Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring Comes Slowly

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We're expecting another 6 inches of snow here tonight in Denver. It's like the trees, buds, and blooms get started and another snow kills them off. Then, they try again.


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I admire their persistance. 

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And their patience. 

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***

Shirt: Gap (Similar here)
Pants: j. crew
Belt: Land's End
Shoes: Thrifted



Sunday, April 14, 2013

Adventure Time: A One Day Colorado Itinerary.

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We went adventuring yesterday, JR and I. We got in our tiny car, packed with a little bit of cash and my knitting project, and headed out south and west to see what we could find.

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(I needed a day off from reality - reality has been so difficult lately!)

As we were driving through the backroad of Colorado we stumbled upon vineyards. In a bit of glory, these vineyards were attached to Mount Holy Cross Abbey, a former boy's catholic school and monastery. The grapes are partially grown on the grounds and other people in the community (including the inmates at a nearby prison and people who live around the Abbey) contribute the rest.

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Even in the middle of a desolate spring the vineyards are beautiful, and the Abbey itself was gorgeous having been built in a style of architecture that is not commonly seen in the West, especially a rural area.

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After wandering around the grounds for awhile we continued up into the mountains, stopping at The Royal Gorge Bridge park. This was a pretty huge tourist attraction and I imagine it gets a lot of visitors in the summer but since it's not quite tourist season yet we got to wander around a nearly empty park. I'm not a huge fan of heights but I enjoyed myself regardless, sweating it out as I crossed the gorge in their cable car and the bridge. We also took the incline railway down to the bottom, and then back up.

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Finally, we had a very late lunch and went hiking at Hellen Hunt Falls on our way back. I love Hellen Hunt Falls area because it's one of the lushest places along the front range. Colorado is incredibly dry and I struggle with how brown it looks most of the time. I miss the humidity and the water and the moss and the way a damp forest smells so I head to Hellen Hunt for a bit of that every so often. It's an old park area that used to be the grounds of a hotel and so there is a little bit of infrastructure in the park - old bridges and buildings and crumbling water supply systems - that you can stumble upon as you hike around. At the top there's a beautiful waterfall and at the bottom there's a great visitor center with the history of the park as well.

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(The only picture of me on the Royal Gorge Bridge. If you want to see pictures in and around Hellen Hunt Falls you can check out my instagram here.)

***

Scarf: Unknown (similar here)
Earrings: Unknown (similar here)
Jacket: Barbour
Shirt: Lands End 
Sweater: Unknown
Jeans: j. crew

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Of Rights and Responsibilities

I've been thinking a lot, particularly as I drive, about the etymology of the word stewardship. I have been mulling over the history of the word as well as what it means to be a steward in this day and age.

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My older etiquette books (cira 1840's) refer to a steward as the head caretaker of an estate. They had the right and responsibility to manage it, and do it well. A steward was involved in all matters of the estate, from accounting for possessions to making sure the land was managed well and was productive. A steward was one of the most important hires a family could make, and to have a good steward was to have a successfully run estate. 

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As time moved forward to train, then ship, then air travel the word steward began to refer to someone who was responsible for you, the traveler. They would take care of your baggage, your cabin, and attend to your needs. 

Today we no longer have stewards and stewardesses out and about. We refer to the helpful (and sometimes cranky...but mostly helpful!) people on airplanes as flight attendants. I haven't traveled long distances by large boat, though, and there may be a person aboard who is a steward. 

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Bearing that in mind - I am my own steward. I hold stewardship over all of the the experiences, things, and people I have the fortune or misfortune to come to know. I hold the responsibility for how well my limited estate runs. 

I don't believe that you ever truly own anything. Everything is simply on loan to you - it has been given with the intent that you may use it to serve your purpose but you must take care of it, demonstrate your stewardship of what you have. I feel as if I can take care of what I'm given now - from my career to my relationships to the objects in my house - I will be better prepared to handle the large things later. 

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Here are some small ways I show stewardship:
- I buy the best quality I can afford and maintain it -  I save to buy one pair of leather boots I can wear for years instead of four pairs of plastic ones I can wear for three months, I  mend any repairs needed in clothing once every few weeks, wash it carefully and properly, quickly wipe down appliances when I'm done using them, rinse out my makeup brushes once a week, keep the inside and outside of my car clean.
- I keep in touch with the people who I value, regardless of what gain they bring to my life - I write letters, call, text, send out a semi-monthly family newsletter, meet for coffee
- I stay on top of my finances - My income is limited as a teacher but I know how to shuffle the money I do make into the places that count - Savings (both long term and for things I want in the near future) first, paying down student loans second, bills third, and everything else last. 
- I focus on the long term - This is a tough one. I, like anyone else, enjoy a bit of instant gratification. If I see it, I want to buy it right away. I want things now - a better paying job, a sailboat, a nicer car, travel, moving abroad. I know, however, that life doesn't work that way for most people. You have to build your life, build your estate, manage it well, work hard at it, and things will happen. A few people get lucky and things just happen - the rest of us, though? We have to build it ourselves. It's not a bad thing, though. It teaches perseverance. 

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How do you show stewardship in your life?

***

Scarf: Unknown (similar here)
Earrings: Unknown (similar here)
Jacket: Barbour
Shirt: Urban Outfitters (can't find a comparable shirt, sorry!)
Skirt: Self Made
Boots: Frye 


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