Friday, July 31, 2009

RMNP again

Our next day at Rocky mountain included a drive up the Old Falls Road and across the Ridge Road, over the tundra above tree line. it was spectacular scenery, and great fun to experience together. The vastness of God's creation was all around us, and moved us all!

Tim, Nikki and Dave climbed to the top of the world along a set of stairs near the Alpine Visitor's Center.

We also saw amazing creatures: many bull elk, in all their finery, pikas, ground squirrels and pocket gophers, tiny chipmunks and huge rabbits, yellow-bellied marmots, and various birds.

And at the end of the day, it was hobo dinners and fried pies over the camp fire. What a delicious end to a delicious day!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More from RMNP

Tim and Nikki joined us on Monday evening, and we had a lovely walk around Bear Lake. The following morning, we hiked to three beautiful alpine lakes, along a raging stream full of rapids and waterfalls. It was a gorgeous hike!

You'll find more photos on my other blog today.
To be continued...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Monday, a week ago

Last Monday, Dave and I started our day with a 4+ mile hike which climbed about 300 feet to around 9700 feet, circled an alpine lake, and then descended about 700 feet into a valley via a huge aspen and wildflower-covered mountainside, on switch-backs. It was glorious!

Lake Bierstadt was lovely, despite the cloudy weather. The clouds made it possible for me to climb without the threat of spontaneous combustion. There were ducks up there that were very used to people, and I thought they might even be trained in picking the pockets of unaware bypassers!

The descent was long and beautiful, with the view of the valley seen below in one direction, and the view of the high peaks in the other.

And the flowers were amazing...wild campanula, Indian Paintbrush, penstemon, rock crop, columbine, billions of asters and daisies and other yellow composites, and the jewel of the trip, the Mariposa lily seen below.

To be continued...

Monday, July 27, 2009

The weekend before last...

Last Saturday, Dave and I drove to Denver, and spent the night in Westminster, celebrating our anniversary with a little romantic get-away. On Sunday morning, our actual anniversary date, we met dear friends CurtAndrew and Natasha DeKoning and their children, Aaron and Eli, at church, and enjoyed visiting over lunch with them at their lovely home. What can be better than an excellent sermon in the presence of God's people and good fellowship?!

We then proceeded in the afternoon up to Rocky Mountain National Park. Here is the view from our camp site:

It was exhilarating to see those 13,000 and 14,000-foot peaks once again, and be surrounded by the amazing beauty of God's creation. And when I say beauty, I mean beauty! I spent the whole week being moved to literal tears at the bigness of God, His creative genius, and His amazing blessings to me. I kept marveling that I was there, doing the camping and hiking, with my husband of 29 years, both of us cancer survivors, neither of us deserving such abundant kindness. God is amazing.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Another anniversary, and blogging break

Dave and I are leaving tomorrow on a week of celebration. We will celebrate our anniversary (see below), followed by camping next week at Rocky Mountain National Park. Tim and Nikki plan to join us for part of the week. Then on the following weekend, we will gather in Estes Park with my parents and siblings to celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of my parents, pictured at left. They were married on August 22, 1959, and are an inspiration to all of us.

And, for the first time in literally years, we will be more than a week without any computer. We aren't even taking one! And since this blog is rather low-tech, and I haven't figured out how to tell something to post while I'm gone, there will be a little hiatus from the blog as well. We will have cell phones, but coverage is iffy.

I hope you enjoy a lovely week of summer while I'm gone, Gentle Reader. I'll be back here when we return.

Happy anniversary, dearest friend!

On Sunday next, Dave and I will be celebrating our 29th wedding anniversary. We grew up together, and are on the road of growing old together. I could not have asked for a more patient and gentle friend over all these years.

Of all the earthly blessings that God has afforded me, you are the most precious and amazing one, my best friend. Thank you for loving me so well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Between the black sky and the blue

Last night we watched the sunset behind the Santa Fe opera, and enjoyed an evening of Mozart. It was Don Giovanni, which is not my favorite of Mozart operas, but he does get his just desserts in the end, which is good. It was a lovely evening of glorious views and music.

And today I had tea with a former student who has become a friend. What a blessing that is.

This road of life is so full of surprises of every kind-- and so many blessings if you have eyes to see them. I am listening to a lovely song by Fernando Ortega which seems to apply:


Sometimes it takes a storm

To really know the light

The scent of rain

The weight of clouds

Pulling down the sky

Sometimes it takes a storm

To know how you feel

To understand indigo

And the varnished sun

Lighting up the fields

It takes the rain between the lines to know what sorrow finds

The way a cloud divides sometimes

The clearing and the blue

I love you

I was just passing through

And taken by surprise

Between the black sky

And the blue

Between the black sky and the blue

I love you

I love you

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A victorious sort of day

Yesterday was a battleground day. Today is a victorious day. So goes the rhythm of life! God brings blessing after struggle. Even when we don't handle the struggle well, He blesses us. I guess that has to do with the fact that we never earn God's love. He gives it to us freely, not because of anything in us, but because He chooses to. If God loved me because I was good, then He could stop loving me when I am not good. But if He loves me because He desires to, despite all that is sinful and fallen in me, then He won't stop loving me for exercising those things. What a comfort that is: God won't love me any less, nor any more, no matter what I do. Far from an excuse to license, that makes me grateful, and sets my heart on pleasing God and being obedient out of gratitude for the undeserved blessings with which I am showered.

I hope you are having a victorious, showered-with-blessings sort of day, Gentle Reader.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The preciousness of the love of God

We all have spiritual battlegrounds: those places where we struggle to keep the right attitude or an eternal perspective. It's been one of those days, hanging out in my spiritual battleground, trying to keep weary feet moving, and keep my eyes where they belong. Some days here are more successful than others, but I have to say, no days are fun here.

One of the weapons most effective against my enemy, of course, is God's word. I've been reading through some of the psalms, and been struck anew by how practical they are for these sorts of days. Yesterday, I read these encouraging words:

Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast you save, O LORD.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.

Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your righteousness to the upright of heart!
~Psalm 36:5-10

And I am endeavoring to live there today. I remind myself when I am tempted to despair over loss or grief or weariness, that what is true is the steadfastness of God's love, no matter how I feel about it at any moment. If I followed my feelings, I would be in the pit in a moment. No, I have to use my mind and my will to inform my feelings. I don't need to ignore my feelings: I just need to battle them back into their proper place.

Are you battling today, Gentle Reader? Where do you turn for weapons to fight and for comfort after the fray?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fine fellowship

Our friend Julie graced our home this weekend. She has just completed her residency in orthopedic surgery in ABQ, and is on her way to Alaska to practice her art. She is the daughter of old and dear friends of ours, and having her in NM for five years has given us the chance to know her as her own person: and what a privilege it has been! We will miss her. She came to church with us this morning, bidding farewell to other childhood friends.

And church was full of excellent fellowship this morning also. The preaching was biblical and convicting, the music uplifting, and the friendships deep and delightful. This is how Sundays are a little taste of heaven to come. In eternity it will be like all the best parts of Sunday always, and I can't wait!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I am amazed at the grace of God: its scope and depth and inclusiveness. A few things have caused me to dwell on this today, and they make my heart sing.

First, I read an amazing testimony to God's grace here, from my friends the Stauffers. After the murder of their young daughter, Emily, they sing the praises of God. If they can sing in such times, what times are too bleak for singing?

I also ran into a dear friend at the grocery store today. It seems my fumbling notes here have been an encouragement to her in a time of transition in her life. If God can use my random wandering to such purposes, what can't He use? (Thanks I., for your encouragement of me!)

This afternoon we are enjoying some unexpected minutes with a dear friend who will be moving far away soon. What a treat! Isn't God good to bring encouragement on every hand?

And our memory work for this week makes me sing, too.

I will bless the Lord at all times:
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast int the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt His name together!
~Psalm 34:1-3

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Goodbye LAHC

Today, along with a couple of excellent friends, I closed shop on a ministry that has been my passion for the last 12 years. The friends helping me have labored along side me in this work, have given sacrificially to it and to me. It speaks not only of their love for the work, but of their love and support for me, and I will be eternally grateful to them. It has been a joy to work along side these wonderful ladies, and their predecessors: Karen, Brenda, Ann, Amy, Kris, Valerie and Gretta. Thank you, my friends.

And I am hoping to be forgiven, though I know this is the right decision for many reasons, if I grieve just a little. I have loved you, Los Alamos Homeschool Chorus. I have loved the students you have brought to me, the adventures and music we have shared, the part I played in growing and maturing lives. And I will miss you.

The music is packaged up and ready to pass on to others. The financial records are boxed to be shredded. The file cabinets are now empty. And I am just a little sad at the finish. It has been an enriching part of my life, for which I will always be grateful.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Affliction is a treasure

I received the word on my echo cardiogram today. My doc said my valves "don't work perfectly, but it's not particularly scary, and doesn't call for any follow-up now." I think he will want me to keep an eye on my blood pressure (which has never been high), but other than that, I am okey dokey. Good news.

I have good mornings and bad mornings, and on my bad mornings (like this morning), I begin to wonder what my purpose is, and if I ever accomplish anything of eternal importance with my life. This is either a small mid-life crisis of sorts, or, more likely, a result of the lovely medication that helps reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. Either way, I need to remind myself in such times that trial and pain are God's blessings to me. I was reminded of that by John Donne recently:

...affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it. No man hath affliction enough that is not matured, and ripened by it, and made fit for God by that affliction.
~John Donne, Meditation XVII

I guess I've got a lot of ripening and maturing going on. Hope I see its fruit sometime soon...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Updates on various things

Update No. 1: I have a new computer! Hurrah! Tim built it, and I have been getting things installed on it. Now, hopefully, I can return to a more regular schedule of blogging!

Update No. 2: Still no word on the echo-cardiogram. I called and spoke to the nurse today, and should hear something some time soon. I presume that if it was really bad news, I would have heard by now.

Update No. 3: We had a lovely weekend! It was busy an exhausting and terribly fun!

Tim and Nikki arrived on Thursday evening, and on Friday morning, we had a rainy but glorious 5-mile hike in the Jemez. We travelled from the East Fork trailhead, up along the ridge lines about 3 miles (to somewhere over 9,000 feet in elevation), then dropped down into Las Conchas canyon and followed the river out to the highway. It was beautiful, and felt like a real accomplishment to me!

On Saturday morning, Dave and Tim ran in a 5K race, and both did very well. We followed the race with our post-race tradition of the best breakfast burritos in the world from Chiliworks. Yum!

After the breakfast burritos, I taught Nikki how to make pie crust, and we made pies for the party that night. She is a quick student, and the pies were delicious!

We had about 20 folks for dinner on July 4th, and then walked over to the beautiful fireworks at Overlook Park. After the fireworks, we returned home with something like 30 people to light off another hour or two of fountains and poppers in our driveway. it was a lovely evening!

Update No.4: The Finches were all trained by Nikki to fly the coup, and did so on Saturday and Sunday. She held them, chased them, enjoyed them, and became their surrogate mother!

It was a lovely weekend!

Thursday, July 02, 2009


We have a wonderful weekend ahead of us: Tim and Nikki here, 20 for dinner on Saturday and fireworks, and 12 for lunch on Sunday. I have always loved planning and carrying out these fun party times! I have felt a bit off my money, however. I finally resorted to writing out menus so I could think through my grocery trip. I completed my trip, and was about to head for home, feeling pretty accomplished, when I realized I had locked my keys in the car.


God bless my wonderful husband, who hopped in the car and drove the 10 minutes to the store before realizing he didn't have the right keys, and he took another 10 minutes to run home for the keys and come back. And thank God that we live in a little town, without much traffic! So in the meanwhile, I tried to stand inconspicuously in a corner of the grocery store, piling all the frozen food onto my slowly melting ice cream.

My temptation, once I got in the car, into my house, and had the ice cream in the freezer, was to stick my eyes squarely on my own miserable self, and feel very sorry that my mind doesn't work well and my feet ache after half an hour of standing in Smiths. Isn't that ridiculous? Such little bumps are the stuff of life, and I had better learn to lower my pride, and raise my trust in the Lord.

So I think a nap is in order, in my comfy chair, with my bible in hand. And after a rest, I'll enjoy the anticipation of family gathering round. And I'll concentrate on being grateful, despite my limitations.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Words to chew on...

I had a wonderful talk with a friend yesterday. In the course of the talk, she asked if I had a list of scriptures I use to battle discouragement. It just so happens, I do. This list has grown over time, and will continue to grow. But these I have either memorized or referred to often to battle the devil when he would speak lies to or about me. I counter with these precious truths. These are words to meditate upon, and chew over and over and digest. And I figured that since I had typed them as a list, I would share with all of you. I know you will find them encouraging as well.

Psalm 121:1-4 Psalm 121:5-8 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Isaiah 63:7-9; Romans 8:1-2; Romans 8:12-17;
Romans 8:18-19; Romans 8:23-24; Romans 8:26-30;
Romans 8:31-35; Romans 8:37-39; Isaiah 51:6;
Isaiah 51:11-12; Psalm 46:1-3; Psalm 46:4-7;
Psalm 42:1-2; Psalm 42:3-5; Psalm 42:8-11;
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19;
Jeremiah 29:11; Isaiah 26:12; 1 John 3:16;
Ephesians 2:4-10; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Isaiah 30:18;
Romans 5:8-9; Isaiah 46:9-10; Psalm 73:23-26;
Nahum 1:7