Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What is Wealth?

Wealth: Many would say it can only be measured and defined in monetary terms. I would argue that such a definition is entirely too limiting.

You can have a boatload of money, but without happiness, contentment, joy, love, challenges, variety, wonder, gratitude, you have no wealth....all you have is a cold-ass boatload of money.

Money may define a level of wealth, but having true wealth in your life is not tied to a monetary amount. True wealth is tied to the fullness of your life, the love you share, the satisfaction of a job well done, the dimensions your hobbies and passions give your life, the joy you find in every moment, every day.

You can be the wealthiest person in the world monetarily and still be poor as hell if the only thing you can count as "wealth" in your life is money.

I am wealthy beyond measure, but not in terms of money....my life is full, my heart is full, I love and am loved, I find joy every single day in the place I live and the beauty that surrounds me. Money? I have enough to keep dry, warm, and fed...and that's all I need. Wealth...I have untold amounts little ones, and I wish the same for you.

Count your wealth carefully, little ones, and know that a monetary amount really has nothing whatsoever to do with real wealth.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Leaving "Home"

For the past two weeks, I was back in my hometown in my childhood home helping get things ready for having an estate auction and listing the house for sale. We put the house on the market August 11 and accepted a full price cash offer on August 16. By August 17, everything was done in our "cleaning out the house" process. The auction company will hit the house on August 25 to inventory everything left and get the auction set up. We close on the house on Oct. 9. It's almost all a done deal.

I had been consumed with all the tasks involved in getting to this point, all the while sleeping and living in my childhood home - a home that was built by my parents in 1960. When I pulled away from the house on the morning of August 18, my heart broke a little. A chapter was truly and forever closing...the doors I slammed; the floors I stomped; the bedrooms I slept in; the kitchen we ate and cooked in; the living room we all visited and watched TV in; the garage we helped Daddy in; the lawn we mowed and played on; the clothesline we built tents over; the patio we grilled, made and ate ice cream, and sunbathed on; the windows we watched the world out of; the stories created; the house we loved and that loved us will now become someone else's home. It is as it should be...the house will go on without us, and new stories will be written within its walls.

My husband and I have bought three houses and sold two in our years together. I know that a house is merely a structure in which to live, and that a home is what you create within such a structure. But driving away from the house that was my childhood home made me realize that no house is ever just a structure...every house is full of stories, memories, moments....and the best of those stories, memories, and moments will go with us as we leave a house and move ever forward in our lives journeys.

We all leave home, little ones, but if we're lucky home never leaves us....

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Cistern Journey, or Being a Responsible Member of Planet Earth

We live in small rural subdivision that has a too-small, too-old well system and prohibits use of well water for outside watering purposes. To allow us to have plants/flowers/garden outside, or to someday power wash the deck or the house in preparation for staining, we decided we need to install a cistern to capture rainwater for outside use. It just makes sense to use what nature gives us and to conserve the well water we all need for daily in-home use.

We have done a lot of online research and have talked with neighbors who have installed cisterns. One home has one 500 gallon buried tank; one home has three cisterns - two above-ground, one buried; one home has two cisterns on metal stands. You need to talk to folks that have cisterns and to do your own research to find what might be right for you/your situation. Here's some good online sources of information:
DIY Water Projects
Building a High Pressured Solar Powered Rainwater Irrigation System
Rainwater Harvesting Systems

We have looked at several different cistern scenarios, including burying a large tank (500 gallons or more), which some of the folks in our subdivision have successfully done. We have decided that, for us, the best scenario right now is an above-ground tank. The tank will go under the deck on an existing cement pad:

We have ordered, via Falls Plumbing Supply, a 325 gallon tank (and a 3/4" hose adapter) that will sit on the existing cement pad. The size and type of tank we are ordering is built only after it is ordered, so there is a 2 to 3 week wait; Falls Plumbing Supply does deliver to our area.

This is, essentially, an experiment for us. We are taking steps to conserve our indoor water and to provide water for outdoor purposes, trying to be responsibly members of planet Earth. We may well install another cistern later this year or next year if we decide one cistern is not enough to meet our needs.

Be responsible members of planet Earth, little ones, and reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose, and conserve any and every way you can.

UPDATE (9/26/14): The cistern was delivered this week, finally! We aren't sure if we'll get it fully installed before winter, but we will have it up and running by next spring for sure.

Our experience with Falls Plumbing Supply has been positive, but it did take twice as long to get the cistern as we were originally told.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Respecting Beliefs

I live four miles south of the nearest town, up a steep hill, in a small subdivision. We are rather off the beaten path, and door-to-door folks don't usually mess with us up here. Today there was a knock on my door, and when I opened the door a nicely dressed gentleman started right in with his religious-based spiel...no Hello, no How are you, just right in to his spiel. I told him I was not interested, but he didn't stop talking, so I closed the door on him.

I believe in freedom of religion - it is one of the most important tenets this country was founded on. But freedom of religion, to me, means that you are free to believe and practice your chosen religion, and I am free to believe and practice mine. It does not mean you are free to come to my home uninvited and try to "sell" me your personal religious beliefs. I feel my religious beliefs are extremely personal...they are mine and mine alone; I do not share them with others, especially if such sharing is uninvited.

I respect your right to believe what you want, and I expect you to respect mine. I will not ever try to "sell" you my beliefs, and you'd dang well better not try to "sell" me yours.

Respect...it's a two-way street, little ones.....

Friday, June 13, 2014

It's Deja Vu All Over Again

Seems lightning-caused wildfires are following me.....

Last night we had one heck of a lightning and thunderstorm here, but no rain. A wildfire was sparked by the lightning in the mountains on the west side of Highway 89 about 4 miles south of Alpine. It's a long way from where I live, but close enough that the smoke is an issue and the sound of helicopters (dumping water) and planes (dumping slurry) has been constant all day.

(Photo taken mid-day, June 13)

I took some decent shots from a friend's deck this evening. I need a better telephoto lens, but you can still see things pretty well with my little under-powered lens:  Wildfire Slide Show.

It's that time of year little ones, when wildfires can happen in a moment. Be fire wise and fire aware!

Sunday, June 08, 2014


This year so far has been a bit on the rough side. I made trips back and forth to my home town, spending time with my mother as her health declined and her journey out of this world began. After her funeral, I came back home to de-stress, grieve, and heal.

I have only lived in this mountain paradise a bit less than a year (and a lot of that year was spent back in my home town), but I know in my soul that this is where I was meant to be at this point in my life. Somehow the forces knew I needed to be smack dab in the pretty, to be surrounded by mountains and all they entail.

The always-breathtaking view from the deck.
Mother Nature's wildflower gifts (Dames Rocket).
Sitting on the deck just taking in the pretty, walking the dog, reclaiming my life in this place....it is all working to slowly help me heal the hole in my heart left by Mom's passing. And it is daily reminding me of how lucky and blessed I am to be where I am at this moment in my life.

Life isn't always easy, little ones, but if you are wise and aware, you will find its gifts even in the difficult moments.....

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Passing of Time....

It happens to all of us...we outlive our parents and in the end wind up orphans. But for the years we have them, if we are wise and gracious, we cherish them. My Dad died 21 years ago...he was my best friend and I was his baby girl....I miss him every single day. And now my Mom has joined him. She was beautiful, smart, funny, and we had the best kind of mother/daughter relationship...the kind where you always love and respect each other. I will miss her every single day...

Cherish your parents, little ones....you won't always have them near you in the flesh. But if you are lucky, they will live on forever in your heart....

Wednesday, April 09, 2014


A life's journey is never linear. It is full of bends, U-turns, and detours that are not ever planned, but at times are chosen or even necessary. The past two weeks have been a necessary detour of sorts for me, and a most definite necessary detour for my mother.

My mother's health has been declining, and after the second hospital stay in three weeks, we decided it was time for Mom to consider moving out of her home and into assisted living where she could have the care and help she needed on a daily basis. We were blessed to find an assisted living center in Mom's home town that was just perfect. It's a very nice place, with great staff, and Mom has her own little apartment there now.

But this detour in Mom's life, as she nears the end of her journey, was a tough one. She had lived in the family home for over 54 years, and leaving it was like leaving a part of herself. We assured her that the home will still be there, that right now there are no plans to do anything with it. But leaving it was so hard and so sad for her. It was a detour in her life's journey that she never anticipated and never wanted. I wish with all my heart that she was able to stay in her home until her journey ends, but without 24-hour care it was just not possible.

So, she has detoured into a nice assisted living center, and we (her family) have detoured with her. While the family home still exists, it is silent now and empty of life. It has become a way station for Mom's things and our memories. And the next step in that home's journey will likely be to leave our journey and move on to a new one with a new family someday.

Detours....they can be joyous, they can be annoying, and they can be damned hard. But, little ones, they are a very necessary part of the journey.....

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Weathering the Storms.....

This is our first winter in our mountain paradise home, and it's been a doozy! We've had more snow fall here (in western Wyoming) than we'd seen in the previous 14 years (in northwestern Nebraska) combined. We've learned about the need to have heat tape and bigger gutters on the roof, where NOT to put the wood pile, the need to create trenches to draw the ridiculous amount of water (from melting and rain) away from the house, the joy of ice on steep hills, the joy of ruts in the ice and slush on steep hills...the list goes on and on. My little car cannot safely get in and out of here, so we are using just the big 4-wheel drive truck and I'm stuck at home most of the time right now.

But even with all that, this is still the place I want to be. The views have been breathtaking all winter (as they always are), the peacefulness of the area is soul-soothing, and I'm happy. One of my (many) mantras on this life is "you make your own happy," and boy is that true for me here in my mountain paradise home. This is the BEST place I've ever had the privilege to live, and it makes me insanely happy nearly every day.

This is the view from the deck today:

And that, little ones, is why it is so worth weathering the storms for me...because the payoff of living here is truly priceless.

May you find the reasons to weather the storms in your lives, little ones, and revel in the payoffs awaiting you.....

Friday, January 03, 2014

Starting Anew

Every January brings us a new year and new chances to start anew...wipe the slate clean and try not to screw up another year.

This year I start anew in new digs with a very grateful heart. A health scare for my mother had a positive outcome late in 2013, our kids are doing well (though they are too far away from us now), we are settling in to our new home quite nicely as we slowly work to make it "ours," our work lives are going well and we are - for the most part - enjoy the tasks and challenges that come our way.

I know January is the time to make resolutions and set about making changes in your life, but that's just not for me. Resolving to lose weight, eat better, exercise more...I've done that before (many, many times) to no avail as my resolve dissolves. My one and only resolution for 2014 is to be happy. If you are, at your core, truly happy, then good things will flow from and for you.

So, little ones, if you must make resolutions, make one of them to BE HAPPY. Be happy with who you are, where you are, what you are....just be happy!