Browse Category

Our new home

Good Things to Know

Once upon a time, there was a girl who grew up in the city, she ate her meat out of a package that came from Meijer, tomatoes out of her mom’s garden or from the Meijer produce section. She never lived further than 3 miles from a grocery store. Enter knight in shining armor otherwise known as the hunter. The hunter was disguised as a man about town; he dressed the part, lived in the city, loved the finer things in life for instance; the theatre, fine dining restaurants, travel, etc.

Suddenly the hunter exposes his comoflauge and cowboy boots and sweeps the scraped up princess to the mountains of Arizona. The hunter and now mended huntress build a home on the mountain. With their Year and a half project drawing to the end she is outside spraying the porch when she hears her contractor yell, “Susan, you have cows!!” Immediately she thinks, ELK, because the hunter has trained her to the proper cow verses girl elk when referring to the female of the species. With excitement she runs across their newly landscaped yard to find…


not the beautiful female elk she was hoping to find on their land but the gigantic cloven prints of CATTLE across their beautiful vibrant new grass and landscape! The bohemoth divots left in the new turf, turned up infant plants, chewed up and left to dry, and the recently, lovely, flowering crabapple tree now looking more like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree is an on going reminder of midnight visitors.2013-03-30_15-25-51_12
Even the sandy hill was not left unscathed, they trampled across easily as if flat ground. 2013-03-30_15-17-22_319The Yellow Page ad keeps running through her mind, “Phone First!”

This would be when due diligence would have come in handy. A country girl may have know better. Perhaps a call to the neighborhood association to find out this beautiful mountain side they are building on is FREE RANGE!! Who knew? Evidently the residence of Lazy Y U on the Hualapai Mountain Range knew, the sheriff knew, the builder knew. 😉 2013-03-21_16-57-46_12The kind ranch owner, was out the next day in search of his wayward cattle that drifted onto our lovely landscaped and irrigated land.

The sheriff, I’m sure with his tonguedeeply embedded in his cheek answered my questions with, “Free Range ma’am, if you want the cattle kept out of your yard, build a fence.”

Teri, my lovely sherpa, tries to keep me from embarrassing myself and normally stops me from making these sort of calls allowed me to make the call to confirm Free Range.

Well another lesson learned for this city girl living on a mountain. Next week I will be hiring  a fence builder on to phase three of the Dunning, Mohave County, Hualapai Mountain experience.

Schooled ~Susie


Excitement and Frustration

Wow what a week it has been. It has definitely been a week of peaks and valleys. We came home from a relaxing weekend here….. My adventurous husband and I hiked/climbed this hill!And we got to see them….What a treat to visit with Joey, Lauren, Robin (Poor David got sick), Linda and Sofia. By Monday night we had this going on. Pure excitement to see the progress.Our kitchen taking shape.Our appliances have been anxiously awaiting their home since December, they are ready to be used in their new home.

Outside we saw the arrival of our rockDennis and I rode the Harley past Ashfork, AZ and and saw miles and miles of mined Flagstone. We didn’t know that a year later it would be sitting in our driveway waiting to be placed on our home. When I saw it I hoped 🙂 Speaking of Harleys. Here is a handy place to set helmets and hats with hooks below for leather and chaps.

Monsoons come in the summer on the mountain most times partnered with a rainbow because the sun can’t help but shine in the high desert.Frustration comes when progress slows, people that were supposed to keep their end of a contract don’t follow through. One little thing can halt a project….. So the end of the week was a little disappointing. We continue on and smile and anticipate being in our new home soon.

Anxious ~ Susie

Friday Night, Do you know where your cardiologist is?

Well it’s been a busy week. Dennis is on call this weekend and if the weekdays are an indicator it’s going to be a hopping weekend for Dr. Dunning. We had a lull in the action at our house the past couple of weeks but don’t tell Jeff the drywall mudder I said such a thing.

Jeff the tough mudder

Look at his cool stilts! He is single handedly smooth dry walling our home. He has been working and working and working. Evidently not too many people in the west do smooth dry wall and he is working hard.

This week has been fun because our big windows are in!!

And Jim our handy craftsman at 4725 East Stallion Dr has stained and is installing our ceiling on our back porch.That is my cute boyfriend checking out the windows and the progress 😉

The ceiling is going to be beautifulNow that the windows are in the dry walling and stucco-ing around them can resume and we press on!

I’m excited about our update. It is great to keep looking forward to being settled soon and unpack our boxes piled in the garage. It will kinda be like a birthday!

Well, I just got the call that my knight is heading up the mountain. We are then off to the Hualapai Mountain Lodge for dinner.

Sunny in Kingman ~ Susie

Emotions gone wild

What a week. Wedding, New Home, Kingman, Grand Rapids, Texas, Tennessee wow.

I have gone quite a while without a picture of my Zoe Girl. Really missing her these days. I feel a skype date needed in Texas. On the Tennessee front; Carter was in his car seat while I was talking to his mom today and as soon as she said, “Josh”. On Que Carter was in the background saying, “Dada!” Oh be still my heart. Fortunately for all of us Samantha and Pete are getting married right around the corner and we all get to spend some much-needed time together.

Samantha and Pete plow through this prenuptial time. The rest of their life is coming up quick and they are full board on. It makes my heart so happy to hear Samantha talk about the commitment and the things they are learning from videos they are watching, premarital counseling with one of our favorite married dynamic duos and experiencing life.

My struggle with being separated from Samantha while planning her wedding is eased by my friends picking up the slack. Micki, Kirsti and Cindy are the epitome of true friendship and unconditional love that God gives.

On the home front, my contractor team (they will now be always mentioned in the plural) The Humphries, Doug and Teri have skillfully supported me through decision making here on my own. They are building one beautiful home, they are artists with a touch of counseling 😉

A lot going on above the ceiling in the master bedroom.

Dennis and I feel we are home. We have settled into a church family. We are both greeting for the services and we are making friends in and around the Kingdom of God here in Kingman, AZ. Oh and I think I mentioned I am playing on the co-ed softball team and for the first time in my life hit the ball past, yes I said past 3rd base!!

Ha, this is the front yard, which faces the Northeast

I am so unbelievably nurtured by our heavenly Father. I am in awe of how mindful He is of me.

Psalm 8:3-5When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
 What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
 For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

In the palm of His hand ~ Susie


Windy days

Ahhh, spring in Kingman. The blustery winds begin. We are in full swing of our build. I thought you might like to grasp the length of the house and let me clarify, it is long because it is narrow, we wanted all rooms to share the beauty of the view, so all but guest bedrooms face the mountains. Therefore you end up with a very long house!

From family room to master bedroom; Where’s Dennis?From family room to front door, Where’s Dennis and Gus?Family room to kitchen; Where is Dennis and Gus?

Now I couldn’t resist, we stopped to get our mail at our new mailbox bank and look at the mailboxes.Welcome to Arizona, the old west, where there may be more card carrying members than Michigan!!

We are hard at moving to our temporary home. While in my heart is in Michigan where they are burying my cousin Tom. My heart breaks for all of my cousins and their beautiful families. I knew that times like these would be tough to be away. It is.

I will be in Grand Rapids to celebrate Samantha’s upcoming nuptials and stay with my mom. Until then my family; you are definitely in my thoughts and prayers.

On the move ~ Susie

Lumber and Labor

Well the moving has begun. We are getting closer to our new house, geographically anyway. Our temporary house is 2 miles away from our permanent and in the same subdivision.

This used to be a 3000 acre ranch, now it is a subdivision of homes on the mountain. Here is our new temporary digs.

The view is beautiful here too.

See we have neighbors! Our realtor Wes found this for us to rent while we finish our build. It is two miles down the road from our new house. Which as of yesterday looks like this, I saw it from a distance while measuring the miles but Dennis asked me not to go see it without him so here’s the shot I took….

This was my teaser until Dennis got out of work. This is so exciting I could hardly stand to stay away! Here’s what it looks like with him. This is the front wall.

and this is a view from the family room.

And my boyfriend waiting to carry me over the threshold 😉

It’s a hassle moving twice, but we will live close to our new house and be able to visit easily.  I wish I could share the smell. Oh the lumber, the aroma of fresh walls is so sweet!

This is a happy man. He is Thrilled to work hard and build a dream nest. Can you see in the distance, next to that humongous rock outcrop our friend’s house? Yes we will have neighbors and the great thing is that they are already friends!

Ephesians 3:20, 21ish  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or imagine, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory.

We are so thankful, God is so loving. I never imagined this!

On the move ~Susie

Spring is for Car Washes

It’s March, we are just about six weeks away from living in Kingman, Az for one year. One year ago I was lunching, saying good-bye and getting ready for our cross country move. I can’t believe how fast this time has gone by.

Today I am sitting at Mr. D’z, a little Diner on Route 66. It’s kind of a cheesy diner but such friendly service and cute place and they have delicious home made root beer.

I dropped my car off to get detailed and the car wash is a block away from Mr. D’z. I have to admit to the whole world, I just took the car seat out of my back seat, it has been there since my children and grand children were here for Thankgiving. Oh I can’t wait to have to put it back in! The inside of my car has not been cleaned inside since then either and there are some scrumptious treats stuck to the seats after the girls drove back from the Grand Canyon with Zoe and Carter throwing food and tempers!

We miss them terribly.

The next time they come to visit we will live on the mountain! Oh they will love the rocks and plants!

Today I am savoring the memories, looking forward to our temporary move in two weeks. Philippians 4:11-13  Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I’m thrilled that God is control and not me. I willingly surrender to His path. I’m not sure of His plan. I am thankful for this year of learning, growth, challenge and discovery. He is amazing and takes much better care of my family than I do!

It is a breezy day in Kingman and I am enjoying the spring.

Soaking up Life and Love ~ Susie


Standing in our bedroom

Today we visited what we are now calling “our house” instead of “our property”. Yes we have a foundation!! I can’t stop singing, “On Christ the solid rock I stand.” There is just something about seeing cement instead of dirt, it makes me think we are really building a house.

Looks long

There it is. Spread across our property.

Dennis capturing the view

I’m standing in the kitchen looking west.

Same spot in the kitchen with a view of our back yard and southwest. 

This is our shower 🙂 Oh and the current bathroom in the distance.

Gus loves our new digs, he is so tired of the confining golf course. There are so many smells and adventures on the mountain!

It’s March, It’s Saturday, It’s the Big Salad!! We love MSU basketball and Dr. Dunning loves the big salad and sports.

Dessert for my boyfriend.

It’s March; it is spring, we are now back to pacific time (which makes trips out of Las Vegas easier to figure), we get to see this house take shape, we are now getting ready for a wedding, we celebrate St’ Patrick’s Day, our heritage, we celebrate the births of Brett and Samantha!

It’s March; we get to speak of basketball teams we’ve never heard of and unknown cities, we get passionate and cheer for them all for the global unity we call Madness!!  This single month, March Madness gets our family chattering on email like no other event. Hang on, we are about to have another web-based Blast cheering for, not necessarily the home team, just the teams we have chosen to go all the way in this crazy season of NCAA Basketball!!

I love March ~ Susie


At the end of the day you’re another day older.

The title is from Le Miserables, what a fabulous musical and sometimes you just can’t get the music out of your head.

Finally we were going to get cement poured at our home.

The ground is ready, we and the contractors are ready.

John and Doug; cement and general contractor. Don't they look ready!?

But alas the winds of spring blow and blow hard in the high desert of Kingman, AZ so today’s wind will halt the pouring of cement.

I woke up this morning with a feeling of angst. Why? Just saying that word makes you makes you feel crooked. Everything is great, building a house, our children are lovely, all quiet on the western front. Then why? Do you ever wake up and  just have that feeling? Maybe just a lot to do. We have to move at the end of the month. Yep move out March 31, then again when our house is complete.

On the other hand, I wake up and know that there are great things happening and thank God, He is in control and not me 🙂

Spring has sprung!

Philippians 4:8-9  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there isany virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Off to a peaceful, productive day ~Susie


Thankful Kind of Day

Maybe those of you who read my blog may get sick of hearing how thankful I am for my husband and God’s grace. I just can’t stop! Most of all I am in awe of God’s amazing way of connecting two lives. I may use the word collide. Yes, I like that word. Dennis Dunning and his past, his shortcomings and children collides with Susie Schmitt and her past and very few shortcomings (just making sure you are paying attention) and her child. This is now a family saved by grace.

I’m drawn to Hebrews 11:13. We’re in the middle of reading of the faith of the elders of the old testament and suddenly we’re hit with the realization that they died before receiving their promises but they saw them “afar off and were assured of them and embraced them.” As they lived though, they continued to have protection and God showed Himself faithful.

In our marriage God has continued to show us through all excitement, trials and the busy times that He is the author of this life we are living. I love this in the Message Bible Hebrews 12:2 Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way.

As we are building and getting settled here in Kingman, I am so thankful to be on this path.

Our new address

Getting ready to pour cement.

Holes 🙂 for pipes
Pipes in and now it is all patted down ready for cement
Dennis gets to show his mom our new digs

The things we leave behind continue to be a part of us as we run this race in our new life here in the mountains of Arizona.

Exhilarated by gratefulness ~ Susie