas.   We stopped for the night in Dodge City.

KS - Sun15 dodge

(we did not stay at this hotel however^^)

Sunday morning, after having “TV church” with Dr. David Jeremiah, we went into Dodge City and explored Boot Hill.

KS - Sun2 dodge

It was actually more interesting that I had expected … and it was decorated nicely for the 4th of July holiday.

KS - Sun6 dodge

And then we drove the almost 450 miles home to NW Arkansas.   It is wonderful to be home – although suddenly, it feels extremely HUMID here (compared to Colorado) …

My favorite picture from our trip expresses how I think we all felt about finally being FAR AWAY from Arkansas and enjoying some care-free down-time as a family:

CO - Sun9 Mrunning



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