What’s a “Good Day” for you?

What a great day – My son and his wife were on a conference trip with their engineering NASA jobs. I was helping with my grandchildren. My son surprised me with an outing to the Japanese gardens and feeding the koi fish like we did when he was little – so thoughtful!

A Good Day

People are always wishing us to: “Have a good day!”

Good days for me have encompassed exquisite, rare opportunities like getting to see the aurora borealis in Alaska, visiting Paris in celebration of my husband’s and my 40th wedding anniversary, watching a total solar eclipse and flying over frozen landscape in a hot air balloon. Good days for me have encompassed everyday joys like a walk in the mountains where we live with our dogs, accomplishing something difficult like learning, yet one more thing connected with technology or enduring a challenging hike and always – reading a book I can’t put down. 

What constitutes a good day has certainly changed over the decades; hasn’t it? I remember – maybe you do too – when what made me have a happy included: no homework, my favorite babysitter, something I liked for dinner (perhaps spaghetti or grilled cheese) and watching a favorite TV show, like Bewitched or Gilligan’s Island.

Around that time, when I was about 8-years-old, TV and food played a huge part in my delight; as did spending time at my Meme’s. Summers at Meme’s were the greatest since I got to spend several days at a time there, without any parents! Spending the night meant being treated like a big kid. I was scared in front of the television watching The Twilight Zone with my aunt who was 4 years older than me. Sometimes I close my eyes at the really scary parts of the show and she would make fun of me. But the opportunity to be a big kid was worth enduring being teased.

Just Meme and I would have breakfast in her cozy kitchen.  Suzy the Siamese cat rested on top of the refrigerator, twitching her tail while watching us. I enjoyed warm buttered toast and hot tea with cream and sugar while watching The Beverly Hillbillies on the little portable TV.  I was sure there was no better way to start the day.

Meme had a great big above the ground swimming pool that was so deep; it was up to my shoulders! She’d bring out party sandwiches in the shape of triangles with the crust cut off and celery stuffed with pimento cheese. We’d eat right in the swimming pool!

Meme’s screened porch was one of my favorite places to play. Her elephant ears grew up against the porch creating a snug environment. I’d read or dress my paper dolls and Meme would slip in with a bowl of cherries or strawberries, respecting my quiet place.

When I was old enough to go on walks by myself, walking soon became my favorite activity and an important part of a good day. Walking our collie dog, Duke was so satisfying. Duke was a great listener and always up for a walk. I liked our alone time.

By third grade part of a good day was a trip to the library or walking to the neighborhood bookmobile. Having a new book to read or having uninterrupted time to read a book I couldn’t put down, that’s been a much loved part of a good day for me since childhood.

As a child, my favorite books were often Nancy Drew mysteries or stories about the lives of the saints. Regularly in my catholic school we’d have to give a report on the books we read. Classmates were clamoring for the books I described.  The lives of the saints were particularly fascinating; as one saint drove a nail in her skull to endure suffering for sins. Another saint was waiting to be torn to bits by a lion while she gave birth. The guard laughed at her birthing pang cries. She responded that she would not cry out loud in the morning when she was being torn to bits by lions. Periodically my mother got telephone calls from classmate’s mothers wanting to know what kinds of books was I was reading and where did they come from. I simply replied that I got my books from our school library.

Seldom was I the center of attention; so it was an intoxicating feeing having the whole class listening to me tell about my book. That is when it (be it subconsciously) occurred to me that the written word is powerful.

Having a reader tell me that they were moved my something I wrote is an exciting feeling that makes my day. The recent day spent alone with my 2-year-old granddaughter and I discovering each other was especially wonderful. A few days ago I spent the day with two 1st graders. It was a busy, tiring, exhilarating and very satisfying day. A good day sometimes involves getting together with one or more girlfriends. Good friends, good conversation and good food is always fun!

Yesterday my daughter telephoned and we talked unhurriedly about numerous topics important to us. It was part of a good day. She is having her first taste of ‘motherhood’ as she is presently staying home full-time with her 3-week-old foster son. It’s always good to know my daughter or son is thinking about me with a call, text or email.

Visiting my daughter when she was at Brandeis University for graduate school – she’s dressing her puppy warmly for a cold day

For me a good day can involve many things, of which walks with my dogs and time spent reading and writing are often a part.

Today was a fun day with my husband. We drove to Montrose to get more supplies for our sunroom that he’s building us. It’s a long drive. We talked. We listened to podcast. After getting our building materials I picked out some colorful flowering plants for our deck. We then enjoyed a tasty lunch at our favorite Montrose restaurant, Daily Bread. We don’t eat out often, so it’s a treat. I very much enjoyed my cup of mushroom soup and my crab and avocado salad at this mom and pop café. When we got home we walked our dogs and I enjoyed playing with my flowers. I checked on a friend’s cat which meant I got to do a kindness and make an animal happy. I’ve enjoyed reminiscing about Meme and writing this blog entry (and remembering the theme songs to Gilligan’s Island and The Beverly Hillbillies!) It’s been a good day!

As you journey through life I wish you countless good days. What makes a good day for you?

Celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary in Paris

Our Adorable Mountain Village

Volunteers

As I write, a few days ago was the annual celebration of volunteers in our community! There are volunteer positions available to coincide with every gift & talent given human beings: from working with children, to working in gardens, to working to promote the arts, to the always traditional baking cookies & more – much, much more. A few folks make a more than part-time job from their volunteering & some, like yours truly, mostly stick to one area.

Easter Fun

As our little village gets ready for Easter, volunteers will help staff hide 1,500 eggs for the outdoor hunt – oh I see we are counting the snow to hold off.  In order to give all the children to best chance to find eggs there are different spots to hunt for different age groups.

All Are Welcome   

It seems especially appropriate that at Easter it is traditional that our village holds a community breakfast & a community worship service – ‘cause God love us all – God says ALL are welcome – ALL – just 2 commandments – Love God – Love each other –  JUST LOVE

Our Amazing Road Crew

This winter our little mountain village had an unprecedented amount of snow. It’s been very hard to deal with so very much snow. And it keeps snowing several times a week. The unprecedented amount of snow has caused avalanches.

 Snow – Snow and more snow – too much frick’en snow

In this season of too much snow our road crew has been the best ever

Mud Season

When you live in our mountains with snow you know about Muddy March. In this year of unprecedented snowfall we are having Muddy April. I feel sure that Muddy May will follow. Muddy June will not be a surprise.

Talk about child-like joy – making lemonade out of lemons – I love having captured this kindergartener playing in the mud in the middle of town!

Mud Season

Feeling So Alive

We just walked our first Gold Hill (a ‘low’ mountain called a hill by locals) walk of 2019!!!

This is a favorite walk of ours, especially on the shoulders of the seasons when the visitors haven’t yet arrived; as we have it all to ourselves!! You don’t live up here if you enjoy crowds!

This winter our little mountain village had an unprecedented amount of snow. It’s been very hard to deal with so very much snow. And it keeps snowing several times a week.

 Snow – Snow and more snow – too much frick’en snow

But this morning – it was beyond fabulous & not snowing when my husband & our canine kids waked Gold Hill under an ocean of cobalt blue sky that we had all to ourselves!

Hope, our border collie was blissfully flying from mountain peak to mountain peak

Joy, our sheltie was contented to find puddles of snow to make puppy dog snow angels

This walk, in these surroundings, under this blue, blue sky – just makes us feel so alive!! So happy to be alive ~

Crystal Peak


Making snow puppy angels

Aging

The term “Baby Boom” is used to identify the huge increase in births following World War II. Baby boomers are those people born between 1946 and 1964. I am a baby boomer. I am 62 years old. I find this time of life reminiscent of adolescence. My body is doing weird stuff. So many things don’t make sense. There’s so much to learn.  Of course THE difference is that puberty is the beginning. When did we go from “I’m 13 AND ½”  to “I won’t be 50 until 9:33 PM”

According to Google, some younger people say that you are old once you turn 59. Somewhat older people say that old age begins at 65. Old age refers to ages nearing or exceeding life expectancy, which in the United States is 78 years

We say “it’s just a number” yet we do what we can to look younger than ‘the number’

I plainly remember when I realized that everyone died. Death wasn’t just something that happened to my great-grandparents for some unknown reason.

Clearly, if not before, then by the time we are in our 60’s we hear the tick-tock sounding. Everyone wants to go the Heaven. No one wants to die in order to get there – it seems that seldom is anyone ever ready to die, not even the old folks.

I think it’s important to remember we are going to die & that it may not be as far off as we would like. We have a finite number of days. Do what you need to do. Do what you want to do. Live all the days of your life. Personally, I like to feel as good as possible; so I find it rewarding to life as healthy a lifestyle as is doable for me. Regular exercise, food choices & portion control really do make a difference!

What will I leave behind…will any part of the world be a better place for my having lived –

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived… I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life… Thoreau

Living in Nature with Dogs

When I wake up every morning, I smile and say, ‘Thank you.’ Because out of my window I can see the mountains, then go hiking with my dog and share her bounding joy in the world.  – Carole King

Exactly – getting to live in the mountains is somewhat like being on vacation all the time & getting to live with our dogs up here is joyful & spontaneous. Our dogs aren’t just part of the furniture; they are closely connected to us.

Living inside nature gives me a sense of peacefulness and joy. I raise the shade in our window seat this morning and I delight in seeing the curl of the moon & Venus over our snowy valley.

Our dogs Joy (Sheltie) & Hope (Border collie) wag good morning.  They know that soon we will go for a walk in the mountains – how delightful! It’s a scientific finding that both nature & dogs are big time antidotes to stress – so we must be hitting the jackpot living in nature with dogs!!!

Just stepping outside is a spontaneous adventure with our dogs – walking our nature trail, our border collie Hope sees geese on the opposite side of the river. Crouching, she moves catlike & then pounces forward, delighting in the geese taking flight. Joy throws herself into a mound of snow & rolls around in childlike glee.

Most days have an underlying spontaneity to them because we live within nature – I pass Blue Mesa usually twice a week. I’ve seen a fox crossing the area, ice fishermen in action, sailboats floating on sunlit sparkles, ice skaters and sometimes I just have to get out of the car & take pictures – the beauty makes my eyes fill & my heart beat faster – it’s exciting & always feels new.

What are your positive experiences with nature & dogs?

Thank you.

I wish you peace, julie

Forgiveness & Trust

Since my husband & I live in such an extraordinary beautiful area, it is not unusual for me to have my camera with me. I took this photograph 4 years ago while hiking near our home in rural Colorado. It reminds me of a page that could have come from my Catholic religion book in the early 1970’s. I graduated from Nolan Catholic High School, in Fort Worth, TX in 1974.

Deep thinking and genuine conversation are important to me.  Perhaps because it is Lent forgiveness has been on my mind. Earlier today I emailed a few friends on the topic of forgiveness and was so touched by their replies, I thought more people might want to join the conversation…

So forgiveness is the topic…

There are people in my life whom I feel that I have forgiven – in that I no longer continually think about the wrongness they did against me (I use to turn their transgression over & over in my mind until I almost enjoyed the hurt; like picking at a scab.) It feels so much better not to do that – I can now get the event & them out of my mind

– BUT I don’t trust them –

And for me there is no (real) relationship without trust

Esther Perel is a Belgian psychotherapist who says that the person who hurt you / betrayed you has to apologize for that before healing can begin to begin  – nothing is more important than that  –  they have to acknowledge the remorse they feel for having betrayed / having hurt you before healing can begin

Life is too short & too important for anything other than authentic connections

Forgive & live healthier

Be cautious with your trusting heart

Your thoughts –

How do you see forgiving someone – how does trust enter in with forgiveness

Please pass this blog to others: Catholics, non-Catholics, nature lovers, deep thinkers, dog lovers, other people you think would be interested

Thank you. I wish you peace,

julie

Walking The River In Winter

“If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress”. Barack Obama

Keep moving…keep moving physically and keep moving in the direction of what’s important to you. Walking feels good and is beneficial to maintaining our health, and too, we have a border collie and a sheltie, so we walk…walk…walk…

We live up in the mountains and this time of the year it is hard to find a place that is safe or viable for walking; so we walk our nature trail. We walk our nature trail the way the way we would walked around the block when we lived in suburbia.  Our nature trail runs along the back side of our cabin, along the river and through a wooded area. In the frigid winter the river freezes, with dollops of whip cream looking snow on top, which gives off the essence of a fairy tale.

The reason for winter according to the abbreviated version of Greek mythology: Zeus, the king of all the gods, had a lovely niece, Persephone. 

Hades, king of the underworld, was an ominous fellow who fell in love with Persephone. Before anyone could stop him, Hades grabbed Persephone and dove deep into the darkest depths of the Underworld.

Hades locked Persephone in a beautifully decorated room. He brought her all kinds of delicious food. Persephone refused to eat. She had heard if you ate anything in Hades, you could never leave. She had every intention of leaving as soon as she could figure a way out.

Time went by. Finally, in desperate hunger, Persephone ate six pomegranate seeds. She promptly burst into tears.

A deal was worked out: If Persephone would marry Hades, she would live as queen of the Underworld for six months each winter. In the spring, Persephone would return to earth and live there for six months.

Every spring, the earth comes to life with flowers blooming and crops growing and the fields are green. Every fall, Persephone returns to the underworld and Lake City gets colder and colder.…

Maybe Persephone was late returning to Hades this season because our spectacular autumn lasted and lasted making it an Indian summer that we were captivated with for an unusually long time…and the price seems to be that our really cold season started off long before it was officially winter. The frosty bitter cold we don’t usually experience until mid January began to poke us with its bony, icy fingers in October and became more and more brazen with countless mornings starting out below 0 and our days never climbing near the freezing mark of 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

I delight in the change of seasons and the peacefulness that envelopes us when our thousands of visitors leave but really – so very many days of temperatures starting at 0 and below…darn – over a few seeds – really – rather reminiscent of that bite of apple…darn those harsh consequences of old age and death and the unrelenting cold.

And yet…there is that charming view of Crystal Peak right in front of me. She looks like a heap of gingerbread with powdered sugar on top. The morning sunshine has finally reached our valley and with the nature trail calling for a walk…