Saturday, July 7, 2012

Arizona, Part One: Play

The three of us are in Green Valley, Arizona for the week visiting some friends for two reasons:  Work and Play.  Curt and Nancy Ackley run a consulting group for church capital campaigns, and they have started brainstorming about the idea of opening a school for new pastors to teach them about fundraising and stewardship.  They invited us out so that I could be a guinea pig for their developing curriculum and so that we could visit and get an inexpensive vacation!  I'm going to write about this trip in two entries.  First I'll talk about the fun things we've done, and then I'll come back in a couple days and write about the work we did and present to you (my colleagues in ministry) a new way of looking at fundraising and stewardship for your congregations. 

We began our play-week by going to San Xavier Mission, a church constructed in 1783 and filled on the inside with marvelous murals and statuary.  It reminded me so much of some of the churches we saw when I was travelling across Eastern Europe, but instead of having an Eastern flare it had a Mexican/Southwest flare.  

The three of us outside of San Xavier Mission 
On the fourth of July, we went to a Farmer's Market in the morning, worked in the afternoon, and then had black bean burgers and wine in the evening.  It was a surprisingly manageable day outside heat-wise, so we spent a chunk of the afternoon playing on the back patio.

I love this shot of her sweet little face. 

On Thursday, we went to the Saguaro National Park.  Saguaros are the big beauties below.  The National Park is filled with them-- literally one every 5 feet for acre after acre after acre.  These cacti are so fascinating.  They don't even sprout an arm until they are 50 years old, so you can tell how old they are.  A good Saguaro lives to be 200 years old.  

We don't think the hats look silly at all, by the way.  

After that, we needed to cool off so we took Evelyn to the big pool for the first time.  She could have died of happiness.  She's a very serious baby, but on the rare occasion that she laughs, nothing else in the whole world matters.  

Today, we went up to the Madera Canyon, high in the mountain range.  It is about 20 degrees cooler up there than where we're staying.  We had lunch and took a short hike.  Then Maic and I had the awesome opportunity to go out to eat and have Margaritas (well, actually Maic doesn't like Margaritas, but it's only because he's a party pooper--er--fiesta pooper) by ourselves while Curt and Nancy watched Evelyn.  She was a sweet angel for them, and the second we walked in the door she started crying.  

At the Canyon, with the Santa Rita Mountain Range behind us

In a lovely reclining rock. 

Tomorrow, Nancy and I are going to do some shopping while the boys go check out the Titan Missile Museum.  Then on Sunday, we'll go to church and relax and we're flying back on Monday.  I actually didn't get a chance to blog about our trip to visit Allen and Charis in Rockville, MD last week, but we had a blast.  We're pretty excited to get home and just relax and be in our home together, however.  We will have been away for two weeks, with the exception of last weekend, when I came home and preached and then left again.  Having a blast, but so, so exhausted!

I'll conclude this entry on "play" with my master pointer, who says:

"Hey you over there."

"No, YOU!"

"You with the face."

"I like you!"

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