travel

Blood, sweat and tears

National Air + Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Annex

National Air + Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Annex

I recently took a short trip to Washington, D.C. to kick off the summer. Our trip was a real contrast to last summer where I basically hid away in the mountains in a cabin and slept off what felt like a very long year...or few years. I was coming out of some mild depression from – well...life I guess – and hiding away in the woods was really just what I needed at the time.

This year, feeling a little more adventurous and energetic, we took flight and headed to D.C. for some culture and stimulation.  Since I was traveling with boys, there were lots of adventures planned – airplanes, sporting events, spies, and news were all on our agenda. I was happy to go along for the ride, even though the art galleries are more my jam. But on trips like this, you never know where inspiration will lurk or what new things you'll see.

As we walked through the museums and giant structures with massive planes suspended precariously from the ceilings, my mind wandered - not to the history or the information behind each one - but to their stories. I wonder: how many times did those inventors and scientists have to fail to reach their goals? How many times did they screw up or go back to the drawing board?  How many times were they SURE of something only to be proven wrong, yet again?  The Wright Brothers failed miserably before achieving their goals. But they kept going. They had bigger plans, and an even bigger belief in themselves and their ideas.

The things that strikes me most is that they didn't give up. Each person had a belief that they worked tirelessly for. They paired themselves with like-minded friends and collegues to help them achieve their wildest dreams...all while failing over and over again.

Failure was eminent in those walls of the Air and Space museums, but that's not at all what we see. What we see is an evolution of flight, a tireless display of dedication and the grit to never ever ever give up - no matter how crazy your thoughts may seem. What we see is the success, the achievements, the trophy...the end result. What you don't see is failure. You don't see frustration. You don't see the tears and long hours it takes to get a rocket ship off the ground and into orbit. 

Sometimes, life can feel like that sometimes - like a massive plane grounded by gravity and the weight of it's heavy armor to protect it from the elements. And then other times, life can feel weightless and free like you are floating gently through space, unencumbered by the gravity of it all. Just remember on the days it feels heavy that it takes a lot of blood, sweat, tears, failure, and a whole lot of fire power to launch yourself into the future.

You just have to keep trying. It's as simple and complicated as that.

 

Waiting to bloom

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I have lived in fear and self-doubt for most of my life. My story is a wild ride of elements that sound like I should have packed it all in years ago. On paper, most people would have given up. But somehow, here I am, still standing.

Aside from the self doubt, there has always been a gentle undercurrent of hope in my heart. A spot that says "Keep going...you have got this." It's like a gentle hand, softly guiding me through the mud and mire of life. The hand that knows that I have it in me to bloom through it all like a delicate and brightly colored lotus flower rising from the mud.

It's the voice that says - do not give up. It's the voice that says - give it one more try. It's the voice that says - you can do this.

So I keep pushing. I keep persevering. Through the mud and the mire and the muck. Because under it all is a big, bright flowery dream that is just waiting to bloom.

Into the woods

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I grew up with a forest for my back yard. Not a national park, but woods so deep they never seemed to end. I would get lost back there for hours, wandering and wondering about things that only I knew about in my own head.  I would lose time – examining leaves, tree bark and chasing fireflies as I quickly forgot about time and how I measured up in a world that seemed to be so limiting for me...even then.  I would stay out there until I was called back for dinner or bedtime, weary and drunk from the air that seemed so fresh and pure.  So it's no wonder that even today,  I still feel most at home in the woods.

There is a sense of embracing that envelopes my soul when I stand amongst the trees still, hearing the crunching and snapping of the twigs and leaves below my feet. I don't worry about who I will encounter or what I may come across. I feel supported - as though there is nothing to worry about but me, the breath in my lungs and the muscles in my body. I feel loved and protected. I feel safe....and understood.

I don't live near much of a forest these days. So every chance I get to be amongst the comfort of the tall trees and the quiet rustle of the ground covering is like some form of unpaid therapy to me. We travel far and wide so I can breathe in the earthiness of forest floors as I my every step seems to kick up another smell as I leave behind another worry, another issue, another problem. And nobody seems to mind as I stop to catch my breath as we climb higher and further away from every little thing that was tying me up in the first place.

And I just fit right back in - comfortably into this world without boundaries or borders to tell me what I have done wrong or right. I fit right back into to home.

 

He is back.

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He's back.

Gone for 5 days and what felt like an eternity on a school trip to Washington D.C., my little man is back - safe and sound. Sleeping well and just as ornery and surly as he ever was.

I wouldn't trade it for the world. The sass. The drama. The tween attitude. I really wouldn't. I am so happy for all of it here at home...sleeping soundly in bed with heavy covers over him and a battle of the wills from the moment he wakes up these days. He is safe. And he is home. And he is with me. And I couldn't ask for more.

You see, just before this trip, Graham lost a classmate unexpectedly. She was only 13 years old - far too soon to be gone. Far too soon for her parents to bury her in the ground already. We are all mourning this loss and her absence. It is a tragedy I cannot even imagine...a parent's worst nightmare altogether.

So when I say I don't mind the sass and the drama - I am not kidding. I am thinking of Lucy - her parents and her family and her classmates. I don't care about laundry or stinky feet or someone climbing in bed with me at 3 AM because they don't feel good. I don't care about the hardships that come with tweens or the struggles ahead with teenage drinking or bad grades or whatever our story may be. I don't really care about anything but this foot in my bed - safe, happy, loved, here.

So I am glad. He is back. He is here with us today. And that is something I will never take for granted.

 

The Textures of Mexico

"I search for the realness, the real feeling of a subject, all the texture around it... I always want to see the third dimension of something... I want to come alive with the object."  - Andrew Wyeth

I love to travel. I love to see the world and witness the details - large and small - that make the place unique. The new and different landscape, varied people, and even the architecture leave me awestruck...like a child on there first trip to a candy story. Every turn leads to a new discovery that paints a picture for me of new and distinct and varied culture of each new place.

Recently, I was lucky enough to spend a week in Mexico on the Mayan Riveria. The fabric of Mexico is rich in texture and alive with color and culture. I could have stayed months wandering around little pueblos, breathing into the spaces of their real, authentic, everyday life. To me, the best parts are where the people really are living their every day lives - shopping, eating, or simply sitting around, watching the days go by...and simply lingering in the fabric of the place they call home.


Selling her goods.

Selling her goods.

Catching a lift.

Catching a lift.

Layers and layers.

Layers and layers.

I love the plant life. It amazes me.

I love the plant life. It amazes me.

Chichén Itzá.

Chichén Itzá.

The local barber. Closed for Siesta.

The local barber. Closed for Siesta.

Our pool. Azul.

Our pool. Azul.

So many tiny details.

So many tiny details.

Coconut trees. Everywhere.

Coconut trees. Everywhere.

The colors of the sea made me want to redecorate my house.

The colors of the sea made me want to redecorate my house.

These bikes. This sign. :)

These bikes. This sign. :)

The architecture was incredible. I could have studied it for hours.

The architecture was incredible. I could have studied it for hours.

Beach cabana.

Beach cabana.

The colors. Everywhere. So vivid and bright.

The colors. Everywhere. So vivid and bright.