Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday at Youth Haven Ranch

Don held down the "fort" while today found me up early and headed over to Picacho with four other ladies to the Youth Haven Ranch.... for a Women's Conference featuring key speaker, Donna Partow with how to Maximize Your Life.  This was a tremendous conference and I recommend Donna Partow in any form: speaker, missionary, "prayer warrior princess" or author (she's written several books).  When I re-write my notes I may publish them in this blog.  One of the quotes she used was: "Grace is our free gift to Heaven; Peace is how we enjoy the trip."  Isn't that great!?! And then she elaborated on the things that we allow Satan to use in our lives to steal our peace. One thing Donna Partow definitely is not:  boring.  Donna Bartow Amy Carlson (married to Lars) and Cheri  did a great job leading the praise and worship time.Amy and Cherri Carlson Cheri's husband, Larry Carlson, was wonderful on the keyboard.Larry Carlson ( Larry Carlson is Randy Carlson's brother.  You may have heard Randy Carlson on Family Life Radio.  Larry is co-founder of Youth Haven Ranches.) 

After the morning session we broke for lunch and headed for the lunchroom.  Pat and Shari.Pat Sublett and Shari Hall Evelyn, Donna and myself.Evelyn, Donna and  LaVon  Here, the girls are waiting for the hay wagon to take a wagon ride around the campus of the ranch. Donna, Shari, Pat, Evelyn Evidently, one of the campers had lost his army figure in the sand by the wall (see him between Shari and Pat on the wall; upon research, I believe he's a Nazi!), so I sat him on a branch and used him as a photo op.GI JoeThese buildings are housing for the staff and campers. 100_1726 Well, here's a plant that I haven't seen before here in Arizona.  There were several of these "Crucifixion" bushes on the Youth Haven Ranch.a crucifixion bush Upon closer investigation you will understand why this is called a Crucifixion bush.  The thorns are at least four inches long, very sharp, and look like the ones used in the crown of thorns that Jesus Christ wore when He was crucified.crucifixion thorns There were two of these covered wagons on campus.100_1739 Stephan is waiting for his chance to play the keyboard as he watches his granddad.Stephan and grandpa Carlson Lars Carlson proudly watches as his son, Stephan, age nine, plays the keyboard.Lars Carlson, watching his son Stephan play the pianoAmy sings a special to begin the afternoon session.Amy Carlson The afternoon session was entitled "Maximize Your Prayer Life" and Donna Partow suggested seven things with the key verse being Revelations 3:20:

1. Trade my prayer list for God's prayer list.

2. Use a journal rather than a list.

3. Pray with an open Bible.

4. Let GOD lead - learn to listen to God and accept His invitation to join Him where He is at work.

5. Key:  Change your mindset.

6. There's no shortage of Assignments.

7. Get in the GAP - that place where God is at work in someone's life.

The Gap is where the action is!

The Gap is where God moves!

The gap is where prayer becomes an adventure!

Pray for God's Kingdom to come and His will to be done!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday found a bargain

While Don went to Men's Bible Study at 10:00 this morning, I ... you guess it... rode my borrowed bike with Thelma and Taurleen.  They met here several years ago and now Taurleen lives in Casa Grande.  This is the first time she's been out here since purchasing a home in CG.  Well, we did our stretches... it's serious business, this exercising thing.  Looks like they're trying to push the Quantum over... and they probably could.Thelma & Taurleen I tried to get one of them to hand me my foot, but they just laughed at me.  I was serious.Thelma & LaVon  We rode for five miles this morning, but didn't walk any. ahhhemmm--Taurleen got tired. [as LaVon crosses her fingers behind her back]

When Don got home around 11:00, we drove to Chandler to the Arizona Orthopedic Hospital to check on Ellie who got a new knee today and her hubby, Jim.  When we arrived, Ellie was still in recovery, so we talked to Jim for awhile.  He said the surgeon had told him that there were no surprises with Ellie's knee replacement, thank the Lord.  Jim is retired from the Coast Guard and has many interesting stories to tell.  His fascination with penguins comes from playing ball with them in the Antarctica while working on an ice-breaking ship.  He said the penguins have no fear of people and they could pet them, walk all around them and play with them.  That's just too cool.

While we were getting gas, I saw this truck leaving the Love's where we were.  And I said, "AMEN!"  I guess this trucker had heard the Lord's name taken in vain so much that he decided to make a statement.  God bless him.  Amen!

The license plate says "Alberta."  I find it hard to believe they drove this tiny Smart car all that distance.  Probably towed it or carried it in a trailer or toy hauler.sure a small car to drive all the way from Alberta 

Well, earlier when we were riding bikes, I spotted something for sale that Don really needs in this large park.  He loves to walk, but this park is just too large.  When we returned from Chandler, we stopped to look at it and the owner was asking $80 for it.  We bought it and Don rode it home... he named it "Harley." 

Look out! (Guess you just going to have to click on the picture to see it.. sorry)Don's new motorcycle... named it   I gave Harley a bath when we got home... it was quite dusty.  Now it's parked in the shed with my borrowed bike. 

God is good. All the time.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Random post about friends, family and weather

Yesterday was Sunday and another great day, especially church.  Don was tired after preaching two sermons entitled "How To Be a Good Friend," but he did great.  Jim and Thelma (that's right, "T") invited us to go to lunch with them so we went to eat Mexican food.  We love spending time with Jim and Thelma, getting to know them better and hearing of the trials and victories in their lives.  Jim has been the pastor of several churches in his lifetime.  Don receives much encouragement as he knows that Jim prays for him every Sunday all the time he is preaching and before he steps into the pulpit.Thelma and Jim Taylor

Later in the afternoon (after a good nap), Thelma and I walked and rode bikes.  This was the sunset yesterday, beautiful as usual when there are clouds.sunsetThis dove was just cooing his little heart out and didn't even fly away when I took this using the flash.cooing his little heart out

Today, Don called daughter, Stephanie, and learned that there was FOUR inches of ice on the ground in Tulsa.icy tundr jan 27 2009 bixby ok2 Being inspired by the cold weather in other parts of the nation, Don cooked a pot of delicious homemade chili.  Seeing this picture made the chili just taste better.  Thanks, Steph, for sending the pictures.

From daughter Leslie, we got these pictures of our grandkids waving flags as Air Force One landed in Waco for President and Mrs. George Bush's homecoming on the 20th.  They were part of a by-invitation-only event attended by 3,000 locals. 

Blaine waiting on GW n Laura Bush Cam n Em at Bush Homecoming Emma at Bush Homecoming 

And then Camden got this haircut to correct the haircut he got from Grammie that went wrong because he so "wiggly."  Leslie reported that he sat perfectly still for the girl at Sport Clips.  Here's Camden with his Grammie.1-24-09 Camden n Gee It's amazing how differently he looks, but still so cute.  Look at our little man!!1-25-09 Camden new haircut

And then, I just have to show you the creative genius of my youngest daughter, LaNae, who now is addicted to digital scrapbooking by her sister, Leslie.  Isn't this stunning of granddaughter, Lydia?love-that-smile4  And this one of grandson Blaine and his cousin, Emma... both grandchildren.  Too cute... love it, love it, love it! family-20071 OK, back to Arizona. :-)  Our "Experiencing God" Bible study was good again tonight and we are sure enjoying this study.  If you ever get the chance to participate in this study, do it.  It will benefit your Christian growth tremendously.

[Don't worry, I walked and rode the bike again today.  You think, "T" is going to give me a day off??]

Love and blessings to all.  Remember God loves you and wants you to "experience" Him.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Just for me

But if you enjoy cloud watching, then you're welcome to look all you like. 

As I was riding my borrowed bike back to the clean and shining Quantum, these clouds loomed so close I felt like I could reach up and touch them.  It seemed that this big one reflected the color of the desert.clouds reflect the color of the desert fluffy cloud reflects the color of the desert The cloud.100_1654 The desert color.100_1655 I got a little distracted from my cloud watching by this pair.doves in the desert

Don was out on the street again this morning.  That's sounds not quite right, doesn't it?  You know what I mean.  He loves to walk and meet people. (Don't ever let him tell you that he's shy.) And meet several people he did and God used him.  We love asking God where He is at working and allowing us to join Him.  He always does.

As I promised, it was laundry day.  Some times I dread doing the laundry, but I should never think of it as "doing laundry," but I should think of it as a chance to "socialize" which always leads to meeting new and interesting people.  Something I would not be able to do if I had a washer and dryer in the Quantum, so... I'm glad I don't.

I know that you realize that I am limited in how much I can share on this blog, but please remember to pray for us and the work God is doing here; and we thank you so much.

I know that you will just be thrilled to know that we finally bought Don new socks and new handkerchiefs tonight.  J C Penney's was having a sale! 

Pray for our nation's leaders.

Pray for our men and women serving in the military.

Pray for the lost all around you.

Pray for sweet Abby.

Be thankful for everything.

We love you.  Pass it on.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's bath time!

For the Quantum, that is.  Actually, past time... she was really dirty Kansas and the trip to Arizona.  Connie of C&N Cleaning (leave me a comment and I will email you their phone number if you are in this area with your rig) is working hard.C & N Washing Service - Connie hereDoesn't the Quantum look pretty?  Connie and Noe washed and dried all of the rig, including the top, the windows and the awning for $65.  Don gave them $70.  They did a beautiful job. They also clean a lot of the park models here, inside and outside.Isn't she pretty?  Washed dried--top, windows, awning - $65 - Don gave her $70

Of course, today is choir rehearsal day.  Don went over to Eloy to help in the food pantry at the Methodist Church.  He met their pastor this morning and had a nice visit with him. 

After lunch, it was "T" time... Not sipping driving, but walking and riding with Thelma.  We did both today.  I should start carrying a recorder with me.  She tells the best stories.  Today, she told me about all the different types of homemade airplanes and helicopters and synchrocopter and gyros she has ridden in.  As it turns out, she and late husband were friends with Dick DeGraw and she's ridden in many of his creations.  She also rode from Michigan to Oklahoma City on the back of a Honda driven by Dick DeGraw's wife, just to get the opportunity to witness to her as a Christian.  Amazing.  We spend a lot of our walk-talk-time sharing about the wonderful things that God has done in our lives.

Tonight, we were invited to have dinner with our neighbors behind us who are also our "landlords."  Jim and Ellie have been in Hawaii celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and just go home this past weekend. 

The table she set was so pretty.Ellie Bowen and the beautiful table Jim collects penguins.  They have a ba-zillion of the cute arctic birds.100_1650 I thought this was cute.100_1648 More of the larger penguins.100_1651 The delicious meal consisted of pork loin and gravy, stewed potatoes and onions, carrots, green beans with slivered almonds, and cold slaw.  For dessert:  apple pie ala mode with French pressed coffee. Don, Jim and Ellie are patiently waiting for me to take this picture so Jim could say grace and we could EAT this beautiful meal.dinner at Jim and Ellie Bowen's We visited around this table after the meal for until 8:30... we were there for 3 1/2 hours and enjoyed every minute of it.  Looking forward to more good times with Jim and Ellie.  Note:  Ellie is having knee replacement surgery on Wednesday morning, so please say a prayer for her and the surgeons and those who assist.

So that was our Friday.  We got a few sprinkles again tonight, but it was very brief. 

Tomorrow .... laundry.

Love and blessings to all!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


We drove into Casa Grande this morning.  The air was nice and fresh from the rain shower we had gotten earlier.  The clouds hung around and we got a few more showers during the day.rainy day Clouds just fascinate me.


To protect their privacy, I will use fictitious names for the couple we visited this morning.  Jesse and Joe were so precious and we wondered what work God was doing.  As we visited with them, they opened up to us and shared their burdens and struggles and truly needed encouragement. They had several prayer requests, but they also had an immediate need that we were able to meet to get them through until Monday when Joe gets his check.  Joe's disabled, but their financial situation is dire and he is doing delivery work to help them "dig out."  We identified with their plight; fell in love with them and prayed with them and wept with them and hugged them and left them praising God for the work He is doing in their lives.

We also visited with another sweet couple in their home which was a delightful time for us and they were just tickled that we stopped by.  That was very encouraging to us.

There's a little store and post office a little over a mile down the road from our park.  We stopped there today to get ice and I snapped theses pictures of the artwork on the outside wall.  Do you think we're in the West?

wall art on the store front I suppose both of these pictures depict the mail: carrying the mail on the stage coach and receiving the mail from the mailbox. wall art on the store front

Malachi 3:3

Malachi 3:3 says:  'He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.'

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining Silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: 'He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.'  She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.

The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, 'How do you know when the silver is fully refined?'

He smiled at her and answered, 'Oh, that's easy --when I see my image in it.'

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire , remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

Author unknown.

Pass this on right now. This very moment, someone needs to know that God is watching over them.  And, whatever they're going through, they'll be a better person in the end.

[Thanks to Debbie for sending this to me.]

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Busy Day

Don had Bible Study this morning over at the Activity Center.  I rode bicycles with, you guess it... T.  And then we sang a song or two at her place. And then I went home. And then Don came home.  And then Donna and Carl showed up to take us all to lunch.  We went to place we had never heard of... The Creative Cafe.  Tesa and Jim Machelor, the owners of this special place, hire developmentally disabled adults to assist in some of the restaurant duties. This is James and his famous smile.  His picture is right on the front cover of the menu.  He greeted us just after we sat down and asked me,  "Are you being a good girl?"  All the wait staff wear T-shirts that state:  "I was a good boy/girl today at the Creative Cafe."James and his famous smile at the Creative Cafe, CG

The food is really good:  sandwiches, soups, quiche, wraps, desserts.  I had the lettuce wraps and they were really good.  Don had a gyro and salad which he said was delicious.  Donna also insisted that I order the broccoli salad and she was right... really good.  Meet Donna and Carl from McPherson, Kansas.Carl and Donna Sorenson at the Creative Cafe 

Wall art in the very colorful Creative Cafe. The Creative Cafe

After we left the cafe, Carl and Donna drove us out to the Central Arizona College campus.  I can't believe that I didn't take any pictures.  They have basketball games!

Donna is into gourds and she wanted to show us the gourd farm that's only a couple of miles from our park.Donna loves gourding... oh, no  someone got lost in the gourd bin

The owner of this gourd farm says he has harvested his largest gourd crop ever.  There were bins full of gourds which represented only about 20% of his crop.gourds come in many shapes

Did you ever wonder where loofa (is that spelled right?)comes from?  ever wonder where loofas come from?

Poor guy.  Wonder how many husbands feel like this at their homes.?poor guy.  wonder how many husbands feel like this

A gourd longhorn.this longhorn is made out of gourds

I found this little miniature beauty at the gourd farm?  Is that a pose, or what?is this a pose or what?

Yes, that's a gourd snake!  The gourd actually grew in that shape.would believe, a gourd? 

And a gourd rattle snake about to ingest a gourd rodent.more gourd creatures

One of two trees with more birds nests than I've ever seen in a single tree.loaded with bird nests

Donna and Carl dropped us off at the Quantum and I grabbed my sunglasses and headed to my afternoon appointment.  Did I mention that Pat, down the street, had volunteered to give me golf lessons?  Oh, yes.  The conspiracy. :-)  Well, we went over to Tierra Grande Golf Course (9 holes) driving range and I hit a bucket of balls.  A few off the tee and the rest "fairway" shots.  Would you believe that only one ONE ball did not got straight and a few even had some distance on them.  I saved six balls to chip and putt onto the practice green.  Well, my chipping was a little harder to adjust to after driving; like an all-the-way-across-the-green-and-across-the-road-and-into-the-desert adjustment. Oh, stop laughing.  It's my first time ever to chip.  In fact, a lot of first time ever's and it was fun! Pat says I'm ready to play the real thing.  No-o-o-o.  I don't know about all that.

And finally we went to the Third Wednesday Night Gospel Jam Session at the Community Center.  Here Julie is talking to Don.  We're going to Julie and David's in the morning to visit with them.Don and Julie Mayer

Thelma sang a beautiful song.Thelma

Thelma, ??, and Dorrie singing "Power in the Blood."Thelma, LaVon and Dorrie

Julie played the piano and sang.Julie Mayer

GH always does a great job with his accordion.GH singing and playing the accordian

Are you tired yet?  I am.  LaVon definitely stepped outside her comfort zone on January 21, 2009.

Don spoke to several folks tonight at the jam session who requested that we come see them at their homes.  Thank you for praying for us as we get to know more people and go where God is working.  Who wouldn't want to be there and be a part of what He's doing around us.  There's no greater joy than to be invited to join God where He is at work.