Tag Archives: gratitude

Goodbye to Summer

We arrived home yesterday after spending the weekend celebrating the final summer holiday for 2019. Friends, who have an off-grid cabin and host an annual pig roast picnic on their property invited us for the weekend. After enjoying good food with fine companions, we settled in to enjoy a night high in the mountains complete with campfires and great conversation. 

The early morning in the mountains…

Camp site cleanup…

Outside Cleanup

Departure time…

Traveling view…

Sorting Thoughts…

Wow! It’s hard to believe we wrapped up week seven in Ireland. In the blink of an eye, seven weeks passed.

Thoughts whirl and twirl through my mind as I try to sort them. I suspect the sorting process will take some time.

Each of us has made contacts in County Kerry that have a place in our hearts, as do many people back in the US. I’ve read each of us only has the capacity to maintain a finite number of relationships, and that number varies little from person to person. That’s not my life experience. I find as I reach out and build a relationship with someone, my heart expands to make room for more relationships. With each relationship I build, it enriches something within my life.

My heart swells at the good thoughts of those who have touched my life; I’m grateful for the simple expressions of friendship, for the caring acts of our family, for the loving arms of God’s expanded family who know no geographical boundaries.

We’ve written about the weekly activities we each take part in, and those activities may sound simple or repetitive, but in many ways that is what life is about—simple, repetitive acts performed again and again; all the while with lives interacting and crossing one another. And so, week seven was another such week for us, full of people, interactions and activities.

We try to take one day each week and drive somewhere. The attached photo is from a seashore town, an area traveled often by tourists which is why I suspect the houses are so brightly colored. It is beautiful, and then nearby is the blue of the sea and the sky.

Seaside Town on Ring of Beara
Colorful houses on road along ring of Beara drive

Fight Back

When it comes to negative thoughts and self-talk, we have to fight back against those things.

Steven Furdick’s book, Crash the Chatterbox may be a good resource if you struggle with this type of negativity.

Furdick wrote the book to help people understand how they can battle the negative thoughts and lies filling their heads and hearts and instead turn to God promises and truth.

I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to others if they will work through the questions in the back.

There are a several statements that stood out to me:

…it’s not just what this chatter says that makes it dangerous. It’s what it keeps us from hearing.

…mistakes are inevitable but disrespect is inexcusable. And ingratitude is more than a misdemeanor.

…gratitude allows us to disconnect discouragement at the power source by choosing to call God good in spite of our situation.

 

Angel Encounter

October 30th, an angel blessed me.

I planned to travel home from Huntsville, AL to Grand Junction, CO with a flight transfer in Dallas/Fort Worth. Tom would pick me up about 6:30 P.M. (or something close to that.)

The plane from Huntsville never took off. When my plane landed in Huntsville emergency vehicles, fire trucks and police vehicles met it. The airlines kept delaying the departing flight and rescheduled connecting flights for the passengers. They rescheduled my connecting flights from Dallas, first to Phoenix and onto Grand Junction.

About 5:30 P.M. they canceled the Huntsville to Dallas flight. I could either spend the night in Huntsville and return to fly in the morning or fly to Dallas tonight, then they offered me a morning flight to Aspen. Being closer to home sounded better than starting over tomorrow. I opted to fly to Dallas.

Our flight to Dallas landed after nine P.M. I talked with an American Agent who offered a voucher for a night’s stay in the local Super 8 Hotel. I called the number on the voucher to request a pickup. The waiting area, the last in the pickup zone, was dimly lit.

There were two of us from this Huntsville flight waiting. I called first to schedule our ride and then two more times to figure out when the pickup would happen and could never get an answer when they would arrive. They said; the driver had left; they were experiencing a busy night, and they didn’t know when he would arrive. At that point we had already waited over 45 minutes.

The gentleman I was waiting with said, “I have thousands of points available at Marriott—let me get us each a room.” I protested and his comments were “No worries. I have points to spare.” He called for rooms and said, “We’ll take which ever shuttle shows up first.”

Within seven minutes the Marriott van arrived to pick us up. We got in the shuttle. Thoughts ran through my mind questioning what I was doing. Here I was, in a van heading to a hotel with someone whom I didn’t even know his name. God quickly brought the scripture to mind about how some have entertained angels unaware and peace filled my mind. (En route I received a Dallas phone call. I suspect it was the other hotel. By the time the call came through, an hour had passed since I made the original request for pick up.) We arrived at the hotel. Made arrangements for the morning shuttle, and each went to our rooms.

I had an amazing room; the bed had great pillows. For me, pillows make the difference regarding a good night’s sleep. I took awhile to fall asleep, as I was bone chilled from standing outside so long.

In the morning we met in the breakfast area and took the shuttle to the airport, each of us going to different terminals. I asked if I could get a business card and was told, “No worries.” We said goodbye and wished each other safe travels.

I have no name or contact information to offer a thank you. But I’m appreciative for this angel who waited with me in a dark area in a strange town and then offered me a refreshing place to rest for the night. God provides and cares for his own. I’m grateful!

LIFE — on Pause!

Friends have asked, “How’s recovery going?”

It’s been a humbling experience.

Think about your daily life. Then consider needing someone to help you do everything!

The question, how’s recovery going, is thought provoking.

Recovery happens one day at a time.

We celebrate small accomplishments and victories. Small events make up life.

How’s one to thank the many friends who stopped by to visit; who gifted me with flowers; who brought or sent food to the house to simplify meal preparation; the people who prayed for me regularly and sent short notes of encouragement?

Early on, I sensed my focus needed to be on getting better. I wasn’t interested in many aspects of my life. Leaving home was exhausting. It took much effort to get ready to go to doc visits or PT, do the program, and return home. After arriving home, I’d collapse in a comfortable location.

For me, time stopped. We returned from vacation, and I had plans to market my book. I’ve put those plans on hold.

This week recovery turned a corner. I want to take part in my regular activities again. I still have to pace myself as I tire after being out. I’m told, rest is crucial to healing, and that’s the top priority. So the focuses of my life are PT, both appointments and exercises at home; a few activities; a few interests; and using wisdom to know I need to stop.

Soon I hope to hit the RESET button.

 

What’s in a name?

Journey to the Heights

With a subtitle of… life is the journey

… is the name of this blogsite.

Many times someone has asked me, why this name? It’s so long.

It is long, but I’ll share with the different meanings this name holds for me.

I grew up in the mid-west and lived my life east of the Mississippi River. I spent six years in Germany. I lived all those years at less than 1,000 feet above sea level, sometimes as low as 180 feet above sea level.

My current house sits at 7,400 feet in the Rocky Mountains. For me, this move was a “journey to the heights.”

Ironically, we live in an area referred to as “Missouri Heights.”

My faith expects me to grow and mature, representing the love of God and the life of Christ more and more. For those of you who personally know me, you recognize some days that truth is more evident than others. God obviously calls us to a higher level.

For me Journey to the Heights means all these things.

I’m blessed with better health living at a higher elevation with a drier climate than any I enjoyed earlier in my lift.

I’m blessed by being surrounded with natural beauty, constantly changing. One can watch the massive skies with the clouds and various colors throughout the day. Stars appear close enough to touch.

I’m blessed that God put me here, in this location for this time of my life and He is taking me to higher levels in my faith. This is a gift!

And so, I share Journey to the Heights with all who are curious about my thoughts, my writings, my life!

Because of the people…

Our trip to Ireland, bookended by England happened because of people.

There are many memorable things about our summer trip to England and Ireland, but spending time with people we knew was a big highlight!

We forged a plan to travel to Ireland for 2016 in 2014 while old friends visited from Germany. The four of us wanted to get together again and wanted it to be sooner than the nine years since our earlier visit. The question was, “how do we make this happen?”

We discussed the possibility of meeting up while traveling and moved onto places we wanted to visit, but had not. Tom immediately said, “Ireland.” This location was also on their list.

We agreed on Ireland and the summer of 2016, figuring we had lots of time to make our plans.

Christmas of 2015, family was home from England. They suggested we visit them as well. We planned to do so, but hadn’t figured out the details. Jonny was great in suggesting a route allowing us to begin and end our trip in England. Instead of traveling back and forth in one country and then heading to the other, we would travel in one direction, starting and stopping in London. This also simplified travel arrangements to and from the U.S. Once we had that information and a contact in Europe who could make recommendations to us, the planning became much easier.

We landed in London and took the bus south where we spent the first days of our trip in the Dorchester, Dorset area. Reconnecting with friends and family, enjoying such a relaxing atmosphere was the perfect way to start a long trip. Thank you Sony, Alastair, Jonny and Abby. We had a great time!

Then we were off to Ireland. After landing in Dublin and renting a car, Tom navigated the challenges of driving on the ‘other side’ of the road. The first week we spent alone in county Kerry, Tralee.

From there we drove to county Galway, Galway and connected with our friends from Germany. What a delightful adventure, the four of shared as we toured the surrounding area and explored the seashores. Thank you Gudrun and Caj! We also had the pleasure of meeting Larena and Chris, missionaries to the youth in Galway.

We spent a few days in county Wicklow – Bray exploring by ourselves. One day was a train ride to Dublin where we explored part of the city; one we went to Waterford to visit the crystal factory and a trip to a lighthouse that has been in operation over 800 years; one we explored local gardens and old city ruins.

Then a short flight from Dublin to London allowed us to explore parts of London and wind down with Tim and Marina. This provided an opportunity to slow down a little and reconnect with family before heading back to America and home. Thank you Tim and Marina for your hospitality!

P1040560 (2016_07_30 04_52_45 UTC)

Interactions with people are what I tie my memories of places to. This trip was so rich with those experiences and opportunities. There are many we exchanged conversations with not mentioned here; they each added to my memories.

Thank you all for contributing to my memories. It was an amazing epic trip.

 

Irish Memories Linger…

We’ve been home a few weeks and thoughts of Ireland still resound in my mind.

Here are some photomontages of different aspects of Ireland that stand out for me.If one were to ask for a quick overview, I would respond by saying –

Green! It abounded. The first photo of the trees growing over the road, shaped by the bus traffic is a common sight.

 

Water and Beaches! They were everywhere. I loved the wind coming off the ocean; the ever-moving cloud scenes; the smell of the water and the freshness of the air. The beaches varied from being beautiful sand to rocky. It was very different seeing the Atlantic ocean looking in a westerly direction.

 

Sheep! They were everywhere. They appeared so different from the sheep I see in Colorado. They were shorter legged, more rounded in body and many were dyed to mark who they belonged to. They might be found in meadow fields, climbing rocky cliffs or close to the ocean. Except when we were in a city, we saw sheep everyday.

 

Tower Houses, Castles, Abbeys – old structures

From BeeHive house structures from 800AD, a lighthouse that’s been functioning for over 800 years, to medieval streets in the heart of cities — there were so many old structures. Some were still being used, some have been restored and some are in varying states of decay. It was difficult for me to comprehend just how old these structures are.

 

The Burren! This area was a surprise for me. From a distance it lacked the intense green so prevalent elsewhere. The surprise is how rich The Burren is with small plant growth; what a haven it is; and how rich it is in history.

 

Good Friend, Good Wine, Great Memories

Relax with a good wine...
Relax with a good wine…

 

During one of our trips to the mid-west, we enjoyed the privilege of staying with good friends. We were each looking forward to spending time together. Mary wanted everything associated to our visit with them to be perfect. We shared many good memories with them, so being together again felt relaxing and comfortable. The four of us settled in the living room and planned to catch up on the news in each of our lives. The guys would share a white wine. Mary had a special red wine she wanted me to try. Everyone was comfortable, and we toasted one another. I took a sip of my wine and was pondering the flavor. She took one sip, stood up and said, “This wine is not what I wanted. It won’t do.” She took my glass, headed to the kitchen where she proceeded to the sink and dumped the two glasses of wine down the drain. Surprised and shocked, I didn’t know what to do. This was so out of character for her, and I thought the wine tasted superb.

She rinsed our glasses and opened another bottle of wine; then returned with a different red wine. Mary found this wine satisfying. I considered it enjoyable, but I liked the first better.

Because of the memories associated with that evening and our friendship, I try to keep at least one bottle of Wild Horse, Pinot Noir in my house. Whenever I open a bottle and enjoy a glass, I am transported to another place in time. I remember our evening, our friendship and the pleasure of our shared relationship.

Iron Sharpens Iron

As Iron Sharpens Iron
So
Writers Sharpen Writers

Most writers I’ve met are solitary creatures. We do our work alone.

Yet it is in coming together, baring our souls and sharing our work we are honed to be better at our craft.

I’ve found writers either instantly bond, or take some time to develop a relationship. Once that relationship is developed, they tend to hold others gently, recognizing we are each a work in progress – both in our lives and in our work.

It is in those relationships other can speak into both your life and your work. In the differences of opinions, the suggestions or the encouragement we learn. I learn. From these people, I hone my skills. I change and my writing changes. I hope I do these things for other writers as well.

My goal is to become a better writer this year. That means I have to commit to more time writing. We’ll see how that works for me.