Settling into Santa Fe

I am convinced that part of a city’s magic lies in your first visit there. Scott and I met best friends here six years ago. We fell in love with the city and the terrain. So we were very excited to visit again. Overall we had a nice visit but like so many things in life  – the visit didn’t quite live up to our repeat expectations.

We stayed in a great house in Santa Fe that we found on VRBO. One of the greatest treats from our stay there was having space – real space- to stretch out, relax, cook and rest. We didn’t have that sense of urgency to “go, go go.” We allowed ourselves slow starts to each day and a continued, relaxed pace as the day progressed. The boys said it was great to just “chill out!”

The house was convenient to travel and was decorated with an abundance of folk art from the area. We did some grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s. It was great to eat breakfast in our house each day. We also ate lunch or dinner there, too. Scott was once again “master of the grill” and we had several good meals.

I didn’t realize how much I was missing my morning “quiet time” (with coffee in hand) until I discovered it again in Santa Fe. I woke up first each day and slipped downstairs to get lost in caffeine and a good book. The owner had a bookshelf with many titles. I stumbled upon a book entitled The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. For so many reasons – in so many ways-it was meant to find me. I look forward to sharing lessons learned and inspirations with others.

Our place was near the Railyard District so we went exploring. I found several worthy consignment stores. There are so many stores that sell consignment cowboy boots. For all of you that know me well – you KNOW that I looked at every pair in every store. I’m sad to say there wasn’t a pair that had to leave with me – not the right color, size and/or price. The boys did get vintage cowboy-style shirts and they look great in them!

Of course we visited the Historic Plaza in Santa Fe. We hope you enjoy the art as we did.

One evening we went in search of a neighborhood park. We found an empty baseball field and a spontaneous game of kickball broke out. The Angry Elves (a.k.a. Scott & Beck) beat Hozho Hamsteads (a.k.a. Angie & Griffin) 12-11. It was so much fun. Those unplanned, unexpected true family times TOGETHER are what this trip is all about!

Another fun adventure was riding a train from Santa Fe to Albuquerque. It was called The Rail Runner. It was very comfortable and reasonably priced. I was glad for Scott to have the 1.5 hours each way to enjoy the scenery because he has driven all 7,00o miles thus far on the trip. Once we arrived in Albuquerque we were without a car and basically tooled around downtown. We did stumble across a very neat non-profit called One Million Bones. Check it out at We are hoping to contribute to the project once we are home by organizing a “bone party” for friends and/or at Nature’s Way.

It wouldn’t be vintage Hamstead if we didn’t visit museums and flea markets while in town – so we did both. We visited the Museum of International Folk Art and the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. We enjoyed the journeys inside and gathered many insights and inspirations. One of my favorite posted quotes was ” We are made of prayers. Wrapped in blankets of love and wisdom.” Lucia Tapahonso (Navajo) Another tidbit of wisdom was that some native peoples believe that headbands carry your burdens. Good to know.

Know that you are blessed!




Our visit in Taos was brief and special. Scott and I traveled to New Mexico years ago with dear friends but had not visited Taos. So, when scheduling specifics for this once-in-a-lifetime journey, I inserted 24 hours in Taos.

When we got to town we walked around the plaza shopping district and had an organic, locally sourced meal at The Love Apple. Don’t you love the name of that restaurant? After dinner we all settled in to watch a movie from our beds and slept to the sound of falling rain. We have been so blessed with abundant blue skies on our travels. The sound of rain is a celebration for the dry grounds in the Southwest and soothing to all.

We stayed at the historic San Geronimo Lodge. It was built in 1925 and is a beautiful historical location. One of the reasons we chose to stay there was because the owners had built a prayer walk and a labyrinth on the property. The experience of both were enlightening.

Each one of us embraced the two experiences individually. You are encouraged to engage with an open mind and heart. The path to the center of the labyrinth and out again was one-quarter mile. I could literally feel energy pulsing through me as I did intentional deep breathing and prayerful reflection on each of my four labyrinth walks. I used a section of our family mantra for focused meditation on each trek. God, illuminate our path………..use us up…………..heal us…………and guide us.

The prayer path wound throughout the property. It was comprised of 14 stations with specific words for reflection. There were benches for rest and reflection. I want to share the 14 stations with you in hopes that they will bless you.

One of our favorite “stops” along the Prayer Path was the Dump Your Demons shed. You were invited to enter, write your demons on a special piece of paper, put the paper in a bowl of water, stir and watch your demons disappear. The magic of the surrounding nature and this intentional “letting go” of the things that bind you were very healing.

Scott, Griffin and Beck all had personal and enriching experiences, too. They described both the labyrinth and prayer path as “hard to describe, moving, calming, relieving and special.” Beck said he felt very “connected” and he knew that he could say what he wanted to say and it would be heard.

Make sure you bring your open mind and heart to our home in future visits because you just might be given the opportunity to experience something cool we took away from Taos!

Red Rocks and Double Rainbows

Sedona was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I loved, loved, loved it there!! As soon as we began to descend into the area we were struck and inspired by the landscape.

We were originally scheduled to be there for three nights. My spirit kept stirring me to add more to our stay. So, with gratitude for flexibility, we added a fourth night. There are so many highlights from our time there.

We rented an ATV and drove off road for four hours. The boys (all three of them) especially loved this adventure. It was steep, rocky, dusty and spectacular.  Check out that helmet cam I am wearing!

During the off road adventure we all enjoyed visiting the Honanki ruins. Look closely- you can see some of the original petroglyphs.

We also visited the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. The hike was hot and steep but well worth it. We had another chance to embrace a spiritual experience different from our usual routine. The Cathedral was built by a Hungarian woman in tribute to her parents. It smelled of burning candles and incense. Its pews were filled with locals, visiting Americans and foreign tourists. Its beauty was in the wrought iron metal work, red rock views and simplicity.

Scott and I each had a massage with our new friend Michelle. She was talented and her touch was healing. Once again I have made a vow to myself to get quarterly massages because I believe so strongly in their power to nurture the body, mind and soul! Let’s hope I can keep that vow this time.

There was a light rain falling as we returned to our room. After the rain we were greeted with the most vibrant, electrifying double rainbow. The intensity of the colors and the fact that not one-but two arches -framed the red rocks before us was MORE THAN MOVING! God’s creation amazes daily.

Beck met some new friends that offered him a chance to paint with them. So one morning he sat down with them and created the scene below. He really does have an artist within and we are blessed to be able to “see it” come to life! Check out his masterpiece.

We were blessed by many delicious meals. I am celebrating that Beck has become a salad eater on this trip! Both boys are healthy eaters for the most part but until now I have been unable to get them to try salad. Beck is now hooked and I couldn’t be happier. Griffin has also been watching his red meat intake and staying committed to “boot camp” exercises. Way to go, Griffin & Beck.

While in Sedona The Green Lantern (our 2000 Honda Odyssey van) turned 200,000 miles. Go, Green Lantern, go!

Some thoughts from the family;

“Beautiful vistas, quality family time, vibrant community and interesting energy.” Scott

“Sedona was yet another wonderful stop along our path with bumpy off roading, double rainbows and a great time to relax and regain our strength.” Griffin

“Again, along our journey,majestic, amazing, beautiful creations of God.” Beck

We also visited the Crescent Moon Ranch. There we were greeted by Buddha Beach and a creek that captivated Griffin and Beck for hours. One of the nearby rock formations looked like a peace sign to us. Maybe that’s the Sedona way- you begin to see beauty, peace and energy all around you and in everything. Live hozho!

Finding Magic in the Northwest

Our blessed journey continued into Spokane, Washington and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Along the way and in both cities we were able to share “blessings bags” with struggling brothers and sisters. We even came across a couple living in   their car. The sad reality is there are many more people struggling all around us than we allow our eyes to see! Are your eyes and mind open?

We absolutely loved our hotel in Spokane. We stayed in The Tower at the Davenport (part of the historic Davenport hotel). The surroundings were beautiful and the beds were heavenly. It was a wonderful place to unwind for three nights and pamper ourselves a little.

Lobby Fireplace at The Davenport Hotel

We had a special package that included a meal plan in their restaurants so we did not venture out to eat in Spokane. The food was enjoyable in the Safari Grill and the Post Ale House.

We spent a day in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho at the famous Lake Coeur d’Alene. It is about 30 minutes outside of Spokane so a very easy drive. It was beautiful. We landed in a city park. We spent some time in the sandy “beach” area. We also spread out under the shade trees in the grassy area. There was an abundance of beautiful scenery, people watching & relaxation. We discovered and enjoyed our first “blended cup of soul” which is an iced & blended combination of coffee, mexican chocolate and cinnamon! Yum! Later in the afternoon a steel drum band started up in the park. It was a tropical adventure in Idaho!

We knew we wanted to go see the last of the Harry Potter movies while in Spokane. Most of you know that we read all seven of those novels out loud as a family and it was a very magical part of our lives in many ways! The movie did not disappoint. The kids talked afterwards about how going to the movie was “bittersweet” because it was the end…the last one…and a closing of a special chapter in their childhoods!

Before leaving Spokane we visited the Spokane River Falls.

Portland is next! Watch out Oregon, here we come!

Water Falls in Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls was a nice stop over.

After staying in our small “boutique” room in Kansas City, the Sioux Falls room was huge!

We went out to eat a delicious meal at Carnaval Brazilian Grill. It was a yummy experience. Scott calls it “red meat city” but all of the boys enjoyed the variety of meats carved at table-side. Beck was a fan of the gaucho outfits the wait staff wore.

While we were out driving we found three new friends to give a “blessings” bag. Once again it was inspiring to see a simple bag of hygiene, snacks and water illuminate someone – things we take for granted!

It poured rain all night and into the next morning. The Hamsteads took over the workout room. We did weights, elliptical and treadmill. I am determined we will stay fit on our travels. After breakfast we climbed under the covers to wait out the rain and watched a movie – a nice break in pace.

Once the rain broke we went out for a late lunch. We also did the sculpture walk in downtown Sioux Falls. Here are a few of our favorite sculptures.


Lastly, we visited Falls Park. We welcomed the burst of water and nature.


To round out our experience I became acquainted with the coin laundry in the hotel. It’s been a few decades since I have had to do laundry in coin machines. The truth is it won’t be the last time on this long journey and is a small inconvenience that’s well worth the trade-off.

Many blessings to all of you!! Love, Angie

Artsy Explorations

Kansas City was a fun adventure. There are several modern, artistic buildings (our favorite was the Performing Arts Center). KC is famous for its fountains and we enjoyed them sprinkled throughout the city.

We stayed in the Westport area which is a fun, artsy area of KC. We came upon a great mural created by the Art Director of the KC Children’s Hospital. Can you find Griffin and Beck?

We started our day on Saturday with a two hour fitness expedition. We headed out from the hotel on a walk/jog. We came upon the Country Club Plaza area and an awesome outdoor park. The park had a paved loop and cross training exercise equipment in stations along the loop.

After breakfast and showers we returned to the Country Club Plaza area to do a little shopping and eat. The heat index was close to 100 but still tolerable. Before leaving Knoxville we created “bags of blessing” that we wanted to intentionally pass out along this trip. Inside the bags we placed water, snacks and personal hygiene items. We gave away our first “bag” to a gentleman we came upon at the Plaza. It was great to see his face light up and watch him dig into his peanuts. We have so much and others have so little. LIVE HOZHO and share!

We also visited the Nelson Atkins Art Museum. It is a massive museum with many floors and numerous exhibits. As we read about and studied the artifacts and masterpieces we reflected on the civilizations, artists & themes they portrayed.


Beck read about and practiced the proper meditation stance.

In addition to the extensive inside galleries there is an outside sculpture garden. Here we are with some of our new friends.

We are also finding time to relax and just be together. It is neat to watch this quality time between brothers turn into a mellow “jam” session.

Our spirit of adventure and mindset of openness is serving us well. We are adjusting to sleeping and getting ready in much less square footage than we are used to and that is good for us! We all take the spaces we call “home” for granted. We are looking forward to wide open spaces and what awaits us in the Great Plains of our country! Here we come, South Dakota!

Successful Knoxville Kick-off

The Knoxville Kidney Walk took place on Saturday, June 11th.

Our team, Live Hozho, had a good time on the walk. I was also blessed to be able to speak to the crowd about living organ donation and kidney health.

We raised $915.00 for the National Kidney Foundation. WOW!! Thanks to all of you for your support!

Live Hozho- Make the most of all that surrounds you. Live and give with intention!

Gift of Togetherness

I recently heard a excerpt from the “I Am” documentary trailer. The speaker spoke to the emerging scientific confirmations that we are more hardwired for connection and compassion than previously thought. I believe that to be so true!

I am concerned that in today’s world of technological advances, we will become electronically connected to the people we can’t see at the expense of connecting with those right in front of us. As our own children delve deeper into their media outlets of interest we have to continue to safeguard times of true, interactive connectedness, face-to-face, person to person. This trip is the realization of our five year dream to do just that!

I look ahead with joy and excitement for both the planned and the unknown adventures that will come our way. I am eager to embrace the gift of time in true togetherness with each other and our brothers and sisters along the way! I look forward to speaking out about kidney health and doing intentional service in the communities we visit.

Bono was quoted with the following words on Desmond and Mpho Tutu, “At the end of even the very worst day, it’s in our DNA to look out for our bothers and sisters.” May God enlighten and bless our journey as we do just that!