What's Up Lately Episode 005

What’s Up Lately Episode 005

What’s Up Lately.

Episode 005.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since I was here with my last update.

That update coincided with my husband’s birthday.

Smith Mountain Lake.

We decided to rent a boat and spend part of the day cruising around Smith Mountain Lake.

The lake is the largest man-made lake in the state of Virginia.

It has 500 miles of shoreline.

So while we did lots of exploring, we were only seeing a tiny portion of all there is to see.

We decided to anchor in a cove to see how cold the water was. If you know me, you know the cold and I do not get along AT ALL. Even the Atlantic down in Florida is often too cold for my liking. I jumped in once but quickly climbed back out. It wasn’t the cold, but the eerie feeling that some lake monster might be hiding in the depths ready to eat me.

The average depth of the lake is 55 ft with a maximum depth of 250 ft. I’m a Florida girl and lakes mean alligators.

My rational brain said it was much too cold for that, but the irrational part said there were still unknown large animals down there. I got in once more and swam out to my husband. The water was very cold, but I could have acclimated. The depth and unknown still freaked me out and so I climbed back aboard the boat and basked in the sunlight on the bow.

I think I could get used to the scary waters. It’ll just take some time.

Do you ever frequent lakes? What’s your take on them?

Soccer Tournament.

The following weekend, Miss Sunshine had a soccer tournament in Virginia Beach.

Virginia Beach is about a 5-hour drive from Roanoke. It’s the farthest that we typically travel for a tournament. However, we always stay oceanfront so it’s a fun time.

Miss Sunshine and her team won the championship. That was despite being down a few girls who couldn’t make it and then down a few more due to injuries sustained during the weekend.

Since it is such a long drive home and there was school the next day, the team didn’t stay for the medaling ceremony (that would have added many more hours to the day).

There were plans to get their medals at practice that Wednesday.

However, rain canceled practice.

Flash Floods.

On Thursday, Hurricane Michael made its way to Roanoke.

I’ve shown you all the dry creek in my yard before. Any time it rains heavily, the creek runs with the water draining down the mountain. If you look into the background of the photo, you will see the row of Evergreens that we planted a few years ago. There is a road behind them. That road is covered is flash flooding water. The road to my driveway was covered in flash flood water.

You may have seen photos on the news of Roanoke covered in flooded water.

This photo is early into the flooding. Shortly after this, I was pacing the floor. Mr. D has early release for Seniors. I didn’t know if his Mustang would make it on our street. At the time, I had no clue what the rest of the county looked like.

About 15 minutes after the early release Seniors left school, I received a call that they were immediately releasing the schools due to increased flooding.

Mr. D made it to our neighborhood entrance, but then could tell that he would not make it any farther. He turned around and called me to pick him up at a nearby office parking lot. I took out the Jeep. Leaving our neighborhood, rocks had been pushed across the road and a car had been pushed to the side as well. The jeep had no problem making it across the rocks.

I picked up Mr. D and then had to make my way to the high school to get Miss Sunshine and Mr. D’s girlfriend. Many of the roads that we would have normally taken were closed due to flooding. Even the one that Mr. D had made it through 20 minutes earlier had a car submerged to its headlights. We finally made it to the girls and slowly made our way back through traffic. What normally is 20ish minutes round trip was over an hour and a half.

When I left, I didn’t know if the flooding would continue to get worse. However, the rain slowed and had receded from many roads by the time we made it home.

It was a mentally taxing afternoon, to say the least.

GoFest.

The Roanoke Go Outside Festival was this weekend.

After all the craziness, I was ready to go walk around, listen to music and drink a few beers with my husband.

It was a good ending to the week.

How has your week been?

Part of her mystery is how she is calm in the storm and anxious in the quiet. -jmstorm quote

Let your light shine!

Amy

What's Up Lately episode 004

What’s Up Lately Episode 004

What’s Up Lately.

Episode 004.

I can’t believe it’s already Monday morning!

I got out of bed at dark thirty (technically, dark fifteen). Miss Sunshine takes her math and engineering electives at a different school. They are on block scheduling, so every other day I must drive her to her high school where she catches a bus to other high school. That high school starts an hour earlier than the standard high schools.

Did I mention that I am not a morning person? So I’m definitely not an even earlier morning person.

Fall.

I have noticed that the sun is rising later each morning. Now on those days, we leave while it is still dark. Anyone else live where they are beginning to notice that happening?

Saturday was the first official day of fall.

Yay for crisper weather and lovely autumn colors.

Boo for shorter days.

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Rain.

Last time we talked about what’s up lately, I was expecting rain.

The rains came.

And came.

And came.

School was canceled last Monday due to possible flash flooding from Hurricane Florence. The hurricane shifted farther westward so we did not get as much rain as we originally anticipated.

It’s been a very wet season in Southwest Virginia. This summer has reminded me of living in Florida, without the perks of a beach.

Travel.

Big Mr. (my oldest) was planning a trip back to Virginia from Florida. He had to wait until the storm fully passed. He began his drive on Wednesday. The GPS routed him away from the roads that were closed, but he did say that you could see water covering and flowing across side roads.

It will be quite some time before the Carolinas fully recover.

Migraines.

If you happened to see my Instagram stories, then you already know that I spent Wednesday and Thursday dealing with migraines.

My migraines are the type that begins with an aura.

Or that is how its officially described.

To me, it’s like a kaleidoscope or that haze that gas fumes create swirling in my peripheral vision. Over the course of 20 minutes, it will make its way across more of my visual field. If possible, I prefer to sit with my eyes closed during the process because otherwise, my eyes will try really hard to focus and will lead to a leftover feeling of eye strain.

I’m lucky in that at the first hint of visual disturbance, I can take ibuprofen and stave off most of the pain that would occur afterward. While I do have a feeling of heaviness or brain fog afterward, I don’t have to go into a dark room and lay down. However, each of those days I had two instances of the visual disturbances, leading to a feeling of low-grade nausea.

I don’t know my triggers. I definitely think anxiety plays a part, but I don’t think it works alone. It’s quite possible that it is affected by something in the air. Yesterday, I felt some pain in my ear (usually a sign for me of allergy issues) and this morning can feel a sinus pressure.

Pinterest and Posts.

Between the migraines and a variety of mentally tasking other things happening in surrounding life, photo editing was not on the table for the week.

Instead, I worked on creating new boards on my Pinterest page. I was pinning travel to one board and it was becoming rather large. I’m slowly breaking it down into regions of the world. It’s still a work in progress, but I’ll be able to find the itineraries and ideas that I’m looking for more readily.

I’m also looking through some of my older posts (mostly travel posts) to see if there are changes that I’d like to make to them that makes more reader-friendly. Part of the growth process in my writing is that I’ve developed an understanding of how I like a post flow as I read it and am trying to implement that into my own work.

Creating photoquotes is a process that I really enjoy. While I often include them at the end of my posts, you may have noticed that on Tuesday I shared one as a standalone post. I’m considering making this a regular thing since this creative endeavour brings me happiness.

Soccer.

Miss Sunshine is still busy with soccer.

She had a home game on Saturday morning.

Her team maintained its undefeated record.

More Rain.

Her away game on Sunday was canceled due to more rain across the region.

We were under flash flood warnings Saturday evening. The creek that runs across our property is dry unless it rains or as the snow melts in the winter.

It was rushing so heavily through that on this upper end, it was overflowing the banks a little.

Full Moon.

Have you seen the moon getting brighter and brighter in the night sky?

Given that today is a full moon, I thought I’d leave you with this quote for the day.

There’s just something about it that I love.

I hope you have a beautiful Monday. I’ll be heading to Pilates shortly.

Tell me what’s up lately in your life. Hopefully lots of amazing things!

 

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Let your light shine!

Amy

What's Up Lately Episode 003

What’s Up Lately Episode 003

What’s Up Lately.

Episode 003.

I’m sitting here on a Sunday morning waiting for the storms to roll in.

I hope that you’re having a lovely Sunday.

This past week has found me returning to some moments of self-care.

Pilates.

If you’ll recall from my last update, I was on the final push for decluttering and some deep cleaning. Since it includes scrubbing baseboards and mopping wood floors amongst other things, I ended up not going to my Pilates classes.

This week, not only did I attend Pilates, but after each class, I spent some time in the steam room. Over the summer, on the days that I was able to make it to Pilates, I was always in such a rush that I needed to leave directly after class. Taking the time to go to the steam room made me feel like I was finally making some time for myself.

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Hair.

It was also time for my six-week refresher on my cut and color.

I used to go sooo long between hair appointments because I felt guilty about taking time for myself and the cost involved in having my hair highlighted.

Around the first quarter of this year, I started booking my next appointment while I was there getting my hair done. This made all the difference. Now I show up every 6 weeks. I catch up with my hairdresser and leave there feeling beautiful.

Falafel.

We are still trying to eat closer to vegetarian. I was telling my husband about this wrap that I had in London where the main ingredient was falafel. Also, over the summer, I met a friend at a fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant in Naples and had falafel. Then Joey was talking about falafel, so we looked it up and found that the same Mediterranean restaurant was in Roanoke.

It’s called Zoe’s Kitchen. We went to dinner there and had the Mediterranean Trio bowl with falafel. I knew that it would become my husband’s new favorite style of food to eat.

I was right.

I may try to recreate these “bowls” at home.

Have you tried falafel? Do you have any good Mediterranean recipes to share?

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Sunrise and Birthdays.

Wednesday was my birthday.

I wrote a post about turning 41. If you missed it, you can find it here.

It’s amazing how much difference a year can make. Last year, my family had just ridden out Hurricane Irma. I detailed the experience from my end in this post. At the time, I wasn’t sure if my mother would have any cell service to be able to get through for her traditional singing of “happy birthday” to me. She did end up finding a sliver of a signal and was able to sing to me.

This year, no storm was looming across Florida and she called to sing to me. She followed up with a gorgeous shot of the sunrise that was seen on her way to work.

 

 

German and Birthdays.

Big Mr. has decided that he would eventually like to visit Germany. In preparation for that, he has started to study German every day. He is using the DuoLingo app that I used during my month of working on Spanish.

He did call me to wish me a happy birthday. Then he followed up with a text in German. While I suspected what it might say given that it was my birthday, I do not know German. I ran it through Google translate.

Isn’t Google translate amazing?!

Birthday Dinner.

Originally, I thought I’d be sitting near the fields and reading a book while Miss Sunshine had soccer practice. However, the rain had left the fields saturated and practice was canceled. We decided to set reservations at this fancy Brazilian restaurant that overlooks part of town.

I’ve only had a martini once…a chocolate one at that…and I don’t think I liked it much. My husband had one (years ago…before I knew him) and didn’t think he liked it that much.

However, this restaurant felt like stepping back in time and we decided that it called for trying a martini. I opted for one that was called “sunburned” and he went for a classic. Mine was okay but definitely strong. I tasted his…and omg…it tasted like straight gin. We decided it was a fun to drink out of the fancy glass, but we probably won’t be ordering another one anytime soon.

Ancestry DNA.

Recently Ancestry.com had a sale on their DNA kits. We asked our teens if they’d like to take the test just for curiosity’s sake. They all did. Miss Sunshine’s came back last weekend and the boys came back on Thursday. Ancestry has an update where they refined the ethnicity due to more reference samples. Miss Sunshine just got in under the update and so we are able to see both estimates. Even though they arrived the same day, the boys were processed after hers and I can’t see what the estimate would have been under the old testing.

The results were not that surprising, but I have a variety of thoughts regarding the outcomes. Be on the lookout for a future post on that.

Photography.

I also found my way back to one of my loves this week.

Photography.

I began working on editing my photos once again. You may have seen some of them on Instagram.

This one is of Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

Hurricane Florence.

Our family normally vacations at Carolina Beach, which is just outside of Wilmington. North Carolina has obviously taken the brunt of the hurricane.

I spent part of this week gathering supplies for the arrival of Hurricane Florence. At one point, it was estimated that Roanoke could receive 10-20″ of rain. Our grounds are already completely saturated from prior rains.

The estimate has gone down as the storm has pushed westward. However, they are still expecting some flooding due to the rise of rivers and possible mudslides on the mountains.

I hope that you are not in the path of the storm and that the sun is shining brightly wherever you are.

 

Let your light shine!

Amy

Thoughts on turning the page...to 41.

Thoughts on turning the page…To 41

 

Birthday.

That’s right!

It’s my birthday!

I’m singin’ and dancin’ that out ya’ll!

Thoughts on being 40.

I had an amazing year of being 40.

I grew by leaps and bounds.

Pressing comfort zones both physically and mentally.

It really felt like a coming into my own.

Background.

If you are new to my journey. I’m the mother of an 18-year-old, a 17-year-old, and a soon to be 15-year-old. When I chose to become a stay-at-home mom at the birth of my oldest, I gave myself fully to that role. That is not to say I didn’t feel like a failure a million times along the way or that I didn’t make a million mistakes along the way.

Cause Lord knows that I sure did.

It just means that I didn’t take the time to discover who I was outside of that role. I guess some people might say that I lost myself. I don’t really see it that way. I made choices. And my choices were of fully immersed service to others (I am heavily Virgo, so no real surprise there. If you are interested in astrology, I can tell you that I’m also strongly Leo and Libra…so again, no surprise to my personality traits).

However, I saw the horizon looming where my teenagers would spread their wings and journey away from that daily need of me being involved in their lives. It began to be time to think about the next phase of my journey. What would that look like? What were my interests?

…and so I started this blog.

As a way to discover my interests. As a way to journal the journey. All the while trying to remember to also enjoy the now. To find that beauty that resides amongst the chaos.

Discovery.

I found photography. I found travel. I found yoga…and pilates. I found concern for the environment.

I found beauty in my strength.

But I also found beauty in my weakness.

I am a human. Just one among multiple billions. I am the same. And yet I am unique.

On Turning 41.

I chose the photo of me taken during my yoga challenge on day 18.

It represents so much of who I became over the course of turning 40.

Travel.

I am on the rooftop of Princes Street Suites (remember the views that I shared from there in this post?) in Edinburgh Scotland. This was my second visit to Scotland and only 13 months after my very first overseas trip (to Amsterdam and Paris).

Yoga and Pilates.

Boat pose, or navasana, requires core strength. It is also executed in my Pilates class when coming out of the rollover. Finding a fitness regime that I enjoy has been amazing for my health. Now I feel stronger than I have ever felt in the past.

Self Confidence.

Originally, I didn’t want to take this photo. Usually, the rooftop is rather quiet. However, this night there was a large group. “Creating a scene” makes me feel uncomfortable. But, my mother, ever the extrovert that she is, convinced me to get up there and “strike my pose” anyways. There was a time in my life when no matter how much my soul cried to just go ahead and do it, I would have still declined. So while it did take a little prodding, I was also listening to my instincts which really wanted this sunset as the backdrop for one of my favorite poses.

Here’s to 41.

While some people will say that it’s all downhill after 40 (and yes, I have heard this), I say it’s only just begun.

So here’s to 41…

Let’s see what the future holds!

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Let your light shine!

Amy

What's Up Lately Episode 002

What’s Up Lately – Episode 002

 

What’s Up Lately?

Episode 002.

Since I’m mostly popping in with updates, it doesn’t feel right to call them “Friday Faves” and also they may not always fall on a Friday.

Today, however, it does.

And since I need different titles…

Episode 002.

Secretly I’m hoping that Episode 007 will have something really exciting to share. Because with a name like that, it has to be intriguing.

Right?!

Life has been a whirlwind and this will only be a quick update.

 

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Court.

On Friday, Mr. D and I had an appointment at the courthouse.

In Virginia, there is a licensing ceremony in order to receive your official driver’s license if you are under a certain age. I’m not really a fan of the process. He’s been able to “officially” drive since he was 16 and 3 months.

That was 9 months ago.

You get a postcard telling you when you have the ceremony.

That came 8 months after he started driving on his own.

I understand that the purpose is to tell you all about how it is a privilege to be able to drive. And I don’t really hate the process for that. I just don’t like the fact that in order to be to the courthouse on time for the ceremony, he had to leave school an hour early….during his AP Calculus class….to sit in a courtroom for an hour and hear about statistics and rules (such as curfews and passenger limits) that he already knows. Plus I had to sit there..my second time hearing the same thing…and I have one more to go.

I don’t like courthouses.

Like some people don’t like walking in hospitals (which, by the way, I love) I don’t like being in a courthouse.

Maybe I was tried unfairly in a past life. Who knows? But I had to rush home and get ready to head out for the weekend.

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Labor Day Weekend and Soccer.

As most of you know, Miss Sunshine plays travel soccer in the fall. This means that there is a tournament around most major U.S. holidays.

This past weekend was no different.

It was nice that we only had to drive to Greensboro, NC. That is only two hours away. A few of our tournaments are closer to a four-hour drive.

Miss Sunshine and I headed down on Friday night. She had an early (ish) game and we wanted to be able to come back to the hotel between games.

There ended up being a lightning storm so severe that the second game had to be canceled. Luckily, we hadn’t left the hotel yet. Some people we know were at the fields and it took them an hour to get out of the parking lot!

The photo is from our room on the 12th floor. There are mountains above even the ones that you can make out through the haze. That’s how dense the fog was during the storm!

They had to do a point system to keep the tournament on schedule. That meant her team was in first for their group going into the semi-finals. They won and advanced to the championship game.

That game ended in a tie and they moved to PK’s. Her team has an amazing goalie (and players who can make a shot) and they ended up winning the championship.

Flowers! For Me?

My girlfriend sent me a text on Wednesday asking if I was home because she wanted to drop something by.

It was flowers!! It really made my day. Little did she know that I had some things going on that day which felt quite stressful.

They definitely lifted my spirits.

How can you not smile when you have sunflowers smiling their cheerful faces at you?!

Birthdays.

I’ve talked about my dad’s youngest sister extensively on the blog. She’s only 5 days older than me, which means that we were practically like sisters growing up.

Today is her birthday!!

Which also means… it’s only 5…more…days…until mine!

Decluttering.

I’m doing what I always do as I head into my birthday season.

Decluttering.

That’s mostly why I’ve been MIA. I have set myself a deadline on the new moon on Sunday.

New moons are a time for beginnings.

I am clearing away the old to make room for the new.

And right in line with my list-making Virgo ways, I have a schedule to keep with this timeline.

Today I mop the wood floors and declutter the paper mountain that’s been collecting.

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Silly Selfie.

I’m not going to show my piles of work to do or the mountains of things I’ve purged, so instead, I leave you with another silly selfie from the archives.

I hope you have a great weekend and start some beginnings of your own.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

Lately

What’s Up Lately

 

What's Up Lately

What’s Up Lately?

Life.

It’s taken all the little snippets of time that I could steal away from daily life just to pop in here and share a photo for the past few weeks. I figured it was time to fill you in with “what’s up lately.”

Missed those? You can find a Naples, Florida sunset here, Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland in this post, and a Stuart, Florida sunset in this one.

While life isn’t necessarily settling down any during the present time, I wanted to catch up a little.  The last time I sat down for a chat was at the end of July in this post.

Change.

I talked about how life had brought about some changes and that I was heading down to Florida for a week.

Currently I'm only accepting good vibes and money graffiti.

Good Vibes.

For a while I let the chaos of change get to my emotional state. My personality prefers control and order and life was just not handing me that.

However, during my time down in Florida, I began to again refocus on the good vibes. Usually, if you look for them, some can be found in every situation.

My commentary may make it sound as if I thought the changes were a bad thing. I did and do not. It just required the reworking of plans and creating of solutions. Things that I’m good at, but that are also mentally (and sometimes physically) intensive.

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I moved to Virginia 5 years ago. Before that, I spent 3 years living in this town, after a lifetime (from birth) in a city on the other coast of Florida. Naples, to be precise. All three of my children were born in Naples and yet this is the town they consider home. So much so that the oldest is moving back. It’s moments like this that I can see why. 🏠🌴🌊☀️ • • • •#sheisnotlost #beautyinthechaos #stayandwander #dreamchaser #sunset #sunsetchaser #discovermartin #itsamazingoutthere #neverstopexploring #tlpicks #natgeotravel #theskyisonfire #beautifuldestinations #roamtheplanet #darlingescapes #travelstoke #traveldiaries #doyoutravel #optoutside #wearetravelgirls #wanderfolk #thehappynow #fromwhereistand #saltlife #naturehippys #visitflorida

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Moving Time.

If you caught this post on Instagram, you may have already guessed one of the changes in my life.

Big Mr. is moving to Florida.

If you’ve been reading my blog for some time, you might be like “wait…what”.

Yes, my oldest child is moving back to Florida.

Dock in Downtown Stuart, Florida

Sometimes I’m asked how I feel about that.

It may be something I address in more detail in the future, but at the same time this is also one of those stories where you can read various chapters, but the story is not mine.

As for how I feel…

I will miss my son. 800 miles is a long way away.

I’m excited for him to begin this adventure into adulthood.

I’m jealous that he gets to live by the beach.

I’m proud of the fact that he found the courage to get off of the “supposed” to train and then climbed aboard the “want” to train.

(p.s.- I love this picture of him with his best friend down at the Stuart docks because that cloud looks like a Stallion rising…ready for the wild unknown).

He’s been home for a week and I have him for one more week before he moves.

First Day of School

Back to School.

I had to beeline it back home after a week down in Florida (that’s 12 hours just in drive time y’all…and I did it in one day).

Big Mr. stayed another week, but I wanted to make it home to see the other two teens off on their first day of school.

Mr. D is now a Senior in high school and Miss Sunshine started her Freshman year.

Eeek! Where does the time go?

Beginning of the bathroom remodel

Bathroom Remodel.

The upstairs bathroom remodel is ongoing.

This is a sneak peek of it in process. It’s a little further along now.

I design. The hubby executes my vision.

This means that projects take longer to get done because…ya know….he has a full-time job as well.

I’ll do an update when it’s complete.

Mr. D age 5

Birthdays.

Last Friday, Mr. D turned 17.

I still cannot believe it.

I was reminiscing over his old photos since recent ones are rare. This is from around the time when he was in Kindergarten.

And yet, I’ve just had his Senior photos taken!

The time truly does pass in an instant (even though it doesn’t feel like it when you are going through it).

Soccer day

Soccer.

Soccer mom in full effect.

Miss Sunshine started back to practice with her U16 travel team.

Last weekend they had a season opener tournament and played four games, each ending in a shutout.

Thus, they were the U16 Champions!

My weekends (and some weekdays) will be filled with soccer all the way until Thanksgiving.

Snapchat selfie

Selfie.

And in case you’ve forgotten what I look like since I’ve been in hiding (just kidding…sort of), here’s a silly selfie from my time in Florida.

I hope that you all have an amazing weekend and that brightness shines into your soul during the coming week.

Let me know what you have been up to lately.

It's okay to get lost every one in a while. Sometimes getting lost is how we find ourselves. -Robert Tew

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. (anxiety)

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 since 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 have 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

Time Marches On

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 the 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

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.

Family Time.

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.

The Cottage.

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.

Where I’m From.

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 the 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

Seaside Chat

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