A Day At The Ocean.

There’s just something magical about the ocean.

Life can (and most certainly does!) get messy, crazy, silly, outrageous.

It doesn’t matter.  The ocean waves go on.  The seagulls cry, the sun shines, the sand still sinks beneath my toes.

The ocean reminds me that life is, in the midst of all the messiness, quite beautiful.

Without getting into too many details, there are some major changes going on at my current job.  And instead of being calm and cool about it all, I literally feel as if I’m being pulled at the seams.

I like to think I’m totally adaptable.  That I’m ready for anything that comes my way.  And while that may be partially true, I also thrive on knowing exactly where my next step will fall.

I don’t like surprises and I really enjoy some level of certainty.

But none of my worries or fears seemed to matter all that much, as I stood there staring the ocean waves directly in the face.

What was it that I was so worried about again?

I was reminded of how silly it is to fret.  Reminded of how big and powerful God is.  Reminded of how lovely life is.  Reminded of how small this little fear actually was.

So I breathed in deeply.  And then I let it all out.  I stared into the deep blue ocean waves and I decided there and then that I was going to trust God completely, as I’ve always done in the past.  Why?  Because He has always taken my hand and brought me gently across the crashing waves.  And I’m always stronger once I get to the other side.

Always.

The ocean means a lot to me.  It’s one of my most favorite places on earth.

Not only because I always get a great workout in from walking through the sand (hello, sore calves!)  Or because I get to indulge in my most favorite foods…

…hello, lobster roll!

But also because of how good I feel after I leave.

Mentally.

Physically.

Spiritually.

(My mom and dad were both able to take the day off for a trip to Maine as well!  Love them!)

If you’re feeling frazzled and fried from anything (and honestly, who isn’t at one point or another?), I strongly urge you to find a favorite spot and just spend the day or even a few hours there.  Go to the mountains.  Walk through the ocean.  Enjoy a long bike ride.  Take a swim in the lake.

And remind yourself that in the midst of all that’s messy, life is absolutely beautiful.  And that challenges, fears and worries…if you let them…can actually make you stronger.

QUESTION: What is one of your most favorite spots/locations/activities to enjoy?

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Head Colds and Learning to Rest.

Stuffy nose.

Foggy brain.

Heavy head.

Yep.  I’m battling that good ol’ fashioned head cold.  I’m a little worried of all the things I’m probably forgetting, with my head being somewhere up in the clouds.  Even yesterday, after my doctor’s appointment, I was driving off and saw the secretary running after me in my rear view mirror.  That sweet woman was carrying my water bottle and my (borrowed) book, which I had unknowingly left behind.

So.  In an effort to get back to my normal self, I’m trying to embrace the whole concept of “resting.”  Which isn’t easy to do when working and getting ready for a new semester of my master’s program.  But I’m finding there are all sorts of ways to “rest.”  Like taking a 10 minute break to “smell” (well, at least try to smell in my case…ha!) the flowers.  Or sitting by a campfire at the end of the day.  Or taking 5-10 minutes to feel the afternoon sunshine on my face during a busy work day.

Yep.  We all need rest now and then.  Sometimes it just takes a stuffy head and a sore throat to remind me of that.

Happy Tuesday!

 

Summer Livin’.

Campfires.

Grilling.

Iced tea.

Laughing and talking and staying up late.

That’s what summer means to me.

Sometimes, in the middle of my work week, I forget that it’s summer.

And then I come home and unwind and eat dinner at the picnic table.  I listen to the sound of birds, taking in the warmth from the setting sun and campfire.

Ah, yes.  Hello, summer.  

QUESTION: How have you been enjoying the summer these days?

Vacation Recap.

Well.  I’ll tell ya.

Vacation certainly felt like a whirlwind.

Speaking of which.

Is it just me, or has summer been feeling like a whirlwind lately too?  I was making a list the other day, of all the summery things I need (absolutely MUST!) accomplish before autumn rolls around.  And there is so much still left to do.  Things like blueberry picking and swimming in a lake and making s’mores by the campfire.  I’ll share my complete summery list with you all as soon as it’s complete, and I’d love to hear what’s on your summery agenda too!

One of my “must-do’s” was to head to the White Mountains.  There is no other place on earth that makes me feel quite as happy as NH.  On top of a mountain, I instantly forget about all the worries and stresses of life.  It’s that feeling of absolute peace.

Here is the official photo recap!

HIKING

My goal is to hike all 48 of the 4000 foot mountains in NH.  I got 3 down on this one vacation trip.

First up was Mt. Osceola, which was a relatively steady climb with lots of switchbacks.  It’s one of the “easier” hikes, as far as 4000 footers go. 😉

My Dad taught me a lot about the mountains.  What to bring.  How to prepare.  And most of all, how to respect nature.  He’s hiked with me through all the mountains that I’ve climbed so far, until that day.

I shot off and did East Osceola on my own, which was a pretty exhilarating experience.  This part of the trail was called the “chimney” for good reason.  It was so steep and was WAY easier to climb up versus down.

The one other hike that was done was Mt. Eisenhower, which is one of my absolute favorites!  The view was spectacular.

FOOD

Icecream.  Every day.  What can I say?  I hold nothing back on vacation.  I will say, however, that it feels amazing to be back on track now that vacation has come to a close!

(My sistah is a fellow ice cream lover like myself!  So her little baby is almost guaranteed to love ice cream too…I foresee future icecream dates with my future nephew…yippee!) 

I do, however, still balance things out with healthier things.  Lots of fresh salads and fruits and lean meats.  One of my favorite salad toppings?

Grilled Cajun Chicken + Peach + Walnuts + EVOO & Balsamic Vinegar.  Yum!

JUST FUN

North Conway is one of my family’s favorite places to visit.  There’s all kinds of sightseeing, shopping, and people watching opportunities.

It’s a fun (slightly quirky!) little NH town.

We also went to visit some of the waterfall spots.

This is Sabaday Falls, one of my favorites…

And my sis and I (right) at the basin…

There was also this really cool trail that led through an array of birch trees.

Gorgeous.

And pretty rivers to wade through….

My mom’s favorite activity?

Miniature golf.

My dad always wins.  I almost always lose.  But I laugh the whole way through, so it’s totally more than okay. 😉

Me (left) and my sis!

My beautiful sis (and bestie!)

I need one of these chairs for my backyard.

Just sayin’. 😉

Yep.

Vacation went by way too fast.

But I already have plans to head back to NH later this month for another hike (woohoo!)

Off to relax before the work week begins tomorrow!

QUESTION: Do you take a summer vacation?  If so, what do you like to do?  

Rockport, MA

Rockport is one of my most favorites places on earth.

I’ve talked about this quaint little New England town many times, but I feel as if I could still gush on and on about it.  It’s one of those places where something new is always waiting to be discovered.  A little cove.  A beautiful view.  Some secret “hiding” spot.

My parents and I have a tradition of visiting Rockport, MA at least once a year.  It’s sort of an unspoken tradition, actually, but we’ve been following it since I was a freshman in college.

I hope this tradition never stops.

My parents have another tradition of stopping at “Top Dog” for lunch…

The Top Dog is this little restaurant at the corner of a side street, which you’re very likely to miss if you don’t keep an eye out.  Their menu has everything from the “seeing eye dog” to the “german shepherd” to the “chihuahua.”  Each ‘breed’ has a different topping, like macaroni and cheese or sauerkraut or vidalia onions & carrots.  The Top Dog also happens to have some of the best fried clams that I’ve ever had the delight of tasting.

(Tradition says we split a box of clams every time…don’t you just love traditions?)

I also ordered a hummus wrap from my favorite lil’ lunch spot: The Bean and Leaf Cafe.  They have the best Ginger Peach Iced Tea and their hummus wraps simply refuse to let me order anything else, despite their other tempting menu items.

The whole wrap was about the size of my head, but I still had plenty of room for some mint patty icecream!  Perfect for a hot, “summer” afternoon.

Till next year, Rockport!

You’ll forever be the town that holds my heart.

QUESTION: What is one of your favorite places to visit (within your own state)?

 

Warm Weather.

My body feels as if it has been craving sunshine and warmth all winter long.

Early morning runs in sub zero temps.  Layers upon layers of mittens and jackets.  Warming up the car a good 10 minutes before work.  Winter has felt really long and spring has come at just the right time (although I wouldn’t argue if it came in February now and then!)

The trees are still bare.  The ground is still brown.  But spring is in the air!  Soon there will be leaves and flowers (and vegetables to eat!)  This is putting everyone in a good mood these days.

Winter’s remains. 😉

Here’s to hoping it feels like spring wherever you are too!

Freedom Trail Run – Boston

So.

I actually have been up to more than just races and running.

Like working towards my masters.  Increasing my hours at both jobs through the month of August.  Camping and hiking and gardening too.

But taking part in the Freedom Trail Run in Boston was such a fun even that I had to share the experience.

I found out about the Freedom Trail Run when I was researching “running tours in Boston,” looking for Father’s Day gifts for Dad.

According to one of the leaders, this Run has been going on year round for three years and the groups can be include anywhere from 20-40 runners at a time.  The run itself doesn’t feel like a race, but the group does move relatively quickly from historical point to historical point, stopping about 16 times.

It felt a little like doing speedwork with intermittent rest periods to recollect and learn something new about the city.

(This is Paul Revere’s House!)

It was interesting running through the city, all along the brick and cobblestone.  The run started at 8:30, and so the city itself still seemed half asleep (like me 😉 ).

The three tour guides were incredibly upbeat and enthusiastic, and they really made the entire run very upbeat.

My favorite part of the run was running up Bunker Hill, which was insanely difficult.  The tour guides told people they could walk or run it, but of course I followed in my dad’s footsteps, dashing up to the top.  My lungs were on fire, my legs were burning and…it was amazing to reach the top!  What a blast.

This run ended with a cruise back to the start, bottles of Gatorade and t-shirts from the race.

(This 5k also happened to be mom’s FIRST…she really enjoyed it.  Way to go mom!)

And then we spent the rest of the day walking around Boston in our new t-shirts.

Because that’s what we do…haha!  😉

Had a great time and would definitely recommend this running tour for locals and tourists alike!

Happy (belated) Father’s Day, Dad!!

More Information: Freedom Trail Run in Boston