Taking Down the Christmas Tree


Three weeks ago today we cut our little Christmas tree down. It was in the middle of an area thick with trees









Is putting up the Christmas tree an emotional time for you? All during our son and daughter’s childhood we came to the cabin (where Bruce and I live fulltime – for maybe 13 years now) for Christmas. My husband and I have good memories of that time.



Well, yes, the 16 hour drive was hard and sometimes bad weather and accidents made a long drive more of a challenge. So many memories… like the policeman stopping to ask us what we were doing in the middle of the night on the side of the road – the dog had to pee.



We would start the drive shortly before the kid’s bedtime so that they would sleep most of the way. We stopped at McDonald’s for breakfast. We listened to inspirational tapes by Zig Ziglar and fun stories of Hank the Cow Dog.



Arrival at the cabin was such a relief – even the dogs got excited. We cut our tree down with the kids and dogs in tow. We ice skated on the river, made snow angels and snow men and sledded. We played board games and dominoes. There were arts and crafts, always books and puzzles and some school work.



Though getting to our destination was difficult, it was like most everything Bruce and I have done – hard but worth the work for the outcome. We got to be together, just our nuclear family for a wonderful change and enjoy simple pleasures away from the traffic and schedules and expectations of others.







Putting up and taking down the Christmas could be a metaphor for life…







Many Christmas memories abound in this mountain cabin…


Family members have been added…dogs have died…grown kids now have their own traditions… We did a good job raising and educating independent kids; teaching them to be kindhearted and sending them out into the world gradually – setting them up for success.







Bruce and I are so lucky. We enjoy being together.






I am so happy. Grateful


Life’s going how I expected it to with Bruce’s retirement January 3rd.  It’s like our life together before retirement was on weekends and holidays – but better because he’s here now without interruptions of having to go to work. We have a routine where we work mostly separately on our computers – together when required for a project


We walk the nature trail generally 2-3 times together daily


While we eat lunch together we listen to a podcast – maybe humorous speaker Jeanne Robertson or a master class


A half hour or so after lunch we alternate exercise tapes almost daily


We are taking classes on how to get my / our award winning picture book, Mountain Mutts -Joy’s Tale out into the world in both print and e-book form


Bruce does the technical work. We problem solve together


We talk about what to have for dinner and share cooking – though he has picked up most of the cooking







My spinach quiche and we enjoyed Bruce’s salad with it








Bruce’s pizza crust – we put together our own pizzas – he likes always the same: tomato sauce and cheese


I change mine up: this is onion, black olives and tomatoes with cheese – I bake them, alternating the top and bottom oven shelves for each pie


Bruce’s salad goes great with pizza





Very recently we found a new to us TV series to watch in the evenings. Victoria starts with the 18 year-old becoming queen. I especially like historical fiction. Bruce watches with me though it’s not his favorite (I’ve said he can spend time looking for something else – I had a number of choices that he said no to and I’ve watched ‘his’ choices). We talk about the time period, laws, health, inventions and such of Victoria – enjoyable conversation.






My happiness is conducive to me being more productive which makes me happy and more productive


Bruce and I haven’t lived together every day for most of the eleven years he was the engineer at the electric company, so I was aware there could be glitches




We are getting complicated Medicare stuff done too and making some physical changes in the cabin since he’s here all the time now



We are not in a level of bliss that’s impossible to keep going (though I am at least as excited as when we were starting our life together)


We are in a happy combination of contentment and passion and delight and gratitude – we appreciate each other – we help each other grow – we are happier together than apart


a full life


Someone to love

Something to do

Something to look forward to





Dear reader, I hope you have daily delights to enjoy and bigger events to look forward to during the year along with work…Happy New Year – love julie

“The most precious gift we can give one another is letting them know they matter.”  Julie A R Stephens

Living in the Mountains

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4 thoughts on “Taking Down the Christmas Tree”

  1. Sounds like a parallel life to our own, my wife and I, less the cabin. I retire in June, on our anniversary, ironically enough. We’ve found ourselves again after grown kids moved out. Love endures, but it takes effort from both. Saturday coffee dates, religiously, are a game changer. Grateful for all of it. Starting my blog back up tomorrow after a 2+ year COVID hiatus. Thanks for your words. -Jim

  2. Julie,
    Love reading about your travels to Colorado as young parents and sweet Christmases ‘away from it all’.
    And CONGRATULATIONS to Bruce upon his retirement. May our LORD continue to bless your marriage and days. ♥️🙏🏻

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