Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Shout Out to America's Veterans!


Shiloh Ranch would like to shout out our heartfelt thanks, appreciation, respect, and love to all of the Veterans of the United States Armed Services.

Ooo-RAH! Hooah! Hoo-YAH! Ah-roo! Geronimo! Let's Roll! Yee-HAH!

We owe our very right to freedom and liberty in this country to GOD and to all of you and your families, who daily sacrifice so much for us! THANK you for keeping us SAFE!!!

We very much appreciate what you do for us! You have earned and deserve our love, respect, honor, and help when YOU need it! GOD BLESS YOU!!!

PBS aired a program titled, "Tattooed Under Fire." Most excellent! It is not easy to watch, but it really brings home what is happening to our men and women in Iraq and Afganistan. One cannot remain complacent after viewing it. This film knocks you off of the fence.

I believe that every member of the VA should be required to watch it!
For further information: http://tattooedunderfire.com/

Note to President Obama: You signed up for this job. Either give our military forces what they need to win this war OR get them out! YOU are their Chief; it is YOUR job to make sure that our vets are properly taken care of when they come home! They also deserve the FIRST shout out ... not a side note after your political buddy call outs! And they should never have to wait for their President to show up to honor them. Military time is on time! The head of all of our military forces should KNOW that and PLAN for that!

We all need to be doing MUCH more for our veterans returning from combat! The LEAST each one of us can do; is to write, email, and/or call our elected officials: urge much more than 3 days of deprogramming!

At least 1/3 of vets returning from combat suffer from PTSD (Post Tramatic Stress Disorder) ... here are some websites that may lead to help:










Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cliff Hanger


South-side of Zion Canyon ~ photo: myshilohanch

Sorry to leave this blog hanging for so long ... things got SO busy since the last post! Without further delay:

Zion ~ Episode 2:

Late last July, Grandson S and I got to take a week-long road trip together. We ended up sharing a grand adventure, quite worthy of his 14 year old constitution and my almost-64 year old frame!

We headed for Zion National Park, Utah, not knowing if we would stay or move on.


For lunch, we stopped at: Peggy Sue's Diner. 4+ bullet faire ¤¤¤¤+

A serious must-do if you are anywhere near Las Vegas! This iconic, authentic 50's diner is out in the middle of nowhere, right off of the I-15, just 10 miles north of Barstow, CA. Watch for the billboards! FUN, excellent food, large servings, excellent service, and kid friendly! There are photos, everywhere throughout the diner, of celebs who have eaten there.

Once YOU have eaten there, you will be back! If you like dill pickles, be sure to try their "deep-fried pickles." Oh.my.goodness. YU-UMMM!!! Whoever first thought those would be SO good?

We traveled north on Highway 18 through (thank God) the HORRID work traffic of Las Vegas. NOTE: avoid work traffic like the plague!

We finally got out and the vista opened into a barren land of greyish hills. At least no more inappropriate neon signs!
We stopped at a small, sparse Visitor Center in NV. This charming farming community, sprawls alongside of the freeway. The volunteer at the center told us that the Pony Express played a star role in the history of this town. NOTE: visit historical spots here sometime.
We then passed through the beautiful, classic old city of St. George, UT. Still quite small for a city ... at least compared to our CA "metropoli!" There is a highly recommended Visitor Center and Museum located there; but we opted to visit when we had more time. NOTE to self: schedule St George on agenda for next trip.
We took Exit 18 and traveled east on HWY 9. We slowly drove through the really cute and cozy small town of Cedar City, UT.
As we drew closer, we could see the beginnings of the Canyon ... the rock turned more and more red! Words do not suffice! Awesome, interesting, beautiful, captivating ... shapes, shades, and designs of the red rocks were getting bigger, higher and more awesome as we drove!
Until ... voila!

Finally... we arrived at our destination: Springdale, UT!
What a beautiful, idyllic little town! I surely left my heart there.
Perfect timing: we checked in and got settled into our motel ... well before dark.
View from our room ~ Pioneer Lodge

We stayed at the Pioneer Lodge: 4+ bullets ¤¤¤¤+

The perfect spot! Right at the gateway to Zion National Park. Highly recommended. Cozy (small, but you only sleep there), clean rooms, appointed with all the necessities (except charging stations), plus extraordinarily comfortable beds, refrigerator, and microwave. There is a pool, spa, free wi-fi, restaurant ...even a laundramat. Kid friendly. Shops and free shuttles into the park are just steps away. Right next door are domestic elk, buffalo, longhorn cattle, horses, and other uncommon lifeforms!!!

WARNING: NO PETS at this motel! As much as I love to travel with my dogs ... I really do nItalicot recommend this adventure for pets anyway, unless you bring an RV. Pets are only allowed in very restricted areas. This location is a place you will want to be free to hike whenever and wherever your eye and your heart may lead you.

Zion Canyon: view from Angels' Landing
One can only imagine what awe the Mormon pioneers must have felt as they crossed the Colorado Plateau and came across this incredible river and canyon! I am sure that God's Presence was overwhelmingly evident ... as it still is today. WOW! There are so many and varied areas to explore; I totally understand why they settled right near here. No need to go further.

Click on the monument for the short story.
The next day we hit lots of the little artsy shops in town, then shuttled in to the Visitor Center inside the National Park! "DISNEYLAND!"
~ Zion National Park Visitor Center ~ 5 Bullets ¤¤¤¤¤
Too much cool stuff to even begin to blog about. You must experience it yourself. From there you can catch the Park shuttles to anywhere within the Park.
We had brunch out on the lawn of the Center. What a beautiful, peaceful place! We were there during the busy season, so there were quite a few people ... but no crowds, not one child crying; everyone was happy, smiling and calm!
What a special spot on earth! Visitors were there from all over the globe! But in that place, we were all the same! God's Awesomeness, reflected in His creation, so surpasses the boundaries of words and languages! Bless Him!

That evening we rode a shuttle (they run every 5-6 minutes) into the Park and checked out the whole "loop" route. We got off at the Sinawava Temple stop and took the 1 mile Riverside Walk to the beginning of the river-hike. That did it, we knew where we were headed the next morning! We were going to hike, past the RW, enter the river, hike in the water, on and over the rocks, several miles up into the narrowest part the canyon, into the famed and revered slot canyon, aptly named:

"THE NARROWS"!!!!

Excitedly, we went into town and bought proper "water shoes," a "bladder" for a camel pack (hydration unit), a "fanny pack," packable food, LOTS of water, and a new camera (mine broke.) BTW: We found almost all the items on sale, bless God ... He is so faithful to provide for us, for where He guides us!!! HINT: Check out the sale tables in front of the storefronts for kaylagonga deals!

We visited the Zion Adventure Company: 4+ bullets ¤¤¤¤+
to get outfitted for our day-trek. The experienced staff showed us a pre-hike orientation-type film and familiarized us with the upcoming terrain, recommended clothing, necessities, and possible signs of danger ... poison oak, mountain lions, flash floods, etc.

The three main DANGER signs to watch for:
Water suddenly getting faster
Water getting darker, muckier
Debris floating down from upstream
As soon as you notice even one of the signs:
Seek higher ground immediately (at least 6 feet above the river) and STAY there for at least 15 minutes or until the water subsides.
Do not wait for a second sign!
Excellent advice for any river or canyon hike!
The personnel at the Adventure Company are very helpful and informative. I highly recommend attending the lectures, seeing the films and heeding their advice. They are experienced in rock climbing, rappeling, river and dry hiking and canyoneering. AND ... they know the local quirks of the land. They do not charge for information or advice and the cost of their rental gear is minimal, if you choose to use it. Good quality gear is a little pricey to buy. Guided adventures are also available for hire.

We "made" dinner in the motel micro, filled our waters, and supplies ...and hit the hay as soon as we could.

We met our outfitters when they opened at 8 am, rented our "official" hiking sticks and waterproof packs, bought quick-dry, no-blister socks, and logged our personal info, intentions, destination and emergency #s.

Weather conditions posted for this day: "afternoon thunderstorms and 20 percent chance of flash flooding!" WOOHOO, a real bonafide adventure!

We packed all of our survival gear ... mostly food for the ravenous, bottomless teenager and water enough for both of us, plus camera and emergency supplies of course. Sunblock, compass, battery operated light, lip balm, hats, epi pen, and first aid kit. We took our cell phones too, although there is no service deeper into the canyon.

We took one of the wonderful free shuttles up to Sinewava Temple stop and began our hike up the Riverside Walk. "Kodak moments" were literally everywhere ... so our pace was quite a bit slower than it would have been without a camera. I would not, however, trade time for the memories in the pictures that we brought home! Truthfully though, keeping my new Nikkon from getting wet was a little stressful; a little research will surely resolve that issue! NOTE: Bring a seriously waterproof camera bag next time and inner tube or other floatation device for equipment transport.

Almost Shangrila, except for the summer influx of tourists. However, I must say, we did not come across one grouch and only a few rude (make that unconscious, teenagers from France.) Actually, in this immense canyon, having people in your shots lends great perspective to your photographs. Excitement welled up in us, as the path ended and we entered the waters of the river to begin our hike into the famed Zion Canyon Narrows!

Oops, out of time! RATS! Will have to leave you hanging again, until the next installment. Probably enough to swallow of my rambling, at one time anyway :) Gosh, I am getting all excited again, just writing about this! How funny, I actually have "butterflies" in my stomach! I can hardly wait to go back, even via the blogosphere! :D

ALL PHOTOS (except where noted) in this post are taken by and are the sole property of myshilohranch.

CONDITIONS OF USE:
Personal, Professional, and/or Published:

I have been granted, by God, the free gift of seeing, experiencing, and capturing the beauty of His creations. It is my privilege to share these images with you. You are always welcome to enjoy them for your own personal use. Please just LABEL photos with proper credit and LINK BACK to this site.

For any other use or reproduction: CONTACT myshilohranch for information and/or permission.Thank you.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Zion ~ Sanctuary ~ Refuge


Greetings from Utah!


Grandson S and I are on our first annual road trip together. We are lodging in Springdale, Utah, at the entrance to Zion National Park, one of the world's natural wonders and America's most beautiful National Parks. Upon entering the Park, we promptly decided to spend our entire week right here!

My bloggy friend Michelle, said it right: "A picture is worth a thousand words. So here are a few thousand words ... and hints of what we will be doing tomorrow! (click on pictures to enlarge)
All photos: myshilohranch (see conditions of use below)
Any guesses yet?

Last clue!
Come on back and see us for the "rest of the story."

God has blessed this very special place in so many awesome ways!
And He has blessed us by bringing us here!
May all the earth praise His name!
"Sing praises to the LORD, which dwells in Zion: declare among the people His doings."
Psalm 9:11

Until next time,
Happy Trails!

ALL PHOTOS in this post are taken by and are the sole property of myshilohranch.
CONDITIONS OF USE:
Personal, Professional, and/or Published:
I have been granted, by God, the free gift of seeing, experiencing, and capturing the beauty of His creations. It is my privilege to share these images with you. You are always welcome to enjoy them for your own personal use.
For any other use: CONTACT me~here and notify me of your intent to use and purpose of use.
Please also LABEL photos with proper credit and LINK BACK to this site.
Thank you.




Sunday, April 12, 2009

For God SO loved .....


For God SO loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16


Today begs for a special post. This day celebrates the very reason for our Life and Hope. All week the heaviness/weightiness of what Jesus did for us has been working on/in my heart.

His love. His love is what we are to spread to the world. Lavishing His love on others is the essence of what we are created to do. Only God can draw them, only the Living Word can change them, only the Father can judge them, only the Holy Spirit can convict them, and only the Savior can save them! We are to LOVE them.! From before the foundations of the world until this very day, His love speaks. The life and beauty that He spoke into existence inhabits this world and the one to come.

His love is SO strong for us that He specifically went to and endured the cross for us ... for me, for you! Knowing every wrong choice we would ever make, every wrong word that would ever come out of our mouths, every rotten thing we would ever think or do! (oops, my personal confession)


The POWER of His amazing love is what has been impressed on me this week. Life giving resurrection power!!!! The power that raised Lazarus, the power of His Precious Blood that cleanses me and YOU and bought and paid for us. The power of His stripes that heal us. The power of His love that DIED for us ...



Through the power of His PERFECT love, Jesus endured the absolute horror of scourging, berating, and the unimaginable torment of the Cross ... to help US, to save US! So when He calls for His Bride, we will answer and our bodies will also be resurrected! Because of His love, we will live with Him FOREVER, in a place that He has personally/lovingly prepared for us! His LOVE is so beyond our human comprehension!

WHOA, who am I Lord, that You would go through all of that for me??


I think that if we truly knew/grasped who we really are in Christ; we would have a much clearer vision of our purpose on this earth. And the other junk we concern ourselves with, would surely fall into its proper place.

He died so perfectly and completely ... with each of our names etched on His nail-scarred hands. His Blood Sacrifice atoned for every sin ever committed, once and for all.

The Crucifixion of Jesus by Spencer Williams
Click here for more of his work.

As the the Passover lamb was being slain, Jesus spilled forth His Blood and Living Water ... birthing fluid ... as the First Fruit of Resurrection, He opened the womb for us to follow. HALLELUJAH!

With the same "wonder-working" life-giving power of His love in us, how can we not endure our bad days, situations or circumstances??? God fills us to overflowing with His love during those times in our lives, knowing that we will later help others with the same LOVE that He gave to us.

I expect that it will take an eternity to begin to grasp the full extent of our Savior's Love for us!

Looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, Who

for the joy that was set before Him

endured the cross,

despising the shame,

and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2





Monday, February 16, 2009

ON THE ROAD 2009 - PART ONE

Whew, we have been rambling outside of the blogosphere for quite some time! Most of which was, admittedly, a welcome change, free from noise, busyness, and "have-tos." Actually, we have been on a techno-free vacation (fun) followed by a few short leaves of absence (not-so-fun). We are considering blogging during our next vacation; wouldn't it be fun IR (in real-time)???
Ricochet ridin' shotgun; tough job
My granddaughters' school has been on a year-round schedule, which has afforded us precious winter "off-track" opportunties to spend time together. Most people seem to choose summer to travel, making winter vacationing very enjoyable! Sadly, the girls will be back on a traditional schedule next year, with regular summer vacation. *boo hoo*

Anyway, we packed up the Equinox, the two smallest ranchdogs, the twin girlies, loosed the bonds of everyday life and headed out for our annual two-week winter road-trip.

Our first stop:
Pam's? YumYum? Donuts: Beaumont, CA: 5 out of 5 bullets ¤¤¤¤¤
Right off of the Beaumont exit, just north of the I-10. A MUST stop if you are ever anywhere near that town ... if you like donuts, that is! Hands-down, they had the largest selection of the freshest, most delicious donuts we have ever seen or tasted! The rich chocolate they use is like no "regular" donut shop! Oh-my-goodness!!!!

Next stop:
Chiriaco Summit, CA: 4 out of 5 bullets ¤¤¤¤
Post Office made out of chollas
We stop here on every road trip, coming and going. A good place to stretch and care for various needs: including kitty-petting, there are always purring cats appreciating attention from travelers. The Chiriaco story is one of fascinating local family history. Click here to read about it. The link on the title has further information as well.

Always welcoming and kid-friendly. There is a comfortable patio area with plants, fountains, shade, a pet walking area, an unusual rural Post Office made out of cholla wood, a sit-down restaurant with good homestyle cookin' and a nice little gift and souvenir shop. The cheesy to the antique, there is something for everyone. Gas and services are conveniently right across the drive.

Right next door:
George S. Patton Memorial Museum: 4-5 out of 5 bullets ¤¤¤¤-¤

Photo:Courtesy of motorhome05
A wonderful, bigger-than-life statue of Patton and his dog welcomes you. A little-known, yet hughly important, piece of U.S. history. There is a small fee for the museum, which is full of memorabilia and artifacts found locally. There is a "tank yard" out front which houses a Sherman Tank, a Stuart (both from WWII) and others. Military buffs will LOVE all the militaria! GREAT photo opps! Also sand dunes of fine/soft sand that you can sink your toes into. Definitely an enjoyable and enlightening hands-on world history lesson for kids and adults alike!>
General Patton "actually handpicked this site and was the first commander of the Desert Training Center (DTC) with Camp Young as the headquarters, eventually training over a million men to go into the WWII." He also reportedly imported camels to this location, planning to use them in the war.

Photo: Courtesy of waymarking.com - AWESOME website - recommend visiting!
To see pictures of the inside of the museum: click here!


Also located at the Patton Museum:
West Coast Viet Nam Veterans Wall of Remembrance
Very sobering, touching, and relevant.

Photo: Courtesy of snowbirdchronicles

Continuing east on Highway 10 ... w
we crossed the Colorado River.
Photo:Courtesy bikeacrossamerica

... and voila!
FINALLY! ARIZONA!!!
Photo:Courtesy bikeacrossamerica

We see our first saguaros and ...

Our next stop:
Quartzsite, AZ: 5 out of 5 bullets ¤¤¤¤¤
Just east of the CA border, on both sides of Highway 10, is an incredible must-be-experienced event held during January of every year. When you come over the hill from CA, it looks like snow down in the valley ahead. But it is soon apparent, that it is actually a bazillion RVs and tents that you saw.

This guy has ALL the skinny on Quartzsite shows

Photo: Courtesy of Hitchitch


There are acres and acres of gems, rocks, minerals, and stones, in every form you can imagine, in their rawest states to finished jewelry. From countries all over the world are vendors selling jewelry, beads, goodies, gadgets and gimmicks.
The customers and sellers are every bit as interesting as the merchandise (none however, that you would want to take home, like the jewelry...hee hee). There are crusty "desert rats" to high-class store owners and celebrities. There are also dogs of every kind (mostly little) in every imaginable kind of wagon, stroller, and homemade pet-"vehicle."

There is mostly dirt and rocks on the ground and you are a little dusty by the end of the day, but all are happy. Everyone there is friendly, welcoming and helpful. A unique and fun experience for adults and children alike. Caution: potentionally "dangerous" if you really like jewelry. You will find gift items from 50 cents to whatever you are willing to spend. Hint: Only take as much money as you are prepared to part with. :)


Bring: comfortable walking shoes, plenty of water, a camera, money, a c-card and a gift list! If bringing children, sunscreen and caps and/or an umbrella for shade would be wise. There is really nowhere to stay overnight, unless you RV or camp, except perhaps in Blythe (or Ehrenberg, if you're really lucky.) Love's has the best prices in town for gas. There is a General Store, a Post Office, several stores and "restaurants" ... and an AWESOME little bakery with genuine homemade goodies, the wildest police car you have ever seen, and a very STRICT 35 mph speed limit! (Don't ask how I know!)
Tyson Wells Sellarama

We, however, did not come for the show, our friends Linda and Art live in town and we stopped to visit them. We visited Linda at their sales booth, explored the "Sellarama" a little, and left with trinkets for the girls' "medicine" pouches and colorful metallic hair extensions.

Our friends were gracious enough to feed us wonderful bbq'd "steak" and cold canned pork and beans ... our favorite! Anyone else out there like them that way??? Oh yeah, YU-UMM! They also put us all up for the night in their oh-so-cozy and beautiful southwest desert hideaway.

Shiloh's Stagecoach at the Ranch in Quartzsite

Linda and I have been blessed to be bffs for 27 years! Their home has been my first layover in AZ since I started coming here! Murphy always remembers their house and is especially excited to see his "buddy," Art! He follows him all over the property, whatever he's doing is good for Murph (must be a "guy thing.") The girls and I wore our "triplet" matching cowboy jammies and got to sleep on Linda and Art's awesome new couch bed!

KJ, CJ, Richochet

Linda was up bright and early, making tea. Art said, "Sue, your sunrise is outside." Waking up to an Arizona sunrise is always SO exhiliarating! The fresh air, the wide open skies ... ahhhhh ... I'm "home!"

CJ, KJ and "Linda's gecko"

All too quickly time passed and we had to hug, kiss and say our goodbyes.*sniff* Our friends took off for their day of work, we took a few more pictures and then
headed out to continue our adventure.

I must, at this point, insert 2 massively, vitally serious exhortations


1.
Love fully every moment! Do not miss even a small opportunity to give a good hug and say "I love you." Do not take for granted that you will see that person again. You just don't know.


2.
See your doctor regularly!
Brave up and take any and all age-appropriate tests (especially heart, blood pressure, cholesterol) and/or medications he or she suggests.

I just thank God that we made this visit when we did! We could not have know, but this would be the last time we would see one of our beloved friends! Less than a month after our visit, Art unexpectedly went home to be with the Lord.
Back to front: Art, Linda, CJ, KJ, Murphy

ART: You are loved and will be missed by every life you have touched! I know that I will see you there my friend! If it is possible, put in a good word for me with Jesus, OK???

LINDA: My forever-friend and sister, we all LOVE you and keep you constantly in our prayers. We are so THANKFUL that you are in our lives! My heart hurts for you. We have been on a few journeys together over these 27 years ... this is the toughest one yet, but a brand new journey has begun for you ...
As we left Quartzsite, we headed east towards Phoenix, then to old Highway 71 North, towards Prescott, one of my favorite roads and a highly recommended adventure! There is an old, comfortable familiarity about this route that used to be the "thoroughfare" for Easterners traveling out "West." Ruins of late 40s motels evidence bygone days of the early driving tourism post-WWI; old cool road signs and all.

There are quaint, interesting little country stores and places to eat, explore, and photograph! Ruins of mines, and remnants of the first wood and wire that fenced off "private" lands. The open landscape is BEAUTIFUL! Saguaros, ocotillos, creosote, cholla, yellow and purple flowers, the beautiful and very special Harcuvar mountain range,

BIG blue skies, peace ... and open highway!

We will explore some Highway 71 treasures on our next "On the Road 2009" edition.

Thanks for joining us! We love sharing the awesome wonders that the Lord in His wisdom has placed in and along our paths.

HAPPY TRAILS!