Wednesday, June 15, 2005

East, West...Home's best!

So here I am, sitting at the desk in my kitchen with a cup of coffee, overwhelmed with memories of an incredible trip. I never imagined things would go so smoothly, and feel more in love with my family than ever before. As we get back into the daily routine, I'm missing them! Amazingly enough, we never got sick of each other. I didn't look forward to a family of six sleeping in one motel room for over two weeks, and yet, it was nice. There's something pretty wonderful about all going to bed at the same time and talking about the day as we fell asleep. Two weeks of vacation was wonderful! And yet, I come home so refreshed and ready to get back into life! Because although the "mountaintop" of vacation is awesome, it truly is good to come down off the mountain (figuratively and literally!) and get back to a pretty wonderful life!

Before I give a few final comments about the trip, here's how our last day went...We had a great visit with Dwight Robertson at Kingdom Building Ministries on Tuesday morning. I could really see a couple of the kids going out to the "Laborer's Institute" someday...we were all really impressed with the whole organization. We actually made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Had a two hour layover at O'Hare, during which time Caroline threw up. But after that she seemed better and the rest of the trip was uneventful. Oh, except for a lady passing out in the aisle during the flight...kind of scary, but she was fine. Then the worst part was that when we arrived in Harrisburg, they couldn't get the gate to move out to the plane, so after a 15-minute forever wait we had to go down the emergency steps. Being "home" but stuck on the plane was frustrating, but soon enough we were off and there was my mom, waiting to pick us up!

If we had to do it over, what would we change? Well, besides little things here and there, the only thing I would have done differently is to come home after two weeks. That was long enough...the last two days were fun but the thing we wanted to see more than anything else was home! Was 2300 miles of driving too far? No...not really. (But maybe I should ask Alan, since he drove 2275 of them!) And yet, I wouldn't have wanted to do it any faster than we did. Staying two nights in the same location wasd always nice. The only thing I can think of that I may have skipped would be Silverton (the Old Hundred Gold Mine!) and Ouray, they were not that huge of a deal. But to get from Durango to Colorado Springs we almost needed to go through those towns, and it was an experience (notice I didn't say a good one!) driving over the Million Dollar Highway! I also would have found a way to whitewater (if I did it at all!) through the Glenwood Canyon on the Colorado River. The area where we went rafting was nothing spectacular as far as scenery is concerned.

And the highlights of the trip? Definitely the four-wheeling at Red Canyon in Utah and the horseback "steak ride" in Rocky Mountain National Park. But also all that time in the car was pretty special. We played games, told jokes, sang songs, and laughed a lot (except when the girls realized we were on our way to the Grand Canyon!) At one point we eavesdropped on a conversation Coleman was having with Emily. He likes thinking of things to invent, so said to her, "Emily, tell me everything you like to do and I'll tell you some things I could invent for you." Alan and I listened, and looked at each other and smiled. Long car trips make for captive audiences, and we had some great family conversation during those times.

We are home happy but broke! Our expenses shaped up as follows, listed as a percentage of the total...lodging 30%, car rental & gas 23%, food 20%, attractions 19%, and souvenirs 8%. The souvenir percentage would have been much higher had the Four Corners jewelry stands not been closed when we went by. Darn! Can you believe I came home without turquoise jewelry?! Alan did get me a pretty silver bracelet on the Navajo Reservation, though, so I'm not complaining too hard!

Here's the good news...all those expenses went on our credit card and the bill came today. Alan asked me how much it was and I said, "Don't worry about the amount...think of it in terms of how many frequent flyer points we've accrued towards our next trip!" He looked at me and rolled his eyes! I think he might cancel the credit card!

I close this journal with thanks to God for a vacation of a lifetime...not a day goes by that I don't feel blessed beyond measure. After two weeks of fun & adventure, I come home refreshed and looking forward to cooking, cleaning and taking care of my precious family.

Thanks for "coming along" with us on our trip. I know so many of you kept us in your prayers, and we thank you for many little details "fell" into place, and I know that wasn't by chance. So happy trails for now, and may God bless each of you this summer!

P.S. I may continue writing on this blog from time to time, so bookmark it and check back from time to time (but not too often!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Two days of fun in Colorado Springs

We drove through pouring rain on Friday afternoon on our five hour journey to Colorado Springs. When we arrived in town Alan saw gas for just $1.99 per gallon, much cheaper than the standard $2.25 to $2.50 we’d paid on our trip. I asked him if we needed to fill up, and he said, "The tank’s pretty full...we’re down to only three-quarters." Coleman only heard the last part and yelled, "Oh no, just three quarters left for our whole trip! What are we gonna do?!" He didn’t know we were talking about gas, and thought that was all the money we had left. We laughed and assured him that although money was getting low, we had more than 3 quarters left!

It was about 7 PM when we arrived in Colorado Springs. I had booked a room on Priceline and ended up with a really nice Doubletree Hotel for just $45 a night! We called my cousin Sandy, whose son Justin was playing in a basketball game at Manitou Springs High School, so we headed over to watch him play. After two weeks away from home, it was wonderful to see relatives, especially ones we don't see very often. We made plans to get together with them again on Sunday.

After the basketball game we were starving hungry and really in the mood for Chinese food. We couldn't seem to find any, but saw many Korean restaurants, so figured that would be close enough. As Alan ordered "beef & broccoli," they said, "This is not Chinese food," and pointed to the menu where the first thing listed was "beef intestines." Um, no thanks! Our search for Chinese food continued, and we finally found a place, just as they turned their lights out. We ran in quick and convinced them that we were desperate for Chinese food! We got it to go and really enjoyed our Chinese feast when we got back to the room. Coleman quite possibly won the award for biggest eater! His appetite has been huge on this trip. When we go out to eat, he’ll often order what he wants, and then add "Actually, I’ll take two of them!"

Colorado Springs is a really nice town. On our trip, we’ve been in a lot of neat towns, but most have been built solely on tourism, with gift shops galore. But Colorado Springs seems more like a "normal" city than other places we’ve been, plus still has a lot of fun attractions. Also, it is swamped with Mexican restaurants which is fine by me!

On Saturday morning we swam at our hotel for a long time. Then we took showers and struck out for Focus on the Family’s headquarters. We’ve been Focus on the Family supporters for a long time and really appreciate their ministry. First we went to the Welcome Center where there were a lot of fun things for the kids to do and a huge bookstore for the parents. Then we went on a tour of the Administration Building. It was really interesting, and would have been more so if it was a weekday and we could have seen the employees in action.

On our way back we toured through Garden of the Gods, an area of rock formations. Although they were neat to see, they didn't compare to the mammoth red rocks we had seen in Utah, so we drove through the park to see them but didn't get out to hike.

I forgot to mention that our hotel was right beside a 20 screen cinema called Tinseltown. We were all in the mood to see a movie. The problem was that the boys wanted to see Sharkboy and Lava Girl, and the girls wanted to see Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, a definite chickflick. So we parted ways, the boys putting on their 3-D glasses to see their movie, and the girls joining throngs of other girls at our movie. We spotted just one man in the entire theater, poor guy! Our movie was about four 16-year old friends who found a pair of pants at a thrift shop...oh, actually, forget it, it’s too long a story and you can see it if you want to! It received pretty good reviews, and wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great either. Most of all it was fun to be at the movies with my girls. I am so thankful for the "sisterhood" they share.

On Sunday morning when we woke up Coleman wasn't his usual chattery self, and we knew something was wrong. His head hurt, his tummy hurt, and he had absolutely no energy. Alan and the girls went out for brunch while Coleman and I stayed in the room. He got back into bed and fell asleep, waking up every now and then to throw up. Poor kid. After a couple hours, he woke up and said very cheerfully, "Guess what? I’m fine!" And he was.

Next he announced he was hungry...and you'll never guess what he wanted. A corndog, of all things! Even when I am feeling fine a corndog doesn't appeal to me, but it's really what he begged us for. We were headed for the town of Manitou Springs, and found him a corndog there. He gobbled it up and from then on seemed perfectly fine!

Manitou Springs is a very artsy kind of town and we didn't like it much. Mostly it seems very New Age, with several psychic shops on the main street. We felt uncomfortable there, and didn't care to spend much time there. We did stop at a place that had been recommended to us called the Penny Arcade. It was full of old-time pinball machines, really old ones! Most of them cost a nickel or dime to play. The more modern ones were two games for a quarter. We had a lot of fun there. I told Alan if I was the owner of that place I'd sell those pinball machines on ebay and retire! Really these were extremely vintage machines and surely are worth a lot of money.

We headed back into Colorado Springs to have supper with my cousin Sandy and her family. We spent a few hours with them and laughed so hard at the similarities between our families. It was a great time that passed way too quickly. We left there wishing we didn't live a couple thousand miles away from them.

It was 10 PM as we arrived back in Denver for the final few days of our trip. Hard to believe that just two weeks and 2400 miles ago we were here! We checked into the Red Lion Hotel that I had booked on Priceline. Before you think I get all kinds of incredible deals on Priceline, you should know it doesn't always work that way. This hotel was supposed to be a three-star, and maybe it was at one time, but it was extremely dated. Definitely a huge notch below the other places we've stayed, but oh well, it was only $45. Really we were only there to sleep, and got out of there early on Monday to head to Water World, one of America's biggest water parks.

Water World was a blast! Waterparks are always so much fun. We laughed so hard on the way there as I told the kids of a childhood memory of my family at Wet & Wild in Florida. My dad & I went down a huge waterslide...a straight drop in about two seconds into a small pool at the bottom, the kind I would never consider going on now! Anyway, at the bottom the lifeguards always hurry you out of the water so the next person can go, but my dad wouldn't get out. He kept saying, "Tell your mom to bring me a towel!" Turns out the force of him hitting the water had ripped his suit in two! The lifeguard was so frustrated that he wasn't getting out of the water and my mom was doubled over in laughter as she brought him a towel! The kids all decided if they saw a ride like that one they might just skip it in honor of Gippy!

There were so many fun rides at Water World, and the weather was nice, although it was pretty breezy. The sun was bright, though, so we kept slathering more sunscreen on, having learned our lesson last week at Glenwood Springs. There were a lot of family raft rides which we all loved. The most fun ride was a long trip in an innertube down a lazy river with a lot of waterfalls to go over. Now that's my idea of whitewater rafting!

Tuesday morning we will stop at KBM, a ministry we support. (If you click on their website you can get a free subscription to "The Laborer's Journal," one of the best devotional magazines I've ever read.) Anway, the head of the ministry is Dwight Robertson, a great guy who knows Alan's family from their days in Indiana. We'll visit there for an hour or so and then head on to the airport and our flight home. On Wednesday I'll post my last entry of this trip journal from "home sweet home." Gets me excited just thinking about it!

The kids at Focus on the Family headquarters. Posted by Hello

My cousin Sandy and I in her front yard...check out those mountains she can see from her living room. (The snow-covered one is Pikes Peak!) Posted by Hello

Our cousins Sandy & Bruce and their family in front of their gorgeous home.Posted by Hello
We bought so many souvenirs that we had to upgrade to a bigger car...same black Ford Excursion, stretch style! (There was a wedding going on at Garden of the Gods, so Caroline & Alan posed in front of this cool car!) Posted by Hello

The kids try to hold up this rock to keep it from falling! This is Balanced Rock, at Garden of the Gods. Posted by Hello

Water World Posted by Hello

There really is a Wally World here...this picture's for my Dad! Posted by Hello

Monday, June 13, 2005

Caroline's ready for fun at Water World Posted by Hello

Emmy in raft, heading towards a waterfall! Posted by Hello

Here comes Elly, floating down the lazy river Posted by Hello

Elly Old Colorado City we found this shop and of course we needed a picture of our Elly girl here. Posted by Hello

Alan & Coleman with their 3-D glasses on, ready for the movies. Posted by Hello

Friday, June 10, 2005

Next time we'll skip the gold mine tour!

We left Durango mid-morning on Thursday and headed for Silverton and the Old Hundred Gold Mine. Now if you know anything about Durango you probably are thinking, "Did they take the train to Silverton?" It is the biggest attraction in Durango, a three-hour train ride through the San Juan Mountains. However, since we were heading to Ouray (pronounce Your-RAY) and had to drive through Silverton to get there, it didn’t make sense to take the train ride to the same location we had to drive to anyway. It isn’t cheap, either...would have cost our family close to $200. We debated about having some of us ride the train and some of us ride in the car to get to Silverton, but in the end most of us were into the one-hour car trip rather than the three-hour train ride. I’ve heard you see beautiful scenery on the way there, since it goes along the rivers and you see lots of waterfalls. On the highway, we were so high up that to see the streams we had to pull over and look down. Way down. Which was breathtaking not only for the beauty for also for the fear it struck in us!

Anyway, we drove over what is called the Million Dollar Highway, or the San Juan Skyway. The drive was really pretty and not too treacherous, at least not yet. More about that later. We came upon a stream rushing down the mountainside which was a highlight. We wanted a family picture there so pulled over. A family was already there taking pictures of their kids and Alan thought they might like a family picture (because of course, we wanted one) and asked, "Could I take a picture?" And the father looked at him kind of crazy and said, "Well, if you really want one!"

Anyway, we moved on and got into Silverton, an old western-looking town full of what else...lots of tourist shops. We wanted to shop but thought we would come back later after we’d toured the highly touted Old Hundred Gold Mine. This was five miles outside of town on a dirt road, and is a tour into an actual former gold mine. Mining is obviously huge in this region. (Hence the name "Silverton" because they got "silver by the ton.") On the mine tour you ride a third of a mile into the mountain and learn how the prospectors mined the gold. I had made it clear to Alan that I would not be going along on the tour...after nearly hyperventilating going through the one mile mountain tunnel at Zion, I knew my claustrophobia would do me in going into a dark mountain passage for an hour.

So we got there and were met by a burly old prospector, looking exactly the way you would imagine. We got to pan for gold and silver while waiting for the tour. They "salt" the mine with jeweler’s silver so we had fun discovering all kinds of small pieces of silver. Soon it was time for everyone to put on their raincoats and hardhats and head into the mines. The kids were very disappointed that I wasn’t going along, but I was not about to be talked into it.

The tour was less than an hour, and when they came out I saw few smiles. Any I did see must have been smiles of relief that the tour was over! As they told me how bad it was to go into that wet, dark place with water dripping all over them, I knew I’d made a wise decision. Alan said I would have flipped out with the tight confines they had to go through to get into the mine. When we got in the car, Elly said, "Daddy, did you tip the guy?" When he said no, she said, "Well, there was a sign that said, ‘If you liked the tour, tip your guide.’" And he said, "Well, I didn’t like the tour!" They were all feeling sick and hungry so we headed into Silverton for something to eat.
On the way, they told funny stories about the guide. For example, at one point he called all the kids over and told them to look way down in a hole while he shone a light down. When they finished looking, he said, "Know what that was? That’s the miner’s portapotty!" And then went into peals of laughter. You can imagine how amused the girls were!

They had a cute sign hanging up in the miner’s shop. It said, "We gladly remove Kerry/Edwards bumper stickers here...just .95 cents + $5.00 tax!" Anyway, we left the gold mine and arrived in Silverton at 4:30 PM to find that the town pretty much closes down at 4 PM when the last train leaves to go back to Durango. Whoops, guess we weren’t going to do much shopping after all. We ate soup & sandwiches at the Brown Bear Café, which was said to have the "world’s best" French Onion soup. Turns out maybe it was "Brown Bear’s best" anyway...they are legends in their own minds. I never trust places that ask if you want "brown or white gravy," anyway, as they asked the kids what color gravy they wanted on their mashed potatoes. If they can’t even call it beef or chicken gravy, I’ll pass!

Since the town was pretty much closed down, we headed on our way to Ouray. I was glad to see a sign that showed it was only 20 miles away, a quick trip. Wrong! This twenty-mile trip took us almost 90 minutes over the Million Dollar Highway. Hairpin turns like you’ve never seen before. You really couldn’t get going much faster than 20 miles an hour or so. This was treacherous driving! I kept telling Alan, "Hug that center line!" I couldn’t even enjoy the views because I didn’t want to chance saying, "Oh look at that!" and have him take his eyes off the road even for one nanosecond...there is just no margin for error. I know it was named the Million Dollar Highway because of the views, and yet in my mind it is named that because after people drive over it, they say "I wouldn’t drive that again for a Million Dollars!"

Ouray is a beautiful town nestled in the middle of a huge mountains, and is referred to as the "Switzerland of America." Evening was approaching when we arrived into town, and the whole town is lit up with lots of white Christmas lights on many buildings. We stayed at the Best Western Twin Peaks, whose big claim to fame is that John Wayne stayed there for 40 days while filming "True Grit." In fact, they assigned our family to the actual room he stayed in. This meant nothing to the kids...their only concern was that they were not sleeping in his actual bed!

One thing Ouray is famous for is jeep tours onto mountain passages inaccessible by car. After risking our lives driving the Million Dollar Highway, this tour option did not appeal to any of us! We did some hiking, though, and saw some gorgeous waterfalls. Then we enjoyed soaking in the hot springs at our hotel.

Hugging Caroline in front of a gorgeous mountain stream on the Million Dollar Highway Posted by Hello

Family picture by the stream Posted by Hello

Pretty girl by a gorgeous tree...or maybe I should say gorgeous girl by a pretty tree! Posted by Hello

Gold mine tour...minus one claustrophobic Mommy! See that hole in the mountain they're about to go you know why I didn't go!Posted by Hello

Panning for gold! Posted by Hello

Downtown Silverton Posted by Hello

Mist over Ouray Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 09, 2005

They should call it freezingwater, not whitewater!

It was good to head out of the desert and back into civilization as we approached Durango, only an hour ride from the Mission. We came very close to Mesa Verde National Park, which I really wanted to visit, but Alan and the kids were not into more sightseeing. I guess it will have to wait for another trip. We checked into our hotel, Best Western Durango Inn & Suites. We were really hungry and found Gazpacho’s, a good Mexican restaurant someone had recommended. Had a nice dinner and then walked around downtown Durango. It’s a neat old town that smells like leather with all its western shops! We stopped at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for a piece of candy, for which we paid dearly. I think it was $7 for each of us to have one piece of chocolate! We did some souvenir shopping but Alan & Coleman parted company from the girls and me because we all wanted to shop for "necessities" for the girls and boy stuff for the boys.

In the morning we scheduled our whitewater rafting trip. We had really looked forward to this, even though we'd heard the rivers were running fast and high because of all the snow. Whitewater rafting companies are a dime a dozen in Durango. I found out that all guides need to be licensed, so to me, it didn’t really matter who we booked with. We reserved a trip with Southwest Whitewater. We were going to do a four-hour trip, but decided to do a two-hour trip instead. And am I ever glad we did! This was definitely NOT the highlight of the trip for any of us.

First of all, the water was absolutely freezing. Second of all, we had to sit up on the rafts, not in them. All of us. Except when we were approaching the big rapids, they had Caroline and Coleman sit down in. It was our family plus two guides. They gave all kinds of worst-case scenarios and of course once again we had to sign our lives away, promising not to sue them when we got killed or maimed as is wont to happen on these trips. The bus trip to the put-in spot was filled with photos of capsized rafts. The guide asked us our names, and after we told her she said, "OK, now if you pop out of the raft, your new name will be 'Swimmer,' and you need to listen to everything I tell you. Oh, great.

Our guides sat in the back and shouted rowing instructions to us. In front of them were Caroline & Coleman, with Emily & Elly in front of them, and then Alan & me in front. The main guide was diagonally behind me, and she steered the raft, and managed to steer our raft at an angle that sent me first into every rapid. Lovely. Everyone can thank me for taking the hit and sparing them from the full force of all the icy water. Our raft would drop way down, almost standing on end, the frigid water would wash over us, and then we’d pop straight up, coming out of the rapid.

They had a photographer along the route who took pictures of us in every rapid. And every photo had me turned around, looking back. Why? I was counting kids, of course. It was a wild ride and I was really scared that the kids would fly out of the raft in the rapids. I really did worry about them. Maybe in warmer months coming out of the raft isn’t such a big deal, but the thought of the kids landing in that icy raging water really scared me.

Our feet were completely numb. We wore water shoes, but they didn’t keep us warm. They did rent wetsuit booties, which would have been worthwhile. If our feet wouldn’t have felt like icebergs, maybe the whole ride would have been more enjoyable. But overall, we could only recommend whitewater rafting if the water was much warmer. Plus, even though they take kids as young as 5 years old, the younger kids didn’t enjoy it. Even wildman Coleman said it scared him. Believe it or not, the one who liked it best was Elly, the same kid who was petrified on the four-wheelers. She kept saying she wished the water was faster! Go figure. The two hour trip was about an hour & a half too long for the rest of us.

We had planned to stay two nights at the Durango Inn & Suites, but after seeing the downtown area we wanted to spend our second night in Duango there. We found a room at Best Western Rio Grande right in the middle of downtown. This hotel was really nice. The indoor pool was in the center of the hotel, atrium style, open to all four floors of the hotel. It was a much nicer indoor pool than the kind in a humid stuffy pool room. We were all so cold from the rafting trip that we all sat in the hot tub for a long time, just relaxing and trying to warm up!

We walked around town some more, stopping at a nice French bakery, Jean Pierre’s. We had fresh bread coated with butter...we were hungry and it tasted good! The kids had eaten after rafting at Burger King, but Alan & I were saving our appetite to go out on the town later. So after we walked around with the kids for an hour or so, we bought them ice cream and rented a couple movies for them. They were set, and so were we!

There were so many restaurants in town that we decided to get one course at each place! We found a café called Steamworks, where we started with a hot spinach artichoke cheese dip. By the time we finished that we were pretty full so decided not to buy dinner after all. There is a really neat old Victorian hotel in Durango called The Strater Hotel which has a piano bar beside it called the Diamond Belle Saloon.

We’d heard their Chocolate Avalanche dessert was to die for, so we ordered it! It said "for two" but looked like it was for at least four! It was huge...wish I’d had my camera along. Brownies, whipped cream, ganache, hot chocolate ice cream, and lots of strawberries all smothered in hot fudge. Can you say ALKA-SELZER?! Halfway through we were stuffed, but sat there for half an hour or so listening to "Hot Molly" on the piano. She was really good, sang a song with the words, "If God doesn’t live in Colorado, I’m sure that’s where he spends most of his time." As we walked back up the hill to our hotel on the beautiful Colorado night, we could understand those words.

Ready for whitewater! Posted by Hello

Nice indoor pool at Best Western Rio Grande in downtown DurangoPosted by Hello

French bakery in Durango Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A day with the Navajo people

We awoke Tuesday morning in a hurry to get to the Navajo Mission before Vacation Bible School began at 10:30 AM. But Alan made us a little late...

When he got out of the shower, I threw him his clothes for the day, including a pair of underwear. Meanwhile I was on the phone getting directions to the Navajo Mission, and because the route to get there sounded confusing, I handed the phone to him. When he hung up, he said, "Now, what did I do with my underwear?" No one could find them anywhere, and he was convinced we were all playing a trick on him. He started a serious search, even offering a monetary reward, but to no avail. He went through the sheets, duffle bag, and even pulled the drawers out (no pun intended!) looking for them. Meanwhile we are all dressed and ready to go and Alan’s still standing there in his towel. About that time, Coleman said, "Daddy, why aren’t you dressed yet?" We were all laughing so hard...all of us except Alan, that is! He was convinced one of us had his underwear on! Finally he put on his day-old underwear since everything else was still packed in the car. Remember I told you we play "stump the expert" and hide something in each hotel room to know that he fully searched the room? Well, we left his underwear behind at that Holiday Inn, never knowing what happened to them. He is still mad about losing a brand new pair of underwear! Maybe you had to be there, but he is Mr.Organization and was so frustrated...and the rest of us were in giggles.

We arrived at the Navajo Mission just in time for Vacation Bible School. There were about 25 Indian kids there. Our kids had fun getting to know them. Meanwhile Alan was snatched up quickly on the manual labor detail and helped to lay block and then drywall a ceiling for the Indian classroom. I was assigned to the cleaning detail, not having told them about my "disability" towards cleaning! As I was cleaning a bathroom, I called out to the other room to ask Diane, the lady in charge, "Ever see snakes around here?" She yelled back, "Yeah, why, did you find one?" I said, "Listen, lady, if I find a snake in here I’ll be on your lap!" She laughed and told me that just yesterday they’d seen a rattler, but most of the snakes are "good" snakes. Ha, only good snake is a dead one far as I’m concerned. From then on whenever I had to walk somewhere I stayed on the gravel and out of the sagebrush, with my eyes peeled for anything in the grass. There were a lot of lizards there, which aren’t as bad as snakes but aren’t a whole lot better.I was working with a Navajo lady named Vera, and while we worked we talked. She has recently started attending a Christian church, but still holds on to a lot of Navajo spiritual beliefs, of which there are many. She talked about an uncle who had recently died and said he was now an eagle. She said she can't believe in Heaven as an afterlife because it seems too vague, but instead believes that people go to a "third world." (As if that's not vague?) Anyway, I had a chance to tell her that's where Bible study and faith come in, and how I'm sure a lot more comfortable believing in Heaven rather than a "third world." She was a really nice lady and I enjoyed talking to her and learning more about Navajo customs. Our conversation really convinced me how much the Navajo people need the Lord.

When Vacation Bible School was over the girls came and helped out with the cleaning, but after a couple hours, there wasn’t much more for us to do. The Indian kids had already gone home. The kids and I were ready to go but the men at the Mission weren’t ready to part with Alan, really appreciating his talents. We left there around 5 PM and headed for Durango..I considered our time there a success since I didn’t see any snakes! Seriously, it was a good experience for all of us and we enjoyed meeting and learning more about the Navajo people.

Coleman and his friend Benin Posted by Hello

The Navajo Kids Posted by Hello

Navajo Friends Posted by Hello