Why Did We Leave Las Vegas?”

The question we’ve asked ourselves more than once during this long, arduous time has been, “Why did we leave Las Vegas?” If we hadn’t, we could have avoided much of the emotional and financial stress, although nobody has any idea what they would have to deal with had they taken a different road.

It would have been comforting to have been in familiar surroundings during all of this, like the second time around when we moved back into our home. But we sold the Vegas home before we moved to Florida last time, and that enabled us to buy the Florida home. That had been a difficult decision to make and we almost didn’t. Still, there were reasons to go. But if we’d known we would leave Las Vegas only to return to Las Vegas, I doubt we would have left. I guess that’s why you can’t see into the future.

When I started thumbing through our photos and vids, I remembered all the fun and excitement of our 18 months in Florida the last time around, including building a beautiful home in a golf course community near the beach. A dream come true! So I put together a video to be able to remember and reflect on that special time in our lives, even with all its difficulties.

This video takes you from the “Welcome to Florida” sign to landing in a local apartment, to house hunting, touring model homes, picking out options from the model home, beaches, tiki bars, Walt Disney World, and the last few gorgeous sunsets from our Florida home.

I now have the answer to the question, “Why did we leave Las Vegas?” We would have missed out on all of this:

Hope you enjoy. Don’t forget to like and subscribe. Thank you.

Port Canaveral: Cruising from Central Florida

Looking back at our most recent time living in Central Florida, we feel immense gratitude for yet another Florida adventure, this time living closer to the beach than Disney World, enjoying beach bars and hanging out at Port Canaveral.

We even celebrated Rich’s birthday cruising to the Bahamas on the Carnival Liberty. So I put together a little video celebrating that time.

Port Canaveral is expanding so whether you’re a local, cruising solely, or combining your cruise with a trip to Disney World, I hope you enjoy it. If so, please like and subscribe to this blog and on youtube.

Thank you!

#Mexico #cruising #Princess #Carnival #Liberty #Bahamas #cruising #Carnival #Cruises #CentralFlorida #DisneyWorld #Florida #fiction

 

 

Birthday Cruise to the Bahamas

We’re counting down to Rich’s birthday cruise to the Bahamas. After the month we’ve have, we really need to get away – we’re so glad we made the decision to book another cruise when we got back from my birthday trip to L.A./cruise to Ensenada.

I’m looking forward to my first Margarita and Rich can taste those Guy’s Burgers. Sipping, relaxing, noshing… ah, life at sea!

Shadow, Daisy, and I are up again during the night. I’m hoping they’ll keep quiet and let Rich sleep before getting up for work in a couple of hours. They’re now asleep at my feet as I write this. In this moment, we’re all okay so it’s hard to get up from the computer and go back to bed.

Shadow is getting better about howling his grief – I suppose we all are. It still takes Rich and I by surprise, though, like all the places we still see him or the little things we did with Skipper in mind and now we either don’t need to or don’t especially want to. His presence is all over this house – I suspect we built it for him. After all, he was king! 🙂

Looking back at a few photos from the Vegas years, I’m posting a few of Skipper that especially stood out this morning. And as much as I was desperate to leave Las Vegas, I do miss it sometimes. Certainly, the memories. I definitely needed a break from it, though.

Late Sunday afternoon reminded me of how good we have it here. We just hopped in the car and drove to the beach and there I was dipping my feet in the water. Heaven! You can’t do that in the desert.

A friend and I were talking about meeting my father 16 years ago and how it was too short and I realized I knew Skipper longer than I knew my father.

That reminds me of a story about a woman I worked with in San Francisco when we were in ours 20s. Her dog died and then her father died and I said to another co-worker, “She seemed more upset about her dog dying than her father.” And Stefany said, “I suspect she got a lot more love from her dog than she ever did from her father.”

Anyway, here’s to Skipper. Look at those eyes – he would give me that look and he seemed so human. I will miss him forever! Love you, sweet boy!

 

“Highlights of SoCal” Birthday Trip (Pre-Trip Report)

You might recall we’d booked the Paradise Pier Hotel at Disneyland Resort for my birthday in July. It’s a semi-milestone year for me and feeling homesick, I really want to get back to SoCal. On a side note, Valerie, our Vegas petsitter, originally from Long Beach, and her husband moved to Long Island, NY two years ago and she’s having the same homesickness. “I didn’t know it would be this hard,” she said. I knew it was hard, but I didn’t know I would miss “home” so much so early this time around.

Anyhoo, what to do, what to do to make the most of this trip to get that feeling of home? We have booked and unbooked and rebooked so many different things. Including Paradise Pier. Some of you may remember the time we stayed there about 10 years ago (the “Big Kahuna Family”) with all of our trials and said we’d never stay there again. For one thing, it’s an awfully long walk to the parks and you can no longer cut through the GC to get to DCA due to security reasons. Bummer!

And we love to cruise. And, as I mentioned in yesterday’s Flower & Garden post, we’re missing Mexico!

Really thinking hard about spending the whole trip hiking around the parks and getting to/from them, especially with this latest hip flare-up at Epcot. It’s too bad the GC is so outrageously expensive these days – that’s the resort we truly love. So we changed it up. Here are the new plans:

Wednesday:

MCO to LAX, check into Queen Mary area hotel (not staying at the Queen Mary again – yikes!) Have dinner/drinks at our favorite restaurants/bars on the Queen Mary.

Thursday:

Board Carnival cruise ship at the new Long Beach terminal – can’t wait to try the new terminal! Cruise from Long Beach to Ensenada, round trip.

Friday:

Day at Sea – Sea Day Brunch

Saturday:

Ensenada – booked a wine and lunch excursion in the vineyards. Were so wowed by the vineyards in Ensenada several years ago. Who knew Ensenada had such a wine culture? You usually think of Tequila when you think of Mexico.

Sunday:

Return to Long Beach. Drive to Huntington Beach, grab a burger at In N out, catch up with my beach cities and check into hotel in Anaheim. Birthday dinner at Napa Rose that night.

Monday:

LAX to MCO

Valerie said she flew back to LA to visit family and it made being back in Long Island harder! I’m hoping that hitting the highlights in SoCal will satisfy that need and that returning to our beautiful home in the Orlando area will show me how great life is here.

Some of the fun we had at Hussong’s the last time we were in Ensenada:

Lake Las Vegas on A Roulette Wheel of Wants

We’ve come up with about 5 variations of what we could or should do next. It’s like a roulette wheel of wants – it spins around and lands on different desires.

Sunday we landed on Lake Las Vegas, one of our favorite places to get away, explore the village, pop into shops, stroll the Promenade alongside the water, picnic lunch on the grassy area, or eat a yummy lunch at our favorite – Sonrisa Grill.

We were seated by the window, and Rich ordered his signature drink – Mai Tai – and I ordered my signature drink – spicy Margarita. We snacked on a basket of colorful chips and fresh salsa, which was a step above most places.

Rich ordered the beef enchiladas and I ordered the beef tacos – both quite tasty and the closest we could get to SOL, our favorite Mexican restaurant in Newport Beach.

After a quite tasty lunch and drinks, we enjoyed our Sunday stroll, along with other people doing the same thing as couples and families. We even grabbed a pecan chocolate bite from the Rocky Mountain candy store for dessert.

It was really a lovely day, and a rare day in the Las Vegas area where you feel like you’re doing something normal. Here are a few snaps and a video:

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Margaritaville

Last night was Margaritaville at our house. Thursday starts the weekend, right? 🙂

We discovered this delicious Pineapple Serrano Margarita at SOL in Newport Beach, and Rich found something similar to that in the liquor store that replaced Fresh and Easy. We tuned into Jimmy Buffett on the Margaritaville station on SiriusXM. And when I’m listening to Jimmy Buffett, going all Parrothead, I’m ready to move to Florida no matter what.

The night before last was the first time we felt positive about it all in the evening. In the morning, we’re fresh and ready to do what it takes. By the end of the day, we’re tired and fearful and thinking we should call the whole thing off. But Wednesday night, we were feeling much more positive after work. Maybe because I’d found a rental in our old neighborhood that I loved so much. I’ve been watching and there’s been one available about once a month. Hopefully, if we were to go, there’d be one available for us. However, the main problem is location – it would be about a 40 minute commute. And its isolation got to us last time. But it is just about an hour to Disney, onramp to offramp.

The stress is really getting to us – the next event doesn’t happen until Thursday of next week. This was our choice to give us more time to give them our answer. In the meantime, we’ve made ressies at Disneyland for the Food & Wine Festival – just in case we say no.

17 Year Anniversary of Our First Trip to WDW Together

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of our first trip to WDW together 17 years ago (actual date was the 22nd, which is Sunday this year) in 1999. We left San Francisco on  Saturday and returned the following Saturday, allowing us a 3-day weekend to recover. This is a preferred time to travel for us. And, this trip, in particular, was  a pivotal trip for us – it really changed our lives.

We were living a hectic life in the San Francisco Bay Area 3 years after our wedding, still trying to figure out where to make our home (other than apartment living) when we decided it was time to visit WDW together.

I’d been to WDW twice before – once in 1982 for the opening of Epcot when I stayed at the Contemporary and again in 1987 when I did a Disney cruise (ala the “Big Red Boat” with characters onboard) and a trip to WDW.

For one of my classes in my Technical Communications Certificate program, I wrote a report about WDW resorts – lol! The conclusion I’d reached in the report was that we should stay at the Grand Floridian. I received an A for the report.

Well, one of my co-workers had just returned from WDW back when the “Institute” was still around (they’d stayed there and taken several classes), and she recommended the Yacht Club for us. She could really see us there.

After much discussion, we decided to give the Yacht Club a try and loved it. She was so right about it. And while sitting out there on our balcony overlooking Crescent Lake with the sounds of Stormalong Bay, we said, “We must live here.” That began the journey we’ve traveled ever since that moment with two moves to Florida with thoughts of a final move for retirement.

So in honor of that important day, I thought I’d post a link to our trip report from that very first trip – Our First Trip to WDW Together (the trip that inspired our moves to Florida) – 17 years later! Where did time go?

A Tropical Florida Christmas

On one Christmas cruise before we moved to Florida, we found ourselves on St. Thomas on Christmas Day. The hilarious thing was when our van drove by and we saw Santa stumbling out of a bar. He waved, we waved, and our whole group laughed uproariously. Nothing like a tropical Christmas – lol!

When we first moved to Tampa Bay in November, 2002, we were surprised by the lack of Christmas decorations that were up around town. Of course, we were living in an apartment in Palm Harbor in Pinellas County and it retained the tropical beachy feel. We embraced it. For that true Christmas feeling, we visited Disney World. But for Thanksgiving, we dined at a waterfront restaurant, eating fresh seafood, and had a blast, celebrating so untraditionally.

So when we moved back to Central Florida the last time, we were living in a pool home about halfway between Disney and the beach (Atlantic Ocean side). We arrived in November, 2011 and so for our first Christmas, we decorated tropical style.

Here are a few pics of that time (including some of WDW).

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Diary of Those Tampa Bay Days: Part 1, “The Job”

Feelings for Tampa Bay have been growing stronger every day – at least in the morning. As I said before, by the end of the day, I’m exhausted and can’t imagine disrupting our lives here, especially because we fought so hard to get back to the house we still owned in Las Vegas. But it was all about our house and we really do want to sell it and move on – but where to move on to?

Lately, I’ve had the desire to blog the journey but I already did that. One part of that was an overview of the Tampa Bay years – check out the first Tampa Bay post here, as part of “The Journey.” I love that we’ve shared this journey together but, truly, the best part was the Orlando to Tampa Bay leg. So I thought I’d revisit that time and add some of the details.

When I think of Florida now, I think of Tampa Bay. After all, it’s on the West Coast – the West Coast of Florida. My head feels right being there. The sets on the Gulf in the west – the way it’s supposed to. 🙂

But Orlando – it’s “Inlando” – closer to the East Coast and the Atlantic Ocean. That just doesn’t feel right for a California girl.

When we landed in Orlando in September 2003 without a job, I was so disappointed the job opportunity was in Tampa. I couldn’t wrap my head around Tampa. What did I know about it? I’d visited Tampa as part of my first trip to Florida, my first cruise, my first trip to WDW in 1982, for the opening of Epcot. That’s all I knew, although Rich seemed quite knowledgeable about the whole Tampa Bay area. He seemed to be leaning toward Tampa – not Orlando.

Before Rich accepted the job, a recruiter called him for an interview with an Orlando company. Rich turned it down – he wanted the job in Tampa and he had an offer in hand. It was too risky to wait to see what would happen in Orlando. Rich and I are soulmates, and there are only 2 times I’ve been disappointed with a decision Rich has made. This was one of them. Who knew it would turn out to be one of my biggest blessings?

This morning I was recalling the day Rich and I drove to Tampa from Orlando for the interview. The job was with a software company located on Busch Blvd. in Tampa. It was a low-rise building, our preference from our favorite companies we’d worked for in Silicon Valley. It usually offers a more relaxed work atmosphere.

We parked the SportTrak under the trees and I hung out while Rich went inside to interview. I remember driving down Busch looking for lunch and I ended up at Burger King. I had lunch and then drove back and waited. Somewhere along the way, somebody’s car was broken into and the cops were there. Hmmm…. was kind of a sign was that? lol!

I can still feel the excitement of that day and the trees and the overall super-excited feeling. It really felt like home and I was surprised because I’d thought that only Orlando could be home with its California Disney connection.

Rich came out of the interview feeling very positive about it. Later, he had to return to meet the team but then the offer came in and he accepted. They even paid to relocate us from Orlando. We’d only been in Orlando for 7 weeks but we knew it might be temporary and didn’t completely unpack in case we had to move to a different part of Florida for a job.

Somewhere along the way, I was also called for a job in Tampa. I interviewed in Clearwater while Rich hung around but I didn’t get the job. Instead, I began writing my second and third novels.

Rich found an excellent mover and we finished packing up the things we’d unpacked. We’d bought a new loveseat in Orlando to replace a couple of chairs we’d brought all the way from Oregon. With the truck loaded, we turned in the apartment keys and the cats and began the drive to Tampa. We thought we’d stop for lunch along the way. Unfortunately, Buddy, well, how can I say this? Well, he couldn’t hold it and there was no way to clean him up until we arrived. So we weren’t about to stop for lunch.

Poor Rich – he had to clean up Buddy as soon as we got the keys to the Palm Harbor apartment in Tampa Bay. We were able to transfer our rental contract because they were with the same company. I don’t remember now if I ran off to get us some lunch or if we waited until the movers had unloaded the truck.

In that same post, we talk about the apartment with a photo of it. It really was a nice little townhouse. We kept saying, “Wow! We would have been thrilled if we could have lived in something like this in the SF Bay Area.” What I liked about it was the downstairs den where I set up my computer and wrote my second novel, “Lies! Camera! Action!” I’m thinking I should get it out again and rewrite it/edit it and prepare it for publication.

Agents loved the opening chapter and my most recent song was “Everybody Lies.” I’m starting to see a pattern with writing a song that matches a novel I’ve written. For example, my third novel was “Real Women Wear Red” and one of my first songs was “Candy Apple Red (Shoes).”

It’s so fun for us to recall those exciting days of Tampa Bay now. Moving to a new state without a job is something I wouldn’t do now. As you get older, it’s harder to compete for those same jobs. But back then, we were young enough to pull it off. We also realize our days of pulling it off even with a job are growing shorter so if we’re going to make a move, we need to make it soon.

Christmas in Vegas: Old-School Disneyland?

We’ve been back in our house for less than a week and we’re already decorated for Christmas – we even found a tree. Actually, we’d hoped to get a live tree this year and stopped in at the Christmas tree lot on my way home from work but they only had 7 foot trees left. We then popped into Target and they had nothing – not even a fake tree. But yesterday at lunch, I stopped in at CVS and found a 4-foot pre-lit tree.

Here are a few pics of our Disney Christmas in Vegas:

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fireplacechristmasKitties Love Christmas, Too!

1stchristmasOur First Christmas wedding photo ornament, 1996

And then this article in (Vegas) Seven magazine caught my attention: Have Yourself a Subtle Little Christmas: Vegas is like old-school Disneyland. Whoa! Looks like I’m not the only one who compares Vegas to Disneyland. And then the opening paragraph totally grabbed my attention.

I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness. My family left the religion shortly before I turned 18. That’s a fun fact I bust out once a year to explain why Christmas feels unnatural to me.

I’m not saying that to invoke pity or to piss you off. It’s simply the way I am. Christmas just isn’t my jam. As per the rules of our faith, my family didn’t celebrate any of what the Witnesses called the “pagan” holidays until I was a legal adult, so I don’t have a raft of down-home sentimental winter holiday remembrances to draw on. I never knew the wonderment, the anticipation or the pie-eyed greed of a Great American Christmas until I was old enough to know just how much it costs.

But I did have Disneyland.

I can so relate to that, and here’s another part I must quote:

I’ll go out on a limb here and say that all those childhood Disneyland trips instilled in me a love of tourist-friendly built environments, one which Las Vegas continues to satiate year after year just by being itself. I can’t get enough of the phony spaces most locals generally avoid. I visit the Forum Shops and Miracle Mile to turn my brain off—to get that mid-1980s Disneyland/Epcot Center feeling. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a trompe l’oeil ceiling, and I appreciate that these places are always what they are, no matter the time of year.

That’s all of Las Vegas, really. Even on December 25, it’s possible to drink at the Wynn and pretend that it’s July.

You can read the entire article here.

I’m not quite as jaded as the author. Often this comes from those who leave Jehovah’s Witnesses (a faux Christian cult) and don’t embrace a true Christian Faith – they’re left with what the Witnesses taught them and don’t understand the truth behind the “pagan” claims or the real meaning of true Christianity. I keep these people in my prayers.

But this article was such an eye-opener and probably explains my love for living near Disney World, Disneyland, and Las Vegas and why “normal” cities just don’t interest me. 🙂

The Journey: The Road to Armageddon

To explain a little bit more about the importance of Oregon and becoming JWs, several years before we set out for Oregon, my grandmother pulled up in front of our home in Orange County and announced, “I know when Armageddon is coming!” even though the scripture says “nobody knows the day or the hour.” Nobody knew but she knew. Well, she heard it at an international assembly of JWs at their annual convention.

Later, representatives from the JW Governing Body at headquarters in New York would say after 1975 had come and gone and still no Armageddon, “Some of the brothers and sisters jumped to that conclusion.” Yes, to deny their culpability – they blamed the “brothers and sisters.” But for some reason, the “brothers and sisters” marched forward under the assumption that Armageddon in 1975 was a done deal and made life decisions accordingly.

My grandmother lived about half an hour away and she would often drop by unannounced. One Flag Day, she surprised my mother and scolded her for having a flag displayed in the front of the house – one of the neighbors had given it to us. My mother tried to escape her mother’s religion – she was even tempted to have a Christmas tree one year, but never went quite that far.

No Christmas tree or visible decorations, but she would buy and make Christmas gifts for us and we’d celebrate Christmas. This wouldn’t actually be on Christmas Day but on a day or two before to be able to deny guilt at actually celebrating Christmas should her mother drop by. My mother would wrap presents elaborately and display them in creative ways.

One year they put us in my brother’s red wagon that he’d gotten for Christmas and wheeled us out to the backyard to see my gift – a tether ball! Woo hoo! I’d become the queen of tether ball and one of my favorite things at WDW is to hit the tether ball at the boat dock at Ft. Wilderness. Two years ago we did this on Christmas Day.

Back then we’d watch Christmas programs on TV and sang Christmas carols in our home and I sang in the school choir. We had special party snacks, too. I appreciate having these memories. And when Christmas break was over, I rejoiced in being able to return to school and join in with the other kids and talk about “what I got for Christmas.”

I also remember the Johnsons across the street and their silver Christmas tree with Christmas cards strung on the wall and all of the presents underneath the tree. We’d have neighborhood Christmas parties – the kids would have their own party – we’d play Beatles records, eat popcorn, and drink kool-aid while the adults drank Screwdrivers and talked religion. The Johnsons were Lutheran and the Sylvias were Catholic, and in those moments, my mother claimed to be a Jehovah’s Witness.

When my SDad’s Catholic sister and family would come down for a visit to Disneyland, they’d ask the Sylvias where their Catholic Church was. This made an impression on me early on – how devoted my aunt was and that she went to church with the Sylvias when they were on vacation. Later, this aunt would delight in my conversion. She’d married into an Italian Catholic vineyard/winery family in the Central Valley and had embraced that life as her own.

Not long after the Armageddon announcement, my mother and SDad went on a scouting trip to Oregon. They took my younger sister with them and my brother and I stayed with my grandmother. I think my SDad might have reveled in the idea of moving away from his mother-in-law, you know the “crazy woman with the Watchtower on her head,” but when they got to Portland during work traffic he said, “It’s as bad as the traffic in Orange County–we may as well stay there.”

Plan #1 to move to Oregon failed, but they sold the house and we moved to an apartment in nearby Santa Ana just in case they should have the sudden urge to move to Oregon. In Santa Ana, I met friends I still have today and who attended our wedding. See, things work out in interesting ways.

When Plan #2 to move to Oregon also failed, we moved into another new home back in my previous school district and I rejoined my childhood classmates now in high school. And when Los Amigos was built, some of us were moved to that high school, and that’s how I was on the track to being the first graduating class.

The way to becoming a Jehovah’s Witness is that you study with another JW, attend meetings, and eventually you make that commitment by baptism. This is a special JW baptism and when I converted to mainstream Christianity, I had to get rebaptized into the Trinity to make a valid baptism.

We’d been studying with different JWs off and on for years. This was my mother’s way of soothing her mother without actually committing to it. But one day the couple studying with us as a family called and said they weren’t going to study with us anymore because we weren’t making progress. Apparently going to the Sunday talk at a circuit assembly once or twice a year wasn’t a big enough commitment.

The JWs had this new program that if you didn’t make any progress within six months, they would drop you. Aha! My mother’s plan that had been working for years had now been foiled. It was either put up or shut up. She reacted badly to the news that they were being dropped – as if they’d just received the pronouncement that they were doomed to die at Armageddon.

Actually, this was my mother’s opportunity to convince my SDad that somehow we needed to get away from that evil, materialistic Southern California. I think she said something like, “If we stay here in SoCal, K will get pregnant and M will be on drugs.” That was all he needed to hear Plan #3 was implemented and off we went to Oregon and the road to becoming JWs.

For more adventures, see “Novels” and “Short Stories.”

The Journey: The Prequel

Reflecting back on my life’s journey, from Southern California to Oregon to Northern California to Oregon to Ohio to Florida to Oregon to Las Vegas to Florida to Oregon to California… well, the common thread in all of this is Oregon. It was that first leg, San Francisco to Oregon, that began the journey of truth. But truly the journey began before then. To understand the journey, it’s important to reflect back on that very first move to Oregon when I was sixteen.

I’d just spent a fabulous year in high school. It was a brand new high school and the sophomores would be the first graduating class and, therefore, have opportunities other people didn’t have. My class would always be the upperclassmen.

I was the first editor-in-chief of the yearbook. I named the yearbook The Reflector. I acquired many skills I would use later in my publishing career. I also learned business skills when soliciting advertising for the yearbook. I learned leadership and teamwork skills as I bore most of the work but worked together with the few supporters I had.

I was placed in advanced classes in English and History and bonded with those classmates who would later advance to UCI, a school known back then for admitting the brightest students. I auditioned for a solo part in the spring program Oliver, and got it. I auditioned for the concert choir and the girl’s choir for the next year and was accepted. Yes, I had many opportunities at a younger age than most. I had so much to look forward to and my future started then. Boyfriends, college, marriage, and future kids.

Then my family moved to Oregon. But it wasn’t just a move from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest that changed my life forever. The weather and culture was a big enough shock. But we also became active in my grandmother’s religion, Jehovah’s Witnesses. That changed everything!

No more singing in choirs – not allowed to sing Christmas songs. There would be no more Christmas. No more birthdays. No Halloween, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day. No more college plans. No dating–only in the context of a future marriage to another Jehovah’s Witness. Btw, women far outnumber men in the JWs so good luck with that – lol! Oh, and no saying “good luck” or “bless you” or “darn” – etc.

To jump ahead, when I left the JWs, I had much to catch up on – that first birthday, that first Christmas, college courses, etc. All of that was so triumphant but I’ll get to more of that later.

But back then, when my SoCal friends called me on my sixteenth birthday right after we arrived in Oregon and as much as I loved hearing from them, I cried afterwards. I was so depressed that I was in Oregon for such a milestone. That led to a recurring battle with depression, especially in dark climates and maybe why I love Las Vegas.

In the next few posts, I’m going to share what it was like to be a Jehovah’s Witness back then especially in rainy Oregon. Looking back, that move changed my life forever in a depressing way. But it also gave me the self-discipline to pursue a spiritual path. It was the seed planted that led me to my soul mate, my relationship with God, and the journey we would take together.

“All things work together for good” – Romans 8:28.

Next: Orange County to Oregon.