Monday, March 4, 2013

Home in Arizona. . . . .

"God be with you til we meet again". . . .  As we sang this song in church today..I thought of those of you in my mission and those of you here out west that I am beginning to see gradually.. The best of both worlds..

Steve and I left North Carolina on our way to South Carolina bright and early Monday morning.. It was overcast, but not raining and we had a great drive to "Boiling Springs", South Carolina.  This is the first area that my grandson Elder Kelly Harper served in on his mission in South Carolina.  We drove through the small town that reminded us of Prescott, Arizona.  We found the apartment that he lived in and the shops that he shopped at and I found my first "Sonic", since I left Arizona.. so we  were both happy.. Diet cherry limeade is my favorite and it was sooooo good.  We took lots of pictures and then headed west toward Jackson, Mississippi.. We thought we might miss the huge storm that was wrecking havoc in the mid-west but as nightfall came so did the rain.. it was pouring and strong winds and very dark and the lines on the roads in Mississippi were non existent.. I felt so sorry for Steve, he was white knuckled as he drove through the torrential rain, not really being able to see the road ahead, more than 10 feet in front of us, for 3 hours.. We finally got to Jackson and found our hotel and a great dinner right next door..

Boiling Springs, South Carolina.. my grandsons first area.

 Steve at Elder Kelly Harper's first apartment on his mission
 SONIC. .  My first diet cherry limeade in 18 months
Fireworks stores everywhere. . . 

We awoke on Tuesday to sunshine and were so happy.. It would probably be our longest day as we crossed the rest of Mississippi, Alabama and Texas.. Loved it when we hit Alabama, the landscape was wide open and really pretty.. Loved being able to see beyond the sides of the road.. Steve was giving me a tutorial in roadside billboards.. Since he is in the field of marketing, he was showing me the good ones and those that were to hard to read as you drove by at 75 mph.  As we crossed the border into Texas, I was surprised  at how green it was and that it wasn't completely flat. We saw an ostrich walking down the road and long horn cattle..which were both really fun to see.. We smelled the oil fields  when we got close to them.. the smell of sulfur is so strong.. It was dark by the time we neared Odessa, where we were staying that night and we could see hundreds of red lights in the distance surrounding us as we drove. We couldn't figure out what they were, so when we stopped for gas we asked and found out they were the oil derricks in the oil fields.  We ate and settled in for the night and I was so tired, I didn't even read that night..
 This is what I call a fully packed car
a packed car top carrier

 We saw lots of trailers bringing their race cars to Phoenix for the upcoming race
 Oil fields all over west Texas
 Our Mascot "Dash".. Steve got him for Alli at the Good Will in Boiling Springs
Getting closer to home.. I see yucca plants
Wednesday would be our last day of  driving.. Our GPS said we would arrive at my home at 7:00.. We still had a little of Texas to go through then New Mexico and finally Arizona.. As we neared New Mexico the road runs right along the border and we could see Mexico and  parts of it looked like the part of Peru my grandson served on his mission.. In Las Cruces we ate at another favorite of the food network chef  Rick Baily.. Chicos Tacos.. rolled tacos served in a spicy sauce.. very good but definitely different.  Then we were on our way home..

 My family all met me at my condo when we arrived and had my car and car top carrier unpacked in a matter of minutes.. So good to see everyone and get my hugs from everyone.  It was really good to be home and really weird too.. As a senior missionary, we did things on our own, so being alone wasn't the problem.. it was just unreal being here in Arizona.. like I didn't belong here..

 Thursday I met with my stake president, President Rizley to have my exit interview and be released from my mission.  I didn't think that I would be emotional, but when he said that I could take off my missionary badge, I did tear up..

I have been cleaning and organizing and unpacking and getting thing back in order.. I heard there were a couple of the huge haboob dust storms while I was gone and they left a fine layer of dust on everything.. so I am constantly cleaning and wiping things down.  It is starting to look like home again. 

Saturday I had my first outing since getting home.. I went to the Phoenix Marathon to see my son Steve race.. He did a great job and it was a very fun event.. thousands of people and lots of booths and interactive things to do.  A tradition with Steve and marathons is to go to Cafe Rio after the off we went.  A great day..  
 Steve & Scott Brady running in the Phoenix Marathon
 The finish line
Lots of booths and fun interactive things to do

It was very fun to see everyone today at church.. so many hugs and many told me of some of their favorite things from my letters.. The ward had really grown and there were so many new people, that I didn't know. But so many I did know and was happy to see again. 

Sunday evening we had our monthly family get together and dinner.. I just love these evenings when we all get together and spend some quality family time, to catch up and share what is going on in each of our lives

This will be my last letter, so I'll say "Until we meet again"......

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