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.

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

 

 

 

 

Friday Faves Edition 62

Friday.

I can’t believe that it’s already Friday!

Not only that, it’s the last Friday in April!

Friday Faves.

Most of my week has been checking off boxes…but they have made me feel productive so they also qualify for my Friday Faves.

Over the weekend, I became more deliberate in my efforts to get my photos backed up to an external hard drive. I need the space on my laptop and I needed to feel comfortable about deleting the photos stored on my camera.

I still quite a way to go, but I made substantial headway.

Humor.

They say that laughter is the best medicine.

I was trying to film a story for Instagram and Miss Sunshine kept waiting until I’d start recording and then ask me random questions.

It has quite hilarious.

Finally, I told her that I was going to post the one where she’d deepened her voice and said something random. She quickly deleted that one from my phone.

Then, I thought perhaps she’d head to the kitchen to eat her food, but she still photobombed me. I could see her from the corner of my eye, but thought I’d be able to maintain my composure.

I didn’t.

This one did get posted to my Instagram story. Followed by my original intent of asking people what they found the hardest to give up on a vegan diet.

Vegan.

I have been following a mostly vegan diet for almost 3 weeks. We did make a conscious decision to eat vegetarian on Sunday because we needed to have a family meeting about summer plans.

Finding a restaurant that everyone likes is hard enough. We opted for Mellow Mushroom, which is a pizza place. The hubby and I got their Veg Out pizza and it was sooo good.

I am aware that Mellow Mushroom offers vegan cheese. However, I haven’t tried vegan cheese before and I notoriously choose items when dining out that turn out to be repulsive. Just ask my family about that time in Paris when the pasta dish I ordered came with a raw egg cracked on top. I ate around it and then waited to finish what was left on the other 4 plates!

I do plan to eat all types of food when I travel to the UK in two weeks. Given the fact that it may indeed bother my stomach, there will be days here and there leading up to it where I will add in things I’ve cut out to see if they bother my digestive system.

If you’re curious about the picture of the vegan lunch I made one day, it’s: Toasted Flax Ezekiel Bread, Roasted Garlic Hummus, Cucumber, Tomato, Shredded Carrots, Alfalfa Sprouts, and a bit of Red Onion.

The hubby finds that eating vegan agrees very well with him. I still haven’t found the proper ratios (or maybe vitamins and minerals) for my body. I think it shifted my hormones and I had a few days recently where I wanted to take a nap (but didn’t) in the afternoon. Occasionally, I also feel what I call a hollowness (for lack of a better explanation). Not necessarily hungry, but sort of.

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles.

We’ll be using all of those when my mom and I travel to the UK.

Yep. You read that right.

My mom and I decided to rent a car for our day on the Isle of Lewis. There is public transportation, but with only having a day, the timetable left us fairly restricted. My mom is going to be the driver while I navigate. Eek!

I also booked the remainder of our trains, so there is only some to and from the airport in Inverness stuff left to deal with, but buses and taxis are both available.

Packing.

I think that I’m going to bring my tripod with me on this trip, which is another reason why my suitcase needs to be packed lightly. The tripod only weighs a little over five pounds, so it should be fine.

One of my thoughts behind packing leggings….which I haven’t shopped for yet…was minimizing space.

I learn a little more about packing each time I travel though and while I love to look cute in a city, I much more prefer staying dry…warm…packing lightly… than I care about making a fashion statement.

Challenge.

I made the announcement for my May Challenge. The fact that I will be traveling for a portion of it helped with the direction that it’ll take.

Accident Prone.

The response to my poll on my Instagram story was 100% Yes.

Not only did I drop something heavy on my big toe over the weekend, but I had a major mishap on Wednesday.

While talking on the phone with my about what sightseeing we should do in London, I proceeded to walk down the stairs from my office (need a visual of the stairs, they are in my Photowall review post).

You know where this is going don’t you?

I proceeded to slide down about three or four stairs. In trying to catch myself with my left hand, I wrenched my back and jammed my shoulder. I still landed on the tailbone and right sits bone. I’m sure I scared my mother as I yelled (maybe cursed a little) and then took deep breaths to pretend like I could breath out the hurt.

Most of the back and shoulder pain left the next day. However, there is monstrous purple bruise on my bottom that is still sore enough that I bypassed Pilates today because I can’t imagine doing  roll-ups and some other moves up on to it.

Team Photos.

Last year I was asked to take a photo of Miss Sunshine’s middle school soccer team. They have professional photos taken, but it’s usually still wintery and they wanted a warmer weather photo of the team to give as part of the coach’s gifts. I also took a photo of the girls’ cleats which I shared in this post.

This year, I was asked again to take a team photo and agreed.

I will tell you that these types of shoots make my anxiety climb…and climb. Yes, I am doing it as a favor, but I am still hoping to meet somebody’s expectations. I am a people pleaser by nature. I don’t like people to be disappointed in me. So the team shoot already makes me nervous. I photograph landscapes (some of which I shared on Tuesday and Thursday . Their eyes don’t blink. They rarely move unless the wind blows.

Lighting and angles of humans are not my strong points.

Individual Photos.

I had heard rumor that I was going to be asked to take individual photos. This made me feel even more pressured. I will reiterate that this is pressure I put on myself. The people I interact with I’ve known for years and are great.

I had around a 20 minute timeline to shoot a team photo and then take individuals of 24 girls. This meant there wasn’t time to check my work and see if the photos came out as I went along. I imported them this morning. It does appear that I have a group shot were all 24 girls and the coaches have their eyes open (the first thing I look for), but I’ll need to look at them more closely. Same with the individuals. In review I noticed two of the girls weren’t in line for individuals, but I know them and can take them later if they want them. Still I know the photos aren’t professional grade and looking back I wish I’d changed the f/stop, but time was short, I needed to get through them all, and I didn’t think about it.

The one of Miss Sunshine is just a quick edit that I did for this post. I don’t know if it’s the final product.

Here’s to hoping the parents like them.

8th Grade Recognition.

At the final home game, the 8th grade girls are recognized before the game. Along the fence surrounding the fields, they attach a giant cardboard soccer ball that has the name and jersey number of each girl. During the ceremony, the eighth grade girls step forward from team and then each one is named and presented with a rose from their coaches.

This isn’t the final product of this photo either. I just don’t share too many faces of teens that aren’t mine.

Both of her brothers had the day off from work so they were able to come to her game. I think she’d have like to have scored a goal, but she had a clean assist and some nice shots on goal.

Summer Plans.

I mentioned in my post on Wednesday that I need to see some of my people. Miss Sunshine are in the early stages of planning an extended trip to Florida (mainly Naples) over the summer. I’ll let you know more about that as I begin to have more concrete plans.

I hope that you have a beautiful weekend and fabulous week ahead.

We have warm days ahead and I couldn’t be happier.

Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light - Theodore Roethke

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves Edition 61

Friday.

Who’s happy that it’s Friday?!

Since there’s no rain in the weekend forecast, I sure am!

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Friday Faves.

I’m going to delve right in to my Friday Faves.

Vacation Clothes.

I have slightly less than three weeks before I head to the U.K. and am still missing a few clothing items I’d like…namely, black leggings.

Any suggestions on brands that don’t… bunch up around the knees…look like I’m wearing opaque stockings…aren’t made for the under 5’5″ crowd…and recognize that some women have leg muscles (this is why I love shorts so much..but, alas..I need to keep warm!)?

So I’ll be heading off to peruse some shops when I finish chatting with ya’ll.

Hiking.

Last Saturday the hubby and I took advantage of the one sunny, warm day (I was wearing a tank top and shorts! 2 days later I was back in a thigh-length down coat!)

I’ve been wanting to head over to the Peaks of Otter in Bedford and hike the Fallingwater Cascades trail. It has been one of my go-to hikes since hiking it for my 21st birthday (1998 if you don’t want to do the math). I’ll be doing a post on it once I finish post-processing my photos, but you can catch another glimpse of one of the shots here.

Outdoor Photography.

I didn’t come fully prepared for the photography.

It was intentional.

I hadn’t been to the falls in a while and knew that we’d return as we delve into spring. This was mostly about enjoying the sunshine and spending time with my husband. As such, I did not carry a tripod and (though not fully intentionally) didn’t bring along my ND filter.

I still wanted to see if I could capture the movement of the water. I used shutter priority for the setting and then adjusted to capture the least overexposed shot I could manage. I was able to edit it in a way that I was pleased with, but I will be returning with the tripod and filters once it warms up!!

Peaks of Otter Lodge.

When I hike out at the Peaks of Otter, I must dine at the Peaks of Otter Lodge.

We ate there for my 21st birthday. We always returned there when we’d come to Virginia for a visit. Its interior just has something like a classic nostalgia. It feels somewhat reminiscent of Dirty Dancing (which, FYI, the filming location of that movie is within driving distance and I’ve already requested it to the hubby as a spring expedition).

Vegan.

The hubby and I watched the documentary What the Health and he decided that he wanted to give vegan eating a try. We’d already been hearing quite a bit of its health benefits prior to watching the documentary.

As I mentioned when we did the vegetarian challenge, autoimmune disease, heart disease, and thyroid problems (which may be autoimmune as well) run in my family. I have already tested positive for autoimmune antibodies, but was negative to the specific autoimmune diseases they were testing for.

The hubby had his own reasons for wanting to attempt it. We are now finishing up week two. That’s not to say we’ve been perfect. On day one, we ate a croissant and then later realized…”oh wait, there’s butter in that”. We also ordered this vegetarian meal at the Lodge. We don’t know if it included butter because we didn’t ask.

However, we took the concept and for many of our dinners, we have been cooking up pans of veggies cooked in olive oil and garlic and serving it over pasta.

I don’t know if I’ll remain fully vegan. We are doing it for health, not necessarily ethical reasons. I am not sold on the idea of there being a problem with eating eggs, although the ones I feed my teens are free-range, pasture raised…whatever I can find that’s the closest to a chicken roaming in its natural habitat.

I also won’t be putting constraints on my eating habits when I travel to the U.K. One of the experiences I love about travel is trying new foods.

Peaks of Otter.

After our lunch, we strolled around Abbot Lake. Then we sat for a bit and admired the view. The Peaks of Otter are three mountain peaks overlooking the town of Bedford (you learn something new everyday…because I only have heard of two). I’ve always known about Sharp Top and Flat Top. The third is Harkening Hill.

The view here from Abbot Lake is of Sharp Top, whose highest point is 3,875 feet. Flat Top is actually the tallest of the three, rising to an elevation of 4,001 feet.

Alex and Ani.

I shared about snorkeling trip in yesterday’s post, but I didn’t get a chance to share my “souvenir” from Aruba. I love Alex and Ani bracelets. One of my friends has one from St. Maarten so when I saw the store in Aruba, I knew it was likely they would have some bracelets exclusive to the Island. There were a couple different options, but I prefer the rafellian finish to the shiny finish.

Soccer.

Due to some snow earlier in the season, Miss Sunshine had three soccer games in a row this week.

In one of those, she scored a goal!

Miss Sunshine and I spend a lot of car time together due to soccer and there are moments when I pause and realize how precious that time really is.

Books and TV and Movies.

I got sucked into some non-fiction books. I’m still perusing them to see if I want to invest fully into them, but I’m not abandoning the reading challenge that I’ve decided to do this year.

Are you reading any good books?

Although I don’t watch a lot of TV, I decided to join in on watching American Idol. While we were in Aruba, a series called The Crossing started after Idol. I admit…I’m hooked. Last night, the hubby and I watched the movie The Mountain Between Us. Have you seen it? I knew as soon as she asked him what type of doctor he was that he was going to say “neurosurgeon”. I even said it out loud before he did.

If you know my older backstories, then you know that we’ve had an incident dealing with neurosurgeons. While it can still be found in the search box, I don’t link to the post any longer because the story is only partially mine and has now become one of those moments that you can pinpoint as defining, but that you don’t often go back and rehash.

However, after having conversations with three different neurosurgeons and then later reading (because I love knowledge and was trying to learn everything about the brain) Another Day in the Frontal Lobe by Katrina Firlik (who, at the time, was one of only 200 or so female neurosurgeons), I knew that was the personality that they were attempting to portray.

Have you seen any good movies lately?

I hope you have a sunny weekend and many reasons to smile throughout the week.

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves Edition 60

Friday.

It’s Friday! Did ya’ll miss me last Friday? I missed all of you!

That Thursday was full day of travel for us.

We arrived at the airport in Aruba early since we knew that U.S citizens go through customs at the airport in Aruba instead of when they land in the U.S.

Based on our time waiting in customs at the D.C. airport after our return from Europe last spring, I’d have to say this process was much quicker.

We also only took carry-ons (raise your hand if you audibly gasped). I’ll be sharing some things I learned about that in a future post. We had a direct flight down to Aruba, but had a short layover in Boston on the return. After landing in D.C., we made our way to our vehicle for the 3 1/2 hour drive home. We collapsed into bed around 1 a.m. Friday.

Friday Faves.

Of course I have so many Friday Faves to share.

Aruba.

We spent spring break in Aruba.

I did share some of our travels on my Instagram stories.

I’ve saved some of them to the Aruba recap on my Instagram highlights if you’re interested in seeing those.

Easter.

We arrived in Aruba on the day before Easter.

That day we had a leisurely day.

Easter Sunday, we had a snorkeling excursion booked.

Just prior to our vacation, I read this post on Becoming Minimalist. It talks about jumping while you can. It resonated with me because this year for me is about pushing comfort zones even more. It is about learning to dare greatly.

And so I knew that I would attempt new things.

Snorkeling.

I have snorkeled before. I did not enjoy it. I always felt like I was struggling for air (which makes me feel claustrophobic). I swim, but would not consider myself a “strong” swimmer. However, when we went over the Antilla wreck, which is in 50-60 feet of water (well out of my comfort zone from a depth perspective) I decided to go in the water. I didn’t dive below the surface..and I didn’t stay in as long as everyone else

…but I jumped.

The second snorkeling spot was 10-12 feet deep and was my favorite of the three. The water was so clear and the fish were stunning. Miss Sunshine captured a video of me at this location.

Rope Swing.

At our third snorkel stop, which was about 14 ft deep, you had the option of swinging from the rope swing into the water.

I didn’t think that I was going to attempt it.

But then I remembered about wanting to push myself…I remembered how I was so fearless when I was younger

…and I jumped.

(yes there is a video of that. no I won’t be sharing it)

I plan to do a longer post about our snorkeling trip in the future, but we absolutely loved it (minus the fact that I was the one person on the ship who got a bloody nose when jumping from the rope swing. (note to self: if you plan on holding your nose, take the nose ring out)

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Safari Tour.

If you saw Wednesday’s post where I shared some photos from Aruba, the one above will look familiar. This was from our safari tour. I’ll be sharing more about that in the future, but it was an awesome day out as well.

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Tube Ride.

Miss Sunshine had already convinced her dad and Big Mr. to go on a tube ride earlier in the week. We had loved our snorkeling tour so much that we had booked another one for the day before our departure. Unfortunately, they had some technical difficulties and had to cancel our trip. Miss Sunshine really wanted me to tube with her. I really didn’t want to tube

…but I decided to jump.

Even though I was petrified most of the time, I can say that I’m glad that I did it. The ride itself wasn’t scary…it was tons of fun. I was worried about flipping into the water (which had happened on their last tube ride).

We used to have a boat and a tube. I have a distinct memory of flying out of the tube and having the wind knocked out of me as I landed into the water.

I was in my early 30’s then…how much worse would it be at 40!

My secondary…yes secondary…fear was that a shark might be lurking below the surface. The last time I had fallen out of a tube was in Lake Placid (Florida) and my fear of alligators is stronger than that of sharks.

I held on for dear life on this tube ride. So tightly, that my biceps hurt for the next two days and I’m still sporting a friction burn on one of my knuckles.

…but I jumped (metaphorically).

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Memories.

While I absolutely loved the sunshine and the salt air, one of my favorite parts of the trip is that we made so many memories.

I cherish these moments with my children. Big Mr. heads off to college after this summer. Mr. D is only a year behind. Miss Sunshine is around a little longer, but I know that it too will pass quickly.

These are fleeting moments with all my children still living at home and I am searing them into my brain.

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Sunshine and Salt Air.

But I’m not gonna lie, the sunshine and salt air did make the memories a little sweeter.

These photos of my teens were taken at Baby Beach. I wish we’d have spent more time there, but it wasn’t in the cards that day.

 

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Instagram.

While this week has mostly been playing catch up on emails, reflecting on last month’s challenge, going to soccer games, taking care of household stuff, and finishing up some loose ends for my trip to London and Scotland next month, I did give myself a gift.

If you saw Tuesday’s post, then you already know that day was my 19th wedding anniversary.

Your Instagram bio is supposed to be important for people deciding whether or not they are interested in following you. I’ve always struggled with exactly what I’d like it to say. You only have so much space.

Not long ago, I took out the section that stated where I had lived to add the lines with #travel and #nature and the wannabe photographer and wordsmith. The hubby thought I should take out the word “wannabe”. While I did agree to some level, I also left it there to keep my fear of failure satisfied. If I said “wannabe”, I was acknowledging that I have a long way to go.

…but I also wasn’t giving myself credit for how far I’ve come.

Or giving my dreams the fair shot that they deserved.

So on my anniversary, I gifted myself with the removal of that word. In doing so, I felt that I gave myself permission to keep growing and granted my soul a belief in myself.

Do you have dreams that you want to pursue, but you let fear hold you back?

Music.

This week I’ve chose a song by Sleeping at Last. I love his music and had a hard time choosing which song. I chose this song because it reminds me of the commitment that I made when I chose to have children. Those commitments have been at the forefront of my thoughts this week.

I hope that you have a soul filling weekend and smooth sailing throughout next week.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Why I Celebrate International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day.

I often talk about my beliefs of the equal rights for women. I keep it no secret that while I have chosen what many consider a “traditional” role for a woman (stay-at-home mom, household manager, chauffeur…take your pick of the many of things I do), it is exactly that…A CHOICE.

A choice that I realize is a privilege.

And a choice, at varying moments over the years, with which I have struggled.

Why I Celebrate.

The question becomes… why do I celebrate?

I have spoken on reasons why this day is important to me. You can find my thoughts in 2017 hereand in 2016 here.

But perhaps to fully understand why I celebrate International Women’s Day, my own background may help, lest you think I only speak from a place of current privilege.

My background.

Many of you know that I just finished reading The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. I found that I could relate in so many ways even though there were plenty of ways in which I couldn’t.

I recognized my dad in her father. Not in the erratic, alcoholic side of Rex Walls. My parents drink once a year, if that. It was the genius and nonconformist side of Rex. It was also his belief in his daughter.

My dad once told me that in the world there are leaders and that there are followers and that I was a leader

…and I believed him.

My parents never once told me that there was something that I couldn’t achieve.

I don’t know if I had lofty expectations.

Surely, I didn’t dream that someday I’d be sitting, in the middle of an optical illusion, on a bridge in Paris, with my own daughter.

I just did what I was good at…doing well in school.

Education.

I never assumed that I wouldn’t go to college. It felt like a given that I would. And so I did. I graduated high school in 1994, I was sixteen and the thought of heading away seemed overwhelming. I decided that I would attend community college and maybe by the time  I finished I’d know what I wanted to be when I grew up.

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College.

I was the first person in my immediate family to attend college. Actually, I was the first to graduate high school in a traditional manner. I graduated sixth in my class and since the local community college awarded a full tuition scholarship for 60 credit hours to the highest academics in the school…and everyone else ranking above me was heading off somewhere else…I received the award.

In the past, I mentioned that I also received a scholarship from a local Women’s Club, which I used to pay for my books. I was also awarded enough financial aid, that it took care of all my other costs.

Due to the fact that I am extremely uncomfortable with new situations, I never met with an academic advisor. I just moved through the list of requirements for an Associates of the Arts degree.

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Graduation.

I remember wanting to quit college. I remember telling my dad that I wanted to quit. And he told me “just quit then”. Now I’m sure most of you are thinking this is bad advice. However, my dad knew me, and he knew that I didn’t give up once I set my mind to something. Through tears, I told him that I couldn’t quit. He told me that I could and that the reality was that I didn’t WANT to quit.

He was right.

I was on the Dean’s List and was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa (not the first time I was asked because…again…uncomfortable).

After checking off boxes, I finished up in the fall of 1995, after a year and half, and put in for graduation for my A.A. I was barely 18.

Take Your Daughter To Work.

The spring before that graduation, my aunt had taken me with her for Take Your Daughter To Work Day. She worked for a Dermatologist. I spent the day there and I loved it. He had a transition happening, so he hired me part time on a temporary basis. I mostly worked the front desk, but I did get to be an assistant in a hair transplant surgery!

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First Real Job.

I had always loved math and science, but then I knew that I loved the medical field. The temporary basis came to an end. I didn’t know what I wanted to study. Plus, I still wasn’t prepared to leave home so I got a job at the hospital, working in a Rehab unit. I was fascinated by the Physical Therapists and talked with them about the schooling. Dissecting cadavers and the burn unit made me nervous. I know now that I would have been able to handle things, but hindsight is 20/20.

Back to College.

I decided I would become a Pharmacist. So I got a part-time job (along with maintaining my full-time job) at a 24 hour pharmacy and worked two 10 hour shifts over the weekend as a pharmacy tech. Then, I put in my notice at the hospital and re-enrolled at the community college in 1997.

However, what I didn’t know and hadn’t been told, was that once you put in for graduation at the community college, you aren’t eligible for financial aid at the community college level any longer. A person in my life at the time helped me scrape together the money for that semester, but I had to withdraw from Biology because of the schedule and I needed to get another job to pay for life. I finished out my Chemistry and Trigonometry classes, but by the end had decided I was not going to become a Pharmacist.

I did not like the automation of the medicine.I would have loved it back in mortar and pestle days. As it was my favorite part was learning how to read the meniscus.

Work.

The second part-time job I got during that semester in college turned into a full-time job. It was at a MRI facility. I thought about going back to school to be a MRI tech, but then life happened along. I switched jobs. Met my husband. Came back to that job when the day shift opened. Then I had my first child in 2000.

You might think that I easily went into being a stay-at-home mom. I didn’t. I wanted to be one, but I’d also never had a point in life where I wasn’t earning my own money. I’d been working since I was 14. When my son was 6 or 7 months old, I took a job in the nursery at the local YMCA because I could bring him with me.

Stay At Home Mom.

And then I got pregnant with my second son. I had complications in the beginning of my first pregnancy. Pains that made them check to make sure it wasn’t ectopic. It obviously wasn’t, but I was told to take it easy to avoid a miscarriage. When the pains started with the second pregnancy, the doctor advocated that I even avoid carrying around the oldest too much. He was 9 months old, so complete avoidance wasn’t going to happen. Since I couldn’t pick up any kids in the nursery and the diaper changes of other people’s kids were doing a number on my morning sickness, I resigned.

We would add our youngest, Miss Sunshine, in 2003. I sometimes thought about going back to school, but I also loved being home with my children. In 2010, the nearby community college changed to a state college and added some Bachelor’s programs.

Back to School.

That was how we found ourselves moving over to Stuart, Florida. I had many reasons for wanting to go back to school. But if I’m honest, one of them was because I wanted my children to realize that I was intelligent. It may seem silly, but that means something to me. It was my one claim to success in my formative years. I also wanted them to know that different choices are always possible. I enrolled for the Bachelor of Biology with a concentration on Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (I don’t know if that’s still offered), but even with 68 credit hours, I still was missing some lower level classes. So after 13+ years of being out of college, I took Chemistry and Statistics. When I aced them, I felt a real sense of pride.

At the time my dream was to go to work for some of the local biomedical facilities. They were touting the Treasure Coast as the Research Coast. If you don’t know…I love research. However, I came to realize that it’s mostly interns in many of those places. I thought I’d supplement the Biology degree with a way to actually earn income. Even though I wanted to work in a medical laboratory, the pay for that degree isn’t that well. I started considering a Physician’s Assistant or Nurse Practitioner, so I thought I’d get a nursing degree. After taking Anatomy and Physiology I & II, Nutrition, and some Psychology based classes, I changed my mind. I believe nursing is a calling…and I have not been called. About that time, life changed. We moved to Virginia. I wasn’t about to pay out of state tuition.

After a year, I sent for my transcript papers. Where they still sit in the filing cabinet. Unopened. I decided not to return to school because I found other passions and we also have three teenagers to put through college. Sometimes I worry that people think less of me because of my educational background.

I have learned to live with that.

Mostly.

I don’t know exactly how many credit hours I have. Probably over 90. I think less than 100.

I’m not sure because I haven’t broken the seal.

They sit there…waiting…in case I change my mind.

Being a Woman.

That is one of the reasons I celebrate International Women’s Day.

Because nowhere in that story was the decision not mine. Nothing about being a woman changed my options.

It is because of the way paved by other women that I had the freedom to make each of those choices. There wasn’t any choice which was prevented by the mere fact that I am a woman.

I’m sure there are many out there who would have made different choices. And that is okay.

Isn’t it wonderful to have that option?

Not everyone does.

Which is why women will keep fighting to be seen as equal.

Having a Daughter.

I also celebrate because I have a daughter. I often use her as a muse in my photography. Whether its captured unbeknownst to her as in the shots of her in Paris or when she willingly helps me create my vision like in the canal shot in Amsterdam, I am always in awe of her.

Miss Sunshine has dreams and visions and goals.

She heartily pursues them without any regard to her gender.

She is even stronger than I consider myself to be.

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Soccer.

Most of my regular readers know that Miss Sunshine plays soccer. She has played since the age of seven. We went through a hard transition when she was 13 and the U.S. Youth Soccer changed the age guidelines. She went from being the oldest on the team to being one of the youngest.

The transition also made her miss the first year that the field transitions from being 8v8 to 11v11. She found herself moved from a forward to a defender and she worked hard to learn the role. I live the behind the scenes. I know all the dynamics of the shift. But she did what she does, she persevered.

I love this shot of her during warm-ups. They were playing one of their league competitors and decided to put on war paint.

It reminds me of the quote:

Fate whispers to the warrior, “you cannot withstand the storm”

The warrior whispers back, “I am the storm”. -unknown

Self Assured.

I have taught my daughter that if she finds a glass ceiling, she should break it.

She should pursue her dreams with no regard to the naysayers.

I have spoken in the past about the fact that at this time she wants to be an Engineer. She’s 14 and that may change many times before she decides on a path. It may even change many times while on a path.

There is great freedom in that reality.

Locally we have some part-time specialty high schools. She has applied to two and while she is waiting to hear from one, she has been accepted into the Engineering Based one.

Part of application process was to come up with an invention that could be patented and describe the materials, cost, building process, and usage.

While I’m not sharing her invention…I have to say…I love how her mind works.

So today I celebrate all those women before me who fought and all those women who continue to fight to be acknowledged as equals.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Let your light shine!

Amy

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