Monday, November 24, 2014

Majestic Sandstone Cliffs at Zion National Park

 ZION National Park in Utah was the first of the canyons we visited on our vacation in September. 
"We are surrounded by rock!" was my first impression of Zion.  
Beautiful, massive sandstone mountains, canyons and cliffs of pink and red that towered into the brilliant blue sky! But it was not just the enormous sandstone that captured my attention, it was the waterfalls, unique flowers, emerald pools, chipmunks and chirping birds...I loved it all!

I loved the hiking at Zion

There are three Emerald Pools, Lower, Middle and Upper. We hiked all three.

Joe is headed to the Lower Emerald Pools. Notice the ever so slight mist to the right from a waterfall. There was very little rain this summer, so there was not much of a waterfall, but the spray of water felt good at this point in our day of hiking.
If you look closely at the sunflower you can see a bee! I love this lone flower against the mighty Zion Canyon!

Joe & I hiked to the Middle Emerald Pool -- dazzling scenery!

Joe at Middle Emerald Pool

Truly breathtaking scenery while hiking! This is from one of the cliffs along the hiking trail.

The mysteries of Mother Nature, a lone tree, thriving between canyon walls!

Sweet little chipmunk looked right at the camera!

The yellow flower that can be found by the Upper Emerald Pool is a Stonecrop - Sedum lanceolatum

Call me crazy, but Emerald Pools are really green!

The weather the first week in September was just perfect. Cool in the early morning hours and warm by noon. We made a point to hike early since we had such warm weather and lots of sunshine! We left Zion Canyon National Park and headed to Bryce Canyon for sunset. Had we known better, we would have made the effort to see the sunrise the next morning and not sunset--but while not as stunning, the sunset was a beautiful end to a wonderful day. If you look closely below, you can see the moon!

All Photos my Kathie S. Gautille

 I Lasso the beauty at every turn and realize just how small I am compared to Zion & Bryce Canyons! 
God is good all the time!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Grow Forward & Flourish

Grow Forward & Flourish

Feeling Grateful!

I want to feature Jackie Capers Brown blog today as we begin the month of November! Her blog Grow Forward & Flourish (Link above) is an uplifting blog! I feel honored that she is featuring why I am Feeling Grateful!
If you would like to share what you are grateful for, I hope you will respond to her questions!
I look forward to reading why you are grateful!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"Hiking Hoodoos!"

Hiking Hoodoos!

Up until last week, I didn't know what a Hoodoo was -- nor did I imagined I would be hiking the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon!

Hoodoos - Bryce Canyon (photo by Kathie Gautille)

Look like chess pieces to me,
 but they are actually
Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon

(photo by Kathie Gautille)
From a distance these incredibly odd rock formations look like chess pieces. 

I have come to learn that a pinnacle left standing by the forces of erosion is a "hoodoo"! Hiking the Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon was awe-inspiring. It was a bit nerve-racking too! These beautiful, yet bizarre rock spires or "hoodoos" -- well let me just say it went against my sense of physics that the rock that sat upon a narrow body of rock wouldn't just tumble down and crush us. But they didn't--and they were magnificent! Our pictures and video really don't do them justice! 

My husband and I took a week's vacation to Utah and Arizona to hike and communion with nature at the national treasures of the canyons...from Zion, Bryce to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and several smaller parks in between. 

Pictured in this blog entry is Bryce Canyon.
My favorite National Park, but I must say...and I loved all of them...all for different reasons!

(photo by Kathie Gautille)

Natural Bridge - Bryce Canyon
(photo by Kathie Gautille)

While at Bryce I met my first "Dark Ranger"!  Bryce Canyon is one of the darkest places in the country to view stars.  Three times a week throughout the summer and into the fall Bryce Canyon's "Dark Rangers" celebrate the beautiful night sky by hosting an hour multi-media presentation in the lodge.  Following the presentation everyone drives out to the visitors center area and the Dark Rangers have 5-7 large telescopes set up outside positioned to enjoy the starry night sky! Each telescope was fixed on a different aspect of the night sky!  I don't think I have ever seen so many stars in my life!  And seeing the moon surface and the Milky Way up close added to the enjoyment of true stargazing! 

I didn't take this picture--credit goes to Alex Cherney from Australia.
But this IS what we saw--an incredible starry night!
Joe at the top of Fairyland Loop (photo by Kathie Gautille)

One of the more rigorous trails we hiked was Wall Street.

In the middle -- between these walls of stone 

grew this 

(photo by Kathie Gautille)

Joe was the videographer 

We stopped long enough to really enjoy nature -- from the flowers and canyons (photo by Kathie Gautille)

(photo by Kathie Gautille) the deer, pronghorn, chipmunks, squirrels, and mountain goats!
(photo by Kathie Gautille)

There was no Wi-Fi in the canyons, but I promise we found a better connection! 
Throughout our trip, Joe and I often had to stop and ask ourselves...when people see this incredible can anyone not believe in God?

Me on top of Fairyland Loop
(photo by Kathie Gautille)

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the works of His hands."  ~ Psalm 19

I Lasso the breathtaking beauty of 
God's handiwork!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Defying Gravity Gave Me a New Perspective!

I recently went from watching my two grandsons (now 3 years old and a 1 year old) - to visiting my 84 year old dad.

Both experiences gave me pause to consider the fact that I may possibly have 20-30+ years ahead of me in this season of my life.  

I observed that it requires patience and stamina to care for toddlers. 
It requires patience and stamina as one grows older.  Getting old robs one's body of strength and  sharpness.  
This first hand account gave me a stronger resolve to keep in shape.

I also realized that I am at a point in my life where I am discerning my next project, or job, or volunteer opportunity.  I have been seriously wrestling with a few ideas and possible business opportunities -- some of which are coming into better focus for me. But, truthfully, it's kind of scary to completely change course from what you are comfortable with or work you have done most of your adult life and start over.  
I know myself very well.
I know how hard I work.
I know my personal work ethic can be all consuming.  
I know how much I love personal growth and development.
I know a business takes funding.
I know a business takes time and energy.
I also know how much I love being available for my family. 

While going through all of these gyrations back and forth in my little head a friend of mine told me I needed to read Jon Acuff's book:  START. Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, Do What Matters.  
Well I first got the Kindle version of this book, but found the Kindle version difficult to highlight. ;)  

So I bought the hardback book--and I am so glad I did.  START. has helped crystalize what's going on in my head.  Mr. Acuff mentions in his book that when we reach the point of making decisions some of us "cue the fog machine" to muddy the decision making "and pretend there's a fog of complexity in the way."  I believe this is where I am.  So, I began struggling with finding the off switch to the fog machine.  

Then a few days ago I was listening to the musical WICKED when I was working out -- okay, I know, strange music to motive you to exercise.  Stick with me, I promise to connect the dots!  Honestly when the song, Defying Gravity was playing, it was as if I was hearing the song for the first time.  I bet I have sung along with that song a million times, but I am not sure I have ever really listened to lyrics of the song.  This time I heard it loud and clear..."It's time to trust my instincts, close my eyes and leap."  

I know people my age are just beginning to think of or starting to look forward to retiring or slowing down--but if I live another 1, 5, 10, 20+ years, is that what I want?  

I also know many people my age are going back to school or starting new careers...they turned their fog machine off and made a decision to go after a dream.

I really envy my son, Adam.  Talk about going after a dream!  Adam has known since he was a sophomore in high school that he wanted to play the trumpet professionally.  

Adam Gautille performing

Adam is a member of Back Bay Brass in Boston
Back Bay Brass, one of Boston's premier chamber music ensembles, 
delivers exciting and virtuosic performances throughout the Greater Boston area.
(Okay, I know, a shameless plug)

He has been playing since he was in 3rd grade and has been following his passion ever since--from college undergrad to grad school, competitions, auditions.  But he did it with his eyes wide open. We explained the competitiveness of the industry, the challenges of making it in the music business.  We also equipped him with great mentors.  Adam sought out great professors to study under, musicians to take lessons from, as well as became astute at networking, and playing as much as possible--lots and lots of "gigging".  

Not to mention the fact that he is an incredible musician and person!  No fog machine for Adam. For him it's the strong desire and belief in himself and his God-given talent that keeps him moving forward. It is his strong work ethic and persistence that will help him grab the brass ring. And HE WILL grab the brass ring!  I can really learn something from Adam's big dream and his tenacity & persistence!  Don't give up on your dream!

As for me and my next venture?  

Well, I am not as afraid any more.  I am blessed to have a deep and profound faith in Christ as a Catholic, so I do fully rely on God.  Also, if I am going to gamble on something...why not gamble on myself, close my eyes and leap?!

I Lasso the courage to defy gravity!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I Wouldn't be Spoiled if Someone would Spank Grandma!

As a Nonna I really made a concerted effort to have the necessary items needed to have our daughter and her little family at our home for an overnight or extended stay.

Over the past three years I have purchased diapers, a stroller, pack and play, bouncy seat, jumpers, high chair, car seats.  I bought some of the items for a great deal off of Craig's List, and some items I bought new, but Joe and I did this so when the kids came to visit, they wouldn't have to shlep so much stuff--hopefully making it easier to visit more often!

But I also love to be able to jump in my Ford Explorer and head down I-35 with my iPod music blasting in the car by myself...listening to the music I want to listen to--for a peaceful 3 hour drive to our daughter's home to help out, see the family, play with the boys.

Our daughter and son in-law recently sold their first home and bought a new home. Moving yourself with two little ones and no family to help is stressful.  So when I received the text message one evening that said, "Can you come down and help me with the move"  and I asked when, her reply was "ASAP"--I was in the car the next morning headed south to help.

My reward for trek was being greeted by Sara and Keegan in the driveway of their new home.  Keegan squealed when I rolled down my window and heard my voice.  He then lunged out of Sara's arms into mine to give me an opened-mouth, slobbery baby kiss!  This is what grandma's call, "PURE JOY"--to have my almost 1 year old grandson recognize me with this sweet expression of love!

I am pretty sure all grandparents fall into "can't spank grandparents" category when it comes to spoiling their grand-babies...I am no exception.

 Whether it is getting "cozy" and watching a new Thomas and Friends video together...

...or building a fort/tunnel and eat lunch in it...

 ...or stay up late with Papa to watch Polar Express...

...or go to the mall to pay a ridiculous amount for a 10 minute ride on the Red Caboose... 

...or purchase another train to add to Landon's enormous train collection

...we do it out of love!  

I Lasso spending time with my grandsons...and love every single minute of it!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

God Gave Me You for the Ups and Downs!

April 27th is my 29th wedding anniversary to my husband Joe.

Marriage is not always easy. 

Marriage is not always exciting.

In fact there are days in our 29 years together that I have wondered,

"What in the world am I doing with this man?"

There are even more days in our 29 years together that I have wondered,

"What does he see in ME to love me so much?"

This video (see link below photos) is dedicated to my husband!

I Lasso through our ups and downs that God gave me you!  
I Lasso loving Joe!