13 September 2017

New Adventures

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A good sign that life is developing some sense of "normal" again, is that I've been stitching again!  Working on this project, a combination of English paper piecing and crazy quilting in some lovely Japanese taupe fabrics.  

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Ol' Trusty got traded in for this new Subaru Outback a couple weeks ago!  Oh my, there are so many bells and whistles on it, that it's going to take some getting used to!  She hasn't earned a name quite yet, but hoping it will be soon as we've already begun our adventures together! 

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We headed for the mountains one day last week.  The aspen trees already beginning to change color in some places.  Fall is definitely in full swing in the mountains. 

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Our first stop was Echo Lake, where I had a nice walk with my cane on the easy trail around the lake.  

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Such a pretty spot!  Quintessential Colorado!  

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This lovely gray jay followed me part of the way hoping for a handout, but I've learned it's better to let them find their own natural foods.  

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The thistles around Echo Lake were a lovely deep shade of plum purple.  

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From Echo Lake, we headed up Mount Evans.  The road winds gradually up the side of the mountain until it tops out at over 14,000 feet high!  

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After Labor Day, the road is closed at Summit Lake so that the high tundra can get a rest before winter sets in and the wildlife has some time to themselves.  At well over 12,000 feet in elevation, it's still pretty high!  

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The path leads around the eastern side of the lake and then if one chooses, there is a rocky steep trail up to the summit of Mount Evans or down towards the Chicago Lakes and Echo Lake.  Too steep for me!  I was content to wander the shores of Summit Lake!  

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The view of the Black Cliff is pretty spectacular.  It's hard to realize the scale in this photo.  

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Looking down the canyon, one has a good view of the Chicago Lakes below.  

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The tundra is in full autumn mode with colors changing rapidly.  

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Lots of beautiful blooms still visible though!  

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And many that one might easily miss if not paying attention!  

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The Mount Evans road is a great place to see Bighorn Sheep and higher up, the Mountain Goats are often around.  Always a treat to see them. 

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There's lots of small wildlife too like this Colorado Least chipmunk busy gathering food for winter!  

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Along the lakeshore, the colors in the grasses were lovely.  Reminded me of some of the scenes I saw in Scotland.  

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Just beautiful!

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At the end of the day, I took the road down and found an overlook where I sat and ate my dinner and watched the gradual sunset.  Loved the shading of the mountain layers. 

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Eventually the sunset came.  The air in Colorado has been filled with smoke from the. many western wildfires and it gave the sun an eerie red glow to it before it disappeared into the haze.  

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The smoke has been thick as the weather patterns have backed it up against the mountains.  I don't think we've truly had a clear day since the eclipse in mid August.  It's a good reminder of all the troubles taking place around the country and indeed around the world.  Many thoughts and prayers going out for all those affected by the fires and the hurricanes and earthquakes.  

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It's not often that we get to see the Colorado landscape appearing misty/cloudy.  Definitely beautiful in its own way, but I'm ready to see some clear blue Colorado skies again!  

25 August 2017

One Last Adventure with Trusty


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Trusty is my 2004 Subaru Forester.  Up until Trusty, my luck with cars was rather abysmal and I was left stuck on the side of the road more times than I care to count.  Trusty gained her name by being incredibly reliable for the past 14 years and over 200,000 miles!  Not once has she left me stranded! I think I've spent more time in her than I've spent in my various homes over those same years!  We've been on so many adventures together and travelled back and forth between wherever I was living at the time and Colorado.  

But time and age takes its toll and though Trusty still looks pretty good for her age, she is showing signs that she might not be so trusty in the  near future.  Her bearings and joints are creaking, she overheats a little now, the belts are stretched and loose and various little things have been coming undone over the past few months.  At first I hoped to repair her and keep driving her, but suddenly the list of things needing repair grew beyond a reasonable budget for an old car.  So along with all the other changes in my life, it's time to say goodbye to Trusty and God willing, next week will bring a new vehicle into my life.  I can only hope and pray it will be as wonderful as Trusty has been!  

With the need for a couple of days of R&R, we headed for the hills for one last adventure together. It's only a car, but I find I'm feeling rather sentimental over knowing that this is our last trip together. 

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We started off with an old favorite ~ Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.  With lovely vistas of the valley below, the road winds up a canyon and exits at the Alpine Visitor Center around 11,000 feet in altitude.  

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Along the way we passed lovey waterfalls,

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hairpin turns on the dirt road (and some pretty big ruts in places!).  

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Despite the rapidly changing seasons in the mountains, there are still lovely wildflowers to be seen along the roadside.  

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We also explored a spot I don't recall having ever been to before in Rocky.  This is Lake Irene.  It's a short walk away from a lovely picnic spot.  

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The Fly Amanita mushrooms were out!  Poisonous for humans, they don't seem to bother the chipmunks.  

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We enjoyed the drive over to Milner Pass and this lovely view of Poudre Lake which straddles the Continental Divide.  The water closest in this photo flows to the Gulf of Mexico while the water furthest away flows into the Colorado River and on towards the Pacific.  

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We ended our first day with a drive through another favorite spot, Moraine Park.  Usually the meadow is full of elk, but today, the only wildlife sighting was this coyote who crossed the road right next to me.  

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Then he decided to follow Trusty for a little bit.  When we would stop, so would he.  When we drove on, he followed!  After about a ¼ mile, he decided to pass us and loped on by!  What a treat to end our day with!  

24 August 2017

Sold!

Not long after my last post, I made the decision to put my house up for sale.  With God's grace and blessing, it sold within 48 hours of listing for more than the asking price!  You can see the listing here if you are interested: https://www.iresis.com/cwa/link/listing?llid=prvt60&lid=1129806#  I am not sure how much longer the photos (which are amazing!) will be visible.  The photographer did an amazing job despite a stormy evening and dull light!  

With a closing date set for three short weeks after the sale, things have been happening quickly!  My kids all rallied to help me and I have moved in with my oldest son, his wife, and my dear sweet granddaughter for the moment, which will give me some time to figure out exactly what comes next.  

I've done a lot of downsizing and packing in the past couple of weeks as well!  The things I kept have been moved to storage for the time being and there is a "living" estate sale taking place over the next few days to get rid of the rest!   

Closing is this coming week and then it's on to figuring out the next part of this adventure!  In the meantime, I'm taking a couple of days of rest and rejuvenation in Rocky Mountain National Park.  I'm excited about this next part of life's journey - and to be truthful, just a bit anxious about it as well. Stepping out into the unknown is always a challenge, but God is faithful and has seen me through thus far!  


10 July 2017

Life's Unexpected Journey

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The unpredictability of life… How do we find ourselves here?  How did we get to this point?   Where are we going?  What happens next?  How can I get where I want to go?

These are questions that I have.  

About a year ago, I experienced a “heart” episode that rocked my world.  It was an awakening to the amount of stress in my life and the need for some changes.  A new job, closer to home, alleviated some of that stress.  Then in March, out of nowhere, I started to experience knee pain.  Within days it became intense enough that I could not get through a work shift due to the pain.  I was given an ambiguous  diagnosis and there was no surgery that would help me.  The knee pain exacerbated the ongoing issues that I have had with my sacroiliac joint and hip issues.

Physical therapy was helpful in regaining some strength, but I am a long way from being able to function fully.  The work restrictions given by my physicians are such that I can not work; nor was I approved for medical leave and to top it off, I had not been at this job long enough to qualify for short or long term disability. 

There are days, where the pain is manageable and I am able to move and do things fairly well.  Everything seems fine.  But on other days, a single mis-step and I am debilitated by pain for hours or days.  Sleeping without waking many times throughout the night in pain has been a challenge.  

So now what?  Where does that leave me?  

The truth is that I have been wrestling with God over this.  I would like to retire.  I would like to keep my house and yard.  I would like to purchase a van and convert it to a travel vehicle and do some extended traveling throughout the US and Canada.  I would also like to travel overseas to places like Japan, India, Scandinavia, the British Isles and Europe.  I dream of being able to hike trails like the Camino del Santiago, the Appalachian Trail, or the Pacific Crest Trail, or even short trails like the ones in Rocky Mountain National Park.  But dreams of hiking - whether short or long distances, seem out of reach when I cannot make it through the grocery store without pain.  I would like to write a book (or several.  I want to paint, I want to take photographs, I want to create beautiful things.  I want to spend my days restfully, seeking beauty, inspiring others, living simply, joyfully and contentedly.  

By now you have noticed that like Belle in “Beauty and the Beast”, “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere,” while still staying in my safe, comfortable home.  A paradox to be sure.  I want it all!  

In my search for answers and direction, I have recently completed a devotional on the YouVersion Bible app, “Facing the Unpredictability of Life” by Sherene Ellen Rajaratnam.  In it, she states, 
“A major cause of unpredictability in our lives arises from the fact we only look at life from our angle and want God to help us fulfill our plans.  Unfortunately, the sovereign God weighs our hearts.  God wants us to align our plans with His, so He can establish them.”  

Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. 

Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  

James 4:15-17
Instead you ought to say, “if the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”  As it is, you boast in your arrogance.  All such boasting is evil.  So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. 


There is more to this unexpected journey that we call life, than we can ever dream of.  It takes us on paths we don’t anticipate, teaches us lessons that we never imagined learning.  Maybe the biggest lesson is that our best life isn’t lived in the life we imagine and dream of, but in the unexpected journey.

God willing, I am retiring from nursing and preparing to sell this home that has been my lovely nest for the last five years.  I have been massively downsizing in preparation.  God willing, I hope to spend a few years traveling this country by van and hopefully some travel abroad.  In short, I hope to truly live my “manifesto” that I wrote a few years ago.
  • Live God’s peace
  • Spread God’s Glory
  • Worship the One True God
  • Live prayerfully
  • Pause and reflect daily
  • Walk daily in God’s creations
  • Downsize my possessions
  • Live environmentally conscious
  • Live minimally
  • Spend time with people
  • Create (paint, photograph, stitch, spin, knit)
  • Write
  • Live simply
  • Live joyfully
  • Be content
Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

I will keep you posted as things change.  One of these days I will have stitching and artwork to share among other things, but posting may be somewhat sporadic for a while longer as I figure things out.  

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01 May 2017

Sweater Salvage

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I have had this black wool sweater for close to 15 years and it is a favorite!  I wear it nearly daily and it was starting to get worn and had developed a few holes.  I looked in vain for a sweater of the same size and similar fit, but wasn't able to find one.  Today, I decided to repair the holes in hopes of getting a few more years use out it!  

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Every where that there was a hole, I needle felted a leaf over that spot.  

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I love the way it turned out and hope that it will hold up to daily wear!  So glad I was able to salvage it and turn it into something a bit unique! 

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