Forty One

sup-beach-view nell-hat-on-beach rock-climbing sup-selfie nell-and-kiddos 41 single-wave abc-breakfast sup bike-ride

So, this is 41. Supposedly once you’re over 40, then you’re considered “over the hill”, right? Well maybe, maybe not. In my 20’s I did consider the 40’s as being “over the hill” and I had a picture in my head of what that would look and feel like. This is not at all what I expected. Man, am I glad.  I choose to make the most of every day.  I choose to do the things that make me feel alive. So, here’s to the 40’s. Bring it on!

*A special thanks to my three favorite people; Steve, Danica and Trey.  Steve made me feel special and let me do anything I wanted all weekend while he did my chores for me.  Trey went rock climbing with me and we had the best time.  Danica gave me the best present by coming home for the weekend to hang out with me.  To each of you… thank you for being you and thank you for being amazing.  You made me feel so very special. 

 

Ocean Magic

board-sky-view-small ocean-selfie-small pier-water-small  stand-up-ocean-view-smallboard-in-motion-small sup-beach-view-small water-cloud-view-small

For me, paddleboading can be a purely magical experience.  This week I got to experience one of those magical moments. The water was completely flat, glassy, crystal clear and calm, the ocean was filled with beautiful sea life, the wind was calm and the moon was full.  It was perfect!  I quickly remembered just how much I love paddleboarding and how grateful I am to live in a place where I can do things like this year round.

You see, two years ago (before my mom’s accident), I was out on the water every single week without fail.  Then life flipped upside down and I just never got back into the habit.  Well, I’m taking life by the horns and I’m changing that.  Doing fun active activities makes me feel better physically and emotionally. Paddleboarding is probably at the top of that activity list for me.  It makes me feel alive! Now I’m looking to add additional activities to this list; mountain bike trail riding and indoor rock climbing.  More to come on that.  In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying more time on the ocean.

Beach Photography

I have been MIA from the blog for sometime; 3 months to be exact!  WOW, how quickly time flies.  Hopefully that will change.  Soon there will be a post about my hair, the debacle and the process to recover.  I know, don’t get too excited.  In the meantime, I wanted to share my most recent little hobby with you.

If you know me at all, then you know I’m a beach lover.  It could be said that I moved my family 1600 miles to be close to the beach.  (well, that’s at least one reason anyway) The beach brings me peace.  It is my happy place.  Ok, after much  babbling, here’s the point.  I got this awesome lens set for my Samsung phone from my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas.  The set came with a wide angle lens and a fish eye lens. My Galaxy s6 Active already takes great photos, but this lens takes it up a notch. Plus, it’s super easy to use.  I can’t stop taking photos.

Here are just a few pics I’ve taken in just the last three weeks.  If you follow me on Instagram, then this will be a repeat.  If you don’t follow me on Instagram, please do.  You can find me at @mamanellie_.

surflines surfboard-pier sunset-view-rays sunburst-dance sand-view-clear-water nell-walking-up nell-walking-up-dress bird-up-close birds-sandbar clouds-reflection cloudy-lighthouse crooked-palm lifeguard-stand miami-beach-sunset bird-flying bird-flying-wings-up

Me Day

Runner Girl Selfie Pier View Sunglasses on the Beach SUP Pier ViewSUP Beach View

Sometimes you just need a day away; a day alone to regroup, refresh and refocus.  When life gets crazy, you have to take time away from the hustle and bustle and have some “me” time.  I took a little retreat day from everyday life earlier this week and it was fabulous.  This is my ideal day…  an hour long run, two mile paddle, snorkeling the reef, laying on the beach soaking in the sunshine, a great lunch with my husband and a long afternoon nap.  My friends, it just doesn’t get any better than that.  What is your ideal day?  If you had one day to yourself to do anything you wanted, what you do?

Lately

I have to apologize upfront for the lengthy post. If you’re bored, read on. (pictures below)

I know I have been MIA from the blog for a while now. Life has been quite crazy lately. To be perfectly honest, 2015 has been a “B”. Life is hard. Life is difficult. And sometimes life just plain sucks but on the flip side there are always bright spots and things to be grateful for.

You always hear that when you are pushed out of your comfort zone and endure many trials, this is when God can do the most work. All I can say is that God must be doing something big. I have no idea what, but something big. Life is hard. Life is tough.   It just is. If we allow ourselves to be swayed by our circumstances, we will most certainly exist on a roller coaster of emotions. I try to reside above my circumstances and see my life from God’s point of view, but I fail miserably all the time. I’m learning and trying to allow God to mold and shape me along this journey; to become the person that He wants me to be. It’s only April but I’ve learned many life lessons this year, and particularly two lessons stand out to me at this moment and time. First, you have to look at your blessings. If you’re busy being thankful for what you have, you have no time for complaints (I fail at this often – just ask my husband). Second, is to rise above your circumstances and view your life from God’s point of view. It’s difficult but when you do this, that issue that seemed like the biggest thing in the world, becomes only a small blip on your map of life.

Life has been crazy; some things good, some things bad, some things horrible and probably everything in between. Here are a few; my mom’s tragic car accident with a roller coaster of life and death moments, the long continual journey to her recovery, my Granny becoming sick twice, my Granny finally passing away, celebrating my daughter turning 18, celebrating my mom’s 59th birthday (which we weren’t sure we’d get to do), planning my daughter’s senior prom, planning for her high school graduation, planning a graduation trip and trying to land a huge 3 year long technology project at work (in which I am leading).

The topic of my mom; where do I even start? It is been miraculous, yet devastating. I have in some ways become a back up caregiver, supporter and mother to her this year and will continue to do so for as long as it takes (probably years). This area can and does easily become a big roller coaster of emotions but I am forever grateful to God for saving her life and slowly brining her back to us. I will say that celebrating her 59th birthday was the most special birthday celebration of all because, honestly, three or four months ago I wouldn’t have thought it would be possible. Then there’s my dad; my poor sweet dad. His life has flipped upside down and inside out. He had to leave his job, sell several properties, fight with insurance (daily), move across the country, take over the rental business, start paying all the bills and biggest of all has had to become the caregiver for my mom. The crazy thing is that he does all of these things simultaneously. He has always been the rock of our family and he still is but my brother and I have been there to help hold him up when he just can’t go anymore. He’s giving it all he has in an extremely difficult situation. As I tell him weekly, “I’m not concerned about mom. She’s coming back. I’m concerned about you.” (posting daily on her CaringBridge site)

My Granny. Oh, my sweet Granny. I’m not ready to talk fully about this yet but when I am, you’ll most likely see a blog post about it. I will state it simply like this. She was more than a granny. I was a daughter to her and she was a mother to me. I meant the world to her. We had a one of a kind special relationship. I have her wedding ring on my finger as I type this post and every time I look at it I cry. There hasn’t been a day that has gone by since Easter that I haven’t cried over losing her. She is by far the closest person to me that I’ve ever lost.

In all of this darkness, there’s the bright spots in my life. I get to watch my little girl turn into an adult, plan prom, pick out a dress, witness all those last moments of her high school career, plan for her upcoming graduation, plan an exciting graduation trip to celebrate, pick a college, pick a major, and plan her future. How exciting this has been. The excitement and joy on her face makes everything better. Yes, there are many difficult things happening this year, but on the flip side of that, there are all these exciting moments that I am so blessed to get to be a part of. This is the biggest, most monumental year Danica has ever had. I am loving every minute of it. These are all lasts to experience and I plan on being there for every one of them. For me personally, it is emotional for yet very exciting at the same time. I can’t think about all if it too hard because I will cry. I can’t believe we have reached this moment in her life. I feel like she should still be that sweet little sassy southern girl with a twang in her voice. I cannot wait to see what her future holds. There is no doubt in my mind that she will do amazing things.

Then there’s work. I never really talk about work on the blog but this year is a big year. My manta last year was that 2015 would be a big year for me (without my mom’s accident happening) due to the launch of this project, Danica graduating high school and going off to college. I work in technology for a local non-profit. This project is three years in the making and it is huge. We are literally replacing the entire technological infrastructure of the organization. God is in this and I am certainly trusting in Him.

When I reflect on everything that my life holds at this moment in time, I can easily get overwhelmed. What I have to remember is that God has a plan. Only He knows the big picture. I’m learning to take each day, one day at a time, which has been a monumental lesson for me as I am a dreamer and a planner. Honestly, for my own sanity, I have no choice but to operate this way and it works. Life is short and fragile. In a moment it can be flipped upside down. The people you love the most won’t be there forever. Your children will grow up fast and move on with their lives. Soak up every moment of this day. Let the ones you love know how much you love them. This may be the only opportunity you have to do so. Enjoy each and every moment with your children because before you know it, they will no longer be living under your roof.

All I can say is this.  Live for today. Life is short.

Here are a few pictures of life lately.

Mom and Dad at LaunchDee FAU ShirtMom and Nell at LaunchNell & GrannyMom & Dad on Moms BirthdayGranny RingNell & Dee at the Beach 18 BirthdayCR Beach

Spring Break

Umbrella in the Sky Trey the Picturetaker Dragonflies Rushing Water on Feet Danica the Sunbather Birds

This year, spring break looked a whole lot different.  Our normal tradition is to go on a yearly family vacation during spring break.  We have done so every year but this one.  With Danica graduating high school and sending her off to college in the fall, we decided to do a graduation trip this summer of her choosing (within reason, of course).  So this year was spent working, doing a college tour and going to the beach.  Hey, how awesome is it that we just have to drive a few miles from my house to enjoy the ocean.  I’ll take it.

Solace and the Sea

Birds on the BeachBoard Facing Shore Board on Beach Facing Water Board over clear water Board Propped Up Clear Water Feet in Clear Water Paddleboard Facing Horizon Surise

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It’s always our self we find in the sea.” – e.e. Cummings

I used to be out on the ocean every week without fail.  No matter what is going on in my life; no matter what hardship I may be facing, when I’m on the ocean it all melts away if even for a moment.  I hadn’t been paddleboarding in months, since before my mom’s accident.  I decided this weekend to take a little bit of time this past weekend to get back out on the ocean for a paddle and I’m so glad I did.  It helps make the burdens just a bit easier to carry.

Celebrating 18

Danica Beach Jump Danica Showing off Laptop Danica Smiling Earl & JoAnnaNell & Papa Nell & Steve One Palm Papa & Priss Papa Dee and Priss Priss Trey the Thinker Two Palms Nell and Dee at Beach Nell in Hat at BeachEarl and JoAnna

My sweet Danica turned 18 this past week.  I cannot even describe my very fragile emotions about this occurrence, but we certainly cannot stop time.  All we can do is enjoy the moment that we are given.  We are only guaranteed today.  So, because of this fact and because 18 deserves a big celebration, Dee and I played hooky from school and work and spent the day playing.  We went to the beach, had a nice lunch and got manicures and pedicures.  It was certainly a day well spent.  I am so incredibly blessed that not only do I get to be this beautiful person’s mother but I get to be her friend.  I just love spending time with my Danica.

The celebrating didn’t stop there as we decided to do a cookout at my brother’s house this past weekend to celebrate this monumental birthday.  We were able to get my dad there as well.  It certainly wasn’t the same without my mom (it never is), but I think it was nice for everyone to step back, relax, actually smile and laugh a bit and celebrate this special day.

Well, Dee, this is it.  You’re officially an adult.  I hope and pray that I am still the one that you run to with anything and everything.  As we embark upon college, this will certainly be key.  You came into this world 18 years ago to a newly turned 21 year old with no clue what to do.  You radically changed my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  You have blessed me beyond measure and you continue to do so everyday.  I wouldn’t be the person I am today without you.  You were are my little girl and no matter how old you get.  That will never change.  I love you to the moon and back!

*Sorry for the disjointed post.  It is sort like my emotions these days.  Thanks for following along.  🙂

Eighteen

Danica 18

Today, 18 years ago, my life was forever changed.  Dee, my life is simply better because of you. You have brought more joy to me than I could have ever imagined possible. You are sweet, kind, loving compassionate, fun and just all around awesome! I am so incredibly proud to be your mom. Thank you for all that you are and all that you bring to my life. Happy 18th birthday! I love you with all my heart.

Also, I’m now officially the parent of an adult. I AM OLD!

A Much Needed Beach Day

Two Palms Two Surfers Catching Wave Umbrella View Water Slashing on RocksSteve under UmbrellaNell at the RocksLifeguard StandFather Son SurfersNell Head Shot GlowingNell Walking up from RocksSteve under UmbrellaSurfer on Big Wave

Steve had a wonderful idea to take the Friday off before my birthday/Valentine’s Day weekend to simply hang out together without people or distractions.  This day off was the first fun thing I’ve done since my mom’s accident two months ago.  We slept in, got coffee, ate a cafe breakfast, bought a hat I’ve had my eye on for months, went to the beach (oh how I’ve missed that) and then to dinner.  It was a day to refresh, recharge and reconnect;i t was absolutely perfect.  I don’t think the day could have been any better. He knew exactly what I needed. (love you babe! 😉 )