Friday, March 21, 2014


Spring Break! Great week with the high temperature of 77 degrees and lots of blue skies and sunshine.

I love hiking and I had the great chance to hike with friends from Our Lady of the Mountains Parish over Spring Break! We went to Tombstone-" The town that is too stubborn to die"  as it is known, and went on to the Dragoons. These are the mountains where Cochise and the Apache Indians rode and lived. It is also known as Cochise Stronghold. This is where Cochise is buried but no one knows where in these mountains. It was kept a secret.

It took about an hour's drive from Sierra Vista to get to our hiking trail. As we approached our trail we came to the "Old West - Open Range"  which is when cattle roam freely as they graze all over with no fence to pen them in.
Here are some of our friendly 4 legged creatures that greeted us as we approached our trail.

This young calf still had some of his winter fur. 

Now, coming from the green farmlands of Wisconsin and being raised on a dairy farm, no way would we just let our cows eat this brown grass. Now I know why AZ hamburger and steak taste so differently than what I had in Wisconsin. 

This is our trail.

Here are my hiking partners starting out-fresh and full of energy with lots of water in the backpacks. 
As we got further in, the trail became quite rocky. With our backpacks still full of water and our lunch it was quite the climb.

One had to watch one's footing so as not to break or twist an ankle. Love my hiking shoes!

Isn't this just the bluest sky? And one lone dried up cactus shoot. 

As I hiked away I wondered what Cochise and his fellow Apaches thought as they roamed these mountains on foot and on horseback. Lots of places to hide out.

 The sun was very bright. It was about our warmest day this Spring.

I took Pope Francis along with me for a safe trip.

Reminded me of the rocks on Easter Island.

Couldn't believe the green trees amidst all the rocks and we haven't even started our monsoon season yet.

Time for lunch. A good chair here.

Can't you just picture Chief Cochise at the top with his horse? 
Plenty of cactus all around. I made sure I didn't get too close-those needles are very painful-voice of experience!
 Most unique rock!. I wonder how many little mountain lions slept inside it.
 I thought this tree was perfect for the Lenten Season.
The road going back to the car.

A couple of tired hikers.
Look closely, and you can see a herd of cattle trying to be in the shade as much as possible. The hot AZ sun shining on their black, black fur.

This windmill was pumping lots of water into a tank that overflowed and that is where the cattle come for water.
 Heading back into Tombstone I saw the sign for Boot Hill which I have never been to so we stopped.

Boot Hill is part of the Wild West. Most tombstones gave the reason how they died and the name of who killed that person.

We ended the day with the beauty and color of the AZ desert!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

ASH = A-Almsgiving S-Sacrifice H-Holiness

Lent has begun-40 days. Our church is prepared, as you can see all the purple and our beautiful glass window that showed the beauty of the mountains, various clouds and deer eating nearby during Mass, is now behind the brown curtain. For 40 days and nights we will not see God's beauty outside this window. It is a sacrifice all of us parishioners at Our Lady of the Mountains Parish make during Lent.

The school children had the first Mass on Ash Wednesday.Fr. A loves acronyms. Today it was ASH= A is for alms giving, S is for Sacrifice and H is for holiness. An easy way to keep us on track throughout Lent by remembering this small word and what each letter stands for.

Father Ariel is blessing the ashes and then adding a little extra holy water so the ashes will stick.

After students and adults received the ashes they also received a Lenten bracelet from our Student Council. It is a physical reminder of the promises we have made to Jesus the 40 days of Lent.

I asked one little Kindergarten boy where his purple bracelet was on the 2nd day of Lent. He told me he gave it to his mom so she can become holy. Wow! From a Kindergartner-how thoughtful and insightful!

Every classroom has a purple cloth now on their prayer table. Our March quote from Pope Francis that we are all trying to follow is the following: "Ask Jesus what he wants from you and be BRAVE!"  Very appropriate for Lent! Try it out and see what Jesus is asking of you-remember-be BRAVE!

Our outside bulletin boards for all to see, will track the 40 days of Lent. A little sign gives the numerical countdown and then a picture and quote for the day

During Lent on Friday evenings, there is the Way of the Cross in church followed by 'Soup Nite'. All are invited to the parish hall after Stations for soup and bread. There are 14 kinds of soup to choose from. Parishioners are called upon by neighborhoods to take their turn at bringing a crock pot of soup for this night. I have the 4th week to bring soup. I know I will be bringing a crockpot of creamy tomato basil soup.

Different groups in the parish take their turn at serving and cleaning up. I volunteered the school children to be first. Here was the action on that Friday night---
( These two girls are going with me to Camp Franciscan.)

This young student passed out the bread-and was so proud to do it.

Butter anyone?

Father A with my two church piano players. They also helped serve the soup.