Saturday, November 17, 2018


  February 15,2018. Sometimes unexpected life circumstances  hit me in my gut, taking my breath away, bringing me to my knees, causing me to look up and ask the Lord, "Why?".  Today is one of those days. My sister Debbie just found out that her husband Mark is full of cancer and it has moved to his brain.
  So many questions flood my being. Mark had just gotten a clean bill of health after having a multitude of tests run. He had broken his collarbone a month or so ago, and then a couple of his ribs. The doctors didn't know what caused that and put him through numerous tests...x-ray, blood work, bone scans, cancer tests, on and on. Verdict, nothing wrong. Good to go.
Since he was still having some pain, the doctor gave him muscle relaxants and pain meds. After taking 3 days of the muscle relaxant he became delirious, hallucinating, slurring his speech and unable to walk. I told Debbie to stop the drug and wait. After 48 hours he was clear thinking again and feeling pretty good, but still unable to stand up and walk. Two more days passed and still not able to walk.
 Debbie had the ambulance take him to the hospital this morning for assessment. Why can't he walk?
CANCER.  Everywhere.
What about that clean bill of health????

  They have both been thru so much. Debbie's ex-husband being in a car wreck that left him in a coma for six months, and then brain damaged. She nursed him back to health for several years until he became violent.  Her son Billie who was born with a chronic condition had to go thru numerous surgeries from the time he was a child. She cared for him for years. He died at 18 due to complications. Now, Mark.
 The Lord deals us each a different hand. A hand that He wants to use so that we may come to know Him up close and personal in our circumstances and glorify Him. His ways our perfect, even when things seem so devastating and beyond comprehension.
 My heart breaks for them and the pain they are experiencing. Mentally I know we live in a fallen, depraved world. A world where satan is prince. Where life is really a blink of the eye. Eternity looms ahead. Forever.  Our destiny is in the Lord's hands. Christ my Savior has promised me and inheritance with Him. What could be better? Nothing.  In my earthly circumstances I still cry out....Why?

Meanwhile, I pray for the salvation of my loved ones.....

Mike, Debbie, Mark in Hawaii 2010

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas 2016

Silent Night
Hello from Sedona!  2018 is almost here and another fun filled year gone.
   Once again Mike toiled at our landscape. The lawn was thriving until the heat of summer hit and burned it up. He began again, from square one, this time with a different type of grass. LOTS of  hard labor. Next summer will be the test of success….or not. I am keeping my fingers crossed! In the meantime, he has been burning up the hiking trails with his friend Larry.
    I am still enjoying my paper crafting, Bible study, hiking, and part time pharmacy job. Nothing really new in those areas.
   Our solar system, installed last January, is producing 120% of our electrical needs, resulting in an almost non-existent electric bill.  Yea!
    In October, Mike and I went on an amazing two week vacation to Kauai with my nephew Tim and his wife Gena. Since they both enjoy hiking we repeated  many of our favorite hikes around the island. We had a great time and took almost 4000 photos between the four of us. Once back home, I created a Shuttefly photo book using about 200 of the pictures. So many incredible memories made.
    We had numerous visits from family and friends again this year and always look forward to these special times. I made several journeys to Ohio to visit my family. My dad turned 90 this year and is still as ornery as ever, continuing to win most of the card games we play.
     After 160,00 miles, we retired my 2002 Honda CRV and got a brand new 2018 Subaru Forester to take its place. I am getting used to all the high technology features it has….like automatic transmission! Ha! No more clutch pedal and 5 speed shifting for me. Mike and I also graduated to smart-phones from our little “dumb” flip-phones. We can now text and use the maps function to figure out where we need to be, usually on the couch.  We are finally moving into the 21st century!
 Cookie is now 15+ years old and though slower, just as cute as always and still my little shadow.
   Well, those are the 2017  highlights from the Smith family.

                                Wishing you a Blessed Christmas and Peace-filled year.
Cookie at 15+ years!

Sunday, November 19, 2017



  Somedays the planks that I have had in my own eyes make me more sensitive to those that suffer from the same afflictions.  In the  last months I have encountered people who are incredibly generous as well as those who are enslaved to their money and things-holding on to them for dear life. Irritation sets in (another of my sins) when friends/acquaintances who often make known to me their wealth withhold financial help to their family members who are in need. Words of anger want to escape my lips when I listen to them go on and on about how great their investments are performing while at the same time stating how their is no way they can advance a loved one some of their bounty. I constantly watch for this tendency in myself. I don't want to be a Silas Marner.
   I also am tired of listening and listening to others talk endlessly about their life "stuff"  never ONCE asking about me. A one way monologue. I feel like my outward patient listening skills are taken advantage of. I would like to express things that have gone on in my life, but only if someone is truly interested. I guess they aren't. At times my desire to express myself makes me rude in other situations by interrupting a person to get my two cents in. Pitiful. Another plank.
Maybe I just want someone to know me, to care enough to ask and listen.

 This is when I fall to my knees and remember the Lord who knows me inside and out and NEVER lets me down.

Psalm 139:1–6
1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Loss of special guy.

  When I heard that Rick Neal died last week, on October 11, 2016, I was surprised and sad. Surprised because he was only 64 years old and sad because he was a special guy from my past.
  I met Rick when I was a junior in high school and he had just graduated. We became friends and spent so many special times together....going to concerts (he loved music), swimming, movies, eating out, and playing games with our families. Once I graduated high school and went on to college we lost touch with each other until my third year. We ran into each other when I was home for a weekend. That meeting began our new relationship. Rick would come up to OSU on the weekends and help me study, go out to eat, check out the local music, and just enjoy each other. He was always such a gentleman, caring, courteous with a kind and generous spirit. He had a great sense of humor and we shared tons of fun times together.
    Over the years many things happened in both of our lives. I ended up moving to Texas and married Mike and Rick stayed in Ohio and married Karen and started his family and landscape business.
   Our paths never crossed again. That was over 34 years ago. I don't know what his life was like during that time, but I feel certain he kept his sense of humor, loved his family, and built a great business because of his hard work.
    I dug thru old photo albums and found a few pictures of Rick from way back then. Sweet memories of a special guy.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

New Year's Day-Winter Wonderland.

 A dream come true. During our numerous visits to Sedona beginning in 2000, I have been amazed at the indescribable beauty of the Red Rocks glowing in the sun, BUT, I have only seen pictures  of  of the area covered in snow. They look awesome. Since it does not snow much here, and when it does it melts quickly due to the intensity of the sun, you have to luck out to be around when such an event happens. This New Year's Day 2015 was that day for us. The entire day. WOW. The steady snow shower  began  the morning of the last day 2014. It snowed continuously with NO sun popping out until 9 a.m. New Year's Day morning after accumulating eight inches of glorious powder. Then came the sun. Mike and I, dressed in our warmest snow gear, armed with our cameras, piled in the jeep and went exploring. The views were out of this world. Exquisite. Enchanting, Breathtaking. Colorful. No words or pictures can capture our whole experience of  those 7 hours of prowling the area. One day later the white fluff was gone leaving the red rocks naked once more. How thankful I am for the chance to enjoy those snow filled hours.
A dream come true. 

Under Thundermountain at Posse Ground Park.

Mike taking photo of Bear Mountain off Dry Creek Road. 

Unusual spire formations near Broken Arrow.

Our front yard under 8 inches of power.

Alpine glow on the mountains at the end of the day. Taken from our back deck.

Near Doe Mountain.

Thundermountain later in the day. Snow has begun to disappear.

Wilson Mountain.

Coffee Pot rock.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Letter 2014


   2014, our first full year of retirement in Sedona, has gone by quickly in many ways and yet it seems so long since our move from Texas.
  Much time has been spent  this year working on home projects, both inside and out. Mike relocated literally TONS of rock in our yard as part of his landscape transformation. Bushes, trees, flowers and GRASS have been planted that with time will grow and add greenery to the otherwise red rock that prevails. On the inside we added screen doors, built an entertainment center, and installed wood blinds on most windows.
   We had tons of fun with  friends and family that came to visit and look forward to sharing beautiful Sedona with others this coming year. Mike’s  Jeep allowed us to scout out new places and trails that we could never experience with our car. Each new hike becomes our favorite until the next one and I never tire of snapping photos of  our adventures. 
  I have gotten back in the habit of walking 2+ miles each day, helping me  shed some weight and enjoy the fantastic weather and scenery.
    The sad part of this year was losing our 14 year old dog Biskit who died suddenly in September. He was my first dog and very special. It will be awhile before Mike, Cookie and I stop missing him. A  “playboy” until the end, he brought laughter and fun into our lives each day.
   The three of us made a long cross country trip to Ohio this November and  had a great time with my family.  Thankfully, we left  just before the bad weather and snow hit. After covering the multitude of  miles in our small car, we arrived safely back in Sedona with tired butts and bodies.  Don’t think we will be repeating that trip in the near future!  It will be air travel next time with Cookie staying at the kennel.

   I have made some wonderful friends this year at work and church, but it will be some time before Sedona truly feels like home. Meanwhile, I thank the Lord for all His blessings...thru the good times and the hard stuff. He is good.
     Merry CHRISTmas ! 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Thoughts on Faith....

Unbelief asks, “How can this be?” (Luke 1:18–20) Faith asks, “How shall this be?” (Luke 1:34–37)

  I go on not knowing—

  I would not if I might,
  I’d rather walk in the dark with God
  Than walk alone in the light;
  I’d rather walk by faith with Him
  Than to walk alone by sight.
                  —Helen Annis Casterline

Loss of My "Big Boy Biskit"

  After 14+ years of unconditional love, fun, joy, playtimes, kisses, and walks, Biskit, the wonder dog of my life, died suddenly and unexpectedly on Monday September 29th, 2014. We had enjoyed a perfect morning together. Went on our walk, played with his squeaky ball, rolled in the new grass, snoozed by my chair during lunch time, asked for his treat....and then something happened. He took a few unsteady steps, collapsed and died. 
  My heart breaks, and tears overcome me as I try to work through my grief. I tell myself, "he was just a dog"...but he was more than just a dog to me. His big fuzzy body kept me warm in bed at night, his rambunctious energy infused me to exercise with him, his never-ending love for his squeaky ball and toys brought me laughter and joy, his sloppy kisses made me feel loved, his sense of time keeping for his meals got me up at 5 a.m. each morning and 6 p.m. for supper, his gentle behavior and self-control  when hurting gave me respect for his "smartness", and his care for sister Cookie deepened my appreciation for his sweet nature. 
  Beside my pure love and enjoyment of Biskit, the  Lord used him to teach me SO many lessons over these years. Consistent discipline brings results and transformation, unconditional love, rebellion has consequences, perseverance through trials, enduring pain with self-control, patience for the things desired, and joy in all circumstances, just to name a few.

   I have a brain bank filled with 14 years of memories with my precious Biskit. I lay him to rest, not knowing how or if the Lord uses our animals in heaven. Regardless, my memories are eternal. I might not ever see Biskit again, but I am always able to turn to my treasure of special thoughts that are never ending. I am thankful the Lord gave me the perfect first dog and allowed me 14 years of devoted love to my furry four legged child, Big Boy Biskit". 

 Kisses and Hugs. 

13 Weeks. Taken the day I traveled to Georgia to pick him up. 

First Christmas

Kissing Santa

Time with Dad

The Rope 

In the tub

The Ball

Selling his kisses

The Pink Pig

The Tennis of hundreds

Snoozing in the afternoon

Helping with home improvements

Bluebonnets and the Red ball

Six weeks

10 weeks

Getting beautified


Bed head

With Grandma and Grandpa

Being silly

Day in the sun

Toy overload! 

Looking on...serious

Bluebonnets with mom

Travel in the car


The Family

Orange Ball

Dirty Boy

Looking Handsome