Sunday, July 23, 2006

Our trip to New Mexico

It's about time I resurrected this blog! Below is an account of our trip to New Mexico...

What a beautiful and diverse place New Mexico is (and by diverse, I mean terrain), a true feast for the eyes. It certainly has a unique "flavor" all it's own. From mountains to deserts, there is much to explore and experience. We all had such a wonderfully refreshing time during our vacation in the mountain town of Ruidoso, where my mother grew up. I wish we could've stayed longer than just a week...

The main reason for this excursion was to celebrate my cousin's wedding; but it also provided a prime opportunity to bring my mother, her two brothers and my grandmother together under one roof. Something that hadn't been facilitated in about six years, primarily due to distance between individual families and our differing schedules. Besides the wedding, nothing topped witnessing "the kids" close to Grandmother and her "pleased mother hen" expression on her dear face (though, a late night chat with my cousin, Tonia ranks up there too).

We flew into El Paso, Texas on Tuesday afternoon. The flight from Tampa-Dallas-El Paso was actually rather relaxing. I was half expecting to feel totally drained after a full day of traveling, but it was a pleasant surprise to find the opposite -- though, I can't speak for the rest of my family on that score.

After a brief drive through El Paso, I fully realized that it's the next-to-the-last place I'd want to live in. When we were getting our rental car it was ninety-eight degrees of intensely dry, hot air (though, I won't complain too loudly, because Florida's heat and humidity can be harder to deal with than just plain heat)! It's hard to find anything that resembles "green and cool", though. While flying in, Dad pointed out White Sands to us. In two words I can describe El Paso: shimmering heat. I apologize if I've created a prejudice against this barren city - maybe if I had spent a little more time there I wouldn't have such a harsh view... :o)

After a two hour drive to Ruidoso, New Mexico we parked at Uncle Clifton and Aunt Dee Dee's home. We were definitely ready to unwind and stretch our legs (that makes it sound as though we were curled up in balls all day long!). We didn't stay at Aunt Dee Dee's because other relatives were going to, but we were blessed with the residence of Uncle Clifton's friend, Robyn. It could not have worked out better. We were so close to Uncle Clifton's that on several occasions, Delaney and I walked down the main street and up to their house.

One thing Delaney and I noticed about Ruidoso and the surrounding area, is the amount of shops with names ranging from the unique to just plain hilarious (for some, I wondered if they were a prank to lure customers in). One that really stuck out was "Split Ends Salon". Odd isn't it? Do I come out with split ends...or do they take care of them? :o)

The days leading up to the wedding were filled with an abundant amount of laughter, talking, shopping/browsing (Ruidoso boasts of some fun little shops, even though they might have weird names), hiking, picnicking, and late-nights. Oh, and a highlight of the week: arranging my cousins "bazillion" roses in Capitan's local grocery store refrigerator (Capitan is a town outside of Ruidoso) -- that was certainly a first!

Now, enough words. How about I let the pictures do the talking (they'll do a better job anyway). First, here's a picture of some of us cousins sitting around the picnic table at my uncle's house:

Uncle Clifton and Mom:

One day, we "climbed" Monjeau lookout. It was definitely a piece of cake (actually, we drove -- and yes, that's cheating!).

The view from part way up:

The steps leading to the tower:

Proof we were there (elevation: 9, 641):

The tower:

Blogger is not allowing me to post more pictures, and it's late, so I'll upload them tomorrow...hopefully I'll having wedding pictures up in a couple of days. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 21, 2006


"The Christian religion is, in the long run, a thing of unspeakable comfort. But it does not begin in comfort. It begins in the dismay I have been describing, and it is no use at all trying to go on to that comfort without first going through that dismay."
C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Reasons for Summer

1. Visits from friends
2. Picnics
3. Fireworks
4. Night swimming
5. Vacation time
6. Baseball games
7. Hiking
8. Beach combing
9. Weddings
10. Relaxed routine!

Check. Did those. And to think, summer isn't quite over yet! :o)

Rachel H., Delaney's best friend from Kentucky, came to visit during the early part of July. Delaney and I (Chelsea) enjoyed boating with her and Mr. H. by Caladesi Island, and then visiting Busch Gardens to ride Sheikra - the park's wild roller coaster that boasts a ninety degree drop. I...uh...chickened out on that one and volunteered to hold the back-pack and water bottles. Here's a few pictures that attempt to capture some of our favorite moments.

Delaney and Rachel grazing for sand dollars and other pretty shells...

Rachel is holding up a massive whelk that her father found:

This picture of Rachel is one of my favorites (doesn't she look sweet?!). The flower in her hair is native to Hawaii, and it smells absolutely heavenly!

There's an extensive safari park at Busch Gardens and we had the pleasure of a leisurely train ride through it (very nice alternative to a stomach-churning roller coaster ride!). It was hard to get a clear picture as the train was moving along, but here is one of a giraffe.

Close-up, wasn't it? :o) The following series of shots are of the female ostrich and her eggs. She appears to be a little alarmed...

For independence Day, we joined friends at The Winning Inning and feasted on Chef Denny's BBQ'd ribs, burgers, and dogs. Before night fall we played a kids-verses- adults game of kickball, then we unwrapped the sparklers! While we danced around with the sparklers in hand a friend continued deploying his set of fireworks. What an original show he put on too! :o) I love this particular holiday - mainly because there isn't any gift-giving and very little expectancy, just a jolly good time reveling in our country's freedom with your neighbors and friends. Actually, after thinking about it, that's what makes this particular celebration so unique - a feeling of unity permeates the air as neighbors share food and fun.

Here's a few pictures from our fourth of July:

Next post will probably be about some friends visiting and our trip to New stay tuned! :o)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

*Checking in*

Greetings -

The Owen family is still alive! :o) Between a job interview, Bright Lights, out-of-state friends visiting, traveling to New Mexico for an informal family reunion, and among other things -- life has been rather busy for me, to say the least. Anyway, just wanted to touch base and let you know that I have some very interesting pictures to share over the next several days...

But before then, here's a great article (re: delighting in the Lord and a nine member family) found on Mrs. Chancey's website: Ladies Against Feminism. Take a peek, it's sure to be an encouragement!