Always grateful, even in difficult years like this one ...
For the most part, 2012 was a tough year. Money problems. Confusion and hopelessness about my career direction.
Health issues. A disturbing scarcity of friends. Obstacles in the way of making my dreams happen. It felt like
God withheld his help sometimes. And money. Did I mention money?
When finances are bad, it seems like everything is bad.
I realize that to some, I "live the life"
in Colorado with my many hikes and
adventures. Outwardly, that is correct, but matters of
my heart are often hidden. That's probably the case for others, too. Anyway,
I crafted this annual page mainly for myself, so I can be authentic and record what happened in 2012.
The neat thing is, God blessed me with two positive things at the end of the
year that give me real hope for 2013. (See below: "Move To Fruita" and "Garbage Cans") Through it all, there's no doubt that I'm a blessed man.
"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil..." Psalm 23:4
Photo Above: I guess this is the "photo of the year." I really like this shot of myself on Mount Sheridan. :)
On October 1, I started a new life by moving to Fruita and working in Grand Junction, where I have
a great opportunity to excel in my career and catch up financially.
On a personal level, I have enjoyed exploring a new region of Colorado, and it's been
quite a boom to this website as I post a plethora of hikes and photos in places
like Colorado National Monument, the Grand Valley and even Moab, Utah.
It was a great seven year run as a full-time resident in Buena Vista. It was my dream to live in a small
town in the mountains and I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity. The Sawatch Range was my backyard!
Sadly though, it became time to leave.
I felt stuck on so many levels. No work or ministry opportunities. Hardly any friends. Little intellectual stimuli.
I hope I don't sound too negative about Buena Vista, for it is a special and wonderful place.
I'd like to mention the following Buena Vista residents who were a huge blessing in my life: Bobby Swanson, Dennis and Heidi Coates, Mike and Jo Green,
Chris Teipel, the Naegele family, the Bos family, Dale Dawson and Chuck Campton.
Be assured that my hikes and content over the years will remain. The index page for
Buena Vista has all of my pages, including
my seperate websites for Cottonwood Pass, Mount Princeton and the St. Elmo Ghost Town. Oh, and let's not forget the
Buena Vista Traffic Light Facebook Page that continues to thrive to this day. :)
14er Mount Harvard
My Best Hikes
As usual, I did some magnificent hikes. The four below were probably the biggest highlights.
In January and February, I was having a hard time with winter, life, lack of work ... everything.
Now, my friends in Mesa, Arizona had been encouraging me to visit, and in early March,
I made a mad dash to Phoenix. I guess it was a vacation, but it felt more like an "emergency sanity respite" to clear my head and be around people who love me.
That visit propelled me to think forward. It became apparent that it was only a matter of time before I moved away from Buena Vista.
I was willing to move to Phoenix,
Las Vegas, southern New Mexico and towns in western Colorado. For awhile, I was applying for jobs all over the country.
Ultimately, I made it to Fruita / Grand Junction.
40,000 Tweets Dance Party
Special thanks to Rich and Lisa in Victor, Colorado for hosting my 40,000 tweets party. We had so much fun!
I chose the "screeching light" image to illustrate what lower back pain might look like. :o)
Lower Back Problems
In November and December, I had another lower back flare up.
It wasn't as bad as last year's ordeal, where I couldn't lift myself out of bed for a few days,
and where the sciatic and lower back pain was so harsh that it had me occasionally screaming and unable to sleep at night.
No, this case was milder, but the ordeal was troubling nonetheless. After weeks of "walking like an old man",
having difficulty bending down to grab something on the floor, and struggling when getting in and out of a car, it began to
affect my personality in negative ways. I know there are many worse things in life, but constant lower back pain is a living hell.
Anyway, after seeing my chiropractor regularly, doing physical therapy and even seeing a orthopedic surgeon, I'm 90% better and
have more strategies to avoid another flare up.
Another disappointment. From May 2011 to March 2012, I worked hard at revising my book into a respectable fifth draft.
Once I finished that draft, all I needed was one last freelance editor to work with me on a few issues, do the necessary copy editing
and put me over the top. The problem: No money. I was stuck.
Heartbreak: Throughout my time working on the book (2008-2012),
I believed in my heart that I would publish my book while living in Buena Vista. There were people who have seen all the work I've put into it, even folks who
worked at the Salida Cafe (a public place I'd frequently work at) who saw me labor on my laptop day after day.
I longed to joyously give these people a copy of my book. I wanted them to know
that I had succeeded, and that they had played a role in encouraging me, but it wasn't meant to be.
There is a positive outlook for next year. In September 2012, I did find a editor in Virginia that
I really like and I think I'll work well with. Once cash flow improves (and it should), there should be
no reason why 2013 won't be the year that my book becomes available. Will 2013 be my year? Becoming an author has felt like all
Charlie Brown tried to kick the ball with Lucy holding.
Oh my. Thank you for watching.
All My YouTube Videos
I made many videos in 2012. Some show the scenery. Others were times with friends. Occasionally, I acted crazy. :)
You're welcome to subscribe to my YouTube channel: youtube.com/kisscactus.
Living in Chaffee County had its benefits. In the summer, there was always someone vacationing in the region who wanted to meet me.
This year, there were four groups of people that stick out the most: Brian Joy, Noelle Romano,
Steve Anderson and Kimberley and Megan from Texas.
The adjacent photo is myself with Brian Joy and his son. Brian and I graduated high school together and I had not seen him in 22 years. :)
As for Steve Anderson, he visited me on my final day while living in Buena Vista, and I made a page about it:
Steve Visits Colorado.
One of my written goals for 2012 was to spend time in Moab, Utah, and on Thanksgiving weekend, I spent
three days there.
All my hikes and photos in Arches National Park were special, but I think my hike to Ring Arch
(adjacent photo) was the most memorable. :)
My fantasy football team, the Garbage Cans, are world champions! :)
It was the sixth year of my fantasy football league, and while I
made the playoffs three of the five previous years, I never won the big prize. Oh how I longed to become a champion! :)
I did exceptionally well during the draft. I avoided making huge managerial blunders.
And my players were nearly 100% healthy. My core six players were:
QB Robert Griffin III, WR Roddy White, WR Brandon Marshall, RB Arian Foster, TE Greg Olsen and RB Alfred Morris.
I dominated in the regular season with a 11-2 record, and then with the #1 seed, I defeated the Hit Squad and Titletown to win the title.
This year I expanded my league to 16 teams, with four teams in four divisions, like the way the AFC and NFC are structured in the NFL.
We had a lot of fun, beginning with the ping pong ball ceremony,
the live draft and all the fun discussion and competition. Special thanks to all the good people who participated this year.
One crazy note: At the beginning of the season, I told friends in Atlanta that if the Garbage Cans won a championship,
that it would be such a big deal that I'd travel to Atlanta and have a party with them!
Ha ha! Well, I do need to keep my word. I'm praying and believing that
I'll have the financial resources to make this happen in March or April 2013. :)
My Friend, Ron
A heartfelt thanks to Ron, one of my dear friends. Sometimes it's easy to take for granted
the people and things you've enjoyed for a long time, and may I never do that with Ron.
He's been my closest confidant throughout 2012. How many years have we know each other? We're getting close to ten years!