Gift From The Sea

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two unknown little people on SSI illustrating freedom on the beach

IMG_0404Do you love the beach as much as I do? There is just something about it. The continual ebb and flow of the surf will forever remind me of the running moments of our everyday life, constantly moving, with its inevitable ups and downs.

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Our son-in-law, Scott, with Dory and Gracie, Monday, 7/18/16.

There are many gifts from the sea: rest, sunshine, freedom,

recreation, reflection, togetherness, nature, just to name a few.

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The vast empty beach on Cumberland Island, Georgia.

One of my favorite books is Gift From The Sea, by, Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Did you know? Anne Morrow Lindbergh died at the age of 94, in 2001, after a life filled with flying over seas, walking along beaches, and living on islands. Just three years after her marriage to Charles Lindbergh, a famous aviator, their first-born was kidnapped and tragically killed on March 1, 1932. Up to this time, the couple lived in the U.S., but they moved to Europe after this horrific event for privacy. Later, the Lindbergh life was filled with five married children and twelve grandchildren.

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But what I really have loved about this remarkable woman and author, is this book that she penned in 1955.  Lindbergh shares so much wisdom about women and even more, about mothering. I have read and reread this book dozens of times, mostly always with my feet on some sandy beach as I make notations about what I am reading. Here are some photos from pages of my copy where I have made notation after notation.

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Just inside the cover, I noted the beaches I was sitting on.

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In her book, Lindbergh chooses a variety of shells and compares them with different seasons in a woman’s life journey. If you are planning a beach trip in the next few months, I hope you will consider picking up a copy of this book and taking it along in your beach bag down to the surf. I would love to hear what you think about Lindbergh’s wise and beautiful book. Lindbergh was forever surprised that a book written to work out her own problems as a woman, spoke to so many other women, and it still does, today.

Our Fernbank Elementary School girlfriend group of eight tries to travel to the beach whenever we can whether it be Seaside, Florida, Hilton Head, South Carolina, or St. Simon’s Island, where Mary and her sister, Beth have their parents’ villa. While there, we’ve lately tried to go on an adventure. In 2015, we traveled a short distance to both Jekyll Island and Sapelo Island. This year, though only three of us could make it, we decided to head to Cumberland Island, the southernmost of the Golden Isles. This island is located on the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the U.S. state of Georgia and is part of Camden County, Georgia. The island is 17.5 miles long, with an area of 36,415 acres, including 16,850 acres of marsh, mudflats, and tidal creeks. There is no bridge to the island; most visitors reach the island by the Cumberland Ferry from St. Marys. (from Wikipedia)

After a yummy, casual brunch at the Cedar Oak Cafe, Mary, Jan, and I ferried over from the quaint, coastal town of St. Marys and spent a few hours on the island, seeing the ruins, many wild horses, and picnicking on the empty beach. Not knowing for sure how far away we were from the ferry pick-up, we had quite an adventure half speed walking and half jogging, making it right as they were closing the gate and starting the ferry’s engine! Here are just a few pictures of our time on Cumberland Island:

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Cumberland Island Adventure
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Just off the ferry, Mary and Jan take the oak lined path on Cumberland Island
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Wild horses among the countless oaks, and…
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…in the surf on Cumberland Island
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Mary and Jan map out our Cumberland Island adventure in front of the Dungeness Ruins

Time with girlfriends, regardless of our age, is so vital, and Lindbergh talks about this in her book, too. Beach trips like this offer an opportunity to air our problems, make discoveries about ourselves, laugh, play, and compare our life experiences. This is one of the best gifts from the sea!

“The waves echo behind me. Patience, faith, openness, is what the sea has to teach. Simplicity…Solitude…Intermittency…but there are other beaches to explore.”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906-2001)

Our nephew, Titus Ray and his parents recently visited Cannon Beach, including Haystack Rock, on the Northern Coast of Oregon. Haystack Rock towers 235 feet over the beach.

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Cannon Beach, Oregon, USA
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Cannon Beach, Oregon, USA
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Titus, age 2, in front of Haystack Rock, on Cannon Beach.
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My favorite beach book and me, 6/30/15 in Corsica, France

Appalachian Trail Dreams

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Call me crazy, but I have Appalachian Trail Dreams… dreams about climbing part or all of The AT …starting in Georgia and plowing through the states one-by-one, all the way to Mount Katahdin in Maine. My friend from high school, Del Wynne recently posted an AT contest where her friend, who is like a niece to her, Gina was one of the final 12 finalists out of 74 entries. When I clicked on to watch Gina’s video, and to cast a vote for her, I took a few minutes to view the other eleven applicants while I was there. I found them each one so intriguing and it has lit a small flicker on my dreams to one day hike part or all of The Appalachian Trail. Click here to view the inspiring finalists in The 2016 Badger Sponsorship Contest, and consider voting for Gina or another favorite. Voting ends at 10:00 p.m. on January 31, 2016.

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The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the A.T., is a marked hiking trail in the eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. [pullquote]The moment our memories are greater than our dreams we are dead in the water.” Dr. Ike Reighard [/pullquote]The trail is approximately 2,200 miles (3,500 km) long, though the precise length changes over time as parts are modified or rerouted. The trail passes through the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The path is maintained by 31 trail clubs and multiple partnerships, and managed by the National Park Service, United States Forest Service, and the nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The majority of the trail is in forest or wild lands, although some portions traverse towns, roads and farms. The trail conservancy claims that the Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only trail in the world. The Appalachian Trail is famous for its many hikers, some of whom, called thru-hikers, attempt to hike it in its entirety in a single season. Others have managed to perform a “round-trip” of the trail where they thru-hike from one end to the other and then turn around to thru-hike the trail the other way, otherwise known as a “yo-yo”. Many books, memoirs, web sites and fan organizations are dedicated to these pursuits. (from Wikipedia)

What are your dreams?

It is always good to

keep our dreams alive!

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Hiker takes in the scene on Mt. LeConte

I may not yet have plans to climb The AT, but I am going on a short trip in early June 2016 to climb Mt. LeConte in The Great Smoky Mountains with three girlfriends. The distance to LeConte Lodge is 5.5 miles and a net climb: 2,560 feet. We will stay over at The Lodge before hiking down the following day. I was able to do some scenic hikes in August 2015 in The Rocky Mountains and blogged about it here and here.

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Wearing Karl’s Kure tees with high school buds in CO! Prayers for Karl & his family!

As long as we have breath,

let’s keep dreaming!

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Five Lessons From A Horse

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MEET SCRAPPY as he munches on a snack!

This past Saturday, August 1, 2015, on my fifty-seventh (as in 5-7) birthday, I had the chance to ride a horse for over three hours in the magnificent Rockies!  Some may wonder why I would give out that number, but it is mainly because it is just that, a number and my Mama taught me that “Age is just a matter of the mind, if you don’t mind it does not matter!”

Steve, an Estes Park, Colorado resident and dear friend for decades was our wrangler. From the time I mounted “Scrappy”, to hours later, I was enamored and impressed by this magnificent animal that carried me safely to the top of many mountains. The terrain was even rockier and dustier than usual because of a lack of rain, still, Scrappy did his work and provided me with a beautiful ride. I learned a lot just by being with him all morning!

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Steve and Donny

Did you know? The horses’ senses are based on their status as prey animals, where they must be aware of their surroundings at all times. They have the largest eyes of any land mammal, and are lateral-eyed, meaning that their eyes are positioned on the sides of their heads. This means that horses have a range of vision of more than 350°, with approximately 65° of this being binocular vision and the remaining 285° monocular vision.

LESSON ONE: This reminds me to look around, be aware, live in the moment, like a horse does.

Did you know? Horses are herbivores with a digestive system adapted to a forage diet of grasses and other plant material, consumed steadily throughout the day. With such an adventurous summer, Donny and I have been wanting to move towards a healthier and more natural diet, too. <smile>

LESSON TWO: Less meat, more plants, veggies, fruits. Horses inspire us to do just that.

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Three gals I am blessed to do life with, Jan, Jane Ellen, and Ev.

Did you know? Wild horses generally gather in groups of 3 to 20 animals.

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Cindy, the 4th friend on this trip whom I love doing life with!

LESSON THREE: Just like these horses that hang together, doing life with good friends, family, and neighbors is imperative for a fulfilling life. We all need time alone, but we need each other, too!

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While Jonah rides, he gains the courage he needs for his life journey.

Did you know? More and more horses are being used for equine-assisted therapies. It has been clinically documented that just being around horses changes human brainwave patterns. We calm down and become more centered and focused when we are with horses. Horses are naturally empathetic. The members of the herd feel what is going on for the other members of the herd. Jonah’s (pictured above) Mom shared with me: “Jonah simply adores horses and riding. This particular day, his OT had the horse ‘trot’ to help teach Jonah to utilize core muscles and to be prepared for the unexpected. Naturally, in our faith in God, HE ‘shakes’ things up once in awhile. We may not like it, but as in Jonah’s case, maybe HE is strengthening us for something bigger than what we consider ‘purposeful’ in the present. We always need to be on guard and be willing to take the reins and hold on!”

LESSON FOUR: This reminds me of the importance of being a compassionate, an empathic human in the time I have here on this earth.

I cannot tell you why, but this reminds me of one of my favorite songs of which you might want to have a listen, if so, click HERE.

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Scrappy looks down to determine the best way to face the obstacles in his path.

“If you are fearful, a horse will back off. If you are calm and confident, it will come forward. For those who are often flattered or feared, the horse can be a welcome mirror of the best in human nature.”

Clare Balding, retired amateur jockey

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Scrappy and me on August 1, 2015.

LIFE IS HARD and OBSTACLES come up unexpectedly, and this ride was a great example of how to respond to obstacles in your path. Scrappy and the other horses with us had to be alert to all kinds of rocks, big and small in their way. It was astonishing how strong they were as they made their ways through the Rocky Mountains!

LESSON FIVE: Scrappy inspires me to stay strong, devoted, and committed even when times are rough.

How about you?

I hope one or more of these lessons

I have shared here with you will encourage

you to enjoy an even more inspiring life today.