Monthly Archives: January 2016

dynamite can be very, VERY scary!

a few weeks ago,
when my mom (aka: Nana) was still here,
(the official date was Saturday, January 2nd),
we decided to take advantage of winter in Arizona….
so we went for a hike!
dave found a new trail for us to try:
on San Tan Mountain

it was easy enough for alex to walk a solid mile before i agreed to carry her.
granted, she complained for the last 0.3 miles that we made her walk,
but it was good for her.
and she PHYSICALLY can do it.
she’s just a fairly lazy child.
with very limited endurance.

anyway, we loved the clear, blue skies and the warm sunshine.
it was a clear day, so we could see all the way into phoenix
(and we were SOUTH EAST of our house,
which is already south east of Phoenix!)

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oh yeah,
the two older Munchkins tried out their new water backpacks.
alex struggled to suck the water so we left hers in the car.

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as you can see, it was fairly windy up there:


and while arizona is VERY brown and a LITTLE bit green,
it still has it’s own kind of beauty.
(i forgot to mention that i only had my iPhone for this hike!)


this trail was one of those “walk as far as you want and then turn around and go back” types of hikes.
so we went a little over a mile and then decided to push for 1.3 miles.
but then we were so close to the “other side” of the mountain that we pushed a little further “just to see” what’s there.
and we ended up walking 1.7 miles before enjoying the view of the OTHER side of the mountain.
and then we stopped for a snack break.

and a certain someone REALLY had to go to the bathroom.
because that certain someone drank ALMOST ALL of the water from their backpack before we even STARTED our hike.
i kid you not.

and then ANOTHER Munchkin had to go potty.
but we were on the side of a mountain.
with no bathrooms.
no port-a-potties.
and no trees for “coverage.”
and it was a fairly busy day on the trail.

i finally sent them off
(up the side of the mountain – off the trail)
to find a place to do their business.
and the rest of us settled down to some granola bars and peanut butter crackers and fruit snacks….



immediately my mind flashed to:

so i took off running on the trail.
searching frantically up and down….
left and right.
and then i saw her.
to my left (up the hill).
a little roughed up.
she had fallen.
not far.
but hard.
and the ground in arizona is not very forgiving.
it’s rock hard.
and filled with rocks.
and cacti.
and sticker bushes of all varieties.

it turns out,
she scraped up her ear.
it bruised up within minutes.


i think it’s safe to say,
she won’t remember this hike too fondly.


but she wasn’t so hurt that she didn’t want to eat her snacks.
and THAT was a good sign.

and then we went down the mountain rather quickly.



and we enjoyed a REALLY TASTY dinner at Joyride Taco.
we had earned it.

i should also point out that this day,
HIKE day,
was the ONLY day during our Christmas break that i took over 10,000 steps in one day.
I usually have 10,000 steps between noon & 3pm.
but during Christmas break,
i skipped my mornings at the gym
(b/c I’m too cheap to pay for childcare for all three kiddos).
so it felt GOOD….
to be active again.

thankful for so many, many years….

it’s true, my friends.
i’m another year older.
i have more wrinkles.
i have more gray hairs.
(when, oh WHEN will your new space be ready, Bethany?!?!)
i have more aches and pains.
it’s harder to drop the weight when i binge eat something.


but it’s also true that i have an amazing family.
my wonderful husband loves me – wrinkles and all.
my Munchkins proudly call me mommy and still want to hold my hand
(i’ll savor that one as long as it lasts!).
i have friends who mean so much to me.
friends who love me and spoil me and put up with my crazy-self.


i’ve been on this planet for 41 years now (gasp!) and i’m thankful for them all.
there were fun years.
and hard years.
learning years.
growing years.
poor years.
rich-er years.
years of travel.
years at home.
years at working.
years of waiting.
years of wondering.
years of wishing.
years of change.
years of monotony.
and yes, the years of diapers and potty training {insert body-wracking shudder}
and many, many other kinds of years.


and they all helped make me who i am today.
i’m not perfect.
not even close.
i have so many flaws in WHO i am
and in WHAT i do
and in HOW i think and react….
i get “it” WRONG more than i get “it” RIGHT….
but God has been graciously patient, kind, and loving.
He continues to give me opportunity after opportunity to
i wish i would get it all “right” the first time.
but i’m thankful for change.
for growth.
for understanding.
for insight.
for second… and third… and fourth chances.


and i’m thankful for another year to love my family.
to laugh and play and spend time together.
for another year to TRY AGAIN.
to pray more.
to read the Bible more.
to STUDY the Bible more.
to make an impact on the people i meet.
to help others.
to grow and change and thrive and evolve.

one little word

i wasn’t planning on jumping on the one little word bandwagon.
(if you don’t know what i’m talking about, check out THIS link).
i mean, i LOVE the idea.
i LOVE the intent.
i LOVE the purposefulness.
but i’ve never had something resonate so deeply within me that i KNEW i wanted to spend the next year focusing on it.
living it.
breathing it.
letting it change me.
watching it change me.

but this year, something is different.
back in early december i went to a local flea market (my FAVORITE pastime).
it was a crazy saturday morning b/c i had my munchkin girls with me.
but as i walked up to a church friend’s space, i saw this:


and i was hooked.
it didn’t matter to me that there was one right next to it that read “peace.”
(if you know anything about me,
even if only my personal e-mail address,
you know that word means SOMETHING to me.
“peace” was a HUGE theme in my life waaaaaay back in 1997
and it has affected me ever since).

but for unknown reasons,
i was really drawn to the JOY sign.
perhaps because i was looking for more outdoor Christmas decor.
perhaps because i have FINALLY realized that everything in my home can NOT have the word “peace” on it.
or perhaps….
just perhaps
God was working in me even then to prepare me for now.

perhaps He was breathing new life in me.
a desire for change.
a desire to be different.
a desire to grow.
a desire to be JOYFUL.
filled with joy.
not happy, my friends.
not happy.
something MORE than happy.
something deep within that will bubble up and spill out of me when i talk.
when i type.
when i hug.
when i laugh.
when i cry.
when i live.

i want it to be WHO I AM.
not what i feel.
or how i act.

so, my friends,
my ONE LITTLE WORD for 2016 is


joy in the mundane
joy in the boring
joy in the fun
joy in the hardships
joy in the trials
joy while folding laundry
joy while cleaning poop off a toilet seat
joy while holding a crying Munchkin
joy while walking to school
joy while working the copier
joy while reading with children
joy while shopping
joy while eating
joy while cooking
joy while studying
joy while grieving
joy while driving
joy while celebrating
joy when not getting my way
joy in the frustrations

JOY, my friends.
this year i will CHOOSE JOY in all i do.
i won’t be successful all the time.
i will still complain and whine and cry.
i will still be sad and mad and frustrated.
i will still be human.
but it is my heart’s desire….
my prayer…
to be JOYFUL through it all.

Psalm 30:5b
“Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.”

Psalm 51:12
“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.”

an unexpected snow day
















today was monday.
martin luther king jr day.
a holiday from school.
not a holiday from work.
but with his parents in town, dave took the day off work.
and we were ready for an adventure.

we planned for it to be a hiking adventure.
in sedona.
so we loaded up the car and drove away…


…and it was a LONG drive.
around 2.5 hours.
but the littlest munchkin had plenty of attention….


love this photo of her holding hands with grandpa (left) and grandma (right).

the drive to sedona is beautiful.
and inspiring.
and boring.
all at the same time.
as you drive to sedona, you see lots and LOTS of saguaro cacti.
and then you climb this rise and all-of-a-sudden there are ZERO saguaro cacti.
or you’re driving along and you see brown dirt.
and then, all-of-a-sudden it’s RED dirt.
it’s cool.
but those are two brief moments during a 2.5 hour drive.

it’s also pretty sudden that you see things like this:


cool rock formations in the sedona-famous red dirt/rock.

but something else even CRAZIER is this:


don’t get it?
he wore PANTS.
this has happened TWO TIMES since school started.
and today is ONE of those two times.
that come all the way down.
not shorts.


silly cowboy munchkins:

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making music on the streets:

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cool street art:

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walking through town…

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ready to eat lunch.
yelp recommended this place as having good food AND a gluten free menu.
the GF menu was “enh” at best.
and the food?
two people had to send their food back.
and it was EXPENSIVE.
we won’t return.



two kid’s meals:


after lunch, we wandered around town a little more before piling back in the car for a drive to a hiking location….


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as we drove INTO Sedona,
a certain munchkin got RIDICULOUSLY obsessed with snow.
wanted to touch it.
wanted to play in it.
counted the months/years since they last touched snow.
or played in it.
or lived somewhere with snow.


but upon arrival to a “sea of snow,”

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(^^^^ a seriously amazing backdrop for the snow, yeah?! ^^^^)

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(^^^ in love with this photo ^^^)

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snow much fun!
they didn’t mind that we left home without gloves.
or hats.
or mitten.
or snow clothes.
they had so much fun!

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(^^^ that giant snow glob may have been thrown at daddy’s bottom! ^^^)

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this place looks so different with snow!
we’ve only been here in the summer before!


i think i should frame this one for our wall:


this one’s pretty fun, too:



in the old apple orchard harvesting facility,
dad found a piece of his own history.
he learned to drive on a tractor like this:


i can’t get enough of that “dimple:”


after wandering by the water, we found a trail and braved the snow and mud:




(^^^ cacti in the snow…. not a common sight! ^^^)

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saw this amazing sky sight as we got back to the car:


isn’t that sky AMAZING!!!

then we did a quick drive-by of the Church of the Cross:


before spotting a wild JAVELINA:



(^^^ i KNOW you can only see a blurry picture of his backside.
i’m SORRY.
i had camera issues….
my car window was up.
then the lens cap was on the camera.
then the camera wasn’t on.
then the lens was locked in place.
and during all those moments where i had to “FIX” something, he wandered across the street and away from us. we even TURNED OUR CAR AROUND to take a photo and that’s the best i could do. i failed. i apologize.


and then we headed home.
with some traffic.
and a pit stop at a drive thru for dinner for the kiddos
(grown ups decided to eat at home – late).

and we still made it home in 2 hours.
and now the munchkins are eager to play in the snow again.
and i don’t blame them!