search instagram arrow-down
Gina Stafford

Recent Posts

Enter your email address to follow and receive notifications of new posts.

Follow Words And Pictures on WordPress.com

Howdy

If you’re curious about what I do when I’m not on the trail, check me out on LinkedIn:

Latest Instagram post

Latest Tweet

Archives

PUBLISHED: Dec. 31, 2017

It’s just a new page on the calendar, but the transition from one year to another also is a moment full of possibility.

If the year ending was disappointing, it feels good to put it in the books. If the year was rewarding, pausing to remember the high points also feels good. I’ve heard of a tradition of writing the year’s disappointments on small pieces of paper and then, literally, setting fire to your burdens in a celebratory New Year’s Eve blaze. I haven’t yet done that, but I like the idea.

Standing on the threshold of a brand-new year, the 12 months ahead are as full of promise as they will ever be. The slate is clean. Goals can be set. And tackled fresh. Even so, this post is more of a year in review as we put 2017 to bed.

As years go, the one that just wrapped gave me some great memories to hang on to.

Starting with a couple of special weddings.

2017_Kasie_2

Bride and groom take the floor for their first dance.

On March 18, one half of the best twins I know married a fine young man in Donovan Lankford and became Kasie Phelps Lankford.

The wedding was more than a milestone.

It also was beautiful.

And fabulous. Perfect.

In every way.

2017_Kasie_1

Maid of Honor and twin sister of the bride, Karie, shares a secret with Bill.

 

2017_Wedding

With freshly married Austin and Melissa Hendrick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, almost exactly seven months later, the twins’ cousin, Austin Hendrick, married the lovely Melissa Bradley on October 15.

Another beautiful family wedding.

Another lakeside outdoor ceremony.

Another happy time to see a happy couple officially begin their lives together.

In the case of both weddings, the vows were being said by special people I’ve known since they were babies–or little more than babies.

You don’t often get two such happy occasions in one year.

 

We also got to catch up with some of our oldest and dearest friends, Rich and Lisa Richardson, when we met in Cincinnati in June for a Reds game (it was a forgettable game in another forgettable season).

2017_Rich&Lisa_1

It tells you something about the state of the Reds that we chose to visit the local art museum rather than go to a second game. We enjoyed clowning around more than usual.

2017_Rich&Lisa_2

Meeting in Cincinnati came the day after a night in Louisville for our latest experience at a U2 concert: the 2017 tour for the 30th Anniversary of The Joshua Tree.

 

 

2017_U2_1

Excitement builds along with the opening chords to “Where the Streets Have No Name.”

We also got to see the great Tom Petty again in Nashville in April. He was touring to mark his band’s 40th anniversary and, sadly, it turned out to be his final tour. Tom died too soon in October.

34113819390_5a7048d02b_o

“Don’t Come Around Here No More”

There were a few — much fewer than usual — local hiking outings with the usual suspects, but the ones that happened were high in quality if not quantity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My single most-memorable day in the Great Smoky Mountains in 2017, though, may have been the Solar Eclipse of Aug. 21. Bill and I were joined by new friends and fellow hikers, Jennifer, Hannah and William, and we all learned the astronomical meaning of “totality” as we watched Cades Cove go dark at 2 in the afternoon.

 

 

Time-lapse of daylight to dark and back again:

 

 

At the end of Solar Eclipse week, Bill and I headed off to vacation in Colorado. Our latest national park excursion was to Rocky Mountain National Park, by way of Breckenridge for a few days at first, followed by Great Sand Dunes after, and a Colorado Rockies game in between.

Breckenridge is at 10,000′ elevation, and Bill came down with altitude sickness our first night there. After a midnight trip to the local E.R. which sent us away with an oxygen tank, we were good to go for the rest of our time there and in Colorado (we didn’t need the oxygen after Breck).

36461545890_f4fd696a96_o

View from almost 13,000′ looking down on a beautiful day and on beautiful Breckenridge.

21083531_10212546600052803_532066370978030431_o21122294_10212546651934100_7528142202756340153_o

 

36849451820_d578cd5cc0_o

Quandary Peak on the horizon. My first-ever 14’er hike.

2017_RMNP5

Looking down on the ascent to Quandary Peak at 14,000’+

 

 

 

 

36131697803_6aaa2ef7aa_o

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RMNP and Estes Park were perfect. Now, for a palate-cleansing visit to Coors Field.

37057720776_fe75b6b31d_o

Day trip to Great Sand Dunes.

2017_GreatSandDunes

21272813_10212609952356571_2836641572134882438_o

 

 

 

 

37104461671_359e83f34e_o21366928_10212609938236218_7736569729650008100_o21273510_10212609951596552_1244116288114855846_oFinal Colorado stunner: Garden of the Gods

37370832292_fac01791b1_o  36985282242_18fa29cbd6_o

Back at work, October brought the 100th anniversary of continuous publication of Tennessee Alumnus magazine. One of those times you feel lucky to be one of the caretakers of the moment.

 

 

22498897_370504446711676_1885653086860552747_o

Fireworks to cap off the celebration.

In November, the Vols hosted LSU on Rocky Top, and that turned out to be a great excuse for us to host my dear cousin, Karen, and her sweet husband, Matt, and two of their three boys, Morgan and Dustin, all up from just outside New Orleans to go to the game.

We had a blast sharing a mountain cabin, watching the sun set at Clingmans Dome, and endured a literal storm blast at Neyland Stadium. The time we got to spend with them is definitely one of my 2017 highlights, and I’m hoping we’ll find opportunity to do so again soon.

37638841195_3be6ee0253_o

Sunset at Clingman’s Dome

 

 

Work did not go into the typical year-end slowdown in 2017, but that would be another entire blog post. Thanksgiving and Christmas finally came, and I savored every minute of down time, friends and family gatherings, extra sleep, and celebrations of the season.

Children of Grace Christmas Eve Program

I’m thankful for a good team on the job. I’m excited about what we’ll get to tackle in 2018. And about where Bill and I may get to go on our travels. I’ll keep you posted. 😉

One comment on “Turning The Calendar

  1. lisaannrichardson says:

    Great year-in-review post! I look forward to more words and pictures in 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: