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 in to my own.

Background.

If you are new to my journey. I’m the mother to 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 know 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 roll over. Finding a fitness regime that I enjoy has been amazing for my health. Now I feel stronger that 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 on 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.

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 you 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 a 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

What’s Up Lately

 

What’s Up Lately?

It’s taken all the little snippets of time that I could steal away just to pop in here and share a photo for the past few weeks.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

They were the U16 Champions!

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

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.

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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

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

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

Friday Faves Edition 66

Friday.

It’s Friday and as promised, I’m back!!

Last Friday, I was preparing to watch my oldest son graduate from high school!

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Friday Faves.

Sometimes the term Friday Faves doesn’t seem quite the accurate statement. I definitely have some faves to share, but I also have things that are not faves (far from it, in fact) that I need to talk about as well.

Life.

A conversation about life…my life…the lives of others…life in general.

Before Graduation.

Leading up to Big Mr.’s graduation, our schedule was pretty chaotic.

Mr. D had a random schedule because he had some finals to take and they are given in two hour windows.

Miss Sunshine had an 8th grade field trip to Washington D.C. on June 5th. We had to have her to the school by 4:45 a.m., with a “planned” pick up time that night of midnight. The best laid plans…right?! I know that they can’t calculate traffic and never come back at that time. We had Big Mr. on standby to pick her up. I stayed awake, but barely. She got in about 1:00 a.m. Her English teacher had told them there would be a quiz the last day of school, so she chose to go in for that morning block. I’ll refrain from publicly making commentary on my thoughts surrounding the situation.

My parents got in Wednesday afternoon. We took them up to the Roanoke Star on Thursday and then Thursday night, I took them on a drive through downtown Roanoke. Mostly we stayed around the house visiting.

Dress Rehearsal.

Big Mr. tried on his cap and gown for us and my mom and I snapped a few pics. There are some that are quite hilarious because his attention span for photos is rather short and he starts being silly to indicate “enough”. I’m sure if he could have gotten away with wearing flip flops to his actual graduation, he would have.

Graduation Day.

While he did wear khakis, boat shoes, a dress shirt and tie to his graduation, his one claim to his own personal style was the necklace.

The necklace is a strand of cedar beads. That is what I was told they are called when I bought them from a roadside stand in Arizona on my honeymoon. I purchased them because they keep nightmares away and while they were worse in my 20’s, nightmares are a frequent part of my dreams. In digging around, it seems that the necklace is mainly known as a Navajo Ghost Bead Necklace and is made from Juniper Berries.

Big Mr. was wearing them because he’s been wanting to rock some beads recently, but it still felt special because even though I purchased other jewelry and pottery on my honeymoon, this is the once piece that I bought because of the story behind it. While I don’t sleep in necklaces (I have a fear of strangulation) and so didn’t advocate it for my children, I did hang them above the bed of one of my children when they were having night terrors.

The beads are also thought to represent an interconnection of the earth, trees, animals and humans and bring harmony and safety to the wearer. What a perfect thing to wear on such an important day. One teacher did suggest he remove them, but he just tucked them in a little.

Party Time.

In my past, I used to host our entire family in Florida for parties. It felt a little strange that it was only my parents, but we embraced the time to celebrate together.

Photos.

Big Mr. had already stripped out of the cap and gown before I made it through the nasty graduation traffic and back home. I may have him put it back on and snap more photos, but for today, I’m happy with the few that I was able to capture.

Beach Week.

Big Mr. left for beach week along with many of his graduating classmates. He will return home soon. The house feels a little quieter with him away, but I know it won’t be long until this is the norm.

Death.

I don’t know how far news travels, but you may have heard about the triple homicide in Bent Mountain, Virginia. If you hadn’t and your breath has just been taken away, that is how I felt Wednesday morning. I don’t watch the news very often and hadn’t recently. I heard about it from my hairdresser. When she told me their ages, I suspected that either Big Mr. or Mr. D might know the people. She didn’t know the names, but I pulled out my phone and googled it. I knew right away that it was likely that the boys might know them. They did. The 20 year old was a skateboarder, something my boys did quite often when they moved here. The 18 year old girl, a classmate of Big Mr.

I knew her name.

It’s strange the little things you remember. Her name felt familiar because the last name is the same as someone well-known in this country. It made me stop a little longer and notice it at that time. I had read a quote from her in the yearbook. They were words about travel and culture, something that you know I am passionate about. Words that she will never get to fulfill. Ones that have been horribly stripped away from her. It broke my heart both as a mother and as a human. A week ago, I watched her walk across the stage and take her diploma in hand. The world a bright, open future. A world stolen.

The community is in shock, three families left without a piece of their lives and countless others heartbroken over never seeing their smiling faces again.

Be the light.

I have to believe that the good in the world outweighs those who are blackened with evil. Many days I fail to be the person I’d like to be, but I still try to spread my light through the little circle of influence that I have.

I encourage you to be the light as well.

You may have noticed that I’ve been a little quiet on the blog and social media front. I have been writing more and reading more and trying to be fully present when my family  is home.

Miss Sunshine and I head down to Florida next week. While I will miss my hubby and the boys tremendously, my heart is happy that I will be seeing family and friends that I have missed. I will be letting them know how important they are to my life by making time to just be present with them.

Still, I’ll be working on my photos and the blog in the wee hours of the nights and mornings, but I expect to only be here a few times a week during the three weeks that I am gone.

I hope that you have a stunning weekend and light-filled week. I hope there are more smiles than tears and that you find a moment to speak a kind word into somebody’s soul.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. - Martin Luther King Jr quote quotes photoquote

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves Edition 65

Friday.

Hello Friday!!

Bring on the weekend!!

I say that, but the forecast is still calling for thunderstorms. They appear to be scattered storms, so I’m hoping there will be some breaks of sunshine in between.

How is the weather in your area?

 

Friday Faves.

I do have some Friday Faves to share, but also just some news about life and such.

Flooding.

It had rained here most of the time that I was away in the U.K. That led to saturated grounds. The area of Roanoke in which I live was hit with a storm last Sunday that dropped 6 1/2 inches of rain in three hours, causing flash floods and mudslides.

I have some friends that shared that they had to be diverted off of the main road because sections of it were impassable. Big Mr was with a friend over near our local library and said a flooded area was as wide as the Roanoke River. They had to turn around because the water too deep, and that was even barely into the swath.

I was at home quite oblivious to the extent at which the waters were rushing until I saw footage. Our property slopes downward with our home sitting on a hill. We are toward the bottom of what you could call a mountain…or a larger hill, but I’m not sure there is anything that would mudslide toward us. The placement of our home also means that our basement doesn’t flood.

Driving Miss Sunshine to school and passing along the road that runs near the high school, there are piles out for the trash that you can tell came from flooded basements. My heart is heavy for all those who have damage to deal with and memories that have been lost.

Memorial Day.

Monday was Memorial Day.

I spent time with my family and the hubby and I looked for some furniture for the back deck. Right now we are down to two plastic adirondack chairs that we bought for seating when we first moved to Virginia because our furniture hadn’t yet arrived. Of the two that are left of the initial five, one is broken and it is a matter of time before the seat fully gives way.

I didn’t find anything, but I do have some ideas for what I may get.

The Next Phase.

Big Mr. doesn’t graduate from high school until next Friday, but he is finished with school.

On Tuesday, they had a Senior Day where there is a field day for the Seniors (this was moved indoors due to the rain), and along with their graduation practice, they decorate their caps to showcase where they are going after high school.

University.

Big Mr. will be heading to Virginia Tech in the fall. They sent him this sign to stick to his cap. Some of Seniors get very creative in decorating their caps (everything must be removable for the actual graduation ceremony).

My High School Graduation Memories.

It’s funny what your mind chooses to remember.

I needed to get the wrinkles out of his gown. I was talking with my mom about how strange it was that they come all folded in a package with deep wrinkles and asked her if she had to iron my gown for high school graduation.

The answer was yes.

And yet, I have no recollection about how I received my cap and gown, only wearing it (wrinkle free). I also recall a big discussion with my three close friends about the possibilities of rebelling against the fact that we were expected to wear dress shoes. I’m pretty sure there were more details to the type of shoe required, but we were told that they would be inspecting them in the lineup, prior to our ceremony, and we would be pulled from the lineup if not wearing dress shoes. We tried to come up with a way to switch to white Converse after inspection. We even had a teacher who encouraged our idea (he was a total nonconformist). In the end…we became like sheep and conformed because we had family in the stands and didn’t want to take the chance of not getting to walk in graduation.

What do you remember about your own high school graduation?

Yoga.

This week also finished out my May Challenge…31 days of yoga poses. It was wonderful to have Dee Dee come along with me on this journey.

I shared my pose each day on my Instagram Stories.

At this time, I have all 31 days shared on my Instagram Page under the Highlights section.

I thought I’d share a couple of my favorites from this week.

The Wheel Pose shown above wasn’t technically on the pose challenge. It was on the day of the Camel Pose. I can’t seem to touch my toes in Camel Pose without bringing my hips farther back than my knees and yet I can do the backbend required for Wheel Pose.

This shot was me proving to myself that I could still do the Wheel Pose.

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Dancer Pose.

Dancer Pose is one my favorite poses.

I feel graceful when I am in the pose, even if that is not the visual reality.

I was never a dancer, but I recall a time in my drama class where somebody’s mother came in to show us some ballet moves for the choreography of a musical we would be performing. I can’t remember exactly what she said to me, but it was a compliment in regards to the fact that my long arms and legs made the moves look nice.

I was the person in drama who took the leftover roles because I loved acting (playing the part of someone else), but did not audition (which required “me” to get up in front of my peers) for any part. This compliment from a stranger in front of my class meant a lot and stuck with me.

Crow Pose.

The final pose was crane pose. Crane Pose requires straight arms and your knees pressed into your armpits. I was happy with crow pose. I’m of the opinion that any arm balance is a good arm balance.

Writing.

If you have already seen my June Challenge, then you know that today I will begin spending 20 minutes a day working a story or two that I began writing last year or possibly even coming up with an entirely new story.

This does mean that I will again be learning time management.

Film.

I had considered making June a month of no TV, but I do have a couple of shows that I like to watch with the hubby and rarely watch it outside of that.

Even on the long haul flight to and from the U.K., I did more reading than movie watching.

I managed to start and finish The Handmaid’s Tale and I started Red Queen. Once home, I’ve been a little sidetracked by simultaneously reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I stumbled upon it at the library and recognized it from knowing that she gave a TED talk on it (which I haven’t yet watched).

However, on the way over I did watch Lady Bird, which I watched again last night. This time with the hubby.

I also watched Black Panther and It on the return flight.

I didn’t love It as much as I expected to love it. I read and watched lots of Stephen King in my late teens.

Have you watched any great movies or shows lately?

How about any amazing books?

Outlander.

I also picked up Season 1 of Outlander. I’m always late to hop on the bandwagon, but after my time in the Highlands I’m curious to see the show.

What about you? Have you seen Outlander?

The photo is from our day trip around the Isle of Skye. This was our tour guide Sandy and the photo was taken toward the end of the trip.

That is Eilean Donan castle in the background.

I’m still getting around to processing my photos from my time away. Graduation time is a busy time.

In case you missed it, I did share some views from the River Clyde in Glasgow in this post and some Doors of London in this post.

I will not be back next week with a round of Friday Faves because Big Mr.’s graduation is in the middle of the day and my parents will be coming up for that as well.

I’ll have some posts up during the week though and will be back for Faves the following Friday.

I hope that you have an awesome weekend and week ahead.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Friday Faves Edition 64

Friday.

Well if you hadn’t already guessed, I’ve made it back from the U.K.

I arrived back in Virginia on Tuesday evening.

…and have been playing catch up ever since.

Friday Faves.

I’m still playing catch up, but I thought I’d pop in with a few of my Friday Faves.

I returned home to our upstairs a/c being out…it had been out for a week…but the service calls require you to be available and the hubby has a job in a different city…so, no bueno… and I dealt with that on day one of my return.

While I was away Miss Sunshine had her middle school spring sports banquet and was awarded Offensive Player of the Year.

Mr. D made it to his AP exams.

I also heard rumor that my three teens know how to pack their own lunches and wash their own clothes. Upon my return, I learned that I’m not sure it was a factual rumor because I am back in the food packing and clothes washing business.

Big Mr. took his final test of high school yesterday and over the weekend we will be signing him up for his July University orientation.

I was so busy since my return that it was only this morning that I found time to import my photos from the trip. It will take me a while to sift through them since there were around 1,200 photos. I’m sure many will make their way to the trash pile, but I’m hoping the majority will have turned out nicely.

I thought that I’d share a quick few today, but be on the look out for more in the future.

Isle of Lewis.

We had one day in the Outer Hebrides on the Isle of Lewis.

It was an early morning!

We caught the local bus in Inverness at 5:10 am to the airport for a 7:00 am flight. After landing, we picked up our rental car and headed straight out to the Callanish Standing Stones.

It was a day full of adventure before heading back to the airport in time for our 5:00 pm flight.

I have so much more to share about our day here, but that’ll have to wait until a future post.

Isle of Skye.

We had a bus tour that took us all over the Isle of Skye along with some more stops.

This shot of my mother and me was taken at our stop to see the Quiraing . It had rained just a bit earlier and the cloud cover was low. It did start to clear up some as we made our descent.

I’ll share more in the future.

I didn’t mind the low clouds and the element of mystery they created, but I’m hoping as I sift through the photos that it translated well in the captures.

Highland Coo.

And lastly, a selfie with a Highland Coo. They were just so adorable. I was hoping that I’d be able to see one up close!

Weekend.

That’s all I have for today.

So much to do, so little time!

I hope that you all have a light-filled weekend.

We’ll be enjoying the three day Memorial Day Weekend.

Catch up with you all soon!

Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still. - Dorothea Lange. Photo quote placed over photo of Victoria Street in Edinburgh Scotland

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves Edition 63

Friday.

Here we are once again at Friday.

This week has both been longer than I could ever imagine and yet shorter than I thought.

Have you ever had a week like that?

Friday Faves.

You may have noticed that I’ve been around the blogosphere a little less this week. That trend is likely to continue. I have prepping to do before I leave for my UK travels. I have almost 2 weeks of travel. Then, I have end of the school year stuff for three teenagers, one of which is graduating from high school.

However, I wanted to pop in to catch up and share my Friday Faves.

I won’t be posting Friday Faves for the next two weeks since I fly down to Florida next Wednesday.

I hope to give you an update through the blog during my time away, but honestly, the best way to follow what is going on will be through my Instagram stories.

The reason for that is because they are much quicker to produce and I want to savor my time away with my mother.

Travel Plans.

As a recap if you are new to my blog: I head to Naples, FL next Wednesday. My mother and I will be flying to London from Miami. After 2 days in London, we head to Inverness where we will take a day trip over to Isle of Lewis, a day tour that includes seeing the Isle of Skye, and a cruise along Loch Ness (Nessie…I’m really hoping you make it to our appointment). We then head down to Edinburgh for a few days before traveling back to London for our flight back to the U.S. I have planned in an extra day to lounge on the beach and visit more family.

What I’ve Been Up To Lately.

Over the weekend, the hubby and I did some shopping to pick up a few pieces that I need for my travels. I’ve had some jeans for more years than I can count and they had finally “worn” out their welcome. I did find some replacements. This weekend I will fully assess what I need to pack (procrastination at its finest).

We also traveled over to visit my mother-in-law. Since the hubby and I are doing predominately a vegan diet, I needed to pick up something from the grocery store for lunch. I chose to make a sandwich consisting of avocado and tomato on toasted sourdough bread. I’ve recreated it at home and added alfalfa sprouts as well, and it is my new favorite sandwich!!

Most of the week has been checking off boxes…teen to orthodontist, hair appointment, a/c service, attending soccer games, editing soccer photos, rounding up graduation announcements, tweaking itineraries, cleaning house, parenting.

With a few stressful moments thrown in…parenting.

May Challenge.

This week signaled the end of the April Challenge, which I did complete and will likely reflect on in the future.

It also began my May Challenge, 30 days of 30 yoga poses.

I’ve share my first three days on the Instagram stories. It’s likely that I’ll continue to do so over the course of the challenge.

I know many of you said you’d be cheering for me from the sidelines. A huge “thank you” to all of you. Dee Dee from Invisible-No-More is joining along with me and posting her poses to her Instagram feed. She’s found some awesome places to capture her poses!

Mountain Pose.

Day 1 was Mountain Pose.

Maverick decided that he wanted to join along with me. Which was a nice added perk. It also made Miss Sunshine less reluctant to take photos of me after her long day of school and soccer practice.

Child’s Pose.

Day 2 was Child’s Pose.

I love this shot because Maverick looks like he is bowing down, and child’s pose can have a similar look.

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On my blog, I usually participate in Wordless Wednesday. A photo posted that speaks for itself. This is the photo I chose for today and it does speak for itself, but I also chose it because the weekly prompt that I was interpreting was “unlikely.” 💦 I chose this photo because if you had asked me when I was 16 to peer into my future 🔮 it is “unlikely” I would have seen myself standing at Natural Bridge in Aruba, watching as my own 16 year old son made his way across the rocks to witness the waves crash against the limestone. This side of Aruba makes you feel like you are at the edge of the world. Nothing but an expanse of blue as you look away from the island. Pounding surf, relentlessly crashing against the cliffs. It truly is a breathtaking place 💦 #seekthesimplicity #beautyinthechaos #dreamchaser #roamtheplanet #aruba #onehappyisland #jetsetfamily #lifeofadventure #doyoutravel #travelbug #travelstoke #traveldiaries #traveldeeper #natgeotravel #tlpicks #stayandwander #fromwhereistand #thehappynow #exploretocreate #artofvisuals #optoutside #exploremore #darlingescapes #oceandweller #familytravel #naturehippys

A post shared by Amy Lyon Smith (@amy.lyon.smith) on

Instagram and Photo Challenge.

If you saw my Wordless Wednesday, then this photo is familiar. I almost opted not to make it wordless and to share why I was using it since I was also interpreting the prompt from the weekly photo challenge.

In the end, I decided to keep it wordless and share its backstory today.

Food.

Since I know that I will most definitely be trying new foods in the UK, I wanted to be sure that my stomach will not rebel. While the week has been mostly vegan, I did eat eggs last weekend. The hubby and I also went out to dinner on Wednesday night. I had steak and shrimp, along with mashed potatoes. I do think it affected my digestive system somewhat, but I don’t think I’ll be curled up in a hotel room in London or Scotland. I really think dairy is not my friend…but I still may eat some cheese while I’m over there!

Soccer.

Miss Sunshine finished up her middle school soccer season last night. We will be having their team banquet tonight. The game location was a good drive away and by the time we made it home, it was 7:30 ish at night.

I popped off my sandals…threw on some workout attire…rounded up the hubby….

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Cow Pose.

And started on day 3 of the yoga challenge.

Cow to Cat Pose.

As soon as I pulled out the mat, Maverick thought it was play time. He did not join in on Cow Pose.

But…

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He crawled into my face and started trying to give me kisses.

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Cat Pose.

He ended up moving for the second part of day three.

Cat Pose.

If only he were actually trained to do the poses because he is amazing at this one. I’ve never seen a dog stretch like a cat before, but he does! He can articulate each vertebrae as he rolls through stretching his back.

That’s really been most of my week. I have to get bills lined up to be paid, make sure the calendar of where the teens need to be is up-to-date, round up any necessary items to travel with, decided whether I’m packing a tripod….and the list goes on.

If you’re over on Instagram, I hope that you’ll follow along with my journey. And if you aren’t…well…I’ll have lots of tales to share with you when I return.

I hope you have days filled with excitement ahead. And smile, it always brightens the day.

In closing…because I must…. “May the Fourth be with you.”

 

 

Let your light shine!

Amy