Summer is Fading Away

On a Sunday morning in late August, sidewalk art caught my eye.  Even though it seemed a bit crazy to do, I stopped to take a photo of an image that provided me with a metaphoric representation of a message I have been unwilling to accept:  Summer is fading away.



The faded sidewalk art must have been so bright and colorful on the day that an unknown artist brightened up a bit of sidewalk by painting a sunflower.  I imagined the artist painting the flower in anticipation of an upcoming festival at the beginning of the summer.  Since that day, many feet have passed over the painted flower throughout the summer.  Its brightness has faded as the paint was slowly chipped way to leave only a faint rendering of the original image.  

Artists do not paint on sidewalks if they wish the art they are making to last long.   As I age, I find that like temporary sidewalk art, I am very aware that summer seems to be the most fleeting of all the seasons.  It is also the season I most wish to extend.  I wish to deny that another summer is ending which means that the days ahead will be less full of sunshine, flowers, and warmth.   

Flowers can't bloom forever.  For everything there is a season.  I can't deny that truth.  I am grateful for each season of the year.  Each is needed in the cycle of life where I live.  I would not want to live where I wouldn't be able to enjoy the changes that each season brings.   I am also grateful for each season of life, but as I age, I find myself asking myself how many more summers I will have where I will be able to do all those things that make summer so special.  

Summer ~ A Time to Be Outdoors

I live at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  My walks, while healthy for my body, are even more beneficial for mental health.  

In the evening, as the sun begins to set, I see some spectacular sights. Ending a day gazing at a sky filled with light and shadow reminds me that while I might have experienced both light and shadow throughout the day, it is the light that not shine through but also lifts my eyes upward.  Light pierces the darkness as the day ends, and my soul finds peace as I reflect up the message of hope that shines brightly before my very eyes. 





Each day I look for opportunities for finding the silver lining behind every dark cloud.  We just have look for those silver linings.  I've found that I usually can find them in every situation.


I share my daytime walks with the many wildlife creatures that live near my home.  I never know what creature I may encounter along the way.  Can you see a doe poking her head between these walls and houses as she searches for food or shelter?


As I got closer to this sweet little doe, she seemed so small and vulnerable as she stood behind some bushes.  I noted her skinny little legs and inquired as to her health.  She just watched me with her soft doe eyes as I passed by without making any comment or movement.  I do hope she is well.



As much as I fret and fume over the damage the deer do, I also feel so much compassion for these beautiful creatures who find themselves living in an urban setting which is really not healthy for them.  

Summer ~ A Time for Creativity 

As with every summer, I began this summer with high hopes for the small garden plots I worked to create around the perimeters of my house.  The grasshoppers, the slugs, the rabbits, and the deer all have feasted on my plantings.  Needless to say, my impossible garden did not live up to my expectations, nor did I see my dreams of flower blooming around my house realized. I did manage to get one bouquet from the delphiniums I planted before the bucks showed up and ate the plants down to the ground.  These blooms represent a victory of sorts and my determination that I will grow flowers in this environment that seems to be set against me doing so.  
Many evenings and afternoons were spent on the back deck writing in my journal or reading.  I love summer evenings spent in the quiet solitude provided by my back deck.  


Summer ~ A Time To Enjoy My Man & My Dog


I do think dogs enrich our lives so much.  This special companion is so loved by us both, but there is no denying that Boston is Jim's special boy.  We love taking him for walks.  We are all three getting older, and sadly Boston has developed a limp due to hip dysplasia.  The vet says he must lose some weight.  Hmmmm.   The doctor told us the same thing, so we all three must keep up the walks and start limiting the food.  



Summer ~ A Time for Limited Structure to Schedules

In summer, I find I return to the types of schedules I liked to keep when I was teaching and summer vacation finally rolled around. I like to read fluffy novels that keep me up late at night.  I love going to bed late.  I like sleeping with the windows open so I can feel the cool mountain breeze flow down through the valley where we live and through our bedroom as we sleep.  I love being awakened by the chimes from Mount St. Francis a mile from my home.  I love not having a strict schedule.  I have purposed having a healing, relaxing, and mostly stress free summer.  

I accomplished that by spending a lot of time right here on my very own front patio.  



Summers spent with those you love most in settings that bring joy and peace are the very best kinds of summer to have.

How was your summer?  What did you do this summer?






Summer Is Fading Away

On a Sunday morning in late August, sidewalk art caught my eye.  Even though it seemed a bit crazy to do, I stopped to take a photo of an image that provided me with a metaphoric representation of a message I have been unwilling to accept:  Summer is fading away.

The faded sidewalk art must have been so bright and colorful on the day that an unknown artist brightened up a bit of sidewalk by painting a sunflower.  I imagined the artist painting the flower in anticipation of an upcoming festival at the beginning of the summer.  Since that day, many feet have passed over the painted flower throughout the summer.  Its brightness has faded as the paint was slowly chipped way to leave only a faint rendering of the original image.  

Artists do not paint on sidewalks if they wish the art they are making to last long.   As I age, I find that like temporary sidewalk art, I am very aware that summer seems to be the most fleeting of all the seasons.  It is also the season I most wish to extend.  I wish to deny that another summer is ending which means that the days ahead will be less full of sunshine, flowers, and warmth.   

Flowers can't bloom forever.  For everything there is a season.  I can't deny that truth.  I am grateful for each season of the year.  Each is needed in the cycle of life where I live.  I would not want to live where I wouldn't be able to enjoy the changes that each season brings.   I am also grateful for each season of life, but as I age, I find myself asking myself how many more summers I will have where I will be able to do all those things that make summer so special.  

Summer ~ A Time to Be Outdoors


Recently, a friend who had not seen me since spring said I sure was tan.  "Yes," I said.  "I've spent a lot of time walking this summer.  I've been out soaking up as much Vitamin D as I can whenever I can."  My summer walks have been so healing to me this year.  I find I have so much more stamina than I did before my relatively new pacemaker and a heart ablation kept my heart from beating so wildly fast whenever I tried to walk.

 I haven't hiked any mountains, but I do climb a 300 foot incline in less than a mile when I make my way up the road and around the bend of a big circle that comprises most of the walks I take with my hubby and the dog. 

Jim and Boston in front of our home after one of our walks

Jim and Boston
Our new front patio provides another perfect place for enjoying summer mornings or evenings.


Living in the foothills, I see some spectacular sights as the sun begins to set behind Blodgett Peak.  



Other days, as I walk I just rejoice at the beauty of the neighborhood where I live.  I never know what creature I may encounter along the way.  Can you see a doe poking her head between these walls and houses as she searches for food or shelter?


As I got closer to this sweet little doe, I thought she seemed so small and vulnerable as she stood behind some bushes.  I noted her skinny little legs and inquired as to her health.  She just watched me with her soft doe eyes as I passed by without making any movement.  



As much as I fret and fume over the damage the deer do, I also feel so much compassion for these beautiful creatures who find themselves living in an urban setting which is really not healthy for them.  

This summer, I attended a Wildlife Management Seminar that quite informative.  In my area of town, this topic is an important one.  I hope to write a blog post on what I learned at this meeting soon.  

Summer ~ A Time for Creativity

I began this summer with high hopes for the small garden plots I created around the house last summer.  The grasshoppers, the slugs, the rabbits, and the deer all have feasted on my plantings.  Needless to say, my impossible garden did not live up to my expectations, nor did I see my dreams of flower blooming around my house realized. I did manage to get one bouquet from the delphiniums I planted before the bucks showed up and ate the plants down to the ground.  These blooms represent a victory of sorts and my determination that I will grow flowers in this environment that seems to be set against me doing so.  


Many evenings and afternoons were spent on the back deck writing in my journal or reading.  I love summer evenings spent in the quiet solitude provided by my back deck.  

I've also spent some time with my writing group this summer.  Those times are so enjoyable and motivational.  

Summer ~ A Time To Enjoy My Man & My Dog

Boston celebrated his fourth birthday in August by gobbling up his favorite treat:  peanut butter pie. 


I do think dogs enrich our lives so much.  This special companion is so loved by us both, but there is no denying that Boston is Jim's special boy.  We love taking him for walks.  Recently, after a walk in the nearby Garden of the Gods, we stopped in Manitou Springs to buy some popcorn.  When Jim sat on a bench to enjoy people watching while he ate his popcorn, Boston was right there next to him in no time.  He'd be a lap dog if he could be.  He's not allowed on furniture at home, but takes every opportunity he can to hop up beside his dearly loved master on an outdoor bench.


Summer ~ A Time for Travels Both Big and Small

Summer has been a time when we have taken a few trips.  One was to New Orleans.  I have yet to blog about that wonderful trip.  

There have been a few medical procedures that I have had this summer, but all have had wonderful outcomes and results.  In late July, I had to have a pancreatic procedure in Denver.  That test provided us great news.  Problems with a duct from three years ago have been resolved, and the pancreatic cyst is stable and has not grown.  All of this was great news.  

Because we traveled to Denver for the test, and because I might have had to spend the night after the procedure in the hospital, Jim treated me to a wonderful stay in a great hotel across the street from the University of Colorado Hospital.  I'm grateful to have such a thoughtful and generous husband.  Side note:  I love the slippers that came with the room!


When the tests all came out well, Jim and I drove to downtown Denver for dinner.  After the endoscopic ultra sound, my throat was very tender.  For dinner, I wanted something easy to digest and soft on the palate.  All I could think of was the wonderful trout dinner at the Brown Palace Tavern, so off we went to one of my favorite places.  What a treat.  The dinner did not disappoint.  It is always a treat to step inside the Brown Palace and enjoy the ambiance.  


And, it is always great when a mini-vacation is squeezed out of a medical appointment.  That is what I call finding the silver lining behind every dark cloud.  We just have look for those silver linings.  I've found that I usually can find them in every situation.


Summer ~ A Time For Some Interesting Weather

The end of August has brought much rain our way.  I read where many of you need rain.  I wish we could share some of ours.  At the foot of the mountains, we seldom have gentle rains this time of year.  We have thunderstorms instead.  Those storms are sometimes quite violent and scary because of the torrents of rain that fall and create rivers out of streams or dry creek beds.  We also have a lot of lightening and thunder.  Sometimes, we have hail.  Yesterday, we had one of the worst hail storms I have ever seen.  Thankfully, it missed our house, and thankfully I missed driving in it.  I was just three blocks way from the site of this video about 15 minutes after the worst of the storm passed through.  I hope you can access this video.  https://www.facebook.com/KOAA/videos/10154554272333939/

Summer ~ A Time for Limited Structure to Schedules


In summer, I find I return to the types of schedules I liked to keep when I was teaching and summer vacation finally rolled around. I like to read fluffy novels that keep me up late at night.  I love going to bed late.  I like sleeping with the windows open so I can feel the cool mountain breeze flow down through the valley where we live and through our bedroom as we sleep.  I love being awakened by the chimes from Mount St. Francis a mile from my home.  I love not having a strict schedule.  I have purposed having a healing, relaxing, and mostly stress free summer.  I have mostly accomplished that goal.

 I hope to return to a more regular schedule soon.  I hope to again also have a more regular schedule of posting to my blog.  Summer has meant that this year,  I did not blog.  Forgive my absence from reading your news.  I hope to get caught up with you all again soon.  

I hope your have had a good summer, and I hope you enjoy these last few days before the Summer of 2016 fades away forever.  


Sally- Summer 2016



Summer Update

It is just past noon on a Tuesday morning.  I love mornings at home when the agenda page on my iPhone calendar is clear.  Jim is at work, so I don't even get sidetracked by his company.  No appointments take center stage when planning the day; however, the long to-do list in my head does nag at me:

  1. Water the plants
  2. Fertilize the flowers and bushes.
  3. Find out what bugs are eating your flowers and deal with them.
  4. Take a morning walk.
  5. Do some household laundry.
  6. Schedule appointments for next month.
  7. Write those notes to friends that need to be written.
  8. Organize your stacks of stuff in the upstairs office.
  9. Organize that even bigger stack of stuff in the downstairs guest room/quasi office.
  10. Go grocery shopping.
  11. Fix a healthy meal for lunch and dinner.
  12. Check in with your blogging friends and see how they are doing.
  13. Try to get a blog written and published.
  14. Take a shower.
  15. Fold laundry.
So far, I have accomplished getting numbers 1 - 4 finished.  Somehow, I skipped down to number 13 and sat down to write a quick blog while I cool off from my outside work and my walk by sitting in front of the open window in my study.  The breeze feels refreshing.  

The familiar sound of a plane from the nearby United States Air Force Academy  pulling a glider across the sky connects me to the place in which I live.  I think of those young air cadets training to get their wings. I envy the freedom and excitement the young cadets must feel when that glider is pulled into the skies, released from the aircraft that has taken the glider to to the required altitude, and the glider itself  then soars and swoops and then glides back down to earth.



Such an experience is not gained by these cadets without hard work, solid academic performance, and sacrifice.  These cadets have a schedule, and they stick to it.  They won't succeed if they do not use discipline and organization.

The gliding through the air does appeal to me.  At this point in life, I find the schedule that leads to accomplishing much in life doesn't hold much appeal.  

I also know myself well enough to know that I don't function well without schedules.  I fight against them.  Always have.  As I grow older, I probably need a proper schedule more than I ever have, but I hate them all the more.  

I want to glide, and slide, and be free of those time restraints in life that continue to bind me.  Life just seems too short to do laundry, clean house, shop for groceries, and fix meals.  I want to read, write, walk, play in the yard, dig in the dirt, eat lunch with friends, enjoy time with my husband, and visit my children and grandchildren.  

I also want to stop all these medical appointments because of medical issues.  Summer is for fun.  It is not for medical procedures.

Many days I am very well.  Other days I am not.  Last week, I had an earlier than expected colonoscopy.  The results from biopsies are not in.  This week, on Friday, I will have an endoscopic ultra sound of my pancreas at the University of Colorado Hospital.  I had the same procedure three years ago,  at least I know what to expect with the procedure.  I just don't know what to expect on the outcome.  I may require additional risky procedures that same day.  There is talk of a stint for a malformed duct.  Most of my pain and discomfort comes from the pancreatic area, but thankfully I haven't had any bouts of pancreatitis that required hospitalization since 2013.    

As if all of this were not enough, for the last few weeks I have been bothered by floaters that block my vision.  The latest, a very large one that has been assailing my vision for three days in a major way, has made reading and writing nearly impossible.  My stubborn nature went into overdrive so I could write this overdue post.  Defying that seemingly pencil eraser size floater, I sat at my computer and wrote this.  Don't worry, I've been to the eye doctor yesterday and I have not tears or detachments.  I'm just dealing with the aging process in the eye that seems to have gotten worse since cataract surgery in March and April.

So, dear blogging friends, I haven't forgotten you.  I'm just not spending much time using a computer or other technological devices due to my eyes.  I also have been out enjoying life with my dear hubby and my precious family and wonderful friends as much as I can this summer.  I have been working with my writing group every other week.  I meet with church friends for prayer or breakfast.  When Jim isn't working, we have lunch, dinner, or breakfast with couple friends or with my cousin Donna. Other days, when Jim is home,  long walks in the morning invigorate while more leisurely walks in the evening bring peace and joy.  


Some of those things on my to-do list can wait until the weather forces me inside.  In the meantime, the deck or front patio are ready and waiting for friends to drop by and visit.  Books are being enjoyed in the cool of the shade.  I'm winning a few wars with the wildlife by planting and protecting my impossible garden.  I'm also staying strong in spite of health problems that continue to hit.  Keep me in your prayers on Friday.  I hope to be back to summer activities soon.


Summer Update

It is just past noon on a Tuesday morning.  I love mornings at home when the agenda page on my iPhone calendar is clear.  Jim is at work, so I don't even get sidetracked by his company.  No appointments take center stage when planning the day; however, the long to-do list in my head does nag at me:

  1. Water the plants
  2. Fertilize the flowers and bushes.
  3. Find out what bugs are eating your flowers and deal with them.
  4. Take a morning walk.
  5. Do some household laundry.
  6. Schedule appointments for next month.
  7. Write those notes to friends that need to be written.
  8. Organize your stacks of stuff in the upstairs office.
  9. Organize that even bigger stack of stuff in the downstairs guest room/quasi office.
  10. Go grocery shopping.
  11. Fix a healthy meal for lunch and dinner.
  12. Check in with your blogging friends and see how they are doing.
  13. Try to get a blog written and published.
  14. Take a shower.
  15. Fold laundry.
So far, I have accomplished getting numbers 1 - 4 finished.  Somehow, I skipped down to number 13 and sat down to write a quick blog while I cool off from my outside work and my walk by sitting in front of the open window in my study.  The breeze feels refreshing.  

The familiar sound of a plane from the nearby United States Air Force Academy  pulling a glider across the sky connects me to the place in which I live.  I think of those young air cadets training to get their wings. I envy the freedom and excitement the young cadets must feel when that glider is pulled into the skies, released from the aircraft that has taken the glider to to the required altitude, and the glider itself  then soars and swoops and then glides back down to earth.



Such an experience is not gained by these cadets without hard work, solid academic performance, and sacrifice.  These cadets have a schedule, and they stick to it.  They won't succeed if they do not use discipline and organization.

The gliding through the air does appeal to me.  At this point in life, I find the schedule that leads to accomplishing much in life doesn't hold much appeal.  

I also know myself well enough to know that I don't function well without schedules.  I fight against them.  Always have.  As I grow older, I probably need a proper schedule more than I ever have, but I hate them all the more.  

I want to glide, and slide, and be free of those time restraints in life that continue to bind me.  Life just seems too short to do laundry, clean house, shop for groceries, and fix meals.  I want to read, write, walk, play in the yard, dig in the dirt, eat lunch with friends, enjoy time with my husband, and visit my children and grandchildren.  

I also want to stop all these medical appointments because of medical issues.  Summer is for fun.  It is not for medical procedures.

Many days I am very well.  Other days I am not.  Last week, I had an earlier than expected colonoscopy.  The results from biopsies are not in.  This week, on Friday, I will have an endoscopic ultra sound of my pancreas at the University of Colorado Hospital.  I had the same procedure three years ago,  at least I know what to expect with the procedure.  I just don't know what to expect on the outcome.  I may require additional risky procedures that same day.  There is talk of a stint for a malformed duct.  Most of my pain and discomfort comes from the pancreatic area, but thankfully I haven't had any bouts of pancreatitis that required hospitalization since 2013.    

As if all of this were not enough, for the last few weeks I have been bothered by floaters that block my vision.  The latest, a very large one that has been assailing my vision for three days in a major way, has made reading and writing nearly impossible.  My stubborn nature went into overdrive so I could write this overdue post.  Defying that seemingly pencil eraser size floater, I sat at my computer and wrote this.  Don't worry, I've been to the eye doctor yesterday and I have not tears or detachments.  I'm just dealing with the aging process in the eye that seems to have gotten worse since cataract surgery in March and April.

So, dear blogging friends, I haven't forgotten you.  I'm just not spending much time using a computer or other technological devices due to my eyes.  I also have been out enjoying life with my dear hubby and my precious family and wonderful friends as much as I can this summer.  I have been working with my writing group every other week.  I meet with church friends for prayer or breakfast.  When Jim isn't working, we have lunch, dinner, or breakfast with couple friends or with my cousin Donna. Other days, when Jim is home,  long walks in the morning invigorate while more leisurely walks in the evening bring peace and joy.  


Some of those things on my to-do list can wait until the weather forces me inside.  In the meantime, the deck or front patio are ready and waiting for friends to drop by and visit.  Books are being enjoyed in the cool of the shade.  I'm winning a few wars with the wildlife by planting and protecting my impossible garden.  I'm also staying strong in spite of health problems that continue to hit.  Keep me in your prayers on Friday.  I hope to be back to summer activities soon.


Savoring Those Final Summer Days

Why do we rush the seasons?

Am I wrong when I remember that seasons during  my childhood were more clearly defined?
These days, children go back to school in August while we didn't go back to school until
after Labor Day.

While the summer flowers are blooming, the grocery stores start selling mums.
Starbucks starts selling lattes flavored with pumpkin before I'm ready to think of fall.
The Halloween displays come out in August.
The retail stores must hurry with these displays because soon we will see Christmas displays.

The autumnal equinox arrives at 4:21 a.m. EST on September 24, 2015.
Until then, it is technically still summer.
That means:
for me
the sandals can still be worn, weather permitting,
as can the sun dresses,
the shorts,
the cropped pants.
I've put away the white pants and the white shoes.
This is reflection of those rules of proper seasonal attire  that are deeply ingrained in my head:
no white shoes or pants should be worn
 before Memorial Day 
or after Labor Day.

Until September 24, it is still summer in my world.
I'm not ready to move into fall yet.
My mind and my body just aren't ready to make that transition.

Yes, just as I wrote in my last blog post, I am still on the cusp of autumn.


Cusp

[kuhsp] 

noun

a point that marks the beginning of a change
a point of transition: turning point, edge, verge

Don't rush me.
I'm not ready to make the transition.

I do admit that  transitions are difficult for me.
Today, soon after my arrival to her office, my therapist asked me an important question,
"What are you doing to prepare for the fall and winter days that are coming?"
Has she been reading my mind?

Actually, I've been giving this topic a lot of thought.
I know myself well enough to know that I must prepare for the coming days when I can't enjoy the green grass, the leafy trees, and the beautiful flowers of summer.
I must plan for those days when I feel housebound.
Those days when the snow flies, the wind blows, and the roads are covered with ice are not days that I particularly enjoy.

What am I doing to make the transition into the seasons that are coming?

This is what I am doing:
I am hanging on to summer as long as I can!

Intentional self-care does not come naturally to me.

Summer is a time when I find it easier to adopt healthier habits.
Do you find that is true?
Here are some things I'm doing to help me transition from summer into fall in a healthy way.

Mental/Emotional Self-Care
Photographs of a favorite summertime vignette are captured to remind the heart during the dark days that no doubt will come in the following months that summer will again make its appearance.


Journaling is important part of maintaining my emotional and mental health.
I love to journal on the back deck in the summer.
I love to see shadows of leaves across the page as I write.
I always miss my outdoor writing times when summer is over.




Physical Self-Care

This season, the one we are still in, is a great time to try and get in shape.
I'm exercising outside as much as I can.
We live in the most wonderful area for walking.

See what I'm talking about.
Here is a wonderful example of the hoodoo rocks or mushroom rocks that crop up all over my neighborhood.
I never tire of looking at these beautiful rocks.
Look at the interesting shapes and textures.
Don't you just love my hoodoos?

Here is an example of another hoodoo  in my area.
Notice how the colors in the formation are different from the  colors in the example above.
I love this rock.
I call her my "Cat Rock."
I like to think she keeps a protective eye on our neighborhood.


Besides walking, as a preparation for when I can no longer exercise outside,
I am trying to get in the habit of making it to the club more often.
The old hip is acting up, so I have traded Zumba Gold for water exercise.
Last week I tried Aqua Zumba.
What fun!
After class, dripping wet, I decided to dry off by lounging outside in the sun.
As a nod to those days when I was a sun worshiper,
I actually spent ten or fifteen minutes just soaking up the bright sunshine before I had to make a hasty retreat to the shade.
This is another way I am preparing for the cooler days ahead.
I am soaking up as much sun as I can while I can.

I'm also looking after my past medical issues.
I just had the five month check on my pacemaker.
My life is greatly improved since that little device was implanted in my body.
According to the last check, I have ten years left on the battery, and
I'm using it 75% of the time.
I had no events of AFib in the last two months.
Technology is wonderful.
That little device helped to make my summer a great one.

Lifestyle

I truly am trying to establish a schedule.
I do better when I have to live by the bell.
Teaching schedules gave me that discipline.
I struggle to adopt my own schedule when one is not established for me.
It has been an even larger challenge to learn to adopt a schedule
now that my husband is working retail.
Some of you may remember that my husband, after working in education for forty-two years,
decided to begin a new career by working for Apple.
He loves his job, and his job is good for him, so I am trying to adjust to a schedule that changes
day by day.
Some days he works days.
Others he works nights.
I find it nearly impossible to establish regular times for the daily tasks of living.
Since I need a time schedule that is fairly routine,
I'm still working on finding balance in this area of my life.
In the meantime,
Boston and I mark time while he is gone by walking together in the evening,
or I read or write with Boston at my feet.
Make no assumptions that I have become the number one person in Boston's life;
he still won't eat while his master is gone,
and when his master comes home there is a love fest that takes place between these two.


I'm learning lessons from my husband during this season.
Fulfilling work remains important even during the retirement years.
As I leave summer, I am pondering this life lesson.

Spiritual Self-Care

One of the greatest blessing of the past year has been the time I have spent with a very special group of ladies from my church.
We call ourselves Monica Moms.
St. Augustine's mother was named Monica.
That is where the name for our group comes from.
We pray for our children as she prayed for her son.
Every other Wednesday, we meet for two or three hours to lift up our adult children in prayer.
The time I spend with these women in prayer are times I will forever treasure.

I'm blessed to have a mother who prays for me.
Just recently, I called her and when she answered the phone, she said,
"I was just praying for you."
She is nearly 100 years old, but she continues to pray for me.
I hope to have many more summers to pray for my children.
I rest in the assurance that those prayers will forever be found at the Throne of Grace.

People Support

Summer is a perfect time for lunch with friends.
I've enjoyed many long lunches with great friends this summer.

I'm ending off the summer by going on a three day trip with my high school girl friends.
It is our big 70th birthday bash!
We have talked about and planned this trip for years.
We wanted to enter the seventh decade of our lives in a big way.
We are going on our "senior trip."
Watch out.
The Girls of '63 are heading to Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

So, during these last days summer,
I'll be off traveling.

First,
I'm getting on a train with a bunch of the girls.
That alone will be a great adventure.
Once we all arrive at our destination,
we have three days of a very full agenda planned.

I think I'm capping off the summer of 2015 in grand style.


See you all in the fall.
Enjoy the final days of summer.















July Moments

July moments need to be captured before the month flies away.
We are past the midway point already.

July has had more drizzle than sizzle this year.
Despite the rain,
nothing could put a damper on the joy
 of being surrounded by some of my children and grandchildren
for the Fourth of July weekend.
I think back on the fall and the winter that we all have gone through.
Now, it is finally summer.
With school out of session, the children are able to take road trips to Grandma's house.

Jonathan, Samantha, and Atticus got the prize for coming the longest distance.  They drove across country from Scranton, PA, to Colorado Springs, CO.  Keicha, with her precious cargo of my granddaughters Regan, Ryan's daughter,  and Gillian, Keicha's daughter,  made the trek across Wyoming from Ogden, UT to Colorado.

I was anxious to see Jonathan as I had not seen him since I left him last October after caring for him after his accident when he suffered trauma to his right brachial plexus. (Click to read about this.)
When I left him in October, he had no feeling in his right upper extremity and had no use of the arm or hand.  He had surgery in February on this injury, and then had a long period of not being able to use the arm while he recovered from surgery.  Now, he is back doing physical therapy with a therapist several times a week, and he reports that he does stretches and strength building exercises two hours every day.  He is slowly regaining use of the arm and the hand.  I must admit that I was overwhelmed with emotion when I first saw him and saw the progress he has made.  I know he has much therapy ahead, but he has made so much progress, and he works very hard at getting back whatever use he can.  His journey has been an arduous one, but it is one he has taken with courage and determination. I am grateful for all the support he has had on the journey.  His wife and his son have no doubt been his closest and staunchest cheerleaders as they are by his side each day.

On the Fourth of July, before our family barbecue, we showered Jonathan, Samantha, and Atticus with a few gifts for the new home they just purchased in Scranton, PA, where Jonathan and Samantha live while they are teaching at Marywood University.  My granddaughter Gillian painted this amazing elephant for Jon and Sam's new home.  Didn't she do an amazing job?


The day was such an fun day.  I took few photos, which was probably just fine with my grandkids.  They always hate it when Grandma gets out her camera and becomes the paparazzi.  Less is more where they are concerned in the photo department.
Atticus & Regan
Hannah & Gillian
Lunch on Grandma & Grandpa's Deck
My niece Michelle was able to join us for the day.  It is always great to have her around.  She adds an extra measure of fun and humor.  She and Keicha go way back when it comes to celebrating the Fourth of July together
Celebrating the 4th of July
Cousins & best friends
Then and now

Keicha, Michelle, and Samantha
After dinner, the kids all decided to go looking for bears.  Of course, a change in activities signaled to my teenage granddaughters that they had to change their clothes from what they'd worn for dinner.


No bears were spotted as the adventurers explored the area around my house.  Keicha took lots of wonderful photos of their times climbing rocks, hiking, and exploring the area around the nearby old Woodman Sanatorium, a treatment center run by the Modern Woodmen during the first half of the last century for those suffering from tuberculosis.  After the exploration trip, they all came home with all sorts of stories about all they had seen and discovered.  I think they all had a memorable time.  (Hopefully, Keicha will do a blog post telling more about these adventures that I can share with you.)

Atticus came home tired and ready to spend time with his buddy Boston.  Boston was very happy about that.



The time together as a family was way too short, but we tried to make the most of time we had.  One day the girls and I went to the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center to the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit that is currently on display.

It is always a treat to see the work of Chihuly.  This piece is on permanent display at the Fine Arts Center.  No photos were allowed to be taken of the O'Keeffe exhibit.


We had a great day of viewing some wonderful art.  This was followed by eating lunch at one of my favorite Mexican food restaurants.  This isn't the best shot of Keicha. You all know she is quite lovely, but I like the effect I got by taking a panorama photo while sitting out on the patio at Jose Muldoons.  The photo is going on the blog.  (Sorry Keicha.)  Of course, while we ate,  I had to tell Grandma Sally's Jose Muldoons story.  Have you heard it?


One day, about 20 years ago or so, Grandma Sally took her sister to Jose Muldoons for lunch to celebrate her sister's wedding anniversary.  We decided to order margaritas with lunch since it was a special occasion.  We had a great lunch and a good time together.
Grandma Sally wrote a check to pay the bill.
Those were the days before debit cards.
The waiter took the check and the bill.
Soon, he came back and said,
"I'm sorry, but I won't be able to accept this check."
"What?"  said I.
"You said you took checks."
He said, "We do take checks, but we can't take this check."
He then politely handed me the check.
I'd signed the check: Sally Muldoon!
That is why you should never drink a margarita for lunch.
I did once, and when I went to leave, I thought I owned the place.
(Thankfully, I had enough cash to pay the bill that day.)  

After lunch, Jonathan, Samantha, and Atticus met us for ice cream.  I couldn't get any of them to cooperate for a family photo, so this is what you get.  The image of all of us together enjoying ice cream on summer afternoon is one I will remember whenever I visit Josh & John's Ice Cream.  I have so many similar memories of other times we gathered here for ice cream from years gone by.  Do you have favorite places that hold special memories of times with family?

 We ended our day by doing a downtown walking tour of Colorado Springs.  This led us on another art tour as we viewed some graffiti in one of the alleyways.  Jon is giving us an interpretation of what the graffiti writers were saying in this photo below.  

That's my quirky and interesting family.  We go from the art museum to urban art painted on the sides of building and find interest in it all.  


I always wish all of my children and grandchildren could be together whenever we gather together, but in today's world, that is unrealistic.  

Moments in July spent with loved ones are treasures. 

 Moments are no small thing. 

Life is, after all, made up of a collection of  small moments.  

Gather those moments and hold them close to your heart.



Summer Memories for 2014 ~ Part One

Summer began for me when we as a family all came together to celebrate the marriage of my oldest son Ryan and his beautiful bride Sheridan.  It was the family event of the year.  For me, it was a precious few days with my children and grandchildren.  Those times are so rare.  Those times are so treasured.

Grandsons were reunited.
There were times of fishing, hiking, and just hanging out like boys love to do.
Male bonding time is so important.
The family wedding gave four of my favorite boys time for that.
The other two favorite boys of mine, grandson Atticus, and son Jon,  were absent from this gathering,
but we would see them later in the summer.


In August, the noon time meal that I shared with just Parker and Mason in June has become a precious memory.
We talked about life.
I love when I can spend time talking to my grandsons.
I love that my grandsons sometimes want to spend time talking with me.

Of course the granddaughters were there too.
My regret is that I didn't get the camera out and take more photos of them.
The laughed and giggled,
sat in front of the fire and made smores.


They helped with wedding preparations.


Sometimes, I don't like to constantly be taking photos.
The grandchildren dread the camera coming out.
Later, I wish I had more photos.

My daughters also had a time of being together that included hiking, and getting dressed up for the big event.

Later in the summer, my youngest son and his son came out for a visit.
I had not seen them for two years.
That is way too long to go without a visit.

Jon and Atticus had not been seen our new home.
I must admit I was a bit nervous that they wouldn't like it.
Our old home had been such a great "grandma" kind of house.
This new place has a lot to offer.
What's not to like about the places where we walk in the evening?

 The surroundings are serene, and peaceful.
The views of the city are spectacular.
And then, there are the ubiquitous deer
that are so common to us, but a delight for others to see.

There was a large expanse of green grass where Jonathan could practice his handstand.

One day of their visit was spent at Water World.
Hannah and Atticus were able to spend the day exploring the many exciting parts of Water World with Jon.
Grandma Sally took no pictures, and mostly sat under a tree trying to stay cool.
She did venture into the water a few times.

We've had so much rain this summer, and it seemed to rain everyday while Jonathan and Atticus were here.  We ventured out for a hike with Grandpa Jim, but we only got a photo taken and then the rain came down.  No hiking was done.


So, off we went to Manitou.
The penny arcade is always a nice destination when it rains.
Jon said this was a game he loved to play when he was the age of Atticus.
Looks like he still likes to play it.


I asked my only left handed grandchild if he played skee ball with his left hand or his right.
He wasn't sure.
He tried using the left hand and then the right to toss the ball.
I guess he is ambidextrous when it comes to skee ball.


I don't know that Atticus has developed a taste for the mineral water we call Manitou water yet,
but he drinks it every summer.  It is part of the ritual that is a part of coming to Colorado.


Jon wanted to take us to a place we'd never been.
It is a place where 'stoners' and 'graffiti artists' once hung out.
Now it is a family destination.
I guess the place had changed a lot since Jon was last there;
he'd never seen so many families there before.
The graffiti remains.
He hiked up on the rocks and looked around before helping Atticus across the creek.

We had to hurry home because daughter/sister Amy was coming down for a short visit.
Time with Jon and Amy together is truly rare and precious.
It brings a big smile to my face.

Too soon, Jon and Atticus had to leave for home.
They had flown from back east, but they would drive home in our trusty Subaru.
This car will now be Jon's mode of transportation.
It has served Jim well for many years.


Now, we hope it will also serve Jon just as well in those Pennsylvania winters.


Before Jon and Atticus made the trip across the U.S.A., it was time with some photos with Boston and his buddy Atticus.


Boston really enjoyed his time with Atticus.
He didn't even bother to report to our bedroom at bedtime.
He went directly downstairs and slept with Atticus.
Yep, he jumped up and slept on the same bed.
(This is totally against the rules for Boston, but the rules were slackened while Atticus was here.)
He really misses his buddy.


This grandma is grateful for every minute she had this summer with her grandchildren.
Now, summertime memories are stored away for another year.
Soon, we all will be in our assigned places for fall.
Summer will be a memory,
a precious memory of time spent with those I love most.


Crazy Busy Summer So Far

Summer ~ Fun Times With Family

Summer Kickoff

Technically, it wasn't yet summer when we began our summer kickoff of time with family by meeting my sister and her husband in Santa Fe, New Mexico over Memorial Day Weekend.  Suzanne and John traveled from San Diego to explore new territory to them with us.  We spent most of the time relaxing and catching up with each other, but we managed to eat a lot of wonderful meals, and we of course we did some shopping.  All in all, it was just a great time of being together.

Sunset Viewing
via the rooftop of the La Fonda


20th Anniversary

After spending several days at the wonderful La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe, I was surprised when my husband booked us a room at another wonderful hotel a few weeks later.  He chose the Brown Palace in Denver as the site where we would celebrate our 20th anniversary.  He managed, as he always seems to do, to get us an absolutely amazing room.  We were greeted with complimentary champagne as we checked in.  
Cheers!
Here's to many more years to come.

Father's Day

A week later, it was Father's Day.  We invited all of Jim's children and grandchildren down to our house to celebrate.  It is always great to have our home filled with children.
Daddy and Daughters
Trista & Thia with Jim
Jim with all three of his daughters
and all but one of his grandchildren

4th of July


Before we knew it, the 4th of July was already here.  Does that mean the summer is half way over?  I hope not.  I am enjoying all the good this summer has brought way too much to have it half over.  The heat has been horrendous, but time spent with family and with my hubby has been priceless.  

My two sons made the trek to Colorado for this year's 4th of July celebrations.  We missed not having Keicha here in Colorado for the holiday, but it was great to have the boys with us as we all celebrated at Amy's house in Erie, Colorado.  We actually began the celebrations on July 3rd because that is when everyone rolled into town.

Jon, Samantha, and Atticus all came from Boston, while Ryan and his new friend, and our longtime family friend, Sheridan, came in from Utah with their Brady Bunch crew of five children.  The brave souls made the trip across Wyoming in a motor home.  Ryan brought his three children, and Sheridan brought her two boys.  I hear the trip was a blast.


The first order of business was to set up tents so the kids would have a place to sleep.  It was threatening rain as Samantha and Jon joined Sheridan and Ryan at setting up a tent.  Grandsons, led by Parker set up the second tent.  I should have timed them.  Eagle scout Ryan vs. Parker who is currently working on his Eagle badge.  I wonder who would have won. 




 Regan lends a helping hand by driving in a stake with a croquet mallet
Hannah watches all the activity

Jon wonders what kind of bird he is observing.
Ryan sends Parker for a bird book that he has in the motor home.
"How is this supposed to help?  This is Birds of Utah."

Amy set out snacks for us all to eat before dinner.

There was furry of activity as the cousins, ecstatic to see each other again, set up the croquet set, and put out the corn hole game.  Playing these games kept everyone busy until dinner.

We opted out of going to the Erie fireworks display which was held at the golf course.  It seemed like too big a hassle to eat and get everyone over there in time for the display.  Besides, it was determined that the best place to watch the show would be on top of the motor home parked in front of Amy's.  

Jon helps Mason up to the top of the RV.
Next comes Bridger.
So on, and so forth until all eight kids are on top of the RV.  
They decided it was dirty up there.
It wasn't very comfortable either.
Plus, they weren't sure they would be able to see the fireworks from there after all.
One, by one, they all came down safely.  Thank heavens.

Sunset.
That is what every kid waits for on the 4th of July.
That is when the fireworks begin!



This year was a bit odd.  There were fireworks bans throughout the State of Colorado for obvious reasons.  So, what do kids do when the sun goes down when they can't shoot off their own fireworks, and the town's fireworks show is late starting?  Why, they play kick the can of course!

Grandma Sally had to go out and show them how to play because they had it all wrong.  Then Jon, modeled how to play by being It.  Unfortunately, he was It all night long.  Those kids seem to run faster than he does.  

All in all, it was a fabulous night.  We laughed, and talked, and watched the kids play.  What can be better than that?

The next day, the actual 4th of July, we all went to Boulder to see what was happening on Pearl Street.  No, we weren't trying to be the entertainment, but I guess we probably were.  
The kids are holding son Ryan up.

 The kids played in the water on Pearl Street to cool off.
Hannah getting cool while wearing her festive headpiece.


After spending a little time on Pearl Street in Boulder, some of the adults and all of the kids went to Grandma Sally's hotel to swim in the pool.  There are no photos of that activity because Grandma Sally was back at Amy's fixing dinner.  Pulled pork sandwiches, a mountain of potato salad, and grilled corn on the cob was on the menu for those who are not vegetarians.  Those who are vegetarians, had veggie burgers, veggie dogs.  Veggie corn dogs seemed to be enjoyed by all the kids whether they were vegetarians or not.

We all only had a few days together, but it was a very special, fun time.  Grandma Sally and Grandpa Jim headed back home on the morning of the 5th.  Jon, Sam, and Atticus headed to Colorado Springs to spend time with Sam's mom.  Ryan and Sheridan, being the brave souls that they are, or as Jim said in need of a mental evaluation, took off to Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Granby in the motor home with seven kids in tow.  They added Amy's two kids to the mix of their five.  I spoke with them tonight; it has been raining, but somehow they managed to bed down all nine of them for the night last night in RV.  Tonight they plan on having the boys sleep in the tents.  They say they are having a ball.  

On Saturday, Ryan and crew head back to Utah.  On Sunday, Jon and Sam will take their Atticus and Amy's two children to Utah to spend a few days.  There, they will have more cousin time while they visit their Grandpa Barry and their great-grandparents.  

The best part of summer is when family gets together.  We have been blessed to be able to spend some wonderful time this summer with family.  

Snippets of Summer

Summer Snippets 
Fragments of Time Spent Together
Small Treasures Stored 
As Precious Memories 

Time spent in Colorado with Grandma and Grandpa wouldn't be complete without

sliding down the big rock in Manitou,
trying some Manitou water,
and eating ice cream in Old Colorado City.
These times become very special memories to treasure.

Once everyone gets to Grandma's and Grandpa's house, there is only one thing on our minds:
"Let's go jump!"

Trampoline time with the cousins is always so much fun.
The trampoline is a place to share special conversations, a place where cousins can catch up on things.
A place to perfect new tricks.


The trampoline is where the kids go as soon as they crawl out of bed in the morning.

Bed is a blow-up mattress in the living room.
Three cousins can fit on it sideways.
Hannah opts for the couch.


It is almost a ritual.
Get up.
Walk out to the trampoline.
Once everyone is in place,
grab hands,
and jump.

Good morning, world!

Now let's go make some pancakes.
Mason, master chef, is teaching Gillian how to make pancakes from scratch.
Mason was born just 36 hours before Gillian.


This summer only two siblings were able to be together
at Mom's house.
They spent a few days at their sister Amy's before coming down to Mom's.
Amy had to work, so she missed all the fun, 
or maybe she just had some great peace and quiet.


The patio, built by Jon, in Julie's Garden
is designed to be a nice place to rest between jumping times on the trampoline.



This year, the nest on Grandma's front porch is a huge attraction.


The babies hatched just in time so Mama Bird could show them off to the grandchildren.


The two youngest grandchildren,
born a month apart,
received matching bears on their first Christmas.
Guess which one has been half way around the world twice.


Way too soon, the few days we had together were over.
Jonathan, Samantha, and Atticus posed for a family photo before heading back to Boston.


Soon after they left,
Keicha packed up the car so she could drive back to Utah.
Cousin time wasn't quite over yet.
She took Hannah and Mason to Utah with her so they could spend the week with their other cousins in Utah.  This year Grandma didn't come along.


My husband has a saying when it comes to visits from the grandchildren.
"The headlights are always wonderful,
but the taillights are even better."


Teary eyed, after hugs all around,  with my head full of wonderful memories, I head back to the house towards mountains of laundry!  That keeps me busy for a few days. 
 I then remember something my father always said, 
"I'm not wired for kids anymore."  
He was right.
The visits are grand.
It is also good to know that my children are now adults with lives of their own to live.
I have snippets of  summer caught in wonderful snapshots 
to remind me of those precious times we have together.

I'm amazed at how much the grandchildren have grown and grateful that we've all come so far since last year's Bittersweet Summer.

*Many of these beautiful photos were taken by my daughter Keicha.  Others were taken by my husband.  Thanks for capturing the memories.

In The Zone...


The past week or so seems to have been a blur.  Part of the family was here for a few days, so we were very busy doing family activities.  I love having the family "home" with me even if it is just for a few days, and even if some of the family could not be here. I will update you with some of our activities as soon as I get photos downloaded.

As has most of the country, we've been dealing with heat.  In this part of the country, we don't have to deal with humidity along with the heat, but we are in the middle of a drought.  I've commented that it is so hot that the only things growing are the weeds.  Anyway, that is how it seemed whenever I looked out at my yard and garden while the kids and grandkids were here.  The weeds had to just keep growing, because this grandma was not going to pull weeds when she had grandchildren around to enjoy.
Family Time
Manitou, Colorado
At the Penny Arcade


Being surrounded by family has a way of making me feel happy and complete.  In fact, I am never quite as happy as I am when I am surrounded by my children and grandchildren.  I think the visits from the past week came at just the right time.  I was ready for some fun times, some joy, some laughter, and some activity around the house.

I know the visit was difficult for my children in many ways.  Julie was not here to join in the fun.  I am sure "the presence of her absence" seemed to be there, just below the surface, for us all at times.  Hopefully the time was also healing, restorative, and memorable for those who could be here at "home."  New memories were made.  New photos were taken.  Many great bonding opportunities  between cousins occurred.  We missed the ones who were not here due to work and busy schedules.

It was terribly hot while everyone was here, but we survived with the help of the A/C and fans throughout the house.

Now, they've all gone home.  I spent Monday washing many loads of sheets and towels.  Today, I tackled the weeds.  One flower bed is looking much better.

We also had the A/C people here today working on an update to the system.  Our multi-level home has never had a heating/cooling system that adequately heated or cooled the upstairs where all the bedrooms are.  When we were working, I don't think it bothered us as much because we weren't home.  Now, my husband and I each have a study on the second floor.  Our bedroom is on the same level.  We have been miserable in our studies on a cold day and on a hot day.  Finally this summer, I decided I had had enough.  It was time to make some changes in our system.

After the bids came in, I got real.  To retrofit the system with an additional heating/cooling system was complicated and expensive.  It would be cheaper to move to a single level home than to add a unit.  Then, one company suggested setting the house up on temperature zones.  Today, they came in and did some work on the duct work, set up three zones in the house, and cool air started pumping upstairs.

I am sitting in my study, and I am cool.  It is 77.9 degrees in our bedroom at 4:15 p.m.  It is 95 degrees outside.  It is never this cool up here in the late afternoon.   I am looking forward to not seeing 80 degrees register on the thermostat when I go to bed tonight!

Today, after enjoying coffee and breakfast with my hubby on the back deck, followed by working in the garden and enjoying a nice lunch my hubby cooked for me (hot dogs from the microwave), I said to my husband, "It is good to be readjusting to retirement again."  He agreed.  It is going to be even better now with our update to the heating/cooling system.

I'm in the zone.  I'm cool.  I'm pain free (for a few days anyway).  After a lecture from my doctor, my therapist, my husband, and my dear sweet daughter Amy, I am also trying to manage my stress better.  Thanks, Amy.  You always seem to have just the right word at just the right time for me.  It is good to be in the zone.