Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Dear Blog....



Dear Blog,

I know it's been a mighty long time since I last wrote, but I've been thinking about you for some time now. Wanting to write, but then not wanting to. My life has changed, no not physically, I'm still in my home, but mentally, I guess. Since my sweetie passed away in September and with his Memorial Service in November I have felt a huge chunk of my life is gone. You can easily say that my sweetie has been "gone" for a long time. Indeed he has, mentally. But physically he was still with me. I could still reach out  and touch him, I could still give him a kiss, I could still whisper in his ear, "I love you."  But with his passing, that too is gone. I truly did not think I would mourn his passing to the extent I have. But one never knows how mourning comes to us. This was not a happy Christmas season. Yes, I spent lots of good times with friends and family, went to church events, out to eat, attended musical events, went on a Christmas House Walk. But with all that merriment, I still felt a sadness, I just couldn't get into the spirit of the holidays. I didn't decorate this year, which is absolutely the first time in my 74 years, that there was no Christmas tree in my home. No decorations, no tinsel, no lights.  Indeed the Grinch dominated my scene this year.

In less than a week it will be a new year, 2018.  I want this to be a good year. Between what is happening in our country, what is happening in the world, and what has happened in my life 2018 merits to be better in everyway. Strife will continue, there is no doubt about that but we can still continue to pray for a more peaceful world, Trump will still be President, but again we can pray for good decisions, and life continues, and that is for certain.

Looking back, I really took some terrific trips this year, Arizona, Door County, Lexington, New Mexico, Colorado, Germany, and Prague. I already have trips planned for Arizona, California, Utah, and Hawaii. Nothing overseas....yet.  My life is blessed with goodness. I have good friends, a great family, a wonderful church community, my two kids....life is good. The loss of my sweetie will always leave a hole in my heart, but knowing that he is in a much better place also fills my heart with joy.

Scenes from Christmas....

Anticipation of presents to come...


Sisters....


Come on Dad, you can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose.....



Joy oh joy...


Surprise....


We have a new doctor in the house....


Are we done yet....


Grands and Great Grands....life doesn't get much better 

Happy New Year Everyone....!!!!

Until next time,

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November - The Gratitude Month


It's November 1st. How did that happen? I am barely used to writing 2017 on what few checks I do write and it's almost time to begin writing 2018. I just shake my head and wonder how life speeds by so fast. Since my last post on my memories from Colorado I have since been to Germany and Prague. I am traveling as much as I can while I am still upright and able to move about with few problems. You young ones out there, appreciate your hips, knees and ankles because sooner or later they will begin to rebel and not want to participate in daily activities. My pace is slower and rising from a comfy chair, you may detect a groan or two, but it's not stopping me from going and seeing. Life gets shorter by the day and I'm cramming in as much as I can before my whole body rebels and traveling must stop. Again, cherish each day.



My trip to Germany was terrific.  We landed in Berlin, spent a couple of days there and then traveled mostly thru east Germany tracing the path of  Martin Luther. This October the Protestant Reformation celebrated it's 500th Anniversary when Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis to a door on a church in Whittenburg, Germany challenging certain practices in the Catholic Church. This eventually led to the "reformation" that ushered in the Protestant religions of Lutherans, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists. Probably more, I didn't google it. Luther was an extremely religious man, attended university with the intent to become a lawyer but was "called" to become an Augustinian Monk. It was during this time that Luther began to doubt some of the "practices" within the Catholic church, particularly paying for indulgences.


It was a fascinating trip, walking into the very church that Luther preached in, visiting the monastery where he lived as a monk, seeing his grave and the town where he died of heart failure. All this happened in the early 1500's. Our country was a baby at that time, still called "the new world" with colonies beginning to form...the time of Ponce de Leon, Cartier, and Vasquez....you remember those names, explorers discovering this new world. All this while Luther was translating the Bible into German, writing poems and songs, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" (I'm sure you have sung this on occasion) and preaching that men become closer to God and gain salvation, not by their deeds but by their faith.


This is the month of gratitude (actually every month should be, but November has been labeled the month of gratitude). So I am beginning this month with gratitude that my trip to Germany was totally grand....nothing lost, no injuries, good company, and fascinating sites to see. BTW I have close to 2,000 pictures, so I may be grateful for this trip all month long....snort!



PS - this is the weekend of my sweetie's wake and Memorial Mass, I will be surrounded by my family, prayers are always welcome.

Until next time....

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Trip Memories....


Traveling thru Texas on the way to Santa Fe, NM

A trip to Colorado to photograph the aspens in the Fall led by my friend and mentor Lou Nettlehorst, good golly yes, I'm in. That plan began much earlier this year with my blogging/photographer buddy, Jeanne Stone. We have made 2 trips together, one to Charleston, SC and another to photograph the Hill Country in Texas during bluebonnet season. We are compatible companions, even with my snoring and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and nature. We get it when we take 30 minutes to photograph a wildflower, unlike those who do not see how we photographer's see. You guys out there know what I'm talking about.  Jeanne has breathing issues in high altitudes and her doctor advised her to drive to Colorado instead of flying to help her lungs gradually get used to the difference. OK, instead of flying to Colorado as originally planned I flew to Dallas (where Jeanne lives). A wee bit off track but not only did we plan on joining Lou in Gunnison, Colorado on Saturday, Sept 16th we decided to extend our trip by driving from Dallas to Santa Fe, NM...



staying 2 nights in Santa Fe (which was not nearly enough), then drive to Ghost Ranch near Abiquiu, New Mexico, the land of Georgia O'Keefe spending one night there (again not nearly enough) and then on to Gunnison, CO to meetup with our group for dinner and a get-together before outings began early the next morning. And what I mean by early is setting my alarm for 3:30 AM, holy mackerel who gets up at 3:30 except maybe to go pee. Lou has a habit of choosing places that are a bit of a drive for those early morning sessions, but it's all worth it for the end results. 

The night we arrived in Santa Fe we ate at a restaurant known for their tasty margaritas. Now I'm a frozen fruity margarita fan so that was a choice I decidedly agreed upon. Jeanne could only take a few sips, while I enjoyed every last drop and didn't feel a thing. While in Santa Fe, we wandered thru the streets, popping into churches to admire their beauty, touring the Georgia O'Keefe Museum and stopping at the rail station where the rail runner still had regular scheduled departures. Notice the rainbow in the scene....I took this as a positive sign that our trip would be filled with good times. It was until the phone call from my daughter came on Sunday evening. 



After leaving Santa Fe we headed to Ghost Ranch, the iconic place where Georgia O'Keefe created some of her finest work. The ranch itself is over 22,000 acres, but to my surprise, Georgia only owned about 7 acres of this grand space. Apparently she tried with earnest to buy the whole 22,000 acres, but in the end the owner, Arthur Pack left everything, except the 7 acres to the Presbyterian Church. It now resides as a retreat and education center with over 300 classes taught there each year. In fact, our humble abode (and they are rather humble, with no AC and concrete floors) was right next to a large group of oil paint artists that were in the midst of their last creation before packing up and leaving the next day. What a panorama for a subject. 



Yeah, that's me on the back of the horse, not the good looking cowgirl in front leading, me on the back of blonde horse, clinging (not really) to the reins and trying desperately to take photos with my big girl camera as we rode around Ghost Ranch for 1 1/2 hours. Please don't inquire as to my butt condition after that ride. Let's just say, I didn't fall off and the scenery was amazing. 


Our two wranglers, very kind to us oldies....

That evening we wandered down to the entrance to Ghost Ranch to capture the sunset. You can see from the wagon that the golden hour was indeed golden.  Wonder if riding in the wagon would be any more comfortable than the back of the horse...probably not. And that sweet little cabin is the one (so I have been told) that was featured in the movie, "City Slickers" with Billy Crystal.  In the visitors center there are a whole slew of movie posters featuring movies that were filmed at Ghost Ranch. 



Next stop (except for a few minor pull off the road I need to get that shot episodes) Gunnison, CO. 

PS - Thank you all for leaving such kind comments on my last post. I so appreciate your prayers and love that you have expressed. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!! 

Until next time.....