GIft #852: Botanic Gardens

Today my mom and I went to the Denver Botanic Gardens.  We spent over 10 glorious hours there strolling through all the gardens, visiting the library, walking through the conservatory, enjoying a picnic lunch, knitting among the flowers, and otherwise enjoying paradise on earth.

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I took a bunch of photos, so I’ll certainly be sharing more in the days to come, but I’ll need some time to organize them.  The photos in this post are of the alpine garden, which is my favorite,  and of the central pond that borders the montane garden and the Japanese garden.  Today there was an art class lined up around the pond, painting the water lilies.  It was neat to watch them work.

On every trip we’ve made to the botanic gardens, we’ve had rain in the late afternoon/evening hours.  This tine was no exception, although it was just light, spotty rain.  As the gardens closed and we headed towards the gate, a magnificent double rainbow arched over the sky.  It was amazing!  A perfect miracle to end a day spent admiring the ordinary miracles of plant and blossom.

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Blessings to you,

Sarah

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Gift #851: On top of the world

Views from the top of the world:

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These were taken at Mount Falcon park.  They have lots of rousing hikes full of panoramic vistas.  Some of these breath-taking views were shot from the envisioned Summer Home for Presidents of the US.  The man who owned all the property in this area planned to build a presidential vacation home on top of one of the mountains.  The project never gained traction, and only a foundation stone marks the spot.  It’s rather unfortunate for our presidents – they don’t know what they’re missing.  But all in all, I’m most grateful that it wasn’t built and that this beautiful land and pristine views are preserved for the enjoyment of the public.

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How I love being in the mountains again.  I’ve missed them so much!

Blessings to you,

Sarah

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Gift #850: One Short Day

Today we spent one short day in the Emerald City… meaning, we went to see…

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Yes, Wicked is playing in Denver this year!  I was beyond thrilled when I discovered that Wicked would be there during the time we usually visit.   Wicked and Denver are entertwined in my heart.  It was when I lived in Denver that I first read the story of Elphaba, obtaining a copy from my local library because I didn’t want to buy a book I wasn’t sure I’d like.  (if I’d only known!!)  And it was in Denver that I saw the show for the very first time 8 years ago.  Today I was able to see it again in the very same building where it had captivated my imagination and heart to begin with.  I’ve seen the show many times, but there was something very special about seeing it today in my very own “Emerald City” of Denver.

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There was an unexpected treat in today’s viewing as well.  In the cast listing above, I had seen a familiar name before the show, but dismissed it as happenstance because it is rather a common name.  But when the Wizard of Oz made his first appearance and the audience clapped – I knew the name I recognized was really him!  He has changed quite a bit over the years, but his mannerisms and voice were the same as the actor I’ve known since childhood.  Our Wizard was played by none other than John Davidson!  He’s not a household name, but he’s done a lot of theater and I knew him from the films he did with Disney back in the 1960s.  One of the earliest movies I remember watching was The Happiest Millionaire – I loved it as a child, and even now it is one of my favorites.  It’s the story of a Philadelphian family in the 1910s and John Davidson stars as the love interest for the daughter in the family.  I never in my wildest dreams ever imagined that I would see any cast member from that film with my own eyes!  But there he was – and seeing him live was probably the sweetest moment of the show for me.  I’ll never watch Happiest Millionaire  the same way again.

It was a great show and a great day!

Blessings to you,

Sarah

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Gift #849: Lair o’ the Bear

We spent the day at a favorite family park – Lair o’ the Bear, just outside of Morrison, CO.  My family spent so much time at this park -we loved it so much we never really went anywhere else.   Walking the trails now, I can’t help but remember the happy times here and it seems like I can hear the ghost laughter and footsteps of my family echoing down the paths.  I miss them so much when I stand here.

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Sometimes I feel like I’d give anything to wind back time and live it all again.  Time only moves in one direction though, and I’m thankful for where God has led us all now.  I’m grateful that my memories of growing up here are sweet.

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Here’s the bluff that we would race to – climbing the trails today, I’m amazed at the energy my brother and I had when we were younger!  We’d fly up the trails and bound up these rocks like mountain goats!  I didn’t climb them today, but did stop to take the required picture – we took one every trip, so it’s tradition.

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I was delighted to find the park still so green and full of wildflowers.  I have lots of other pictures I’ll share later of the beautiful flowers on this trip.  One of the beautiful things about hiking in the mountains is even thoughh you may hike the same park, you never see it exactly the same.  Every hike is a different experience.

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For example, this time, Bear Creek was nearly overflowing its banks!  It hasn’t been this full in a long time.  There’s so much water in fact, that little side rivulents and springs are flowing.  I’m glad that the water levels this summer are still so high.

After hiking, we drove around in the mountains for a while before heading back into town.  We had tacos again for dinner and watched the sun set over the mountains while listening to the Moody Blues.  And I made memories I’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Blessings to you,

Sarah

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Gift #848: Happy places

Today was a day of complete joy.  I went to one of my very favorite places.

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I spent the whole day at the Museum of Nature and Science!  My mom and I wandered the beloved halls we know so well, visiting our favorite exhibits.  It’s like seeing old friends again.  I move through these walls so much in my daydreams and it was a joy to see them again in person.  They haven’t changed at all.

To end a perfect day, we had a perfect meal.

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My favorite food on the planet – Wahoos veggie and fish tacos!  They were delicious!  And now I’m closing in on 20 hours awake, so I’m off to rest up for tomorrow and give thanks for today, because it was a dream come true.

Blessings to you,

Sarah

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Gift #847: On the verge of vacation

All my bags are packed and I’m ready to go.

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Tomorrow I’m leaving on a jet plane, very, very early in the morning.  With the time change working in my favor, I will touch down in Denver an hour later – ready to spend a full day enjoying my lovely hometown.  I’m very much looking forward to experiencing all my special places again.  Inside my carry-on bag are all the essentials necessary for a pleasant travel experience: yarn, knitting patterns, itinerary, yarn, book, water bottle, and (did I mention?) yarn.  I’m bringing 4 projects with me – one of them is in my checked luggage because it’s on metal needles and I don’t want to risk security taking them away from me.  The other three are new projects and I plan to haul them with me pretty much all over the city so I can weave the joys, scents, and memories of mountains, gardens, and museums into each stitch.  I wasn’t going to mention this, but in the spirit of full disclosure and confession I will note that all the projects have green.  That’s intentionally planned as Denver and mountains should be in full green glory before the heat and dryness of summer turns everything a dull brown.  June is a perfect time to visit because the days are warm, nights are cool, and flowers are in full bloom.

Tomorrow will be here in just a few hours and now I must get a bit of sleep.  Next time I blog, I’ll be on mountain time!

Blessings to you,

Sarah

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Gift #846: Butterfly in action

I’m sorry for the lack of posting recently.  I’ve been struggling with a sinus infection for over a week, and although I think the worst is behind me, I am exceedingly tired.  I’m still having a hard time getting two coherent thoughts strung together.  There were some blog posts I wanted to write, but they will require more attention and thought than I can give right now.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the pictures!  I took these at a garden center a couple weeks ago and was thrilled to see the butterfly.  I love the way his/her coloring matches the flowers.  I hope you all are enjoying flowers and butterflies in your neck of the woods too.  Butterflies are such happy things.

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Blessings to you,

Sarah

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Gift #845: Father’s Day

Walk hand in hand with me through all eternity
Have faith, believe in me, give me your hand
Love is a symphony of perfect harmony
When family such as we walk hand in hand

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Be not afraid, for I am with you all the while
So lift your head up high and look toward the sky

Walk hand in hand with me, this is our destiny
No greater love could be, walk hand in hand
Walk with me

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Be not afraid, for I am with you all the while
So lift your head up high and look up to the sky

Walk hand in hand with me, this is our destiny
No greater love could be, walk hand in hand
Walk with me

– Johnny Cowell

FD2Today we celebrate the fathers, grandfathers, father-figures that have walked alongside us.  I’m very thankful for my own father who provided a sense of security and love during my childhood.  As I grew older, I appreciate his wisdom and care for our family even more.  It’s exciting to see my brother follow in his example as a new father.  I’m grateful to have had men in my life who made it easy to relate to God as my heavenly Father.  I know that not everyone gets the privilege of having a loving father-presence in their lives and I think that breaks the heart of God, who pictures Himself so often as our tender, affectionate Father.  It’s He who promises to hold our hands through life, walking with us, giving purpose to our days.  Held in His arms, there is no need to be afraid for there is no greater love than His.  We live in confidence and grace with His song in our hearts.

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Blessings to you,

Sarah

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Gift #844: Forest Wildflowers

“What a desolate place would be a world without flowers. It would be a face without a smile; a feast without a welcome. Are not flowers the stars of the earth?  Are not our stars the flowers of heaven?”
–  Clara L. Balfour

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I’ve been browsing through flower quotes, searching for some to accompany wildflower photos from Spring Mill that I wanted to share with you.  I’ve noticed that the majority of words spoken about flowers are really metaphors for us.  They direct our attention to an aspect of the flower in order to understand our souls better.  All aspects of human life are wrapped up in the language of the flowers.  From time immemorial, physical love has been intrinsically described in flowers – the object of love is often called a flower in great poems and songs, we tend love like flowers in a garden, and of course, giving flowers to our beloved is an ancient practice.

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We use the flower to describe growth in our hearts – opening like a bud, cultivating a sweet aroma, spreading joy and beauty – these references to flowers underscore our desire to live like they do.  Many quotes focus on the dual nature of rose and thorn as a metaphor for our world.  Good and bad, beauty and harshness, joy and pain coexist uneasily in our existence.  We don’t know how to come to terms with a world in light and shadow, but flowers echo the path of graceful acceptance.  They show us that beauty can thrive anywhere, even in a thornbed, and we call them roses.  Whether consciously or subconsciously we build our lives on the hope that our suffering and pain will produce flowers of the soul.

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The beautiful but ephemeral nature of flowers is a poignant reminder of our own mortality, even while it whispers of eternal life.   We watch flowers being born and fading away and understand they mirror our own fate; but we also know that even as the spent petals wither, new ones are being formed in the heart of the plant.  We know the dropped petals are not the end of the story.  And so we mark birth and death with flowers as a reminder of both the brevity of our days on earth and the immortality of our souls.  And we continue to take comfort that we can read the story of our lives in the faces of the flowers.

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“Observe this dew-drenched rose of Tyrian gardens
A rose today.  But you will ask in vain
Tomorrow what it is; and yesterday
It was the dust, the sunshine, and the rains.”
–  Christina Rosetti   

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Blessings to you,

Sarah

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Gift #843: Tide Pool Earrings

One more jewelry post for today and then I promise we’ll do something different for the weekend.  I stumbled onto a new blog a few weeks ago called Earrings Everyday, which features an earring design each day from some very talented jewelry designers.  They also run a monthly challenge called “We’re all Ears” – isn’t that a cute name? – and this month’s theme was tidal pools.  I really wanted to participate in this challenge because it dovetails nicely with my monthly calendar jewelry theme (spoiler alert: it’s a beachy theme).  So today you’ll get a sneak preview of the earrings, which I’m submitting tomorrow on the blog hop here.  I’m still working on the necklace and I’ll show the completed set sometime later.  Without further ado, here are the earrings I designed.

 

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I found some seashell charms at Michaels on clearance and bought several to use for my jewelry this month.  I paired the charms with silver hoops and some aqua stones and czech glass.  Aqua is a favorite of mine and I love using it for summer designs.  These reminded me of frothy seawater spilling over rocks – I like the rivulets of brown moving through the stones.  To tie the design together, I added a bit of copper wire mesh.  This is really neat material because you can mold and shape it in undulating patterns by pulling the mesh wider.  It called to mind strands of seaweed you’d find in tidal pools, tangling around shells and driftwood.

The artwork featured on the blog to whet our inspiration was quite appealing.  I love scientific illustrations of this sort of vintage.

 illustration by Hashime Murayama Hashime Murayama was a Japanese illustrator, born in 1879. He used to work for National Geographic until 1941.

illustration by Hashime Murayama
Hashime Murayama was a Japanese illustrator, born in 1879. He used to work for National Geographic until 1941.

 illustration by Theo Carreras Theo Carreras was an illustrator of some well known books about insects, like "Marvels of Insect Life," and was known for his detailed still-life illustrations

illustration by Theo Carreras
Theo Carreras was an illustrator of some well known books about insects, like “Marvels of Insect Life,” and was known for his detailed still-life illustrations

illustration by Theo Carreras

illustration by Theo Carreras

This was a fun challenge to start and I hope to participate again in the coming months.

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Blessings to you,

Sarah

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