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Cayo Coasta Beach Camping Adventure

 

 

David and I packed some coolers and a tent. We parked the truck at a marina on Pine Island and took the Tropic Star Ferry over to Cayo Costa State Park.

Upon arrival, a manatee was in the water near the dock. I felt like he came by to welcome us to our adventure. The first night we heard rustling of an animal. Either a raccoon or rat managed to get into a food wrapper we obviously did not secure. We also heard an owl, saw a snake, watched the birds feed at dusk.

When the sun went down, it became cold fast! It was colder than I anticipated. Our air mattress deflated in the night. (which made us even colder). But then the sun came up and warmed us up. By mid day, it was hot and probably 70+ degrees. Thankfully, it never rained. There is no hot water for showers. BUT there are flush toilets.

We spent three days being connected to beauty, nature, simplicity and each other. I thoroughly enjoyed being remote and having miles of beaches to ourselves. We frolicked like teenagers during the day and the hobbled like grandparents at night 😉 LOL

What an adventure. Hiking trails and miles of beaches kept us busy. We calculated that in 3 days we walked over 25 miles. I have my little stash of shells. I found a sand dollar with lace-like edges.  It’s amazing.

If you’re ok with remote simplicity, this barrier island might need to make it onto your must-see list. There’s also an option to boat over for the day to enjoy shelling if you’re not into rustic camping.

 

 

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Living Your Ecstasy

 

What inspires you? What makes you lose track of time? What makes the demands of life fade and the passion for life and love rush your soul in ecstasy?

A moment in dialogue with a child? A gaze upward on a starry night? A horseback ride at sunset? A hike along the forest trail? Faith-filled knowledge of your unity with God? An idea and creative inspiration in the space between waking and sleeping? Intimacy? These small snippets are the essence of what we really value, right? Is there is a discipline that allows these minuscule seconds to grow? Can we experience life more fully by experiencing more of these moments?

I think so. The discipline seems to begin with acknowledgement and giving TIME to experience glory moments. We have to come to expect them. Our busy, overwhelmed lives don’t facilitate soul food. Haven’t we given homage to drudgery long enough? It isn’t the path for wholeness.

There is another way.

While our logical mind tells us we have to worry to be productive, (and logic has it’s place in helping us survive in this body,) it’s not equipped for the survival of our spirit.  Is it possible to be living in effortlessness productivity? I desire more of that life.

This may explain why vacations and trips planned away from the routines of life fill our souls so differently. Those unique moments rise to the surface when we speak of the highlights of life. When we take time to be affected by the people we are with and the sights we see, reading books and taking long meandering walks,  intentionally letting our mind rest, we find that we became fueled and focused in profound, unexpected ways. We’re “more” of something, not less.

It’s as if life *rewards* and *responds* and *gives* based on something very different than our consumerist mindset. Maybe the mindset of passion + surrender = the inspired, purposeful, ecstatic life. Spirit living.

I’ve heard that we ARE what we LOVE, NOT what loves us. This makes me ponder.

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This is Living

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We’re a week into a new year of aspirations, resets, focus and tasks. We clearly see the red targets we’re aiming to hit. Our calendars are groaning a bit. And goals are a necessary part of our human equation!  (BUT)…

let’s not forget life happens “on the way” to goal(s).

The moment of silence that you took before you spoke, to settle the inner part of you, well, that’s living. It wasn’t a hindrance to your goal.

The chicken soup you made for a sick friend (that might have taken more time than you imagined) reminds you of your greatest strengths and also of your human frailty. That’s living. This living might have slowed your arrival to the target, and you’ll be tempted to think it’s of less value. It’s not.

The pause you made while taking a quick gaze upward allowing you to see the architecture that’s overtaken and interwoven with vines, grounded you and reminded you that multiple forces are always at work, both within and without.

This is living.

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What if I don’t have ‘a word’ for 2018?

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For years now, I have chosen a word, a verse, or a mantra for the year ahead. In many cases I would say more accurately, the word chose me. I love that feeling.But this year, (for weeks before the ball dropped) I have prayed, searched and listened for a word; THE word for me, only to find myself here on Jan 3rd without one. And I so love words. Sure, I could force it and lay claim to something, but that doesn’t really seem the right path. Am I alone? I imagine there are others who also feel a little bewildered that a word didn’t “find” them.

I’ve always considered having a word meant I had a sense of direction, vision and passion for what’s ahead.  And in some cases, it was a definite gift of grace when  I needed that exact word as comfort for a trial. But something did come to me today. It wasn’t a word, but an understanding  that (for me and at this time), NOT having a word may be the exact exercise to grow me. Have you ever cleaned and organized an office, only to find you didn’t get the work done or spent effort meal planning only to look back two weeks later to see you didn’t eat well? I guess I know deep down that a word does not insure execution of my dreams. But maybe I wanted to feel a little more “together” than I do? Does that make sense?

So, instead of looking for a word to embody a war cry or grandiose emotional movement that will carry me and/or keep me grounded, I’ll understand at a deeper level that our lives speak. There is always a word at work. Always a word lived out. I’m ok without a certain word to claim

Maybe I’ll find at the END of this year a word will emerge for HOW I DID live, not how I intended to live. I do enjoy seeing our word(s) lived out. When I see your name, words come to mind that embody you. Truly our life speaks louder than any word we could say.

To you! To 2018!

#beautynearme

 

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B.R.A.V.I.N.G. Blogging

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B.R.A.V.I.N.G. Blogging-

I just listened to an interview on youtube. Brene Brown talked about her book ‘Braving the Wilderness’. (I have it on my “must read” list.) She said

“True belonging is a spiritual practice and it’s about the ability to find sacredness in both being a part of something but also the courage to stand alone.” ~Brene’ Brown

Hmmmm, we add layers of warmth before we brave the cold. In a social sense, I think we must we layer on much wisdom before “braving the wilderness” of hard (but necessary) conversations. This acronym gave me a lot to think about.
B.R.A.V.I.N.G—

BOUNDARIES
RELIABILITY
ACCOUNTABILITY
VAULT
INTEGRITY
NON JUDGMENT
GENEROSITY
~Brene Brown’s acronym for Braving

After listening, some questions emerged for me as it pertains to blogging.

I wonder if in blogging, we must also find our “belonging”—-and the ability to find sacredness in both being a part of something but also the courage to stand alone?

Do we blog for escape or lack of courage for conversation?

Is there a conversation that we should have with a certain individual?

Instead of having a “hard conversation”, do we blog the release of our thoughts for self- gratification?

The nugget of truth that emerged for me is that there are times, beautiful times, that blogging to “everyone”is appropriate, meaningful and useful. BUT, there is another form of blogging that can steal growth from us. It’s a cowardly substitute blogging. A blogging instead of _______.

Blogging can’t become railing post; the “punching bag” to spew harsh, dehumanizing words about a person or group of people. AND, conversely, blogging can’t become a substitute for the vulnerability heartfelt words meant for a specific human with which you should interact.

Yes, Blogging and braving go hand in hand with courage and belonging.

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The Season of Quiet Mourners

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Dec 1st has come and gone, meaning the “Christmas season’ is in full swing. For many, this is all joyous. But for so many, it means a quiet reconciling of loss. Seasons of parties and pictures, family and gatherings, punctuate loss.

I have friends who have recently (or not so recently) said “goodbye” to someone, or some-thing. It seems odd that joyous occasions punctuate loss, but it does. Do you feel it too? Sure, I know there is a season for everything. There is. But there are seasons more difficult than others, Joyous seasons are difficult to sojourn in mourning. No one wants to be a “downer” in the midst of a party season. Smiles are draped like luxurious clothing. I think we must take time to see beyond the “clothes.” We must look past the lights and music. We must look into honest eyes and share in kind with honestly; with genuine care. We must see, really see. It might be as simple as a word of acknowledgement, or a release for tears among smiles; a touch on the shoulder. There is beauty in acknowledgement. Sometimes it is enough to admit we don’t know what’s needed. That’s a start.

Almost EVERYONE I know intimately deals with mourning silently. It is human. Beautifully human. The band of “Quiet Mourners” is real …and thoughtful, honoring and noble in a world full of tell-all, “exploitation at the cost of everyone” photos. Things happen that sometimes can’t be talked about or shared. It’s ok, It doesn’t mean you’re not vulnerable or authentic. It may mean you are respectful of someone else, There is no shame in quiet mourning. It’s a reality. In some ways, it gives a beautiful dignity and poignancy to something real.

I would like to take a moment to honor all of the quiet mourners.

Your dreams have gasped their last breath without celebration or fanfare. Your heart may have broken silently with the loss, at times being so interwoven with someone else’s, that there was no liberty to share the pain. That doesn’t mean it’s less important. That kind of mourning still matters because… you still matter.

You. Matter.

 

 

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Connection is contagious. When I see it, I smile. Monday #beautynearme is brought to you by my parents (their connection with each other) and my grandson (his connection to his creativity). It evokes gratitude. So much gratitude.

When we intentionally look for connection, even if looking on from a distance, our hearts are warmed.

The cold of the season cannot chill a warmed heart.

 

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Braids

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Today, I got to spend some one on one time with “little bit”, Lennon Jane. As I was getting her dressed, I thought I’d try a little braid in the front of her hair where it’s longest.

I braided a little strand and stood there with tears in my eyes. Her first little braid seemed to signify a passage out of babyhood and into girlhood. Yes, braids are cute, but they are also sturdy, making place for passion and focus in this wild and beautiful life.

Braids are perfect for her.