I just have to share it even though it is not completely finalized yet. Today, at this moment... it appears that we are headed to Seattle/Tacoma Wa in Dec. I know, it's far and it's rainy, and it dark and I suffer from seasonal affective disorder! lol. Not the best place for me to be in the dead of Winter. Steve is still in negotiation, so it could fall through, (like Santa Fe).
The housing is very expensive, like $3k for corporate furnished apt monthly. The pay and daily stipend is higher and of the course the area is needy. So, looks like Washington State is in our future. We leave New Mexico in less than 2 weeks. I'm so looking forward to a visit in Texas with my family! Miss my girls so much..and my grand babies too!
We expect to have a 3 week break before Steve begins his next assignment in Dec. We plan on taking about 7/8 days road trip to Washington State, visiting So Cal (Disneyland, California Adventure, Knotts Berry Farm) also a leisurely drive through LA, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Ventura, San Fran, Monterrey, Carmel, and all the other Ca towns along the coast ! Should be quite the adventure in our little jeep with 2 cats! lol
Well, it's the first official holiday we have experienced on the road. Today there will be no big family get togethers, no baking, no trick or treating. It is strange, but very relaxing. I do miss the fullness of the day, but I have had time to reminisce over old photos and enjoy new photos via facebook and email! Steve is off tonight so we are in for a quiet evening of tv or reading. Spencer is homeschooling and I picked up some cupcakes and put a pot of soup on the the stove. Steve hasn't finalize his contract as of yet, but we are still looking at Washington State. Pray hard...we need really good housing to come through for us! We are also looking forward to a visit down to the Houston area in 3 weeks! Fun!
So far Steve and I have both celebrated our birthdays abroad. While we did miss our friends and families with the regular birthday celebration of cupcakes, cards and small gifts, we were still able to celebrate in a more intimate fashion at our temporary home.
We both looked back over the year and calculated our successes and failures. While we were able to meet some of our lifelong goals already, we are just getting started on our bucket list!
We are not martyrs, but we gave up most of our worldly items to be able to be debt free and travel. This was the most important first step in the process. The weight of all the material stuff prevented us from moving forward.
Anyone who knows us, knows that we didn't have a lot of stuff anyway. So, It really wasn't that hard to get rid of what was left.
We do have a small storage, 10x5. That is it.
We downsized from a 3000 sq ft house to just a few things we carry in our jeep.
The three of us travel with 1 rolling carry on, a duffle and a backpack.
2 cats with 2 kennels.
and a few tools, pillows, bedding, computer, ipad, cell phones, medicine, and food.
Wow! but, that's all we really need since we receive furnished housing through Steve's work.
We don't look successful. As a matter of fact, we look poor by most standards.
Financially speaking... we have been poor and we don't ever want to go back to that life. We may have appeared to be well off, but honestly we were broke most of the time.
It's hard to redefine success when the world says "get more stuff".
Success for us has come by "releasing our stuff"
So, are we successful? by America's standards... No.
By God's standards...I think so.
Was I always on this bandwagon? No.
Do I still love starbucks? Yes.
We have successfully become debt free. We successfully work at serving others. We remember that this life is temporary and Heaven is forever, so we stay the course and live by our decision to keep working at Plan A.
And we celebrate every success along the way, no matter how small it may seem.
Well, after an uneventful 2 weeks, Steve finally had some time off and we were able to get away to Carlsbad! He has been working a lot, like 5 night shifts in a row. This hospital is needy and he can't say no per his contract. But, the good news is that he is scheduled off 5 days in a row, so, off to Carlsbad we go!
The drive was almost all desert but, the Caverns were amazing! So vast... they just went on and on... like 1.5 miles underground. we actually took the shortest route and it was about an hour and a half walk. WOW! you could spend a couple of days here. There is a lot to see!
Steve and Spencer down in the bottom of the cavern.
this will be just a memory someday...
The drive through the park did not disappoint us either!
The New Mexico desert is beautiful!
We had a picnic lunch and drove about 10 miles on a scenic loop gravel road!
A Doe and 2 Fawns crossed our path!
We stopped at a scenic lookout on the drive through the park...
and came upon this indian rock shelter. You can really walk into it!
The day we checked out of our hotel, we decided to stop at the Living Desert Zoo, and so glad we did!
The zoo only has local wildlife, many have been injured or confiscated from their owners. This kitty cat (cougar) was so glad to see us! She was raised as a pet and now lives at the zoo.
She got up and followed us along the fence rubbing up against it and purring like a household cat.
just yawning! but she could do some serious damage to your furniture!
Spencer enjoyed the bat exhibit!
The grounds were wonderful and had lots of opportunity just to sit and relax.
We bought our National Park Pass while we were here so we can visit all the parks along our journey. Before we left for Tacoma, we came back to Carlsbad on 11/15/13 and took the long tour. It was a steep walk down into the cavern, but so interesting and primitive...
This is the original entrance before the elevators were put in.
That's a long way down...
Let's go...no turning back now!
We walked and walked and walked...
but so worth it...Wow!
Each room holds more to see...it just keeps going and going...
another amazing natural wonder of God's handiwork...
Ahhh Albuquerque... I love you. I could live here forever. The balloons, the mountains, the weather, the shopping, the dining, uptown, old town, starbucks, fuddruckers, bj's brewhouse, target and the Marriott Hotel! It was a great 3 day getaway. The drive was desolate, barren, uneventful...however once we emerged into the outskirts of Albuquerque, I knew we were in the right place.
Let's take a left turn at Albuquerque!
there's the mall and lots of great restaurants!
The view of Target and the mountains from our hotel window!
This is a very interesting 2 story Target with the parking garage underneath!
Our wonderful room at the Marriott!
Spencer loves it!
Never saw a Fuddrucker's quite like this one!
It's attached to the mall!
Spencer is starving, lol, he cannot wait for his burger and cheese wiz!
Old Town ABQ
Lots of sightseeing and shopping!
Now onto the Balloon Festival!
We rode the park and ride before sunrise!
The National Anthem Opening Ceremony
Steve and the Elvis Balloon in the background !
Morning Mass Ascension
What a wonderful day!
The skies were filled with about 550 hot air balloons!
It's really an amazing sight to see them all lifting off together!
They are huge!
Sunshine Perfect day!
What a beautiful cold morning and a memory I'll treasure forever.
balloons everywhere you look!
The amazing balloons, blue sky, sunshine and mountains!
The mountains even had a pink glow in the evening at sunset!