Tag Archives: Friends

Why I got my feet wet in the Sipsey in January (and maybe why you shouldn’t)

I opened my Facebook and there was the invitation.  It was for a hike to a place I regard with awe and wonder.  My mind started to whirl with anticipation, questions, and a quick – “Hey babe, will you go with me on this one?”

I guess all of this group have this itch to hike and then we find others with that same itch and all sorts of fun ensues.  However, the Sipsey Wilderness is a really big and rugged place.  I had reservations about this impromptu hike and by the next morning I have a backup hike in mind in case this isn’t a safe adventure.

Lots of planning goes into hiking – for safety reasons.  There are plenty of places that I go that require very little thought at all.  Greenways are like that.  I read the map at the site and go as far as I want.  The Sipsey requires a little more than the casual reading of a trailhead sign.  In fact, trailhead signs might be rare or non existent.

Cell signal is also rare.  Which means I have to invoke the BestFriendOutdoorsmanBruce (BFOB) rule.  He is THE guy we call to let him know where to send a RESCUE.  I’m not exaggerating about this… I told him we would be done by 5 pm, sunset, and that it might take an hour to get back to him by cell.  He set an alarm to call us by 6 pm.

So, into the Sipsey we went on no trail to chase waterfalls that were running nicely after our recent rainy weather.  Besides having to refer to only a single Alltrails recording, crisscrossing the creek was the first issue we tried to remedy.  We walked, tip-toed, or threw out rocks to step on.

None of us is fond of slipping.

Mud and mushy leaves was the second issue.

Again, none of is fond of slipping.

Then my husband slid down a short hill – but was fine.  I was behind him and I tried to go down backwards with my hands on the ground.  I still slid – into what I call the superman yoga position – on my belly.

Laughing.  Always laughing.  It’s a wonder I didn’t eat some mud.

I turned to cross the creek and decided to wade into the water – boots submerged – and I just called out “I’m done fartin around, I’m getting in.”  Before you knew it everyone had damp or soaked feet.  It was glorious, fun, and childlike.  I guess at our age that’s adventurous.

So what’s the point I’m making?  You shouldn’t follow this example EXCEPT we knew we had enough smarts between us that we would all be getting out before dark.  No one was risking hypothermia by wading through the creek in January.

There is safety in numbers and there is fun to be had with these new friends of ours.  And, as always, we have BFOB to send a rescue.

~Have the adventure, make the friends, eat the bread, and drink the wine~

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


On Fridays… we “shhhh” the inner critic and run freely with our words.  Allowing ourselves to exercise our free-flowing words with a one word prompt from our fearless community leader Lisa Jo Baker.  Then we join together and encourage each other – kind of like a Flashmob for Writers.

HDT friend quote


Recently I added two new friends to my Facebook page … friends from middle school. One remembered me and the other had some vague familiarity of my name.

Many people who know me well know that I have friends all over the country and a few overseas. They are all a part of my life because I have lived in many places…. and in order to keep in touch with them I have used snail mail, email, then Facebook – which really expanded my capabilities of finding a few friends that I had lost touch with many decades ago.

Occasionally, I see posters saying “Keep people in your life that motivate you, love you, make you happy, etc.”  And to “Let Go” those that don’t…

Basically it encourages you to walk away from the people in your life who are negative, or who drag you down … but I believe eventually we would all be ALONE if we followed that advice.

{WE} could eventually be that negative person that someone feels led to “let go.”

I have friends of all kinds … They all have distinct personalities and opinions and their own personal soapboxes that they stand on in life… Sometimes I join them on that soapbox, other times I just read or listen to whatever they are passionate about.

Not everything they say is nice, or beneficial, but I can’t discount them as a friend simply on the merit that I think they are “negative” … each one brings a little piece of something to my life.

Honestly? A few years ago someone said something to me that was pretty negative and I was really at a loss for words. It hurt, and it hurt deep.

It also made me truly look at myself and see …

while I was pointing out the faults of others …

I had COMPLETELY lost sight of my own sinful nature.

I could have easily let that person go, but I was taught a valuable lesson that day.  An important lesson that I try to exercise daily.

A friend loves at all times

Proverbs 17:17


Tags: , , , , , ,

Vegas, Baby ; )

Red Rock Canyon

The thought began in Winter, amongst the brisk morning air here in the South – and YES, it gets very brisk!

The idea was also being dreamed about by a friend in the {dreadfully} frigid Midwest.  It was all about an excursion to some place WARM!  A chance to see each other after a very LONG 20 year gap between visits.  Our thoughts combined to form a trip to Las Vegas – where it would be warm in the Spring AND there would be friends there to visit as well!  What a winning combination …

I longed to DRAG {rescue} my frozen friend from Minnesota for a little sun, hiking, dining out, and socializing with former high school friends.


I heard the gears grinding about a week after we talked by phone about going on this nice trip …

I felt the pressure she was straining under in her words …

I knew ticket prices were about to change when I began to hear her utter the real insecurities from her mouth.

She was living in fear – and had been for YEARS

So, I ordered a ticket for one, reserved a car, made hotel reservations for just my own room, and started making plans for things to do while in sunny Las Vegas.  And just so you know – Las Vegas has more to offer outside of downtown that you could ever imagine …

I’ll tell you about that trip after I say something about fear …

{It’s a trap and it’s full of Satan’s lies ~ Plain and simple}

But fortunately there is a WAY OUT.  There is an ULTIMATE rescue and sometimes it comes from an old friend who really wants to spend time with you and somehow starts a spark that propels someone to get some help – again.  Only, this time, her help was better than ever imagined.

She struggled with social anxiety, agoraphobia occasionally, and was then diagnosed ADHD at age 45.  Professional testing, medication and counseling were involved and she felt like a new person.

I’m so glad I asked her to go to Las Vegas with me.  I was sad that she didn’t go, but God had WAY bigger plans than two chicks hiking in the wilderness sucking down bottled water and chewing on granola bars.

So, my big lesson in this was it’s ok to go it alone, and to get past the disappointment of not having a close friend accompany you.  And most IMPORTANTLY … it’s ok to come clean to your best friend and ask for help.

{It’s ok, to leave it in God’s hands and be healed}

Well, now I’ll tell you some fun things I did in Las Vegas… I have 3 former high school friends there that I was only able to see during the evening hours due to their work schedules.  But I got some advice from them on what to do out in nature during my daytime hours.

Wow, Nevada has a beauty that doesn’t come in gold, glitz or lights.  It doesn’t sing, dance or cost much money at all.  It’s called nature – as in God’s creation – and it was spectacular!

I hiked 2 days in a row at a place called Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.  Here is one of the websites for it including a trail map:

They have a wonderful visitor center complete with a gift shop and an outdoor educational area for adults and kids and the entrance fee to the park is nominal – It had to be less than $10 entrance fee for a place with a paved road, several parking areas and hiking trails, and quite frequently a great view of Big Horn sheep!

I also visited Valley of Fire State Park… which is probably a one hour drive from North Las Vegas.  Here is their website:

I can honestly tell you, I didn’t see enough of this place.  WHEN I go back, I will leave early, and see more, more, more of this area specifically.  I only had time to see the windswept sandstone areas (called the Bee Hives) and the petroglyphs which are near the visitor center.

What I didn’t realize, was that although I was drinking plenty of water, I was somewhat “on fire” myself.  I didn’t know I was sick, and was at the doctor 3 days after arriving home with pneumonia AND the flu! 

While enjoying my stay in Las Vegas, I took 2 of my friends to a Big Daddy Weave concert, we ate at some fun places recommended by my friends and had a luxurious birthday dinner at the Wynn Hotel, based on a conversation I had while hiking with a waiter that works there.

Course, I’ve saved the best part for last… I also planned ahead and reserved an exciting tandem skydiving jump with Skydive Las Vegas.  After that, my friend drove me to see the Hoover Dam.  While skydiving, you can see Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam and it’s one of the highest jumps you can make in the U.S.  A mere 15,000 ft.  And I had the wonderful opportunity of being the last one to board the airplane …

So, when you’re the last one ON …


You’re the first one OFF! 


skydive 4

Yeah, I’d TOTALLY do it again!

No Fear


Posted by on January 23, 2014 in Life, in general, Travel, Writing


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Five Minute Friday – Fly



I long to fly

continuously through the air

stopping only at the destinations that I chose.

When I arrive I long to tarry

soaking in the beauty

of land and people.

Whether it’s here

or another country

I long to go.

To escape

and feel free

and unfettered.

To stroll

or bike

or rent a car.

~To find the lost things-

the pieces of me

that long to be


In each place I have been

I have left





If I could fly

I’d gather them

and then return


But I believe

these pieces-

they are of my heart.

And I believe

they belong

where I left them

~with others~

So, here’s the deal… Fridays are for fun.  Unedited writing that’s good for the soul – You are always welcome to join us…


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Arizona, or Another Trip Down Memory Lane


The Union Public House

Going home to Pennsylvania is becoming a regular occurrence.  Arizona, on the other hand … now that’s a different story.

I spent 4 1/2 years living in the desert as a teenager – and graduated from high school there – before moving to North Carolina.  It’s been almost three decades since I moved, but I still have friends there.  And that means I needed a visit… so a little belated birthday trip to the Sonoran desert was an excellent plan for this year’s celebration.  A little sun, some hiking, some springtime desert blooms to admire, and at least one really good sunset.

And it was – {A really great sunset}


Dinner out on Friday was a planned event.  Just ask Facebook.  In fact, it was so well planned that we accidentally had two postings for it.  Oops.  We all arrived separately, and not all on time… which meant we’d be waiting a while for our table, but it was a good way to start the dinner.  Warming up with conversation.

To begin with, there were four of us seated on a brown leather couch that was literally 12 feet long – we only took up the end and a small table.  We were waiting to be seated when someone started in on “Who was your first kiss?”  Or was it “Do you even KNOW who my first kiss was?”  Some drinks were delivered and an appetizer had arrived … and I knew – this was going to be an interesting evening.

Two more joined us and then the six of us were finally seated at our table on the patio.  Twenty-nine years had passed since I had seen most of them, and everyone was taking their turn telling their stories. The stories were varied – ranging from girly and giggly, shocking or sad.  Ups, downs, diseases, cures, surviving, and unfortunately…deaths of classmates.  Oh, yes, and that whole “who was your first kiss” thing came up again, complete with data phones, Facebook friend’s lists and trying to track down the “guy.”  I know who it is now, but my lips are sealed!

It started with the Swedish American, formerly a Ford’s model, who talked at great length about some very interesting life experiences.  She was a tag-a-long friend of one of my classmates.  Even the story of how the two of them met was great.  She was hilarious and interesting and I believe somewhat tipsy.

Without using any names, I’ll call one by her choice of entrée… she was “Miss chicken and waffles.”  She made me feel right at home and I think she had me laughing the hardest… A few years ago I found out that some of her family lived nearby in rural Alabama … which of course, just makes the world a little smaller … and “Miss chicken and waffles”  – well, let’s just say, I loved sitting next to her … she has the most beautiful soul.

The gathering was missing a few who promised to come, but I think it turned out perfect the way it was.  Sometimes just 5 or 6 make an excellent party… there’s more time to talk, share, and truly get to know people.  The infamous story of how two of us set the lab desks on fire with the alcohol burners in Physical Science class was told, and the laughter and fun was shared easily around this table.  Looking around, it almost seemed like a table of strangers…some of us barely knew each other.  But, common ground of the years spent in high school never leave you.  Maybe we just had one class together, but it didn’t matter at all.  We were there together that night, 29 years later … laughing, sharing, comforting and building on what we started all those years ago…

I find it appropriate that our school motto – Más Allá – translates into “Go Beyond.”  I think we accomplished that, by continuing beyond the campus of Canyon Del Oro High School as friends, nearly three decades later.


Posted by on April 30, 2013 in Life, in general


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Five Minute Friday – Jump








Well, let’s just jump right into this week’s Five Minute Friday by saying… I’m at my desk writing already this morning and my fingers can’t keep up with my thoughts.

I was just visiting Arizona and came home and had to jump back in where life left off.  Laundry hampers full, fridge sort of half full, pantry in decent shape, and WHEW, am I tired!

Plugging along at the everyday work here at the house kept me from taking a 3 day nap – because I was exhausted from travel and hiking and talking and watching sunsets and walking at high altitude on Mt. Lemmon and eating.  {Boy, I had the best piece of pie at a restaurant up there}

But I’m done jumping around here trying to catch up, and it’s time to download all that has happened in that 5 day trip.  I finally have a clear schedule, and maybe a clear mind to type and reflect.  And I’m excited.

 Although… I’m wanting one more day … to bask in the sun, amongst the blooming desert, hiking Sabino Canyon, and laughing with old friends …

And another day living without the laundry, the threat of severe weather, or those pesky allergies …

Reality, then vacation, then reality …

Memories…into words…words on to paper…etched forever…

Jump up for more coffee and a shower and some food and more writing that needs to be done today!

Have an excellent Friday everyone!


Curious about Five Minute Friday?  It’s like a Flashmob for writers.

A bunch of us, with a one-word prompt, write fearlessly for FIVE minutes and link up together. Join us!


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Travelog – A Trip Home

orange hill

As I slip between the Endless Mountains, my urgency to get home is amplified.  Even in the “almost” darkness I can see the silhouettes of the trees to my right and the hills on both sides of the road.  Darkness arrives quickly in October and had I known I was going to take this side trip I would have chosen a flight that landed closer to home than Philadelphia.  The change of plans was all my doing, or undoing I guess you’d call it.  I was headed to my hometown, leaving my former agenda in the trashcan at home.  I scanned the road, the cars, and the bank of the river – I did not want to meet up with a deer while driving a rental car.

I’m sure it was close to 5:30 when I pulled into the Hampton Inn’s parking lot, relishing the fact that I had a nice place to stay in such a small town.  Occasionally I stay with a friend, but this is where I wanted to be on this visit.  I could hardly wait to go for a run tomorrow on the streets and sidewalks where I spent most of my childhood.  This wasn’t where I learned to drive because I was only thirteen when I moved from this small town, so getting back on the sidewalks was on my list of things to do.  It’s an odd thing to most people to say that you miss walking the sidewalks of your hometown, but it’s one thing that would just make this trip all the better.  Years after I moved when I was an adult, I would actually find driving around town to be quite disorienting.  Over that time away, I leapt from skateboards and bicycles to being married with three kids and driving a mini van!

Another thing about “home” I was looking forward to, or maybe salivating over, was getting some real Italian food.  There have always been many Italian families in this little corner of America, and until you live away from this place, you never understand why your parents talk endlessly about the food.  My husband and I can appreciate this after living in Germany – we STILL talk about how great the Greek, Italian, and Syrian food was in our little German town.

So, after checking in I head to my favorite pizza place for a calzone and take it back to my room complete with soda from the vending machine.  Another thing I don’t indulge in very often is soda… but I HAVE to have some with my calzone or it doesn’t feel complete.  I’m pretty sure there were M&M’s for dessert too.

Between the sheer delight at the gastronomic feast and a good movie on TV, I check in with few friends to solidify our plans for the next 2 days.  Another little gem of this small town is a breakfast and brunch cafe complete with many homemade bakery items.  Their omelets are excellent and their bakery carries gluten-free products and some desserts exclusive to Pennsylvania.  I think every meal I had that weekend was literally “a slice of home.”

The best part of breakfast or brunch is, of course, spending it with friends that have made a huge resurgence in my life since their 25th class reunion.  I left in 8th grade, but I was invited to attend the reunion and really enjoyed finding out how close you can still be after the passing of nearly 30 years.   Marriages, kids, the passing of classmates or parents, and lots of “I wonder where so-and-so is” were discussed.  More than that though, there was this deep-seeded feeling of having never left.  It’s almost a lovesick feeling to leave everything you’ve ever known in your short life and then come back and feel so welcomed and missed by your dear friends.  And each time I leave, I eagerly await the next visit.

In Girls Scouts we used to sing a song that said “make new friends, but keep the old … one is silver and the other is gold.”  I’m not sure why that stuck with me all those years, but like a seed that is planted on good soil, eventually it grew.  It’s something that you really come to understand years later.

When I read some of the other verses to this song, I knew and understood how precious even just one friend from childhood can be.  “A fire burns bright, it warms the heart … We’ve been friends, from the very start.”

Life is hard – in case you didn’t know.  We all take turns hitting low spots in the valleys or spending a little time on top of the hill feeling that all is well and good in our lives.  What’s really great though, is when you can share these times with the friends that know you through-and-through and maybe have a laugh about it, or just exchange the knowing and understanding look that says “I’ve been there too my friend.”

Sometimes, words aren’t necessary with a really good friendship, just the knowledge of who we are and where we came from…


Posted by on April 3, 2013 in Life, in general


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Strangers or Friends?


It’s February and love is in the air, and on the store shelves too!  As usual, we see candy and flowers at this time of the year and retailers try their best to sell us something to help us prepare for Valentine’s Day.  Since my children are older, there is no longer a need for boxes of paper valentines for their classmates, but usually they like to receive something a little chocolatey.  Last year I even sprang for a little stuffed bear in a mug WITH chocolate.

Regardless of a somewhat “retail” holiday on the 14th, many times love is attributed to the entire month of February.  Which is where my “drafts” pile comes in … I have been writing about all sorts of relationships in my life and I thought February would be a good time to flush a few of them out and share them.  Good stories, special friends, excellent memories…

In our everyday life, among the other fellow humans of the world, in what way do we fall together? As Strangers or Friends? And what is the difference?

~A stranger is defined as someone with whom you are unacquainted~

~A friend, on the other hand, is someone attached to you by affection or esteem~

As I think through my list of friends I can clearly recall, for the most part, the “how and where” we met. Others have landed on my list without any recollection whatsoever as to how we found each other.  I am utterly fascinated how you can be so close to a person for years and never remember how you were first introduced!

I know, that over the spanse of time, we are found to be closer in our friendship through the sharing of our life stories.  The good, the bad, and – you know – the ugly.  Many times there are major simularities about parts of our lives that seem to draw us to each other.  Where we’re from, who we know, etc.  And there’s nothing like a little common ground to get your feet wet with the building of a long-lasting relationship.

When I was growing up in my small town, these life stories and sometimes the everyday problems, were discussed over morning coffee and Entenmann’s coffee cake at a kitchen table with your favorite neighbor.  I know, we live in different times.  Instant messages, email, social media, and texts with friends across the miles are all that we have sometimes.

{It seems the longer we live together on this earth, the farther apart we get}

It can be close to impossible to find someone to talk to when needed.  And that is only if we dare and are brave enough to reach out at all!  Sadly, as time passes, sometimes friends slip into the stranger category as they grow apart or move away.  Not everyone is meant to be by your side forever.

I’ve spent a great deal of effort trying to keep in touch with my friends. My collection is quite extensive. Some are from childhood, others from high school, then many came from our years spent in the military. Most of these friends are still living right where I found them and others are scattered to the four winds. They represent, to me, diversity.

Somehow they have all crossed my path. A God-ordained gravity rooted us together for a season in our lives … and definitely for a reason.  Sometimes I long for the past – the long stretches of time where we were closely interwoven in each other’s lives.  It’s not just that I miss them, but I also miss that time in my life.  The struggles and joys we shared as giggling girlfriends, spouses, parents, or Americans living on foreign soil – for any one of these settings we were woven together so tightly that you couldn’t tell where one family started and another family ended.  Just a continuous string of people sharing a time and a space in life that was meant just for us.

Togetherness.  Close-knit.  Harmonious.  Friends.  Family.

Friends are an important part of life.  As our bonds as friends strengthen, we also strengthen as an individuals.  We were never meant to live life all on our own.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says

Two are better than one,

because they have a good return for their work;

if one falls down

his friend can help him up.

But pity the man who falls

and has no one to help him up!

May you be blessed with many friends and may you continue to collect new ones that encourage you to grow as an individual.

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 9, 2013 in Life, in general


Tags: , , , ,