Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 1 - Layton to Moab

One of the nice things about driving rather than flying is you can move at your own pace rather than be driven by what time a flight leaves. Of course, it helps if both people going on the trip have a similar idea of what that pace is. We wanted to get an early start but didn't want to get up at o'dark thirty. Let's just say that Tommy and I have differing ideas about what an early start means. I'm thinking 8:30 or so. We left the house at 9:00 but detoured by Einstein's to have bagels then stopped by a camera store so Tommy could buy a new camera lens he'd been thinking about. So it was 10:30 before we got on the road. "Relax,'s OK not to have everything scheduled precisely while on vacation," is what I kept telling myself.

The one and only downside to our trip happened before we'd even gone 50 miles. A passing car threw a rock up, which chipped my windshield. Bummer! But, thank you God, that we didn't have to deal with any car issues for the entire week!

What a gorgeous drive through the canyon! Soldier Summit is almost 7500 feet above sea level, so there was still plenty of snow around (although not on the roads). There are 10-foot flags on both sides of the road to give snowplow drivers an indication of the edge of the paved road. Nothing like snow-capped mountains to reflect God's handiwork.

We saw llamas grazing in the mountains and an emu in someone's yard. Bird's nests built on power poles. Coal trains snaking through the mountains. Another train carrying heavy equipment to install new railroad ties that were piled beside the tracks for miles.

Then we got to Moab and our first destination--Arches National Park. Wow! Thank goodness Tommy talked himself into buying that new lens.

Psalms 121:1-2 in The Message says, "I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains." How appropriate for this day.

We love to stay in bed and breakfast inns when we travel. Our first night was at the Sunflower Hill in Moab. It was everything you'd hope for--quaint, comfortable, and quiet. The perfect end to an almost perfect day. And leaving at 10:30 rather than 8:30 was just fine.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

How I Spent My Spring Vacation

Everything about your schedule is decided by your seniority level when you work for the airlines. Therefore, Tommy seldom gets vacation in the summer. Which is OK with us--you don't have to fight the crowds, there are usually more available seats on the flights, and the temperatures are better. We almost always fly to vacation destinations.

However, this week we decided to take a road trip that we have wanted to do since moving to Utah thirty years ago. We drove a modified version of what's called "The Grand Circle" in southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado. Layton, Moab, Ouray, Cortez, Monument Valley, Moab, Layton. Five days and 1200 miles. It was everything we hoped for and more--beautiful scenery, relaxing time together, good weather, no car issues, and fun!

Although I don't journal regularly, I usually take detailed notes when we travel. This 56-year-old mind can't remember things like it used to. Over the next few days, I hope to share some of those notes and some of the beautiful pictures we took.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Birthday Blessings

My birthday is March 5. I love everything about birthdays and celebrating mine! It doesn't bother me to reveal my age (56). Even though getting older is definitely not for sissies, I seldom feel as old as I am.

Through the years, I've enjoyed wonderful celebrations. Friends gave me a surprise party for my 16th birthday, which was one of the first boy/girl parties I attended. A friend cooked dinner and baked me a cake for my 30th, because Tommy was TDY with the Air Force so we couldn't celebrate the milestone together. Other friends gave me a surprise party on my 50th in a local Chinese restaurant--complete with a giant AARP sign posted behind my chair. Strangers came up to ask if I was the honoree and wished me happy birthday.

Growing up, Mom always fixed our favorite meal and made our favorite cake on our birthdays. I think the meal changed through the years, but strawberry shortcake was always the cake. My family now goes out to eat on birthdays. Years ago we went to Skippers on my birthday, because we had promised Matt we'd go there the next time we went out. I hate seafood, so I have no idea what I ate! But that is a great family memory, and hopefully he learned the importance of keeping promises.

There have been special gifts. Mom and dad gave me a birthstone ring with diamond chips in fifth grade. I still have it--although it only fits my pinky now. Tommy gave me a strand of pearls on my 21st birthday. As I get older, the gifts are not nearly as important as the greetings from friends. Cards and calls mean a lot. This year I enjoyed Facebook greetings from people across the US. What a treat!

It's always nice when the celebration extends over several days. My first card arrived from Missouri on March 1 and the last one came from Layton on March 9. In between I had lunch with a friend, dinner with two others, cake at the office, got calls from both kids, and made a trip to Texas to spend the day with family. That was really fun. I can't remember the last time I celebrated with them. No, I didn't have strawberry shortcake (mom was in the hospital; she's better now), but we did have a wild evening trying on shoes and went to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D.

Perhaps the best blessing is found in Isaiah 46: 4, “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”