Tuesday, March 25, 2008

March Breaking News

Dearest Blog Followers ... We have soooooo many blessings to share and bouquets to offer.

Truly, our cups runneth over, where March Break is concerned, especially. On March 8th, some of our Canadian family joined us. Dick and Marion Moffat (Peter's brother) and Andrew and Sarah, flew out of Toronto on a stormy Saturday, when 3/4's of the flights out of Pearson International were being cancelled. Here we are at Gate's Pass in the Tucson Mountains. They are beginning to relax and thaw out.

On Wednesday, March 12th, Tim flew into Phoenix .. and we all went up in the RV to join the reception party being hosted by wonderful Pen Lakers, the "Hays". Below, Tim shares dinner with Jen and Tim Hay, great summer friends (and that's not the 'fair weather' kind).

Andrew and Sarah enjoy conversation with David and Bridget Hay.

And Lil and Peter, Marion and Dick celebrate the company of John and Debbie Hay in their home.

John took this picture in their garage, where we off-loaded a lot of our stuff to make room in the RV for our excursions together. How wonderful it is to share winter times with summer friends!

Tucson was the stage for the first week. We rented a wonderful 'Santa Fe' style house in Saguaro Canyon, in the Tucson Mountains above the city.

Here's a picture we took from above on our first morning walk.

Can you see the city below us through the dusty desert haze? At night Tucson lay below us like a jeweled blanket.Here's a small section of the saguaro community that clustered around us in these days.

And, towering over us like a sentinel on duty, was this amazing specimen. We figure her to be at least 150 years old (according to what we learned at the Sonoran Desert Museum).

Days well earned by survivors of the Canadian winter - 2008.

WE INTERUPT THIS CHAPTER TO BRING YOU THE REAL MARCH BREAKING NEWS ... Sarah and Andrew are expecting their first child birth on September 2nd (Yes, Elizabeth's birthday!) Colour the Dicksons and Moffats 'pink' with pride and thanksgiving. Together this new family of three soak in the healing waters.

The second week we were together, we moved into the RV. Here we are enjoying one of the many dinners prepared by Sarah and Marion, our resident gourmets. (Lil had a real cooking holiday.) We are seated here beside a dark night window. (No it is not a 'hearth')

The next generation enjoying dinner before they retire to their tent outside.

Below, a campsite at Dead Horse State Park. Yes, it was frigid.

You can see that temps went down below freezing.

In hotter climes .. we visited the town of Tubac, close to the Mexican border at Nogales (we seem to have lost our pictures of this Mexican - someone - send some!). This town is a banquet of artist's wares.

See for yourself!

The food was great, too!

Remember these heroes from the past?

Remember these movies from the past?

Many were filmed on location at "Old Tucson". Here, Sarah auditions as Annie Oakley.

Us clergy types enjoyed the local chapel.

Peter gets comfortable again in the pulpit, while Richard leads us in a rousing rendition of "Will Your Anchor Hold?"
We enjoyed "shoot 'em up shows" and bank robberies and saloon girl follies. Here we are entertained by "The Three Amigos".

But we had our own "Three Amigos".

And, three older 'amigos' at San Xavier Mission (built by Father Kino in 1600's).

Can you recognize any of these mariachis?

Tim hams it up some more ...

And, Andrew!

Here are the guys at the Pima County Air Museum. (The girls were home in the pool.)

See the man in the red shirt below?

He was a pilot of this plane during the last war. Below he is questioned by the Moffat guys. They are much enthralled.

The family accompanies Lil to her alma mater, the University of Arizona. They all bought caps and sweat shirts.
Here Tim attends his mama at the Delta Gamma House, where she once was president and lived for three of her university years.

Now we are exploring the town of Jerome, Arizona .. perched precariously on a cliff. It once was a mining town. Then it was a hippie get-away. Now it is another wonderful artist colony.

Enjoying our Jerome fare and the great view from the top...

Below, we begin our climg through Oak Creek Canyon.

The Moffat Eagles in their Nest ...

At Slide Rock State Park, the next generation disappears up the canyon. Below, they return on a clip (thank goodness).
Resting by Oak Creek with new canine friend.

At Sedona we braved a Humvee ride up into the Red Rock hills.

Following a pink jeep. (We could go over rocks better.)

Below, a view from the top.

South of Sedona, we explored 'The Church of the Holy Cross'. Though special services still take place here, its appearance on the cover of 'National Geographic' have made it a tourist mecca and an any semblance to a community of faith , impossible.

Come on up the ramp and have a peek...

And no trip to Arizona would be complete without a peek over the south rim of The Grand Canyon.

Above, Andrew points out the trail where he and Tim ran to the bottom and back on a former trip. Below, you may be able to see the orange and black spots where Andrew and Tim are waving at you from across the craige.

We pose for our final portrait before returning to Phoenix on Thursday, March 20th to bid farewell. Below, Elizabeth and Peter and comforted in their loss by the Hays ...

And a wonderful ride the next day along the river washes of Phoenix.

Below, the Hays include us in another Pen Lake reunion, this time at David and Briget's home. We are joined by Richard Sieber, who came from Washington DC with his children to spend spring break.
On Holy Saturday, we headed south to Organ Pipe National Monument. Below the view of the sun rising on Easter morning as we celebrated with other Christians and the park sunrise service.

Below, we have just finished a lovely communion service.

Here are Denny and Joyce, campers who capably led us in the service.

And at the sunrise service, we met new friends from Prescott, Arizona, who invited us on a 4+ mile hike up into the Ajo Range, accessible only by 4 wheel drive. Meet Dwayne and Linda Wilenhauser and Frand and Bev Johnson - good folks.
Come on up the trail with us to the top ... (We actually had a rare siting of a 'gila monster'!)

Thank you all, for including us and for making Easter 2008 unforgetable! We end with signs of the 'spring' that is heading your way .. Sonoran Desert style.

(Below is a real mistletoe plant!)

This joyful Easter-tide,

Away with care and sorrow!

My Love, the Crucified,

Hath sprung to life this morrow.

Had Christ, that once was slain,

Ne’er burst His three day prison,

Our faith had been in vain;

But now hath Christ arisen,

Arisen, arisen, arisen!

My flesh in hope shall rest,

And for a season slumber;

Till trump from east to west,

Shall wake the dead in number.

Had Christ, that once was slain,

Ne’er burst His three day prison,

Our faith had been in vain;

But now hath Christ arisen,

Arisen, arisen, arisen!

Death’s flood hath lost his chill,

Since Jesus crossed the river:

Lover of souls, from ill

My passing soul deliver.

Had Christ, that once was slain

Ne'er burst His three day prison,

Our faith had been in vain;

But now hath Christ arisen,

Arisen, arisen, arisen!

(a favourite Easter Hymn)