Forging Time for Joy

In addition to our year-round gardening posts, there will be incremental posts about the ways in which we have forged time (to form or bring into being free time especially by an expenditure of effort) for our other passions. This is one of those posts!

Mountain biking trailhead at Horse Thief Campground, outside of Moab, UT.

This past week I experienced that elusive human emotion, joy; a powerful wave of it washed over me unexpectedly as I lay in our roof-top tent the first night of our camping trip, snug and cozy with my family even though it was 25 degrees (C) at Horse Thief campground outside of Moab, UT. The girls, tucked into their down sleeping bags between my husband's and mine, were telling a story replete with the latest potty humor ( I assure you it has not changed since the dawn of time) and I just felt warm head-to-toe knowing this is one of many family adventures we will have during this magical window of our daughters' middle childhood.

Staying warm in all the ways inside of my sister's Sprinter van. She built all of that by herself! Amazing!

My sister, a travel nurse who lives full-time in her personally designed and constructed Sprinter van, joined us on this adventure. The five of us had spent the afternoon exploring the desert mountain biking trails surrounding the campground and then making dinner in my sister's van, protected from the biting wind. The girls designed a riff on go-fish that involved a card for every color in the rainbow (ROYGBIV) and a leprechaun that guarded the pot of gold (go-fish pile) with riddles one had to answer in order to draw. There was belly laughter as the girls cracked us up with their growing intellect and my sister and I made eye contact, prolonging each joke with our 43 years of shared experience.

Fischer Towers where we stopped for lunch on our way to Grand Junction for Thanksgiving.

This sudden feeling of joy surprised me in the moment, but it was years in the making; my husband and I have been working toward multiple goals for a very long time; this beautiful moment was created from every move he and I have made over the past decade (and some good old fashioned luck):

    1. Having two kids and staying together through raising babies (I am serious...that was really hard, as any other parent can attest to).
    2. Getting into a pretty serious fight about money and our misaligned vision for our lives together that, at the time, felt like it might be marriage ending.
    3. Aligning our values into a singular vision of how we wanted to spend our time and how we did not.
    4. Cutting our spending drastically and increasing our savings just as much by dropping to one car (my husband ebiked to his job downtown or took the train for two years) paying off every debt we had, and giving every dollar we earned a job aligned with our shared vision.
    5. Moving to the community that best suited our values and vision, living close to the outdoor things we love to do in a smaller town that is bikeable and walkable, so we can make our impact on this gorgeous planet smaller.
    6. Saving enough to support working less and spending more time with our family and friends and doing the things that we love to do.
    7. And finally, saving up for and purchasing a truck that can support our family of four on our western US outdoor biking, skiing, climbing, camping, and river adventures.*

    Since we moved to Durango, found a home, and started making new friends and connecting with old friends in the area, I have felt a deep sense of contentment and gratitude for the daily life we are leading, but joy? I haven't felt that for a long time and I could not be more grateful for the journey we have made from there to here.


    My mom showing off her season extenders in the garden. We used fresh parsley, sage, and rosemary from her garden in almost every dish.

    As we rolled into Grand Junction on Wednesday to spend Thanksgiving with my mom and stepdad, another wave of gratitude washed over me. Last summer my mother was at death's door and we were bracing for the worst. By last Thanksgiving she had rebounded so dramatically that I was sure we'd have another Thanksgiving together and here we were pulling up to the familiar jobs of making mashed potatoes, ambrosia salad, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, turkey, ham, and pie, celebrating the gift of being alive.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


    The only recent picture I have of our adventure vehicle this summer outside of Silverton, CO.


    *I realize item seven may seem out of sync with our vision in item five, but four people, even in a big truck emit far less carbon than if even one of us flew. Additionally, each night we spend in our tent under the stars versus an AirBnB is that much less energy and water used. More than anything, our girls already love camping and the outdoors. We hope to raise them to be stewards of this planet who can help in solving the climate and pollution problems looming ahead of us all.

      1 comment

      • Happy Thanksgiving Y’all! What a beautiful family. So happy you chose to share your story which growing up on a farm allowed time for camping , fishing , exploring also. Love the garden tips and a special mention goes out to your loving sister , shared her
        home and friends, helped us move into our home and continues to share her life via Amazing photos. Your story brings joy.
        John Balogh

        John Balogh

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