Vacation...in El Paso?

You better believe it! I had a really great weekend with really wonderful friends. I was taken to amazing places & saw more than I imagined in 2.5 days. What was intended as a visit to a close friend & his family, became a small adventure of greatness & joy. It was definitely a treasured weekend. When I left, I felt more at peace & more relaxed than I have in a long time. I was so thankful for the warm reception, the many hugs & kisses & the endless laughter with people I love.

I was introduced to Jaxson's for salad & plenty of weekend planning. I loved the atmosphere!

Then it was onto the cinema to see "Sunshine Cleaning," which I really liked!

We walked out the door & hit EStarbucks ("eh-starbucks") for a sit outside in the sunshine. I had a view of the mountains & began gluing items into the travel journal. The camera was out in very little time & my eyes began to slowly open to the possibilites El Paso has to offer.

After an ounce or two of sun-soakin', cafe-n-conversation, I was taken to a Familyland of gourmet food, outstanding dessert, a few beers & beautiful, joyful people & lots of stories --complete with singing to the moon... I loved that.

Saturday, I awoke to the smell of coffee & the warmth of sunlight streaming through the windows. After a quick shower I was introduced to The Bagel Shop! My tastebuds were pretty excited by the warm, fresh bluberry bagel smeared with vanilla creme cheese. WOO HOO! The restaurant was decorated with none other than black & white photos of customers enjoying their time on cranberry colored walls.

From there was an alum-tour & stop at the UTEP Fine Arts Center. We were intro'd to the

2009 UTEP Student Exhibition!

Come take a walk with me to see a few of the wonders that delighted our senses...

The tour de El Paso continued into downtown & ran next to the Mexican border,

where I got to see "the fence..."

followed by a visit to the famous Rosa's Cantina for a cerveza & the early stages of the NFL draft.

check out the song that made this little place famous!

Later, a quick road trip to Las Cruces, NM landed us in Old Mesilla Park (photo by RC).

We walked down a short street to the historic Fountain Theater where we saw an independent French film called "The Class." What an awesome treat! The people were so nice & had fresh baked cakes, plenty of popcorn & drinks at their old-time concession/cafe.

After the movie we headed across the street to the Vintage Wines shop & cafe.

There we sipped a little of a really rich red & an outstanding reisling. Truth be told, I had my heart on finding a bottle from my favorite vineyard. As we looked through hand-painted wine bottles (by a NMSU student named Rebecca), I casually asked if they carried Wines of the San Juan. The owner exclaimed, "Yes! And we're almost out!" I was given a really cool gift to remember the occassion--a bottle of "Girls are Meaner" by San Juan Winery & a hand-painted bottle for my new apartment.

If you look closely in the reflection of the bottle, you'll see Miss Kate telling one of her famous stories. (photo by RC)

A similar bottle to the one now residing at Kate's
Joy of joys Sunday! After much searching I was taken to a World Market & found the baskets for my new office! I was holding out for the perfect items & found exactly what I'd been hoping for. What a gift & blessing to be able to unpack even more AND organize my art supplies.

Fabulous moment #300 for the weekend: awesome homemade Mexican breakfast followed by my official introduction to Mexican fútbol! That was totally entertaining!! Ricardo & his hilarious father yelled, exclaiming "AIE," more than once. The highlight of this moment was when I heard the ONE word I waited to hear from a real Mexican futbol game...."GOL!!!!" There was much celebrating, high-fives & I do believe an Indios de Juárez cap was thrown down as Armando began dancing a little. *LOL*

I visited a bit, gave a couple of hair tips, talked decorating & attempted to make "Gap Baby" beautiful nieces laugh. I had a really wonderful, memorable time. I will absolutely be visiting more & am very happy to say my former perceptions of this city were altered drastically. To my surprise, I really love it! It just might make the "Could Live There" list that seems to be growing by the year.

I am thankful for such a wonderful weekend & look forward to many more like it!

Keep checking back! My birthday gift is going to get major use & you will be seein' the results...
Have an outstanding week & God bless you all, as I have been blessed.


My Photo Archives

I was searching for a photo, when, of course I found about 15 others I'd forgotten I'd taken. So...I'm going to share. I know a few of you will be happy to see I haven't totally packed my cameras away. I am still playing a little...

The Hemingway--my favorite small bar.

Makayla's Wedding Dress

A Joy-Filled Moment & Surprise from Germany

The Gift of a Lightning Moment

A Collage I Joyfully Created for Molly & Jeremy's Glorious Day


Yes, Yes....Long Time...

Okay, so when the guys at work are complaining I haven't updated my blog, I know it's time to get off my pride & get to it. So what have I been up to since December??? WOW!!! SO MUCH is changing: my graphics, my need to have a new digi-camera in hand, my hair color, my waistline, my attitude, my pride & so on. It's all been so good!

I am finding I LOVE CHANGE. It might hurt a little, but so does paying bills every month. Seriously, we all have to go through it--so why resist? Life is all about change. It's gonna happen whether you're chained to a desk or flitting from country to country in Europe. As the scholars say, "It's inevitable."
So, what & how have I changed since December? Ohhhh the lists....the painful, painful lists. So, I'll begin where I can remember & when I get to where I can't...I'll stop. Wow.


Thank God in the Highest it's through St. Stephen's Pastoral Center. Woowwww.....wow, wow, wow. OWW! Yes, counseling is as hard as everyone says it is. BUT!!!! It's also as rewarding as we've all heard as well. Miz Laurel is just about the best on the block. She's tough, sweet as pie & diligent. She never let's me "forget" where we left off last week...even when I'm really trying to.


I was TOTALLY against this right from the get-go. None of the silliness for Miss Kate. I'm a tough Woman of God. With Him alone I can do anything! Put me on the mountain & give me a gold medal. Then the depression of a major move settled in. Ahhhh...the bitter pill of Truth. Depression. Even the word is sad looking. It's stupid. It makes me angry (I learned how to say what things really are from counseling---see how I learn?!). I am un-motivated & I can't accomplish simple tasks like washing the dishes without bursting into tears at how suddenly DIFFICULT it is!!! So, after much prayer, I relented. I only want to "feel normal" again. After one week of the wonder-drug, I had done all my laundry, washed every dish in the house, unpacked the entire kitchen, given away 6 boxes of unecessary items, gone to the grocery store, watched an entire season of The Gilmore Girls, joined the Y, read every day in my Bible & purchased 4 more books to finish by month's end. OHHHHH THE WONDERS OF MODERN MEDICINE.


What the...? More "owwwww's" only this kind goes away, THEN COMES BACK. I really love it. I have the two best workout partners God could have given. They're encouraging, they make me laugh & are tough as nails. Auds, despite her vicious hatred of mornings, creeps out of bed at 5:30 a.m., 3 days a week, to hit the bikes & occassionally the weights (or her beloved rower). Then, as if that weren't enough, she has given in to her loathing of dance & joined me in Zumba Thursday nights before Bible Study! Then there's Kathleen. The former ballerina turned awesome writer gets me (& Audrie) up every Saturday for some sort of mind-boggling cardio. My favorite is Body Combat, where I get to pretend I'm kickin' some tough guy's tail. My least favorite have been the 5K "runs" where I walk & Kathleen kicks butt by running the entire trail. YAH. She & Audrie have this sick fascination with long distance running. On the street. When it's 32-degrees outside. And we haven't had breakfast OR COFFEE yet.

Still a work in progress....don't even ask. NEXT!!!

I have decided to let God be God & figure out a way to get my skin in order. So far, He's introduced me to something called a laser, which in itself is mysterious, & microderm abrasion. My first of 6 laser treatments began with numbing gel. I thought this was a great idea, because I like everything to be painless & easy. Sure! Spa me away into dreamland!

It was fabulous until....I licked my my drying lips. Oh yes...I had this big day of "going to the derma-spa," then rewarding my new-found courage by a trip to Chic-fil-a (which I've knocked down to once a month). YES! I was so excited...until...I realize, "I can't feel the inside of my mouth. I CAN'T FEEL MY TONGUE!!! What if I can't taste my chicken & the two crucial pickles?!!" Oh the horror... So I did what anyone would do. I went anyway. I can taste next month.


This has been the biggest hill to conquer. In fact, I'm still working on it...every single day. I've had a few ups n downs, but He is ever diligent in His love for me. I've forgotten it a few times & have had to crawl back to Him on hands & knees, begging forgiveness. Every time I hear Him say, "...what was it you did? I can't seem to remember." It's then I feel His Light filling my darkest places to remind me He's always there & always forgives my past. It's difficult to completely toss everything to "the Wind" & say "here, You handle this. I don't know what to do with it." It also takes much practice of letting control.....go..... This is where work comes in. Let go.... let it all.....go..... Drop the pride. Let go.

He will fill in the rest of the story. I'm living proof....He ALWAYS fills in the rest, even when the money's all gone, there's no food in the house & I'm not sure I'll have enough gas to even get 6 blocks to work. He always fills in my needs & has never let me down. So I'm here to tell you. This is just the beginning. Every day "is just the beginning." I like it that way!

Surprises are always around some corner! You may have to work for it...but it's totally worth it.
Loving life is my reward. I'm TOTALLY glad I chose to continue living, when I had the option to quit.