October 18th, 2018

Today in North Idaho it is sunny with a high of 59°.   I am enjoying temperatures in the low 70s and have started down the coast of Washington departing Port Townsend and investigating Crescent Lake Lodge, Moclips Beach and Quinault Lodge. An unexpectedly beautiful day made for some wonderful photos.

There is a whole world beyond your fence.  Go see!!

October 17th, 2018

Today in North Idaho it is sunny with a high of 61°. I have been traveling around Washington and have decided to share some of my photos for the next few days.  Needless to say the weather has been beautiful and I feel blessed to be on an adventure and meeting new people.

Meet someone new today and don’t forget to take your shoes off~

 

October 16th, 2018

Bridge WA

 

Today in North Idaho it is sunny with a high of 59°.  My current location shows a high of 69° and my plan is to get out and explore.  I’ll be making a day trip to Port Townsend and Lake Quinault among other places.  I’ll get a little hiking in and log my steps on my beloved Fitbit.  Of course I will post a picture as part of tomorrow’s blog.

The above photo is of a bridge I discovered while out for a walk yesterday.  This bridge was located off the beaten path and was found accidentally.  I adore these accidents!  Bridges like these inspire me.  Beautiful and secretive they call to me to keep walking until I emerge into the sunshine.  Metaphor?  I think so!  Those first few steps area new and unknown and we have no idea of the structures stability. But we sometimes find ourselves on these bridges and we need to cross however dark and mysterious they seem at the time.  I’ve crossed a few bridges in my life and though I’ve walked in uncertainty and anxiety, I’ve come out a better person for having made the journey.

I suppose life would be pretty boring if I did the same thing the same way all the time.  I do struggle with change regardless.  I like the known elements in life but I also realize that a great deal is out of my control and I sometimes wake up trying to right my path just to find out that the path back is closed.  So I trrrrryyyy to embrace the change.  That is very hard for a person who likes to have a plan.   I try to make choices within the choices I recognize.  Not making a choice is a choice too.  There is an entire group of people who live by the “not making choices” method or make as few decisions as possible.  I mean, they’re alive so there’s that!  Generally though this is not my cup of tea. I like setting goals and making lists and enjoying the feeling of accomplishment.

So today set a goal or make a list.  Something small that you can accomplish today!  Finish all the laundry AND put it away, superglue the handle back on your coffee cup, thin out the kids toy box, bring in the neighbors trash cans!  Then take the written goal that you’ve accomplished and put it in a jar and keep the jar out so that when you walk by it you can get that feel good moment!  Keep adding to it!  Take it out and read all the goals you’ve accomplished if you need a boost.  Read them to your husband or your children or have them start one and continue the positive vibe!!

Keep moving forward!!

October 15, 2018

Flower 2

Today in North Idaho it is sunny with a high of 57°.  I will not return home for a couple of weeks unless I am called back to work, so today I am enjoying sunshine with a high of 65°.  It is nice to travel a short distance and experience a temperature change like this. I’ve lived in North Idaho long enough to appreciate the effects of the weather on the human spirit.  A few days mid winter in a sunny location will fix the doldrums every time.  Another fix is a weekly five to ten minute visit to a tanning bed. Say what you will about tanning beds but I have had years where I couldn’t get out of the area and to someplace warm, and short periodic trips to the tanning bed did the trick.  To each their own!

Today started out slow which is how I like it.  I showered and decided on no make up,  torn jeans, boots and a t-shirt.  I then discovered there was zero coffee in the house so I went for a short drive for a perfect cup of coffee and some ground coffee to go. I like to sit with coffee and pour out my thoughts.  The warmth of the liquid, the taste and smell all seem to motivate my drifting mind.  How many of us have created a sort of muscle memory response with coffee.  Normally we are swilling coffee while getting ready for work or while getting the kids ready for school.  Just that smell makes me think I should be doing something necessary!!  A perfect example of a certain smell and its attachment.  Maybe I should start carrying coffee beans AND Frankincense!!  Possible!

The area that I’m visiting has a pretty serious homeless population.  I always find myself wondering how they got to the point of living on the streets.  Of course the first logical thought is drugs.  I also know that mental health issues are another problem and that often drugs and mental health issues go hand in hand.  The homeless have no age discrimination.  I drove past a “tent city” and there was a twenty something and a sixty something sitting outside of a cluster of tents looking very dirty and tired. I consider their safety and health.  I consider what possibly lead up to this moment and if they are happy with that life.  I wonder why it is that I didn’t end up living a similar life.

It takes a village.  I lived with my grandparents from third grade to middle school.  I can truly say that they saved my life.  I came to them after living with my mother and her abuse boyfriend where I heard and saw more than a young child should.  I literally asked if I could go live with my grandparents when I was seven years old.  I knew the life I was living was not “normal” and I desperately wanted normal.  I remember sitting on the stairs listening to my mother through the wall and waiting for the right moment to ask.  When the time came she immediately agreed and a phone call was made the next day.  My grandparents wasted no time in collecting me and do not recall being upset or sad about leaving my mother’s house.  I remember being relieved and feeling safe.

My grandmother might not have realized what she got herself into in hindsight.  Though if she did it never showed.  She loved me unconditionally.  I didn’t sleep through the night when I first came to her.  I had night terrors.  Sit up in bed, scream at the top of my lungs, uncontrollable crying fits of terror.  My grandmother was up for the challenge with a slow patience that still boggles me today.  Slowly she would help me find the light switch.  Slowly she would lead me to the window to open it so fresh air would come in.  Softly she would whisper to me how much she loved me.  Fierce she would hold me until I went back to sleep.  All of this she would repeat more times than I can count and in that time she would save me over and over again until I could sleep through the night without ending up in her bed.  She was a walking talking miracle and she died without knowing this truth.

So my gift to you is to know your people.  The people who know your direction and keep you on a positive path with love and support.  You will always have work to do and surrounding yourself with the right people is key to your success.  Let them know right now!  Now is the time to let them know!

 

October 14th, 2018

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Today in North Idaho it is sunny with a high of 52° but I’m coming to you from somewhere on the coast of Washington from an Amtrak train.  My sleeper car is a dream travel experience.  As you can see by the picture above, I have this space all to myself and I am enjoying a nice cup of Joe.  The train is remarkably quiet considering all of its passengers.  The scenery is spectacular this time of year with all the fall colors on display.  It seems as though Mother Nature is rocking me with these fastened steel rails as the world rolls by.  Truly a great way to travel!!

For those of you who have not had the opportunity to ride a train yet, here are a few key points that make it a unique experience.  As a train passenger you have advantageous views only afforded to those riding the rails.  Even if you have driven the highway route along the train tracks, the train has a whole new perspective and without the tension of traffic.  Most trains offer a viewing car, dining car, and often times you will have a commissary car.  If you have a fidgety disposition like myself then getting up and stretching your legs is a great way to break up a trip.

The dining care is an unparalleled experience that I always look forward to.  The hostess directs you to a table where you know no one.  That’s right!   You sit and dine with perfect strangers and it is an experience everyone should try.  Large elongated windows on both sides of the dining car provide gorgeous panoramic views while you are served breakfast, lunch and dinner on most routes. Today I am seated at a table with three women traveling together.  Three generations taking a train trip just for the experience and as a chance to reconnect.  It was marvelous to speak to daughter, mother and grandmother.  A jovial group of women all willing to be present in our family-dining experience.  After introductions, we shared our stories in a way that was unguarded and unique over a delicious breakfast.  I will not soon forget these beautiful acquaintances and hope to reconnect from time to time in the future.  Amtrak gets all the points in my book for promoting these opportunities.

After breakfast I took a shower and was surprised at the spacious room that was provided.  I would estimate that the shower was the same size as one you would find in most apartments which also included a small space to place your toiletry bag and clothing.  Towels, washrags and hand towels are provided as well.  The hot water was really hot (thank you!) and did not operate on a timer. Glorious!!  My trip ended in my roomette jotting down my thoughts and enjoying the remaining hours of this little romance.

Today I am glad that I had the opportunity to expand my horizons.  No matter where I am or how I found my there, I took a moment to reach outside of my comfort zone even in the smallest way.

Give your day a new door to walk through and be open to the little things.

 

October 13, 2018

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Today in North Idaho it is overcast with a high of 52°. I’m back at the library this morning where I have chosen to wait for my daughter and her family to pick me up so we can all ride out to a funeral for a family member.  A dear uncle who passed from cancer.  A truly courageous man who believed in the power of positive thinking.  The world is a little less bright without his presence.

My daughter brings with her my youngest grandson who inspired this blog.  I adore this little family and I’m truly excited to see them!  The wonder of the world never ends and today is no exception.  As one light passes the next begins and so on and so on.  Again I see the comfort in a process and the knowledge that there are things we can always count on even if it is life and death.  I feel this urge to live a fuller life and be a better person because there is an end ahead and I always like to look back and draw on that energy that I did it right.

This evening at nearly midnight as my little town sleeps, I will be boarding the Amtrak for a little getaway.  I am marking off one of the items on my bucket list which was to pay the extra money and purchase a roomette.  My voyage will be an overnight putting me at my destination the next morning around 11:00 a.m.  Between wanting to sleep comfortably, getting a little time to watch the countryside go by when I wake, and taking advantage of the meal included with my fare, I pulled the trigger!  I am super pumped to have this experience and will, of course, share a photo tomorrow of my travels with you.

I adore living in a small area and the feeling of community.  I love all of the known factors like who owns what shops, where the best food is, who has my favorite warm socks, when people are in need, where the high school graduation is every year, when the fair is, who is good at what and that they are generally accessible to give advice or direct you to someone who can give advice, etc.  Of course when it is your turn to stub your toe those same people step up and offer their support and encouragement which eases the burden and lightens the load.  Thank goodness!!

But sometimes it is good to get on the road and see what the world does outside of my day to day life.  See how other people live.  I love to talk to people on the street which believe me is accepted differently from place to place.  If I am at home and downtown I will talk to pretty much everyone.  And they wave back hello!  I don’t need to know them.  I think it is just being in this small place in the world.  I smile and say hi or good morning and try to make eye contact.  Spreading the love in a single word and look.  Try that in a big city and WOW!  People look at you like you need a one way ticket to the psychiatric hospital.  It makes me laugh.  What happened to these people that they take umbrage to friendly human contact?  Seriously!  We are all connected and yet we are afraid to make contact.  I feel like a telemarketer making robocalls and the person who answered had the worst day ever.  Hello!  Don’t hang up! I’m spreading goodness and it is your lucky day… crickets… click!  I’m smiling as I type this.  It reminds me of a saying, “Sometimes the dragon wins”. Well,  there is always the next person and I do sometimes get a smile in return in the big city.  All the feels!!

So today I invite you to take pleasure in the little things.  Yes, there is plenty of reasons to put your head down and not make contact.  You have the choice every second to lift your head and smile at the world.  If you lead with that foot and keep on walking you will either pop out into the sun or you will admire yourself for making the journey.  And that builds on itself again and again, and becomes less like a chore and you receive joy during the process.  This is no joke.

 

 

 

October 12th, 2018

Hiking

 

Today in North Idaho it is sunny with a high of 57°.  I have known it to snow at this time of year so these mild October days seem like an Indian Summer.

When you live in a seasonal area there is a kind of trajectory your life takes as one seasons turns to the next.  Winter is not far off and I’ve noticed that people tend to congregate at the boat ramp as the time draws near to remove your boat.  If your snow shovel gave up the ghost last year you may meet people buying a snow shovel or new gloves at the local hardware store.  If it is time to get your snow gear ready you may run into a similar group at the ski shop where skis are waxed and adjusted or at the local garage buying snow tires.  Everyone is busy bringing in lawn furniture, lawn mowers, cutting back bulbs and arranging for snow removal.  It is a never ending revolving activity in a seasonal area.  There is quality in similarity as we all toil for the expected change in weather.

The city that I live in is a tiny suburb of a small city that is a commonly known tourist destination. So you may think it odd that you wouldn’t constantly run into the same people daily.  Winter brings droves of tourists to a nearby mountain for skiing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing.  There is a vast amount of summer activities as well such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping, etc.  Simply put, it is beautiful here.  Mountains populated with Alder, Aspen, Birch and Firs, just to name a few, several lake beaches, pubs, eateries, wildlife from bear to turkey, a limited crime rate and a genuinely happy local population. Winter and Summer get so busy with tourists that the locals generally avoid town when possible.  This seems a logical explanation for limited contact with your neighbors.  You’re either out exploring with your group of friends or your running into other locals preparing for the next adventure.

I have five siblings.  They all live in California and when we get together it has been common practice that we gather here in Idaho.  Our aim is a yearly reunion and North Idaho is undoubtedly a major departure from my siblings hectic lifestyle.  There is often talk of California’s political intrusion, moratoriums and outrageous taxes.  A vast difference from North Idaho and its known motto, “Welcome to Idaho.  Now slow down.”

My siblings and I share an interesting start in life and so I think it is for this reason we all crave the peace that can be found in this area.  Remember when I commented that my childhood was a Jerry Spring episode?  Well, here is your first tidbit.  My siblings and I all share the same father.  However, there are three mothers between us.  My oldest sibling has a separate mother, then there is my mother, then the youngest four have the same mother.  My mother and my oldest sibling’s mother are sisters.  Both were adopted from different families by a loving catholic family.  The mother of the youngest four was my mother and her sister’s best friend in high school.  My oldest sibling is six moths older than I am and we grew up believing we were cousins.  Talk about skeletons!  I didn’t know about the other four siblings until I was in high school.  I didn’t meet my biological father or the younger four siblings until I was eighteen.  Wow!  That’s a lot to process.  We will come back to that later.

And so I share this tool from my own personal Barefoot toolbox: I battle anxiety regularly and over the years I have actively fought it and sought out new tools in which to fight it. My favorite is a drop of Frankincense oil on a napkin or handkerchief in a Ziploc bag. (sometimes I have to double-bag it)  When I feel that anxiety building up, I pull out my napkin which triggers summer church camp when I was a child.  Playing all day usually in bare feet until happily exhausted.  Falling asleep with a full stomach and wet hair after an evening shower.  The memory of a teepee or cabin in the forest with five other girls who have also collapsed into a deep sleep.  All of those memories bubble up through whatever tries to weigh me down and warms me with a singular contentment that disperses negativity like oil rising through vinegar. True story.

My gift to you is find your scent and keep it handy.

The photo you see above is of a small creek that I was surprised still had a small amount of water in it.  This was near the secret bridge from yesterday.  I love the cattails and fall colors.  Hope you enjoy it as well!

As for yesterday’s shenanigans… I did go out of my way to familiarize myself with the local city bus route.  I road for an hour and got to know the local drop sites!  This makes me giggle and shrug my shoulders.  It was just THAT kind of day and that is where my feet took me!