Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve 2007 in Arizona

by Dr. Adrian Rogers

It's New Year's Eve and Monday. Laundry Day. Don is at the Monday Morning Men's Prayer & Devotional time. George has invited Don to breakfast afterward. I'm off to do the laundry. I'll be back later.

We finally got our mail from our forwarding service. Lots of Christmas cards and pictures. We love the Christmas letter we received from my niece's hubby, Ken, and the unique family picture. (If you can't get everyone together in one setting, there is a way to get everybody's face on one 4"x5" picture. But you have to be much more tech savvy than I am, which Ken is: way tech savvy.)
Also, received a Christmas letter from the Zacharys in Noble, OK. Congratulations to Cynthia on the adoption of beautiful Kearra & Cearra. And congratulations to Kearra & Cearra for being so blessed to be a part of such a loving, caring family.
And then there was the Christmas card and picture of Frank and Bettye Boydstun's prodigy, Beth, Rachel, Dinah & Franklyn from Macomb, OK. Frank was/is the worship leader at Macomb Baptist Church where Don was pastor for a year before we begin this RV ministry. Upon our arrival at Macomb Baptist Church, I had not seen Frank since I was in the 5th grade and he in the 2nd grade in Blooming Grove, Texas. Central Baptist Church, BG, TX was Frank's dad's first pastorate. You can imagine how amazed we were when we discovered we had been in each other's world in another time. From Blooming Grove, Texas to Macomb, Oklahoma... wow! We miss & love them and seeing their picture made us happy and sad at the same time... I think that's called "mixed emotions." Are you practicing the key board, yet, Bethie?
James Brockhaus, Congratulations! regarding your 80th birthday celebration with friends and family. Sure wish we could have been there to share the joy of your day with you. I recall your 50th wedding anniversay celebration and how much fun we had. James, that picture of you and me is still one of my most treasured. Happy birthday! a few days late.
Stephanie, Rick and family sent one of those cute singing Christmas cards. Looking forward to their trip to Hawaii next summer, the card plays the Hawaiian Christmas song while Santa lounges under a palm tree. Hey, we have those here.
For all the other Christmas cards we received, thank you so much for remembering us. They have served to decorate our RV.

Fairly quiet day. Made a trip into Casa Grande to Wal-Mart. Don took our shower apart, but the RV store in town was closed, so that repair job will have to wait until Wednesday.

While we were at George & Nancy's Sunday, I got a great idea from Nancy: a sheer curtain over our huge mirror in the bedroom. I was fortunate to find a sheer that matches our quilt perfectly. We love the warmer, homey effect of the curtain. Tonight we took dinner over to Larry & Linda Meyer at the High Chaparral. They were in this park, but moved to the HC. Linda had a bicycle accident and really messed up her pelvic bone. She can't put more than 50# on it at the present time. QR folks have been taking meals over every night for the past month. She's doing really good, just going to be a long time healing. We ate with them and then played a game of "Pegs & Jokers." Don and Larry beat Linda and I FOUR times! We had never played this game before and Don really liked it. I wonder why? I didn't much care for it. I wonder why? :~] My apologies to Linda for not taking another picture with her eyes open. She's a beautiful lady. We had a great time of fun and fellowship. Don and I got back home at exactly 12:00 A.M... Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sunday is here.

It was a little tiny bit warmer this morning. Another beautiful Lord's Day.

As always, God showed up at worship service this morning and brought quite a few new faces with Him. We haven't learned all the names yet, but we will. Worship leader, Frank Maguire, visits with Sharon & Tom. Today is Frank and Helen's last Sunday with us until late March. Frank is such a good worship leader and pianists that I was so into singing & worship that I forgot to take a picture of him at the piano. That makes me sad. Frank signals what we all feel and you will soon understand when our Christmas miracle is posted... to God be the glory. It is such a blessing to know the Maguires and we will always consider them friends. Don preached a good sermon this morning about resolutions with text from Colossians 3:9-10 & Daniel 1:1-24. Don's words were God's words and hearts were touched, including mine. After church, everyone pitches in and moves the chairs off the floor and putting the the cushions and hymnals away. This room is the Carnaval (not my spelling choice) where a lot of the activities take place during the week. Then we all meet in the Cantina across the breezeway for fellowship and coffee. Nancy Reid invited Don & I to eat lunch with she and George. We were delighted to join them. The Reid's are park Hosts. They are very helpful in helping people get set up at their sites when they arrive. George is very handy with hammer and saw and built Don a "cradle" for hauling propane tanks to be refilled. It's great for keeping the round tank from rolling around in the bed of the pickup. While George was finishing up helping new park residents parked, we soaked up some sun with Nancy and watched the sky for lift planes & sky divers. Spotted some planes, but could not see the divers from where we were.
Thanks to Nancy & George for precious Christian fellowship, hospitality and delicious tortilla soup and salad. They blessed our hearts. The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing, making a cookie recipe that Don saw Rachel Ray make, watching a hot air balloon and sky divers with the field glasses, visiting with neighbors, watching football and Hallmark movies on TV, reading blogs of family and friends and writing this blog.
I am so grateful that God has called us to this ministry. Where else could we meet so many wonderful people from some many different places.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

New favorite spectator sport - 12-29-2007

Nothing's as frustrating as computer woes. Was up until 2:00 a.m. trying to get yesterday's post completed. Count it all joy. Hence, slept a little late. Woke to another cool morning, no wind.

We got a phone call from Barbara Howard with sad news. Barbara & Darrell are here from Amarillo and a long time friend of Darrell's has learned that he has stage 4 lung cancer. Barbara was away from the park when she called and I told her we would go over and check on Darrell. This news has hit him really hard. Praying partners, please pray for Darrell's friend and this whole situation. The Great Physician is still the same and the God of Mercy and Grace is always with us. We walked over to talk to Darrell, but Rick Fury had already rescued him and took him out to play golf. Thank you, Rick, for your encouragement and compassion.

Don and I got ready to go back to the airport to watch the National USPA Collegiate Parachuting Championship and the Arizona Boogie skydiving competition. Skydiving is a big thing in Arizona.

Contestants are here from 20 countries all over the world.

When we went outside to get in the truck, our new neighbors, Don and JoAnn Miller, were walking from the Waterin' Hole so we stopped and visited with them.
There's the wind tunnel in the distance. Hey all our Branson friends, do you see how flat it is here? Have you noticed that in a lot of the pictures? Unless your in those mountains in the background, there are no curves or up and down roads here. Sunsets are very pretty here and they tell me sunrises are nice, also. ha ha Diver leaving the drop zone after his jump. We met him later and his name is Mike. This jump was from 13,600'. Mike is checking his altimeter, which is a gadget of technology of which I am unable to describe all that it does. Mike showed us where it logs each jump he makes; what time; what altitude; speed at different altitudes. It syncs with computer and does all kinds of things. Mike has logged over 400 jumps in two years. Mike told us that last year at this same competition, two divers died. I missed a perfect opportunity to ask him if he was ready to meet his Maker. It really never crossed my mind that God had opened a door for me until later. So I asked God to forgive me and to take care of Mike and keep him safe along with all the other divers competing.
Mike's friend is a diving newbie. She's only logged about 80 jumps. I call that "hutspah."
Tandem divers. Usually a first timer jumping with an instructor. Or someone who had sky diving on their bucket list. As I said yesterday, I sure enjoy watching this sport, but it's NOT on my bucket list.
Today, I mostly took videos of the divers as they landed in the Drop Zone. As a tandem team came flying over my head, I head the instructor say to his passenger, "Now hold your feet up a little bit."

We took a lunch break from watching the divers and went into Eloy to have a sub sandwich at the A & M Pizza Restaurant. If you're ever in Eloy, AZ, it's worth stopping to eat at the A & M.
As we were walking the road to the wind tunnel, we met, neighbors Steve & Carol. They're big fans of this sport, too, now.
These flags signify the National USPS Collegiate Parachuting Championships. As the wind blew in a different direction, the flags would turn. Pretty cool.
Air Force cadets watch the monitor for their diving scores. Yeah, we saw Coach Tom again! So of course, I couldn't pass up a photo opp. Eat ya heart out, Darlene. lol
I saw this AF cadet several times today, but never got his name. I know, you're shocked.
Coach Tom's Army cadets practicing free-falling formations. Air Force cadets waiting for shuttle to take them to their lift (airplane). More Quail Run folks enjoying the sky diving. Activities directors Bruce & DeAnn (pin hat) Hoover and friends, Kathy and Jack. Diving team waiting for lift. They will be judged on their free-falling formations.
Come again, Soon! You know we will. Richard and Susan, we can't wait for you to get out here so we can show you around this beautiful part of Arizona and if you're good, we might just bring you out to watch the sky divers. Save up $300 extra and we can all four go on a hot air balloon ride. Yeah! lol
More videos of the divers for your viewing enjoyment.

When we got back to Quail Run we drove around to see if Darrell & Barbara were home yet and we saw this little owl just sitting by the road. Lyell came out with his camera and told us that this little owl has been around for a few years. He sure allowed us to get really close to him. Personally, I think he's a little miffed that this park is named after a quail. I think I heard him ask us how many quail we've seen here and I had to be honest and tell him "Only the ones on the signs." A resident that has been coming here every winter for over 10 years said that there once were lots of quail around here, but the road runners ran them off. We do have mourning doves in abundance though, and this lone owl. He sure blends into the color of the gravel, doesn't he?

Friday, December 28, 2007

NOT on my Bucket List

22 degrees again this morning. I expect that somewhere else... this is ARIZONA for Pete's sake. The very positive thing today is it warmed up quickly and there was hardly any wind. A gorgeous day and WOW did we have a memorable day.

First let me report that Don's mother is doing much better this morning. Don had to drive a few miles away to call her... no AT&T service here. Seems she has an infection and was dehydrated because she couldn't keep anything on her stomach. After antibiotics and and IV of glucose, she's on the road to recovery. Thank God. And thank you for praying for her.

Mom called and she wanted to talk about getting her "affairs in order." A subject I do not like to discuss or admit that it's necessary, as you can understand. She is so thoughtful about wanting to have everything taken care of. Oh, how I love that sweet, sweet gentle lady.

Don found George Becker outside. I will let you guess what he was so kind to be doing outside instead of in their RV. He kind of threatened my life if I told you. :-)) George & Jo are from the county in Texas where I grew up. We know a lot of the same people from there. They are also very good friends with Pat & Bobby Tomme who we met while we were in Branson, Mo. this summer. They were working at the KOA Campground. Geez, we sure miss all those guys. I know it's cliche, but it really is a small world.

This is where I spend a lot of my time when we are in the RV. Learning to blog is way too much fun.

Almost everyday, we take our gallon jugs to the Waterin' Hole (reverse osmosis filtering system) to get drinking water. It seems there is a lot of salt in desert water so it has to be filtered in this way. And of course, we check our mail daily.

We noticed that our new neighbors, Kathy and Lyell were out, so we went over and met them. Nice folks from Nebraska. NASCAR fans like Dave and Darlene. Lyell said a neighbor from another year here carved that boot for him.

Dave & Darlene invited us to go with them this afternoon so we postponed our trip to see Alvin and the Chipmunks movie until another time when it's too windy or too cold to do anything else.

We're on our way to the Sky Diving Mecca of the World.

As we approached the airport we could see sky divers dropping from the sky... everywhere. Look closely and you can count 10 divers in this pic. A few are still free-falling. [pic is missing]

Are we ever happy we went with them to the Eloy Municipal Airport only 6 miles away, to watch the sky divers at Sky Dive Arizona. It was amazing and we had so much fun watching all the sky divers.

Darlene and I decided we should learn something about this sport of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, so we watched this one land and then commenced with the interview. Meet Coach Tom from Westpoint, Annaheim, NY. Divers today are jumping out of the perfectly good airplane at 12,000', free-falling to 5,000' (long beeps) . At 4,000' he hears shorter, more rapid beeps. At 2,000' the alarm in his helmet flatlines (appropriately named) to let him know "you should have already pulled the cord, so pull now!" Tom is here this weekend with his team of cadets to compete in the National Collegiate Championship Diving Competition. D & I nicknamed him "eye-candy." Well, he was cute and very nice. And we all plan to go back tomorrow to watch them compete. Go, Army! uh- oh..Go, Navy! Oh, yea, Go, Air Force!

This is an altimeter (did I spell that right, Mike?) It's attached to his glove and lets him know how far he is from the ground.

The videos really show how fast some of the divers came in for a landing. Tom said that some people have the larger parachutes (Cadillacs) that move slower and some edgier people like the smaller, sportier chutes that go weally, weally fast ... up to 80 MPH (Porches). Landing speeds vary from 35 - 80 mph. The first video was taken in the $5M wind tunnell. Divers practice falling techniques there.

Darlene coming down the wind tunnel ramp.

A diver folding his parachute. There were gobs of people here. Also, jumpers could hire chute-folders to fold their chutes. I think I had rather fold my own. Lots of girls diving, too. Sky diving is on Snookie's bucket list.

Last minute jump instructions.

Divers ride this tram from the observance area to the airplane about 150 yards away.

Coming in for a landing. The landing speeds vary between 80 - 30 mph. They actually land much like an airplane. Not like the old army parachutes in the old war movies.

Outside the wind tunnel. Motors are below ground level and the four pipes at the top are the exhaust where the "wind" comes out. Very fascinating to watch the divers practice free-falling. I can't believe how much fun we had this afternoon and we didn't spend a dime! Thanks, again, Dave & Darlene!

On the ride home, we passed a new wheat field. Fields growing green stuff in the desert still amazes me.

The next field was being flooded with irrigation water. Looks like a lake.

How it's done. Simply open the gate and flood the field.

When we returned to Quail Run around 4:15 PM more campers had arrived. Friends of Lyell & Kathy, Don & JoAnn Miller, were just getting set up. We were so busy talking and getting acquainted that I forgot to take pictures.

Tonight is Friday Night: Date Night. Don took me to Macayo's, our favorite Mexcian food restaurant, for dinner.