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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

 

Recovery

I have been running for almost twenty years. I started because I gained quite a bit of weight and was cramming my mouth full of Oreos. I have done some sort of fitness throughout my life, I couldn’t afford to join a gym, I was working two jobs and had a goofy schedule so I thought a pair of running shoes would be a reasonable investment. My pastor was a runner so I asked him, “I want to start running what should I do?” He told me where to buy shoes and how to get started. So it began. I didn’t know how much I would love it. I have been so blessed to travel; I pack my shoes and running gear and see city from a different perspective. I’ve run the streets of Barcelona, SpainD&Sbarcelona Grand Rapids, MI with Kirstiend riverbank The streets of New York, Central Park was a dream come true. The street vendor hot dog was a treat.356_44764532867_2358_n Steamy Panama370_44758357867_3620_n Running through the streets of our nations capitol is the creme de la creme!356_44739647867_3785_n Completed the Austin Marathon with Brett417312_10150740556087868_711770847_n Yes I ran the streets of Jerusalem (Jane my partner and I ran and ran)206911_10150183937392868_4070684_nThe streets of San Francisco have felt my feet hit the pavement, The stale beer smelling streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans have had these fresh morning feet trod along, Honduras, Georgia, Florida and on and on. I have never been injured. I have had a few aches and pains but I met my match…   283532_10150320623972868_1872657_nThe roads of the Hualapai Mountains think they won but I will be back! I think it’s my new shoes. Why oh why does Brooks have to change their shoes every year?? They have been working for me, why change?

So I have some sort of Achilles tendonosis/itis and I am grounded. Hmm, I biked these brutal hills for my “light biking” that I can do with this tendon issue. I am going to be back hitting the pool and maybe a little more consistent with Tony and the P90X gang.

All I know is;  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~Phil 4:13 I will thank God for where we live and the privilege to be here Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

All this to say; Psalm 91:9-13 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

Oh how I love the Lord ~ Susie

Below the Rim

Dennis and I wandered to the Grand Canyon Saturday for our first, hopefully of many adventures below the rim. We hiked the Grandview Trail which is a “not maintained” trail east of the National Park. We were unsure; the trail is listed as “difficult” in the national park service website. The website also says the hike back up from the 3000 ft altitude drop will take twice as long. Our fledgling hike was about to begin well equipped with sunscreen, hats, new camelbacks and walking sticks, we began our decent.

The trail was surely rocky

God’s handy work, He put steps in for us. As I’m walking down these stairs, I imagine the thousands of animals who have worn this before us. It is truly fascinating. 

Dennis stayed put while I hiked so you could see the path and distance to the next switch back. 

Of course what goes down must go back up! Wow, wow. I have to say, physically it is easier climbing up than going down. Cardiovascularly it is breath taking going up :-0 By the way, isn’t he cute?

This is just a beautiful shot from the Coconino Saddle which is at mile 1. We met a woman who guides and she told us not to believe the “twice as long going back up” advice from the hiking guide. She said that was for teenagers who cruise fast down the trail. It would be equal amount of time. Because it was our first time we didn’t want to push it, we did not hike the entire 3 miles to the Horseshoe Mesa, we thought we would hike 2 hours down and see how long it took us up. So we dropped in elevation 3000 ft along the path to the Horseshoe Mesa then turned back. Well she was right! It took us just under 2 hours to hike back up. Listen to experience, I guess 😉

God and all His wonder is evident every step of the way.

Psalm 145:4-6 One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
 I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
And on Your wondrous works.
 Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,
And I will declare Your greatness.

Awed by His Majesty ~ Susie

 

Wedding Plans and Building Houses

Dennis and I woke up early, flew to Sedona and hiked in the beautiful red rocks in search of wildflowers. Well after last week and making Dennis stop so I could photograph every flower, I was out to photograph wildflowers, D was out to hike amongst them.

Oh the blooms did not disappoint!

They just kept coming, so many colors, such beauty.

See him from afar!? I told you, he was there to hike and I could snap photos if I wanted but he wasn’t waiting! He really does love my reindeer games.

How could I resist this agave just ready to burst?

Or this agave with it’s tall bloom?

The Yucca’s were having a hard time standing straight, their blooms were full.

I think Sedona is a place where God really shows off! I kept singing, “How lovely is Your dwelling place, oh Lord Almighty… Better is one day in Your courts.”

Amazing among these overwhelming towers of red rock stands this tiny little beauty shining to give us a morning greeting.

Splashes of color every where you turn. “There are so many colors in a flower so let’s see every one!” ~Harry ChapinThey look like dandelions a little. Dots of yellow strewn all over the red makes for a cheery walk.

Hiking and these wondrous blooms and the sounds of the birds singing their welcoming songs was just what my heavy heart needed. Oh how I would love to be in the midst of Samantha and Pete finding an apartment or be by her side while she goes to pick up her dress and picks out shoes. The pain is sometimes sickening.

Lavished with God’s creation and His promises I see the treasure in our life. “Our’s” meaning Dennis, me and our children and grandchildren. We choose Christ. In doing that I know we will all be blessed.  I cherish the time I do get with Samantha and Pete and hold them so dear. So I will press on, enjoy this new world and count the days until I get to be immersed in wedding bliss!

Spoiled ~ Susie

Sonoran Desert

Yesterday Dennis and I flew to Tucson on a quest to find the wild flowers of the desert. We landed in Tucson, and drove to the Saguaro National Park. Oh I took many pictures of the incredible blooms that welcomed us. Do you feel a but coming? In my transient state, the cord that connects my camera to my computer is packed somewhere in a “No need to unpack until final destination” box. The jumbo memory card doesn’t fit in my little ol’ HP laptop. So you will have to settle for the cover picture, which is from a hike last year in the Hualapai County Park, right here in Kingman. When moved I will post them in the drearies of January or something. Come visit, I will have some on canvas in our new home.

 

 

Birthday, Bryce Canyon and Earings

Dennis and I married December 7, 1996. We were adults with a lot of baggage. 4 previous marriages between us, different traditions and just a different outlook on life.

If there is one thing Virginia Schmitt (my mom) loves is a party. She loves to “do” for other people. She never forgets a birthday, would have a party for anything anyone ever accomplished if it were possible. So I grew up celebrated, I remained celebrated by my mom into my adult life. Isn’t everyone? Dennis is of the belief birthday parties are for children.

Enter years 1, 2 and 3 of our marriage. No birthday celebration year one. So years 2 and 3 Virginia the party maker shows up to 2017 Hall St (our residence) with a cake and presents! No one is going to ignore her baby’s birthday! Between year 3 & 4 I finally explained to Dennis, “Birthdays are important to me. I like to be celebrated!” Year four, mom shows up with cake, Dennis is hiding a birthday cake in Erin’s bedroom! He got it! Years 5 to now, Mom lets D handle it.

I have to say, I have been spoiled with attention these past years by my children, my friends, my family and my husband. I like it.

I’m going to admit things about my week that are self-centered, selfish and all around not pretty. I started the week with Samantha graduating from Cosmetology School! Yea, this is an exciting milestone in her life. Also, my dear friend had surgery and I couldn’t be there for either of them.  Here’s where it gets ugly.

I said Samantha graduated, Friend has surgery. Was this about me? Of course it was about me. couldn’t be there for them. I couldn’t take Samantha to lunch. I couldn’t take dinner to Friend or clean up her kitchen or do jigs for her as she has done for me time and again. See as long as our eyes are on I’s we spiral.

I sunk and fast. Sniff, sniff, I have it so bad, sniff, sniff. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday by Thursday I’m neurotic! I tell Dennis, “I plan on being mean today.” As if he hadn’t noticed.

Thursday he says, “What do you want to do for your birthday?”

It doesn’t matter because I’m not going to be happy no matter what he does. I think to myself.

Friday morning I ask him sulkingly, “Are we going out for dinner tonight?” He replies, “It’s Friday, date night, of course.” Then he adds, “I thought we could go to Bryce Canyon tomorrow for your birthday.” Since I took geology in 2000, Bryce Canyon was high on my bucket list. That geological phenomenon only exists in the small town called Bryce Canyon, UT.

Fairytale Canyon

The unique, artistic license God took in that tiny corner of the Universe is the epitome of creation.

Are you feeling sorry for me yet? It gets better. Saturday morning, he pulls a present and card out of his bag. The card is perfect and so thoughtful and the gift; a stunning pair of ruby and diamond earings.

We had such a glorious day in Bryce Canyon,

Us

the weather was perfect we flew in late morning stayed for a few hours and arrived home to watch football, eat “The Big Salad” and enjoy a quiet evening together.

Seriously awful right!?

I say I’m thankful. Am I? 1 Thes 5:17-18  pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  How about Phil 4:8; just meditating on the right stuff. Or 2 Cor 10:4-6 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

God is so faithful. My life is so blessed beyond what Dennis and I ever imagined or hoped for. But I still gave into the high thing that exalted itself against God. I

Thankful and Repentant ~Susie

 

 

The Hunt through pink and blue glasses

Dennis and I hunted last week for five days. Elk hunting, gun or bow is like summer practice for a fall sport; two-a-days. You awake at 4:00 am so you can have coffee before you set out at 5:00 am. For me I splash on a little make-up, this could be the morning of the kill and I will have pictures taken 🙂 You stalk, look through binoculars, walk and not talk. The first morning we were so excited. Hopped up got dressed and off we went. It was a beautiful morning and as we pulled the Jeep to park in a field we were going to hunt the field was filled with mule deer and four elk.

Dennis and Ryan "glassing"

We didn’t know this was the closest we would ever get all 5 days. We walked, looked until about 9:30 am then off to the house (usually a cabin or lodge) for breakfast. Eat, chat about everyones’ adventures of the morning then nap, shower and off to the mountains for more hunting about 3:30 pm. Return from hunt about 8:00 pm, eat, talk about your evening adventure and then off to bed to start again in the morning.

Rainbows are a bonus

Day two was not beautiful. It rained, it was cold, we saw no elk in the morning. We walked, climbed, walked, climbed. Here is where the difference comes in. I am thinking to myself, “There is warm coffee and breakfast on the other side of this hunt, lets just call it a morning.”

Ryan, our guide says, “So do you want to walk to the Jeep and drive to the other side of this valley to go look over there?” “NO!” goes off in my mind. “Sure.” comes out of D’s mouth. “What? Why did he say that? Ugh!” It’s all about the hunt, we won’t be out here long. But see, they are men. It’s cold, rainy and they haven’t seen elk. They won’t stop until they do! Women (like me for instance) figure, we haven’t seen any elk, we have all week, lets go drink COFFEE! We hunted, I smiled.

This is the mountain we hunted

All of day two was YUCK. Day three we set out fresh it was a damp fragrant morning, the air was filled with the scent of pine. We walked a bit then Ryan stopped and whispered his strategy to us. He spent quite a bit of time telling us how the elk will move from this watering hole to high in the forest, etc. While he’s speaking, I thought, “The habitat of these amazing creatures is so intricate; they move with the sun, they are bothered by high barometric pressure, it is mating season so they loose their senses.”

Ryan finished speaking and he and Dennis both thought, “Ok the goal of this plan is the KILL.”

We walked and stalked and sat and waited, all the while I am in awe of what a privilege it is to be in these beautiful surroundings. So I snapped pictures 🙂

Wild flowers in bloom
Shaded by imposing Aspen

As we were walking to the Jeep ready to call it a morning Dennis walks up, slides his arm around me and said, “While Ryan was explaining his strategy you were thinking, ‘This is so lovely! I love being a part of their habitat!’ weren’t you?” Haha, he knows me well. We giggled at how we can be doing the exact same thing and yet come away with a completely different story.

Hunting, like summer camp is social, hard work and oh what a fun adventure! It’s just an added bonus that someone else does all the cooking and cleaning!

Awed by God and His creation ~ Susie

 

 

 

 

 

Oh a hunting we will go……..

Last week Dennis and I set off to our second hunting trip together. Last years adventure to Utah was a terrific experience. I shot an elk with my rifle and Dennis shot with a bow and arrow but the bull got away. This year we waffled back and forth whether to fly or drive. If we flew our plane and we both got an elk we would be over weight with all the meat. So the Dunning’s love a road trip so off we went. We left three days early for a 14 hour ride, we had an adventure planned. We spent one night in Page, AZ near lake Powell. On Saturday we drove through AZ, UT and CO. We saw God’s amazing imagination with color and texture.

Utah

We also saw a mountain lion and goats (not in the same location). We spent hours in the car talking. I love that man.

We spent two nights at the Strater Hotel in Durango, CO. We really loved it there.

 

Self Portraits monument valley, Navajo Nation, AZ

 

 

We arrived in Walsenburg, CO on Sunday night. The whole Outfitter/hunting accommodation is a blog in itself, we’ll just stick with the husband loving wife adventure for now.

I discovered last year the thing I love most about hunting with Dennis is that he takes care of me. Mind you he takes care of me in real life too. This is different. He makes sure I have all my stuff and there is plenty of stuff involved in hunting! He explains the tactics and why you do it.

On the way to Silverton, CO. 10,000 ft

The other part is when Dennis had come home from his previous hunts, he talked of the adventure in the landscape, the beautiful animals and the drive out west. If I didn’t hunt with Dennis I would miss the adventure of getting there, the shared beauty of it all. The three days of travel were incredible. We had no idea the creation that lay ahead of us on this ramble.

 

In this one spot Dennis is standing on Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona

The poverty of the people on the reservations the United States has set aside for the Native Americans is heart wrenching. They are surrounded by grandeur yet live impoverished.

Durango, CO was one of the cutest towns we’ve seen, it surrounded by mountains with roads that wind in and out of the small piece of old west. We drove from Durango to Silverton, CO which is a little valley walled in with steep walls of multi-colored sandstone.

Durango to Siverton train

Oh this was supposed to be a blog about our hunting expedition! Here I am so caught up in the time we spent anticipating the hunt and incredible time we had pursuing the Old West frontier. Can you blame me? Look at the wonder of God’s Splendor! How majestic is His name!! We definitely found joy in the journey.

Stay tuned for the fun of hunting from a Man vs Woman perspective!

In the meantime check this out! Seriously looks like sand art! Artist ~God!

 

Facebook and Visits

About a month ago I was eve’s dropping on my cousins’ Facebook conversations. I saw they were coming to Vegas. What a great opportunity. I invited myself to join in their family fun. They included me and I ran up to see them. We had an incredibly delicious breakfast, then we went to the pool. The actual pool is packed because it was 105 degrees. We stayed out there for an hour! I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Fischers. I snagged the picture from Patrick’s fb.

Pool at Palazzo

See but everything now has a Kingman spin to it 🙂 So, Two nights before my Vegas day was planned Dennis’ car wouldn’t start. He was parked at the Lodge on the Hualapai Mountain. So the next morning I had it towed to a local mechanic who couldn’t find anything wrong with it, it started right up. Dennis called and said, “Don’t have anyone in Kingman fix it, we need to take it to Las Vegas, to a dealer.”

As long as I was going to Vegas Friday, I could drop the car at the dealer, the dealer had a shuttle that was happy to drop me at the Palazzo on the strip (I’m sure I’m not the first person to go to the strip while getting my car fixed) and they would send a shuttle later that afternoon so I could make it back to Kingman to go appliance shopping with Dennis. Clock work, I had the whole day scheduled. I would see the Fischer clan and not wear out my welcome, D’s car would be fixed and all would be right with the world! Ha ha, rose colored glasses and well laid out plans can get squashed in an instant!!

I got the oil changed and and there was one “small problem”. “Let’s get that small problem taken care of so it doesn’t turn into a big problem down the road and cost you a lot more money.” is what the customer service representative at the service department. So at about 1:30 pm I thought I should just have them come and pick me up, it was taking longer than I thought and this way I would be ready to hit the road when they finished. I called and he said he would send the shuttle. It might be a bit, the shuttle was 1/2 hour out. So I said my good-byes to the Fischers so they could get on with their fun day and I waited a while for the shuttle. Then I waited and waited.

It’s 105 degrees, the hotel lobby has no chairs except for the casino or bar. I wandered a little, the shuttle driver was supposed to call when he was 5 mins away. What would you do while you were waiting? I found gelato! Spamoni in a home made sugar cone thank you!

Finally about 3:30 the customer service agent called and said he cancelled the shuttle because you know the big problem we talked about? At 3:30 pm the car will no longer start and we can not get the part until Tuesday.

I called Dennis to come pick me up. “Your wife is wandering around the Las Vegas strip, come pick her up!” We live 1 hour and 15 mins from the strip. So what else to do than to head to Neiman Marcus, they must have clearance or something. Wrong again! This NM across from the Wynn only has designer fashions. Well, here I was schlepping around suntan lotioned, sweaty and I’m sure quite a sight carrying my big overnight bag with my pool wear, water and such.

This darling girl at a make up counter offered to do a free facial. Perfect! So I had a relaxing facial, just as I was finishing (I told her I needed a little make up so I could still go to dinner) Dennis called. I gave him directions, I ran outside, crossed the street and he picked me up at the curb in front of Treasure Island and we headed to Cheesecake Factory in Henderson for dinner. We made it home by 9:00 pm.

Some well laid out plans go up in smoke. The worst part of the day was I got so hot and tired crabby. The best part of the day, besides seeing the Pat Fischer family, Dennis not allowing my crabby attitude. In this new chapter of our life he sees me crabby, ignores it and treats me so kind that it is hard to continue my behavior!

Love my family and life here in Kingman.

Blessed ~Susie

 

 

 

Sedona

Sedona, Arizona is by far one of the wonders that God created. My mom said God got creative and had fun with colors and a paint brush.

Psalm 145:4-6
One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
And on Your wondrous works.
Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,
And I will declare Your greatness.

Dennis and I are so fortunate to live in this town surrounded by mountains, wildlife, sunshine and just a quick flight away from places like the Grand Canyon and Sedona. I was invited to a shower, which was at 2:30 pm. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet friends! Dennis and I decided to venture to Sedona for breakfast. We rose at 4:30 am, pulled ourselves together and hurried to the airport for a 6:00 am departure. Well maybe a 6:30 departure.

We flew to Sedona, see the airport? It sits on a mesa. Everything is beautiful.

We then had a wonderful breakfast at Ken’s Creekside restaurant. Micki and Roger recommended it, they stopped there on there way to our house in April. If Roger recommends a breakfast place you know it’s good! Look at the view from the outside dining.

 

I think I have mentioned there isn’t much shopping in Kingman unless you want Home Depot and Walmart. Well we spotted a hiking store down the street from Ken’s. We hiked in the Hualapais last week in our running and work shoes. Why not shop for hiking shoes in this beautiful place begging to be hiked!? So we did!

We flew home, and made it with plenty of time for me to wrap my gift (heaven forbid I wrap it ahead of time) and I spent the afternoon making new friends at a baby shower!

~Susie

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