18 Years Later... And Still Doing Life Together

18 Years Later…And Still Doing Life Together

I’m still running around like crazy trying to plan for our first overseas trip.

BUT…

I wanted to pause for a moment.

To pause and acknowledge the man who has stood faithfully by my side for the past 18 years of marriage. To be thankful that he is with me on the journey of raising teenagers.

To stop and smile because he still has my heart.

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Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. -Ruth 1:16

When we stood before our pastor, our friends, our family, and our God and declared our vows 18 years ago, we had no idea what was in store for our future.

We didn’t know that we would have three children. Or that there would be two boys and one girl.

We didn’t know that we would move from our first home in Naples,Florida. First to a new city in the center of the state, and then to another city on the opposite coast. Or that we would then cross many state lines and settle down for this season of life in Roanoke, Virginia.

We didn’t know that we would experience heartaches, sicknesses, and deaths.

We didn’t know there would be moments that would test our commitment to each other when life became hard. Those moments when it would be easier to walk away. Those moments when you don’t agree on how life should be done.

But it’s there in those vows.

…for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.

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Marriage is a commitment.

Each person growing and changing.

It takes a choice. Both people have to make that same choice. The choice to stand firm in the words that you spoke.

To find harmony in the ebbs and flows of life.

To love greatly and deeply.

My husband has stood faithfully by my side through my edges of depression, through my moments of anxiety.

He has been my encourager when self-doubt begins to creep in and I begin to tell myself that I am not enough.

He reads my words. He looks at my photos. He believes in me even when I don’t believe in myself.

He helps me feel a sense of security when he wraps his arms around me or when he calls me “sweet love”.

He knows me. He sees me. And he chooses to love me.

This is not to say that he is perfect, but this is the place where I share who I am, not everything about those who choose to be a part of my life.

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He puts his family at the head of the line.  I don’t know if our children see that now.  Teenagers are fickle beasts. But someday they will know how deeply he loved them and how he has made sacrifices to give them all of the opportunities within his ability to offer.

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He has been my partner, my helpmate, my lover, and my friend.

I can’t imagine doing life with anyone else.

So I close this moment of pausing in gratitude for the man who brings spontaneity, laughter, and joy into my life, by sharing this song:

Happy 18th Anniversary to the man who makes me smile at least once a day.

I hope that you all find some smiles in your day!  Offer some of your smiles to those you pass.  You never know what kind of difference you may make.

We all are a little weird. And life is weird. And when we find someone with weirdness whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutual satisfying weirdness - and call it love - true love. Robert Fulghum quote

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

 

Spring is here: Virginia

Spring is Here : Virginia

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No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow – Proverb

Thank goodness!

I’ve been waiting patiently for some green to begin sprouting.

And finally… Southwest Virginia has obliged.

 

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Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. – Laura Ingalls Wilder

There are vibrant greens reminding me that spring is a time of new growth.

This spring I am growing…. branching out in new ways…starting with my first overseas trip in a week and a half. Amsterdam and Paris are that much closer to having my all of my senses take in their beauty.

 

 

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In winter, I plot and plan.  In spring, I move. -Henry Rollins

Like the brand new shoots on a tree, I am determined to press through into new growth and emerge as an evolved creation.

One who doesn’t let fear create stagnation.

Who are you and what do you know of the world if you stay in your little box?

I understand that this is fine for some.  In fact, this is joy for some.

For me, I want to experience the world. To see things that I have only imagined. And this requires pressing outside of my comfort zone.

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To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Just as my yard retains the remnants of fall and winter, I too retain what those seasons have taught me.

Fall has taught me the wonder of letting old things go.  It taught me that change can bring about the most beauty.

Winter has taught me to be grateful.  Grateful for the warmth of a fireplace and cozy blankets. Grateful for the blanket of snow that covers all the ugly and makes it beautiful.

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No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. -Hal Borland

And now Spring.

With its tiny buds shooting forth here and there.  The vibrant pink that will give way to the green leaves that will emerge on this tree.

I will continue to grow.

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Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own. – Charles Dickens

The blossoms on the crabapple tree in my front yard.  It’s weeping willow style branches  reminding me of an aging grandmother .  Standing there despite its decay, producing beautiful blossoms.  Soon little apples will follow and the deer will come to feed.  A circle produced before my time in this home.  This tree who keeps offering what it can.

I want to be like this tree.  Changing the world in the most imperceptible ways just because I have done what I can to make a difference.

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The beautiful spring came; And when nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also. -Harriet Ann Jacobs

I stood below this dense canopy of blooms, reminded that we are all a part of the whole.

Our choices have a ripple effect.

What do you choose?

Do you choose kindness? Generosity? Compassion?

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Where flowers bloom, so does hope. – Lady Bird Johnson

Each individual CAN make a difference.

Even if it is a smile you offer. Even if it is a helping hand. Even if it is a kind word.

You can make a difference.

You can make the world a little better.

What are you going to do to change the world?

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

I am afraid to show you who I really am, because if I show you who I really am, you might not like it...and that's all I got. Sabrina Ward Harrison quote

Nobody Said Parenting Teenagers Would Be Easy

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Nope!

I’ve never heard it said.

I had thoughts for this post that began to take shape during my shower.

Anyone else have this stream of thoughts when they’re in the shower? Or when you are awakened at 2 in the morning by thoughts?

Or is this just me?

The first two lines of my poem on Tuesday were 2 A.M. thoughts. There was probably more, but I cannot ever pull myself awake enough to grab a pen and paper.

I wasn’t going to write this post because I keep trying to put my blog into a box. And every time I try, my thoughts try to claw their way out of that box. And still, I wasn’t going to write. Until I read this post. I stumbled upon Dee’s blog early in my blogging journey. God has a way of using her posts to get right at my soul. And today’s was no different.

Any other day, I would have just nodded my head in agreement as I read along.

But today… it is to write… to be vulnerable.

Nobody says that parenting teens is easy.  Or even that parenting, in general, is easy.

But with teenagers the message is cryptic.  What do you mean, not easy?

Well I’ll tell you why it’s cryptic.

Because when you are parenting teenagers, there is this fine line between your life and their’s.  And their life has an right to some level of privacy no matter what you’ve chosen for your own.

But I will tell that it is one of the most exhausting seasons of my life thus far.

Moments of being thrust back into the insecurities of my teenage years. Moments of “oh no, they are too much like me” and others of “oh no, they aren’t like me at all”.

When they aren’t actually deeming the need for you to be worried about them, you are worrying about when the next time will come that will deem your worry.

And I’m not talking about major life-altering situations.  Just daily life.

The choices they make each and every day.

I’m not saying that this is everybody’s experience.

This is mine.

I work in a very internalizing way.  I overanalyze. I have a need for control. I don’t like chaos.

None of these are wonderful elements to my personality when dealing with teens.

Teens with minds of their own. Teens who are trying to find their independence. Teens who are figuring out their place in the world.

Raising teens has also made me, at moments, feel like I am at sea…alone.

I feel this need to portray that everything in life is smooth sailing.

To brush off the moments when life feels overwhelming.

To hide the moments when I wonder if I will make it through this season.

I realize it doesn’t have to be that way.

Pelicans in flight… Pt 2 . .Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too a high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. -Ralph Waldo Emerson . . . . . #fiftyshades_of_nature #sheisnotlost #wearetravelgirls #travelgram #travelblogger #travelawesome #instatravel #destinationearth #roamtheplanet #optoutside #birdsofinstagram #pocket_beaches #pocket_allnature #rsa_outdoors #ipulledoverforthis #naturehippys #naturelovers #livefolk #lifeofadventure #liveauthentic #stayandwander #visitnc #exploretocreate #beachvibes #staysalty #modernoutdoors #forgeyourownpath #thehappynow

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I truly believe it takes a village to raise children.  In a lot of cases, that is your surrounding family.  But when you don’t live near them, like in my case, you have to build a village.

Finding that village requires vulnerability.  For a person who rehashes everything they’ve said and wonders if it “came across the way it was meant” or if they were “too open” or “not open enough” this can be very hard.

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And it takes time to build a village.

Because you need to feel like you trust the people in your village.

Trust them to care for you.  Trust them not to judge your parenting skills. Trust them not to judge you if your child makes a poor decision.  Trust them to share in your journey.

There are no perfect children.

There are no perfect parents.

Just imperfect people trying to figure out the world as they move along in it.

I love my children fiercely.

I am their biggest cheerleader.

I have no doubt that we will look back at this season and share many laughs.

Because even in the midst of the daily challenges, there is laughter and there is love.

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Your story is important.

There is a village willing to listen.

It may require you stepping outside of your comfort zone to find them.

But they are there.

Waiting to embrace you.

Waiting to walk alongside you.

If you haven’t found them yet, I wish you great speed in the journey.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

 

 

 

Rumi quote "Don't you know yet? It is your light that lights the world.

Atop the World

How’s the view from atop the world?

How’s the view when everything is going your way?

A smile on your face?

A kind word on your lips?

A light shining for all to see?

How’s the view when you’re all alone?

How’s the view when life is caving in?

Do you still radiate the light of a thousand suns?

-Amy Lyon Smith

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It’s springtime!

A time for new beginnings.  A time for new growth.

A time for being finished with being sick (I’m crossing my fingers for that one.  I’m finally on the mend.)

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The loop road on the Blue Ridge Parkway that leads to Roanoke Mountain has finally opened again and daylight savings means later sunsets.  I haven’t been up there yet, but I’m hoping to get back up there sometime in the next week so I can capture some more sunsets like the two above.

The first photo is from my hike to Dragon’s Tooth . If you missed that post, you can check it out here.

I’ve realized that springtime will be extremely busy for me. Soccer…Vacations…Prom… Parenting teenagers in general.  More than anything I need to be fully present during this time in their lives. My first and foremost job is mothering my children through this rocky, crazy, all-consuming phase of teenage years.

As such, I will probably be scaling back from posting  3-4 days per week to 2 days a week, over the course of the spring.  I want to leave enough space to still have time to communicate with all the wonderful people I’ve met through Blogging, Instagramming and other social media outlets.

If you aren’t already following me on Instagram, you can find me here.  I usually post a photo a day over there. 🙂

Looking forward to sharing my crazy, jam-packed spring with all of you.

And catching and spreading a little sunshine along the way.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

In Search of Simplicity

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about simplicity.

Actually I’ve been thinking about it steadily for over a year.

I heard about the KonMari method around that time, even talked about it here.  I’m a KonMari dropout… I made it through books and clothes, maybe even dabbled into the next section…and then nothing. I love it in concept, but I did not follow through.

I also have certain Feng Shui principles that I have applied to every house since the early 2000’s when I learned them.

  • No mirrors in my bedroom (we started with the one that was attached to the dresser).
  • No TV’s in any bedroom (although the kids seem to have finally gotten around this one with laptops).
  • The bed positioned so that the feet do not align with the exit of the door (and placed in whatever is the commanding position for the room. Typically it is a place where you can see whoever is coming in the door).

There are similar principles that I apply to other parts of the house. Mostly keeping in line with you being able to see what is coming at you.  I think they make sense because I think our natural instincts are to be aware our surroundings and alert to dangers.  There are plenty of other principles. I mostly apply what I have found to create a more comfortable environment.

Feng Shui also relates to simplicity because clutter stops the flow of energy.  Clutter distracts.  Clutter creates disharmony in my spirit.

And yet, my house is still full of it.

I am not a good housekeeper.

It is not a trait of mine that I admire.  I have spoken about my lack of skill in the past. I have shared how easily distracted that I tend to become.

I’m always trying to weed out, to minimize, to simplify.  I have this compulsion that I feel like it’s essential to my growth as a person to complete this task.

I don’t want to be a slave to my possessions. I don’t want to continually clean my home (and it still look like I’ve done nothing). I want to invite a friend over for coffee and not race around hiding debris (to be clear, I doubt any of my friends would care.  This is self-imposed). I want to hang out more with my kids…spend more quality time with my husband. I want to find moments to “just be” and not feel guilty about all the chores hanging over me.

I can see why there is a tiny house movement. 500 sq ft or less is a little too intimidating for me.

But I could downsize.

Lower overhead. Less to clean. Less places for clutter to hide.

I could totally downsize.

Which is a huge eye-opener for me. I have steadily picked larger and larger homes…and now I want to revert to something more akin to a bungalow (with terrazzo floors and retro bathrooms if I were still by the Florida seashore).

I am not sure minimalism is fully what I’m aiming for, but it does give me ideas for my process.  Since the beginning of my journey, I have been seeking simplicity and contentment.

 

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Hygge has become the new buzzword in simplicity.  And of course I only heard about it a few months ago, which I shared here. (As a side note: I was really hoping that my DNA test would show that I was more than 5% Scandinavian.  I was sure that my big hands, big feet, and broad shoulders were because I had an ancestor that was a Viking Princess!)

I decided that I would put some hygge and simplicity books on hold at the library.  Imagine my surprise when they all came in within a few days of each other.

This means that I will be stepping up my reading game.  The Hygge books and The Joy of Less are only two week loans because they are new.  Which also means that somebody else will probably have them on hold and I will not be able to re-check them out.

In what little I’ve read, I haven’t found hygge to be about the “less stuff” side of simplicity.  It seems to me to be more about the “being present” and “content” side of simplicity.

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And cozy.

Cozy is a word that surrounds the concept of hygge.

I like cozy.  Especially because I don’t like cold.  The hubby bought me L.L. Bean slippers for Christmas so my toes don’t turn blue (like literally…I have Raynaud’s). They remind of little elfin boots…which I find hilarious since I have large feet.

I’ve read that bedtime rituals help prepare your mind for a better sleep.  I still haven’t eliminated blue light time in bed (I check my phone…not so good for sleepy time), but I do put on a lotion that’s scent triggers my brain that it’s time for bed.

I am on the slow road to simplicity.  But I am moving ever forward.

Do you have any parts of your day(s) that help you to find more simplicity?

If so, be sure to share in the comments.  I love learning new things!

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Let your light shine!

Amy

Tha Best! Kombucha hand crafted in Floyd Virginia

Farmer’s Market & Winter Weather

Copyright © Amy Lyon Smith.  All rights reserved.

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Do you ever have plans and then life throws a wrench into them?

If not, then consider yourself lucky.

The girlie came home sick on Friday, proceeded to run a fever most of the weekend. She attempted school yesterday. Made it two hours. I was on snack duty for the soccer game, but that got cancelled due to the impending snow.

It was a good thing though because I awoke on Monday to my ankle hurting. I have no recollection of twisting it, but realized by the afternoon that it was quite swollen. I’m following the RICE method, but monitoring it since it came out of nowhere. And there aren’t any indications of external cuts for infection.

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Add in the two hour school delay for what turned out to be a dusting of snow….

Needless to say, my house looks like a tornado and a hurricane met up and had a baby.

So what do you do when that’s your reality?

Hobble yourself into Panera to meet your girlfriend and commiserate about the weather (we are both Florida transplants).

That’s why you get my photos of Carolina Beach, North Carolina. I’m living vicariously through them. 🙂

This is where you belong the art and science of loving the place you live by melody warnick book cover

But I am really trying to embrace the Virginia weather. Okay, maybe not really. I’m counting down the days until spring.

6 Days.

I hope Old Man Weather gets the memo that no cold is allowed to happen once we reach that magical date!

If you caught last week’s Friday Faves, then you’ll know about my newest read. I’m about 75% of the way through now. Melody Warnick offers lots of ways to “Love Where You Live”. I mentioned the 3/50 project in Friday’s post. Another that she mentions is the Farmer’s Market. She says there is a tendency for more interaction, more community in the way a farmer’s market is set up (i.e.-multiple vendors…etc).

I love her statistics that if the residents just here in southern Virginia would agree to spend 15% of our weekly food budget on locally grown food products, it would generate $90 million in new income for area farms! Local money that then usually stays local, generating a stronger local economy.

Prior to reading that section of her book, I happened to go to a Wellness expo at the Farmer’s Market, which is held at a local nursery, this past Saturday.

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I found quite a few wellness goodies that I’ll be sharing this upcoming Friday. The one perishable that I picked up was this Kombucha. I am a big fan of Kombucha.

Locally produced makes it that much better.

The distance to Roanoke, Virginia from Floyd, Virginia is about 42 miles.

The distance from a “big name” brand Kombucha, that I drink, to Roanoke is over 2400 miles.

Another plus was that I got to talk to one of the owner/brewers of Tha Best! Kombucha. She let me try samples before I committed to the Lavender Lemonade. Then I added a bottle of Winter Chai after learning that some of the flavors are seasonal and this would be the last week for Winter Chai. The containers are refillable and certain flavors are on tap at a variety of locations nearby. Their Facebook page lets you know what flavors will be available at the upcoming Farmer’s Market.

 
So when I then read about how there is a chance to embrace where you live by regularly frequenting the local Farmer’s Market, I could definitely see how becoming a regular face stopping by these vendor’s tables would lead to mutual interaction. A way to be a part of your community. Possibly leading to you feeling some place attachment for your locale.

I admit that I have a tendency to forget about this Farmer’s Market and the one held in downtown Roanoke because they were not commonplace where I lived in Florida. Plus, I’m very bad on the “meal planning” spectrum. I was surprised at how many crops there were given that it is still winter. I plan to take more notice of those on my next return.

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One positive of the wrench thrown in my plans is that sitting around on the couch lets me catch up on my reading! 🙂

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Let your light shine!

Amy

Jessica Kirkland quote about daughters on a Naples Florida sunset background

Thoughts on International Women’s Day

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I’m gonna be honest.

When I woke up, I did not know that today was International Women’s Day (even though I wrote about it here last year). I have a hard time keeping track of more than Christmas and birthdays (this is a slight exaggeration…but just slightly).

Every morning I wake up to the sounds of birds singing. No, really! It’s just that they come from my phone. I use the bedtime setting on the iPhone 7plus and one of the choices is birdsong. Although, sometimes there are also real birds singing. One weekend, I wondered why I had set an alarm and realized that it truly was the birds outside singing me awake.

I digress.

I usually take a quick scan to see what came through on my Instagram overnight, before rolling out of bed to make some coffee. One of my lovely Instagram friends, Cate, who lives in beautiful Italy, had tagged me in a post wishing a Happy Women’s Day.

You can read all about how the day came to be, here. I was surprised to learn that the day had been around since the early 1900’s.

I have watched the movie, The Suffragettes, which I think was eye opening for me. And while it specifically refers to those women in the U.K., the same call for rights was taking place in the United States. You can see that on this timeline that I found on the National Women’s History Museum website.

By the time I was born in late 70’s in the United States there were many rights which had been fought for and won. And I, being on the receiving end of those benefits, took the hard work done by those before me for granted.

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Most of my college was covered through an academic scholarship and financial aid. But one scholarship, which I used for books, was through a Women’s Club. I knew I was eligible because I was a female and why it was important to promote females pursuing an education. I was 16 and naive about the world. I didn’t understand the depth of its purpose.

The other side of selfie with the girlie. #carolinabeachboardwalk #carolinabeach #beachlife #selfie 📷:my hubby

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At that time, I did not have aspirations to change the world.

My biggest prayer was to become a mother.

And I became one. To three different loves of my life.

Missing the beach 😢

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The last one, my only daughter.

And I began to think about her future and what her life should be able to look like.

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That she should be free to choose to become whoever and whatever her heart desires.

To dream big dreams.  To set her sights on the stars. To achieve her goals.

That there should be no limitations to what she can achieve solely because she is a female.

I want her to be more than I ever imagined that I could be.  I think that is the wish on any mother’s heart… for any child they have… male or female.

I pondered my dreams for her in this post.

And then I wrote a love letter  for her 13th birthday, pouring out my heart’s wishes for her to always stay true to herself.

No matter who the world says she should be.

Because it will try!

I love that she has dreams that I never dreamed.

She has been a soccer player since she was 7.  You might remember from this post that this year was going to be a big change due to a decision on age brackets by U.S. Youth Soccer. I won’t address my thoughts on it all, but will just say that having major upheaval and complete change to your known and comfortable existence…. is not the best thing for a 13 year old female.

Or any 13 year old for that matter!

Our oldest son was 13 when we moved here and it took him a while to find his “tribe” and enjoy living here.

Last year the girlie was a manager for the middle school soccer team and this year is eligible to play.  So this spring, on top of her travel team, she will play for the middle school.

And I will be the willing chauffeur, because as it says in the photo above… I love watching her do what she loves.

In my Friday Faves, I shared how she wants to become an Engineer. I realize she is young and that may change, but I am grateful that she was born into a time and place where that dream is possible.

So today, I am grateful to all of those who have fought, and continue to fight, for a woman to be seen as an equal.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Please note: Since the fact that Women’s Rights unfortunately deal with politics, instead of just being a natural part of life, I realize some people may want to make political statements.  I prefer love, light, and kindness. I don’t discuss politics on here and any negative, name-calling, or hateful comments will be removed.