How to Be Seventy Years Young

I’ve just had my sixty-ninth birthday, and although I’m in fairly good health, I’ve been feeling a little…vulnerable…compared to when I was younger. My hair is thinner, my eyes aren’t quite as good as they used to be, my gums have been receding (You know that old phrase “long in tooth”? It really means short in gum!). I could go on but you get the idea.

But just in the nick of time, I ran across two books that came up on Thrift Books (my new favorite place to shop)  The first one was entitled Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye.  Don’t worry, it’s not anti-dentist, as evidenced by the fact that it was written by a dentist!  But this book was just what I needed for my teeth, and really for my overall health (I’ll explain that comment momentarily).  The author, Ellie Phillips, does  such a great job of explaining how teeth and gums work. And the thing that she emphasizes is that gum and tooth repair are quite possible with our own care of our own mouth.  I won’t go into the whole thing here, but just having that confidence helped me to be proactive about my own mouth, and guess what!  My gums have begun to go back where they belong, the area where some of my teeth were getting brownish along the edge by the gum are now almost completely white, and my teeth in general, if I’m not mistaken, seem whiter. And all this without a dentist cleaning or working on them at all.  The author is a dentist, but she is really not big on the every-six-months cleaning routine. She says if our teeth were rocks, it would make sense to scrape, polish, and bleach them. But they are not rocks. They consist of soft things inside: dentin, which is softer than enamel, pulp and roots, which are soft and easily damaged, and the enamel that protects them should be nurtured, not broken down. And in a very short time, I have seen the results of believing that and acting upon it.

Then the other book I ran across is entitled Healing the Eye The Natural Way by Edward Kondrot, who has been an ophthalmologist for over  20 years. The book was written for those who have gotten a diagnosis of Macular Degeneration.  Because my mom and as well as my aunt (her sister) both had ARMD (age related macular degeneration), I am very interested in the subject. As the book points out, the regular situation is that a person is given this horrible diagnosis, and then told that there is no treatment for it, and that it likely will result in some degree of blindness.  Yikes!  I don’t know that the author is a Christian, but he believes just as I do that the food of this earth, or as I call it “God’s food.” is powerful for the health of eyes and for general health. In fact, everything that is good for the body in general is healing for the eyes. These healing elements are things we have all heard of repeatedly but when we are older especially, we must take it all seriously: wholesome food, regular exercise, a peaceful mind and heart, staying away from toxins as much as possible. Dr Kondrot’s patients sometimes accuse him of being “blaming” when he tells them that their diagnosis could likely be, at least partially, a result of their lifestyle. But he puts them more at ease when he points out that if their eye condition truly is a result of lifestyle, the good news is that it can likely be reversed or at least arrested.

The word that is key in understanding older age is degeneration.  When we are young, our bodies generate life and health to us, somewhat effortlessly on our parts. When we are old, everything starts to break down, or degenerate.  Of course, this is inevitable and ends in death, ultimately. But seniors should have a goal of being vigorous, healthy, very alive individuals.  Dr. Kondrot mentions that Science is very proud of the statistics showing that people live longer than they used to. Yes, they live longer, but do they live better, or is the end of life a life of perpetual illness?

What I’m saying is that our bodies need our help!  Take my feet, for example. A while ago, I told my husband that my feet felt as though rigamortis had set in!  My toes were stiff, my feet felt numb and inflexible.   It seemed like I may have some awful disease.  But I began letting my feet know that they are indeed still alive.  I used cream with strong peppermint oil in it, I used a vibrating brush on my toes, I began doing some simple foot exercises. And my feet have responded and feel a lot more alive now.

So I have begun to let every part of my aging body know that it is still alive.  I vigorously brush my hair and scalp each night with a stiff brush to remind my hair follicles that they should still produce hair, I use a soft brush on my face, I take deep, long breaths many times a day to remind my lungs that they are still alive, especially since we live at almost 9000 feet above sea level! And so on. 

Following are some of the most helpful things I have done that keep my body feeling alive (these are not in order of importance):

Essential oils are good for every part of the body (diluted appropriately) For example, I make a mouthwash of these essential oils: clove, peppermint, frankincense (one drop each in a glass of water). My husband adds some xylitol to that mouthwash. I see essential oils as something that God has provided for us. They are mentioned often in the Bible.

Massage: I massage my gums using coconut oil, I massage my skin and my varicose veins, I massage my head, I massage my feet, I massage my ears!  (Did you know that our ears and nose dont really grow with age they just droop and sag and need to be told by way of massage they are still alive!)

Mind Control:  From the time I wake up, I seek to not let my mind wander onto negative or destructive thoughts. Unfortunately, the negative is where my mind tends to go automatically, if I don’t call it back. But I do some proactive thought exercises such as memorizing Scripture and trying very hard to concentrate on it. This comes with varying degrees of success, but I know that a lazy mind will be more prone to result in a mind that is not in my control as I get older.

In the book of Philippians it says: Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, let your mind dwell on these things.

That is advice straight from God’s Word!

Exercise everything!!! I do eye exercises, I do face exercises (a big thank you to the late Jack La Lanne who taught me how to do this years ago), I do a short exercise routine before I ever leave the bathroom in the morning (by the way, don’t get bogged down. Ten minutes of exercise is hugely better than no exercise at all)

Posture: I have scoliosis so good posture is an extra effort for me. It’s not only for looks, but our insides function better when we have good posture.  And don’t forget the posture of your face.  A downcast, frowning face makes us ugly really fast.  Have you noticed that a thirty-year-old who has a sour countenance can look old and ugly, and an eighty-year-old who has a lifted, joyful countenance can look beautiful?

Stress Control: As Dr. Kondrot points out, we can’t always control the stress makers in our lives, but we can always control our response to the stress makers. I am working hard on this one! Uncontrolled stress can make us sick, make our eyes vulnerable to disease, make us clench our teeth, make us think on the wrong thoughts, make our sleep poor. I’ve begun talking to myself…outloud if I have to…to remind myself to remain calm in spite of the stressful situation. I have a long way to go in mastering stress control!! But I won’t give up, because it is important for every aspect of physical, spiritual, and mental health.

Nature: There is nothing that brings about health in every area more than being outdoors in the fresh air and among the many wonders that God has made for us to enjoy. As I watch the growing number of children diagnosed with ADHD, I feel for them, because in many cases, I believe, all they need is more opportunity to go outside and play! And as adults, when we sit indoors and look at a screen all day, we may not realize it, but much of the stress related illness we may have is the same. We need to be outdoors, feeling the breezes, noticing the colors and sounds of nature, moving around to blow off a little steam!

These are things that I am committed to, yet I know that the next decade will be interesting. There is a lot of difference between a 70 year-old and an 80 year-old. And I may get sick and infirm in body or mind. But if I do, I want to know that this is something that God has allowed in my life, and not something that came upon me because I didn’t take good care of myself.  Life has much to offer us older people. We can be a blessing to others in special ways and I believe we can enjoy our lives more than ever before. That’s why I’m doing all I can to keep my body and mind as healthy as possible. Yet, the specifics of my life are in God’s hands, ultimately. And I rest in that.

To end, here’s a fun exercise that can contribute to your health. I got this idea from the Eye book mentioned above: Each time you go to the grocery store for a while, try a new item of produce that you have either never tried or haven’t had for a long time. This will enhance the variety of nutrients that your body will love getting. Mike and I did this for the first time today. We came home with turnip greens, which we had never tried, and butternut squash, which we may have had once but can’t remember it. I had fun making an omelet with all the vegies we brought home, including the new ones. Next time at the store, we will try chard and acron squash! And tomorrow I plan to make chicken potato soup using every veggie in the house!

1 thought on “How to Be Seventy Years Young”

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Achieving the Impossble: Whole Grain Sourdough Bread!

A friend somewhat changed the course of my life when she brought me a warm, fresh out of the oven, loaf of sourdough one Sunday morning at church. Of course, I had eaten sourdough bread before, store bought, and probably not really organically sourdough. But one bite of this bread with its crunchy crust, tantalizing chewy center, and just-right amount of “sour” made me realize that no matter what the cost, I must become a sourdough bread baker.

And there is a cost…for example, tending to the starter, “whom” my husband MIke and I have affectionately named Bubbles is most certainly like taking on a pet, with demands to be fed on time, kept comfortable at a certain temperature, and is somewhat of a problem when going on vacation.

In spite of all of the above, I took the plunge. The first thing I noticed is that if you read fifty accounts of people’s experiences and instructions about how to make the perfect loaf of sourdough, you will get just about fifty different opinions! It’s enough to make one’s head spin.

So wading through all of that, I sought to find at least some common principles that I could latch onto. Disappointingly, one principle that seemed to be almost universal that one must use all or at least some white wheat flour in order to have a successful loaf. That was a problem for me since I am sensitive to wheat and Mike and I are fully committed to whole grain bread. The bread we were given at church was white/wheat, but I can handle wheat once in a while in small portions, and a little splurge on white bread once in a while never hurt anyone.

But for the long haul, we wanted whole grain, and we wanted to use spelt and rye, since these grains sit well with us. So I practiced, and practiced, and practiced. The first loaves, of course, rather resemebled good sturdy doorstops, but eventually, I started achieving the coveted “holes” which make for an “open crumb” in sourdough land language, along with the crunchy crust.

Sift the flour until most of what you have left is bran.

I found that I had to cheat just a little on the whole grain commitment, and use a sifter to sift out some, but certainly not all, the bran in the flour. You might ask, so what’s the point of using whole grain? Good question. Even when sifted, the grain still retains a good deal of germ and bran, as is evident by the brown color. And I don’t throw the bran in the sifter away! I sneak it into other recipes, in small quantities, such a my healthy banana bread.

But, back to the sourdough, I sift the whole grain first, using a good sifter. This really lightens it up enough for the starter to push through and give it a good lift.

Another secret I have found in making whole grain sourdough is to keep the dough wet. Already, sourdough dough is very sticky and wet compared to “regular” bread dough, but when I make regular bread and want to handle it without having it stick to my hands, I put flour on my hands and the bread board, but with sourdough, I put water on my hands and breadboard. If you are used to making yeast bread, this wet dough seems very strange, but it is the wetness that gives the starter the ability, again, to push through the dough and give it lift, which makes for a good rise. And I believe it is the very high temperature at which sourdough is baked that keeps the bread from being soggy after allowing all that dough wetness.

So without further ado, I will share the recipe that works for me. Just one more important point about sourdough making. The best advice I ever got on rising times, etc is that if you want to be in the sourdough hobby for the long term, find a schedule that best fits your life and lifestyle. The preparing, resting, and rising times in this recipe best fit my personal life style. But feel free to experiment. Sourdough making is more flexible than many people let on.

If you do not know how to make starter, here’s are some tips from “Mary’s Nest”

Mix together with a whisk:

1/2 cup starter

1 1/3 cup water (approximately, until you have a sticky dough)

1 Tbsp. honey (optional)

For dry ingredients mix with a whisk:

4 cups sifted whole grain flour (I use all spelt or 3 cups spelt and one cup rye. Whole grain wheat can also be used. We use fresh-ground from our grain grinder) If you start with four cups of flour, and sift out 1/2 cup bran, you will still end up with four cups of flour, because now it will be “fluffy flour”!

1 1/2 tsp. salt

(If you add anything like caraway seed for rye, add it now)

Mix wet and dry ingredients together with a good size spatula and let rise in a covered bowl (with cloth) for about one hour. After the hour, move dough to a bread board. and cover with a bowl (a cloth will get too sticky) I usually let just a tiny bit of air in under the bowl so everything can “breathe” a bit. If it is winter and chilly in the house, I use an incandescent light bulb to keep the dough warm. Every so often, stretch the dough from four sides. This isn’t absolutely necessary, but it strengthens the gluten and encourages some air bubbles in the dough.

A loaf pan with a lid or a cast iron dutch oven, either plain cast iron or enamel coated, works well for sourdough.

If I make the bread in the mid-morning, I begin preheating the oven at 450 degrees at about 4:00 pm. I preheat my dutch oven or loaf pan starting from a cold oven so that these pans don’t exprience shock and break (of course a full cast iron pan won’t break, but I use enamel coated or stoneware, which can crack or break from temperature shock) Preheat at least 20 minutes. You will need a pan with a good-fitting lid.

Using two dough scrapers is really helpful to move the dough into the pan.
whole grain sourdough

After the 20 minutes, carefully lift the pan out of the oven, remove the lid letting steam out AWAY from you, place the dough in the pan (I sprinkle a little flour in the pan first) replace the lid and place back in the oven. 450 degrees is, of course, extreemly hot so be careful! After 30 minutes, remove the lid (again very carefully) and place back in the oven to crisp the crust for about 7 or 8 minutes.

As you see, the outside comes out crunchy and the inside is full of holes, which in sourdough is a sign of a successful “crumb.”

That’s it!

This is my first loaf, kind of small and compact, but practice makes perfect!

Just to let you know, when you make starter, you need to “discard” some of it every day before you feed it. So at least sometimes, rather than just wasting that flour used in the discard, you can make fun things using the sourdough discard, like this pizza I made with discard! I’ve also made yummy waffles, pancakes, etc. But most of the time, we just have to resign ourselves to throwing away the discard. It’s just part of the whole process of sourdough-ing!

Sourdough pizza dough, yum

So how does my whole-grain sourdough measure up to the delicious white loaf that my friend gave me? It measures up well, I think. Because what it may lack it lightness, it gains in whole-grain flavor…amd super nutrition!

PLease write a comment if you have questions or comments.

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Defiant Joy

The following is an email that I recently sent to my friends. I thought I would include it here as a blog. May your joy be defiant, and may you know the One who alone can give you that kind of joy!

Today, June 15, is the birthday of our son Bradley, who went to heaven 10 years ago.

During his short life of 18 years, he proved to be a defiant child, I mean he was unrelenting in his defiance. But it was not the kind of defiance you usually think of in a young man, it was defiant determination to not let anything or anyone rob him of inner joy, joy that God gave him and joy that he held onto no matter if the gates of hell tried to rob him of it.

I won’t go deep into the grueling struggles that Bradley had all his life, beginning with a broken leg upon delivery due to the doctor not understanding his muscle weakness. We have lost count of his surgeries, his bouts with life-threatening pneumonia, his broken bones. Then there was the rejection that every child with a disability experiences, whether intentional or unintentional, it’s difficult to include a young person who slows you down.

But today on his birthday, I wanted to share one vivid memory I have of Bradley.  As a family, we liked to watch silly movies, and one of our favorites was Galaxy Quest, a parody and a tribute to shows like Star Trek. It is a funny movie. But there is a serious side to it. As the characters find themselves in a real-life battle with evil forces, they remember a gesture that formerly had not been meaningful to them, but now in a real-life battle became their very life. They would clench their fists, bring them to their chests, and say, “Never give up. Never surrender.”  

One time we were in Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Brad had experienced a particularly difficult time, and of course, we as his parents had too.It was a spinal fusion that required Brad to be stretched in traction from pins in his knees and his head, very painful. We were at the hospital for a month. Finally one day, the pins were removed, and he was able to conjure enough strength to sit in a wheelchair rather than lie in bed. I left him in his room while I went down a long hall to use the bathroom. When I came out, I saw Bradley who had wheeled himself into the hallway, way down the long hallway, and when he saw me, he clenched his fist and brought it to his chest, and smiled at me. And I clenched my fist and brought it to my chest, and smiled back. And with those gestures we communicated to each other that no matter how hard life got, we would never give up, we would never surrender, we would never allow anything to rob us of inner joy.

So in honor of Bradley’s birthday, I personally am making that same commitment in my life. I know that Mike is too. And we pray that you also will join us in this defiance, in a world that seems determined at every point, to bring us gloom and hopelessness. 

In John 15:11 Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”

Happy Birthday, Bradley!  Thanks for being my forever example of defiant joy.
And many blessings of God’s joy to you, friends,

Bradley and mom on an Easter morning.

Although this blog and the picture focuses on Brad’s and my relationship, my husband Mike, Brad’s dad, was every bit as involved in Brad’s life.

1 thought on “Defiant Joy”

  1. My heart aches for you and Mike, You have gone through so many hardships, and you are a wonderful example of never giving up. Your Christian faith is evident to all who know you and we have so much admiration for the testimony of your lives. I appreciate so much that you share with us in your writing.

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Reflections of Marriage, After 40 Years!

Forty years!  That’s a long time to be married! Especially since it seems not so long ago that we shared our vows together before family and friends. But forty years have come and gone, and what an unexpected ride we have had! Two of our three children were born with special needs, and have preceded us to heaven…little Kristie after just three years on earth, and Bradley after 18 years. How we loved them (and still do)!. And Ricky, our other child, lives close by with our daughter-in-law, Emily, and we love them too.

Mike and I took a little camping trip for our 40th, and one thing we did was to read part of our family journal. Every once in a while, for many years, when we had an especially nice time together or just wanted to record an “everyday day”, one of us, either Mike or I, or one of the boys, would write in the journal. As Mike and I read many years later, we realized all over again that we’ve had a happy life, a really happy life, that we wouldn’t trade for anything, and the writings in the journal prove it.

But we’ve also had a hard life, which is probably true of everyone in one sense or another. And I thought I would write some thoughts about what we have learned about marriage these forty years. At the end, I’ll share some photos from our 4oth anniversary camping trip…nothing fancy but we liked it a lot.

Some Reflections on Marriage


It may seem odd to start with such a negative, but it is my opinion that conflict is not only probably the most common element of each day of marriage, but it can also, with a lot of hard work, be the most unifying. I don’t know what goes on in your house, but I’m guessing that since we are all made of basically the same “stuff” that in all marriages there are two distinct persons seeking to run a kind of three legged race together. One is faster, one slower, one is pulling this way, and the other that way. There are two different styles often showing themselves to be completely opposite of each other.  To compound the conflict potential, in spite of current thought on the subject, men and women really are different from each other. And guess what? God made it that way.

Granted, some people are by nature more easy-going than others, and the conflict potential is then lessened. But it is my observation that at least some who seem to be easy-going are in reality “stuffers.” That is, instead of communicating about their frustrations to their spouse, or even making their desires known, they stuff it all, deep inside. The result? Well it comes in many forms. For example, the wife who, when she gets together with girl friends, can’t seem to stop verbalizing all of her husband’s faults to the unsuspecting listener, who really doesn’t want to hear about it!  Or maybe it shows itself by the couple who live under the same roof, but make every effort to live completely separate lives.

What is the solution?  The hard, hard work of communicating, not to a friend, not even to a counselor (I’m not suggesting there is never a place for those things) but directly to each other. How often? Often!  Amazingly often.

I will warn the husband (once in a while it’s the wife, but most often the husband) who during times of so-called communication, intimidates his spouse by being over-bearing and threatening. The warning is this: you may think you have won, but you have lost. Your wife’s heart will drift further and further from you and your intimidating ways, and before you know it, she won’t be able to stand the sight of you. I know because I listen to women who talk about it. They feel smothered and trapped. Communication is a two-way street, and when it is not, bad things result. 

Perhaps the opposite of intimidation is clamming up for no good reason, just being unwilling to open up and talk. That can be just as cruel as intimidation.

But assuming that both partners are willing to sit down and listen and share their hearts until they understand each other, this is the biggest key to a happy, thriving marriage.  And don’t forget to get on your knees together and communicate with the One who can bring your hearts together like none other. Do this every day, and you will see hard hearts become soft, loving hearts, because only He can touch a heart in this way. 

Have Fun, Laugh, and Be a Good Friend:

On the more positive side, what we have learned in 40 years, is the importance of having fun, laughing, and being each other’s best friend.  Certainly, it is a somber, even depressing world, and getting more so all the time. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t demonstrate the joy of the Lord, especially when we hang out together. It doesn’t mean that we can’t be friends to each other, praying for each other, showing concern, and doing some fun things together regularly.

We have an “encouragement board” in our dining room, a white board where we leave encouraging Scripture for the other person to find when they get up in the morning. Sometimes we leave funny pictures, but mostly Scripture…because nothing encourages like God’s Word.

Don’t watch too much of the news. There is a deliberate effort, be it by men or spiritual beings, to rob us of joy and show us in vivid living color all the horrible things that go on in the world. Yes, we need to be informed, but glance at the news, and gaze at the beautiful things this life has to offer: nature; loving relationships; kind neighbors; fulfilling hobbies ( Mike is taking an Online guitar class which is fabulous and I have gotten my sewing machine out where it is handy to make fun things for us and for others), and fulfilling work; positive times with family; colorful, healthy food; and so many other things that we can enjoy together with grateful hearts. Enjoying the good things of life together makes for a strong marriage. Mike and I are in our 60’s and aches and pains seem to be multiplying, but we try not to focus too much on our not-so-youthful bodies, even though I admit, that gets harder with age!

Below are a few photos of our anniversary campout at Sylvan Lake. We had never been there, so it was a shot in the dark, but turned out to be lovely. The nearby town of Eagle was enchanting! Tall green grass, with idyllic-looking farms, horses grazing, rivers rushing and streams meandering. Blue sky, puffy clouds.   

We met so many people at the campground! All were Coloradans except one guy from New Jersey!  We met Colorado people from Littleton, Grand Junction, Evergreen, Louisville (near Boulder), Leadville, Parker, Monument. Something about being out in nature brings out the best in people, have you noticed that?

Nothing like Colorado in summertime!
Friendly, laid-back campground
Green, green everywhere. Even dandelions look pretty after months of snow!
Steak and potato dinner, minus the steaks and potatoes! Cozy camper
Sylvan Lake
“The lake of the shining waters” as Anne of Green Gables would say
Visitor’s Center
There are some really big, sprawling trees in Eagle, CO
Mike said this looked like a hobbit hangout, so I tried unsuccessfully to look like a hobbit.

In conclusion, marriage is indeed hard work. I have touched on just a couple parts of it; I could have shared a hundred. I think the most important aspect of a good, lasting, happy marriage is summed up in what Ruth Bell Graham said about it: “A good marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”

2 thoughts on “Reflections of Marriage, After 40 Years!”

  1. So beautifully written. Love you guys and Happy Anniversary. Steve is in Lakewood at his brother’s place til Tuesday.

  2. Such a lovely post of your anniversary celebration! Great pictures too. We have never been to Sylvan Lake. Nice to hear what you are doing. I like the quote at the end. So true!

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“Being Safe” Thoughts from My Mom’s Nursing Home

“Be Safe”…it is the resounding salutation of these times. It sounds so caring, so altruistic, so right. After all, who does not want to be safe? Who does not want their loved ones to be safe? No one that I know. I personally am absolutely neurotic, for example, at bedtime, about checking each door and window to make sure we slumber in a blissful state of being safe. But even so, there’s no guarantee that we sleep in perfect safety in spite of all my efforts to make it so. But I continue to do what I can, and that is good.

Of course, our country…our world…is presently concerned with keeping people safe from the virus Covid 19. And there is reason to take some safety measures, just like there is reason for me to check my doors and windows. It’s a smart thing to do…to a point.

But from my perspective, we’ve crossed the line of reason. And in crossing that line, safety has been endangered. Why? Because people are not one dimensional. We are more than a body; we are in fact made in the image of God, meaning we have a soul, a spirit, and mind, an invisible part that is every bit as real as the physical part.

There are many things I could share: the rising incidence of suicide since the lockdowns, the fact that currently filings for divorce in our nation is up 32% since the same time last year, the chilling realization that children cannot play or go to school in a normal, healthy way…even though children are not, for the most part, affected by this virus. But the thing that I want most to share, and that has been most disturbing to my soul, is what I see at my mom’s nursing home.

Let me hasten to say that my mom’s nursing home is outstanding in care, in cleanliness, in communication with families. It is a very fine institution, and I have always been grateful for it. And it is not their fault, that they have to follow guidelines and restrictions (although the extent of the restriction is up to them). And we all are asked to understand that these are troubled and dangerous times. After all, most Covid deaths are attributed to the elderly, and more specifically, the elderly who have other conditions that contribute to the possibility of death.

But I feel compelled to share what is actually going on with these elderly people. Until these past months, these dear older people have enjoyed their lives. They have participated in daily activities, fun activities! Daily exercise. They enjoyed eating meals together. They had the option to attend church services. Family and friends could visit them. My husband and I brought our goats to the home last year and how the residents enjoyed being with the animals!!

But now their lives are very different. For a while family could visit with masks and at a 6 foot distance. For someone like my mom, who has advanced Alzheimer’s, and whose hearing and sight are compromised, the only way of relating to her has been through touch and very close eye contact, so these restrictions virtually put an end to her having interaction with loved ones. But now, even this distance visiting has been denied. No visitors at all. No activities. The residents eat in their rooms, alone. They cannot go out in the hallway to see other people. Last week my mom was sick in bed, and no one, including family could visit her. And I feel most sorry for those residents who are still lucid, able to relate normally. They understand their loneliness. For a while, family could have “window visits” but even that has been denied. These aged and vulnerable people are literally experiencing a life of solitary confinement.

One other interesting fact is that even though a good number of the senior residents have contracted the virus, most, by far, have recovered. And the few who did not survive were said to have other underlying conditions that would have contributed to their death. So it’s not like Covid 19 is certain death for the elderly.

I ask you. Is this the “being safe” that you want when you are old?

In light of every human being possessing a body, soul, spirit, and mind, is there not more to life than being safe?

6 thoughts on ““Being Safe” Thoughts from My Mom’s Nursing Home”

  1. Thanks for this reminder Bev, it is so true and really heartbreaking. My father is 93 and not in a nursing home. He goes out almost every day and has been very clear about that fact that covid or not, he’s in his latter days and wants to spend them happily no matter the risks. I caution him about his mask and hand washing but I completely understand his rationale and am so sad for elderly folks who can’t make that choice for themselves. Praying for your moms spirit and mind ❤️🙏

    1. Thank you , Melanie. I’m so glad your dad is not in a nursing home at this time and that he can get out! Thank you for your prayers.

  2. This is a very thought-provoking post. My twin brother is in a nursing facility in Las Animas and no one has been allowed for many months. On our birthday in February we did Face-Time briefly. It is not as meaningful to him is being there in person. I know this situation must be terribly hard for you. Actually being with your Mother would be so comforting to her and you as well. Yes, there is more to life than being safe. Our hands are tied.

    1. Thank you, Dottie. My mom actually passed away about a week after I wrote this. Yes, our hands are tied. We did get to visit before she actually breathed her last.

  3. Thank you for sharing this in such a loving, life giving way and expressing the thoughts of many whose loved one is also living in ‘Assisted Care/Nursing Home’. Also includes those who are in the hospital and denied visitor’s, some who are left to die alone. I believe there will be long term ramifications from these “be safe” decisions that will be worse than allowing a ‘safe’ visit from family with loved ones. We were made for relationships.

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Tips for Home Business #2: Care About Your Customers…for real.

People are tired of being used and manipulated. They are tired of having companies and individuals trick them into spending their money. Here’s a simple truth that seems to have been forgotten by many…people, all people, are desirous of having someone who respects them enough to want their best.

In these small business tips, there will likely be two themes that keep coming up: respecting the customer and having a quality product or service that speaks for itself.

This tip is about the former, respecting the customer. Caring about them getting something valuable for their hard-earned money.

We make mostly wood products in our shop Rocky Mountain Glow. One of our best selling items is personalized (hand wood burned) walking and hiking sticks.

We recently got an order for nine Boy Scout sticks that had their name, the  Boy Scout emblem, and the Scout Law burned on them. We sent them out in good time in order to be there when this group of nine Cub Scouts  advanced to Boy Scouts (or more recently to Scouts).

All the sticks made it to their destination in good shape but one cracked, and so one Scout would not be getting a stick. When Mike and I used our own money to send a new stick at an overnight rate, this was not only for customer service, we didn’t want that boy to be without his stick for the ceremony!

We might be tempted to think that is a waste of money but it is not. It is how companies and businesses grow a mutually respectful business relationship with their customers over the years.

It doesn’t pay to be a penny-pincher when it comes to customer trust and long-term relationships with them. Be generous with your customers. It will pay off in a variety of ways!

We are currently selling at but hopefully soon will be selling right here on  We are looking forward to getting that started!


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A Morning at Lions Camp

My life interests seem to be intersecting…and I’ll write about that in more detail in another blog. But I’ll tell you now that one of my life interests will always be individuals who have special needs, due to our two children, now in heaven, who had special needs.

So this morning, my husband Mike and I were privileged to bring our three goats to visit Lions Camp. Here is a link to their website: Lions Camp  Lions Camp offers a camp experience for individuals, both children and adults, who have various special needs. And the camp just happens to be close to our new home in the mountains!

I thought I would share just a bit about our morning and share some pictures 🙂

SONY DSCWe arrived relieved that our three goats, Lucy, Sadie, and Miriam, handled the car ride very well. Thank you, if you prayed for that, for I asked several friends and relatives to do so. And they didn’t mind heading for the grassy field, even though it was new territory for them. And it was a picture-perfect day.


SONY DSCMy friend Anna also came with her dad.  Anna is a full-time caregiver for her daughter who requires complete care, and for her dad who had a stroke.  Anna and I, along with the daughter of the executive director of the camp, couldn’t resist running with the goats through the spring-like open field.SONY DSC

Following are some pictures of some of the weekend campers as well as camp staff and volunteers.


SONY DSCAnd then we took some mighty tired goats home in the dog crate. On the way over they made a lot of noise, being unsure of what was going on. On the way back, they just snuggled up, contentedly, having had a fun day, and rested!

11 thoughts on “A Morning at Lions Camp”

  1. What a great day and blessing for those at Lion’s Camp and for you who brought the goats for the visit….what a joy to share your sweet goats! God bless you for ministering to the camp!

  2. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Heaven and earth are full of his glory. Good job sharing Him, Bev and Mike.

  3. Hi Mike and Bev,
    Thanks for the pictures that seem to tell us that all these people enjoyed your goats!
    I can imagine it was a new experience for most of them.

  4. So interesting! Love the picture of the 3 of you running in the field. The goats seem very docile and good with people. What a gift you are to give of yourselves in this way. I can’t wait to meet Lucy, Sadie, and Miriam!

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Life After “The Big Plunge”

In my last blog, The Big Plunge, I shared what led us to decide to quit Mike’s city job, depend more on our home business, and move to the mountains.

Indeed moving from our stable home to an unknown life in the mountains, and having to down-size over 50% has felt a lot like jumping off a cliff. I think of Bethany Hamilton (the young woman who lost her arm to a shark), and her now husband, who on their first date (this was after her incident with the shark), jumped off a 40-foot cliff into the ocean. I’m sure the experience helped to build the bond that they now share.  And this life-change experience is building bonds as well, into Mike’s and my 37 year marriage!

But here I will share what the first month has been like. The life itself isn’t that much of a challenge, but the dramatic change of lifestyle into something so unfamiliar, is a bit like jumping off a cliff into the unknown.

Whoever heard of Florissant Colorado?

The official population count for the town of Florissant Colorado (pictured above) is 104. Of course, that doesn’t count folks like us who live in the surrounding mountain area and use Florissant for our address. But still, it is a very small town.

We have been amazed, however, at what this little widening in the road on Highway 24, on the way to such places as Breckenridge, has to offer: a spacious, efficient post office (essential for our online business), two super-great restaurants (one being more of a coffee shop, quaint and unique; the other offering “by scratch” food only), a cozy library with a fireplace (we got a library card and plan to use it. We long to feel real pages of paper turning at our fingertips!), and amenities like grocery stores pretty dog-gone close and convenient

We feel right on the boundary between civilization and wilderness

IMG_2958As for the wilderness part, wow! what a dramatic change for us! Here is our driveway where the moving truck so nearly tipped that the guys who were directing the truck ran for their lives to get out of its way. The owner of the moving company even showed up to make sure everything was going to go without further hitch. And, by God’s grace, all went well from there. The owner apologized for the incident, but it didn’t seem to me to be anyone’s fault, except the hard-to-maneuver driveway. Although, once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy sailing

IMG_2936We also transported Mike’s workshop up that driveway from Colorado Springs! Are we crazy? At times it has felt that way, but we were determined to get here, and we did. Here’s a pic of Mike’s shop leaving our former driveway, and it made it all the way up the mountain and to our front door.

Are we now hermits?

Are we hermits out here deep in the Rocky Mountains? Far from it. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps we were hermits living in the city without realizing it. I thought that “neighborly” was a concept long-gone, but not here. For example:

*next door neighbor, Todd (yes, everyone lives on approximately 5 acres, but we’re still neighbors) hopped the fence to help Mike lift his air filter into his wood shop, and stayed an hour giving Mike the scoop on everything from what kind of wood to use in the wood stove to who’s who in the general area.

*neighbors Kari and Terry invited us over into their home and gave us the information on getting good phone reception. This couple lives here only in the winter, believe it or not, to get away from the snow of Michigan!

As far as real neighbors, that’s it. Our street hosts 3 families, us and two others.

We get the feeling that we are not in the middle of nowhere, however, but whereas in the city, we were surrounded by people, here, we are involved with people…like it or not. But we do like it.

*Mike, the UPS man, welcomed us heartily, even though he has had to drive up to our door almost every day with move-in and business related stuff! He knows all the names of everyone in the surrounding area, including all the dog’s names and their personalities.

*Church. We ventured off to church last Sunday. The 70’s jingle “little country church on the edge of town” came to mind as we drove up. The thing I noticed when we walked in was that people were laughing and joking with each other during the first part of the service. I liked the feeling of joy, but wondered if they ever got serious. And yep, sure enough, they did. The sermon was short but right from the Word of God, part 3 in a study of the book of Philemon. (When it comes to sermons, I sometimes think of what Mark Twain reportedly wrote to a friend, “Sorry this letter is so long. I didn’t have time to write a short one.” Sometimes, not always, with sermons, I wonder if less might be more.)

At the end of the service, everyone in the little church held hands across the aisles and sang, “Till we meet again.” Then we were invited to the following potluck by more people than I can count. Yes, we liked it.

IMG_3046edWe learned that the third Sunday of every month, the men make a hearty breakfast for the entire church family before the service begins. Mike plans to participate in that next time, and I plan to enjoy the food and fellowship.  Here’s a pic of the church. Some of the cars are a little dirty.  That’s because it is an exercise in futility to wash a mountain car.

Those are some of the neighborly highlights.


You can bet that these city people are experiencing some adjustments up here in these hills!

Peaceful Mountain Walks?

I mentioned Mike, the UPS man, knowing all the dogs. But dogs are not entirely a positive for someone like me who walks every day. Most of the dog owners up here are responsible, but some just let their dogs roam free.

Our first week here, Mike and I took a walk and two dogs charged us down a hill and were bearing teeth and lunging at us. Mike scared them off with our walking stick.

I often like to walk alone, and so I went on Amazon and ordered some HALT spray, reportedly the same stuff that mailmen use. It doesn’t hurt dogs, but does disorient them.

And sure enough, a few days later, I took a late afternoon walk by myself and the same dogs charged me, snarling and lunging.

I had my plan to transfer my walking stick and my right glove to the left hand and to reach into my pocket for the mace.   It worked, and I sprayed the most aggressive dog right between the eyes. I’ve never used mace before! He did an instantaneous about-face and charged back home barking as loudly as he had approached. The other dog barked from the side of the road, but I left him alone.

And guess what? I’ve not seen hide nor hair of those dogs since!

No tractor for Bevy.  

The temps here are about 10 degrees colder than Colorado Springs, from whence we have come. And there is more snow.

So I thought I would take advantage of the situation and point out to Mike that we need a little tractor to move the snow, etc. It snowed last night and I brought up the tractor idea again in the morning. Mike said, “Bevy, I’m going out with a broom and sweep the drive because the snow is so light a fluffy, that’s all it needs!”

IMG_2976He’s right. The snow falls like light, sparkling crystals that shine in the moonlight and sunlight.  Here’s a picture of the moon shining in the early morning after a snowfall. This is basically our front yard.

Maybe I’ll try again for the tractor this spring when the snow is wet and hard to move. I’ve always wanted to drive a tractor.

Not so convenient

There are definitely inconveniences.

If you forgot to get the cereal at the grocery store, too bad. You’ll have to wait till the next trip to the store, and that takes at least 30 minutes one way.

We have well water and a 1500 gallon cistern. That is great except that the investor who sold us this property “fessed up” when we mentioned that the water smelled like a swimming pool, and told us that he had accidentally gotten dirt in the cistern and then poured bleach in the water to disinfect. So the water, at first, tasted like a combination of dirt and bleach. But we have been doing exactly opposite of what you are used to in the city when you conserve water. We have to get that contaminated water out of the cistern, so we flush toilets many times, let water run, do tons of laundry. And sure enough, after a few weeks, the water is now starting to taste more like pure well water that runs into the cistern as it empties. But that has been a small inconvenience of moving in…we have been drinking lots of bottled water.

IMG_3062edI think the biggest inconvenience we feel is having no garage. We have a barn! We asked a contractor if we could convert the barn into a garage, His reply: “Not only would I not recommend that, but if there is a heavy snow, I suggest that you don’t go into that barn as the roof could easily cave in!” Well, that took care of that idea.

So, in the not too distant future, we will knock down this old barn and build a garage. But it will still be a good distance from the house.

I was recently reading an article written by a young man who noted that older people who live in the mountains tend to be more robust. He wondered if robust older people tend to move to the mountains, or if the mountains make older people more robust.

Maybe a little of both, but I vote for the latter.   It’s a bit more challenging to live here, and although we sometimes long for the conveniences, it’s probably good for us to have some daily physical challenges.

Overall, a good life

Overall, it’s a good life living in the mountains. A real good life. We love that we only use our furnace at night, and that very little. The wood stove keeps us warm, and a couple electric heaters supplement when needed. Mike has taught me to make a fire, which I’ve always wanted to do. The Campfire Girls failed me on that point when I was growing up.

But here is our fireplace, not the best source of heat, like the wood stove is, but very cozyIMG_3015ed_edited-1 and fun. We look forward to sitting in front of it when our son Ricky and daughter-in-law Emily visit for Christmas, and again, when our former neighbors from the Springs spend the night on New Years Eve. Mike and I also cozy in front of it sometimes and watch Rick Steves who takes us to Europe.

We look forward to many good years here on our four acres, should God bless us with good health and protection for the land. We just memorized Psalm 91 together, and so we expect His good care for us, no matter what circumstances may bring.

IMG_2628edWinter here has its own charm, but we do look forward to summer. In fact, before we knew that we were moving here, last year in late summer, Mike and I visited the Platt River, which is just a few miles from our home  now, and went tubing! As you can see, this portion of the Platt is a “lazy river,” just right for tubing…just a little bit of gentle rapids and a nice relaxing float. Our tubes are in the barn, and we plan to use them again when the summer magic happens here in the Rockies.











7 thoughts on “Life After “The Big Plunge””

  1. This is fantastic to see a bit of your life in the mountains. While I so miss Mike during my work day, I envy the freedom you both have found and know that his spirit is now more alive than in any office!

  2. Thank you for sharing a snapshot of your new adventure. We sure miss Mike here at Outreach, but so happy for this new season of life for you both. Enjoy settling into your mountain life… peace and blessings!

  3. Thank you for sharing a snapshot of your new adventure. We sure miss Mike here at Outreach, but so happy for this new season of life for you both. Enjoy settling into your mountain life… peace and blessings!

  4. We loved reading your blogs about the move and also your Christmas greeting! It is all so interesting. I am very happy for you since this is something I know you longed to do for some time. I tried to leave a reply when I first got this but when I checked, it wasn’t there. And tonight when I tried to get into WordPress it said I unsubscribed. Now I think I am subscribed since I went into another email. As always, I love your writing.

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The Big Plunge

Mike and I are at a unique place in our lives. When he soon leaves his current job to focus on our business Rocky Mountain Glow, we are free as two birds. I think of the closing scene in the movie Castaway when Chuck Nolan, having just freed himself from a desert island, is standing at a crossroads, with complete freedom to go any direction he chooses. This is where we are in our lives. It has never and may never happen again.

We have two broad-stroke choices: the safe, comfortable way, and the more risky and scary way.

Seth Godin recently wrote a blog comparing life to jumping off a high dive:

Diving boards

The leap at the swimming pool is obvious 

Ten steps up the ladder.

The wait at the end of the board.

The moment in between not-diving and diving.

The leap is clear. We can see it and we can feel it.

In day to day life, we have worked to eliminate that feeling. Organizations and marketers and friends work hard to have it happen gradually instead. An incremental, almost invisible creep along a slippery slope, until the next thing we know we’re in a rut, or bored, or ill.

We’ve constructed a life where we rarely leap (new job!) and most of the time, we coast or fade or increment our way forward.

It might be worth investing the effort into turning some of your decisions back into leaps.

Good advice, and Mike and I feel the urge to hold our nose, close our eyes, and jump into that beckoning water. That’s not to say it’s a blind leap, just as jumping off the high dive as a kid was not foolish. It’s safe, really. It just feels so dog-gone scary!

Our first “leap” is Mike leaving a good secure job and making our home business more of our livelihood. The second leap is leaving our beautiful home in the city of Colorado Springs to move…to the mountains of Colorado. We have always had a “hankerin” to have some land in the Rockies, now we have the freedom to do just that..if we choose to be in “leap” mode.

I told Mike before we went to look at properties that I wanted to experience that magical feeling that some places inspire in me. Water usually does that…a creek, a stream, even a lake. So we looked at a small home that sat right by the Poudre River in a little mountain village called Red Feather Lakes. You could hear the water from the deck, from open windows, and the master bedroom had a little patio from which the sparkling river was in clear view and the magical sound would put the occupants of that room to sleep at night.

But the magic quickly faded when we found out that this property did not have the usual well and septic tank of most mountain homes, but rather a cistern and some sort of waste vault that has to be dumped regularly. Good-bye magical house by the river! The search must continue.

We really liked the Red Feather Community, but after sleeping on it, it seemed a little too remote with harsh winters. We had to rule out that wonderful little village.

We had heard that there was a little mountain community up a canyon from Golden, CO. Golden is one of our favorite places in the world. Quaint and old-fashioned in some ways. But the biggest draw is the roaring Clear Creek stream right down the middle of town. Yes, it is magical.

So since Mike had to work, I took it upon myself to visit Golden all by my lonesome, and to explore this canyon full of mountain homes. We have a canyon by our house that leads to a mountain city called Woodland Park. But our canyon is two lanes on each side, and not terribly curvy. But this canyon! One lane on each side that seem too narrow, steep canyon rocks to the right and the left. And unlike our canyon, every once in a while there is a memorial sign at the side of the road, in memory of someone who died while driving the canyon! Lots of people live up there, but I was happy when I got to the top and turned around to get on safer ground. I just don’t think that’s how we want to travel on a regular basis.

So I felt a little woeful that we might not find our mountain home after all.

Our original goal was this: to sell our current home and to find something much less expensive to help financially while we adjust to our new situation. We wanted some land and were willing to down-size significantly to achieve our goal. Still we could not find exactly what we were looking for. And everything with land seemed to be snatched up fast.

So yesterday, I took a prayer walk and got quiet and listened for God’s wisdom. It came to my mind that I should go check out a listing I saw in a little town just beyond Woodland Park called Florissant. I thought, “No! Not that one. It’s a pre-built home and the pictures look dry and dusty.” Not exactly magical. But I kept feeling like I should just check it out. I invited Mike to come, so he left work early.

On the drive over, we noticed how beautiful everything looked. We have been exploring new areas, and this area is near home to us, but it looked so much more gorgeous than anything we saw elsewhere. And then as we drew near to the home that sits on four acres, I had this memory of Anne of Green gables exclaiming “Oh Mr, Cuthbert!!!” the first time she laid eyes on Prince Edward Island. I had that same feeling of breath-taking beauty as we drove down the gravel road to our destination.

Yes, the home itself is a step down from what we live in now, but still really nice. And there is a dry and dusty area right around the home, as I saw in the listing pictures, but there are also four acres of pines and aspen groves, and the ambiance of the place has its own magic, though there are no rivers or streams.

So to make a long story short, we have put a contract on this home! And I’m rather looking forward to making it as cute and homey as can be.

Following are a few pictures with comments:


After a mountain drive on a two-lane but somehow spacious feeling road, we arrived at the entrance to the neighborhood. This bull greeted us, and we knew we were not in the city anymore.






This is the turn into the subdivision. Of course, four acres is the smallest piece of property, but I suppose you could still call it a subdivision. Our street is Piute Circle, so there is definitely an Indian theme.




SONY DSCIt’s difficult to capture the awesomeness of the roads (some of them dirt roads) that lead to the house. This is a little glimpse of what it looks like. This is aspen country! And we make aspen products. Hmmmm….might be great to just walk out the door and find our standing dead aspen treasures needed for our work!

Oh, I know, it won’t be quite so magical when the snow is blowing sideways in the winter! But many winter days offer their own kind of magic in Colorado. And we’ve already decided that the house could use so much improvement that if we’re snowed in for two days, great! We’ll put in a floor or some other home adventure.


This is one of the residents of the place, checking out the new neighbors, us. I’m sure there are more fierce animals that visit now and then, but actually, we got used to that in Colorado Springs where it wasn’t uncommon to see bears, coyotes, and an occasional bob cat in our yard. So at least we’re used to those kinds of guests.



SONY DSCThis is Mike in front of the house. There are several things that we intend to do with the house before we ever move in. But one thing that I will look forward to is getting rid of the ramp and building a front porch. Modular homes look kind of “straight.” A nice covered front porch will do wonders for our new abode.


This is me in the back part of the house. Again, it’s hard to capture the beauty of four acres of pine and aspen trees, but let me tell you, I was enraptured by it! It brought tears to my eyes. The previous owners had horses and so there are fences all over the property. Those have to go! I have at least once asked Mike to play this song at my funeral: “Give me land, lots of land, neath the starry skies above. Don’t fence me in!”  Yes indeed, the fences have to go!



highdiveSo, like a kid on the high dive, we have butterflies in our stomach, and sometimes wonder if we should just go back and jump in the shallow end. We have a steady income and a nice familiar home. But the intrigue is too alluring to do that. So here we go!

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The Beginnings and Evolution of a Home-Based Business

A Lady Worth Emulating

A few years ago, after I was no longer raising kids, or employed in any way outside the home, I asked myself what I’ve always wanted to do when I didn’t have the majority of my time defined for me each day.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved what I did during those years! But time changes things, and I found myself in a new season of life.

I thought of the times I had read Proverbs chapter 31 and how impressed I was with the woman described there! She was home-based and thoroughly committed to her family and her home, yet she was not just”the happy homemaker” whose skills didn’t stretch beyond making cookies (although I’m sure she could make a mean batch of cookies in whatever form of stove she had!)

But no, it didn’t stop there. She was an astute business woman, and a compassionate and generous person in her community. I wanted to be like her.

“She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands”  OK, thought I, she’s a sew-er. I like to sew. I’ve been sewing ever since my 7th grade sewing class. So I started an etsy shop, made table runners, and used some of the photography skill that I had recently developed to display them. The shop was then entitled “Bev’s Table Creations”  Etsy has about two million sellers, and it seemed when I looked at the shops that sold runners, there had to be thousands of table runners! I didn’t expect to get anywhere fast.

But the first week, my phone went “cha-ching” (the sound of a cash register indicating an etsy sale). You’re kidding! I was incredulous! I sold a runner! But being such an unbeliever, it turns out that I didn’t have enough fabric to fill the order. So off my husband and I drove to Denver, three hours total there and back, to get the fabric I needed since the fabric store in my town was out. We spent way more money on gas than we made on that runner. But from then on, I was well-stocked and ready to go.

download.pngAnd much to my amazement, my runners sold and sold. It turns out women love to have seasonal table runners for special occasions. And when I started making reversible runners, with ,say, Thanksgiving on one side and Christmas on the other. The orders got hard to keep up with.

But guess what. Sewing has always been fun for me but when it became such full time work, I knew that I didn’t want to do this long term.

But I did loooove being an entrepreneur. And that was the spirit of the Proverbs 31 woman. It didn’t have to take the specific form of sewing.

The Challenge That Started Everything

Now Mike, being fully immersed in his corporate job, had no intention of doing entrepreneur work. But I asked him if he would consider making something out of wood for the shop to expand the potential a bit.

Little did I know that latent within this man who had pretty much never done any woodworking in his life, lay undiscovered giftedness!

OK, this is a blog, not a book. So fast forward. Bev’s Table Creations is now Rocky Mountain Glow, with wood products being the main attraction of the shop. And Mike, it turns out, like Michelangelo who said he could “see” David in the stone before he sculpted it, Mike is able to “see” lamps, candles, and other awesome wood items in a random wood log, and make it into something beautiful!

SONY DSCWe knew we were on to something when we got an order for 16 centerpieces comprised of Mike’s awesome candles and a little decorating handiwork on my part, to be used at the Broadmoor Hotel. “Hey, people really like this stuff,” we commented to each other.

An Unexpected Inspiration

Then I did something kind of weird. I signed up for a class at the local senior center. I had never done so before. It was a wood burning class. I expected to be surrounded by feeble classmates barely able to hold the hot iron. But much to my amazement, I was instead surrounded by very talented, gifted, and able artists! And I learned much from them and from the teacher.

DSC06099ed.jpgI was however disappointed when I and one other woman in the class who were the only newbies had to work the entire 6 weeks on an ugly “tree spirit” rather than on the cute little squirrel that the others got to work on.

But as it turned out, learning to shade and color leaves would be a valuable part of our business in the future, but I had no idea of that at the time.

Not only that, but a group of the men in the class were into making walking sticks because wood carving was also among their areas of expertise, and they, along with the teacher, would go out with a pick up truck and gather wood for sticks.

I listened carefully to their conversations, as if a fly on the wall, and brought it all together as an idea for our shop. What if we made customized walking sticks with wood-burned names and designs?

Long story short, these sticks have become our best sellers. I also do some wood burning on lamps.

Fun Work Improvements

So the final part of our story I would like to share is the improvements we recently made in Mike’s working conditions. I have a lovely workshop in our lower level, where I even have a little kiln for making fused glass jewelry, as well as all my other endeavors.

But Mike has worked in a corner of our garage and outside sanding in wind, cold, heat, and snow.

I should mention that during the past year or so, Mike has come to love this work as much as I do, and when retirement comes upon us, we’re going for it full time.  Wait! I thought retirement was for stopping work. That’s not how we see it. We’ve only just begun!

Mike says he finds that the time flies by when he is doing wood working, and that it is therapeutic for both body and soul. Remember the Proverbs 31 woman who “works with eager hands’? both Mike and I find that we love this work!

Back to the point, Mike needed some improvements in his working conditions if this thing was going to be long term.

He also has been using mainly hand tools. That’s nice for home projects, but our sales have doubled since this time last year, and we need to keep up with the pace.

With a little coaxing (Mike is always slower to spend money on anything than I), we both agreed that we need to invest in some things that make our (especially his) work “faster and easier,” which has become our theme for the year.

The first thing we did was to get a small chain saw. We had been sawing down our “standing dead” aspen with a hand saw (and after a while I pooped out because it was just too hard) but now we can zoom through the forest finding the dead wood that we need. Yes, we have permission to do this. It is legal to take dead wood from the national forests as long as it is not to large and not too much.

The next thing we did was to purchase an awesome Sunset shed for a workshop for Mike. How fun it has been to get it ready.

Our son Ricky came over to help Mike put in the electrical stuff needed to have power. Mike did the digging and wiring outside and Ricky did the wiring inside.



And now we have room to roam…room for such items as this band saw, which among many other features, is able to make these wood slices…something which used to take a huge amount of time and energy. But now…it cuts like butter.


Rocky Mountain Glow may or may not become a super thriving business. But one thing is for sure, we’re having a lot of fun giving it a go!

2 thoughts on “The Beginnings and Evolution of a Home-Based Business”

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