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Looking Back

Exploring, Hiking, and Climbing

1st Jeep trip out in the desert

First off-road trip in the desert with the Jeep. We had a little 4-wheel-drive problem, but D got it up and running. It’s always good to be prepared when you’re out in the desert exploring.

Just hanging out with my guy

My favorite part of exploring, hiking, and climbing? Hanging out with this guy. I treasure our time together.

Exploring boulder cave formations

The caves made by fallen boulders were really cool and provided a great reprieve from the hot sun.

Looking up at the sky from within the cave

Relaxing in the shade of the boulder caves

Exploring some of the boulder formations in Hall of Horrors

Hall of Horrors was a fun area to explore. It has some intense bouldering and climbing areas.

Exploring some of the cave formations in JT

We had a blast exploring all of the various boulder caves.

Just taking a little break on the rock ledge

I scrambled up onto this rock ledge to get out of the sun. So peaceful.

I was all about staying out of the hot sun.

Taking a break in another boulder cave. 😉

Doing some climbing at Mel's Diner

Can’t wait to keep up with our outdoor adventures. Of course, I think I’ll enjoy it even more when we get past this summer heat. 🙂

Learning to Climb

Learning how to boulder day 1

I’m not your typical first time climber. I’m approaching the big 40 this year. Last year at this time, I sustained a nasty ankle injury that kept me on crutches for nearly 6 months. I’m certainly not in the best of shape, and I’m not at my strongest by any means.

I'm learning how to climb

D started climbing about 3 years ago, but his shoulder injuries and surgery kept him sidelined for a good chunk of this past year. He’s slowly getting back into climbing as part of his rehab, and I thought I would be cool to join him to keep him company. I didn’t realize that it would end up being not only great for my own rehab but also a fun challenge for me.

Day 2 of learning how to climb

A little over a week ago, I began my climbing journey. We took advantage of the long Independence Day weekend and headed out to the park. We checked out several different climbing/bouldering areas and had fun trying them out.

Bouldering at Pixie Boulder

After D headed back to work, I met him over at the gym to use the indoor climbing wall there. The indoor wall is much better for figuring out techniques on hand and foot placement. I also like that the landing is softer. lol!

Squeezing and climbing through the crevice

At this point in time, I’m not really big on climbing up. I’m much rather stick closer to the ground and just work on solid hand and foot placement. (Don’t ask me why I decided to see if I could squeeze/climb through this area. I just decided to do it for the sake of doing it. Yes, I made it.)

Bouldering at Hall of Horrors

I’m not really strong, so technique is going to be critical for my success. My flexibility is definitely helping me out as I move around. D is tall, so I can’t do the same movements that he does on the wall/rock. I have to find my own way. The good thing is that we’re able to help each other out as we see the problems differently than each other. We bounce ideas off each other as we climb.

Bouldering at Mel's Diner

Learning to climb is great exercise, and I’m enjoying the challenge that it presents. It also gives us time together which is always a good thing.


American Woman’s Bible

I received a copy of this Bible from the publisher for review purposes.

American Women's Bible: Women, Godly Virtues, and the Making of America

Who can find a virtuous wive? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all of the days of her life…. Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness…. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her…. Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. ~Proverbs 31

How many times have we, as women, read this passage and felt overwhelmed by the challenge that it presents? I think it’s important to remember that the woman being presented in this passage is an ideal, not a real person. She is a goal to strive for, but the reality of what it looks like in our own lives will vary from person to person based upon the different seasons in our lives. She is not meant to stress us out, but rather to give us inspiration.

American Women's Bible portraits of women in American history

The American Woman’s Bible takes that idea and gives us portraits of women who are meant to inspire and encourage us in our walk with the Lord. They, like us, aren’t perfect, but the Lord still used them to achieve His purposes. This Bible begins with a helpful 10 step list to guide us on our journey to achieve our goals of becoming a godly woman. It also reminds us that our journey will be unique as we are all different.

Whether you start at the very beginning with Genesis, start at the end with Revelation, or start somewhere in between, the additional readings included in the text are meant to help you in your journey. They are not a substitute for the scripture itself nor are the individuals meant to be placed up on pedestals because they are used as examples. Instead, the portraits and stories of women, examples of virtues, and quotes give additional real life examples of the concepts being covered in scripture.

American Women's Bible a look at women throughout American history

In addition to the stories, examples, and quotes throughout the Bible, there are several full-color sections that give glimpses into the lives of women during specific time periods in history. It often helps gain a better understanding of what it has been like for women throughout our nation’s history.

I really like how this Bible is laid out and the information that is contained within. I have enjoyed reading about these examples of godly women who, while not perfect, have been able to further the Lord’s plans by listening to His guidance for their lives. It’s a good reminder that each of us has a purpose in this world, and those purposes look just a little different. The world needs our different approaches and talents. The Lord is able to use each of us – faults and all.

The Sound of Freedom

American Pride mini roses from the FTD USO Collection

I was contacted by FTD to see if I would like to receive one of their special USO collection items to say thank you for our service. There was no obligation to write a review or blog post. I picked this beautiful living American Pride Mini Rose bush. I’m a big fan of living plants and Munchkin loves mini roses, so this was perfect for the two of us to enjoy. The patriotic hat planter with American flag adds a little something special to the plant. It makes both Munchkin and I smile whenever we look at it.

Raising of Flag

Independence Day: The Beginning

Picnics. Parties. Family. Friends. Fireworks. Freedom.

Independence Day is a day for celebrating our country’s independence. It’s about freedom from oppression. Our nation was build on the concept of freedom for all. Each document was carefully crafted as the Founding Fathers wanted to protect the freedom foundation that was being built. They understood the importance of balancing power and freedom. Freedom didn’t happen over night, and it certainly wasn’t easy taking the country from concept to reality. There were epic fails along the way, but there was an ideal to try to obtain.

When our fledgling nation decided it was time to be free, they knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. Lives would be lost in the name of establishing a new nation. Yet, Independence Day was a time of celebration even though they knew there would be a long, hard road ahead of them.

Little Munchkin hugging our neighbor's flag.

Sounds of Freedom

Cheering. Laughing. Smiling. Hugging. Crying.

While I’ve known about the meaning behind our Independence Day celebration from a very young age, I didn’t truly understand it until D became a Marine. It was then that I really started to understand the sacrifice that went with freedom. My understanding deepened even more when Munchkin entered the world. I now had the perspective of not only a military spouse but also the perspective of a parent.

Sacrifice. Reward. Freedom. Security.

A constant battle to achieve the right balance took place within our own little family, but when looked at on the larger scale of the nation, it is almost overwhelming to try to achieve that perfect balance to maintain personal freedoms while providing protection from those who wish to strip those freedoms from us. Freedom – an ideal – could it really be achieved and maintained?

The roar of military jets overhead were a constant reminder that freedom is never free. Listening to the heartbreak of a wife, husband, mother, father, child… who find out that a loved one would not be coming home. The sadness that accompanies separations and the joy brought by reunion are only parts of the military life.

911… Lives changed forever. Prayers. Lockdown. Anger. Joy. Sadness. Fear. Friendship.

Our nation, if only for a short while, came together. Talk of unity abounded. Tiny glimpses of that one nation under God were seen. Flags waved. Voices of support were heard.

Fireworks and Bombs. Both explosive. Very different yet both are part of the freedom equation. One symbolizes celebration while the other symbolizes the necessary fight to become a free nation. Freedom without sacrifice is not possible.

As I think back on how our nation began, on our journey as a military family, I know that the price of freedom can be great for everyone involved. The cost will be different for the various individuals involved, but there will be a price for everyone. We all need to think about the sacrifices made, the sacrifices that continue to be made before we readily give up the freedoms we have already been afforded.

Fireworks. Flags. Freedom.

On Independence Day, as music and laughter fill the air, flags wave freely, and fireworks fill the night sky, we need to remember that freedom is never free. The sound of freedom is amazing. The loss of freedom is deafening.


FTD USO Collection

The FTD USO Collection features a variety of patriotic selections including floral arrangements, the mini rose bush, cookies, and chocolate covered strawberries. FTD is donating 5% of every purchase from this collection to the USO until December 31, 2016. The best part is that they’ll be donating a minimum of $10,000 from this and other USO promotions to the USO.

About the USO

“For nearly 75 years, the USO has been the nation’s leading organization to serve the men and women in the U.S. military, and their families, throughout their time in uniform. The USO is not part of the federal government. A congressionally chartered, private organization, the USO relies on the generosity of individuals, organizations and corporations to support its activities, and is powered by a family of volunteers to accomplish our mission of connection.”

We’ve always been impressed by the work of the USO. They offer entertainment for the troops and their families. In fact, they recently had Sesame Street Live here for the kids. They provide support for military families throughout their military careers as well as during the transition. They provide support for wounded warriors and their families. That’s just a tip of the iceburg, but you can learn more about the USO programs here.


Wordless Wednesday: Chickens at 2 Months

Our chickens are certainly growing.

The chicken gang always greets us at the door to the run.

Wetting down the run means these chickens are going to search for food.

The chickens were hoping for some mealworms.

The coloring on these guys is beautiful.

The coloring on these two is beautiful.

2 of our black chickens now have some red on them.