A Snapshot of 2017

• April 1st, 2018 •

Our snapshot of 2017 has to begin with January 1st when we decided the time was right to shift to “what’s next.” We had found our dream home—to live like we camp—simple, small and serene in a modern mountain cabin in Westcliffe, Colorado. Many serendipitous moments led us to where we belong to savor the sweetness and freedom of our “golden” years. The universe was in tune with total flow to inspire us to jump into a rural lifestyle surrounded by the splendor of nature. This is our place to be at peace on the planet while the world goes crazy. We shake our heads most every day with the news. But none of that…let’s get back to the magic that happened!

The market was sizzling hot to sell our Longmont home in one week for cash and $30,000 more than asking. It enabled us to have no mortgage to live in an 867 sq. ft. cabin on five plus acres of wilderness on the western slope of the Wet Mountains overlooking the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. We simply fell in love with the breathtaking view. We moved at the end of March. Matt commuted to work through May, got a new hip in June and retired in July. He couldn’t be happier! We ponder, putter and play by day and sleep soundly at night. No excuses to not exercise. Read books to our heart’s content. I love cooking in the kitchen and trying new recipes.

Our summer improvement project was to have a steel structure pole barn garage built. We did our best to downsize possessions but we are not minimalists when it comes to our outdoor toys (camper, kayaks, & bikes). The second story loft became a spacious play room with ping pong, darts, free weights, board games and a Bocce court outside. There is ample room to accommodate guests in a comfortable, rustic style. We welcome friends & family to camp on our property to breathe in fresh mountain air, listen to the sound of silence and be in awe of the night sky. We are less than two hours from the Great Sand Dunes National Park, a very worthy day trip.

I feel like we live in a water globe with the open sky above us in every direction. We literally watch clouds go by, wind and weather blow in and out, and the Milky Way arcs from end to end at night. The town, with no traffic lights, is 12 miles away with a decent market, bakery, great butcher and library. If we need more, we drive one hour to Pueblo or Salida, about twice a month. We enjoy solo daily walks at our own pace on miles of quiet, dirt roads. I intend to conquer those roads on my mountain bike. I’ve only begun to explore hiking trails into the Sangres; the moderate distance is 10 miles round trip with substantial elevation gain to the mountain lakes. Spectacular scenery!

I celebrated my 60th birthday in August and joyfully retired from a gratifying 43 year career in photography. Waiting until 67 to access retirement funds but in the meantime I am fortunate with Matt’s retirement to not be concerned with making a living. Not sure what’s next with my craft but I maintain a website and blog at dlaphoto.com and occasionally post on Instagram. Photography will always be a part of my creativity and artistic expression.

We shared good times with many house guests throughout the summer. We took a relaxing road trip to California in November to enjoy a super fun time with the grandkids, Chase (6) and Colette (3), in Solvang as well as visit dear friends along the way. We can’t believe we drove through the areas that were so devastated by the Thomas Fire in December. We flew to NJ and surprised my mom to share the holiday spirit with family for a week. It was wonderful to see everyone; one thing is for sure—we’re all getting older! ;-D

As we settle into our simple life, we look forward to getting out on the road to camp with the Cricket again. We are eager to explore new areas in the southern part of Colorado. We will never be bored with so many places to venture, things to do, and to even just be…and breathe. Ah, Life is good. May we all enjoy the wealth of health and all good things in 2018!

In peace & with joy, Debbie & Matt

“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” -Henry David Thoreau

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