Saturday, July 27, 2013

Renovate, Resuscitate

Oh, boy, have I been busy this past week. Not that I had actually planned to get into the whole home remodeling business. It's just that when you give a girl new flooring, she'll have to paint the baseboards and trim. And if she paints the baseboards and trim, she'll also want to paint the walls (and try nine sample colors in the process). And if she paints the baseboards and trim and walls in the kitchen, she'll want to paint the baseboards and trim in other rooms, too. And then she'll start painting doors and shelves and even the dogs if they didn't scurry out of her way quick enough.

So, now, I need some resuscitating. And being here, with you, is how I chose to resuscitate myself. 

Did I say already how much I enjoyed the quaintness of Mackinac Island? Oh, the bikes! They don't allow cars on the island, so visitors have four choices: walk, ride bikes, ride horses, or take a horse-drawn trolley tour. Needless to say, there are plenty of opportunities to photograph bikes. I just wish I could have moved them a little to the left or right, or closed a door behind one. That kind of thing.

After seeing so many bikes,
I really, really want one of my own.
With a basket.
And flowers.
Just sayin'.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I Thought of Cheryl and Pushed On

Have you read the memoir, "Wild," by Cheryl Strayed? It's about her quest to hike the Pacific Coast Trail - by herself - when she was in her 20s. She planned the trip pretty well. She had packed resupply boxes and left them with a friend to mail to towns along the way. She packed PLENTY of gear in her monster backpack. But in reality, she wasn't prepared for such a daunting task. Challenges pursued her relentlessly, yet she kept putting one foot in front of the other as she tried to reach her goal.

I haven't done anything quite that challenging, but I did have to pull from the book last Sunday when my husband and I went kayaking on a lake. Silly me did not wear sunscreen; I thought the chance of rain would keep the sky cloudy. And while we had a little head wind on our way to the other side of the lake, the tail wind I was expecting wasn't there when we made our return trip back to the dock. 

It was a big lake.
And I was hot.
And my arms were tired as I paddled my way across the lake.

That was when I thought about Cheryl Strayed and how she tackled that trail. Sometimes you have to dig deep and sometimes you have to dig even deeper to get where you're going. You have to quiet the voice in your head - you know, the negative one that tries to tell you that something is too hard or difficult to accomplish. Instead, you have to tell yourself that this, too, can be done.

My challenge was rowing across a lake. I got sunburned. Nothing else. But it still helped to think about Cheryl and how she propelled herself forward day after day.

If you haven't read 'Wild,' you might want to give it a look. You won't want the journey to end. I promise.

Here are a few photographs I took on my little kayaking adventure. (Oh, and while kayaking in a lake keeps the whole put-in, take-out car puzzle simple, I will never again take the flow of a river for granted!)

He was taking a photograph, too

His view:

I think he's developing quite an eye for this!


Friday, July 19, 2013


We thought we would be escaping the heat when we flew to Michigan this past week, but instead I guess some of it sneaked into my suitcase and hopped out the minute we landed. Other than that minor little flaw, I have to tell you that this past week was a perfect near-end to my summer. 

Our first stop was Mackinac Island. It was a photographer's dream if you like taking pictures of bikes. Oh, and sailboats.

While we were there, we got to see the cousins.

Hannah likes to think of them as her little brothers. I think she would hide them in her suitcase and bring them home with her if they would fit.

We're home now, so that means sifting through the photos, unpacking, and (yikes) even painting my kitchen next week. And catching up with blogs. It seems like it's been forever!

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I Spy....

Remember playing "I Spy?" when you were a kid? My daughter and I would play that game every time we ate at a local 'home-style' restaurant when she was little. With heaps of vegetables on our plates, we would take turns saying "I spy something.... " until the other one guessed it. 

The other day, I spied a cluster of Black-Eyed Susans basking in the golden sunshine.

 And last year I spied this sunflower doing the same thing!

What have you spied lately?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sometimes It Takes More Than Willpower.

Sometimes it takes common sense.

I say that because today I was super stubborn and wasn't going to go down without a fight. I had big plans. I was going to take the kayak out to the lake by myself. I managed to haul it up to the top of the Escape and connect one of the straps to secure it. I was feeling pretty good by then. But the other strap just would not work even though I messed with it and fussed with it and fussed at it.

In the shade or in the house. Click. It worked.
In the hot sun where the Escape was parked. Nada. Zip. 

Early on, my husband called and suggested that I just put the kayak in the back of the SUV and let it hang out of the back window. No. I was not going to give up. I liked those jazzy straps, and I didn't want those straps to get the best of me. I wanted to win.

So I kept at it. For two.long.hours.

I finally texted my husband and told him I had five more minutes of patience. After that, I was through. And that's when he pulled into the driveway.

I showed him what a great job I had done on that first strap. It was perfect. It had clicked into place and the back of the kayak was secure. And then I showed him the other one. Slack. Listless. Not performing adequately at all.

And then I watched common sense take over. He moved the back seats out of the way, took the kayak off the roof of the car and slid it through the back window. 

Just like that. Within minutes. My battle was won. Not by sheer willpower and stubborn determination. Nope. By common sense. founder and CEO Jeff Bezos summed it up pretty well for me....

"If you're not stubborn, you'll give up on experiments too soon. And if you're not flexible, you'll pound your head against the wall and you won't see a different solution to a problem you're trying to solve." 

I met that wall today, so thanks, Jeff (and hubby). I'll try to remember that.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Finding Peace

I hijacked my daughter's iPad and played with the drawing app. (I've decided to gift her with a stylus as soon as I can.)

I finally had to give up on drawing her eyes open with just my fingertip. After many do-overs, I had to settle for this expression. When I looked back at it, I decided that she looked content. And it got me to thinking.... Feeling content with one's life has got to be one of the greatest joys we can hope for.

So, I hope you find your peace today... that you soak up a giant amount of contentment. It may be easy to grab hold of, or you may have to dig deep to find it. But I hope you experience it in spite of what life throws at you sometimes.

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Here's a great question

for procrastinators or for anyone else who is a little timid about jumping into something new....

Sometimes when I hear that question, I shrug my shoulders, not yet ready to jump in. At other times, it plants itself a little more firmly in my mind and gives me a glimpse of what could happen if I actually immerse myself into all of the potentiality that exists. If I actually give my ideas the wings they need to fly.

At other times, it nudges me in another way. Like, 'If I don't fold the clothes now, when will I?' or 'If I don't cook dinner now, when will we finally sit down to eat?' (Which is very helpful when you're a procrastinator or are busy editing photos on your iPhone.... just sayin'.)

This photo is one I took last year when we were in Jamaica. It was dusk, and this one guy was about to venture into the ocean.... He had been waiting all week for the conditions to be safe enough, and that night, they were.

My husband joined him for this adventure. 

I stayed on shore. To take pictures. The ocean was a little too dark and creepy for me by then.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

I Recycled...

this 4th of July card because I still have
a baby bird nesting on my front porch. 

And that's okay this year.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Things I Learned in June

1. Saturday mornings don't get much better than when I'm kayaking down a river. Having my daughter spend that time with me makes me smile.

2. I'm going to miss my daughter when she heads off to college in another year. She began babysitting full time this summer, so this is the first year we haven't spent our summer days together. (She says she misses me, too.)

3. Knowing that a friendship is over isn't so bad when you think about what a friend is supposed to be. It took other friends to help me realize that. (Thank you!)

4. Renting a beach umbrella and chairs is so worth the price. How else would I be able to hear the sounds of the ocean, read a book, and not have to worry about those pesky UV rays.

5. Learning to let go and let God take care of things is getting easier, but it's still a struggle for me sometimes. As my daughter gets older, I've had to let go a bit.... Part of me wants to keep her close by my side, forever. But the bigger part of me wants to see her become the independent woman she is meant to be. Knowing God is there for both of us makes it a bit easier.

6. It's okay to relax and do nothing sometimes. During my summer break, I tend to feel guilty if I'm not always doing something productive. I've realized that I need this down time to re-energize for the school year. It's soul-feeding time.

7. Serving my family is fulfilling. I've never been much of a cook, especially since my husband does most of the cooking during the school year, but this summer I have really enjoyed trying new recipes and taking requests for favorites. In the past, cooking seemed like more of a chore. In June, I realized that cooking tasty meals is a gift from me to my family.

I've linked up with Relyn at Come Sit By My Fire and Emily at Chatting at the Sky for "Things We Learned" posts. I would love to see what you learned in June if you'd like to share!