Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mini Vaca: Scottsdale Part 1

Adam had a Healthcare Executives course that he needed to go to that just so happened to fall over my birthday so we decided to turn it into a mini vacation and go out a few days before the conference started.   I'd never been to Arizona so the scenery was all new to me.   It's always fun to get away with him and see and experience new things.

Once we landed, we caught a taxi to the resort and got checked in. We grabbed a bite to eat in Old Town Scottsdale (which is so quaint and lovely) then changed clothes to go do a hike. We climbed Camelback Mountain.  I had done a little research and had seen reviews like: "I've climbed Echo Canyon trail and Cholla trail over 100 times and they never disappoint", "there are large portions of the hike when you are using hands and feet to climb" and "it's a bit of a challenge, be prepared for some rock climbing closer to the top." I thought to myself, how bad could it be?  I told Adam, but we were both up for the challenge and were excited to see the views from the top.  It was spectacular and beautiful, the first 2/3's of the way I was thinking, "what's the big deal?" Then we hit the rock climbing portion, we went up a little ways, but this little Mama was D.O.N.E! We did enjoy the views.   It was quite a contrast to see the dessert, arid surroundings then to see a lush green golf course all from the same spot.
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I was stunned by how large the cactuses are, I don't know why I didn't expect that?  But the only cactuses that I recall seeing in person are the indoor potted plants that some people set out in their home.  So the grand scale of them was quite amazing!
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It was a nice hike, we enjoyed the time spent together talking and taking in the scenery.
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There were cactuses of all colors, shapes and sizes. And we saw cottontail rabbits and plenty of lizards. There were warning signs all over the place to watch out for Rattlesnakes, thankfully we didn't get to see one of those unclose; I think that would have sent me right up over the edge!
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The reviews of this hike were right, it is no joke. It was hot and steep and really rocky toward the top, but the views were great! It was pretty crazy how the mountain was literally right in the middle of town, with million dollar homes built all around it.
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This looked like a nice spot to take a rest.  See what I mean? One side of the mountain looked arid and desert-like with its red rocks and cactuses and the other side was this lush golf course resort.  It was pretty fascinating!
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And apparently, just like Little Rock got a lot of rain fall this summer, so did Arizona.  There were flowers blooming out of many of the prickly plant life, and it was really pretty to observe.  God's creativity and artistic nature is always fun to see and experience.
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Day Two-
We woke up at a leisurely pace and grabbed a bite of breakfast before heading out to a day on the links. Adam has always wanted to play golf in a desert-like environment so that's what we did. We didn't realize it when we were climbing the mountain, but the golf course that we had seen was actually the course that he had made a reservation at, so that was neat to have been able to see it from an "arial" view as well as to be playing on it.
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With Adam, there's always a good warm-up/stretching routine so I had to capture this. He's methodical and a lover of routine so he did it all: hip rotations, knee bends ("that gets the synovial fluid going") and of course arm circles and stretches.  I must say, I'm not an avid watcher of golf but I do believe he played pretty well, so maybe all that routine of his paid off.
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It was really just so pleasant to be in such a lovely setting with my best friend.  Driving around in the cart, looking at the houses and beautiful surroundings (with no whining or complaining to listen to) was a real treat!
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I enjoyed my day date with this man.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Time Spent...

The past two weeks I feel like we've been running "mach 2 with our hair on fire". It seems that there's been so much vying for our attention. And its been good things, necessary things and its been... busy! Sometimes there's days when I feel like I should be involved in more things, more service projects, more philanthropic organizations; more time spent volunteering at the kids schools, more time with friends…really, just a lot MORE!  But, while being on a mini vacation (which I'll post pics about tomorrow) when I think back over these past two weeks and consider all that I've done and that I've been apart of, I realize that my plate really is pretty loaded, that I have done a lot and that really, I've just been believing the lie that Satan's been feeding me that, "you should be doing more and you're not doing enough." And then there's the lie that "what you're doing doesn't really matter"…which Satan likes to throw at me so often.

I looked up the definition of "time" and Webster describes it as this: the indefinite continued progress of existence or the plan, schedule, or arrangement of when (something) should happen or be done. We all have an allotment of "time" and I think we all want to know that how we're spending it is in a worthy manor, I know that I sure do.

So, here's a little bit of what's been going on and how time has been spent the past few weeks:

I was home folding laundry during nap time one day when I heard sirens coming up our street. I walked out onto our front porch to see not one but two fire trucks. I grabbed my phone and headed across the street to check on our dear sweet neighbor, Ms. Betty. Thankfully all was fine, it was just a faulty smoke detector, but she was quite shaken up from all the drama. It took about 30 minutes for them to be able to shut off all the alarms going off in her house, but thankfully it was nothing major.
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Time doing the necessary things in life…
There are all kinds of things that fall into this category: normal things that have to be done around the house, Room Rep meetings for my kids classes, emailing parents with info from the Room Rep meetings and then there's the necessary maintenance that comes with owning a home which includes yard work. We had some bushes on the side of the house that had grown completely out of control. They literally were almost reaching the gutters on our two story home…over grown would have been an understatement! So Adam took to chopping and hacking and sawing and pulling branches. It was a BIG job, an all Saturday afternoon kind of job. I wish to goodness that my piles looked more mounded up then they do in this picture because it doesn't even do justice to the way I felt after I pushed and pulled, tugged and piled up all the branches.
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Time spent with the kiddos…
Sometimes it feels like I don't spend a lot of quality time with them but when I looked back through pictures on my phone, it seems like we did this part well this time (which is certainly not always the case). We decided to keep things simple one evening so we just grabbed dinner to go and went out to Maumelle Park to enjoy the last bit of sunshine and getting to watch the boats cruise into the marina. The boys tossed the football around while I pushed the littles in the swings. Everyone had a good time just getting out and enjoying the evening. We also did a little dog sitting for two sweet animal friends, True and Lucy. The kids enjoyed having them stay with us and did great with them.
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We knew we'd be gone from the kids for several days so we decided to have a "Donuts with Dad" on Friday morning. Krispy Kreme is always a big hit for our kiddos. Who can resist those warm, hot off the conveyor belt donuts? Not us!!
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Time spent with friends…
I'm so thankful for the good friends my boys have been blessed with. Thankfully we were able to have three different playdates with friends and they are all such huge answers to my prayers.
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Time spent at the school...
There was much time spent up at the school helping to decorate for the Math and Literacy Carnival (and even now, I'm prepping and planning for the 50th Day of School Sock Hop for next week.) The boys enjoyed eating Chick Fil A and getting their picture with the cow. The highlight of the evening was the bounce houses that were setup in the gym and the Leggos that were in Mr. Spencer's science lab. Getting to do a trial run in their new Halloween costumes was a big plus too!
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Time spent volunteering...
Our church is partnering with an organization called For All Mankind who assemble and deliver "Compassion Kits" to people who need them. They use the kits as a way to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  Their mission is to bring "a caring gift with a compelling message." So our D-Group helped to get the items sorted, folded, stuffed and ready so that the church body can help to accomplish the goal of providing for, stuffing and ultimately delivering, 5,000 boxes for people in need of not only the everyday items but who also have never heard of Jesus before.  The boxes we are packing will be going to men, women and children in India. It really is (and was) a privilege to help with this project. (There's plenty more to be done, so if you're interested please contact Rosie Stephens from Fellowship Bible Church at RStephens@fellowshiponline.com)
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So, there was time spent (an indefinite continued progress of existence) as we spent time celebrating a family members 22nd birthday; time spent with my sweet nephew Theodore; time spent talking with a life long friend on the phone; time spent cooking and then delivering meals; time visiting a precious new baby born to some dear friends of ours. There were meetings and dinners and lots of time and energy was spent. As I've had some time to recuperate and think about how I've been going about life and spending my time, I do feel like I've been doing things worth while, I've been involved, I've been aware of needs and been able to help out as I can.  At times, I've let Satan make me feel like I need to do more, but I'm not going to let Satan get the victory by allowing him to make me feel small, inefficient, unproductive, unimportant and most of all like I've somehow wasted my time by helping a neighbor across the street, by doing mundane house work, by taking time to play with the kids or by cutting out all those bats that hung from the ceiling tiles for the carnival at school. Time is precious and I want to spend it wisely.  I prayed this morning and will continue with this prayer, for God to show me what to do with the limited 24 hours that I have in each day.  I want to please Him and honor Him with my time--with my "plans, schedule, or arrangement of when (something) should happen or be done".   Ephesians 5:15-17 says, "Look carefully then how you walk…making the best use of the time…understand what the will of the Lord is."  And that's what I'm striving for, to know what the will of the Lord is.  I don't always consult Him about my daily coming and going but I'm striving for that and hoping to encounter Him in my time spent.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Weekend In Review

Well this past weekend held some real highs and real lows:

High: The boys were thrilled to get to go fishing. They always love to get out on the boat.
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Low: Not shortly after they left I discovered the oh so glorious opportunity to clean up Ava Jane's throw up, not once but five different times through the late evening. After the second bath and change of clothes, I decided she could just walk around in her diaper instead of going through tons of clothes. She however wanted to "spruce" up her little get up so she brought her new dress up jewelry, high heels and purse to me to help her put it all on. She was pretty cute click-clacking around in the high heels and diaper!
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High: We'd been planning to go to the pumpkin patch on Saturday morning and since Ava Jane made it all night and through the morning without any more stomach problems we decided to head out to Bo Brook Farms. It was a beautiful fall morning, a perfect day for picking pumpkins!

Low: Before we left, we found a significant leak coming from our kitchen sink so that caused a slight delay in our leaving. Both Adam and I didn't have the best reaction to this discovery. It was one of those situations where you get all the water cleaned up, you try a new hose and still the leak sprayed underneath the sink. This scenario happened about three times before we just set the project aside and left for the pumpkin patch.  We had to actually put a sign on our faucet in order to keep our kids from using it.
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High: Saturday was a spectacularly beautiful fall day spent with my family!
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Peyton is such a great big brother; he loves taking care of Ava Jane.
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They have a big field of beautiful sunflowers that was pretty fascinating to walk through.
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Their farm is beautiful and has lots to do. There's a few farm animals to see, a hay maze, a "pool" of corn kernels and of course, a hay ride. They have a cute store with all kinds of pumpkins and fall decor too.
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I love this man! Even when frustrating things happen (like an unplanned leak in the kitchen) and disagreements occur, I love how humble and forgiving he always is with me. I'm so very thankful that we can work through difficult moments like that morning and still make more fun memories like the ones we made on Saturday.
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How cute are these boys, oh how I love them!  I would say our day at the pumpkin patch was a success!
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Low: On Sunday, Emerson did not take a nap. He finally fell asleep sitting at the table and this is how I found him. Poor little guy, how uncomfortable does that look? Waking him up was a low moment but trying to keep him awake so that he would sleep all night was a real, real LOW!
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So that's how our weekend went down.  Hope you have had a good start to your week.
 
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