Acceptance with Joy

Bob had a much, much better photo!

This is the flower we found in Death Valley. It is so much better than the first one I posted. Especially poignant this morning as my body spent most of the night in an arthritis fit that would not let me sleep until the wee hours of the morning. It rained almost four inches overnight. Likely the weather effected me as well.

But there you have it. Acceptance with joy even when it is impossible to sleep.

Las Vegas to Death Valley

On the way, near Nellis Air Force Base, we saw the largest drone we had ever witnessed with our own eyes. Quite intimidating! Nothing the guys below ever experienced for certain!

Yes that tv show is where my thoughts about Death Valley were formed! How about yours? We were privileged to get to see the Valley with our own eyes. Granted it was a somewhat windy day, (never good in a sandy environment) but we were amazed at the contrasts. I was hoping to see the lake someone had told me formed recently from the torrential rains they had experienced. But it was all evaporated by the time we visited there.

We entered at Route 374 near Beatty, Nevada about 3307 ft elevation. The park is over 3,336,000 acres. We saw a tiny portion. Daylight pass was 4316 ft elevation. The basin of Death Valley lies at it’s deepest point 282 ft BELOW sea level. We went to -190 ft that day.

Sand, desolate environment. I cannot imagine being relocated to this area by the military from the Midwest or one of the coastal areas!

In one of my favorite stories, Hinds Feet on High Places, Much Afraid meets little flower called Acceptance-with-Joy.We thought we met that flower years ago when we first visited the Grand Canyon. She seemed to be here, too!

Bob and I both thought of the story when we saw this tiny yellow flower struggling in the harsh conditions.

An amazing place to see. So glad I do not have to live there or cross it in a covered wagon!

The Big Trip – Las Vegas Area

Las Vegas. Oy. I do not have much good to say about the downtown gambling areas. We went during the week for cheaper room rates. Used it as our base location to visit both the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest area and Death Valley.

We stayed at the Grand Hotel in “Old Vegas.” Bob took his quarters hoping to use them up with the slot machines. Disappointed that the machines all take paper money now and issue a paper voucher for your winnings. No rattling coins when there was a winner, but plenty of lights and noise! We were easy walking distance to the Fremont Avenue canopy that formed a pedestrian-only gambling mall. At night we saw zip line riders overhead, so many flashing neon lights coordinated with music for six minutes on the hour. Too many weird people. Women in scanty clothes and men too aroused for public display (in my opinion). We were amazed that tourists were there with their children. I never would have exposed my daugher to such behavior as a child or even as a teenager! Yes, I am old and fond of my values.

The “Strip” with the mega-hotels was also not to our liking. Bob was driving and the traffic was awful. Then a truck with a huge advertisement made with led lights pulled in front of us. It literally hurt our eyes. The sidewalks were crammed as bad or worse as the Avenues in New York. People shoulder to shoulder with shopping bags and jaws agape. We did not go into any of the huge hotels as parking was at a premium and we decided we were just not THAT interested.

The drive to the west of Las Vegas was so interesting. We were looking for Red Rock Canyon and did not manage to find it. But we found the scenic road into the National Forest and Charleston Peak Ski area. The cactus were blooming and very fragrant.

Notice one on the hilltop, too!

We noticed the cactus stopped growing at about 7000 feet in elevation, at least in this area. We drove to an elevation of 8,437 feet.

More new sights!

Driving Through Desert Towards Las Vegas

So there we were driving through flat, boring desert land and I saw something in the distance I had difficulty recognizing due to its sheer size! We had seen prairie land that had been burned, but here?

From a greater distance looked like a black field.

An online article states: “The industrial-sized power plants at an industrial park in North Las Vegas are designed to generate the equivalent amount of electricity to meet the needs of 46,000 Nevada homes, according to a company statement. The plant can be a startling sight for drivers heading toward Las Vegas along busy Interstate 15.”

Nevada gets much more sun than Ohio, so unlikely we will see any of those around home!

Okay, I Did IT!

Been practically tearing my hair out trying my patience (and I am certain the patience of the company working with me) figuring out how to get the Stand and Tip blog ready for printing. I do not even know if I want one copy or multiple. I finally asked for a refund because the returned data was wrong, and then wrong again, and then again. Most likely my errors, as I have no idea what I am doing! They graced me to start over.

The photo below was taken some years ago showing Bob and two of his four his siblings at a wedding rehearsal dinner. I have always thought it should be captioned, “NOW WHAT?!?”

I have a throbbing headache and wonder if I should have even pursued this?!? After scurrying about and getting into a frenzy trying to accomplish all this before I would have to pay for the blog site again, I learned that somehow I had already paid in advance for that blog site through 2020. WHAT??? This one, Treasures in Plain Sight is the one due to expire soon. Oh Molly, you doofus! I believe I have a pdf copy of Stand and Tip this morning. It contains comments I did not want, but I have all 90 entries in my possession.

It is amazing they even let me out in public alone. Ever had one of those weeks where frustration just seems to come in flood tides? The blog was paramount, then a tooth broke off my upper plate and ten minutes later another tooth. Do not even know WHAT broke them. So grateful I did not swallow the broken ones. Then when I called the dentist the next day he would not be available until 5 days later. That cancelled our dinner reservation to a nice restaurant. I also did not issue any large smiles for the next 5 days. So they took my plate this morning and will send it for repairs overnight. (And yes, I am toothless for uppers for something like 30 hours.) Bob and I decided it is time to have an extra one made. That is a bunch of money.

When frustrations compound upon themselves, how do you cope? I have been trying to turn each occurrence over the God and ask for help. Left to myself I know I will mess everything up. When people ask “May I help you?” I tend to reply, “Yes, I need all the help I can get!”

So rather than being stubbornly self-reliant I am trying to learn to Lean Hard upon the Lord. My dear friend, Dan, once taught me to learn to say “I DO” to God by living with Intimacy, Dependence and Obedience to Him.

As the Episcopalians are fond of declaring, “I will, with God’s help!”

Cedar City to Zion National Park

For whatever reason, and in my case there could be multiple reasons, I awoke the next morning with back pain that was unrelenting. This is a lousy thing to endure on vacation when you want to go and see and do without causing a glitch in the plans or complaining. I created a prayer years ago that helps carry me through times like this: ” I have determined that this day, each time I am drawn up short by pain, I will praise You, for I love You better than life – even better than quality of life.”

So I entered the day knowing this would be one of those days when I needed to lean hard upon Christ and look beyond myself for His grandeur and creative glory. Stuck on a pain patch, took my Tylenol, and prepared to find out where to catch the shuttle to the Park bus.

Michael W. Smith recorded a song called “Above All” written by Lenny LeBlanc and Paul Baloche. The first verse especially applies to Zion National Park!

Above all powers
Above all kings
Above all nature
And all created things
Above all wisdom
And all the ways of man
You were here
Before the world began

Above all kingdoms
Above all thrones
Above all wonders
The world has ever known
Above all wealth
And treasures of the earth
There’s no way to measure
What You’re worth

In Zion National Park automobiles are prohibited unless you are staying at the Lodge. Then you can drive in. Otherwise, the tourists are taken by park bus from place to place. Standing in line for a long time waiting with the crowd to board a shuttle made my pain level worse. Drats! If you get off the shuttle to look around you can board the next one that comes along. We decided to ride the shuttle to the end of the canyon and look around there. If there was a place we really liked, we would get off on the return loop. My back and pain level being what it was, we knew there would be no hiking for me that day. From the visitor center there are 9 places the shuttle stops. Having already seen Arches and Bryce we were underwhelmed with Zion. Maybe if we were better athletes prepared to backpack some trails would have been more impressed?

We rode the shuttle to Temple of Sinawava. The canyon was carved by the Virgin River. We disembarked and had a short stroll to the riverbank. The waterfalls were lovely. The colors of the stone.

Tiny trees on top were likely not tiny up close!
We were standing lower than these trees at the base.
A day at Zion in pain is better than a day at home in pain!!
Yes, it was chilly! Us with scarves and feather vests and fleece jackets!

With the crowds on only this first Tuesday in April, we decided we had seen all that we cared to see. Not eager to wait in long lines for another shuttle. As Bob wrote in his journal: “We had expected the trip to take about four hours; it ended up taking about eight!” Of course that included driving from the motel to the park and having a late lunch afterwards. But sadly, we again missed the nap we had promised ourselves! Oh well. Sleep can help fight pain but someone said, “You can sleep when you are dead!” Unless of course, your eternity is spent praising God for His glorious creation and wonders in your lifetime!! But then you won’t NEED sleep or have pain. YEAH!!

Weekend Readers?

There seem to be increased readers on weekends, so likely I will begin planning my posts for the weekend, or Thursday through Monday or who knows where my mind goes? Oh, the lyrics were actually “Who knows where the time goes?”

Looking back through my collected vacation literature I was delighted to see the National Park Service called Bryce Canyon “Poetry in Stone.” No, I did not write poetry about it, just tried to capture the grandeur in photos!

From Bryce we did make it that night to our motel in Cedar City. I want to back track to Capitol Reef, where we so enjoyed the scenic drive through the many geological features. One thing I did not emphasis was the black rocks.

The Park Service describes these as coming from 20 to 25 million year old lava flows. “Pieces of lava rock were transported many miles from their source, and were smoothed and rounded by their violent journeys within gritty floodwaters. When floods receded, black boulders were left scattered across the floodplains. The black boulders are black on the inside too! The white coating on the surface of many of the boulders is a mineral crust known as caliche, which is mainly a thin film of calcite and gypsum crystals. Caliche forms when mineral-laden groundwater seeps upward, coats the underside of the boulders, and evaporates from the surface, leaving its dissolved minerals behind.” I found the white frosting on the rocks as interesting as the rocks themselves.

I just find this stuff so interesting! Reading National Park literature I can learn a bunch without having to study geology to discover the facts. Nice they teach me as they publish!

I kept thinking of my baseball friend, Levi, and wanting to pick up the baseball sized black rocks. But alas, I am too honest, and could not do it. Besides the Park Service asked us to “not disturb or collect rocks or other park resources.”

I did pick up a smaller black rock along the side of the road after we left the park. Alas, neither one of us took a photo of the large black boulders 😦 So you will have to imagine!