Wednesday, September 19, 2012

One down... 52 to go!

U.S. Route 24 is becoming a familiar road, which is a really good thing as it's what takes me into the mountains! Last Saturday I was again traversing on this highway while headed to Mount Quandary. If you look close, you can catch a glimpse of a hot air balloon in the distance.

Mt. Quandary was my second attempt to hike a Colorado fourteener. My first attempt was with Dad last summer. We unfortunately got going too late on Mt. Sherman and a doggone afternoon storm cut the hike short. Despite waking up much too early the entire week preceding my second attempt, I made sure to get an early enough start for Mt. Quandary... I wasn't going to have another failed fourteener go on my record! 

My new friend, Cactus, joined me on my second attempt to hike a fourteener. It turned out to be a glorious day for a hike, as is made obvious by the capacious trail of people winding up the mountain (which is not as obvious to see in this picture).

We found a mountain goat meandering across the path... pretty sure this is the most exciting wildlife I've seen in person!

Success... reaching the summit of my first fourteener!

Since it was only supposed to be 60 down in Breck at noon, I was anticipating it to be pretty chilly up top. But once we separated from the mass of successful hikers (who for some odd reason were hanging out in the windiest and coldest area) it was quite delightful! Nice and sunny and perfectly comfortable with a jacket on. 

A nice view, sunshine, good company, and lavender chocolate made it quite easy to relax in this spot for a couple hours!

On our way down... saw three more goats!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Getting Artsy Phartsy

I like to make things but most times I seem to like procrastinating more. So to help myself out, I made a little chart that I've hung up on my wall. Simple pleasures, such as stickers, can bring a lot of satisfaction and joy so I've given myself not just one but two glorious spots for deserving stickers! One for the start of a project and the second one goes on at completion of a project. 

This lamp helped me earn my first two stickers. Mom got it for me when I moved out here and it just had a plain, white shade on it before the crafting began. I used some maps from the World Atlas I snagged at a garage sale for $0.25 and decoupaged them onto the shade. 

I'm pretty pleased and happy with my vagabond lamp. And man, did it feel good applying those shiny stickers to my chart!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Peace

This past Sunday I paid a visit to the International Anglican Church here in the Springs. I had found it while still back in Indy as I scoured Google Maps for gems in my new neighborhood. I'd never been to an Anglican church before but after looking through their website, I didn't see anything I disagreed with and I found it very exciting that they were a church plant from Rwanda. And as it's in walking distance to my new home, I saw no reason not to go. So I did. 

It was a good experience, I enjoyed the liturgical aspects and sermon on daily worship. While there were no hymns accompanied by the saw, banjo or harmonica, there was one thing that brought a smile to my face and reminded me a bit of Redeemer... the pastor's Birks were tossed beneath a pew as he preached his sermon barefoot.

After the sermon we sung a song, had a lengthy prayer and then were told to greet one another in peace. So I shook a few hands and moseyed my way on out the door. I thought it somewhat strange that there was no mass exodus but figured this is good, these people just like each other and want to visit. But later that afternoon I was feeling suspicious. I remembered that I had seen communion set out up front but had no memory of taking communion. And an offertory... nope, don't remember that happening either. Did I really leave before the service was over? So I pulled out my bulletin to take a look see. Sure enough, I had headed out during The Peace and missed communion and the offertory.

Guess The Peace is not the time to peace out!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bartering with the Chickens

We give them these... 

And they give us these...

Seems like a pretty good trade to me! 

These chickens, and I suppose all chickens, are the most amazing garbage disposal I've ever seen. Weeds, rotten bananas, watermelon rinds, any kind of food scrap you can come up with.... throw it in their vicinity and it'll be gone in no time! And do you notice the multicoloredness going on in those eggs?? We get not only white, but brown, blue, and green eggs too! 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Maker of the Morning Joe & Evening Demitasse

This is how I wake up every morning.... with a delicious cup of coffee, or espresso, or a latte if I'm feeling fancy.... made from this spiffy machine of Michelle's. Pretty fabulous, huh?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My One Year Challenge

So, what the howdy heckin' hay am I doing out in Colorado anyway? I'm not really sure. Not that there are a lack of good reasons to be here... mountains, family, an abundance of coffee shops, red rocks, hippies... see, all kinds of good reasons! But still, to give some more purpose to my new adventure... and so as not to change my hippie-wanna be status too much, I have decided to take on a new challenge. I've also just been needing a good spiritual kick in the pants.

A couple of months ago I read Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream. Carrie had recommended it to me and then let me borrow her copy. It was a short read with a big impact. The title is pretty self explanatory as to the goal of the book but to give you yet a better taste, I'll share an excerpt from David Platt:

“You and I have an average of about seventy or eighty years on this earth. During these years we are bombarded with the temporary. Make money. Get stuff. Be comfortable. Live well. Have fun. In the middle of it all, we get blinded to the eternal. But it’s there. You and I stand on the porch of eternity. Both of us will soon stand before God to give an account for our stewardship of the time, the resources, the gifts, and ultimately the gospel he has entrusted to us. When that day comes, I am convinced we will not wish we had given more of ourselves to living the American dream. We will not wish we had made more money, acquired more stuff, lived more comfortably, taken more vacations, watched more television, pursued greater retirement, or been more successful in the eyes of this world. Instead we will wish we had given more of ourselves to living for the day when every nation, tribe, people, and language will bow around the throne and sing the praises of the Savior who delights in radical obedience and the God who deserves eternal worship.”

I have to say that it certainly is easy to get comfortable living the American Dream. While a big, brand new home in a safe neighborhood with a super successful bread winner, a couple of perfect children and a cute little pupster may not be my current dream, I certainly like to live comfortably and am constantly dreaming of my next big adventure/vacation. And yes, I do have the dream of owning my own home and filling it with all my wonderful junk. If it starts becoming obsessive, I justify it by telling myself I just want one of those old cheapo homes in Fountain Square and most of my belongings will be thrift store finds and garage sale snags. 

So see, I'll hardly be spending any money on my dream home! And for that matter, I'd be happy to cruise the country on a Greyhound bus and stay with strangers to fulfill my adventures. So for me, it may not be the biggest, best, newest, shiniest, and most expensive that entices me and therefore lets me think, "Bigger and better? Nope, that's not me. Guess I'm not hung up on the American Dream." 

But don't worry, I know I've not escaped from getting caught in our cultural trap. It's become all too easy to simply try and be a nice person striving to be a smart, capable, independent person. While there is certainly nothing wrong with being a nice person who is also smart, capable and independent, there is a problem when these qualities become the main focus and aim of my life. I strive after these qualities because I want to be well liked and happy. And in that process, I seek to make much of myself. This is where those good qualities become ugly. My goal in life is not to make much of myself but to Make Much Of My GOD.

At the end of his book, Platt gives a list of five things that he challenges readers to implement in their life over the next year. 

The One Year Challenge

1. Pray for the entire world

The goal is to pray specifically for each country of the world... a bit of a daunting task! First of all, knowing the name of each country will require some investigation, not to mention knowing what kind of needs that country has and how to pray for them. Fortunately, my job has been made tremendously easy thanks to Operation World. They give a list of all of countries and then give demographics and prayer requests for each. Now I have no good excuse not to pray specifically for each country of the world! 

2. Read through the entire Word

I have decided to read through the Bible chronologically and am currently working my way through Job.

3. Sacrifice my money for a specific purpose

I have always been completely content with my freebie cell phone... until recently. Mom and Courto both upgraded to an iPhone a while ago, giving me the opportunity to hold one of those fancy smart phones in my grubby hands. It didn't do too much for me at first. But then, I would find myself constantly asking them to look up where this restaurant was or what that word meant, etc. I was starting to get the bug. Then I'd be out by myself, trying to figure out the name of that one town that is home to the World's Largest Egg, reach for my phone, look down and remember, "Oooooh, that's right, I haven't made that upgrade yet.... where are my trusty iPhone toters when I need them?!" I knew things were getting desperate. I really wanted an iPhone. Heck, I needed one! I mean, how can one go about not knowing where the World's Largest Egg is? Not to mention, if I had an iPhone, I could get that sweet looking Volkswagen cover for it! Anyway, all this rambling is getting to a point. And here it is: I have decided to continue to delay my purchase of an iPhone. The money I will not be spending on a monthly data plan, I plan to give away. As to the specific purpose I will give it for, I have yet to figure out.

4. Spend my time in another context

While I probably won't be going back to Mzuzu, Malawi for a month, the idea is to spend some time, a weekend, week, month or the whole year in another city, state or country helping someone in need. Where this goal will take me is still unknown. 

5. Commit my life to a multiplying community

My multiplying community - a place of spiritual accountability, encouragement, and growth - will no longer be my beloved Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis but I will be looking for a new church family here in the Springs. 

So yes, there are still a lot of unknowns in this new Colorado adventure but this one year challenge does put some good goals in front of me as I begin this new undertaking. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

I Blame it on the Olympics...

.... the sad, sloppy state of my room that is. While my room is full of many wonderful things, it is lacking one essential item for this period of life - a television. When planning my move out to Colorado and thinking of top priority items to bring out or buy upon arrival, a TV was not even on the bottom of the list. Normally, I could care less if the TV is on but these are no ordinary times. Thank goodness I live with someone who gives me access to the Olympic Games because I've pretty much been glued to the tube since they started!

A new garage sale item. Pretty nice, huh?

Finally picked out my snaps, did the necessary cropping and filled this beautiful metal thrift frame!

Oh the cleaning that should be done... in 14 days perhaps!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

My Local Grocer

Back in Indy at the Crayon Box, I could get to the little neighborhood Kroger grocery store that we fondly referred to as Kroghetto (for reasons you will easily understand if you pay it a visit) in a mere two minute walk. It was grand. I really enjoyed it. And now I really miss it. 

But all hope has not been lost.

While I can't just hop out of my door to run down and grab a needed item for a last minute cooking or baking venture, this Market & Deli is a delightful gem here in the Divine Redeemer neighborhood of Colorado Springs. It is a little piece of living history at the corner of Willamette & Prospect, surrounded by quaint old homes. When you enter you are greeted with the creak of old wood floors and a friendly smile. This locally owned, family run grocery store is a hub for the neighbors to come grab a jug of milk, cigar, cup of coffee or... a homemade cinnamon roll! (Saturday and Sunday mornings only)

And that is just what Michelle and I did on this fine Saturday morning. We brewed ourselves a cup o' joe and took a stroll on down to the Market & Deli to enjoy our rolls at their outdoor tables.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Reverting to a Classic

Last Saturday I went to the Old Colorado City Farmer's Market with Uncle Jerry and Aunt Kathy. There were some ladies selling the widest variety of pasta I have ever seen... all of which looked outstanding! They had tangerine basil, cilantro lime, lavender, chocolate raspberry, and so many more enticing flavors it was hard to pick just one. But despite the difficulty of the  task, I did leave with just one little bag of pasta. Can you guess which flavor?

If you said lavender, you are the big winner! While all the flavors deserve a try, it would have seemed wrong to not first try the lavender pasta. After all, it was in Old Colorado City that I first fell in love with lavender as a delight to the taste buds! 

On Monday, I whipped up my lavender pasta and some chicken with a recipe I got off of Pappardelle's website. While I was at that, Michelle decided to get creative and got some berries and a candle for the centerpiece and added some peppermint garnish to the watermelon. Michelle and I agree that presentation is almost nearly as important as taste!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Settling In

I assume most of you have already seen pictures of my new abode on Sonya's blog so I figure I don't need to waste time showing you again. If you've not seen them and you care to, here's a little link for you. On Sunday I had a very productive day of organizing and cleaning and thought I would show you the results.

My tidy room. It looks so neat when only half of my junk is in it!

Almost empty, huh?

Clean shoes... so refreshing! 
Each pair was in desperate need of a bath - one having gone through a torrential muddy downpour back in April, another had mud caked on the inside sole, another smelled like stinky pigs and the last was from the glorious Arc and went through who knows what! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

A New Taste Sensation

I like blueberries and I also like basil. However, I would have never thought to eat them at the same time. But someone else did. In fact, they thought about it so much that they decided to make a jam combining these two delightful ingredients. 

Jam is one of those staple ingredients that I had to get stocked in my food pantry shortly after arriving in the Springs. I wasn't feeling very excited about the selections in front of me at Target so we stepped next door to Ross. I was rather dismayed at their small selection and was about to settle for some strawberry rhubarb when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I saw Wild Blueberry & Basil! Now this was something new and exciting. It also sounded a bit disgusting but that only increased my desire to try it out so I snagged it up. 

The other day I opted for a simple supper and grabbed my new jam for a pb & j sandwich. It was certainly the most interesting pb & j I've had in a long time. I haven't decided if the jam is good or bad yet, it's on a trial run right now. I am thinking the peanut butter was not it's best compliment, perhaps it just needs its own platform. I should probably just give it a try on a simple piece of toast with a bit of butter for the base.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Little Country in the City

It's hard to call Colorado home at this point. For one thing, I've just been here slightly over a week. But what really makes it feel like some temporary diversion is not having a job. Obviously, the solution here is to obtain a job. But to obtain a job, I would have to search for one. This really hasn't sounded like much fun. Therefore I've been dragging my feet about starting this task. I didn't feel a need to start looking the moment I got out, plus Mom and I had people to see and things to do those first four days. And when Wednesday rolled around, I wanted to just relax and get used to the idea of being in Colorado. I decided Thursday would be the day I got serious about this job search. But...

Jill invited me to join her for lunch with her boyfriend and his dad. Someone gave me a bit of advice to never turn down an invitation in the first couple of months after my move. So, following this tidbit, I went with. Besides, lunch sounded much more interesting that looking for jobs. After lunch, Jill and I ended up doing one of my favorite activities... thrift store shopping! I ended up hitting the jack pot at one particular store, the Arc

Brenda Dodgen has some of the most amazing quilts I've ever felt in my life, they use them all the time and are therefore perfectly worn, providing a sensationally soft touch. I've been threatening to steal one but decided that wouldn't be so nice. You would think an old, worn quilt wouldn't be too difficult to find at an antique or thrift store. But as often as I frequent these places, I have had no luck... until Wednesday. It was at the Arc that I found two delightfully worn, soft quilts. However, they are a little too worn in some spots, so I may have to cut them both up and piece together the worn but not too worn pieces to get one quilt or just use them for various projects. 

But in the meantime, it makes a nice compliment to the little corner of country in the city by the backyard chickens.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Welcome to Colorful Colorado

Moving? Why yes, I am! And thank you for the welcome, Colorado!

Mom and I rolled into Colorado Springs last Friday. It was really wonderful to have her with for my trip out west and to help me get settled into my new abode. Thanks for coming, Mom!

We made a stop at Garden of the Gods on Tuesday before Mom flew out.

On Wednesday, I decided it was high time to go for a hike. Partly because that's why I moved out to Colorado and partly to procrastinate on the job hunt. I opted for a nice short little stroll on Spruce Mountain.

Spruce Mountain is a pretty short, easy hike that has some fabulous resting spots up top complete with some great views of the Front Range.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Westward Ho!

The day has come for me to move my tush out west! It may have been nearing noon when this picture was taken, and while my vehicle may still be sitting in good old Ridge Hill Trails, it was packed... and I was in it... with a smile on my face... (life is so much better when you don't get up too early)

Success! I left many things behind on my westward journey... but thank goodness I had a spot saved for my basil! 

Mom and I ready to hit the road! Please note the tremendous breathing space in my back seat. I'm feeling pretty good about my paring down capabilities.

1084 miles to go until we reach Colorful Colorado!