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Travel

Postcards from New Mexico

We’ve been back from New Mexico for a few weeks. Oh, it felt so good to go somewhere, even if we couldn’t go many places while we were there. I realized just how much good a change of scenery is for the soul. Here’s some postcards from our trip. I do wish all of you the joys of a change of scenery this Summer!

Family Fun Travel

10 Things

Every Friday, I will be posting 10 things I’m grateful for. Join along with me by posting your blog link in the comments of your own 10 things or simply comment with what you’re thankful for.

1. Grace. As you can see, I haven’t posted much this week. I’m a goal setter and sometimes, if I can’t reach the goal, I’ve had to learn when it’s right to push myself and when it’s right to give myself grace. I chose grace this week.

2. The mountains of New Mexico. We’re currently enjoying some time in nature, just the 4 of us. Well, 5…Posey came along for the adventure.

3. Emma Grace’s driving adventures on the quad. Glad she’s getting some practice on this before she’s unleashed to drive in a car!

4. Mountain food. Our menu isn’t that much different from home, but there’s something so cozy about simple grilling and easy meals that I love.

5. That being said, we can’t come up here without some Mad Jack’s BBQ. Jeremy and I went and stood in the social distanced line this morning donning our masks for some brisket and ribs takeout. SO GOOD!

6. Early morning hikes with the hubs. There’s something so refreshing about being in nature.

7. Game playing. I’m glad Emma Grace loves it, too.

8. Watching an elk right outside the back door. It was cool, but we had to take down the birdseed before he ate it all. Reminded me of those darn monkeys in Africa. They look kind of cute, but they wreak havoc!

9. Caliche’s frozen custard. So creamy and smooth.

10. Pinto horses in the nearby pasture. Love watching them graze during the day.

What are you thankful for?

Africa Family Thoughts Travel

Human Life Is Valuable

It’s been a little over two years since I posted anything in this space. So much has happened in those two years from saying goodbye to our home of twelve years to moving continents to where we are now – fighting against the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic.

My daughter and I just returned from South Africa a week ago. I was in transit during that dreadful 9/11 day in 2001. I was supposed to fly when Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, but our flight was canceled, and we ended up stuck in London for a week. I’ve flown during some crazy times, but flying during the COVID-19 pandemic was a little unnerving. Our flight from London to Dallas was packed, because lots of people were re-routed through there since Dallas was one of a handful of airports doing health screenings. We received a health questionnaire on the plane. I totally expected thorough checks and vetting. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case. Immigration was a breeze. No one even asked for our questionnaires let alone suggested we self-quarantine. It made this virus seem like no big deal although I knew this wasn’t the case.

We decided to self-quarantine anyway. I believe I’m healthy enough to fight this thing off, but if I’m a carrier, well, human life is way too valuable for me to be careless going around spreading this to others, especially the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. I think I can hunker down at home with my favorite people in the world in an attempt to flatten the curve. I just wish everyone would do the same. If we’re going to stop this dead in its tracks, we’ve got to let go of our freedom for a moment and just stay home.

There’s a lot of fear and a lot of unknown out there. I’ve decided as a daily practice to try and spread a little joy through this blog of mine. Who knows what I’ll post, but I do hope it will bring a smile in the midst of everything going on right now.

Love you all. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Be smart.

Africa Travel

my take on ants

Ant

I know there are much bigger problems in the world than ants, but y’all, they drive me absolutely crazy. If you want to know why, you can read all about my woes over at Petit Elefant. Hint: they involve the invasion of my precious face wash.

Africa Community creativity Hospitality Ministry Travel

reverie guesthouse

oasis6

In the beginning of last year, I started a new little venture in the world of guesthouse businesses. I never really aspired to do something like this, but I’m so glad I did. I realized how much I love creating inviting spaces filled with beautiful things that make people smile. One of my favorite things is to see people’s reaction as they walk in and {positively} comment on the space.

January 2016, I listed BEAUTIFUL ARTSY AFRICAN RETREAT on Airbnb. I was ready for business! We didn’t get a booking until March. I wondered if this was a good idea after all. I didn’t get into this for my own sake.

I did it to provide an income for others while at the same time teaching business skills and imparting my high standard for excellence in everything you do.

oasis10

I did it to invite people of all walks of life to come to this place where we invite Jesus to abide. Our strict policy from the beginning has been that we don’t discriminate against ANYONE.

And, unashamedly, I did it to make money. Is a business successful if it doesn’t make any money? We have a beautiful property here in S. Africa. It’s a win win to use our space to make a little extra rands for running costs.

I guess all we needed was a booking to get the momentum going.

By July, because of the number of trips we had hosted and our excellent ratings, we had risen to Superhost status (and have maintained it since).

oasis7

In October, we added our second listing, BEAUTIFUL OASIS IN THE AFRICAN BUSH (these photos are a glimpse of that space).

Sometime, in the last quarter of 2016, our two listings made it to the top two spots when you google top White River Airbnb accommodations.

By December 31st, 2016, we had hosted 130 guests from 20 nations!

As I review my reasons for getting into this, I’m pleased that I’m right on track as we enter our second year. I’m so glad I get to do this guesthouse thing with this lovely lady who constantly makes me laugh and amazes me with her growth posture and shared drive to make a space that is clean, clean, clean.

smile!

We’ve certainly hosted people from all walks of life! One night we had a husband and wife Muslim couple staying with us who said one of the best things they loved about staying at our place was the people (we do have a pretty spectacular bunch) and how it’s always great to meet people like us. The very next night we had a gay Jewish couple stay with us who thanked us for our warm hospitality. I believe Jesus calls us to be a lover of people, and I’m so glad that people who meet us for the first time feel that when they sleep in our beds.

And we did make money! It’s always nice to recoup your startup costs AND make money on top of that.

Here’s to a successful 2016 and an even better 2017!