Places that Lift the Spirit

This morning, I took a strenuous hike up Boulder's Mount Sanitas with O on my back and my husband at my side. We walked past many hikers with dogs O invariably found "cute" and scrambled up rocky outcroppings at the top of the mountain. All the way up, fellow hikers commented on the added workout I was getting by carrying a 25-pound boy on my back. It felt great. I needed it. The company, the exercise and the views lifted my spirit and reminded me of how grateful I am to live here, to live now.

A view of Boulder from near the top of Mt. Sanitas

A view of Boulder from near the top of Mt. Sanitas

Today is the fourth anniversary of my mother's death.

My heart was heavy as we hiked, but I stepped lightly, knowing that being somewhere beautiful, finding peace in the sanctuary of nature, is exactly what my mother would have wanted. She was a hiker herself, as well as a world traveler, a world-class teacher, a grandmother, a sister, an independent woman. As a retiree, she volunteered most of her time giving tours of the Colorado state capitol building, working in the ER of Denver Health (the city's notorious "knife and gun club" and level-1 trauma center), judging at speech and debate tournaments, working at the Jefferson County Action Center to help families in need, driving for Meals on Wheels and taking on any number of additional projects as she was asked.

In that spirit of productivity and support, I spent the rest of the day getting things done. First, I went to the Posner Center to figure out how long a red carpet we'll need for the Fabulous 42 Formal (answer: 50 feet).

Measuring the red-carpet space ...

Measuring the red-carpet space ...

The Posner Center lifts my spirit every time I walk into it. The place is home to more than 60 organizations doing great work around the world, and you can just sense the creativity and collaborative productivity going on there, even on a Sunday. Not surprisingly, I wasn't the only one in the building. It's also an uplifting space because it's just plain gorgeous. The designers created beautiful details and maximized joy in the space by building in plenty of natural light, using quality finishes and creating innovative spaces for meeting, collaboration and everyday work. It's a model building for what is becoming an important approach to work in many industries.

After checking on the details at Posner, I headed over to Diebolt Brewing Company, a founder of which is my mother's first cousin. They were busy serving up delicious beers and snacks for their first anniversary celebrations, so I hung out at the bar and sipped on an amazing bourbon-infused porter while chatting with brewer Jack Diebolt (who I guess would be my mom's first cousin once removed).

Jack Diebolt

Jack Diebolt

The Diebolts have created a charming little brewery at 39th and Mariposa that truly lifts the spirit, not only through liquid spirits, but also through great hospitality. They're a fun bunch to chat with, and Martha Diebolt (my mom's cousin) is always a delight, with her optimism, charm and genuine kindness. I love these guys. And I'm excited about sharing the love by offering two of their delicious brews at the Fab 42 Formal. I dropped off some flyers about the event and had fun talking with the Diebolts about how all of the details are coming together beautifully.

I made my way home after hanging with the Diebolts and spent the evening reading to O and enjoying a delicious dinner with my family. Our home lifts my spirit every time I walk into it. This place lets me relax and be myself. It expresses my family's histories and our individual discoveries. It brings us together and gives us room to be apart.

As I contemplated the spirit of my too-early-departed mother, I felt graced by many spirit-lifting experiences today. A good day to be alive.