Adventure in Arizona

First I would like to say Phoenix is hot!!!!!! Second I would like to say, I was tremendously thankful for the hotel having a pool!!!!!! With that being said, we did have a great time in Phoenix. It was fun having absolutely no responsibilities for a while.

Middle Bit was born in this great city, so he had fun seeing the old house we lived in, hospital he was born in and the church he was baptized in. We took him to the church he was baptized at, and one of the priests is still there almost 13 years later! I have a picture of her holding him as a baby, and now of them standing next to each other 13 years later. Time does fly!

Other highlights were visiting Tombstone and Bisbee. If I had the chance to live in Bisbee, I would. The town is so eclectic and much cooler in temperature. Love it!

We had a great time, but like all good things, we had to come back home. We were all grateful for the time away and time spent together!

What were some of the trips you have been on this summer?

Love,

Suzy

Hoops

Our old basketball hoop was a hunk of junk. It was not a permanent basketball hoop, which honestly caused a great deal of problems. It was constantly blowing over in the wind, which meant the hoop itself was an unusual shape. It was not round, but instead oval, and even rectangular. One day, we finally took it apart, but this left the kids without a net. For our oldest child, that is a big deal. He love basketball! So we began looking for a good deal on a permanent goal. The price for these is unreal!! 800 to a 1, 000 dollars. Something we could not afford! Some friends of ours had taken an old basketball goal down at their house. Their boys, are young, and they decided to remove it. The goal was totally old school playground. The long white pole, with a simple white board and rim. They offered it for free, and so we jumped on it. We had the pole powder coated black, we sanded the board and repainted it a nice bright white and repainted the orange square on the backboard.  All it needed after that was a new net, and it started to look brand new! It was a great project for the three boys to work on together, and cement into the ground. Now we have a basketball hoop installed permanently into the ground, and in the end it only ended up costing us $200!

There have been many games of horse and pig played on it since returning home from Phoenix. Nothing like a summer evening playing basketball!

Hope your summers are going well!

Love,

Suzy

Cardboard Armor

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It never ceases to amaze me what my kids can do with cardboard.  They have made so many things.  Dioramas, houses, cars etc.  Recently, Little Bit went to a girl scout camp that was centered around Mine Craft.  All arts and crafts had something to do with this game.  My children have not been allowed to play this game for quite some time, not because the game is bad, but because I caught them looking up how to videos for the game that were not children friendly.  They did not even ask to look them up.  So, we told them no more game, and for some reason, simply forgot about it.  All of us, including the children lost the desire for the game.  Until recently with the Girl Scout Camp.

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Our answer is still no, but they decided to play the game on their own, making the armor.  Oh my goodness, their imaginations are better than the game!  Middle and Little Bit made their armors, and have taken great care of them.  Every day they come out and lay with it for a while, outside with the dogs.  Somehow, the dogs have become part of their game as well.

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I cannot help but think that this way may be better than the game.  They are playing, using their imaginations, and having a great time.  If the game was being played, they would be sitting in the house, and frankly missing out on summer.  I also am so happy to see Middle Bit, who is getting older, still wanting to play.  This truly makes my heart sing.

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Hope you are all enjoying your summer and using your imaginations!

Love,

Suzy

Flowers

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I have been spending as much time as I can in my backyard lately.  In the early morning I sit in my ugly seventies rocking chair and read my Bible or devotion for the day, drink my coffee and pet the dogs.  In the evening, I walk around the yard, pulling weeds where I see them, and admiring the flowers that are beginning to bloom.  I am trying to slow down, even in the midst of a crazy busy life.  I do not want this life to be a blur from one event to the next.  Instead, I long for peace.  The flowers in my garden are beautiful.  The garden has not yet matured, and there is much growing to do, but the flowers that are brave enough to bloom in the midst of un-organization, they are making an impact.  In the mismatched growing, there is strength and beauty, and I feel as though it reflects my own life. Bits of beauty in an un-organized, mismatched life.  Reminders, that it will all come together, and be beautiful.

I hope you are all enjoying your summer.

Love,

Suzy

Sunday Storytelling-A Critter in the Car

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So last week I showed you pictures of my 40th birthday at Bryce Canyon.  It was a great weekend filled with fun and family.  It was also filled with a critter adventure with telling.

It all began on the Sunday of the trip.  We woke up, piled in the car and drove to the national park.  On the way there, a burning odor was coming through the vents.  We really did not pay too much attention, as we just thought that maybe the heater was on a little high.  Towards the end of the day, we could not ignore the smell any longer, and decided to check under the hood.  My husband opened the hood, and underneath lay a forest of tree branches and leaves.  He just started to take out all the piles, and we realized that a critter had made its home on our warm engine the night before.

The next day, Monday we headed began our trek home.  We decided to take the long way back, which is the scenic route through the Grand Staircase.  If you ever come to Utah, you must come to this area, it is absolutely beautiful.  this scenic route added an extra 3 hours to the trip but it was worth it sense the family we were travelling with is from Texas and had never seen it. This area is known for its winding, bumpy roads. So before we headed off, my husband checks under the hood again, and low and behold, there was a new nest in the car.  We cleaned it out and off we went.

We made it home later on in the evening, and let our dogs in the garage.  While in there, the dogs would not take their eyes off the car, and we just brushed it off as it still smells like a critter.  Next day, the dogs would not go outside and we had to drag them out of the garage, and we began to wonder if the critter had come back with us.

Two days later, we had forgotten all about it and had to be at church late in the evening.  My daughter and I were headed out to the car, and as I approached I saw a bushy tailed critter on my tire.  When it saw us, it ran under the car and disappeared.  My daughter and I did not know if we should get in the car, and actually had a running start to jump in so the critter would not attack our legs.  The whole way home we laughed at the thought of bringing the critter all the way from Bryce Canyon with us.  Seven hours that thing hung on for dear life!

That night we left the hood open and the car in the driveway, but it still lived there for another day, until I got my car washed!!

So we brought back more than just memories from Bryce Canyon!

Hope you are all creating stories of your own!

Love,

Suzy

40!

In February, I celebrated my 40th birthday!  I did not want any birthday parties or events that make others feel like they needed to get me things and I feel really uncomfortable when I am the center of attention.  I really did not want to be surprised by any of that either.  But I did not know what I wanted to do.  Mr. Bits asked me, but I just could not decide.  The weather where we live had been horrible for a month straight, and the inversion that happens because of the constant snow cover became really depressing.  So getting out of town sounded like a good option, but I honestly had no clue where I wanted to go.

Some friends of ours suggested we try to go in on a cabin together since his birthday was around the same time.  We could celebrate mine, my daughters and his all at once.  So my husband began planning, and we decided on Bryce Canyon in southern Utah.  Warm (warmer but still chilly), clear skies and beautiful scenery.  Our families cooked meals together, sat out on the balcony in the warm sun and drank beers (grownups only of course), and drove into the national park for a day of hiking and looking around.

It was truly a great birthday and a much needed dose of sunshine!  Another special thing about my birthday is that I share it with my grandpa.  He died when I was young, but I remember sharing my birthday with him.  We were both born on Feb 13, and on a Friday!  Every birthday, I have a toast towards heaven and wish him a special day, and this birthday, I felt as though he were wishing me one right back.  Nature does that.  It brings us closer to those we miss.

Love,

Suzy

Where to Begin

It has truly been a whirlwind of events the past few months, and I can honestly say some of the busiest weeks I have experienced as a wife, mother and grown up.  Teaching full time at home, going back to school, trips, running major events, and all the miscellany in between…I have seen that I can do it, but it does wear the body out.

This week is the first time in months that I have a “normal” week.  I have missed blogging, I have missed my business and have realized that these spaces are part of who I am.  With the events of the past week around the world, I have missed connecting with family far away and see blogging as a way to connect to family, friends, the world.  How important it is to do this in love, unity and peace.  I am so grateful for all of you and I look forward to connecting and seeing what is happening in your lives as well.

I could not figure out how to start this post, because there has been so many things happening, and last night, I sorted through about 300 photos from the past few months.  Where do I even begin!

So I will lead in words my month of September through mid October, then show you some very cool pics of an impromptu trip to Fresno California.  September began the craziness.  I put together a women’s retreat for the northern region of our state.  It was called, “That’s How the Light Gets In”, and approximately 30 women from 3 different congregations came together to learn about service and prayer.  I heard it went really well!  I say this because even though I organized the event, I was unable to make it.  I had class all weekend long!  Wonderful women banded together to help ensure all went well.  This was my first lesson:  how to learn to allow others to help.  I have always had a difficult time with this control issue, but honestly, I cannot do it all.  These wonderful women stepped up and did an amazing job, and I couldn’t be more grateful!  Class went well, and I am drinking through a fire hose of information.  Getting back into the school routine and writing papers on theology is mind boggling, but somehow, by grace, I am getting it done.

Another major thing I am working on with another woman is starting up a soup kitchen, opening in January.  There will be more info to come.  But in the midst of preparing for this, going to school and planning for our church bazaar, we have had co-op and home school!  I have enjoyed school this year.  The program for the kids is amazing, and this virtual school incredible.  The kids attend class online, and meet with their fellow classmates.  The curriculum is great, and I feel like I am running from kid to kid, but they are all having a great time.  The co-op has been a lot of work, but so worth it, and I am grateful for the ladies I work with.

Now to the Fresno trip.  This was an impromptu trip.  My husbands aunt and uncle live in Fresno, and one week called us to invite us to the wests largest civil war re-enactment.  Apparently, Fresno has the largest one in the west, who knew?  They know that my son is a huge civil war buff, and did not want us to miss this opportunity.  However, when they called, we only had a week!  My husband was gone, so we had to work out how we would do it.  So, on a Thursday, my husbands flight got in at 1pm.  Since he was already packed, the kids and I picked him up from the airport and just kept driving.  We spent the night in Vegas, which is a story all its own for tomorrow and got there Friday night.  All day Saturday, we attended the event, and it was pretty cool.  Here are the highlights.

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The morning started with a battle, and which one, I cannot remember.  I was not expecting it to be so cool.  The horses were so well behaved with all the black powder noise, and the characters were amazing!

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In between battles, we walked around the camps, both union and confederate.

The above horse was the most friendly horse I have ever met.  I couldn’t stop petting her.  Really, literally, she would not leave my daughter and I alone.  Which was sad for my daughter, because she absolutely loves horses, but unfortunately this is what happens.

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Yup, she is allergic.  So Benadryl to the rescue and the rest of the day continued.

The men and women participating stayed in character at all times, and answered all questions.  We all learned much about the history, and had fun learning some new crafts.

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The doctor was by far the most informative.  We are so lucky for the advances in medicine.  I will spare you the details.

An old distillery, for medicinal and moonshine purposes!  Of course it was just for show.

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And then of course the day ended as it began, with a battle.

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We truly had such  an amazing time, and I am so happy we did not wimp out.  It was great to see family, learn new things and watch the kids have a wonderful time.

Thanks Bruce and Cheryl!  We had so much fun!

 

Sunday Storytelling-Be Happy Where you Are

This is a post I wrote about two years ago, and for some reason, I have been thinking a great deal on this subject lately.  Maybe one of you can relate.  Enjoy!

When I was 20, I went on a spiritual retreat.  One day, we were told to be silent.  No talking and on our own as much as possible.  We could eat together, but no talking.  Everyone must remain silent.  We were trying to listen for God’s voice.  Well, I do not know about you guys, but quieting my mind is more difficult than not talking.  I think about everything and worry about more than I should.  When someone says try to listen for God, I freak out.  My mind begins to think constantly about why I do not hear His voice.

Even at age 20, which is almost 20 years ago, I felt this way.  I would like to say that things have changed, but with my anxiety, it has not.

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So that morning, I decided to take a walk.  Our retreat was up in the mountains, next to a beautiful stream with many,many wild flowers.  Oh it was gorgeous!  So I knew I wanted to hike along the stream to look for a place to sit and try to listen.  As I began my walk, I would see the best places to sit and ponder, but they were already taken.  I would get mad and say to myself, “Everyone else has the best place, why can’t I have the same spot?”

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The further I would walk, the more I realized that all the great spots were taken.  Why couldn’t I find a spot like everyone else had?  Why did they get all the good stuff?  Now I was about a mile and a half into my hike, and I was getting so frustrated.  I wanted to hear from God damnit, and I couldn’t because everyone else had the perfect spot. The interesting thing is, I did not turn around and go back, I just kept walking.  I came to a dead spot in the walk where everything seemed to be brown and crunchy.  I became even more mad and actually began yelling at God, as to why he talks to everyone else but me.  Why does he give good gifts to all the others, but me, I get a dead spot?

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Still, I walked.

And walked.

Suddenly, the trail opened up into a huge green meadow.  The meadow was lush, green beautiful, and colorful with newly blossomed wildflowers.  And I realized that God had spoken all along.  And it is a lesson that I have needed to be reminded of.

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The lesson is that I spend a great deal of time looking at other people and what they have.  Not possessions, but family, friends, spiritually.  I get frustrated and wonder why I cannot have what they have.  Why do I get to keep walking?  Why do I have the crunchy dead spots?    But in reality, I do have the most lush green beautiful life. I may have to walk and walk to get there.  I may have to go through the nasty stuff, but when I come out of it, I have beauty.  I have to focus on the beauty in the journey as well, and be happy for the people who are in there beautiful spots.  You see, they had to go through nasty stuff to get there.  I just do not know their story.

Instead of dwelling on what others have and what I do not, it is time to remind myself to be happy for them.  Love them and know that what they have been through to get there has been just as difficult or more so than what I have been through.

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Your time is coming, just keep walking.

Love,

Suzy

A Snail Race

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As I was looking through all the pictures of past summers the other day, I came across these fun pictures.  Last summer, the kids were out pretty late, and being very quiet.  This almost never happens, as they scream and yell through the evening.  All the kids in the neighborhood do! I remember going in the backyard and looking for them, but no kids to be found.  As I walked around the front, Mr. Bit was already out with the kids having a snail race.  The sprinklers had just stopped running for the evening, and the snails were out, so the kids gathered all they could find and placed the snails in a circle.  They had created a circle of sticks so the snails could not get far.  When they removed the circle, the race was on.  Thirty minutes later, the race was still on! It took quite a while for all of them to make their way back into the shrubs.  In fact we had to put many back ourselves!  It was a funny impromptu moment.  Easily forgotten in the everyday, but when reminded, all the detail are there.

We have not had this many snails this summer, but we have had lots of ladybugs!  I have never seen so many, which is good since they eat the aphids from our fruit trees.  I have loved watching Little Bit collect them in a container then dumping all  the ladybugs onto our trees.  I think I have a little gardener on my hands.  She not only does this with ladybugs, but also with worms.  She digs deep holes in her sandbox, and takes all the worms out.  When she has collected them all, she places them randomly in the garden, although I have seen her give them to the chickens from time to time.

Oh well, I guess that is the life of a country kid.

Hope you all are enjoying your summers!

Love,

Suzy

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