While men and women are busy buying last minute gifts, their minds focused on Valentine's Day, my heart goes in a completely different direction every February 14th.
Arizona's Statehood Anniversary. 99 years ago, on February 14, 1912.
Technically, my heart isn't going a different direction because I am absolutely elated to live in Arizona every single day of my life. I wish with all my heart I'd been raised here, but I've lived here for just shy of 14 years so I consider myself a native.
Perhaps this doesn't make sense to others. But I grew up in Maryland, the flattest, most feature-free topography in the contiguous United States. And Maryland is fine if you like flat and featureless. But I was genetically programmed from before birth to love the mountains. I knew even as a little kid that I would move west one day, but it wasn't until the 1990's that I knew it would be Arizona.
First came a long weekend trip to Tucson's White Stallion Ranch (http://www.wsranch.com/) in 1990--my first ever excursion into Arizona. I was smitten with the rare and beautiful sights of the desert, the unique and hardy plants that had adapted themselves to such a harsh climate. Then in 1996, I came out again and drove up and down the state, my jaw on the floor mat the whole time, in absolute awe of Arizona's breathtaking beauty. It was on that 1996 trip that my heart was stolen for good--not by a man, but by Arizona. I love her geographic wonders, her cactus and other unique plants, her animals, and the southwestern architecture. And oh, the awesomeness of studying her history!
So I will leave you with just a small sampling of photos of this awesome state that I am so very, very blessed to live in. THANK YOU, LORD!