Fear is Gone: A Personal Victory that can also be Yours

I’m soon taking an overseas trip, without another human traveling with me, and I’m so completely unafraid because the Lord is with me.

But I realize that the courage that I have today is dependent upon my relationship with Him, and that it didn’t come without personal warfare, overcoming a traumatic past, and deciding to trust God.

It didn’t come without a walk with God, one in which there was personal suffering and triumph. The courage that I have is because He lives. It’s not due to sheer human effort, to will power, or to mind over matter.

I realize that when the sea is stormy around me–if I look at the waves, I will sink. I am human. But I also know that if I begin to sink, Jesus will reach out His hand to me.

Have faith in God.
Don’t be afraid.
Take courage.


Blessings of peace to you,

Pamela Koefoed

Easter Basket Sun Shades and New Mexican Food

“Authentic New Mexican food?” the lady in line behind me with eight Easter baskets stacked in her cart, the kind made of colorful strips of bamboo, answered my request about local places to eat with a question.

Vern and I had traveled through three states in two days and for a split second I forgot which state I was in, and wondered what it was about the Mexican food here that classified is as “new?” Without revealing my puzzlement, I nodded. “Yes. One of the things we looked forward to on this trip was authentic Mexican food.”

“There are good restaurants all over Santa Fe, but my favorite is La Choza and it’s not too far from here. Drive to the light.” She pointed across the room toward the exit. “Turn right and make another quick right or you’ll miss it.”

I made a mental note of her directions, while feeling a little silly about New Mexican food–after all, Santa Fe is in New Mexico, and thanked her for the recommendation.

We exchanged information about where we live. She resides in a home outside of the city. My husband and I have our home in rural Oregon, which led to learning that her daughter lives in the Beaver State, too. Our love of the food from South of the Border and the Oregon thing created a connection, and I was glad for the opportunity to speak with her.

“You won’t believe what I’m doing with these Easter baskets. It’s really terrible, I know, but I have an older friend who is an avid gardner. She passed a springtime gardening trick to me.” My new friend paused and lifted a basket from her cart. “I’m snipping off their handles, but I’ll leave an inch or so. Then I turn the baskets upside down over new plantings. They keep out the hot sun and the little bit of handle that I leave anchors them to the ground.”

After purchasing gift wrap for our children’s presents, which we would give to them when we arrived at our son’s home in Texas, we went a few blocks to the little adobe restaurant.

DSCN1812La Choza’s plain exterior gave way to a decorative, southwestern style interior with brightly painted walls, and the flavor of the area’s large Hispanic culture in paintings throughout the dining room.

As we learned from the restaurant’s host, the small adobe building was once a part of the Mercer Ranch and is more than a hundred years old. And since La Choza isn’t in the center of Santa Fe’s tourist haven, it’s more of an attraction for locals. DSCN1811

Our lunches were served on sizzling dinner sized plates. Chips and salsa weren’t included with the meal–something we’ve never before encountered. We ordered them on the side and weren’t surprised to find the salsa steeped with the flavor of red chile.

Southern New Mexico prides itself on its green and red chiles. During our walk from our place of lodging, the Madeline Inn, Vern and I spotted numerous Ristras, which are bunches of dried red chiles, hanging from home porches and outside of businesses.

We were in the chile pepper center of the world and we discovered New Mexico’s official vegetable in most everything, from enchiladas to soups to salsas to egg dishes–In this part of the country, they decorate and flavor food with chiles, chiles, chiles.

Photos and article copyright 2014, P&V Koefoed


Salt Lake City Observations

West Valley City UT

West Valley City UT

March 31, 2014

Today we headed for Moab, Utah to see one of America’s natural wonders, Arches National Park. We had no idea what to expect, but our son Ryan went through the area three years ago when he moved to Texas and gave it raving reviews. We’re lodging at the Castle Valley Inn for the night.

As we left the Salt Lake City area, Vern and I made the following observations and decided that you might find these of interest.

  1. The people with whom we interacted were smiley and helpful.
  2. A couple of cheerful young ladies at the hotel’s front desk didn’t seem to understand the meaning of “bless you.” I was overjoyed by their helpfulness when they printed a map to Moab for us while sharing their own travel stories. My way of saying have a great day or take care is to say bless you. They stared with blank faces at me. One looked nervously at the other.
  3. To save time, we chose a department store with few cars in the parking lot at which to do a little shopping. Then we stood in line with a few items and waited. The lady who purchased the cherub statuary caused a fifteen minute delay. The smiley salesperson blushed with embarrassment.
  4. I kept expecting to see moms with their large entourage of children, you know four little toe heads in a four passenger stroller and two darlings beside her. But I only saw average family sizes and only twice. Perhaps my stereotyping is from movies I’ve seen of this part of the United States. Time to ditch the stereotype.
  5. We topped off the gas tank at $3.35 / gallon for regular, a savings of 45 cents. We paid around $3.80/ gallon at our last stop.
  6. Along the interstate between Salt Lake City and Provo, Vern was impressed by the number of large commercial projects under construction. From one point on the freeway, we saw six cranes at the same time on different building sites, two redi-mix trucks ahead of us and a concrete pump at another site. And newly built commercial buildings with walls of glass dotted the landscape.
  7. We saw all of this from inside our Cadillac as we zoomed along the interstate at the slow speed of 71 mph. Other motorists shot by us at 80 mph or more—80 is the legal speed.
  8. The mountain ranges on both sides of the freeway corridor are stunning in their fresh coats of snow.
  9. Numerous canyon walls and rims fill the landscapePENTAX Image beyond Provo. Vern and I snapped loads of photos, trying to capture their grandeur, beauty and scale.



Further down the road, we stopped in Price, Utah. Since Vern’s mother’s maiden name is Price, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a look at this small town 118 miles south of Salt Lake City. We stopped at a diner for a late lunch, enjoyed a visit with the owner and learned a shocking bit of history. To be contented in our next post.

Blessings to you~

Pamela and Vern