my week in arizona

I picked only the very best pictures. I’m not sure you can fully appreciate the challenge I faced. Because I take a lot of pictures! Even when I exercise self-control!

I need to impress upon you the amazing beauty we experience here in Oregon. Even on a cloudy day we catch glimpses of Mount Hood on our way through the French Prairie heading south to the airport at Eugene. I couldn’t leave that out!

I know, there aren’t even any people to see. Still, you can sense the calm atmosphere in the Anderson home here in “my” spot. I/we had lots of plans for the week, but I have a phone full of new books I’ve been ordering on the cheap through BookBub; this spot became my retreat center.

I made a date with Joy (Hatch, our Erin’s mom) and Ed happened to be home from work this day. Joy and I enjoyed 2.5 hours of comfortable conversation in comfortable chairs in the comfort of their backyard overlooking the golf course. We seem to have a lot in common, the two of us, neither running out of words about books and church and family (we’re related, of course) and life in general.

Who could resist booking a flight?

Are they not as cute as they come?

Who’s inside and who’s outside?

That’s Tera, dear friend of Quinn and this is her home. You’ve seen her before, in my Thanksgiving build posts. The whole Finkbeiner family is close with the whole Anderson family. I love when that happens.

Yep, they played that game. They got most of them right, but oops not this one.

The crowd was most entertained! BTW, Bailey’s parents adore and admire his choice for a lifemate.

And so many thoughtful and generous gifts!

Marissa, Bailey, Sarah, Cassidy—on June 1, they will all have the same last name.

“Old” and good friends just can’t be beat. Heather, Justin, and Quinn go back 24 years!

Thanks, Tera and Julie! You threw a smashing wedding shower party!

Sunday morning followed and I lingered behind to get yet another favorite shot of the family heading into church.

After service they willingly posed for this whole-family shot. Gotta snap these when I can!

After lunch. I took a drive down to Oro Valley to spend some time with cousin Aneta and her husband, Kent. I visited them three years ago, yet we managed to find plenty to talk about.

Their daughter Stephanie dropped in after taking her kids to school the next morning. It was she and her sister, Carrie, who invited me to a 50th anniversary celebration for their parents last June. Quinn and I were there; who can resist a family party invitation? Obviously, I can’t!

We had a lot to talk about and I even let her get a word in edgewise. She has strong beliefs and isn’t shy about expressing them. I hope we’ll convince her and her family to join a Thanksgiving build some year. Maybe later this year!

Before I headed back up to Queen Creek, I grabbed this selfie, which I have to admit, makes me smile. I wonder why . . .

My post wouldn’t be complete without including one with the baby of the family. Issy Bear took me for power walks nearly every day. She gets her fair share of attention from every single family member.

How am I doing? Only the very best pictures, right? Here we are at Pei Wei, Marissa’s choice for her farewell dinner. She soon leaves for Verona, Italy, to spend a semester of study abroad. She is only a few days past her 20th birthday. Such a lovely young woman!

Exactly two years have passed since I visited cousin Carolyn and her husband, Tom, in their beautiful Scottsdale home. This time she met me at a coffee shop. Since she is actually cousin to Margaret-Rose (Mauri’s first wife), I get to claim her too. Our 2.5-hour conversation covered the gamut of iPhone photography, Bible study, family dynamics, our common love for Pepsi/Coke and resistance to indulge, and more. Margaret-Rose is my soul-sister, and I’m happy to avow Carolyn as my soul-cousin.

I couldn’t be so close to Grand Canyon University without getting a parking pass and taking a walk around the campus where Marissa has been a student for 1.5 years. She has moved out of her dorm because of her upcoming semester abroad. But now I can picture her in this setting when she returns as a junior next fall.

Cassidy shoots a free throw (it goes in) and I got to witness two games. As a freshman she played with the varsity as well, winning both games, by the way. The whole family turned out to cheer on player #12.

Cass was less than amused by her team photo, but she showed us anyway.

Everybody’s getting ready to leave, not just the gym but to other countries. Marissa says bye to Papa and Guh—she heads to Italy and her grandparents head to Mexico!

And the next morning Quinn dropped off two travelers, Dusty heading for Oregon, where he works!

Quinn unpacks another shipment of diapers for the Babies of Juarez. (I’m glad the site is back up so I could link it.)

Anybody recognize this guy?

Dale and Mina DeWitt are long-loved friends from my life in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Much water has passed under the bridge for all of us since those days, but being with them felt as though not a single day has passed. Still, we had plenty of stories to tell, and the afternoon turned into evening.

Their DIL Beth joined us for dinner (Brad couldn’t make it in time), and I just had to wonder if my heart could hold any more after a week of rich conversations with so many loved ones.

Time to head home. I’ll miss everybody, but maybe especially this girl. Thanks, Bailey, for snapping this keeper.

Issy is ready to wave farewell with her white hanky.

Sniff, sniff. Bye bye. I miss you already!

It’s only a nine-minute drive to the Mesa-Gateway airport. Allegiant offers two flights a week to/from Eugene, but you can’t beat the no-frills fares.

I couldn’t resist reaching across to snap a picture of Mount Hood on the way home. Bookend photos to hold together this photo epistle of my week in Arizona. It might take another week for my feet to touch the ground.

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2 Responses to my week in arizona

  1. Jen says:

    You are such a wonderful storyteller. Glad you got to visit with so many friends and family members.

  2. Jo Helsabeck says:

    I agree with Jen’s comments above! Your photo journalism so blesses me…and
    many others. Thanks for sharing.

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