After a crazy Christmas comes PJ day!

Good morning! (good afternoon, good evening and goodnight as well, depending on when you read this). I hope yesterday everyone had a magical time filled with fun, family and friends. I hope the stresses of the season didn’t dampen the glow of excitement that pervaded the air. I will admit, it took me a tad longer than usual to get into the holiday spirit, but now that it has officially come and gone, I don’t know how ready I am to see it go. My poor fiancé got sick last night, so I think we have the perfect excuse to lay around in our pjs drinking excessive amounts of coffee and watching all of those Christmas movies I never quite got around to this year. Not to mention playing with a few new gizmos and gadgets (and reading, oh so much reading).

Now, I am not a particularly materialistic person, but I will openly admit that I love geeking out over unusual items (those BuzzFeed: get through this list without spending $50 kill me every time). I have a deep fascination with the odd, obscure, and downright rare. I find my inspiration in the oddest of places. This year for Christmas my family and I had decided we wanted to do less stuff. We were going to spend more time on events that we could do together and memories that we could make, which we did. Though I must admit, we all fell back into the typical cycle of wanting to give to one another- to see the joy in another’s face when they opened a little gift from us. The benefit to having less of an emphasis on material items this year led to a surprising outcome: the gifts that were all exchanged carried some deep meaning that left many of us dabbing at sparkling eyes wet with happy tears. There was a book that my dad read to us every Christmas growing up that he found recordable version of- which he recorded himself reading, for us to enjoy forever and share with our future children someday. That way no matter how far apart we may be, he can still read us the book on Christmas Eve (I did cry with this one). There were also a few perfect little items that captured the soul with the deep understanding the giver had for the receiver.

You see, material possessions don’t really mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. But yesterday I learned the power behind a heartfelt gesture that can take the form of something as simple as a coffee mug. I have always struggled with being completely open about who I really am underneath it all; my insecurities stamp their feet and demand to be noticed any time I try to get the courage to talk about some of the things that I love, things that are so deeply personal that to have them cast aside by someone I care for would wound me far more deeply than I would care to admit. My writing, for example; I am always nervous to discuss it, in fear that others will dismiss this humble little dream of mine, afraid that they will read my words and decide that I am just not particularly good at it. I hate to admit that their opinions do matter to me; it’s not that they could ever convince me to stop writing, it is as much a part of my identity as my nose is an integral part of my face. But they could conceivably convince me that perhaps my words should be for my alone, and that maybe this dream just isn’t right for me to chase. They have the power to give a louder voice to my fears and insecurities, and I don’t know what kind of damaged that emboldened voice could do.

But yesterday I was given a tiny little nudge of support in the form of a little coffee mug. It came from my soon-to-be in-laws who have always shown me unquestioned support in all of my writing endeavors. It had a little writerly quote on it, and meant more to me than I was able to say. This was a physical acknowledgment of their support and acceptance of something that is deeply ingrained in me, it was a nod to the fact that over the years we have become close enough to share these silly little dreams. And it was a reminder that they have my back 100%, no matter how many times I devolve into a babbling incoherent mess everytime they ask me about my current project. It was just a little coffee mug, but it meant so much more than that to me.

This particular picture is just to show the entire quote on the mug, as it wraps around the mug too far for me to get a good picture of the full thing.

Yesterday was a beautiful day for myself and my family (minus the surprise illness of my fiancé, who is luckily already feeling a bit better today). I somehow managed to hit all of the important stops (we were bouncing between houses like a ping pong ball), but inexplicably, this year I didn’t feel that same stress and strain. Perhaps because for once we all started out our day with only the hopes of spending a bit of quality time with one another. We took the time to step back and really see one another, have compassion for the year we have all endured together, and reminded one another of what was really important. We shared mountains of love instead of scaling heaps of unnecessary items. For the first year in ages I have walked away from the day feeling refreshed and revitalized. I can only hope that you, my friends, felt the same love and relaxation from a day that all too often loses its meaning. As we careen towards the fresh start of a new year, I will attempt to hold onto this peace I have found. 

For at least one more day, I am going to mosey around my house with my Santa slippers and fuzzy pajamas, drinking hot tea and watching family movies as my normally energetic puppers sleeps on my feet (as it turns out, tearing up all of his new toys and hiding the TWO different bones people slipped to him yesterday has been a rather draining task). Today I will find comfort in- well, the daily comforts I so often push aside in my persuits of other ‘more productive’ things. Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a step back and enjoy the rare gift of a peaceful moment while you have it. The new year is quickly approaching, and with it will come a fresh determination to tackle yet another list of goals, one more mountain to climb. So for today, I will rest and enjoy the journey that has brought me right here.

Salty Sea Air, Sun and Silence

There is an inconspicuous little house on a beach somewhere, in a little town that is known for it’s local vibes as opposed to a tourist feel. It is the getaway for people like me who want the salty sea air and silence. It is the tourist destination for the hermits who don’t like tourists. My home is very busy; hell, my life is very busy- sometimes all you need is a time out in a not-so-far-away place. This has become my haven when the world gets too loud and pushy. I have an escape just a few hours away from my home.

When the world gets too busy, I crave the outdoors; long wooded trails, overhanging trees, the burbling of a river; nature makes me feel like myself again. But sometimes a walk through the woods just isn’t enough when you know you have to come back out again. Sometimes all you want is a reprieve, a quite place where you can turn off your phone if you wish and just curl up with a good book. Sometimes you need to put down your weekend warrior garb, hop in the car and drive off into the sunset for a change of scenery.

I don’t come to the beach as often as I like, but every time I do I can feel my soul coming back to life, waking up from it’s overloaded catatonia. There is something calming about rolling sea waves and light winds, about late night storms and warm blankets. There is something invigorating about combing the beach for sea shells as the puppy chases the sandpipers and sea gulls, or cooking dinner side by side with your partner in crime. There is something healing about hours spent reading books and watching old movies. There is something beautiful in the simplicity of this temporary beach life.


When I was a little kid we used to come to this same beach with my grandparents and all of my aunts, uncles and cousins. We would spend whole weekends here with the gang, and I remember how much I loved it. That was before life and family got so complicated. Now I’m only a few doors down from that old house; and while it’s proximity is comforting, it’s nice to be somewhere a little bit different, a place that has room for new experiences instead of crowding me with old memories and phantoms of my past.

This morning I sit here with a cup of hot coffee, the sun pouring in through the window. It’s quiet as Zach and Link (the dog) are both still sleeping. All that I hear are the comforting clicks from my keyboard. It’s the perfect way to spend the morning. In a few minutes I am sure that they will both be up. We will drink our coffee while we cook breakfast together, dodging popping bacon grease and attempting the master the pancake flip. Then we will grab our sweatshirts and mosey out to the beach for one more lazy walk with the dog before we come back, clean, pack up the car, and make our way back to civilization.

When we get home we will jump back into the fray like we had never left. But my soul will feel lighter, my smile will be broader, the sparkle will be back in my eyes. Because when I escape my regular world, I rediscover myself. I can go back to my life and appreciate the sounds because I have been enveloped by the calming silence.

Until next time, you beautiful place, I will miss you. Because there will always be a next time. This is my safe place, the spot that restores my soul, the calm in the eye of the storm. This is where I remember who I am; and don’t we all need something like that?

What about you, my friends? What is your escape? Is it a place, a thing, an activity? What makes you feel whole in this busy world of ours?