It’s been six months to the day since we left Illinois for Colorado, and one month to the day that we left Pagosa Springs, Colorado for Oregon. Well, we left on the 26th in each case, and arrived in the chosen state on the 28th. We are loving Southern Oregon, which is where we wanted to be when we embarked on this epic journey six months ago.
We are currently staying with our friends Bob and Dorrie at Dreamhill Alpaca Farm– members of the farm also include 16 alpacas, 24 chickens, 2 dogs, 4 cats, and lots of lizards and birds and baby Pacific frogs living life in their natural environment. We love spending time with our friends, and we are truly blessed to have their support in our quest for our place in this world.
Andy and I are getting engaged with Pacifica Gardens, which is right across the road from the farm. I’ll be helping out with Nature Camp this week, and we’re both going to be working with the founders of the Garden in still-evolving capacities. Once I know more, I’ll share more. 🙂
In the meantime, I’m preparing to pan for gold, because it’s still abundant and waiting to be found in the crystal clear creeks and rivers around here. All you need is a willingness to put in the time, and I can surely do that, being the rockhounder I am.
We’re living in the Applegate Valley, home of many wineries, lavenders, organic farms, back to the landers, and homesteaders. The ocean is about 2 hours away, as are the Redwoods, Eugene, Mt. Shasta, and Northern California. Mt. Grayback is visible from the farm here, which is about 7500 feet. We’re amongst huge trees, dramatic sunsets, and light pollution free skies at night. A real sense of community and commitment to the Earth is here, and I feel at home so far.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been a rock, stone, and crystal lover. Besides building my collection with many gems from rock shows or specialty shops, I also have an eye for super finds in Nature, including a fossilized honeycomb quartz from the time Illinois was a sea bed, or a Native American maize rock grinder from a hill top in Tennessee. So when I looked at the mountain landscape next to the Sky View Motel, I had a feeling I could find some cool Colorado Rockies specimens up there.
We first ventured up here on a whim, with Shiloh, Emma and Joey, two new friends from the Land of Lincoln who are staying at the motel for a week or so. I had flip-flops on, and soon discovered there’s quite a prickly cacti scattered on the ridge, and any encounters can leave plump little cacti and their sharp needles hanging from your limbs.
Despite a few pokes, I made my way to a gulley that was calling me, and discovered what looked to be fossilized mud cracks covering large stones. I called Joey and Emma over, and we picked up a few to carry down the hill. Joey found a huge rock with the interesting formations, plus a solid core of smoky quartz. We were excited about our finds and made plans to go up the next day- with hiking boots on this time!
Joey and I went up the next day, prepared for the cacti and ready with a carry-on bag to haul some rocks down so we could make a rock garden here at the motel. Emma stayed behind with the little ones, due to the painful encounters with the cacti. I took a picture of the Sky View while way up on the ridge. Such a beautiful scene!
Joey and I spend about 20 minutes looking around, collecting the fossilized mud and quartz specimen, along with some other stones like sandstone shale, calcite, and beautiful pink and purple granite. Joey’s enthusiasm for the rockhounding chase had me smiling all the way. 🙂
Once back at our sweet little spot under a chokecherry tree, we washed the mud from our finds and started getting a better view of these beautiful and diverse stones. I also did a little research, and found fossilized mud cracks have occurred during the mountain building process, so our finds are millions upon millions years old. Only when the hillside crevices were exposed after years of rain did they finally start to tumble out of the entombing earth.
My favorite find is the one below, with visible mud cracks on the surface, and specks of quartz throughout. It’s sitting next to the big picture window, in the shade of an aloe plant. The rest of the stones (besides Joey’s finds he wants to keep) will be used for a garden project, which I will post pics of once it’s done.
It’s amazing what can be in your own backyard, if you just take the time to look. Of course, living up in the mountains brings discoveries of a unique nature for this rock lover, especially after growing up in Illinois near cornfields and the Mighty Mississippi River. Either way, hooray for the rockhounders of the Earth, young and old and in between!
What is that creature? Looks like a hybrid between a bee and a fly, yet resembles an old man with a mustache, a goatee, and alien eyes. Whatever it was, Lincoln got mad when I wouldn’t let him put his fingers on it.
The mountains and the clouds and the landscape are just too photogenic here!
And looking the other way at the same time~ quite the perspective!
The hummingbirds found the feeder less than an hour after I put it up, and after a few days, they let us get super close.
Magic abounds here! Sometimes it’s easier to let images share the stories of the day. ❤
I have exciting news to share about an amazing opportunity offered to our family! But first, I have to share the story behind the magical turn of events.. if you read it, hopefully you’ll be inspired in some way!
A quick recap: Andy, Shiloh, Lincoln and I left for Colorado at the end of January, to stay with our friend Tom in the lovely city of Broomfield, a suburb of Denver. We had some wonderful times in Nature and with friends, important work to attend to, busy babies to engage, and the ups and downs of a communal living situation. We got to see three partial rainbows in our last week there. Our time on Flint Way ended the day before Mother’s Day for us, as the lease was up on the house and all the beautiful people who’d gathered for a few months in that space had to embark on a new path.
For our family, that meant a trip down to Monte Vista in the San Luis Valley, which is 7,664 feet above sea level, and home of the Great Sand Dunes. We stayed with a family Andy has been friends with for five years- Kanani, Phillip, and their three beautiful children. They’d left New Hampshire about two years ago, with the intention of setting up a H.O.M.E. Community in Colorado. Andy drove us there, four hours south through the snowy mountain passes in a rental car, then went back to Broomfield to help clean up the house before Tom dropped him off the day after Mother’s Day. Then we spent a week with our friends, enjoying the scenic landscape and being busy with five beautiful kids.
At this point, we knew it was time to get a vehicle, and we found a 2000 Ford Windstar in great condition at Grizzly Motors. My Dad and Grandma were able to help out with this purchase, for which I am forever grateful. We’d been without a car for almost four months (it broke down in Lincoln, NE on our way to CO), and Kanani and Phillip didn’t have a working car, so we were kinda stuck in the middle of nowhere. We needed a way to keep moving on, and my family helped us out, despite their own health challenges they’ve been facing. So we got the van, and I’ve never been so happy and grateful to have a vehicle! Thanks Dad and Grandma ❤
The morning we left, Saturday May 16th, I had a very distinct dream~ Shiloh and I were walking on a road and saw half a rainbow, then we passed a large barn, and on the other side was a wholly vibrant, beautiful rainbow. I thought it was an auspicious dream, given the challenges we had to face, so I was excited for the next part of our journey. But my first order of the day was to drive Kanani to High Valley Healing Center in Alamosa, a medical cannabis dispensary.
I could only check out the lobby, which was a beautifully decorated and serene space, and I was immediately drawn to Native American art for sale, especially items by Grandmother Rainbow Woman of the Iroquois Nation. I really didn’t have much money to spend, but I was drawn to a pheasant feather and crow bead clip, which I bought and promptly hung from the rear view mirror. The Rainbow connection, you know.
After a delicious *made with love* lunch by Kanani, and good-byes to our new friends, we headed West to Pagosa Springs, where my friend Matty and his wife Lera, owners of the Sky View Motel, were expecting us. I’d messaged Matty a few days earlier, asking if he had a room for us for a couple of nights, and of course he did! They moved out here from Chicago/ Quad Cities a few years ago, after purchasing the Pagosa Springs Funeral Home, and had bought the motel not long after, since it was right next door to their business. I’d been following Sky View Motel on Facebook, and always knew I wanted to come and stay. Just wasn’t sure how it would work out…
Only 80 miles from Monte Vista, the drive was pretty quick, although falling snow on the Wolf Creek Mountain Pass made me a little nervous. Andy and the van handled it like a champ! As we drove into Pagosa Springs, Land of the Healing Waters, I was immediately smitten with the mountain town, and thought this was the kind of community I could settle in. The motel is awesome too~ with beautiful mountain views, comfortable rooms, a jacuzzi, an arcade game, disc golf, horseshoes, and much more. And 4/20 friendly too. Matty and Lera have done an amazing job opening it back up, updating all the rooms, and creating a truly unique vibe.
Matty invited us to come and check out his place on Sunday, and it turns out, they live on Rainbow Road! And the last picture he had posted on the business Facebook page was a rainbow viewed from the motel. So here we are, wondering what it all means, and at the same time, wondering how are we going to get out West, with such little money to work with. That’s when Matty showed us a Craigslist ad he had posted the day before I asked if we could come and stay a few days. “Run my motel for me! (Unique Opportunity).” He looks at us, kind of in bewilderment, and says “And then you guys show up.” He was hoping for a husband and wife team to help run the motel, so they can focus on their other businesses. And having the Midwestern work ethic was a huge bonus (he said it’s hard to find that around here). Although he said he didn’t want an answer right away, Andy and I both knew it- YES!
So here we are in Pagosa Springs, home of the deepest hot springs in the world, in an awesome 15 unit motel in a resort town, with a beautiful cottage to stay in, and money to spend, and it’s paradise in the mountains! And Isaiah will be joining us in a week, once he’s done with his Freshman year. We’ve decided to stay, and although Oregon (where we planned to go) is still a possibility for the future, I feel we’ve found a place to call home for now.
I have one more story that ties it all together perfectly~ we had to wait a day to get details worked out, and once we did, I called my Dad to tell him that yes, we found a place to land after a few years of struggles and trying to find a place where we can do work that we love, while also getting by. I got off the phone, and suddenly from the South a storm blew in, giving us a few drops of rain. We watched it from the gazebo, and then we saw this vibrant rainbow form right in front of us! And guess where the end of the rainbow was? Less than a quarter mile away, on the hillside near the motel! It’s like Mother Earth had given us the dreams and the signs, at exactly the right times. We followed the Rainbow Road, which hasn’t been very easy, but it has landed us in paradise. And now we would love to welcome you here, as your hosts of the Sky View Motel. 🙂
It hasn’t been easy lately, finding that center where I can be at peace and in the flow, trusting that everything happens for a reason and that I am on the right path towards destiny, and that all I hope for and dream of will come to be. I’m not there yet, but doing pretty well despite the change in circumstances from when I first started this blog. Finding my center, and remaining patient, have been my biggest lessons this past month, as we’ve had to endure some major changes here in our temporary home in Colorado.
To recap my family’s recent journey, Andy and I left Illinois at the end of January to stay with our new friend Tom in Colorado. We put most of our belongings in storage, arranged for Isaiah to stay with my Grandma so he could finish up the school year, loaded up Shiloh and Lincoln and what we could fit in my Honda CR-V, and headed Westward! My car broke down in Lincoln, NE, and Tom immediately offered to make the thousand mile round trip in a day to come and get our stranded family. We made it to Broomfield CO, and for six weeks we had a harmonious home, with lots of hours for work, play, relaxation, visiting friends, home-cooking, and more.
Well that living situation changed about a month ago, when one of Tom’s friends asked if his new friend could stay at the house, which is big enough to support a small commune of people. Tom agreed to welcome in Dustin, and it has opened up a whole new living experience for our family. Because within a week, Dustin also had his dog, his girlfriend, her daughter, two friends from Louisiana (temporarily), lots of plants, and lots of stuff in this quiet home we had been enjoying. We are now in the throes of communal living, with no signs of change- until we find our permanent space in Southern Oregon.
Additionally, the home has become a gathering spot for new friends, so on any given day there are 10 or more people staying, eating, working, talking, relaxing, etc. in the home. Beautiful people-Toni, Ahna, Anna, Wind Cloud and his puppy Khan, and David, are frequent visitors, and it’s a blessing to share the space and envision our work for the world. Also last week, Andy’s friend Mario traveled from Jamaica (after his Visa expired) to stay here, so our tribe building continues. For some reason, this house has become the center of activity, as we all contribute our energies to creating the visions planted in our hearts, while experiencing the ups and downs of finding a balance in living with diverse people who have converged here for healing, support, and collaboration.
If I had my way, I would jump in a car and travel back to Illinois to spend time with Isaiah, get my stuff out of storage, then turn around and set up home on some acreage in Oregon. But alas, I don’t even have a car, so I am forced to endure the highs and lows of communal living. The kids and I are finally healing from the latest bout of colds, and Lincoln has a tiny tooth to show for a week of discomfort and ear aches. As for me and my need for stability, privacy, and a calm and harmonious home- well, I’m going to have to work for that, because it’s not here anymore. In the meantime, I do my best to enjoy a busy household such as this one, telling myself this will be the only time in my life where I will live with with 10 people and 2 dogs under one roof.
The plan was to stay in Colorado through April, so change is in the air for us. We came here to do some work with Tom, but the mission has rapidly shifted, at least for me, and now I must find my center here in the middle of controlled chaos, daily. This wasn’t the journey I was expecting, but I’m learning valuable lessons, practicing patience, being resourceful, and building friendships. It is what it is, but I never would’ve agreed to such a situation. Maybe that’s why I’m in the middle of it…
For now, my room is my refuge, my children are my motivation to manifest my dreams, and breathing and just being are my simplest answers to the ceaseless changes and challenges in pursuit of the Dream. My “favorite” center is when I feel love and gratitude for life, but I have to consciously work for those feelings. And when I find them, peace and balance do prevail.
We recently took at trip to the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, Colorado, which was a perfect place to spend a chilly March day. The tropical air refreshed the lungs, the beauty and magic of the natural world brought out the wonder in us, and the kids were definitely entertained! I’ll just let these pictures speak for the experience. 🙂
A Blue Morpho, which I first learned about in the movie “The Blue Butterfly”- I highly recommend this touching family movie! I also learned that Rosie the Tarantula is housed here, and she’s connected to a story in “Heaven is for Real.” We didn’t wait in line to hold the spider, but I have a feeling Shiloh wasn’t gonna go for it- and neither was I!
Waiting on Dad’s shoulders for the daily butterfly release!
Shiloh inspecting the leaf insect walking stick habitat (remember these guys from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?).
Sliding on the caterpillar!
Lincoln looking up at the beautiful creatures! A Blue Morpho landed on his shoulder, but I saw him trying to grab it so I had to send it flying off before we could get a picture.
At the feeding station, full of rotten fruit and owl butterflies.
I guess she isn’t ready to hear about larva and pupa, but I found it fascinating!
Mating owl butterflies!
The crab tank, where she spent a few minutes observing.
Hmmm, what’s in there, Shiloh?
Butterflies flying above us! This is the home of over thousand butterflies, with more hatching daily. Their lifespan is only a couple weeks long.
Shiloh and Sergio (in the middle), who was visiting us from Illinois. He took some amazing photos with that camera!
Put the soft fabric wings in the tube, which sends them flying upward!
Whatcha thinkin’, Lincoln? This was a great place for a Nature fix!
Life is being lived here on Flint Way in the lovely city of Broomfield, CO. Winter has returned to its rightful place after 3 weeks of above average temperatures. A foot of snow fell this past weekend, and more is falling as I write this. The 10-day outlook shows 30s and occasional snowy days. I already miss sitting on the warm earth with the kids, hula-hooping, and discovering new playgrounds to play on. Shiloh and Lincoln are much happier when we get outdoor time, although a cozy fire, tea with honey, and the music of the Giving Tree Band fills the time nicely these days.
We are making connections and getting to know new friends. I’m so grateful to have Toni Wolff in my life right now, she is an amazing woman, mother, friend, and the CEO of Wolffpak Lockaway. I needed a lady friend here, and she has welcomed me and loved me and encouraged me and so much more. As for the ‘pack’ we’re in, projects progress and ideas and conversations abound each day, bringing us closer to launching all our innovative global projects.
We filled our space up a bit more today, with a high chair, playpen, two end tables, and two lamps. A kind woman who works at Polycom saw my ad for household needs on Craigslist, and delivered these free gifts this morning. Shiloh wants to be a part of whatever is Lincoln’s, so she insisted on eating her breakfast in the high chair and playing with her toys in the playpen. Lincoln just likes to have new things to explore, and this makes it so much easier!
A special mail delivery from my parents in Port Byron brought some puzzles, a wooden train for Lincoln, Whoppers for Shiloh, and a first generation Ipad for games and movies. The abundance of gifts definitely helped shake the winter blues today.
I’m feeling inspired to share a paper I wrote in college for a Mystical Writing class- my final assignment, which was creating my own religious or spiritual system. Andy likes to remind me what a piece of work it is, and going through it, I see such youthful optimism (I was 27 when I wrote it), balanced with some old soul wisdom. I was in the universal creative flow at the time, so there might be something in there for you. And I got an A on it too! So if you want to invest a little time and see inside my mind, from 2007, I present to you, for the first time in public: “Crystallization.” Stay warm and cozy, my friends.
There’s a chubby Red Fox squirrel living by my bedroom window, where years of ivy growth burgeon from the brick wall of the neighbor’s house. I’ve caught him perching for morning breathers amid the brown and green heart shaped leaves, enough to know he’s nesting in a cavity of ivy on Flint Way. The first week here, it seemed he was there to greet me every morning as I’d lift the blinds to let the morning sunshine in. He intuits when I watch his daily routine, as he stiffens up and stares intently my way, before Nature calls him to the trees.
I consider myself lucky if this fellow and I make acquaintance once a day, although a scurry of squirrels are always on the periphery of the property. The house next door is home to a mature maple, and it attracts many neighborhood critters, and a hawk and woodpeckers and sparrows and Blue Jays. Red wooden fences, conveniently low telephone wires, and spacious backyards welcome the wildlife, and I click, chirp and chatter at these backyard visitors.
I’ve been throwing Shiloh’s half eaten apples into the yard as a welcome gift for their company. It took a couple days, but now the squirrels know it’s a treat for them, and I’ll find nibbled apples around the yard, as if dropped from a tree mid-bite. Just today, I noticed an apple nestled in the elbow of a tree, which left me wondering who will come back to finish it. They perch on the rocks and pick through the kitchen scraps in the compost pile, and I’m happy the last of the food is filling up little bellies.
A few days had gone by without seeing the squirrel from my window. I felt a little lonely, missing our acknowledgement of each other’s presence in the morning. The afternoon sunshine was beaming through the white blinds so I lifted them and there he was, hopping along the snow-covered roof, causing it to cascade down as I smiled and thanked him for being there at just the right moment.
The energy of the squirrel makes me feel chipper. They are resilient, clever, resourceful, endearing, amusing, with an element of silliness to their mannerisms. They are often under-appreciated, but not by me. I’ll keep watching and welcoming them to our yard, and to my window. Chipper~ I think that’s a good name for my new rodent neighbor, don’t you think?
We just celebrated Lincoln’s 8 months on Earth with us, and I was reminded of this video taken when he was six weeks old. It was around the noon hour, his eyes were fixated on the ceiling, trance-like, and I asked Andy to get his phone out to record a possible ‘presence’ in the room, which Lincoln and I may have been sensing. When Shiloh was an infant, she used to stare and smile upwards, and we always thought she was seeing beings of Light. I also have a history of experiencing unexplained phenomena, so we are open to the possibilities of magic.
I stood behind Andy while he recorded, and four seconds in you’ll see a white and glowing figure fly gracefully upwards. From my perspective, I heard a rush of noise and saw a ball of light, but it all happened so quick, I wasn’t sure what was going on. Only when we viewed the footage were we amazed at what was captured. Who knows, maybe it’s a bug, but maybe not. I like the mystery of it all, but I’m open to the best explanation, if you happen to have one.