#MidnightMadness – 5/28/2017

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If you could live your life over, would you change anything? ~M


Photo credit: pixabay.com

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My All-time Favorite Picture.

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Isn’t she beautiful!  I will walk among these trees myself, someday…  ~M


Originally posted: March 13, 2015

Photo Credit: National Geographic (Young girl standing among baobab trees in Madagascar)

#weekendcoffeeshare – Rainy Day Chatter

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Well, so much for spring!  Yesterday was 74° and partially cloudy, and today it’s 40° and rainy.  Hence the reason I’m late getting up today.  Honestly, I could have slept all day since it’s so dark outside.  But alas, my stomach got to grumbling and so here I am; not quite awake yet, and trying to figure out something worthwhile to talk about.  So without further ado, grab a hot cup of something and let’s chat!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I had a fairly low-key week.  Monday I traveled to a town I used to live in, all in order to do my taxes, and then I also stopped by to see a dear friend of mine.  She has been going through a rough patch, so I wanted to stop and say hello and bring her a bit of cheer.  We had a nice time catching up, after not seeing her since Thanksgiving.  Then later that night, my husband and I took our girls to see Beauty and the Beast.  I have to say… it was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time, and Emma Watson really made the movie what it was.

Thursday night I had a date night with hubby.  It was sort of a spontaneous thing that happened.  We were just going out to run some quick errands but decided to go out for dinner as well.  Always a nice surprise when we can spend some time together.  He works such longs hours, and so I hardly ever see him.  I’m looking forward to this summer because he’s only scheduled to work two weekends all summer long.  I’m hopeful that we will actually be able to plan a camping trip; something we always talk about but rarely get to do.

Last night I got to go see my niece graduate.  She came away with her associate’s degree as a medical assistant.  I am so very proud of her!  After suddenly losing her mom whom she was living with a couple of years ago, she has since been trying to support her and her son the best she can.  So going back to school was very difficult for her, with everything else she had to face as well.  But I think she can finally see her efforts coming to fruition, and it’s good to see a smile on her face because of it.

Living here in Wisconsin is hard for me, as I don’t have any blood relatives where I live, except for my immediate family of course.  Then, on my husband’s side, we only have four blood relatives living somewhat near us (30-90 min. away).  The thing is, it makes for very small family gatherings and the holidays often seem a bit lonely.  I grew up with big family celebrations and I really miss them.  So seeing my niece last night was such a blessing to me.  We were able to take her out to dinner and had the best time.  And now with eating out twice this week, I guess I will really have to watch what I eat this coming week!

Well, I suppose I should wrap things up for now.  I’m still sitting here in my pajamas at almost 2:00 in the afternoon!  Lol…

Hope all of you have a wonderful weekend.  Talk to ya next week!  ~M

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Many thanks to Nerd In The Brain for hosting the #WeekendCoffeeShare, a collective of chats over digital coffee among bloggers. To find out more, and to see this weeks posts, go here.


Photo credit: pixabay.com and giphy.com

Just a quick update on where I’ve been…

I want to apologize for not reading and commenting on as many blogs as I usually do.  I have been so busy over the last few months, because both of my girls are getting married this year.  As a matter of fact, one just got married last month in California, and the other gets married next month in Florida.  And yes, they just had to get married and move to states, which are completely opposite of where I live!  Lol…

So I’m currently down in Florida this week, helping my daughter get everything planned for her wedding day.  I don’t know how much help I’ve really been, but I’m here nonetheless.

Yesterday was mostly picking out wedding decorations, and today she went out shopping for wedding attire for the men.  Tomorrow is meeting with the photographer, snapping a few pre-engagement photos, then ordering the cake, flowers, etc…..

I’m currently at our resort, making garland and bows.  It’s so much better if I just make the things she wants to use as decorations, and a whole lot cheaper too!

Florida is so nice this time of year, compared to the cool fall days in Wisconsin.  We leave here on Friday to head back, but it’s been a nice break for me, and fun spending some time with my daughter.  Hope everyone is having a good week!  ~M

 

Pure bliss and happiness, are closer than I once thought.

Well, today was a much better day.  I still don’t have a working cell phone, but I rather enjoyed unplugging for once and I think I accomplished a lot more because of it.  I’m still writing for Channillo, and so I added another chapter to my series today.  I’m up to 6 subscribers now!  Woo hoo!  Lol….  I know it doesn’t seem like much, but honestly… those 6 subscribers mean the world to me right now.  There’s just something about knowing that somebody, (anybody at all) is reading my very first book!  It tickles me to no end!  Yes, I’m smiling from ear to ear and doing the happy dance because of it.

Anyway, another thing that has me blissfully happy today, is the fact that I have been asked to start selling my poetry at one of our local shops downtown.  Today I was finally able to order most of the supplies that I will need.  I was able to find a ton of frames and mats on sale.  Now I just need to figure out how to personalize and decorate each one, to really make them stand out.  I’m just so excited to finally have the opportunity to move forward with selling some of my work.  I am no longer letting these opportunity’s pass me by.  It’s do or die time, and I need to be smart for once and take these God given opportunities that are finally crossing my path and just run with them. 

Things on the home front have been improving.  Hubby and I have really been working through some tough issues and I believe that we are finally making immense progress.  My future seems to be clearer than it has been in a long time, and we have even been talking about writing a book together.  Hubby’s a huge history buff and I’m not very good with remembering historical details as much as he is, so I think by combining my love for writing and his love of history, we may end up coming up with something pretty amazing.  He’s been jotting down some ideas, and I think after the first of the year, we will begin to have some time to really sit down and plan what we want to write about.

I was gone all last week, as my oldest daughter recently got married in California.  The ceremony was beautiful and each of them wrote their own vows to one another.  I feel truly blessed, knowing that my daughter was able to find such an amazing husband.  She is in good hands and I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that she will be well cared for.  They are both currently full-time missionary’s and seem excited to stay in the mission field. 

Now that I’m back in Wisconsin, I’m really missing the warm weather that we had out there.  Of course I don’t miss the constant traffic that we had to deal with and the fast pace of life that seems to be the norm out there.  After growing up in California, I vowed never to move back.   (And really how can you, when each house is a million dollars plus on average.)  I am still very much content in my choice to stay in the mid-west, where daily life is more relaxed, less expensive, and where I can actually breathe the air without coughing up a lung.

Today has been a wonderful day, I slept in late, ran errands, went to our church small group this evening, and then I came home and proceeded with the normal day to day stuff that I needed to catch up on.  I feel content and happy right now and since it’s getting late here, I should sign off.  So if you’re reading this, I really do hope that you have a wonderful God filled week, full of joy and happiness.  Much love, to all my faithful readers.  You guys are the best!  ~M  xoxo

 

Lake Superior & the Apostle Islands

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There are a few places I visited this past summer, which I have still not shared with any of you.  So today I have decided to show you what it was like to explore Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands.

IMG_2913Lake Superior is surrounded by three different states (Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota) and Ontario, Canada as well.  Lake Superior is also the world’s largest freshwater lake and I was surprised by how large it really is.  In fact, when you are standing near the waters edge, it gives you the illusion that you are actually looking at an ocean instead of an actual lake.  The only difference was the lack of a sandy beach from where we were.

IMG_2945I recently learned that Lake Superior has over 400 islands.  The apostle islands are a group of 22 islands off the Bayfield peninsula in Northern Wisconsin, and this is where we decided to spend our first day.  We chose Madeline Island in particular for our first destination.  Madeline Island is located in the Chequamegon Bay area of Lake Superior. To get there, we had to drive to Bayfield, Wisconsin and then take a 2.5 mile ferry trip in order to reach the island.

IMG_3537We took our car with us on the ferry ride over and because of this, we were able to drive to the state park which is in more of a remote area of the island.  I was quite impressed by how serene it was there.  I felt as if I had stepped into another world, since there were hardly any other people around.   Don’t get me wrong though, there are still quite a few people that live on Madeline Island.  During the winter months, access to the ferry is impossible.  So I am not sure how people live there during the winter season.  I suppose all of their supplies must be flown in.  I could actually imagine myself living there someday.  I think it would be the perfect place to be flooded with inspiration.

IMG_3536After exploring Madeline Island, we made our way back to Bayfield, Wisconsin and found it to be quite a charming place.  The shops were bustling with tourists and there were quite a few places to eat.  As the sun began to set, there was a live concert down by the waters edge and everyone in the town seemed to converge upon the scene all at once.  Avoiding the crowds, we opted to eat at a restaurant in a less crowded area and the food was amazing!  After dinner, we walked around the town for a little while longer, just enjoying the sights and sounds of this amazing small town.  We stayed until most of the shops started to close.

IMG_3517On the way home, we pulled off the road into a viewing area and stepped out to look at the night sky.  We could clearly see the Milky Way.  It felt as if we could almost reach out and touch it.  Such a breathtaking sight, and then we witnessed a meteor shower as well.  The only disappointing part, was that we were not able to see the Northern Lights while we were there.  I have only seen them occur once in my life and so I had hoped for the opportunity to see them once again.  Oh well, it gives me another reason to go back again.  Here’s a poem I wrote, about my experience of seeing the northern lights for the first time.

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Sweet serenity here I come!

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Just wanted to let all of you know that I will be escaping the confines of my office for the next four days so that I can go play in the woods. I will catch up on reading your blogs and replying to all of your comments when I return. I have a few things scheduled to post while I’m away.

Have a great week everyone! ~M

Day 21 of our 21 day adventure

We are finally back home from a wonderful vacation. It only took us about 5 hours to get home today and the girls were excited to see us, our dogs included…

Here’s a collage of our overall vacation. We had a blast! Thanks for joining us along the way and hopefully it won’t be too long before we travel again.

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Day 20 of our 21 day adventure

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We slept in this morning, and oh how glorious it was to finally be able to get some much needed rest. We have another full day of driving ahead of us though and so we can’t really dilly dally all day long. So… after quickly checking out of our hotel, we are now on our way to Urbandale, IA.

IMG_2593After a couple of hours of driving, we spot an Air and Space Museum and decide that we can’t possibly pass this up. We both love airplanes and if I hadn’t joined the Army, I probably would have joined the Air Force. I have always had a fondness for anything related to space as well. So this is the perfect place for us to spend an afternoon.

IMG_2619I am completely amazed by the sheer size of some of the aircraft. It’s hard to believe that something this large can actually make it off the ground. I’ve seen plenty of airplanes in my life, but these are huge! After making our way through the self-guided tour, we stop in the gift shop and buy some much needed space ice cream and some other small trinkets that we are sure that our girls will like.

IMG_2604We are back on the road within a few hours and still making good time, even though the traffic has picked up. After arriving at our hotel, we are surprised to find that our room resembles at hospital room. We are in a very crowded district here in Urbandale and after settling in, we try to figure out what to do for dinner. Neither of us really wants to venture out into the traffic, and fortunately we find out that there is a very nice restaurant within walking distance of the hotel and so we decide to eat there for dinner to avoid the traffic on the roads.

IMG_2633The place turns out to be quite charming, its country style suits me. The place is called the Machine Shed and honors the American farmer. I am very surprised at how amazing the food is. The people here are really friendly and this is such a great way to end our day. We’ve had an amazing adventure so far and this will be our last dinner on the road. Tomorrow we head for home. Ahh… Home Sweet Home! I can hardly wait!

Day 19 of our 21 day adventure

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We are leaving Avon today and heading out to Grand Island, NE. I am eager to get going since I am not really fond of this place. Don’t get me wrong… Colorado is a beautiful place. In fact, I would say it tops some of the places we’ve seen on our trip, but at the same time I don’t feel like I belong here. The people here just seem very different from what I am used to, and I think it’s because I’m more of a laid back kind of girl, not a fancy schmancy girl like some of the ladies that I have seen around here.

IMG_2507After breakfast at the hotel, we are finally on our way. The rain had been intermittent today and is kind of nice since it has helped to cool things down. After several hours of driving we spot a rest area in Georgetown and decide to stop. After stopping, we learn of a train ride not far from where we are. I’m excited because I’ve never actually been on an old fashioned steam engine train and I’ve always thought it would be fun to take a ride on one.

IMG_2515Brian and I both agree that the train ride sounds like a lot of fun and so we head up to Devils Head Station to buy our tickets and board the train. Within 30 minutes we are sitting on an old steam engine train that uses oil for fuel. The views of the mountains are incredible and we pass over a raging river a few times on the route. The ride lasts for about an hour and we opt against the mine tour that is offered at one of the stops.

IMG_2541After disembarking the train, we enter the gift shop and spend some time there looking at all the amazing train memorabilia. We have had such a fun day and decide to stay in this town a little longer to grab some lunch. It’s still sprinkling off and on and we find a restaurant in the downtown section before the rain starts to really come down. The food is wonderful and the atmosphere is family style, which makes me feel quite at home.

IMG_2531After lunch, we head back to the car, weaving our way through the crowded streets and passing all of the small town shops. All of a sudden, the rain starts to pour and we quickly look for a place to take shelter. We dart into a coffee house that looks more like a library than anything else and both order some coffee while we wait out the rain.

IMG_2585It’s cozy in here and I know that if I lived here, that this would probably be one of my favorite places to hang out. The rain doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon and time is passing by quickly, so we decide to head out the back door of the coffee shop and make a mad dash for the car. Soaked to the bone, we are now in the car holding our warm coffees and trying to stop shivering. It reminds me of being a kid once more and playing out in the rain just for the fun of it. It’s sad to think that those days are long gone.

IMG_2592A few hours later and we have now arrived at our hotel in Grand Island, NE. With nothing left to do and still quite full from lunch, we decide to watch a movie and get to bed early. It’s been another great day and we only have one day left before we head for home.

Day 18 of our 21 day adventure

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It is with a heavy heart that we are leaving Zion today. I am dreading the fact that I have to say goodbye to my brother and nephew. I wonder how long it will be before I see them again. I only got an hour of sleep last night because I am coming down with a cold and can barely breathe.

IMG_2461The sun is just starting to rise as we say our goodbyes to David and Levi. We all have long drives ahead of us and are eager to get started to avoid the traffic on the roads. I spot my Spanish speaking friend who is just arriving for work and say goodbye to him as well.

IMG_2467As we make our way toward Avon, Colorado, the heat index starts to rise and it is now over 100°. I am feeling worse now because of the heat and my cold isn’t helping matters. Because of this, I am not being a very good sport about the long drive and exhaustion is starting to set in from getting so little sleep last night.

IMG_2465When we finally arrive at the hotel, the attendant is really rude to me and makes me feel even worse by something that she says. I always take everything so personally and it only gets worse when I don’t feel well.

IMG_2462We finally get up to our room and I crash on the bed. Both of us sleep for hours before we finally wake up feeling hungry. We look outside and discover that it has been raining, and surprisingly there’s a double rainbow right outside our window. Unfortunately, the rainbow is almost gone before I can snap a good picture.

IMG_2468We finally both drag ourselves out of the room with just enough strength to go pick up something to eat for dinner. The food ends up being terrible and I am really missing home-cooked meals at this point. Normally, we hardly ever eat out and I just haven’t been able to get used to the food on this trip. I think to myself… only three days left and I will be home, and right now I really wish I was.

Day 17 of our 21 day adventure

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Today we are traveling to Bryce Canyon and Kodachrome Basin State Park. The weather is beautiful and I am excited to explore a new place today. After getting ready, we stop at the hotel dining room for some breakfast. We have only been able to eat breakfast here a couple of different days now, because we always leave the hotel before breakfast starts. There is a cook here that I have made friends with, he spoils me with real eggs instead of the nasty scrambled ones in the heating pan. I am impressed by his generosity and wish I could meet more people like him. He has a thick Spanish accent and makes me feel quite at home, especially since I grew up in California and had many Spanish speaking friends when I lived out there. It always amazes me how you can make friends in the strangest of places and sometimes just being around someone for a few minutes can spark a friendship that can last a lifetime.

IMG_2029Feeling quite full after the hearty breakfast, we now make our way to Bryce Canyon. It’s a beautiful drive and every time I see a Hoodoo, I get excited and want to jump out of the car and take a picture. There are several rock shops along the way and we indulge our young nephew by letting him visit a few. I love rocks as well and end up buying a sandstone sculpture that catches my eye. There are quite a few other things I would like to get as well, but after looking at the price tags, I decide just to get the one sculpture.

IMG_2038Down the road a little further, we spy a natural arch bridge that covers the highway. I can’t help but stop to take pictures. It doesn’t take too long before we finally reach Bryce Canyon. There are several places to stop and explore the canyon. By the end of our journey through Bryce Canyon, we have taken over 500 pictures and are eager to see how they all turned out.

IMG_2047Its lunch time now, and we find a burger place to stop at. The food isn’t very good, but we are all so hungry at this point, that none of us really care. There is another rock shop across the street and so of course we have to stop at that one as well. After going through a bunch of other small shops, we finally decide that we need to get going again.

IMG_2263There is one last place we want to stop at before we go all the way back to our hotel. Kodachrome State Park isn’t too far away and so we decide to head out and take a tour of the place. When we get there, I am amazed at how beautiful it is, and the crazy thing is, I end up finding an area that reminds me of my dream once more. Dying to explore the place, I find myself running off the trail in search of a closer look of the rock formations that surround us. My brother bravely follows me; knowing that I will probably get into trouble alone without him. I head in the direction of a place that looks like a good place to explore and my brother David stops to investigate an area where he sees some crystals poking up from beneath the sand. As he begins to dig them up, I take off and explore the remainder of the area.

IMG_2272It seems that I have finally found the one place that reminds me the most of my dream, and so I stop to take a few pictures. I am almost crying once again, the emotional connection that I have to this place is eerie and I am at a loss for words on how best to describe the feelings that are coming over me. It’s as if I’ve been here before, but now the entrance to the place in my dream is covered with a pile of rocks and I cannot enter the cave that once existed here. Knowing that we will probably get caught for going off the trail, I decide to find my brother and get back to the trail where Levi and Brian are waiting. I am surprised the park Ranger hasn’t been out to yell at us yet, as I catch a glimpse of his headquarters from where we are standing. Back on the trail, we hike for a little while longer. It’s starting to get late and we know that we need to get back before it gets dark. I feel so drawn to this place that I don’t want to leave. After taking a bunch more pictures, I finally convince myself that we must go.

IMG_2286During the road trip back to the hotel we stop and take several more pictures. The landscape is just breathtaking and I can’t get enough. Unfortunately, because of my hesitation to leave, poor Levi ends up having an accident in the back seat because we didn’t stop soon enough for a potty break. He feels just awful about it and I laugh because I did the same thing in the back seat of my uncle’s car when I was about his age. The day ends with us cleaning out the car and trying to save the upholstery. Even with this small hiccup, this has been one of the best days yet.

Day 16 of our 21 day adventure

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It’s another early day for all of us. We are trying our best to avoid the crowds and today we will be hiking in a place called the Narrows. The shuttle ride takes us about 45 minutes and it looks like it is going to be a beautiful day. I am a little concerned that I didn’t wear a warm enough sweater. It’s a crisp cool morning and I know that being in the water will only make things worse.

IMG_1901After hiking for about a mile, we are now in the Narrows. The water looks fairly calm and the skies are clear. Sandstone walls engulf us and make us feel small in comparison. The water has woven its path here for thousands of years and there is hardly any dry land to walk upon. Flash flooding is a danger in this area and so any signs of rain and we will have to head back immediately. Fortunately, the weather forecast isn’t calling for rain and so we should be safe for today.

IMG_1744The water is deeper in some areas and I don’t have a walking stick to judge the depth of the water. It’s a little unnerving stepping out into the water, not knowing what lies beneath each step that I take. There are a couple of times that my brother has to help steady me. The water is running pretty fast in some areas and I feel as if I will be swept off my feet.

IMG_1879Along the way, the water reaches us to my thighs and I feel a bit hesitant about continuing on since the water seems to be rising at times. Every step we take, takes us deeper into a maze of colorful rocks, formed by the brisk waters that shape and mold each tiny crevice. The rocks remind me of the leaves back home during the fall season. As I look down in the water, I can see a million different colors and the sound of the water playing its magical tune is soothing and begging me to continue onward.

IMG_1894After hours of hiking through the river, we decide that it’s getting late and that it’s now time to head back. The river beckons to me and my heart aches to continue on, but I know that if we don’t leave now, that our strength won’t hold out for the trek back. And so with regret, we start our return hike back.

IMG_1922As we get closer to where we began, the water seems to be getting deeper and there are now multitudes of people walking through the river. I am having trouble finding a pathway to walk through that isn’t too deep. With scores of people around now, I am starting to feel a little claustrophobic and walk as fast as I can through the murky waters to reach dry land.

IMG_1996When we finally reach the spot where we first entered the river, all of us are relieved and just want to get back to our hotel. We still have about a mile to walk before we get to the shuttle and when we finally make it to the shuttle stop, it’s a relief to find a shuttle that isn’t completely filled.

IMG_1761With each shuttle stop that we make, more people try to cram into the tiny bus and before long there are so many people that the doors are threatening not to close all the way. People are standing in the aisles, falling over each other and I am thankful that I actually have a seat to sit in right now. As tired as I am, I doubt I could stand for very long.

IMG_1854After returning to the entrance of the park, we race back to our hotel and rest for a while. The only thing that finally gets us moving again, is our appetites; and so we head back down to the city of Hurricane and order a pizza to bring back with us to the hotel. Tomorrow will be another long day and so we head to bed early. I am exhausted, but excited for tomorrow