Wow! What a whirlwind of a holiday season it’s been so far! Traveling and partying with friends and loved ones is one of the most rewarding and comforting experiences I could ever ask for, but no doubt exhausting! So now that we’re home and right back to our delayed boat projects, all is right in our universe. And that’s right when I least expected something amazing to happen… but it did!
Walker and I jumped in our 10ft. dinghy to head over to his “work” (he volunteers as the “Tide Pool Feeder” at the Friday Harbor laboratories) and right as we were headed to the lab’s dock we saw 2 striking Orca Whale fins that stood about 3 1/2 or 4 feet tall. They were spouting and swimming around in large circles about 100 yards away and we were speechless! This experience has stood near the top of my bucket list for as long as I can remember and here I was, in what felt like a tiny raft with my mouth wide open and eyes gaping in astonishment, at 2 of the fiercest predators in the Salish sea. Both Walker and I were overcome with tears of joy and then I had to laugh at the situation because here I am in a boat 1/2 the size of an Orca with my 6 year old and there’s Killer whales only 100 yards away. My Momma bear instincts kicked in and I rowed quickly to the dock and shallower water and the whales disappeared behind the point.
Once at the dock we shouted and cheered and felt so thankful for the experience, and that evening I started reliving that crazy moment and it made me realize something. You can’t check off your bucket list if you never put yourself in the place to do so. Even though my experience was amazingly scary and not the safest scenario I wouldn’t trade it for the world! Seeing those 2 incredible whales and living aboard our sailboat in the San Juan Islands has made me look at my life as a gift. There is so much happening in the world at every given moment and we are blessed enough to get to experience all of the greatness it holds if we just put ourselves out there.
So when making that New Year’s resolution for 2019, keep in mind what’s really important to you, and don’t worry if your a couple pounds over weight or bound and determined to meet that financial goal. You can accomplish all of that easily if you focus on a resolution that helps you live in the bigger picture! Make a resolution that takes you outdoors and pushes your limits physically, mentally, and spiritually because everyday counts! The best part of a resolution like this is it doesn’t have to cost a lot, and other’s could be welcomed to join in. When your soul is content and a smile graces your face, it’s amazing what you can accomplish!
When you focus on something you will always achieve it.. . it’s keeping the focus that’s the hard part!
Hope you all had a smashing 2018 and here’s to an even better 2019! God Bless!
I am SO excited to share this news! In my last post “Your miracle is right over the horizon” I shared that I was still waiting for a miracle in the husband and wife relationship department. I was very raw and honest about our family life, and it was really hard to put myself out there and be vulnerable, but guess what??? It worked! We got our miracle!
I was able to stay home and write because Nick my husband, offered to take Walker our kindergartener out for a science day. So little did I know that as I was home praying/writing for a miracle, my boys were out receiving it.
Nick and Walker took a detour on their way to the beach where they were going to search the tide pools for sea critters. This detour was to the University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories. There were many signs on the drive in that stated “Authorized Personnel Only” and “Pre Authorized Guest Parking” and you catch the drift… the boys might not be as welcome there as Nick was hoping they would be, but we always tell Walker that you never know until you try, and Nick had lots of practice when he was a kid going into similar situations with his Grandpa so they took a que from above and gave it a shot!
Walker proceeded to take the lead as he usually tends to do being Mr. Personable and all, and instantly made friends with the front office gal Miss Aimee who then introduced them to Miss Megan who then introduced them to the tide pool. They have a tide pool under the stairs of the main building that is filled with starfish, urchins, anemones, crabs, shrimp, scallops, sea cucumbers, and probably countless other critters! Walker was amazed and Miss Megan, who we later found out was the right gal to meet, took notice. Here was a little boy that was so excited about an ignored, dirty, boring old tide pool that everyone passes by without a second thought so she offered Walker a volunteer position as official tide pool feeder.
Now to give you a little background on our 6 year old, Walker has been planning his business since the age of 3 when he started with his first Kool-Aid stand, which was followed with Lollipop sales, a dog sitting endeavor, a dock side café/store, and of course a dog walking biz. He has wanted a job for so long and so Miss Megan’s words were music to his little ears!
After getting a tour of the main campus building complete with research vessel, R.O.V’s, and multiple super cool experiment tanks the boys came home to a very happy, relaxed and fulfilled Mom (because I had just conquered my vulnerability and put my heart into my post). My boys were grinning from ear to ear and took turns telling me about all the excitement that had filled their morning. As they laughed and shared their story I was overcome with the feeling I get when I’m experiencing a miracle. It’s like my heart swells, tears well up behind my eyes and I feel like my body wants to float right off the ground. Walker and Nick had without a doubt been touched by the grace of God!
We have been blessed by God with a renewed sense of purpose that drives Nick and I more than anything in this world… Walker’s passion, and excitement for his new job. After fishing off the dock for the tide pool critter’s breakfast, we put our little one to bed and sat up way to late chatting about how amazing our son is and what an incredible opportunity this is. There is no doubt in our minds that this was an “ask and you shall receive” kind of miracle! We humbled ourselves and were honest about being imperfect humans which is imperative to preparing yourself to receive. Putting our faith in God has always proved to be the right choice, and it doesn’t happen very often but we experienced this miracle immediately after asking for it. We really have the feeling that this new job could be the beginning of a future Marine Biologist career or something even more amazing for our son.
So take on a personal challenge and put yourself out there! Be vulnerable and honest with yourself and the people around you and you to might experience that miracle you’ve been praying for! You will for sure feel a weight lifted off your shoulders because it’s exhausting trying to be perfect! And “news flash”… nobody is! Cut yourself some slack and enjoy the person that God created for a reason. Yes that’s right… we were made with our faults in mind because what we think is a fault is someone else’s inspiration so put it all out there and let God handle the rest 😉
Good luck and God Bless!
It’s almost annoying how religiously this theory works! The best part is that you look good, feel better, and even teach others the value of a kind word. Most of us are programmed to fit a certain social profile where it’s not ok to freak out on another person, even when you really want to. So if you can remember the advice from the mothers before you of “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” then you can always have a leg up in a disagreement!
How does this make me look good? When anyone loses their temper they end up looking like a cranky 2 year old. Hopefully they’re not throwing themselves on the ground kicking and screaming but regardless, they look ridiculous! Funny how they also need to be handled the same way as a temper tantrum throwing toddler. Wow! That was a tongue twister!
“I think it’s odd that grown-ups quarrel so easily and so often and about such petty matters. Up to now I always thought bickering was just something children did and that they outgrew it.”
When you are the quiet and calm party in a discussion you have automatically won, because all the negative attention goes straight to the one demanding it. It’s also much easier to solve the problem when you’re listening to what the actual problem is. The other perk to this quiet moment is that the other party generally disarms themselves with their own obnoxious voice.
How does this make me feel better? The definition of kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. That made me feel better just reading it! So put yourself in their shoes and consider how this over actor (or actress) feels, whether just or unjust. Sometimes, that’s all they need. For others, they just like to ruffle feathers. So let them and take it with a grain of salt. You listen, you sympathize, you try to help, and then you walk away knowing you did everything you could while maintaining a pleasant attitude. Nice job! You should feel great that you might better their life and future relationships. (One can wish, right?!?)
How can I teach others the value of a kind word? People want to be cared about and treated with respect. So do just that and you will feel like you actually helped someone with more than just the problem at hand. Hopefully you help them learn that acting like a brat is not beneficial to anyone especially themselves. Kindness is contagious! And most of the time, you don’t see the effects of it right away but know that you make a difference every time you put these tricks to work!
You can get a better picture of this theory in the work place by reading…
Fall in the Pacific Northwest is known as a time of true beauty. Colors of yellow, orange, red, and green paint the landscape and remind us all to stop and take in the natural splendor that is Washington State. With this time of year also comes the fog, wind, and rain! And let me tell you… there’s a lot of that! Many Pacific North westerners are on a steady Vitamin D regimen that’s pretty much the norm.
With the holidays approaching everyone is thinking about family. Should we do the holidays at grandmas or maybe rent out a nice cabin on a beautiful snowy hill-side so everyone can relax and enjoy. Perhaps you’ve become very popular during this time of year and everyone would like for you to split your time between grandma, grandpa, mother-in-law, father, uncles and aunties and so on. Whatever the case may be, it can be a wonderful and stressful time of year for all of us!
This time of year also brings to mind those people who don’t have families to celebrate with. It’s amazing how your frame of mind can change on a drop of a dime when you see someone with no one. It’s times like these that remind me to be true to the spirit of the holiday and remember the traditions that made it worth celebrating.
At our marina I have come across multiple millennials who have chosen a way of life that distance them from their family members. They talk of friends and colleagues being their family and think only of the great times to come because they’re in charge of creating them. Though we aren’t on the same paths, it’s refreshing to see the holiday season through these kinds of eyes.
So what is family? We want so badly to spend good quality time with our family but for a lot of people, that is more work than reward. So why not change the definition of family? Prepare for the spirit of the holiday to be one filled with family that builds you up to be better than you are! Reviving your soul for the year to come and push you to better the world around you.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to go out and tell all of your family that you no longer want to spend the holiday season with them because they drive you nuts! But I do think it’s smart to be honest with your family, and make these holiday gatherings times that you will remember fondly and want to do again in the future. All people want to enjoy themselves when it comes down to the heart of it. And if someone is truly a loved one, then they love to see you enjoy yourself as well. So here are some tips to get that conversation rolling…
Changing these less than ideal traditions to ones that transform an experience to one of memorable proportion’s is not as hard as you think.
Here some ideas to get you started…
Christmas traditions –
Another thing to think about during holiday planning is in the kid’s department. If you have children who don’t like holiday foods then you have to be prepared. Kids can make a party, or break a party! So make sure to bring their favorite snacks, then if they don’t like what’s on their plate, they aren’t starving and therefore making your holiday experience a lame one. I know from experience that when I cook for people and they either don’t like my food or can’t eat it because of an allergy I feel really bad. So remind your children to be thankful and to put your game face on and enjoy a meal that you may or may not have had to cook because somebody special prepared it with love.
Remember that the holidays are meant to bring family, friends and loved ones around each other to make memories that shape our families morals and build us into more caring and loving people. So go in with an attitude of gratitude and truly be thankful to be able to spend time with those that you love and love you in return.
No matter what you call it, society has fully embraced this candy gorging, scary costume parading, staying out late and being a trickster holiday. It can be a ton a fun and a parent’s nightmare all at the same time! But no matter what age you or your kids are there are ways to celebrate safely and enjoy every minute of this crazy day!
Halloween for the little ones’-
With the younger generations it’s a great day for some crafts! There are countless ideas on Pinterest and google or if your in a hurry you can swing by almost any dollar store or craft store and pick up some easy craft kits. Also check for events happening in your community. Churches are a great place to let your little ones run off their sugar high because they focus on the harvest theme which is so much more fun at this young age. If you choose to take your little one’s out trick or treating, make sure to read my Top 5 List for a successfully fun time!
Halloween for kids and teens-
This day is a golden opportunity to teach your child the right and wrong in trickster land. That’s what it’s all about right? Trick-or-treating is what it’s all about at this age. So teach them how to play good humored tricks that are fun and not destructive. And remember that not all kids have this kind of parenting so power in numbers, and having a solid plan are the most important tips for keeping your kiddo’s safe!
Halloween for adults-
If you’re attending a Halloween party this year, remember to keep in mind the fact that just because you can go wild in disguise doesn’t mean you should! Don’t be the drunk with the smeared makeup and the annoying cackle.
Tips to keep your dignity and your productive November 1st-
Here’s to wishing everyone a very fun and spooky Halloween night!
Stepping onto Orcas Island is like stepping back in time. To a place where folks smile and wave at each other, where water meets sand and the sound rushes through you while the cool sea breeze swipes your worries away. With a fabulous ferry ride behind you, your now ready to wined through beautiful country farms and magical hillsides of pottery, or cozy up in a seaside hotel with a fabulous meal.
The possibilities are endless on Orcas! You can have a rugged outdoorsy vacation or enjoy the life of luxury all within a 30 minute drive! You’re on Island Time now!
When looking for an outdoors adventure, head to one of the best parts of Orcas Island, Moran State Park. You can spend an entire week here and still be in awe of this natural wonder. Hiking through old growth Cedar forests with moss hanging from every tree and little streams making paths through the forest floor on your way to numerous gorgeous waterfalls is just the beginning. All of the hiking trails are very well maintained and they open up to mountain biking in the fall and winter too! After a good hike or if your the sort that would rather kick back and relax with a good book and a fishing pole you wont be disappointed because Orcas has 5 freshwater lakes that are stocked with trout and bass and have easily accessible boat rentals or public fishing docks. Once you’ve taken in the beauty from below the canopy, rise above on Mt. Constitution where you can soak up views of all the San Juan Islands and neighboring Vancouver BC as well.
Rosario Resort is closely connected with Moran State park and equally as interesting! You must explore this resort for yourself when visiting Orcas and trust me, you wont be disappointed! The beautifully landscaped gardens sweep you through the incredible property that’s nestled in East Sound’s Cascade Bay. They have 2 beautiful outdoor pools, tennis courts, and a prized mansion museum and hotel. There’s also a wonderful music hall where they have weekend performances.
Also nestled on this side of the island is the cute little town of East Sound. Here you can find amazing restaurants, a booming farmer’s market, quaint seaside galleries and plenty of ice cream, coffee, and knick-knack shops. They have a great Grocery Store as well called the Island Market, and on a side note… the employees there had the best customer service of any grocery store I’ve ever shopped at! It’s sad to say, but that is a real treat these days!
With Orcas being the largest of the San Juan Islands it’s easy to spend a week or more exploring not only east sound but the west side of the island as well! There is a fabulous pizza parlor “Island Pie” at Deer Harbor marina that can’t be beat. And after dinner you can take a relaxing sunset stroll on the docks or a nice walk around the little beach.
Make sure to check out West Beach Resort! This is my #1 recommendation for an amazing place to stay! They have everything you need for an all inclusive experience with beautiful seaside cabins and tent sites, boat rentals, restaurant you name it. It’s a classy casual environment where everyone is having a great time for a reasonable price.
Not to far from West Beach Resort is Orcas Island Pottery… a magical place where nature meets the kiln and art is born! Literally, you drive up a lush, fern and cedar tree covered hillside into a tiny neighborhood of bohemian style homes that make up an incredible shopping experience. You wander through trellised vines and tall ornamental grasses into a garden of beautiful flora and fauna, an architectural marvel of a treehouse, and multiple buildings displaying pottery from many different talented artists in the community. It’s a piece of Orcas Island that you have to experience yourself to truly understand this gentle, peaceful island.
Orcas is a place that is best described by it’s wildlife. Everywhere you turn you see a doe and her fawn feeding on the grass or rabbits nibbling off the blackberry bushes. Nothing is fearful here! The wildlife and sea life are plentiful and nature rules on these remote Islands because the people who call them home take great pride in keeping it that way. So thank you and hopefully you all have the chance to experience Orcas Island!
Bicycling is one of my family’s most enjoyable past times! It’s something we can all do together that’s a healthy, challenging, and fun activity. We frequent skate parks, neighborhood streets and mountain terrain all year long. But we came to a large snag during our last big life change (moving onto a sailboat). Our bikes are really big and take up a ton of room on the deck when we’re underway. We tried to store them inside the cabin, and that was no easy feet! It worked but it was all we could do keep ourselves out of the way of a swinging handlebar or protect our beautiful wood finishes from the jagged pedals.
So we decided that we would have to figure out a way to have our preferred means of travel fit our way of life! Where there’s a will, there’s a way! My husband, being the research guru he is had done some reading on this idea of a folding bike that packs away to about 1/3 the size of a normal bike. It sounded good but would it work? So we headed to Skagit Cycle in Burlington, WA for some more advice.
Now understand that when you live on a boat you acquire a certain smell that some would call musty… It’s a boat smell! And our only vehicle is more of a storage unit then a means of decent transportation. So we show up all smelly in an ugly old van that our son had just thrown a huge fit in because of being tired from the early ferry ride and Alec, the store manager was super friendly! He was immediately making jokes and lightening the mood by just being helpful and truthfully answering all our questions. He showed us different styles and sizes, and took extra time to teach us all the tricks on assembling and disassembling these crazy folding contraptions. Most importantly he listened and must have spent at least an hour with me, my husband and my crazy but sweet little 6 year old boy who is like a wild animal in a feeding frenzy anytime he steps into a bike shop. He never got into that pushy salesman mode to either get us to buy or leave. So right off the bat, we were made to really feel comfortable taking our time and making the right choice on a bike that was…
#1. Going to cost a lot!
#2. Going to be my main mode of transportation!
#3. Going to be the last bike I buy for a long time!
So I choose a newer model, the Dahon Briza D8 that isn’t quite as dorky as the folding bikes I’ve seen in the past. And my husband bought the Dahon IOS D9 which was not in the store yet so Alec special ordered it at no extra charge and because we live on the islands, he was even willing to work out a special deal where they would meet us at the ferry terminal to pick it up if needed. They really went so above and beyond the normal level of customer service you receive at a little family owned bike shop.
To top off the experience, they gave us a very fair offer on the bikes we were trading in. And the following day we came back with a bike rack that we had no further need of, so he willingly took that in on trade and hooked me up with a new Giro helmet and front hanging bag that clips into my bike.
Needless to say, we would recommend this shop to anyone and everyone in need of anything bicycle related, or if your just looking for a business that treats people kindly and doesn’t judge a book by it’s cover. They are honest, fun and passionate about the sport. Visit Skagit Cycle in Burlington, Anacortes, or Oak Harbor! We have been to the Anacortes and the Burlington stores and they both rock!!! We’ll be back for sure!
Everyone’s heard of the phrase “Island Time” which stands for “nobody cares what time it is”. And it stands true that islands have a certain feel to them, where time really does stand still and your worries seem to melt away with the waves on the sand. While living on Orcas Island we have experienced this and so much more!
There really are no clocks on the island! Ha! Well I’m sure there are some but we are yet to find one, minus the ferry terminal which is the main artery of the San Juan Islands. No matter what the nautical clock on the wall says there are always ferries shipping people of every decent and economic class through these timeless waters.
The islands are a melting pot where people are less concerned about social status and just looking to enjoy themselves.
Everyone should spend some time on an island! Living on Orcas is like stepping back to the good old days where there’s a little family farm with fresh fruits, veggies, eggs, and a variety of other goodies around every corner. Which is always a great reminder for us to eat healthy foods that are locally sourced. Everyone waves and smiles at each other when driving and walking around the shops. People even hitchhike! There’s a true sense of community in these small island towns, neighbors helping neighbors and it’s refreshing!
Summer in the San Juans is a boaters’ paradise! Beautiful harbors of crystal blue water teaming with marine life just begging for an anchor. There’s also amazing food, drink, and of course nature. Mother nature is one of the most influential forces on the island. When she is shining her sunny smile on us, all is well and the party is swingin’. The sun tanned bodies sharing drinks and stories on the docks are a permanent staple here in the summertime and everyone’s going on a sail or hike and invites you to join. But when her seasons change the island is not far behind.
The month of October has brought a whole new feeling to the island. One of urgency and dedication to tradition that’s handed down from generations long ago. It’s harvest time like you would expect in central or Eastern Washington, and everyone is preparing for the winter storms. It’s a way of life that cannot be ignored.
The best part of this demanding time is that everyone is so thankful to be working here and living this dream.
That’s what I’m really discovering here. That this “Island Time” feeling has nothing to do with time… and everything to do with a well-rounded healthy lifestyle. Learning that there’s no reason to stress over time is invaluable, and I have some tips straight from the island for ya!
When you wake up in the morning are you excited to go outside and see what awaits you??? If not then you’re in the wrong place! Some people love the hustle bustle of the city, and others love the solitude of the country. I like both so I live on a boat where I can visit all of them!
2. Be Proud –
I know it’s hard in the world we live in today to be comfortable in our own skin, when we are constantly being reminded of how we need to alter ourselves to be skinnier or more beautiful with the latest greatest style. But you were made the way you are for a reason! If we all embrace our freckles, crooked noses, splotchy skin, and under eye circles then we embrace the past that got us to this future. Every mark on us tells a story, one of our heritage and adventures. Let your story shine.
3. Prioritize –
Be literal and everything else will fall into play. Our basic needs are water and food so start there. You have to fuel your body and mind before you can nourish anything else. Take time while you eat to self reflect and check in. Then you can start to prioritize. We all have to pay the bills so work is a high priority, which brings up the question… what is all of this hard-earned money for? If you’re paying for things that aren’t a real priority for sustaining your life; food, shelter, clothing, then is it really a priority? If you prioritize, then you focus on what’s really important in life to you and the other stuff has a way of falling off.
4. Don’t let anything ruin your day –
We all have those days when nothing seems to go right, but when your on an island the waters remind you that the tides change often and there’s always a calm after the storm. So when bad things do happen, put yourself on your island and look for the calm after the storm because even if it’s not quite visible yet, you can see the change coming with the tide.
I hope that you use some of these tactics for embracing an “Island Time” lifestyle. Stress is one of the leading causes of illness and disease so be kind to yourself and unwind a little, just like on the islands!