As most of you know I love adventures. In fact, I love them so much, I can turn practically any mundane situation into one. I find that my life is more interesting when it’s filled with adventure.
Adventures are a lot like roller coaster rides. There are many ups and downs, along with a few dramatic twists and many unexpected turns. These experiences make your heart race and take your emotions to the edge. They also have the ability to make you laugh and cry at the same time. Truly great adventures force you to expand, to grow and to learn something new about yourself.
Sometimes the lessons an adventure gives are easy to take, like that feeling of satisfaction from eating half of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake in one setting. Other times, the lessons we need to learn aren’t as easy to swallow.
In the past few years I have been on many wondrous and magical adventures. Each one of them have allowed me to experience things I couldn’t have imagined as I was growing up in Morrilton, Arkansas. Some adventures have been small and thrilling, like helping my friend Judy Murrah start her blogging adventure and realizing halfway through the process that I was helping the legendary Judy Murrah of Jacket Jazz fame. Wow, that was an adventure I will never forget!
Some adventures have been a little grander in scale, like taking a trip with my Peeps to The Texas Quilt Museum to see my quilt hanging there. I can hardly believe it. I had a quilt hanging in a museum. Is this a crazy marvelous world or what?
Other adventures have amazed me and been cooler than I could have dreamed of, like the recent airing of my Quilt Show episode. I am still having a hard time believing that one.
Lastly, some adventures have been life altering and made me wonder where I fit in the world and how could this have happened, like my mother’s cancer diagnosis and the loss of my beloved Bill in September.
Navigating through this last adventure has been much harder than eating a cheesecake, because everything I had known for almost 20 years changed over night. My life was exactly the same, except now I had a big hole in it. I couldn’t imagine what life was going to be like or how I was supposed to go on.
That’s where my dear friends Gene and Sharon Schamber came in.
This amazing couple invited me to stay with them for a while after Bill’s passing. I agreed to go at first, then talked myself out of it multiple times. I realized that I needed to get away from me and all that was going on in my head, so off to Payson, AZ, I went.
Sharon and Gene were generous and gracious hosts. They treated me so well during my visit, that it was hard to come home and face my reality. They’d let me ramble on endlessly about nothing and offer a shoulder to cry on when I needed it. They did everything they could think of to set me on a path to heal from the pain of my loss.
Sharon and I spent endless hours talking, sharing tears and laughter. She patiently listened as I worked through the grief. While we stayed busy, Gene would be in and out of the studio checking to see if we needed anything and letting us know what he’d planned for our culinary extravaganza.
Gene is a fabulous cook and his apple pies are legendary. Along with his amazing culinary skills, he is also a wonderful gardener, naturalist and storyteller. He is a Renaissance man to his core and the best tour guide EVER!
I had mentioned to Gene that I had never been to Arizona, so he planned a fabulous day trip to show me the all the amazing natural and historic sights in the area.
Gene knows I enjoy sharing photos with you, so he organized an expedition that would give me as many chances to take photos as possible. We went everywhere he could think of and had many fun-filled hours of conversation.
Gene has a natural gift for storytelling and he made this adventure one that I will never forget.
I’d point out a plant and he could tell me the name and something about it.
I’d see an amazing cactus and we’d stop to take pictures of it.
I was amazed by what he knew. I couldn’t get over the fact that he knew something about everything.
His knowledge of cactus types was only equalled to his understanding of wildlife habitats.
As our adventure continued, we went from one amazing place to another.
The historic sights were awe-inspiring and the natural beauty of the state left me breathless.
As we traveled from one area of the state to the next, the terrain would change dramatically.
In some cases it felt like we had moved to another planet. We would go from 60-ft. tall trees and lots of scrub brush, to no trees and dirt, all in a 40-mile span.
One of the stops on our journey was Sedona. It is a truly magical and mystical place.
The color in the rock is so intense and different from what I’m used to seeing, that it made me think something was wrong with my eyes.
As we rode around, I could barely grasp all the beauty that lay before me and I will remain forever grateful to Gene and Sharon for taking me on such a magical adventure.
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I hope you’ve enjoyed my trip to Arizona as much as I have sharing it with you. It was fabulous to relive the magic of the experience, even though it brings a bit of sadness along with it.
As I said, adventures change us. They help us grow and learn something new about ourselves. My time with Gene and Sharon did those things and more.
I realized while I was there that I had many more adventures ahead of me and that I needed to learn to embrace each and every one, which brings me to what happens next. Now that I have completed this post and you’ve seen some of the beauty that awaits in Arizona, I am ready to tell you about another adventure I am going on. Because I am a tease and I enjoy your company, you’ll have to come back to find out about it.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you. xxxooo 🙂
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If you would like to see more photos from this healing adventure, then click here.