Monday, March 28, 2011


Sunday - On our way back to Sarah and Jason’s apartment, they shared with us their new hobby, geocaching. There is a website which lists all the geocaches that are located in a given area. These “geocaches” are hidden stashes that individuals have hidden and recorded the location of them on this website with coordinates, or maybe just clues about where to find them. Then others will go and, taking these coordinates or clues, will try to find them. Sort-of like a treasure hunt. For more information you can check out the website:


Jason is using an app on his cell phone to map out the location of a geocache in the area. Some caches are very difficult to find and may require walking off road several miles. This particular geocache was rated an ‘easy’ one and was close to the road.


We spotted the geocache, in this case, a camouflaged ammo box, hidden under a small tree. Some geocaches are this size, though some are very small, hidden in a sardine can or something similar.


Inside the ammo box is a plastic bag that contains a small notebook and a number of small ‘trinkets’ (plastic toys, cars, etc.).


After finding the geocache, you are to sign the notebook, and then later record the find on the website.


Then you take out one of the ‘trinkets’…….


And add one of your own. Sarah and Jason usually add a coin from some foreign currency which they have collected.

Some of the caches have been in the same location for several years, and have been found as many as a hundred times. It is fun to see who all has found a cache, and where they are from. It is interesting to think of all the ‘hidden’ items that are around your area, and all the people who are engaged in the activity of searching or hiding. Almost like an underworld……

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Trail Riding

At Goldfield Ghost Town, we went for a trail ride. This was something that Sarah and Jason had done before, and had LOVED it, and I understand why. We had a wonderful time!


We each got matched to a horse to suit our experience and personalities. Mine kept needing prodding and encouraging just to keep up. I’m not sure what that said about me………



We went for an hour’s ride, led by the trail guide, an old rancher who was from the Denton, TX area.


Riding along was so peaceful…..


And the view from the saddle of a horse is different than when we are on foot. it may be that the horse is doing all the walking, so I don’t have to watch my feet so carefully. : )



The scenery was beautiful….very wild west. One could almost picture being in a western.”I should have been a cowboy…..”


Or “….a cowgirl”!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Walking alongside……in faith and in spirit


My Aunt Lorene died yesterday…….a really remarkable woman of faith Not the flighty “God will provide, so I don’t have to do anything” sort, rather, she was the down to earth, get your hands dirty in the garden, and get out and give God a hand kind of person.

Lorene died surrounded by family and held up in the love of family and friends and a whole community of people that her life had touched.

As Fred and I are here in Arizona, and have kept in touch by the wonders of computers and cell phones, our hearts and minds kept turning to those lovingly sitting at Lorene’s bedside in Springfield, MO…… especially Uncle George, who had to say what must be the hardest of goodbyes……and to my Mom, who is grieving the loss of a sister-in-law, but also grieves for her little brother. And for my cousins David and Tim, who lost a mother, who so often is the ‘heart’ of a family.

Each morning this week, Fred and I have gotten out to hike in the State Park where we are staying. And each morning, as we walked along, we marveled at God’s creation, and the beauty that is present even in the desert. (Yes, I AM beginning to appreciate the desert!)


We took the time to consciously feel a sense of spirituality and connectedness  through  the grandeur of God in nature…….


And felt that, with each step, we were walking alongside…………

Friday, March 25, 2011

Goldfield Mine Ghost Town

On Sunday, March 20th, Fred and I and Sarah and Jason toured the Goldfield Ghost Town. This was an old mining town that was recreated just as it looked in the late 1800’s.


It had all the prerequisite buildings…….


The Mercantile……



A Bordello….


The Church….


which still has services on Sunday mornings.


And, of course, the jail.


There was a bit of dancing in the streets……


And even a gunfight!

Quite an exciting morning…….and we were not even through!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Touring about on Saturday…..

Saturday, March 19 – Fred and I joined Sarah and Jason for a bit of a morning workout in their apartment complex’s gym. Their gym is very nice, and it felt good to get stretched out and moving after several days of traveling.

After showers and lunch, we all drove up to Scottsdale to the Crate and Barrel store.  This is the VERY ritzy part of the Phoenix area, and this shopping area was an experience in it self! Then a nice stop by Starbucks for a Frappuccino……mmmm    : )

Next, a bit of touring around the Chandler area……… with a walk through a cool, green, grassy park along side of a small lake, where Sarah and Jason often go for picnics and walks with Lucky.

Saturday evening, Sarah and Jason joined us for dinner at our camper, and we got to show it off a bit. We played a new card game “Quiddler” – look out for Jason and Sarah….they are pretty good!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sarah and Jason’s apartment, and Sarah’s office

Thurs March 17th – We arrived in Phoenix, and got the camper set up, then headed to Sarah’s that evening.


Sarah and Jason’s new apartment is in Chandler, AZ, just south and east of Phoenix, and just 15 minutes from Sarah’s work and Jason’s school (ASU).


Their living room- note the rather ‘retro’ look of the shark on the wall, a ‘pass-down’ from Jason’s parents.


A VERY nice kitchen…..


and dining area.


New bedroom furniture……beautiful!


On Friday, we met Sarah at her office – she is a staff accountant for Basha’s, an Arizona grocery store chain.


Sarah works in Basha’s corporate office in Chandler, and has her OWN office.  : )

We got to meet a number of Sarah’s co-workers, who all seem very friendly, and then, enjoyed seeing the VERY extensive Native American and Cowboy art collection that is on display in the corporate office.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thoughts and Prayers…..

Just a note to add……

While we are traveling about and visiting with Sarah and Jason, our thoughts and prayers are with my Aunt and Uncle in Springfield, MO and their families through this very difficult time of sitting vigil with my Aunt, who had suffered a stroke and is not expected to recover.

Through the web site Caring Bridge, we are able to keep updated, and to also read the many  comments of support and tribute from friends. I am so moved by the many lives that my Aunt and my Uncle have touched. They are both well loved and have the support of family and of so many friends. Their lives are a testimony to ‘living their faith’, an example for us of strength, faith and enduring love.

Road Trip! Heading to Phoenix to visit Sarah and Jason

March 15th- We loaded up the camper, and hit the road, heading to Phoenix, Arizona to visit Sarah and Jason.


First night spent at lake Colorado City State Park, Texas, about 50 miles east of Midland. This was a nice campground with electricity, but not much of a view of the lake from the campground.


2nd night – at Rock Hound State park, New Mexico – just out of Deming. Another nice state park, with hook-ups, and a great view of the surrounding mountains…. and lots of nice cacti.


Prickly Pear, and small barrel shaped cacti…..


And some getting ready to burst into bloom.


Even some that reminded me of the “….feed me, Seymour” plant that is on our road at the cabin, only this one is smaller.


We just LOVE the way our Airstream looks.   : )

Friday, March 11, 2011

Jane Goodall

On Wednesday, Fred and I drove over to Houston to hear Jane Goodall give a talk. This idea came about when we were discussing our next travel plans, and I realized that I wanted to visit the places and/or hear talks from the authors of the books that had captivated me and had a real influence on my thinking.

Jane Goodall fit this category and I had especially wanted to hear her speak ever since our daughter, Laura, had the chance to see her at Drake University in Des Moines a number of years ago. Jane- sometimes known as the Chimpanzee Lady- celebrated (this past July 2010) 50 years of research on the Chimpanzees of Gombe National Preserve in Tanzania, Africa. You can learn more about Jane Goodall and her work by clicking on the following link: The Jane Goodall Institute

Jane Goodall first went to Africa when she was 23 years old, and went to work as a secretary for the anthropologist Louis Leakey, with the hope of getting her foot in the door and to maybe work with the animals. She got her chance and, in 1960, at the age of 26, she went to Gombe to study the chimpanzees.

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She has been their spokesperson ever since –giving talks, not just about the chimps, or about deforestation and the loss of their habitat, but also about how we should live in harmony with each other and caring for the world around us.

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I first read about Jane Goodall, I’m sure, from the National Geographic- a magazine that was always a part of our household when I was growing up. Later, when I was in high school, I read her book “In The Shadow of Man” and I, too, had visions of running away to Africa. But more, I was struck by her research on the similarities of behavior between the chimpanzees she studied, and humans.

I was, by that time, already interested in people and their behavior, and I have always had a love of nature and animals. Jane, with her observations and comparisons, wove the threads that became my first appreciation of the interconnectedness of all beings in this great web of life.

Jane Goodall’s work has always been very holistic. She quickly realized that to care for her beloved chimps, meant not only caring for their environment, but caring for the people of Africa, and all peoples, and indeed, the whole earth. Her work includes such diverse programs as her Roots and Shoots program – a world wide, grass roots, get involved program for children - to promoting shade grown coffee grown on the hills surrounding Gombe.

Jane Goodall’s talk in Houston was sponsored by the group, the Progressive Forum, whose slogan is “Great Minds. Great answers.” (I just LOVE that).

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(No pictures were allowed, so I am including some that I pulled off the internet.)

Jane spoke about her time in Gombe, but she also spoke about those who had supported and nurtured her work and her desire to be a scientist at a time when it was not the norm for women. She spoke about her mother who recognized her curiosity as a child and encouraged it and who told her that “she could do anything that she wanted to do, if she wanted it badly enough”. And how we should likewise encourage our young people. She also noted that her mom accompanied her to Gombe, helping her ‘settle in’ and staying the first 4 months. : )

Jane spoke of the problems facing the world today and why she has reason for ‘hope’ and of her faith in mankind to find solutions to these problems. She spoke of the small things that each of us could do and how we should just “roll up our sleeves and get busy doing something” rather than just reading about or talking about it. It is really about living ‘mindfully’ – about the choices that we make…large and small…..what we eat, what we drive….how we live day to day…….making those choices mindful of their impact of those around us and with the intent to decrease our environmental footprint.

Jane’s talk was inspiring……. as was her presence. Jane, at 76 years old, is vigorous (she travels, giving lectures, over 300 days a year) and expressive and enthusiastic. She talked for 1 1/2 hours without any notes, and was absolutely captivating. Jane seems to be so comfortable with herself, without the need for pretension. She wore simple, comfortable clothes, no make-up, and her hair, naturally greying, still pulled back in a pony tail.

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Jane Goodall is a wonderful example of living an ‘authentic’ life – recognizing who we are, and finding something that we are passionate about, and then doing it…… and never forgetting our responsibility to be a good steward of the earth.

Jane stayed after the program, signing books. Fred and I stood in line to have my book signed, an absolute ‘first’ for me (first time EVER to stand in line to have an author sign their book). I will admit to feeling quite star struck and tongue tied, but this was a night that I will treasure.