Sunrise to Sunset Zest! 2019 Recap
Sunrise to Sunset Zest! 2019 Recap – For the first time in my life, I spent a week photographing sunrises this past spring. I joke about this on my About Me page – that I prefer sunsets, because I can never rise early enough to see the sun rise. That’s how 2019 felt to me – one new reason after another to be zestful. Of course, we were ready for some zest after pushing through 2018.
2018 was rough health-wise for me, but we finally figured out that I was experiencing Chronic and Acute Pancreatitis and NOT allergy attacks. In the end, we discovered that margarine was causing allergy-like symptoms, and then agitating the pancreas, so I avoid it as if I’m highly allergic. Five trips to ER was enough for me. I still carry Epipens just in case my shellfish or margarine allergy gets worse, but I have never had to use them.
It has been almost a year since my last ER visit and a good six months without pancreatic pain. Thank God! I’ve accomplished that through diet and exercise. Unfortunately, I fell last year in the spring while hiking, and it took me all summer into fall to correct that mess. I’m now armed with the best stretching and exercise routine to keep that from happening again.
All that recovery time did put a damper on my activity level, but it didn’t take away my zest for life.
I’m slipping in a few pictures from our adventures last year, but I hope to go into greater detail in the future. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t upload one single picture from my phone to my computer for all of 2019. And, I found several months worth on my cameras that weren’t transferred either. There were at least 4000 on my phone alone. Yes, I take a lot of photos! LOL
Needless to say, we’ve been Glamping it up wherever we can – and I’m especially looking forward to more of those adventures in 2020. I had fully intended to share our Glamping life over the last two years, but I guess we were having so much fun that time just flew by. We’re still using the original small RV we purchased in 2017, but we hope to find something just a bit bigger in 2020. We did upgrade to a truck, which I love, so we have plenty of hauling power for what’s on our wishlist. Details when they happen…
What else is coming up in 2020?
I’m continuing the TBR Challenge that I do with a group of bloggers, hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian. Anyone can join us – feel free to sign up at Wendy’s site here. The TBR (to be read) Challenge is something I look forward to monthly for many reasons, but it’s the camaraderie that keeps me coming back every year. I’ve known of, or chatted with, many of these bloggers over the years, so it’s fun for me to continue our passion for romance novels and more together. It gives me a reason to pull a book off my shelves that may not otherwise get a chance among the advanced books I’m reviewing. Often, I find a new-to-me author as well. AND, it keeps me on some sort of schedule, keeping me honest about hoarding too many books! LOL
Speaking of books – I’m still reviewing like crazy, but I’ve branched out into many subcategories of fiction and non-fiction. I’ve been blessed with this beautiful website to share the things I’m passionate about, but I also review for Romance Junkies, the site that got me involved in reviewing in the first place. After 17 years of reviewing books, I’ve realized it’s something that is instilled in me as much as breathing. I can’t read a book without talking about what I love and what bugged me. That’s why I think I’ll be doing this for a long, long time.
I often get asked if I’ll ever write a book. I never say never because you just don’t know where life will lead you. I have worked on several novels, thinking that I may want to pursue my dream further. BUT, it’s not an insane need to get out of my head right now, so I’m focusing on what I love right at this moment. And, that’s sharing my passion about life in general.
Most exciting for 2020 is that I’m kicking off a garden makeover. Primarily in our backyard, but there will be changes to the front garden as well. Many years ago, after I trained as a Master Gardener, I became a specimen gardener. Every plant I fell in love with came home with me, especially when I helped my friend at her greenhouse. Our back garden eventually became our wildlife refuge and the birds planted a lot more specimens. After several years of dealing with health issues, our back garden looked more like a jungle than anything organized. It was time to make a change.
Thanks to some dear friends who encouraged me to wipe the slate clean, we hired a team of guys to tear out most of our trees and shrubs last fall. Everything had outgrown its placement and it was impossible to work around it. We’re still dealing with huge trees from the neighbors bordering our property, plus one enormous tree of our own that no one is brave enough to remove. While they were digging out roots, I let them take most of the perennials because it was easier to grind out the leftover tree roots. This means lots of rehab and new plants!
So, 2020 will be putting humpty dumpty back together again. The back garden is a barren wasteland with lots of mud at this moment. But, I have hopes and dreams of raised bed veggie gardens and new shrubs that match the space. And structure. I hope a privacy fence is in our future – something that will be a great backdrop to the restive places I have in mind. More as we go!
We’re in our fifth year of living on a farm share, aided by our home garden and what we grow at the community garden. When I first started this blog, we were in our first year of trying the farm share way of life. It’s hard to believe that we’re still getting our bag of produce from Fresh Fork Market, but it has become a lifestyle. We’re currently in the middle of the Winter Share, which is basically a farm share buying club. Fresh Fork Market accesses produce and other items from farms within a 75 mile radius of Cleveland, then shares it with their members.
We’re not die-hard strict in using our farm share because it’s often too much, or not what we want to eat, but we do our best. That’s because I believe in supporting local agriculture and keeping the small farmer in business. I also like how fresh everything is in comparison to the grocery store. We split our share with a friend, and give some away, when our bodies don’t willingly accept what we get in our bag. With all our health issues, we can’t always eat what the farmers provide, but I like trying to eat what’s available by season locally.
We also harvested a lot of produce from our community garden, which was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. We have 2 beds and we help with 3 beds for our church pantry. That has really expanded my experience of growing all sorts of vegetables. Even some I’ve never considered growing for myself. My favorites were the potatoes, celery, and sweet potatoes. They also did the best.
Isn’t that what we all do? Do our best to meet our needs by following a diet that keeps us healthy. Sure – we mess up. But for the most part, eating fresh, organic and pasture raised is what I prefer.
2019 was crazy busy. We helped kick off a new children’s worship program at our church called Worship and Wonder. That was no small feat and took months of planning. When I went to training in February 2019, I never imagined what this new program would do for me spiritually. It’s pure joy and I’m sure I’ll blabber on about it more in the coming year.
In my bio, I said that I can’t sing so I play hand bells instead. Well, I found my voice when I joined the church choir. It took a while to realize that I’m no longer an alto, but much more comfortable as a tenor. I won’t ever be a great singer, but it brings me joy to sing about what makes me zestful. Unfortunately, I stopped playing handbells, but my time was needed elsewhere.
I’ve spent the last year working extra hard on myself, becoming the person I want to be, and giving that crabby old woman I was becoming a good smack. It’s not easy being zestful when the world is grumping all around you. It takes a village to keep me moving in a positive direction, but thank God for my two bible studies, an in-person book club, and the friends who keep me upbeat.
Finally, I’m super excited about the sewing machine Mr. Carnivore bought me for my birthday and Christmas. I can’t wait to get back to quilting, clothing alteration, and crafty ideas in the future. To get that rolling, I’ll be renovating a junk room to contain my art insanity.
After writing this, I realize how appropriate my Sunrise to Sunset title is – I’ll be busy from sunrise to sunset to accomplish even a portion of everything I dream about for 2020! Life is sometimes too short, so I plan on enjoying every minute I can. Even when it means resting on the veranda with a good book.
God Bless You and I wish many zestful beginnings for you and yours in 2020! What Zest Quest will you dream about for your year?
Dorine, The Zest Quest wrangler in charge, but not necessarily in control.