30 day challenge august alcohol detox

30 Day Challenge – August

30 Day Challenge.

As promised in yesterday’s post, I’m back with the announcement of my final 30 day challenge in this year of 30 day challenges.

Each month since I turned 40 I have completed a 30 day challenge. Some have been physically challenging and some have been mentally challenging. Some months the challenge has been a breeze to complete and others have taken extra dedication.

Through it all, the main goal was growth.

That has been accomplished.

August Challenge.

I have come full circle for my final challenge.

The challenge for the month of August is:

30 Days of No Alcohol.

Beer at Paris Cafe

If you’re wondering what I mean by full circle….last August I also went 30 days with no alcohol.

I wrote about the beginning of that challenge in this post.

I shared a little more in detail of what prompted me to go 30 days without alcohol and what I learned during those 30 days in this post.

Flight of beers in Stirling, Virginia

Lessons.

One of the lessons that I took away from the challenge was that by challenging myself, I could grow.

And so began the year of 30 days challenges upon turning 40 years old.

At the time, I didn’t see any major changes by cutting out alcohol. However, when I added it back in, I realized that it did make me less productive. I have a hard and fast rule about not responding to comments after a glass of wine. My concentration levels also go down.

Given the fact that my stress levels are also leading to current bouts of insomnia, this couldn’t be a better time to incorporate this as my final challenge. While I don’t plan on abstaining permanently from alcohol, I do like having this “reset” of sorts as I head toward the celebration of the day of my birth.

I think that even after I turn 41, it is very likely that I will continue incorporating 30 day challenges into my life.

I’ve learned so much about myself on this journey and I’m looking forward to learning so much more in the years to come.

As always, if you feel compelled to join along in this challenge, please do!!

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about

M.I.A.

M.I.A.

I’ve been missing around the blogosphere.

There’s been a lot that I want to share from my earlier travels and I’ve thought…maybe I can get to that tomorrow…and then I don’t.

So today is a check-in of sorts. I’ll probably add some photos from my archives because I can’t imagine one of my posts without photos. However, I still haven’t imported the photos from my three weeks in Florida. That should be a pretty good indication of how chaotic my life feels at the present moment.

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There have been moments when I’ve thought that I should take an extended hiatus from the blog or perhaps walk away altogether, but this space is where I have grown as a person and where I have met so many fascinating people, and I don’t want to walk away from all of that.

I’ve been very open about the fact that I deal with anxiety. I probably even have tendencies toward depression. But mostly when I experience days after days filled with stressors or I am anticipating the next shoe to drop (because of the past cycle of stressors), my anxiety becomes oppressive. I’m not talking about stressors that are likely to be life threatening nor are they just the “where are my keys” kind of stressors.

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My three week trip to Florida was very much about seeing my family and friends, but it was also a reprieve from daily life. I needed some moments to just breathe. My support network in Virginia is not very strong. I suspect much of that is my own doing. I am pretty introverted. I am also the type of person who will call someone up and say “Hey, you wanna go out for coffee or lunch?” not “Hey, I’m really going through some sh*% and could use an ear.”

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about

It was a much needed break.

So where have I been since returning?

Well, I’ve had a sick teen that I’ve been tending. And when I haven’t been physically tending to them, I’ve been mentally tending to them.

Because…

Anxiety.

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Add in that we have a gutted bathroom.

Then add in that Big Mister is replacing our rotted fence and sometimes it requires a second set of hands…mine…

Then add in that school start in two weeks and clothes must be bought. Supplies as well. Food planning must happen. Days must be organized.

And.

More.

Anxiety.

Amy check-in with Yoga Crescent Pose for Yoga Challenge on the beach at sunset in Naples, Florida

I should mention that I do use meditation, breathing, exercise, time in nature, and the diffusing of essential oils to help manage my anxiety. Many times they keep my anxiety at bay. I haven’t been as consistent with any of them because I’ve been consumed with other things.

I will be back on the blog to make the announcement for the final 30 day challenge in my year of “this is 40” challenges. Can you believe that it’s already been almost a year?

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At the end of this week, I am traveling down to Florida with Big Mr. and his friend. Big Mr. plans to meet up with all of his local friends so I will be on my own quite often. I don’t mind. I plan to soak up some sunshine alongside the ocean. Even though I’ve also been less frequent on my Instagram stories, they are a quick way for me to pop in and say hello or share a view so make sure to check those out over this weekend and next week.

Amy Lyon Smith's daughter on a palm tree at River Palm Cottages in Jensen Beach, Florida

As school starts, I will be able to get back to my routines. Hopefully life will settle down somewhat and I will be able to share stories from my travels and what I’ve been up to lately.

There’s been some changes. That’s not always a bad thing.

Some I’ll be able to share and some I won’t.

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In some stories I play the leading role. They are mine to share.

In others, the stories do not belong to me and so while you may get to read some chapters, some of the parts that went into writing those chapters will be private.

Thank you so much for coming along on my journey.

This life is filled with many ups and downs.

My hope is to grow through them all.

Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it. -Kahlil Gibran photoquote

Let your light shine!

Amy

Doors of London II

London.

I know.

I know.

It’s been a while since I’ve been back to share some scenery from my time in London.

If you’re a regular to my blog, then you know that shortly after I returned from the United Kingdom, my oldest teen graduated from high school.  Then the youngest and I traveled to Florida for three weeks. Of course, upon return, much mothering and household responsibilities consumed (and are still consuming) my time.

Here and there I’ve had a chance to catch up on a few blogs. So when I saw that Norm will be taking a two week break from hosting Thursday Doors, I quickly rounded up one of my sets of doors from London to share.

Doors of London II.

My first set of doors was from Belgravia.

If you missed that series, you can find those here.

After grabbing a bite to eat at the Duke of York Square Food Market in Chelsea (no, I haven’t forgotten that I have a funny story to share from there), we got on the Underground at the Sloane Square station.

Notting Hill.

One of my goals during my brief time in London was to see color.

Colored buildings….colored doors.

Color, color, color!

And I had read that Notting Hill was the place to find it.

Directions.

We took the Underground to Notting Hill Gate station.

Google maps was one of my best friends while touring London. Or touring the U.K. for that matter. I put Portobello Road Market in as our ultimate destination. There are also signs around that say “you are here” and the way to Portobello Road Market, but I still like the comfort of having it on my phone.

It started lightly raining while we were still in Chelsea. We had rain coats, but didn’t want to go all the back to the hotel for umbrellas. As such, I didn’t pull out the camera as often as I would have liked. Trust me when I say that Portobello Road has some amazing finds. So many, that even the few that I managed to capture can’t be shared in one post.

Where to begin?

Well, I suppose at the beginning.

 

Portobello Road.

It was a Saturday, so we knew that we wanted to check out the famous Portobello Road Market.

But first, I had to stop and admire some of the doors along the way.

 

#12 Portobello Road.

As we rounded the first corner of Portobello Road, the doors and entries were quite fabulous.

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#14 Portobello Road.

Located beside #12, #14 was quite fabulous as well.

So many people were stopping to snap a photo of #14 that I thought perhaps somebody famous lived here or that it was showcased in a movie. I didn’t find anything of the sort when I tried to search. While it is quite spectacular and I love the addition of the topiaries, of the two, I was partial to #12.

Which of these two doors do you prefer?

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#24 Portobello Road.

Moving along, we come to #24 in its vibrant shade of pink.

I tried to look up shades of pink to be able to offer a name to the color.

Fuchsia? Magenta?

What would YOU call this color?

 

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#28 Portobello Road.

To me, #28 is an interesting combination of color.

I’m partial to the building color. I love a pastel pink. It reminds me of the color that I painted Miss Sunshine’s room when I found out that I was going to have a girl. And would you believe that she has never cared for pink! As a toddler, her favorite color was red. It quickly evolved and has remained in the blue family, in shades of aqua and teal.

What do you think of the blue/pink combo of #28?

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#44 Portobello Road.

#44 is a pop of bold!

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#46 Portobello Road.

Compared to its neighbor, #46 looks almost demure. However, while the door chooses to be understated, you can see that building color does all the speaking.

 

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#58 Portobello Road.

We close out this segment of the Portobello Road series with #58.

I didn’t take the shot of door from directly in front because I wanted to be able to share the plethora of greenery found surrounding it.

Since my maiden name is Lyon, I am also drawn to the the door knocker and statue.

#58 opted to have the door in the same shade of eggplant as the building and tone down the darkness by having a cream colored trim. I think it works nicely.

What do you think?

To be continued.

I do have more photos as we near Portobello Road Market that I’ll share in the future.

Which door was your favorite in this series?

So much of who we are is where we have been. -William Langewiesche

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

Time Marches On

The Evolution of Me.

We are always changing.

Right?

Just by the sheer nature of life surrounding us, it is almost impossible to be stagnant.

I started this blog about 2 1/2 years ago.

As a journey of discovery.

A seeking of who I am outside of society’s definition of me (mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend).

I have been fully immersed in the role of mother for over 18 years. I lost myself in that role because that was role I was and am passionate about. But if you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, then you know my nest will slowly be emptying. The oldest, Big Mr. heads off to his University in a month. Mr. D graduates from high school next spring. And my youngest, Miss Sunshine, starts high school this fall.

I look back over the journey that I have recorded on these pages and I see that I have indeed changed. I have evolved. And yet, in some ways I remain the same.

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Time Marches On.

Time always has a way of marching on.

It has no sympathy for the plights of man.

I last caught up with you all in my Seaside Chat IIIt’s hard to believe that a week ago I was heading out to begin my long drive home after a three week journey to see family and friends.

I left you with the fact that I’d be stopping in Gainesville, Florida for two days to visit family before returning to Virginia.

On the way down, I stayed with Jami (my dad’s sister- on the left). If you’ll recall, we are only 5 days apart in age.

On the return home I stayed with Jenni (my cousin- in the middle). I missed her on the way down because she and her fiancé were in Hawaii (lucky!).

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On Sunday, she hosted lunch and my grandparents came over.

When I was 12, my grandparents and Jami moved next door to us. They lived there until shortly before Miss Sunshine was born. Then they moved near Lake City and I saw them much less frequently. They were surprised to see how tall Miss Sunshine had gotten since they last saw her. It was wonderful to catch up and to laugh as we reminisced over my younger years.

Some of the laughing and joking was about how I was the “alpha” of a specific relative cluster that I grew up around. If you follow birth order traits, it would seem likely this was because I am the oldest of my sibling group and older than many of my cousins. However, Jami is technically older than me.

That never swayed my “take charge” personality as a child and teen.

Interestingly, I don’t see myself in that role in all social groups.

Part of that is because I am an introvert.

You wouldn’t think so when I am around my family.

I AM LOUD.

I use the “Scott” voice. That’s what it’s known as throughout both sides of my family. My mother is an extrovert and has extroverted siblings. They are exuberant when speaking…AND LOUD.

It’s a contagious thing.

Loud voices. Loud laughs. Happiness exuding.

My cousin and I have a running joke about being Grandma’s favorite.

I am the oldest of the females and she is the youngest.

She has “alpha” tendencies too, but we don’t have any frictions and I consider her one of my besties.

She and Jami and known me and loved me through all the ins and outs of my life. Each time we are together, we can easily pick up where we left off.

Emptying the Nest.

After I made it back to Virginia, the next day I went to visit my mother-in-law. She lives about 1 1/2 hours away. She had been keeping our dog for the week because the fence is being replaced at our home (courtesy of manual labor executed by Big Mr.)

On Wednesday and Thursday, we had Big Mr.’s freshmen orientation. If I’m being honest, it was overwhelming. The campus has over 30,000 students. That is more people than our current suburb. At the same time, it is quite exciting to be a part of this journey. I can’t wait to watch it all unfold.

The Passage of Time.

Alas, that isn’t me in the lovely sunset shot. It is a young couple embarking on some level of the journey of their love. They just happened into my frame during my last night at the beach in Naples.

On Saturday, the hubby and I celebrated 20 years since the first lunch date that set into motion this journey together.

I don’t like that I’ve posted so infrequently. One of the lessons I’ve learned during this season of my journey is that my summertimes are filled with times that I need to set aside for motherhood. Things have come up that I have needed to deal with. When I set out on this path 18 years ago, I knew that the walk would sometimes be all-consuming. And sometimes it is.

As I continue to learn, I see that I need to have posts prepared in advance for those moments when I can’t possibly set aside any time during the day because I am consumed by my other responsibilities.

My teens return to school in a month and I will have time to sit down and process photos and gather my thoughts in a cohesive manner.

Until then, I hope you’ll bear with me and continue along with me on this ever-evolving journey.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

Seaside Chat II

The Journey.

My three week journey is coming close to an end.

It is a bittersweet moment as I prepare to leave my parents. I will miss them, but at the same time, I miss my hubby and my two sons.

I wanted to pop in for a quick chat. This post won’t do justice to all that I’ve done since my last seaside chat so I will likely revisit some of the topics in the future.

Seaside Chat. Round 2.

We did do all the things that I mentioned in my last seaside chat. The was an escape room, a celebration of the Fourth of July with food and family. Later in the day there were fireworks. The next day was a giant excursion to Tampa to Busch Gardens. That day was quite eventful!! I promise that I’ll be back to tell all about it. After catching up on some sleep, we had a lounging day on Friday.

I have missed my conversations will all of you. I did try to catch up on my emails and comments on Tuesday, but I still have quite a ways to go.

Mostly, I didn’t want you to think that I fell off of the face of the earth. I am here, but have been soaking up the last of my time with family.

I’ve just finished breakfast and most of my packing. After a quick shower, I will be jumping in the car to head to Gainesville to see family before the long drive back home on Monday.

If you’ve followed my Instagram stories, I shared a tour of the cottage on the day of our departure. I will be adding it to my Instagram highlights. There is also a small car tour of the streets where I grew up, which is much more inland than the beach.

Where the water pools along the ditches and in the low areas of the yard during rainy season.

Where the frogs sing their lullabies in the darkness.

Where the alligators roam the canals and the box turtles make their way into your yard.

Where the cypress trees indicate swampland that waist high in water during rainy season and completely dry ground in the dry months.Where the palmetto bushes, slash pines and oak trees are added by nature and the palm trees are added by man.

I leave you with last night’s sunset as seen from my childhood home.

Let your light shine!

Amy

30 Day Challenge…July

30 Day Challenge.

I can’t believe that I’ve made it to month 11 in my year of 30 day challenges.

If you are new to the blog, I have been doing a 30 day challenge each month since I turned 40 last September. They vary between physical and mental challenges, but are always meant to encourage personal growth.

July Challenge.

Normally, I announce my challenge prior to the beginning of the month.

However, I am on vacation and most of my days have looked like the photo above. That view makes it hard to think about little more than staying in the present, soaking up the beauty and tucking it away for me to draw upon on the days where I’m not so happy with what life is throwing at me.

A reminder of gratitude.

A reminder of my happy place.

The place where my soul feels at ease and the pace of my life slows.

The place where procrastination is almost a given.

The Challenge for July is…

A 30 Day Fitness Challenge.

 

Since I’ve been lounging for a large part of June, I thought that I’d take on another fitness challenge.  Last night I dug around on Pinterest to find a challenge that would work with the fact this I am still traveling and that when I return, I have two full days of college orientation with Big Mr.

I’m a little nervous about the amount of push-ups because I have shoulder issues, but I did make it through the plank challenge. 

If you are interested in joining in the challenge, you can find the infographic here on Pinterest. Or on this Fitbit page, which also shows you how to do each move.

I’ll still be lounging at the beach for the next week, but I’ll be fitting in the pieces of the challenge as well.

I hope that your July is off to an amazing start!!

Look closely at present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming. -Alice Walker

Let your light shine!

Amy

Seaside Chat

Friday.

It’s technically Friday, although I struggle to keep track of the days.

I suppose this is sort of like a Friday Faves, but as I mentioned in Tuesday’s post, it’s more like a seaside chat.

Seaside Chat.

Miss Sunshine and I moved into our little cottage last Friday. We are some blocks from the beach, but I’ve timed it and it’s about a 7 minute walk.

Sunset.

I’ve been able to get down there most nights for sunset. The two that I’ve missed were due to rain, not laziness on my part.

The colors in the sky are always spectacular, even on the less than stellar sunset nights.

Dinner and Dancing.

My aunt that traveled to Scotland with us last year has joined some social groups and on Wednesday they go to a restaurant that has a live DJ/singer and dancing. She invited Miss Sunshine and I and my mother to join her. The singer was crazy good. I had to do a double take to make sure that he wasn’t just playing music.

Miss Sunshine declined to join us in dancing, but the three of us got out there and “shook our groove thang”.

You might be wondering about that spectacular bruise on my arm. If not, I’m gonna tell you about it anyway. While traveling down, Miss Sunshine and I stopped for gas and a bathroom break. The door to the stall was somewhat unwieldy and as I turned to close it, the purse hook scraped my arm.

It was enough that I thought I’d bruise since I bruise so easily. However, the scrape covered less than a dime sized spot. I did not expect a bruise so large. It’s so glaring that every single family member has asked what happened AND I’ve gotten to sport that monstrosity at the beach for a week. It’s fading, but it’ll still be a while.

Biking.

The cottage has two bikes so Miss Sunshine and I have done some exploring on them.

Paddleboard.

We brought our paddleboard down with us. The Gulf is pretty calm at this time of year so it’s been fun to take that out.

When we were down on Wednesday, a manatee came swimming along the coastline and later we could see a dolphin out frolicking and heading toward the pier to catch the fish that congregate there.

Shopping.

Yesterday, Miss Sunshine and I did a little shopping for her school clothes. Then we met my mom and sister-in-law for lunch. Later, we went to both of my aunt’s house to visit. Today, we will go visit my grandfather and tonight will be meeting one of my aunt’s at the beach to watch the sunset.

It sounds like go,go,go…and sort of is, but there are moments of relaxation as well. I’m still finishing up my month of writing and just realized July is almost upon me.

Time to figure out my challenge for that month. Any suggestions?

Upcoming.

Along with more family visiting, we have some upcoming fun times in the works. We are supposed to go to an Escape Room. We have a family dinner out planned with my parents, my brother, my sister-in-law, and my two nephews. We’ll be celebrating the 4th of July. How and where is still in determination mode. We are also taking a day trip to Busch Gardens to seek out some thrilling roller coasters. I’m sure I’m leaving things out, but we will also stop once again in Gainesville on the return home and I will see my grandparents and my cousin that I couldn’t catch on the way down.

I’ll also be making sure that I try to catch as many sunsets at the beach as I possibly can!

As I mentioned before I began this trip and as I’m sure you’ve noticed, I am slow on my replies and making it by to read what many of you have been up to. Most of my evening downtime is spent chatting or playing board games with Miss Sunshine. I will get through my emails and comments, just bear with me in the process.

I hope that you all are having a beautiful Friday!

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Let your light shine!

Amy