Saturday, March 26, 2016

Discovering Arizona at the OK Corral!

Arizona is not just an oven-bake state.  In spite of its reputation for intense heat and dry summers there are months where the weather is beautiful, cool and breezy.  Like today.  A sunny 85˚ offset by a refreshing westerly breeze is a more than welcome respite from the coming summer months when venturing outside requires shoes and sunscreen at all times.

This beautiful weather drew us out of our air-conditioned home and out into God’s creation, where we headed off to two popular tourist destinations, Goldfield Ghost Town and the OK Corral.  If you’ve never been to either of them I urge you to get up, get out, and get going!

They are located next to each other on the Apache Trail, snugged up to the Superstition Mountains, in Apache Junction, Arizona on Highway 88.  For the sake of space today’s post will just review the OK Corral, next week I’ll be sharing about the Goldfield Ghost Town.

Bryan and Tex, me and Dallas, enjoying our view of the Superstition Mountains.

If you love horses, then the OK Corral is for you!  Open year round, you will need to call ahead to make a reservation, but we found them very accommodating.  We called from the Ghost Town and an hour later we were sitting on our very own horses!

The gentleman who welcomed us was friendly, and after some good-natured ribbing about our lack of preparation (we were both wearing shorts, and I didn’t have any sunscreen) the Hubby and I opted for our first ride to be just a half hour, any longer and I might’ve broiled in the sun! After signing a waiver we headed out to the corral where we met our trail leader, Hank, and received instructions on how to mount, and operate, our horses.  The staff…er…cowboys were all friendly and helpful, and made us feel completely comfortable despite the fact that both my Hubby and I hadn’t ridden since childhood.

We found the cost affordable.  We paid $30 per person for a half hour ride, but for just $10 more per person we could've rode for an hour.

Here are some points to remember…
  • Wear sunscreen…especially if you’ve got super fair skin like me.  Even when the weather is cool, the Arizona sun can be merciless.
  • Wear long jeans or pants…if we had expected to ride horses we would’ve been a bit smarter about our wardrobe choices.  As it was, we were in shorts, which is fine, but by the end of the ride my legs were sticking to the saddle.  Also, obviously, pants prevent scratches by bushes and whatnot when your horse walks too close to them.
  • Wear tennis shoes, NOT flip flops or sandals…luckily my feet were appropriately attired, unlike the time I climbed to the top of Diamond Head in Hawaii in flip flops. (Yeah, that happened.)
  • Wear a hat…but make sure it’s not floppy or loose.  A ball cap or a hat that ties beneath your chin is good, it has to fit snug so the wind doesn’t blow it off. 
  • Bring a bottle of water…if you’re going out longer than half an hour, make sure you bring water to drink.
  • Leave your purse or backpack’s in the car…I didn’t realize my shoulder slung purse couldn’t be worn and had to leave it at the desk.  However, it was perfectly safe, so there were no worries there.
  • Bring a camera…the trail guide encouraged us to take pictures while we rode, and he stopped us several times to take a picture of us together.  If you’re worried about dropping it, use one of those wrist thingies.

Overall, our experience was fun, and informative, as Hank pointed out plants and critters, and filled in some of the history of the area.  Our horses were gentle, and in fact we rarely had to do anything other than sit on them as they fell into line behind Hank’s horse and adjusted their speed to his.  My horse, Dallas, tried to snatch a bite to eat from a bush, but she responded to my correction quickly and got back in line.  My Hubby’s horse, Tex, did seem to have a mind of his own and required much gentle urging to keep pace with the rest of us.  I think he just wanted to enjoy the scenery as much as we did!

I would definitely recommend the OK Corral, and we are making plans to come back for a much longer ride.

For full information, including prices and location, visit their site found here:  Superstition's O.K. Corral Stables

First View of the Stables!  So excited!!

Rule for going up a hill...hold the saddle horn and lean forward.

Rule for going down a hill...lean back and hold your feet out to the side.

A beautiful view!

Dallas and I

Bryan and Tex

Our last photo op.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Happy Spring!

I love Spring.

I love the flowers blooming, I love the freshness of a morning breeze, the cool nights spent gazing at the moon.  I love the sound of the birds singing outside my window and the happy chatter of children playing in the park.  I love the smell of freshly mowed grass and fresh fruit for breakfast in the morning.

Spring is a time of renewal, a time to push aside the heaviness of winter and to count the blessings that God has given me.  It’s a time of rest, peace and restoration.  In this fast-paced life that consumes us, it’s good to sometimes, quite literally, stop and smell the roses...or in my case, the cactus blossoms!

It’s also the perfect time to give praise to the One who created it.

If you’re like me life can become pretty hectic, rushed and full of well, just every-day-run-of-the-mill busyness.  Life can overwhelm us, so much so that sometimes we forget to simply tell God thank you.

So this Spring, let’s take a moment out of our busy lives to just give God some of the love that He so richly pours out on us. 

The Bible says in Psalm 95:1-11

“Come, let’s shout praises to God, raise the roof for the Rock who saved us!  Let’s march into his presence singing praises, lifting the rafters with our hymns!

And why?  Because God is the best, High King over all the gods.  In one hand he holds deep caves and caverns, in the other hand grasps the high mountains. He made Ocean—he owns it!  His hands sculpted Earth!

So come, let us worship: bow before him, on your knees before God, who made us!  Oh yes, he’s our God, and we’re the people he pastures, the flock he feeds.”  (The Message MSG)

Blessings! - Kathy

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Let's Talk!

People love to talk. We talk about everything and anything, it seems as though there is no topic that is taboo. There are talk shows and shows that explore our feelings, shows that allow us to air our differences or spout off about our various pet peeves. Social media is jam-packed with people talking about everything, and nothing, and all that is in between.

Unfortunately, in today’s society, there is very little restraint included in these conversations. People are encouraged to let it all out, whether good or bad, to ‘express yourself’, no matter if what you say is hurtful, or mean-spirited, or rude. It’s almost as if the goal is to make yourself feel good without regard to those around you that have to listen to your words.

And sadly, a lot of Christians are the same way. As a Christian we are called to be different in everything we do, and that includes the way we talk.

The Bible says in Colossians 4:6

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive, so that you will have the right response for everyone.” (New Living Translation)

I’ve been around Christians who are brash and rude, who think that because they have found a new life in Christ that entitles them to blast others with the gospel message, no matter how hurtful they sound. Instead of attracting people to Christ, our words push the lost away. If we want to win others to Christ, we must be very careful how we present ourselves to the world because it’s through us that the world will see Christ.

Let’s break this scripture down:
  1. Be gracious – this simply means to be kind in our speech, to pause before we speak so that we can choose our words carefully. It’s called tact and understanding. Simply put, we must put the needs of others first in our conversations.
  2. Be attractive – other translations say “seasoned with salt”. Salt is tasty. It adds flavor to a dish to make it more palatable. Our speech should be just as tasty, filled with the good things that God has done in our lives so that when others hear our words they get a taste of what the Lord could do in their lives. Like bee’s to honey, our words need to attract the lost to the Savior.
  3. Respond rightly – people are unique, so the way we respond to them should also be unique. Some people respond with a firm hand, some don’t. We all come from different backgrounds and upbringings, our experiences have shaped who we are and how we react to those around us. As Christians, we need to be sensitive to how we respond to those around us.

A conversation is worthwhile when it is gracious, kind and tailored to fit the one we are speaking to. As Christians we must choose to be different in our speech. As it says in Proverbs 25:11, “A well-spoken word at just the right moment is like golden apples in settings of silver.” (the Voice)