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.....







Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Time Goes By....

Sunset at the Mackinac Bridge

I've been missing this place. Since my last post back in May, (surely it can't be that long ago) a lot has happened in my life. Some great, some good, some gladness, some sadness. I began this blog in May of 2011 when my sweetie was still home with me and I was desperate to find an outlet for creativity. I had found a new passion, photography that was a "hobby" that my sweetie could be with me by my side as I began to hone my photography skills.  I began using flickr as my "go-to" for posting my pictures a year earlier, but somehow I felt the need to write more, post more....thus the beginnings of this blog. After I settled my sweetheart in bed for the night, I would open my laptop and begin writing. It was tranquilizing after a day of dealing with the devastation of Alzheimer's. I purposefully didn't want my blog to be about my struggles or about my sweetie's illness. I focused on the beauty around me and it's here that I found peace.

Shaker Town near Lexington, KY

This blog gave me that outlet that I needed, and I posted almost daily for several years. Then I began to let my posting slide, I began to skip short periods of time, then long periods of time, now so irregular that I will be surprised if anybody finds this. Blogging has become almost a thing of the past, Instagram has taken over. I don't know about you, but I find it difficult to express feelings on Instagram. And I'm sure not crazy about ranting and whining on Facebook. My soul hurts from all the negatives that are posted on Facebook. We've had so much sadness and devastation in our lives recently that some days scrolling thru social media becomes a burden. Yes, I do agree that it's a good platform for keeping in touch with friends and family, but so much more has filtered thru.

Sunrise in Door County over Lake Michigan

Oh my, when I began writing this post, I didn't realize that I would get off track with social media. Now, back on track....I've traveled quite a bit since early spring going to Mackinaw, Michigan, Lexington, Ky, Door County, WI, Santa Fe, NM and finally to Gunnison, CO. Ofcourse having my camera always attached to my body.

North of Santa Fe, NM

While I was on my last trip to Colorado for a week-long photography workshop I received a call from my daughter that my sweetie had been admitted to the hospital with a UTI.  He has had a handful of these attacks since he has been in a care facility, always responding to the medication and after about 3 days in the hospital he returns to his residence. Not this time, he developed a serious infection and there were few options. Prayerfully and with a great deal of thought, I made the choice to place him under Hospice Care, knowing that his quality of life was not what he would want for himself. With all in agreement that this was the right choice, my sweetie passed in no pain with his family by his side on Thursday, Sept 21st. There were many tears shed that night, a lot of hugs and a beautiful prayer and blessing from the hospital chaplain. As we were leaving the hospital the night nurses that had cared for him earlier in the week came to us, also with tears in their eyes and gentle hugs for our loss. 

Santa Fe National Cemetery 


I took this image above less than a week before my sweetie died, not knowing that within a few days I would be making the decision for his ashes to be buried at a cemetery similar to this one with a gravestone like the ones above.  My faith, my family and my friends were there for me when I needed them the most.  I am at peace with my decision knowing that he is resting in God's hands, whole again and without any pain. Fifty-three years of marriage to a wonderful man.



Until next time.....