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Thankful

Grandchildren

Spending time with my grandchildren is one of my true delights. I have found that going to the park, the pool, doing crafts, reading books all of these things feel different as a grandmother.

When God blessed me with my own daughter, Samantha and then shared Erin with me at 8 years old I was raising them but also trying to figure out how to make ends meet and go to school, work and fit everything in. So when sitting down together to do a craft, or go play a game or play outside, there was always a tug to get other things done. This isn’t something I’m proud of I wish I would have taken that time. These things were important but as a young adult I felt hurried.

Now as a grandmother; when I walk around our yard for an hour with Carter so he can get his cars stuck in the mud,IMG_20131003_080553_033 go spend the afternoon with Zoe in the pool, IMG_20140621_113437_416rock Camden while he falls asleep in my arms, IMG_20140406_131514_825hold Aurora and chit chat with her safe in my arms.IMG_20140521_201717_153 I have nothing more important than that to accomplish.

It is a privilege to have the joy of children in our life at this time. I miss them terribly living so far away. We have to be purposeful in pursuing time to spend with each family. Oh this spring has been lovely! I was able to see them all.

Blessed beyond measure, Susie

Preparing for a party.
Preparing for a party.

 

 

Comfortable in Your Own Skin

When we travel I love to meet new people. You know a stranger sits by you on a four hour flight, at a resort where we are staying, the list goes on and on.

Today I met Sarah and John. They are entrepreneurs in the IT industry, they successfully built a business and run it together. Sarah is the organized one and John is the idea guy and visionary.

Sarah and I began a discussion on the differences in women and their personalities and the judgement we all fall victim of at one time or another.

When do you get married? Do you get married? How many children do you have? Do you have children? Do you work outside the home after children? Do you continue to pursue a career? Do you stay home, run it and raise your children? Are you more driven than your husband? Are you introverted, do you get energized by time to yourself? Or are you an extrovert and you need social interaction to get you energized?

Sometimes our choices or the circumstances handed to us make these decisions. What if you can choose freely? No judgement. What if you could succeed at whatever you choose? What would you choose?

We are all so different and created to be great in what ever God created in us.

Here’s my story of how God knows my heart down to the little mundane:

Two weeks ago we were riding in the jeep near our house. There is tons of Basalt rock, basalt comes from a volcano. We know there was a volcano in Flagstaff. I said to Dennis, “There has to be an obsidian flow. Oh I would love to see an obsidian flow.”

Then we went to Oregon;

We went out for dinner the first night and the waiter said, “What are you going to do all weekend?”

Me, “Nothing much, lie around, go for walks, relax.”

Waiter, “There is an obsidian flow up by the lakes you flew over to get here.”

What??

Dennis, “Well, now we will be renting a car and heading there.”IMG_20140608_131806_542 IMG_20140608_124751_851

We drove up the mountain, near lakes. And there it was! DSC00622

This is not black and white photos, this is obsidian (a glass formed when lava cools quickly) and pumice (also from the volcano but gets air bubbles) handily we use it to get the roughness off our heals. ???????????????????????????????

Look at this shiny rock! This is obsidian.DSC00621This is the swirl of hot lava!

I am enamored by God. Oh what a love He has for us.

Smitten~ Susie

 

New Chapter

How do you identify yourself? I’m a….. I’m a Biology Teacher, I’m the wife of Dr. Dunning, a mom, a daughter, a grandmother, a blogger (albeit inconsistent), a writer. On and on and on.

Some of these identities are fleeting. For example; I am no longer teaching biology, my children are grown and don’t need me as they did. If I only identify with one occupation or another it becomes dangerous.  These are not my talents or my core values, these are what occupy my life. God created me to be a Hopeful teacher who loves to serve. I delight in His promise of Hope. I get grieved when life doesn’t point toward Hope. I do all occupations based on this description.

When I introduce myself or someone introduces me to someone I usually get introduced in context. “This is Susie Dunning, Dr. Dunning’s wife.” “This is Susie Dunning, Ginny Schmitt’s daughter.” I will proudly wear all hats that are given me. I am never offended and think, “Is that all I am?” No this is all I get to be.

Jesus said, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 

Life here is Zoe. Greek, meaning Life physical and spiritual in Christ: Abundant!

The Bios definition, also Greek is Life, all living things.

What defines me? Zoe. Abundant Life in Christ. Striving to be the best me God created me to be.

Who are you? Have you thought about what drives you in all of your roles?Dr-Seuss-Youer-Quote

 

Thankful ~ Susie

 

Fear vs Trust

It’s been quite a year. Heartache and joy. We’ve (my sister Micki and I) made the decision to celebrate everything. Yes anguish, fear, pain, grief can paralyze and hold your soul captive but don’t get stuck there. If you look back at your life and see how many times God has answered the call, “Help, I need You!” you can use those experiences to press through whatever it is you are needing of Him now. 2 Timothy 1:6-7 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

I’ve learned that the little knee scrapes and goofs prepare you for the catastrophic events that knock you to your knees or  the blindsided blow for the knock out.

Thanks to Beth Moore in her Bible Study Esther she goes through a scenario of If _____ Then God. Meaning there is nothing you can go through that God isn’t the answer. I have used this to get me through the darkest days. No matter what, I have God and I have seen Him provide and stabilize my entire life.

I’ve been spending time reading about Jesus, spending time reading in the book of Luke about His life here on earth. Over and over again we see how he changed lives. See, He came to change us not to leave us the same. Our times of mourning and tragedy can be used as times of change. Please don’t think I am calloused, I do hurt and mourn over the death of my sister or a move that has taken me thousands of miles away from my family and all that is familiar. Know this. Philippians 1:20:21 whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. “Then God”.

Everything is …. Then God. He is our refuge. Try Him. Oh believe me, it really has always been “A Matter of Trust”. How to trust Him to make things right, or to heal the hurt that weighs so heavy on our hearts, or put just the right person at the right time in my life to walk along the way?

As we walk into a season where the river has risen, all of the memories of Mary’s tragic death come flying to the surface. I have to choose Life or Death. I will choose life.

Psalm 71 is so beautiful, reading it guides us from the time we saw God in our need so we can lean on Him again through this time.

Verses 1-5

In You, O Lord, I put my trust;
Let me never be put to shame.
Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape;
Incline Your ear to me, and save me.
Be my strong refuge,
To which I may resort continually;
You have given the commandment to save me,
For You are my rock and my fortress.

Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked,
Out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.
For You are my hope, O Lord GOD;
You are my trust from my youth.

Then God,

Susie

It’s OK

February 8, 2014.

I sit drinking coffee watching the sky change from darkness to shades of pink reflecting  the sun as it rises over the mountain. I reflect on my life with my little sister and best friend. We all have a story, our’s is so intertwined it is hard to tell mine without hers.

We all have struggles, we all wrestle. I don’t ever want to fear struggles. Oh sometimes I run from them, ran fast and far. But isn’t facing our challenges and finding victory so rewarding?

My mother-in-law had her knee replaced last year. She suffered so long with pain and swelling in her joint it was debilitating and depressing. After the replacement and rehabilitation she said, like so many other joint replacement recipients, “I can’t believe I waited this long.”

Sometimes you have to go through the surgery and rehab to get to the victory. If you follow the life and the stories of Jesus you see He didn’t tell the people who were suffering from physical, spiritual or emotional issues to go and live with it for a while, think about it day and night, let it ruin your sleep, let it get in the way of your success. No this is what He said; “You are healed.” “Lazerus come forth.”

Matthew 20:32-34 So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?”They said to Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.

When Zacchaeus climbed the tree to see Jesus this is what happened;

Luke 19:5-6  When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name.“Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.

Whatever it is, time to give it to Jesus and move on, be free. Maybe it’s a habit, maybe like me it’s obedience, drop the busy-ness and follow Jesus. He will guide you on His path and it will be much better than yours 😉

Pressing, Susie

 

Quiet

House built ~ Check

Landscaping in ~ Check

Well Drilled and hooked up ~ Check

It is all quiet on the Hualapai Front.

We are settled and are excited about moving forward.

Hmm, Father’s Day. I was buying Father’s Day cards yesterday and really missed Mary. See we didn’t talk often. She was not like Micki and me, she was happy talking occasionally. But there are always givens. One given is Father’s Day card shopping. Mary and Micki and I had a bond that no one else would know (Well our mom knew). We are the 3 little girls. We are connected in a life that no one else shared. We are witnesses. We are confidantes. We are secret. We giggled and made eachother laugh through all of our milestones and all of our dispair. We shared joys and triumphs.

Moving forward and loving life.

Giggling about my cherished memories.

God is only Good ~ 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

My Girls

Long ago and far away there was once a dreamer who dreamed her daughters would live down the street, ok or at least just a few miles away. The dreamer would run over and have coffee, discuss marital issues and successes, babysit in a moment’s notice, etc. But alas, unbeknownst to this dreamer weddings pass and dreamer moves to the desert. The desert holds many treasures and many adventures with her beloved and she loves right where she is. Her heart can not help but break and long for the shiny eyes of miss hazel and blue eyes.

Miss blue eyes is on to new adventures in the hills of Tennessee. She and Mr. Blue eyes now have baby boy blue eyes who is filling their hearts with joy. They are incredibly blessed with family in the hills and an environment rich for growth.

Miss Blue, planned the party, carved the pumpkin, made the costume and continues to create a loving home for Mr. and Baby boy. Mr. Blue callused from hard work, runs home to see his beauty. This delights me to no end. This makes me so proud. I love her so. She has grown strong and learned to survive without Muah! Oh how could I hope for anything else?

Miss Hazel has found her prince. They married on a beautiful June day. She fulfilled her goal to become a cosmetologist, danced out on her own, launched her career and in walks Mr. Hazel. What? She did all of this without Muah! I am so incredibly proud of her. 

I am so thrilled with the life she is creating in Michigan with her fishing, softball playing, hardworking Prince Hazel. She makes people feel beautiful and better about themselves. She loves to love Prince Hazel. I am overjoyed with the road she has chosen; to create an environment that her man finds intoxicating and can’t wait to get home.

These are my girls, my joy. Can’t you see why I would love to live down the street from them?

Hazel and Blue, I long to see them soon.

Philippians 1:8-10 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.  And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.

Overflowing ~ Susie

 

Leo Daniel equals Unconditional Love

I’m in a temporary home with all my pictures lurking somewhere in my garage so thank you for the pictures I just gleaned from Facebook.Leo and his only real daughter, Melissa 🙂 His favorite girls are below.

When I was a little girl there were constants in my crazy life. Mom always loved me. Nanny was always down the hill in case we needed anything, Grandpa always fixed things and you would find him in the kitchen. Leo would always show up and there was an instant party. 

Leo loved all of us, all eight of us kids, our spouses, our children, our friends, the more the merrier.

My mom and Leo became friends at age 14. Through their marriages and Mom’s divorce and through the many years they have remained friends. Let’s not forget to give credit to Joan, who through Leo put up with all of the chaos for low these many years. Haha, now I really think Joan secretly enjoyed every minute of it.

Leo spent his time entertaining. He was a school teacher by profession but an entertainer by heart. As long as I have memory I remember Leo playing the piano and all of us singing along. The songs go on and on. We all have our favorites, the Irish sing alongs, Sound of music, I’ve been working on the railroad. He could belt out The Impossible Dream and Climb Every Mountain like no other. Then there was Polonaise, he would play to remind himself and us of the classics. Polonaise is on my running playlist.

He unselfishly opened his cabin in the woods for us. If it had not been for That cabin we would have never vacationed away from home. We would pack up on weekends, or for a week in July and pile in their home. The fun we had playing outside, swinging on the swing, playing capture the flag and oh dear, piling in the back of the pick up and going on some wild rides in the woods where Leo had been wandering all his life.

Holidays; Christmas, New Years Eve, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day all came to life when Leo was there or we were at his house.

He loved us. It was never conditional, He just LOVES. Leo and my mom treated everyone who walked through the door the same. They were welcome and loved. Leo taught us in a tumultuous time of racial unrest that everyone, yes everyone was the same. 

My pa is in the hospital not sure of where he is but with Joan, Melissa and Michael constantly at his side. My heart hurts. Leo taught us, albeit unconventionally (giggling) and a bit groovily (is that a word?) this one thing; John 15:13 (NLT) There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

I’ll end with Elelweiss; we tuck ourselves in bed and he plays our lullaby….

Edelweiss, Edelweiss
Every morning you greet me
Small and white clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Edelweiss,Edelweiss
Bless my homeland forever.

Love you Pa ~Susie

 

 

 

Happy Birthday America!

Silly day here in Kingman, AZ. We are in the desert, the recent temps have been in the 90s and it is sunny everyday. This morning we woke to clouds, cool morning and then rain. The clouds have not gone away it is currently 69 degrees. CRAZY!

Dennis and I watched the movie The Patriot last week. I am so thankful that we had so many men, women and children who sacrificed to give us freedom. Dennis is currently reading Glenn Beck’s book on George Washington and he loves it.

I am also so thankful for my mom who instilled a sense of patriotism, well by a sense, haha I mean we woke up 4th of July morning to John Phillip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever performed by the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. All day long we heard the classics, God Bless America, All of the Military Service hymns, etc!

So I looked up 4th of July desserts and made this.

We went shopping last year and my mom wanted to make sure I had something patriotic to wear so she bought this T-shirt

So I’m ready to join in the Independence Day celebrations. Love Fireworks and I do love the USA!

Thank you Lord for blessing our nation. I pray for the soldiers, sailors, marines, coast guard and airmen who are now protecting us from anyone who wants to steal our liberty and freedom!

An American blessing God! ~ Susie