… for education, and mixing it all up with a little fun has rejuvenated my spirit, yet I must admit it took almost an entire month! My itinerary began during the waning days of August with a visit to Hatch, NM for the Chile Festival, an annual Labor Day weekend fun fest. While driving with my windows down (chile perfumed air cascades from metal cages that rage red as vendors roast several varieties–I go for the Big Jim’s–a meaty chile often stuffed with fillings like cheese and corn) the road meandered through pecan plantations and past stone churches. I took lots of pictures.
We stayed in Las Cruces, NM, ate breakfast every day at The Shed, and tried a new place for dinner, a diner style restaurant called Habanero’s. Their green chile cheeseburgers dripped with melted cheddar as all the peppery goodness sat cozy on a lightly grilled bun. We ordered French fries, which were served inside a paper lined cup, and for dessert, ate the creamiest vanilla ice-cream blended with Mexican cinnamon. A perfect combination, I definitely plan to go back for more!
… westward, in High Rolls Mountain Park, NM, we visited friends and sipped their shivery–smooth the rankles off your nerves–apple champagne. They paired it with crunchy crackers, grapes, and cheese, and honestly, it must have been the bubbles that made me feel as though I was floating over their orchard.
On our way out, we stopped at the Old Apple Barn off of Hwy 82 for a souvenir (I got this fully reversible and totally groovy hat).
… the next day, we drove to Silver City, NM, home of the Kneeling Nun monolith–and the myriad of tales with which it is associated–a rock outcropping that is the inspiration for my book, The Legend of the Kneeling Nun.
Feeling the heat, we stopped at the visitor’s center and spoke with the receptionist. Her suggestion that we visit the Mimbres Pottery display at Western New Mexico University Museum capped our day with wonder, and the contemporary art, inspired by the ancient culture’s artifacts, filled the lower level with fun. When we learned several relics were used by the long-gone peoples to make their version of beer, we were again inspired. After stopping at a convenience store, we went back to the receptionist’s desk, borrowed her shark shaped bottle opener and thought about what we might eat for dinner. Ah, the simple joys!
New Mexico is much more than the 47th state to achieve its place in the Union; it is a state of being, and I am blessed every time I’m there. But in September 2014, other places also called my name.
… home for a luggage re-pack, I joined friends for an international trip. After a quick stop in London for fish and chips on the Thames River, and a viewing of the Crown Jewels, the London Underground, or as it is known locally, the Tube took me back to Heathrow.
… all the way to Tel-Aviv, we arrived safely in Israel for an amazing tour of the Holy Land. Despite reports of war, our guide noted the peaceful atmosphere everywhere. Indeed, since tourism was down there were no lines to wait in, no crowds to maneuver, and, really, no worries at all.
A dip in the Dead Sea, wading in pools beneath waterfalls, strolling through old Jerusalem, visiting ruins both holy and secular … this is why I came. But when I sat atop the Cliffs of Arbel overlooking the Sea of Galilee, my heart quieted. This lonely place … Oh! I have so much to tell you, it’s difficult to hold my thoughts at bay.
As September drifted away, I went home only long enough to water my plants for I still had one place left to go.
… with family in Ohio. My parents are going through a most difficult time; the severity of illness, the loneliness of separation, grief, hope … emotionally a raw time. Yet our family’s roots seem to be watered with optimism. When we are weak, we know the One who is strong.
I learned so much this past month, I look forward to sharing my insights with you. And as before, I will continue to explore the themes that support the time period and peoples of the Old Spanish Missions. In all these things I look forward to sharing more in regard to Linking Yesterday to Today.
So until next time, keep your chin up and your heart happy … and thank God for the food you eat! Amy