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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 ūüėČ 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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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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Fall-ing

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It’s seems so vulnerable to see the leaf release from the tree and at the mercy of the wind. ¬†Do you ever feel like that? Like you’re a leaf that’s just been released from the tree, just swirling, vulnerable, journeying to someplace unknown?

I’m so glad change doesn’t separate us from beauty. And even more surprising, change can land us right in the middle of beautiful purple flowers. A grace place. There’s such beauty in the surrender of the “fall”- (pun intended).

#beautynearme

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Blue Sky Kindness

Kindness lingers, like flower blossom aromas wafting down the country lane, slowly winding it’s way, finding us.

To see kindness lived amidst harshness, kindness given in return for ill-will, kind-heartedness lived authentically because one is “being” instead of doing, is to see heroism and bravery. It’s a slow, laborious role.

Kindness speaks in lingering fashion, wafting generation through generation, patient  and believing for things not yet seen.

The red dirt on the kind one’s grave connects to the soles of the shoes of¬†those wandering in the present. Sole to Soul, I guess you could say. Like I said, this is a slow role, taking years to speak¬†it’s part. But kindness adds little by little, so that roots expand and grow until we find we are beneficiaries of shade from a towering tree. This is why we remember people who live kindness. It’s a lingering melody few are tenacious enough to sing.

Kindness is unassuming, yet large and expansive from east to west like the blueness of the sky, humble enough to hold a little white cloud, yet brave enough to carry the fiercest of storms. We often converse about what is blowing in and out of the heavens, and the “blueness” waits for us to see the stability of kindness it offers.

Beautiful, blue sky.

#beautynearme

 

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The Color of Stillness

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I love the sunsets that have me darting my eyes in every direction so I can take it all in…

but tonight I was anchored in one spot, looking in one direction, mesmerized. I saw and felt the color of stillness. The unassuming gradation soothed and made my eyes and ears take a backseat. My mind curled up in the most comfortable chair.  I wrapped in the blanket and took in the sinking light like warm broth on a chilly night; each sip necessary for survival.

The stillness settled and stayed awhile. Even the birds hushed in a moment of respect.

Busyness has it’s place, but not in my mind tonight.

#beautynearme

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Babies Know More Than They Can Remember

 

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We’re in KC spending¬†time with our daughter and her family and we welcome a new little grand love into the world. As I hold this new little angel, I dream about the possibilities ¬†of her life. As I watch our little “almost 2” year old grandson play, I realize he has no memories of our time with him when he was an infant and he may only now begin to have memories, but I still believe it’s meaningful in more ways than we could imagine.

I think babies know more than they can remember. Maybe we all do. 

I am compelled to let the truth sink in…every moment is monumental. It’s valid, needed, light-bearing and divine. We each bring the most exquisite energy. It’s irreplaceable. Every interaction expands and enriches¬†life.

#beautynearme

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The Roses Made Me Do It

 

I’m trying to curb the habit of apologizing. (gasp) I know. I know. Apologies are menders, fixers, peace-makers. I agree. But sometimes we apologize not because we’ve done something wrong, but because¬†we’re¬†different or seen as odd or strange.¬†Sometimes we (I) live in an apologetic mindset because we don’t¬†value who we are and what we are¬†drawn to. We don’t value what we”bring to the light” in this dark world.

So, I’m learning not to¬†apologize¬†¬†for getting lost in a moment, a song, or a vision of something really beautiful, like roses. So I guess what I’m really trying to do is curb the habit of devaluing the beauty hunters. (It’s a real thing.)

If I analyze what I really believe…what I really feel?

I feel sorrow when we¬†tell and believe our own lies by saying “I don’t have time to ‘stop and smell the roses’. ¬†I feel sorrow that the currency of TIME¬†and MONEY are at war.¬†They both shout that they are the greatest value and the greatest equalizer. Which one is it? I mourn every day we believe it’s the dollar.

I feel sadness that the energy of “good” doesn’t get the celebrity status and limelight like the bad. I blink a little harder and longer in these moments. I know that going to sleep should not be better than being fully awake, but that’s how it makes me feel…tired. Yes, this makes me sad.

I feel confusion for us when we¬†believe that the only way¬†to “make it” in this world¬†is to choose¬†a life of complexity instead of a life of simplicity. The stressful drive to the office, the “work” that never waits, should never be valued more than the people we love, the family vacation to the beach, the touch of love. I am confused when we think these things might validate us. Things have never had that power. I wish I knew it sooner.

I feel my “ire” rise when drama-laden words fly; when stinging, witty cut-downs, and petty mud-slinging becomes a symbol of strength. When did the norm shift? Why do we idolize hatefulness rather¬†than listening to¬†the bird that is singing to our souls? We miss so much.

I don’t know why. But I know what I must do. I must feel it all, and then feel joy.

I must let myself feel the extreme joy of the beauty. Sure, I could apologize or blame.

“The roses made me do it.” Or maybe I chose it willingly.

#beautynearme

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Summer Storm

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There is something soothing about a summer rainstorm. The warmth of the air as it joins the cool water drops emit a very distinct earthy aroma. The dark clouds contrast the sliver of blue sky that remains. It looks like the mountains are welcoming the drink. It feels like we are receiving just exactly what we need. Everything is happening FOR us.

#beautynearme

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The Gallery Doors are Open

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Hasn’t ¬†~LOVE~¬†¬†in all of it’s nuances and complexity been examined and exploited? Is there anything left unsaid? unseen? Well, have you shared your love story? I ask because…

Love isn’t the predictable, hard and fast equations/solutions/calculations of math (thankfully)

Love is art. Each of our relationships are a beautiful, never-seen-before masterpiece! This is why we open our gallery for viewing.

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From the first time I met him, I knew there was something deeply embedded in him like a hidden mystery that I had to discover. I’ve never stopped excavating. Year after year I’ve always and continuously found¬†gold in him.¬†It’s in the smallest of things about him (about us) that loom large and overwhelm me with emotion. The little things that pile up over time to make a glorious mountain. Each moment. -A glance in the middle of his busy day when he stops and looks at me with intention. -A touch as we pass each other in the kitchen. -A kiss when he leaves the room. -An “it’s going to be ok” reassurance when I’m in doubt, makes me feel like I matter to him. I can’t help but smile like I’m keeping a really good secret.

There’s the way he reaches over and touches me in the night. More than reassurance or desire, there is a divine exchange as I roll over in response-a new explosion of color. I think that’s why I share “us” and add to the volumes; to the galleries. Our love is shape and color that invites others to stand before the painting to look and question; to ponder what it means. I welcome the gaze.

What we say with our opened gallery doors is that the art of love is as amazing as it seems.

We reassure all who come to look. New art is waiting to emerge. 

#beautynearme