Starting Over…

Yes, it’s true, I feel like a slacker. It’s been over a week since my last blog post. Life’s been busy! Last weekend I drove for 28 hours within a 38 hour time frame. I didn’t mind though. I was headed to pick up my oldest son from college, so the drive was fun. It was great to see him and to bring him home to be with the family again. My younger children are thrilled to have their brother home and so are we.

Yesterday, I finally ventured out for a walk to see how my leg & back were holding up. If you’ve been reading my blog then you know that after I finished my P90X Challenge I injured my leg. What you probably don’t know is that as soon as my leg healed, I injured my lower back. Both injuries have taken time to heal. It was difficult in the beginning and I ended up re-injuring myself on a couple of occasions by exercising before my body was fully healed. I finally conceded that I needed to listen to the doctor and let my body rest. It’s been hard for me to let my body rest as I feel like I’m going backwards in my efforts to get in shape. I’ve finally reached the point where I can begin exercising again and I feel as though I’m starting over.

This time I’ve decided to take things a little slower in the beginning. My back injury was extremely painful and I’m a little hesitant to push myself too hard at first. I definitely don’t want to endure that kind of injury again.

I’ve decided to mix things up a bit in the beginning and will not be as strict with myself for the first few weeks until I’m sure my body is fully prepared for the intense workouts of P90X. I’ll toss some of those in, but will most likely begin with walking and interval running to see how my body reacts. Once I’m sure my body is fully healed I’ll begin P90X again. I loved those workouts and want to get back to them soon.

With all that being said, wish me luck as I start over…

Thank Goodness For Cell Phones & Skype

My daughter tells me that Adalynn wants to sit up all the time and be part of the "action".

All I have to say today is that I am so grateful for cell phones & Skype! It has made “keeping in touch” so much easier. It’s hard to be a new grandma and live so far away. Skype has been fabulous in helping me to not only see and talk to my daughter, but to see my granddaughter as she is growing up. My daughter and her husband have been wonderful about texting me almost daily photos of my granddaughter and it has been wonderful to watch her grow and change through the photos. Sure, being there in person would be better, but at least being able to see her smiling face every day makes it easier. This post is just a quick reminder to those of you out there who have family living far away that a simple text photo or skype session can do wonders (or a blog post with photos) for those who don’t get to see you often.

It doesn’t have to be a baby that causes you to keep in touch. We have also been able to Skype with my son who is away at college. Technology can be a wonderful thing when used correctly. How do you stay in touch? Do you use Skype or something else like it? Do you text photos to family or friends far away? Has it helped you to feel closer and share more activities and events with those you love? How do you use these tools to stay connected?

Bright Spots In My Day

This post will be short and sweet. Yesterday I took a quick glance around the yard and snapped a few photos of some colorful flowers. I am constantly being surprised by new flowers and colors in the yard.

I noticed this beautiful flower as I drove home the other day. As I was pulling up to the house I saw this bright spot of PINK in the yard and had to take a closer look…

The arbor near our front door is finally covered by the clematis and the bright flowers are bursting open every day. I love the contrast of the green leaves and deep burgundy color of the flowers against the bright white of the arbor…

The flowers that have been growing on my deck for what seems like months have finally burst open. I still have no idea what they are and have not taken the time to look them up. They have grown so tall that my son and I had to tie a string around them to hold them up. They provide lots of color to our outdoor eating area…

What new things have you discovered in your yard lately?

The Cat That Has Captured Everyone’s Heart

How can you resist eyes like these?

Okay, I have to admit right off the bat that I am not normally a cat lover. In fact, I have severe allergies to cats. It is for this reason that you will rarely find me petting a cat. Sure, they are cute and cuddly, but whenever I pet one I start sneezing and my eyes start itching. In truth, my reaction to most cats is caused by the known effect they will have on my ability to breathe properly.

A few months ago, we had a visitor in our yard. He seemed friendly and cute. He began to greet me on the porch every day when I arrived home. Within a matter of days he began to greet me as I left in the morning as well. Soon enough, my children and husband started commenting on the friendly little cat and we all began to wonder who he belonged to. Whenever we were outside, there was the cat. He seemed to think that he lived in our yard. We would find him climbing our trees, or more often than not, hanging from a branch as he struggled to hang on. It actually became quite comical. He didn’t seem to mind the fact that our dogs were barking uncontrollably through the door and windows at him. In fact, he found it rather interesting and became quite curious about them.

As I was getting the mail one day, one of my neighbors happened to comment on the little cat (who at the moment was following my every footstep). It seemed my neighbor had also had quite the greeting from the little guy. We commented on how friendly he was and who he might belong too. The next day, another one of the neighbors commented about the friendly cat as well. It seemed no one knew who he belonged to. Each person I spoke to in the neighborhood talked about the little guy with fondness.

Tucker seems to live in our yard most days...we're actually okay with that.

About a week later, we were out working in the yard when my son sat down on the grass and began to play with the cat. You see, he had continued to distract our attention as he climbed, hung, and repeatedly fell from the branches of the tree in our front yard. We were all laughing by this time at the cat’s antics. My son soon called out, “Hey, his name is Tucker!” We all turned and asked how he knew the cats name. He then told us that the cats collar had a name tag on it. I’m not sure why none of us thought to look before, but we were all delighted to finally have a name for the little guy.

We finally discovered who he belonged to and realized that our home was just an extension of his own. My husband, who has never been a cat lover, actually said to me one day, “You know, I actually like Tucker.” I looked at him, with surprise on my face, and replied, “Are you admitting that you actually like cats?” His reply was this, “No. I’m only admitting that I like THIS cat.” We both laughed knowing that for the first time, our hearts had been captured by a cat. Not just any cat, but a cat named “Tucker.”

On those rare days when I arrive home without a greeting from Tucker, I enter the house feeling as though something is missing from my day. I actually look forward to his greetings. Yes, I receive lots of licks and loves from my two dogs as I enter the house, but somehow, with Tucker my day is complete.

Now, my blog post would not be complete without photo’s of our two dogs, Teddy & Tyko. I find it fitting that Tucker has a “T” name as well and fits right in with our other pets. He’s not frightened by Teddy & Tyko and actually finds them amusing. Teddy & Tyko on the other hand are not so sure about this little cat who has taken over their front yard.

Teddy is the "Protector" of the house and is a great watchdog. He is very loving and always sits at my feet no matter where I am.
Tyko is the "Playful" one and will play catch & fetch for hours on end. He never gets tired from playing and will continue to bring the ball back to you long after you are tuckered out.

Who greets you at the end of the day? Do you have a favorite pet? Our dogs, Teddy & Tyko, complete our family. They are always there to say “goodbye” in the morning, and they are always there to say “hello” when we arrive home. Regardless of how our day has gone, they are always happy to see us and show their love for us. They are sensitive to our moods and happy to just sit with us when we are down or need someone to talk to. They always listen and never talk back. Their love is unconditional. I think there is something to be learned from the unconditional love and acceptance we receive from our dogs. Perhaps we should all be a little more like them…

A Cruise Around The Lake

Unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera with me tonight. Rather than post without a photo I thought you might enjoy this beautiful photo of Mount Baker.

As I stepped onto the boat I was grateful the sun was beginning to set. The weather had been perfect today with beautiful blue skies and temperatures nearing 80 degrees. The temperature seemed absolutely perfect tonight for a cruise around the lake with my husband. As I reached up to grab my sunglasses off the top of my head and slide them over my eyes, my husband turned the key and the engine roared to life.

We cruised at a gentle pace through the cove as I took in the landscape around me. Sleeping peacefully on a nearby dock there must have been at least 30 ducks. As we cruised past I wondered why they all chose to sleep on that particular dock when there were so many others available. I guess that old saying, “Ducks of a feather flock together” applies to their sleeping habits as well.

Once out of the cove the engine roared as we picked up speed and began our journey around the lake. The familiar faces of the homes dotting the shoreline brought a smile to my face. They were familiar to me and I enjoyed passing by those that were homes to families I knew. This was my home. Well, at least it has been for the past 18 years. Sure, it’s grown in size but for the most part it’s retained its small town feel.

I don’t get out on the lake often but when I do I love the view. As I sat on the boat, and took in the view around me, I took a long, deep breath of fresh air. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky as the sun began to dip in the west. To the east I could see the majestic snow capped mountains and the gentle rolling hills around them. These were familiar sights.

I find it oddly comforting to know that I can always tell which direction I’m facing by the mountains I see. To the north is Mount Baker and to the south Mount Rainier. The east brings the Cascade Mountain Range and the west the Olympics. Today, as I traveled around from work to home, I was able to view them all. This is always comforting to me.

I’m not sure why I love the mountains of the Northwest so much, but I do. To me they are like a compass, pointing the way, just as a lighthouse is to a ship at sea. They stand firm and strong, immovable in their place. Their snow capped tips glisten in the sunlight and whisper, “We are here. We are always here to guide you home.” It is here, nestled among the mountains, that I feel at home.

There are certain locations around the area that have become my favorites over the years. The mountains are ever present and seem to surround me in those places. Whenever I pass through them I am at peace, at least for the moment. I don’t share them with anyone, for oftentimes I am only allowed to drive through and am present for only a moment before having to continue on. I can’t describe with words what I feel as I enter, or oftentimes just pass through these places. On a clear day, I can feel the anticipation as I approach one of these places, for I know the view will be magnificent. Sometimes, I catch only a glimpse, but that is enough to bring a smile to my face and peace to my heart.

As our cruise around the lake was coming to an end tonight I sat peacefully on the boat drinking in the majestic mountains to the east of the lake. The sun had dipped low in the sky and the air was still warm from the heat of the day. The boat swayed gently upon the waves as we drew closer to our final destination. I drank in the view one last time before heading in for the night.

I found it oddly comforting that while I had looked forward to my cruise around the lake, it was the mountains that drew my attention most of the time. It was with that thought on my mind that I stepped off the boat and onto the dock. As I looked across I could see the ducks still fast asleep on the neighboring dock. They seemed oblivious to all that was going on around them. Night was drawing near and they had tucked themselves in for the night. It seemed like a good idea as we headed home ourselves.

What is it in your life that gives you direction and brings peace to your soul? Just as the mountains are my “compass” for locating where I am physically, we each have an internal compass that can help to guide our life and the choices we make. Do you follow that compass? Or, do you test the waters and stray in various directions, hoping to find your way? Sometimes, you just have to be still long enough, for the needle to point in the right direction.