Tag Archives: Nature

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


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Only God

starry night

People can know your story

and your struggles.

They can hold your hand,

Comfort you with words of wisdom,

Protect you from loneliness.

But only God can reach in

and make you aware

of your broken-ness


God is the only one responsible

for giving you the hand up

and out of the darkness

of your sin, your pain, and your defeat.

Showing you your brokenness

so that He may use you FULLY


Some days I latch on to a song that speaks to the things that weigh on my heart.

I’ll look up the lyrics,

I’ll peruse the albums,

and I’ll sample other songs by that artist.

And I’ll know – they understand

They’ve been there

They wrote about it too.


Some days I could play Amazing Grace – My Chains Fell Off

over and over and over…

What song is speaking to your heart today?  What is God singing in your ears?

Today, for me, it’s Chris August … Starry Night

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Posted by on October 28, 2013 in Life, in general


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Five Minute Friday – Rhythm

sabino roadcropped

My pace is even and the road is flat but steadily climbs uphill.  I trod along to the rhythm of my music.  My playlist contains upbeat songs that I use for cleaning, but also for hiking.

The sun is strong here in the beginning, but soon the high canyon walls will provide the shade I need to make it at least 6 miles.

I’m clearing the cobwebs from my brain by using the rhythm of something natural – my walk through the canyon.

My head feels clear and before I know it, God is speaking loudly through my surroundings.  I’m not sure why He chose to kick up the volume on this particular day, but I am hearing Him loud and clear.

I pause to guzzle my water, I type notes in my iPod, I walk on, then God speaks again and again.  Through the steady rhythm of my activity He accompanies me with His very own rhythm and His presence – pointing out more analogies than I can fathom or type out.

I use my camera to capture what seems to be the silliest things in my view finder.

I want to absorb each lesson He shows me here in the desert today.  He always knows where I am, but today He chose to match me step for step as I walked.  He knew I was ready for the big download of info He had for me.  

Be strong and courageous.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,

for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9 NIV

*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!


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Sabino Canyon

sabino 1

Bright, early morning sunlight

Friends waiting to greet me.

A faded asphalt road

Walking, talking, and catching up.

Water flowing

Caught, temporarily, by concrete bridges

Then, let loose on the other side.

All shades of rocks

And green plants flourishing.

A warning of something lurking.

A sandy, dirt path amongst the mesquite trees and boulders

An offshoot to the water’s edge.

Tortoise dens passed – almost unnoticed

and snakes to be feared.

The canyon is different depending on the season

Cool and green with water flowing

Or dry with a fiercely, scorching sun.

But always a favorite destination,

always welcoming,

always needed,

always a respite for what ails me.

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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Life, in general


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Five Minute Friday – Opportunity


It’s Five Minute Friday again!  Yeah, we’re back on, regardless of technical difficulties!  It’s our chance to write for five minutes flat – Unscripted.  Unedited.  Real.  Just five minutes of focused writing.

We call it our “Flashmob of Writers” and it happens here:


I don’t normally have to leave the house to clear my mind, but today it was necessary.  Desperately necessary.

It was dark as I drove down my country road thinking I might stop and park at the library to write.

All day I’ve {NEEDED} an opportunity to have some peace and quiet.  Time to be alone, with no one underfoot or the laundry begging to be finished – or even a computer screen staring me in the face.

Wow, I was hardly able to keep my eyes on the road – I was so distracted by the sky.  It was amazingly clear and the stars were as bright as diamonds overhead.

Opportunity is sometimes completely unexpected.  I ran to the grocery store, then parked at the library and got out and leaned against the car to look at the sky.  I would have pulled out the pen and notebook right there and then, but it was my opportunity to just BE there, looking up… loving what I could see with the naked eye.

Orion’s belt was in the Eastern sky – clear and precise regardless of the streetlights.  I’m in AWE.  And I’m a little saddened that this nature-lover hasn’t been bundled up and spending a little more time outside looking at the stars.  It was like it was created just for me, and I had been ignoring it.

Sometimes opportunity is unexpected, but this sky full of beautiful, untouched stars is available almost every night.  An opportunity I shouldn’t be passing up.


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