Friday, September 15, 2017

Back to the "Real World"

I hate that phrase, real world, like vacation isn't real.  But in all seriousness, I am starting to feel the structure of my day to day activities creeping in.  Don't get me wrong, I love my daily life, I love volunteering, exercising with my friends and taking care of our home.  Those are things that bring me joy.  Yet, I find myself sitting here on the balcony, looking out at this amazing view and thinking about the things that I have waiting "to be done" back at home.

Vacation is that special place where these things don't exist.  Where I put my "to do" list on the back burner and just absorb all the nothingness I can.  I sit and listen to the waves crash on the shore, watch the seagulls fly by, and feel that wonderful ocean breeze on my skin  I know as I leave tomorrow morning there will be that pit in my stomach, I can almost feel it now.  As we are driving away from the coast, I feel like I could live here forever.  And maybe I could, or maybe it is that complete relaxation that I would miss more than anything.  And I know I could never "live" in that state.  I would get bored easily.  And I know that once I am home and my dogs are jumping up in my lap, I will feel at peace.

So maybe it is the transition that I am resisting.  That change from vacation to home.  And in reality I probably need to work more "nothingness" or "complete relaxation" into my daily schedule.  For now, I am going to sit here and watch the waves while I still can.  I am going to plan my upcoming week so that things are smooth, and I will be easy on myself and my family.  I hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Ocean Always Feels Like Going Home

Do you ever have the feeling when you are traveling?  Like you are going somewhere special, somewhere important and you just need to be there.  That feeling always comes over me when we travel to the coast.  I almost said traveling to the beach but really it isn't the beach, lakes don't do it for me.  And it isn't the sand, because I can be going to the Maine coast, which is rocky and get that same feeling.  That pull, like you just need to be there, and nothing else is as important in that moment but seeing the ocean and getting your feet in that salt water.  I love looking out and not seeing anything but wave after wave of gorgeousness.  Not seeing anything.  But seeing complete freedom and endless possibilities.  That is how I feel, like typing this and watching the waves, I could conquer anything, do anything.

We drove in late Saturday night, but I could smell the ocean.  And I couldn't wait to get my feet wet.  Walking along the beach the next morning was spectacular.  Not many people out, as the hurricane was headed toward Florida and everyone here was preparing for bad weather, although now bad was not known.  So we almost had the beach to ourselves.  I stood at the shore and just felt a surprising calm take over, like I was home.  Even though this coastline isn't the same as home in Maine, it is the same ocean, and the same feeling.  Watching the crashing waves on Monday was eerily so much like home, wave after wave beating the shore line, amazing sound.

I felt calm, like my dad was right beside me telling me everything was OK now.  I started tearing up as we walked along the waves.  I know he would have loved this place.  He loved and lived the ocean.  I so remember going out with him on the boat.  I remember feeling the spray of salt water.  I remember watching him work.  When I am here at the coast, I hear my dad and know that life is good.

I do love where we live in North Carolina.  More and more, as we hike the mountains there, I feel like we made exactly the right decision as to our home.  I am feeling like those mountains called my name, and I am so glad I listened.  But this ocean is always beckoning me home, with its powerful memories.  So I know I will live my life between the two.  Traveling back and forth, touching old memories and making new ones.  Taking what I need and leaving the rest for others.  Enjoy those moments, wherever you are and wherever you call home.

Most of you know that I lost my dad to suicide 20 years, 10 months and 13 days ago.  I miss him every day, it is something I walk through this world with, and without.  I will be walking in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Out of the Darkness Walk, again this year in Asheville on October 8th.  If you would like to help me, help the AFSP in reducing suicide, please consider donating to my walk.  Here is the link to my page.  Any amount is appreciated.   Also this  week is National Suicide Prevention Week.   Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US.  On average there are about 121 suicides per day.  We can change this, you can make a difference, please consider donating to the link I listed.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Beacon Heights

Beacon Heights is really not a hike, although all the web sites say it is a 1 mile total in and out hike, I bet it is about 1/2 that and it is an easy in and out.  The views are amazing, although we felt a little like we cheated to get them.  Much more rewarding if the hike is difficult and ends with amazing views.  This is a well traveled path, there are some rock "steps", and you will not be alone on this one.  Obviously a popular spot, there were many people out here talking, picnicking, gathering and sitting on the rocks.  But if you are looking for an easy hike and beautiful views, this is the hike for you.  And it is so close to Boone, you might as well stop into Coyote Kitchen for lunch afterward.

In this photo you can see Table Rock and Hawk's Bill in the background

This view is in the other direction, looking back toward Grandfather Mountain.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Big Lost Cove Cliffs Hike

The Big Lost Cove Cliffs hike.  We really enjoy this hike as it is near by with beautiful views.  So we have hiked this before and probably will again.  I think these photos were from 2 weekends ago, busy weekend but we took a Sunday and hit the mountain.  Beautiful, peaceful, only us and the rattlesnake. This was the first time I have run into a rattlesnake while hiking.  He was pretty amazing as well.  We let him be and he let us be.

Great place for lunch and a nap

It feels like you can see forever

Monday, August 28, 2017

People Are More Important Than Things

" People are more important than things." I keep this mantra rolling in my head.  It was a phrase my mother lived by, but she never said it quite that way.  She always believed that she could be anywhere and could do anything as long as her family was with her.

I once asked my husband, "if you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?"  He responded that as long as the kids and I were with him, he could live anywhere, it didn't matter.  I thought that was a great answer.

And in thinking about the events of the past couple of weeks, with civil war statues and monuments, I think it is important to really evaluate personal values and belief systems.  Are statutes more important than people or are people what really matters.  People matter more than things.  Here is what I wrote in a letter to the editor:

"The events of the past few days have really made me stop and think.  Think about why this Maine girl ended up here in Burke County.  I know there is a Confederate monument in Morganton.  But really I have not taken the time to stop and read what it is about.  It holds no place in my heart, it means nothing to me.

But I can tell you what does mean something to me.  This is the place where my boys grew into fine young men.  This is the county where my husband found work, when we were looking for a place to call home.  The mountains call to me, the trees breath life into this community.  I am surrounded by such amazing diversity.  I have made friends with people of different cultures, races, religions and no religion.  This diversity has enriched my life beyond measure.  I enjoy talking with people who were born and raised in Burke County as well as people who were born all over the county and the world but have also landed here in the place and in this time. 

I see the hatred elsewhere and know that there are people here who would do anything for me and my family, as I would for them.  I may not agree with everyone on everything, but I can always find common ground somewhere.  That is why I call Burke County home. "

Remember that people matter more than things, reach out and find that common ground.  

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


I was listening to NPR this past weekend.  There was an interview with Ariel Levy, author of The Rules Do Not Apply

During the interview she was recounting a couple of life changing personal experiences.  A miscarriage at 5 months of pregnancy, and the loss of her marriage from her spouse's addiction. The interview was so interesting that I purchased the book and am just starting it now.  Toward the end of the interview she said something so profound, it made me stop and think.  The author talked about coming to the realization that those were things in her life over which she had no control. That all this time she was trying to change those things, and it was a futile attempt.  She had to let go of those circumstances, release that effort of control, and focus on those areas of her life which were under her control, those things she could impact to change her life situation.

She decided to let go, to release.  That word, release, was my word for the year 2014.  A thoughtful, life changing word for me. Releasing events, people, circumstances, effort, things, and making room for more, so much more.

It can be so freeing to let go.  Try it.  Really take inventory of your life, every aspect, your friends, your interests, your relationships, your living situation and make decisions.  Are these things working for you, are they moving you in a forward direction toward more.  Or are they wasted effort.  Are there areas you want to change over which you have control, or does that control fall somewhere else. Then make the conscious choice to let go, to release.  When you release you free up space in your head, in your life, in your day, for other relationships to blossom, for other ideas to percolate, for other interests to take root.  You free up time to work toward the change you want to see happen.  You free up energy to work on those areas that pull on your attention.  Great things happen when you make the choice to release that which is not serving you.

I need to revisit that space periodically.  Like a room in my house, it needs cleaning on a regular basis.  I need to focus energy on releasing, to make way for continued growth.  I am so looking forward to reading this book, and seeing her process.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Have Tos...

A friend of mine, on social media, posed a question a few days ago, on her page, 'what do your children have to spend their own personal money on.'  And that isn't an exact quote, but pretty close. I was going to respond, then I decided to hold back after I read a couple of the responses.  I was questioning my interpretation of her question and figured I had not understood what she was asking, so I passed it by. But couldn't help thinking about it over the course of the next several days.

As I read her question, in my own head, what I was hearing was "What options do your children have available on which to spend their own personal money."  I gathered after reading the responses, that the intended meaning was "what items do you, as the parent, make your children purchase with their own personal money."  Way different intent, and meaning.  I guess it does show how my thinking has evolved over my 23 years of parenting.  In thinking back to my own childhood, I would have taken that question to be a parenting question of force.  But in my evolution, I am happy to say, that my initial interpretation was one of options.  So much more freeing, so much more autonomy, less about control and judgment.  I am so pleased with my process and my thinking.  It really shows how what initially might take time and effort to change, will become a gut instinct.  That you really can change how you think and respond on a deep level, it may take time but it can be done and is worth every moment of effort.

As a reader, it also confirms, to me, why face to face interactions are important, and on line conversations can be difficult, for me.  You can't always read an intent.

Back to the question, the answer I was going to leave in response, would have been something like...
"Lots of things.  My children have lots of interests and save some of their money, they do enjoy purchasing new computer games, steam games.  They also choose books or at times art supplies. Those are some of the choices they make about spending their own personal money."  I won't get into the "have to" aspect as my boys have never "had to" do anything.  When issues arise we work on them as a family, and that includes money issues.  A topic for another day.