Rocky Mountain Fall Splendor

 

 

Bruce and I got away for a couple of days to revisit some of our favorite hiking spots in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Having lived in Estes Park (gateway to the national park) we knew to expect crowds in town and on the trails. But, due to Covid, the park has instituted a policy where visitors have to register beforehand in order to get into the park. So, hiking the trails above Sprague Lake was a wonderfully private experience for us. I love fall in the Rockies. Just look at those colors.

 

What a joy to walk these trails, to feel the hint of the bracing winds that will soon descend on the mountain valleys and cloak it in deep snows. We surprised a deer grazing just off the trail. And a squirrel examined  us cautiously, scurrying amid the rocks and tree roots to get a better look at us giant humans.

At our campground, we sat by the river and listened to the bull elk bugle nearby.

We enjoyed an early dinner at the Stanley hotel.

Little excursions like this are such a gift from a loving God. He seems to say, “Stop working. Get outside and play for awhile. Breathe the mountain air, savor the fall colors, sniff the aroma of pine and spruce, delight in watching the elk, stretch out your legs and travel my terrain. I made all of this for you to enjoy.”

 

Covid and Workouts and The Grand Tetons

 

Oh my gosh, it’s been months since I’ve posted on my website. It’s not that I’ve been completely silent. I’m still out there on other forums.

I have no excuse. I’m guilty. But I do have sort of an explanation.

First, don’t let anyone tell you Long Covid does not exist. It absolutely does because I’m one of those unfortunates who was struck by this frustrating syndrome.

I had a very mild case of Covid way back in April of 2020. About the time I felt that I’d recovered from the body aches and mild nausea, an annoying cough started. Then my heart rate climbed to the level that leaves one breathless, weak and tired.

I toughed it out for six months. But then the symptoms increased in severity. Just walking from one room to another in my house felt like a marathon.

Finally, in February of 2021, I ended up in the ER, so breathless I feared my heart was failing.

The docs did all the usual things. Turns out my heart’s perfect. The pulmonologist said I had 20 percent greater lung capacity than the average woman—probably from all those years singing.

They send me to a cardiologist for meds to slow my heart rate, but with the admission that they couldn’t determine a cause for my complaints.

As the months passed, I started to see more and more articles about long Covid. The shoe fit.

Still, the condition is so new and bewildering that no one could tell me how to find relief.

So I charted my own course. I resumed singing even though I felt like I was drowning. (If you’ve listened to my scripture songs, that’s me in really bad vocal shape in the midst of long Covid.)  I did tons of breathing exercises. Got on the treadmill and worked up to seven miles a day. This took a few months. I added strength training.

I gotta say, I’ve never felt better. I used to roll my eyes when athletes would tell me how great it felt to push themselves hard during exercise. But I’ve experienced it now.

I wouldn’t advise everyone to do what I’ve done. I don’t have any knee,  hip, foot or joint problems. My sister is trying to get back in shape after shoulder surgery by swimming at her health club.

So, when Bruce and I drove to the Tetons a couple of weeks ago, my goal was to do as many of the trails at the foot of those mountains as we could—if we could find a place to park among all the skads of other visitors to the park!

We did about seven or eight miles a day–nothing huge, but the nice dry mountain air, the sunshine, the scent of pine all felt amazing.

Friends, if you haven’t visited the Grand Tetons, please put this on your bucket list. God didn’t skimp when he pushed those magnificent mountains into the air and chiseled its peaks.

 

Life is Wondrous!

 

So many surprising and wondrous things happened to Bruce and I this year.

The Lord made it clear to both of us that we needed to move from Bellingham, WA and live closer to our children and grandchildren.

We thought we’d build a house south of Cheyenne. But instead, we found a lovely home on the north, on 8 acres, with six bedrooms. Exactly what we were looking for so we can extend hospitality to whomever.

The house was bare bones, so we set about to plant trees and shrubs.

The Lord gave me a strong desire to set scripture to music so people (me included) could easily memorize verses. So far, I’ve written about 30 songs. If you’d like to listen, they’re on this website. Just click on Dena’s scripture songs and choose which one(s) you’d like to hear.

Our tenth grandchild was born to Carissa and Garrett. His name is Soren and he is absolutely gorgeous. What do you think?

We also traveled. Since I’m the president of Northwest Christian Writers Association, we journeyed to the Seattle area to visit friends, attend meetings, and participate in our summer Board meeting where we envision and plan our next year. Announcement: hybrid (in person and on Zoom) Renewal Conference coming this spring!

Then, we saw the Olympic peninsula and took lots of pictures around the La Push beach areas.

We also re-visited some of our favorite National Parks. Yellowstone is one of my favorites!

Received an email from one of my publishers, inviting me to be part of a group effort to write a series of mystery/suspense novellas. as we speak, I’m four thousand words away from completing that story. Yay!

I just launched my bigger novel about the reluctant healer: The Girl Everyone Wants. It’s on Amazon, so if you’re interested, you will absolutely love this story. My heroine, Zara, encounters drug cartel bad guys, a sweet but demented former show girl, a giant history professor, anonymous people who help abused people escape to make a new life, an angel or two, some Chicago street people, a mission worker, and finally, some surprisingly helpful criminal bikers.

Quite the thrilling adventure!

So many more wondrous things happened but there’s not enough space to recount them all.

But just recently, our beautiful orange (indoor) cat disappeared for over a week. We searched and searched, and even though we prayed, it looked as if he would never return. Probably eaten by a coyote, or frozen, or starved. But last night he returned, emaciated and meowing for food. God is so kind to keep this little creature alive and to return him to this heart-broken lady.

And, finally, God has faithfully led me through another year. He promises that He who began a good work in (those of us who have trusted Him) He’ll continue to complete His transforming work until the final time of redemption. (Phil. 1:5)

And in the light of these troubling times, be of good cheer. These are not my Pollyanna words. These are the words of Jesus. Because, as He says, “I have overcome the world.” So all those trials: of sickness, of world cabals, corrupt governments, economic hardships, wars and rumors of wars, interpersonal strife … All of this is under His control.

And it is He, not any human effort, Who brings reconciliation between God and man, or between man and man. (Eph. 2:18)

From Noel to Maranatha,  praise His holy name!

Merry Christmas, y’all.

Dena

 

Memorizing Scripture

 

Years ago, when I was sharp enough to memorize scripture, I committed large passages of it into my brain.

But now? Not so easy. I’ve often said, “I feel as if my brain is like teflon: nothing sticks.

But, songs I’ve learned stay in my brain forever, particularly ones I’ve learned in church choir.

A few years ago I attended a women’s Bible study. This was when technology was still in the dark ages. When we heard that we would be asked to memorized a couple of Bible verses per week (which amounted to about 15 scriptures for the entire length of the study) some of the older women sweetly complained, “I can’t memorize anymore.”

So I spoke up and volunteered to set the 15 scripture verses to music and record them on cassette tapes. “You can do do that?” they asked.

“I can try.”

So I went home that day, spread out the verses on separate sheets of paper and got to work.

They weren’t works of art, but when I was finished, I had 15 short songs ready to go.

Now, I don’t know about the other women in the Bible study, but I still have those verses committed to memory and I can sing them whenever I need a particular scripture to remind me about some wonderous aspect of God’s care, and counsel, and protection.

Lately, I’ve been led by the Lord to start writing music again. And the creations are beginning to fill “my scripture songs” page on my website.

So, if you’re curious, or would like to join me in my journey of memorizing Bible verses, you can find them at the top of my website page. Just click on the button and select a Bible verse to listen to.

By the way, it’s not just me singing. I’m getting old and so is my voice, so I’m actively looking for people with some vocal ability—no, you don’t have to be a professional, just adequate— to help me record the songs. So far, I’ve gotten my lovely and talented daughter in law, Carissa, to sing three songs. And I’ve also recorded my nine year old piano student, Kenna Bowers, on one of them, too.

I hope to utilize my son’s voice on some of the songs with a more rock quality, and daughter Kiri on some of the alto songs.

Give them a listen. If you listen enough times, you’ll probably learn a verse or two!

Each month I add three more songs. This week I’m preparing to record three songs I’ve written this summer and I’ll put them up in September.

I’ve also added the songs to my monthly newsletter, so that’s another way to access them.

God bless you!

Dena

Seeking the Creator in nature and the arts

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