Tag Archives: gratitude

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?

Why Journey to the Heights?

So I share with you the different things this means.

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

My house is at 7,400 feet in the Rocky Mountains. The move was a ‘journey to the heights.’

We live in an area called: 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 who personally know me, you recognize some days that is more evident than others. God obviously calls us to a higher level.

For me Journey to the Heights means these things.

I’m blessed with better health living in 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 to 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 you!

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.

Grateful Haitians…

While in Haiti I was impressed by the people. They are poor. Poor beyond anything I could imagine. Yet these people were dignified, gracious and grateful. The following photo is a candid shot of one of these couples. I also shot the formal pose, which was their preference.

Grateful Homeowners (rural farmers)
Grateful Homeowners (rural farmers)

I volunteered with Poured-Out, installing bio-sand water filters in homes. The people have requested these filters, signed up for and paid 200 Gourde (approximately 4.00 US dollars.) This small contribution to the cost of the filters denotes ownership in the process. These people were interested and invested in learning about the benefits of the filters and the maintenance. As part of the extensive survey they participated in, they were asked if there were things they wanted shared with people in the United States to understand what the filters mean to them and why their contributions are so meaningful. I was blown away by the responses! Below are some of the responses I would like to share. Hopefully these words will give you some insight into the gratitude I was able to witness during my work in Haiti.

  • Thank you, this kind help will be easy for us to save more money, to keep our health – May God bless you. I hope this favor continues in Haiti.
  • Thank you a lot, encourage you for this good work, it is a great work, we really like it. We will pray for more people to give to this work, so God will touch their hearts. We are very happy with the work.
  • Thank you so much for the work you are doing. Be strong in the world. Cover much area with filters. She will pray we will be blessed and can continue this work.
  • God sent you to Haiti to bring clean water. Thank you so much for helping another country. We will pray for you.
  • I feel it is a big lesson, just sitting here while you install a filter for my family. Now we don’t have to worry about diarrhea or other diseases because now our water will be clean. This is a big opportunity for all of us. A big thank you to all of you.
  • I congratulate you! I think it is a big thing. My family has a filter. I hope others will have filters also. That’s why I will continue to pray for you so that God can continue to bless you to have a giving heart. Thank you.
  • Thank you for the good work. Continue the good work. Don’t get discouraged. Even though you do the work for us, God will bless you. Thank you and God bless you.
  • We need to get the word out so more people can have filters. More people need them. Doing this is a big job in Haiti. You are killing cholera in Haiti. Thank you so much. Pray that God can bless you as an organization and keep on working. Pray that God would continue to provide the money for this work.
  • I have satisfaction you have given us this filter. I want to thank you for doing this work. I know the area next to mine needs filters too, so can you guys bring more? We have other areas, communities, people who have sickness and cholera and they need filters and would love it if you could bring some there too.
  • This is a big help because we have a lot of disease in this country. This filter will help us a lot because clean water is the most important thing in our lives. Thank you.
  • I am so happy about the work I know that God put that in your heart to help us. I want to say thank you again. May God bless you to continue to do this job.
  • I say thank you for this support. It will help me not to buy water again. Money it will be used for other. Thank you a lot. May the Love of God follow you.
  • We say thank you for this effort for this help in Haiti. We encourage you to continue doing this job because God will bless you. May God protect you and bless you. Thanks for having God in your life.
  • We say thank you. May God continue to bless you and give you the ability to continue installing these filters. May God bless you.
  • Thank you so much because you leave home, your family to come. We will pray for you I pray that God will protect and take care of you. God is the one who is in control of you.
  • We thank you for this gift that you guys give. If we were buying it would cost a lot of money, but to have one is a big gift.
  • We say thank you for the team that our eves see right now because God gave you the opportunity to think of Haitian people, after the two big shocks that we have had in our country of the earthquake and cholera outbreak. We say thank you to all the people who contribute to buying this for the Haitian people. May God bless you.
  • First of all we thank God, that makes the idea in your mind to think of Haiti, and we thank God because he made it possible to do this good work. We pray the blessing of God over everyone who is doing this work. We were in need of this because we used to have to buy water to drink now we won’t have to buy it anymore.

GO! LEARN! LOVE! — Haiti is the place.

Go Learn Love is the motto our church uses for our missions programs. Haiti is the place in June. This week I completed the last of the immunizations I need before leaving on this exciting trip.

Thank you! Those of you who have been praying for me, and the team – God has been answering your prayers. He has been erasing my fears one at a time and building my confidence about this trip. He has also been building relationships between team members. This last Sunday as a group, we did a fundraiser. We fixed the after church brunch, provided music during lunch and had a great time working together. Lunch was a success! The money earned from this effort will be distributed between the team members. Then we had a Skype session with one of the folks from Poured-Out giving us more detailed information about our trip. June will be here before we know it!

I’d like to thank those of you who have graciously contributed to my expenses for the trip. I have about a month left and a small amount to raise to cover my trip expenses, and am confidant God has this under control. If after praying about this, you feel God is asking you to contribute to this great effort, please private message me so I can provide you the necessary information.

It will be my pleasure to share the adventures of this trip with you.

Stay tuned…

I pray blessings to each of you, who have been supporting this trip through your prayers. I believe God will use your prayers and financial support in a mighty way.

Happy New Year!

Just a short greeting this evening–to all my family, friends and the new friends I’ve gained over the last couple of years. Thanks for sharing and making memories with me in 2014. It is my hope each of you will reflect on the events of 2014 and as you ponder the good memories, to also think about the lessons learned. Then while looking to 2015, think about how those lessons will be applied to the goals and directions you plan to take.

Blessings to each of you!

Motorcycles and Memories…

Recently we visited the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado. What an eclectic collection of old motorcycles we found. Many of them were old Harley’s. There were old photographs and articles of motorcycle events.

I don’t have many positive memories of my father, so I was surprised at all the memories of him, this place evoked within me. I had the last ride on his Harley before he sold it when I was 3 or 4. I had forgotten about all the motorcycle hill climb events he took me to as a child. I seem to recall those events were either early in the spring or late in the fall. I remember being chilled at most of these events, and wondering why anyone would want to ride in such mud. I was a girl after all. But I also remember how excited my dad was at these events. When I think about that now, I realize he was sharing one of his passions with me. It was nice to have a memory about him, which invoked smiles and happy emotions.