Sunday, August 31, 2014

One More Sunrise at the Beach

OK I wasn't going to take any more sunrise photos but Saturday morning the sunrise was just too beautiful. The clouds were just so magical as the sun rose behind them.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Reflections

This has been a fun-packed week.  It always is when we are away on vacation with family and friends. It is rejuvenating on so many levels, just being with friends and talking, laughing, eating fills my heart, and being near and in the ocean just fills my soul.

Right now it is 7:00 am.  Just watched another beautiful sunrise, I never get tired of that, here or at home.

I am listening to the waves crash on the shore, never get tired of that either.  Here is a bit for your listening pleasure.

This week was about relaxation, so I spent most of my time on the beach, sitting, walking, talking.

What is on the menu.  This is a fun part of the week, we share meals together.  There are three families here this week, we all bring items together and prepare, cook and eat dinner together.  So on the menu:
Sunday-Chili with cornbread
Monday-Spaghetti with garlic bread and salad
Tuesday-Tacos (of course) with fresh guacamole
Friday-Pizza for tonight

Doesn't it sound yummy, even more so with some wine and friends listening to the waves crashing.

Have not watched much of anything this week, TV has been mostly off and have not gone to the theater, I have been watching the waves.

I am missing home, our dogs, my friends back there.  But I always treasure my time at the coast and hold onto those memories with both hands.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


I see the sunrise almost every morning, and it is always amazing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Where I Knit

As you probably have already guessed, this week I am knitting on the beach.  LOVE IT!!  I am not sure it gets much better than this.  Ironically I am knitting a winter scarf.  But I know soon fall will be here and before we know it we will be surrounded by chilly days and cold nights.  The yarn is a Cascade wool yarn, and I think the color ways for their yarn are just beautiful, this one is purple and green, such a lovely combination.  The pattern I am following is called Framed, originally by Susan Gater.  You can find this pattern on Ravelry by clicking here, if you are a Ravelry user, if you are not a Ravelry should be.  Here is a better view of the work in progress.

A friend is helping me wind the hanks of yarn that I brought with me.  The owner of the yarn shop, where I purchase about 95% if my yarn, will wind it for me at no cost.  But I really enjoy winding it myself.  It is something that my mother and I used to do together and while winding the yarn I can feel the thickness of the yarn and the weight and really see the color.  The yarn tells me so much by just taking the time to wind it myself, and think about what I want to create with each hank.  I learn so much by just being present and not trying to rush this process or have someone do it for me.  So now it is something my friend and I share.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

One Particular Harbour

Ahhh it is so nice to be looking at the ocean.  I love being here, and when I am here I never want to leave.

As we headed out the other day, Dallen (yes my oldest son, Dallen) asked if we still had the Jimmy Buffett CDs in the car, and we sure did, so the entire trip we listened to Jimmy Buffett, great beach music!  At one point, Jackson and I were talking, the boys were asleep in the back, I said "I need to come to the beach more" and he answered "I could live here", so who knows what our future holds.

Right now it is such a beautiful morning out here on the beach.  As one of the first visitors out this morning, it is nice to watch the sun dancing on the waves, and hear the ocean crashing at my feet, almost undisturbed.  So peaceful, and turbulent at the same time.  Something so comforting for me, looking out and seeing no end to the ripples on the ocean.

When I look to my left I KNOW that just up the coast a piece, my family are all there safe and sound.  And I know that soon I will be be joining them.  I miss my family, can't wait to wrap my arms around my brother again.  It has been way too long.

The beach is now slowly filling up as people wake up to this beautiful morning.  Families building sand castles or playing in the warm waves, remind me of a time when my boys were young and we were doing that same thing.  Playing all day in the sand and surf, watching the ebb and flow of the tide.

Wonderful memories, and many more just waiting to be made.  I know my friend will be out here soon, we can catch up on everything going on in our lives at this moment in time, chat, read, share this space and be together.

I know I don't get there often enough 
But God knows I surely try
It's a magic kind of medicine
That no doctor could prescribe

Monday, August 25, 2014

Love Letters

Love letters, don't we all enjoy getting a love letter. There are those that have always commented about how much my mom and dad loved each other.  I mean, I know that as well, they were not opposed to semi-public displays of affection, meaning at home in front of us kids but not a whole lot out in the general public.  My dad was a man of few words, he was very intelligent but really never discussed issues or engaged in deep conversation.  He never really wrote much, a scribble here and there.  You knew he loved you because he worked hard.  He provided for his family and that is how he showed his love.

After his death, there came that dreaded time to make decisions about his (and my mom's) belongings, all the obvious photos and furniture, as well as the not so obvious mementos that were tucked into corners of the house.  This was a difficult process, coming face to face with the finality of it all.  The end of the family home, the home I grew up in, the home that pulled me back, like my center, the gravity that kept me from falling off the earth,  filled with love and dedication. Without the family though, the home really lost its pull, lost its meaning. It is, after all, the family that has the real pull, not the home. This meant going through all the old bank statements my mom kept from the time she opened her first bank account, yes she kept every scratch of paper, and to my surprise....LOVE LETTERS.

Everyone who knew my dad will find this amazing, I was shocked.  My dad was in the United States Army, and while he was separated from my mom, during basic training, he wrote a letter to her almost every day. A whole suitcase full, and my mom kept them all (along with books full of s&h green stamps and every power bill she ever paid).  If he ever missed a day of writing, he would apologize in his next letter. Judging by the content of the letters, she also wrote him every day.  So full of love, as well as the planning of their future together, how much he loved my older brother (my younger brother and I were not born at that time), how much he loved my mother, what their future would hold.  It is so touching, so loving, so caring.

I read ALL of them.  They are so personal, and I really feel like I know my dad (and my mom) better, and feel how much they loved and were dedicated to each other. Such a treasure to see how things were when they were first starting out as a family, to revel in that love as they are no longer here to share it openly and honestly themselves.  A peek into their personal relationship. I also enjoy seeing his handwriting, as sloppy as it was. At first I felt a little like I was eavesdropping.  But then decided to go ahead and read them all.  My thought being, if she didn't want anyone to ever see them, she would not have saved them.

I do save all the cards Jackson gives to me, and I know he keeps those that I send to him, but in this day of texting and e mail, that will be all our children have.  We rarely write anything out to each other any more. Maybe the written word should not be such a lost art form.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Reflections

Such a busy end of this week getting ready for vacation in a bit.  I love that with all the planning, I don't have to worry about our dogs.  We have a wonderful friend who takes care of our dogs in our home.  So much less hassle for us, finding a great kennel can be a challenge.  Less stress for our dogs, they get to stay in their own home and we can relax on vacation knowing they are well taken care of.  That relief is amazing, and we are truly grateful for her presence in our lives.

So my week has been filled with the chores or planning and packing.  But I am just so excited to be headed back to the ocean once again, ahhhh.

It isn't quite so early this Friday morning, with all the planning and preparation comes exhaustion, I am TIRED!  So I didn't make it to my computer quite as early, it is now 7:24.  I have already journaled and meditated and have a cuppa tea brewing.

Listening to:  I picked out Anna Fritz and The Gospel of Tree Bark. I just love this soulful song, she is amazing and I find this song relaxing, just the music I need as I plan and pack and get ready for my own retreat, a journey back to my soul.  I hope you enjoy it as well.

Watching:  I just watched The Hundred-Foot Journey.  Amazing.  I loved the scenery, I loved the story, and can I just say the knew cracking eggs could look so sexy!  I wanted to jump in there and taste all that food! YUM!

If you have a chance this is a wonderful movie. Go see it! Definitely worth the big screen price, don't wait for it to come out on dvd.

Good things this week:  Mom's Night Out.  I do enjoy getting together with friends, so much laughter, and talking and fun.  It is just refreshing.

I ran again this week with no hip pain.  For the past couple of months I have switched to biking, because after running my hip was just throbbing and nothing seemed to help.  So I stopped.  But this past week I ran a couple of miles and no hip pain afterward.  I am not jumping back into running daily but it was a great sign, and so nice to feel good again.  For now the bike will remain my companion, but I hope to ease back into some running again as well.

Planning for a beach trip is always a good thing, hard work yes, but so worth it!

And now back to packing.  Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Seeing the Silver Lining

"Reflect on a time when your pain or perceived problem turned out to be the beginning of a whole new possibility for yourself, perhaps even a blessing in disguise."

I saw this posted online somewhere, can't remember now, probably a site for journaling prompts. So a friend and I decided to tackle this together. And we hope to continue to tackle some deeper questions in the future as well, so be watching for those.

I have talked about my grief on my blog. Both my mother's and my father's death were sudden and unexpected. I was young, and there are times I really think about all I have missed, growing through adulthood without parents by my side. So today I wanted to talk about all the possibilities this opened up for me, how I think my life was forever changed for the better because of those horrific events. My Silver Lining.

Jackson and I had been married almost two years when my mother died and a year and a half later my father killed himself. I think this left me to figure out marriage on my own. I had a wonderful example, in my parents, demonstrating a loving relationship and how they worked through problems. That was a blessing. But I have really had no one to turn to or talk to about any disagreements within our marriage. My only option was to turn toward our marriage, talk to Jackson, and work it out solely between the two of us. I believe that has really made our marriage strong. We have worked hard on communication, because all we had was each other, and it has been one Silver Lining in not having parents to talk to.

I have walked a very different parenting path than my parents. I knew I did not want to parent exactly as my parents had. After their deaths, I really felt like we were on our own, and as I had decided to stay home with my boys full time, I felt that it was up to me to do the research, read, be with them and figure out the parenting role. My oldest really helped me find my way with parenting. He was very vocal about what he wanted and needed and that led us to a peaceful, attachment parenting model, for which I am so very grateful. Not sure we would have taken that path if my parents were still alive. I think not having them around to ask questions of, left me, Jackson and the boys to figure it out on our own, and that was a Silver Lining. I love the parenting path we have chosen.

When we left the army, after Germany, we had so many options as to where we would call home. If my parents had been alive, I believe, we would have returned to Maine. But since they were gone, we just felt like the world opened up for us. We had so many possibilities. We chose North Carolina because we both agreed that we each had seen enough snow and winter for a lifetime, but we still wanted a change of seasons. Here I have met so many wonderful people. People that challenge my thinking as well as those that are more like minded. I cherish the close friends that I have and can't imagine life without them. Living in North Carolina also cemented our decision to homeschool our boys. There are thousands of homeschool families across the state, and I can honestly say I have built friendships with other homeschooling families all around NC. There is just such an abundance of homeschool activities and events here. At the same time, as a secular homeschooler, North Carolina has offered me ways of contributing to and supporting that diversity. I am not sure, if my parents were still alive, we would be homeschooling. I would like to think that homeschooling would have entered the picture anyway, but who knows. So living in North Carolina and homeschooling are two more Silver Linings.

So while I would not call the deaths of my parents a blessing in disguise, I can see the silver linings that were created as a ripple effect of those tragic events. Even tough the pain of losing my parents is heavy, I feel learning to live a life without them in it, has opened up so much more, evolved into greatness beyond my dreams, and taken me in so many new and wonderful directions.

Time for you to reflect on pain or problems in your past and see if you can identify the silver linings. If you choose to blog about it or not please leave a comment so I can read about your Silver Linings.

If you would like to read what Nancy has to say about the pain/problems in her life and the silver lining, please visit her at A Present Moment. Thanks for reading and sharing.

Monday, August 18, 2014


I lay in bed tonight just thinking.  Nothing on the TV or the radio, just me in the silence, thinking about a situation and what to think about it, what to do, maybe nothing, maybe something.  Feeling a little lost, and a little frustrated.  And outside the window a bird started to sing.  Just one bird but so piercing, like she was singing "look at me, listen to me, stop thinking and just listen".  So I did.  I stopped all the thoughts running through my head and just listened to that wonderful bird.  I even peeked out the window through the trees to see if I could find where that sweet sound was originating, but no, I couldn't.  Too many hiding places out there. And maybe I was not meant to see where the melody started, but only listen and be carried away on the lovely tune.  Transported to a carefree place, even for just a moment in time.  No worries, no thoughts, no judgments, just being here, now.

Friday, August 15, 2014


Time to think about my week, the ups and downs and what it has meant to my life, as part of the Scattered Life Collective.

Right now it is dark and early (6:06) and I am TIRED, slipped into bed around 1 this morning, and up at 5:30.  May just need a nap later on, haven't taken a nap in years.

So the only thing I hear right now is the ticking of the grandfather clock, and everything is dark outside my window.

I have been listening to Claire Lynch lately, first heard her voice at the Red, White and Bluegrass Festival, held in Morganton, such a lovely voice.  I knew at that time I needed her cd and would go back and listen time and time again.

I am well into the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and it is very raw and revealing.  Someone had mentioned it will soon be a movie, so I am excited about that.  Her story of the death of her mother and how it changed her life is so heart breaking, and truthful.  

Good things this week:  We are planning a couple of vacations we want to take this year.  We have a beach vacation coming up in just a couple of weeks.  Of course I am excited about that. It has been A YEAR (yes a whole year and it feels like more than that) since I have seen the ocean.  Way too long!  My heart is aching to swim in the ocean, but soon, I just need to wait a couple more weeks.  

We also are planning a vacation back to Maine, it will be so nice to see family again.  My boys remember very little about our last trip to Maine, that is how young they were at the time, so they are equally excited.  I want to take them to the Common Grounds Fair.  I remember attending that fair with my parents when I was a child, so it will be nice to take my own children.  My brother and I are planning to get tattoos, that will be fun!

I think our final trip this year will be a trip to Germany.  The boys want to see the Christkindlsmarkt in Germany as Jackson and I talk about how much fun it is.  So I think we are going to hit Bavaria this time.  Maybe fly into Munchen and do some day trips from there, would like to hit the Augsburg market as well as the Munchen one, we will see how that goes, there are so many great things we remember from Bavaria, not sure we can do it all in one vacation, may have to go back again in another year or two.

Another good thing this week was spending time with friends.  I think that is on my "good things" list every week.  It is nice when you have close friends you can spend time with, you don't have to dress up, or hold back the yawn, you can just be completely yourself, laugh, talk and be together.  Had lots of that this week.

Sad things and their silver lining:  Remembering my dad and remembering my dad, both sad and wonderful at the same time.  Spent a lot of time tearing up this week, 17 years 9 months 15 days, it still hurts.

Great change is coming, I can feel it, I can breath it in, let it wash over me and take hold in my life.

Hope you all had a wonderful week!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Love and My Father's Suicide

I wanted to share some personal feelings about suicide, dealing with this first hand, as my father killed himself many years ago. I know I have talked about my father's suicide before but in the wake of Robin William's suicide, I have seen a couple of facebook posts that really bothered me, and rather than commenting on what someone else feels, I decided to post here.

I want to say that the deep depression that leads to suicide is not something that a little love will banish.  It is not something that someone just "decides one day".  I have not done the research nor am I an expert, but I have dealt with this issue first hand.  Implying blame for any suicide, like it is a crime committed against the person taking his/her own life, on those that loved this person, is not the answer.

My mother's tragic death was the start of my father's downward turn.  And believe it or not he had support from the moment of her death, he had LOVE all around him, but he couldn't see it or feel it.  And nothing we said or did helped him see it.  He was blind to everything except despair.  I knew he was in that pit, as did other's, and we tried SOOOO hard to pull him out, but he just wouldn't/couldn't grab the rope. Instead he decided to end his own suffering.  It was his choice.  Survivors, you should not feel, in any way, responsible for another person's actions, you should not feel that you were not enough for that person.  You should also not feel that s/he didn't love you enough, or you did not love that person enough.  I believe it isn't about love. It is deeper than that.  It isn't because the person did not feel loved.  My father knew he was loved, he could tell you that, but his depression was just so great.  Love might not hurt, but sometimes it just isn't enough.  And to suggest that someone who kills themselves could have been saved with more love, is just a slap in the face to all of us who have loved someone that has committed suicide.  Also I want to say, not to stop suggesting that those who are depressed get professional help.  YES link to suicide prevention hotlines, that may just be the rope they grab onto.

I said the same thing when I heard about the death of Robin Williams as I did about my own father's death, "maybe he is at peace now, maybe he is no longer in pain."

Miss you Daddy

Monday, August 11, 2014

Creative Block

Creative block, I was talking about it the other day on my blog.  I was starting things and they were not turning out the way I wanted, I just couldn't seem to get into the groove.

My son was sitting beside me painting on some warhammer 40,000 miniatures, encouraging me, chatting.  I finally just decided to search the web and looked at several web sites on abstract portraits, such as Nouveau Totem and a few pages on pinterest also youtube had videos like Martina Shapiro's.  I was inspired to just give it a try myself. Never really painted anything like this, but thought it couldn't be worse than being stuck, which so far has brought me to 5 layers of "paint-over" on the same small canvas.  This was the final product.  I like her, although at this point she doesn't have a name.  I might try this again.

Friday, August 8, 2014


Wow this week has been full of emotional ups and downs.  The week started me off with lots of energy and drive, lots of things were accomplished, had a wonderful visit with friends and we made paper dolls.  I love my paper dolls, quick and easy but so reflective of me.  Chatting and tea and friends, sometimes I don't think it gets any better than that.  Just a wonderful start.  Then yesterday my energy crashed.  I don't know why, not sure if my body is fighting off an illness.  I don't feel tired, just down.  I painted yesterday, nothing seemed to turn out as I wanted.  Things were not clicking into place.  I felt off, so I took time to just rest, paint, rest some more, not push myself.  Maybe all the social time just drained me, it can, and I know this. My introverted self loves close friends but sometimes it drains my energy, leaving me feeling "blah" the next day.

It is early morning, my time to myself, time to get on the computer, write, paint, meditate, have tea, journal and take care of me.  I love early mornings, watching the sun rise.

Listening to:  I am listening to Rising Appalachia

This music just helps me center myself, brings me back into the hear and now, so much passion in these melodies, such soul.

Reading:  I stumbled on a book at Barnes and Noble, just sitting there on the shelf while I was looking at another book, the cover just caught my eye and told me that I needed to read it, Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  I just started reading the book, so do not really have an opinion yet, just a calling, this is a book I NEED to read.

Not sure what will be on the table tonight:  Possibly some home made guacamole.  That sounds delicious.

Good things: Thinking about our trip East, to the Ocean.  I know for me it isn't far, but it might as well be thousands of miles away.  I can't see or smell the ocean from here, I can only hear it calling my name.  I miss the ocean, I can feel the ocean, I need to be in the ocean.  It will happen only a couple of weeks away.  Looking forward to being one with the ocean is a good thing!  Bright people in my life, my boys, my friends, my husband....those people that add color to my world, support me, that I know are thinking about me as I am them.  Love them, love my life with them in it!  More good things.  Another wonderful conference, August 2 was the day, lots of grateful, energetic, enthusiastic homeschoolers in one place.  It is hard creating a secular space for sharing information, but it can be done, and we are learning to go with what is, reaching for what we imagine. Reaching down deep into my heart and soul, figuring things out.  Lots of good things this week.

Bad things and the silver lining: (Not really BAD things).  The funk I am in at the end of this week. I know it will pass, it reminds me of the here and now, it keeps me grounded, reminding me to care for myself.  It will pass, I just need to let it go.

I look forward to another amazing week living here where I belong, with exactly the people I need in my life. All the possibilities that await.  I hope you all have had an equally grateful week.  Be the blessing in your life.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Foggy Mornings

It is so beautiful out here on a foggy morning.  I never thought I would be saying that, growing up I hated foggy mornings.  Growing up in Maine, it rained a lot, and seemed to be always chilly or just so cold.  I do NOT like the cold, not at all, and add in a damp morning to the cold and it seemed to sink in so deep inside, that I thought I would never be warm again.

But here it is so mysterious and magical.  I love foggy mornings here in North Carolina, and generally the fog only lasts a few precious hours, as the sun rises over the tree line and things warm up all around.

Looking through the fog, for me, is like seeing the world around me through the sheer curtains that hung in my family's living room growing up. The furnace vent was right under that window, so I would sit and warm up while I looked at the world for hours. Here in North Carolina I enjoy sitting by my herb garden watching the fog lift from the pasture below.  Seeing the tree line emerge, and the hills beyond come into view.  Beautiful, refreshing, invigorating, peaceful beginning to my day.

More pictures of my morning.

My outdoor meditation space

Howard doing what Howard does best (isn't he handsome)

I hope your morning is equally beautiful and memorable!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Out My Window

One of my birthday gifts this year, LOVE it!

View out one of my living room windows, I enjoy the comfort of being snuggled by nature.

Friday, August 1, 2014


Jackson making supper for he and the boys.

Reflections on my Week

This has been a busy week.  Once again it is early, today it is 6:04 AM, I have been up for about an hour reading e mails cross checking a few things for the conference and am now onto the fun stuff, writing in my blog, a great release for me.

It is quiet although I can hear the ticking of the clock, the dishwasher whirring and the fans spinning.  I don't like to listen to anything in the morning, no TV on, no music playing.  I enjoy this quiet time as I wake up and get moving.

This week has focused on last minute details for a homeschool conference that a friend and I coordinate, the Love to Learn Homeschool Conference.  Lots of reflection on that this week.  We started eight years ago, creating an inclusive homeschool conference for North Carolina, we are dedicated to it, and passionate about it.  A long journey. The majority of homeschoolers in North Carolina are Christian, but there is that segment of the population that does not want a strictly Christian conference (if they are Christian or not).  So we go to great lengths and take pride in centering our conference on homeschooling, homeschool topics, issues, speakers and not focusing on any religion.  Helping homeschoolers find the information they need in an environment welcoming to ALL. So, at this point, it comes down to the details.  That has taken up much of my week.

I do still make sure to squeeze in that time for myself, to meditate, exercise, work in my journals.  They are such an intricate part of who I am and what keep me going, thinking, and loving.  So those are important, taking care of myself even when I may not think I have time, I know I will make time and enjoy the process.
A friend popped over a couple of days ago, so our children could be the passionate video gamers that they are, and share in that.  It was nice seeing her, and sharing space with her for the afternoon.  Of course our kids had a blast too.  Sometimes when we spend time together we find out just how much we have in common, know what I mean.  Going through some of the same things, just at different points in our lives. We are more alike than different.

I don't know what is cooking today or tomorrow really.  It is a conference thing, these last couple of days my mind goes to conference stuff and meals are last minute thoughts.  I have plenty in the refrigerator so I know Jackson or I will be able to whip something up.  He is actually really good at that, taking what is in the fridge and cooking up something fabulous.  After Saturday my mind will be back, I know it will.

If you would like to share your thoughts about your week, I would LOVE to read.  Please join in the Scattered Life Collective over at Cynthia's Blog. I don't see the link up yet but I am sure it will be soon.