We both arrived in Pheonix at the same time. I was coming from Orange County and my sister Jo from New Orleans. We were getting together to celebrate the birthday of our youngest sister Norma, who lives in Mesa, AZ.

We picked up the rental car and headed east towards Mesa. Jo was in charge of navigation while I drove. What was to be a 30 minute drive turned out to be 2 ½ hours. Getting on and off the freeway several times, and reentering the address did not help either. Calling Norma just added to the confussion. I still do not understand two things: 1. How did we get lost? 2. How did we make it to Norma’s house?

Once we arrived we started the planning of our adventurous weekend. Norma had a great idea, that Jo should watch a mini series from Spain which had English subtitles. So going straight to Netflix,and it did not take long for Jo to get hooked. I had just finished season 3 the day before arriving, so I understood why Jo was so enthralled with “Velvet.” I rarely watch secular TV, but this is different, as I neglected  many of my daily obligations to binge on this Spanish love story. I got caught up in the romance of fast-talking Spaniards.

Frankie, Norma, Lady and Boy

My sister Norma may as well run a petting zoo. She always has so many animals, consisting of two dogs, two cats and a rabbit. These pets usually end up in bed with you. Foof, the rabbit, suffered trauma by an overzealous playtime with Frankie, an American Bull Terrier. The poor bunny had to be put down. It was Bella, my 11 year-old niece, that discovered the wounded hare. In our entire family Bella can certainly rank top ten in the drama department, and after a trip to the vet she and her brother Jacob were inconsolable. Foof was mourned the two days while I was there and certainly many more. This was Bella’s pet and she loved her Foof.

Bella and Foof
Me, Norma and Jo

The following day we went hiking and I racked up 7,000 steps on my Fitbit. The weather was beautiful and the scenery of the different types of cacti in this desert region was an education and new appreciation of this  group of plant species.

In the evening Norma made arrangements for us to participate in this “Lock Down.” The purpose of the Chemical Lab was for us to figure a way to save us and the rest of the world from this pending poisonous gas. At San Bernardino Valley College I got a solid “C” in biology and that was with extra credit. We were instructed to find clues to unlock the formulas. I noticed the Periodic Table of the Elements and looked for the H2O (the only one I could recall). I knew from the start that we were doomed to extinction, and Norma yelling at the top of her lungs that she wanted her money back made it a comedy of errors. We were allowed four clues and  immediately asked for help the first one and unlocked one clue. Jo and I were diligent and wanted to save the world but not Norma, who kept yelling that she was going to push the panic button. There was one chair and I honestly was using it to unlock a padlock (without a clue) when Norma decided that she needed to sit and complain the rest of the hour. Jo was so helpful but in the end, with five minutes left ,working against the clock and without Norma’s participation, we ended up in the abyss, sorry world, we just needed five minutes to get out but it was not to be.

Me, Leah, Bella, Eli and Jacob

On Saturday night we went to dinner and something went wrong. I took responsibility for the topic of transgenderism and gave a strong argument against the practice. My niece Leah is a millennial and she felt different. We teamed up against her and in the end we all lost, with some feeling disrespected some hurt. For myself, I can say that I learned a great lesson. It does not matter how passionate we are in our beliefs, we need to respect the beliefs of others. We are not going to change the world by dividing it but by displaying the love of God.  Even though my beliefs are based on Scripture, I come across as arrogant to those who do not think as I do. What I can say is that in the end God will judge who is right and who is wrong. In the famous or infamous words of Rodney King, “Why can’t we just all get along?”

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Romans 14:19

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