I had lots of free time for chatting while they played in the backyard at my cousin's under the orange and grapefruit trees.
We were even treated to another delicious version of Paulie's Salmon.
Smelling the scent of blooming orange blossoms drifting through a shaded patio while sipping coffee made me deliriously happy!
The desert has a beauty all its own. I found it was even more beautiful in close-up detail.
We stopped at a lovely Franciscan retreat center and I briefly explored the grounds.
It was nestled into the curve of the mountain. There was a labyrinth for meditative walking and healing gardens where flowers were just beginning to bloom.
My favorite spot was at the foot of this huge mosaic of Our Lady of Guadalupe. A nearby fountain trickled quietly and begged a traveler to stop and sit a while.
Reflecting sunlight illuminated the mosaic and Mary appeared to be glowing with love and purity.
Returning to the East Coast on a chilly March day was a bit of a shock after so many breezy, beautiful sunny days in Phoenix. Sometimes it is hard to believe that people live in dramatically different landscapes and climates from the one in which I live. What a wonderful world!
I had thought I would be able to blog while away, and I did once, but now I am back and looking forward to returning to the familiar family routine. I missed blogging, connecting with commenters and keeping up to date with the bloggers I love to read.
Most of all I missed the feeling of all five of us being together as one family. We belong together ~ not apart ~ and being reminded of that is the greatest souvenir of any vacation.
There's no place like home.