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Still sending prayers to Fort McMurray today. The damage wrought by the fire there is unbelievable. But I do believe in the strength of communities and the hearts of the people who live in them, and who will rebuild them. Just as we have done in our mountain towns of Colorado. I have watched the changes in lives and landscape wrought by Mother Nature at her most tempestuous. I have wept at the devastation. And wept again watching strangers and neighbors come together to heal homes and spirits. From what I have read, the people of Fort McMurray have the same resilience. Tonight, I send them not only prayers, but a shot of calm, blue beauty to ease their heat and hurt.

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Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “It troubled her much to see what a great flame a little wildfire was likely to kindle.” — Thomas Hardy

Daily gratitudes:
A lovely Colorado day
The bird on the stoplight with a Christmas icicle twinkling in its beak
Kelsea being such a blessing on this earth
MKL’s love and encouragement
My little gallery

 

Another surrogate daughter shared something tonight that, on top of an anxiety-provoking experience, made me think about who I am. I am a person who:

Rescues ants from drowning in hot springs pools
Would prefer to shoo a fly out a door instead of splatter it on the wall
Says hi to every dog I get close to, even before saying hi to their owner
Picks up things for strangers when they drop them
Ask confused looking tourists if they need help with directions
Stops to see if I can help children who look lost and scared
Wants to tell you if your tire is going flat when I’m driving next to you
Tries to help an old friend who I haven’t spoken with in years who posts a suicidal message on social media (this is how I have spent much of my evening)
Will write “you are amazing” on any available public chalkboard
Is still trying to figure out how to get out of my own way
Looks for the tiny things that make me smile each day
Tries to see the positive in all negatives
Loves my daughter – and my many surrogate daughters – with my whole heart
Misses friends from my school years with whom I’m no longer in touch
Would give the shirt of my back (or in one case, my bra) to a friend in need
Tries to think before she speaks
Makes sure that my words are kind
Hopes I’ve made a meaningful difference in one life in the course of my own
Is crazy stupid in love with my husband
Thinks that there are positives in every person
Wants to have a good relationship with my ex-husband
Is happiest by water
Believes the people we have lost to death are with us still
Loves to draw hearts in the sand…

And so much more. That’s just a drop on the surface of the sea of me. But tonight, I felt the need to share it.

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Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “To be kind, honest and have positive thoughts; to forgive those who harm us and treat everyone as a friend; to help those who are suffering and never to consider ourselves superior to anyone else: even if this advice seems rather simplistic, make the effort of seeing whether by following it you can find greater happiness.” — Dalai Lama XIV

Daily gratitudes:
My truck
That MKL is a little happier
That my heating pad has chosen to work tonight
My physical therapist
Kelsea and my girls

 

 

 

Are we here?

No.

But we did write this on the beach last year, so I thought I’d share it today, even if it is Boxing Day, not Christmas Day. MKL and I are celebrating our Christmas tonight, so for us it IS still Christmas Day. Love to you all.33

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Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ” — Norman Vincent Peale

Daily gratitudes:
MKL
Extended Christmases
Having Kelsea home
Mr. Man
Herman Douglas the Moose

The sea changes from day to day, as do I. Serene one day, restless the next. And ever sleepless. Forgive me for being gone a bit, and don’t forget about me. I am throwing myself into working on my novel (well, one of them) with a passion inspired by NaNoWriMo. Otherwise, I am still broken-toed and gimpy-armed and just managing.

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Great Exuma, Out Islands, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “You have to write the book that wants to be written.” — Madeleine L’Engle

Daily gratitudes:
Noticing the details but not getting trapped within them
Coffee shops
A good massage
Talking with Kelsea
My surprise from MKL

NaNoWriMo Day 2 word count: 3657

Maybe all I need is a little seawater, sand, coconut water, and time with MKL to cure what ails me.

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Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.” — Elizabeth Wurtzel

Daily gratitudes:
Color coordination
Flocks of birds with white underwings
That the grass is still green by the Prairie Flour apartments
Remembering clothes from your childhood from out of nowhere
Sleeping with the window open

Not here, for we have clear weather here, and have been most fortunate for this time of year.

In Great Exuma, a place that MKL and I have come to love very much. The place that apparently Hurricane Joaquin loves very much as well, so much that he has decided to linger over the Out Islands, and seems to hate to leave. Bright waters and beautiful days will return though, and Georgetown and Hoopers Bay will dry out. That is the way of islands and islands along with them. Those who live by and love the sea know that, as I saw in tattoo form on a woman’s arm in a little café in RoadTown, Tortola, “the sea always wins’, but its people never give up. They love it too much.

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Great Exuma, Out Islands, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “she lived with hurricane eyes and fell in love with the way the waves collapsed against her cheeks.” — Christopher Poindexter

Daily gratitudes:
The couple getting wedding pictures taken in front of the train at Union Station
That Joaquin may be moving out to sea (but you can never tell with hurricanes)
A call from Kelsea this morning
That they caught the Trojan virus on my computer before it did any damage
That having the Tabasco bottle fall from the cabinet above the stove into the oven through the cracked open door (because I was broiling things) and roll into the back of the oven – not once but twice within five minutes – did not result in another kitchen disaster

Since I started the swimming pig ball rolling, I figured I’d just let it roll with some more shots of these cuties. My feet will be in the sand in about four days (North Carolina sand, not Bahamian sand) and I can’t wait. It has been over eight months since I’ve been on a beach (seeing one from an Oregon scenic overlook doesn’t quite count) and that’s way too long for me!

A Passel of Pigs
Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “To the stars, on the wings of a pig.” — John Steinbeck

Daily gratitudes:
My orange shoes
That when I don’t burn things, I can make a darn good quick dinner
Dozing on the bus
Laughter
Masterpiece Theatre

On our last trip to Exuma, we crossed something off of my Bucket List – swimming with the pigs in the Bahamas. Our private captain took us to a Secret Pig Island (not the ones that most of the tour boats go to), and the little porkers swam right out to greet us, knowing that we’d have something fun for them to eat. It was indeed a once-in-a-lifetime experience (though I said that about my first trip to the Caribbean as well, and look how that turned out), but I was soooo happy to pet and paddle and share some splash time with these beasties. And they seemed pretty darn happy too.

Swimming with the Pigs
Somewhere off Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “I really do believe that all of you are at the beginning of a wonderful journey.As you start traveling down that road of life, remember this: There are never enough comfort stops. The places you’re going to are never on the map. And once you get that map out, you won’t be able to re-fold it no matter how smart you are.
So forget the map, roll down the windows, and whenever you can, pull over and have picnic with a pig. And if you can help it never fly as cargo.” — Jim Henson

Daily gratitudes:
Wedding dress shopping for Niece 1
Time with my sister
Finalizing my wedding hairstyle (courtesy of Niece 1)
Hawks on telephone poles
GPS assistance when needed

At least I do, having had a mysterious bug for the last few days that has knocked me pretty low. So here’s one for all of us.

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Three Sisters Beach, Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “Coming delights, like tropical beaches, send out their native enchantment over the vast spaces that precede them – a perfumed breeze that lulls and drugs you out of all anxiety as to what may yet await you below the horizon.” — Gustave Flaubert

Daily gratitudes:
Being able to work from home when I’m sick
Cool showers
Plans
Baby bunnies
Summer breezes

While we’ve had two gorgeous days here in Colorado, I find myself missing Exuma and Anegada. Missing Anegada, the home of my heart, is nothing new, but missing Exuma is. When we were there for the first time (November 2013), the water was amazingly warm and buoyant. I could float standing straight up. I could carry MKL around in the water. There was no beach there that was not brilliant white sand and dazzling azure water. We could walk out 1/4 mile from the shore and still be only knee deep. And it was a place which neither of us had been to before, so our memories are just that – OURS. Without any shadows or ghosts of the past. I liked that. And so, I continue to share these images. Because I love to remember.

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Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “Ghosts don’t haunt people–their memories do.” — Alexandra Bracken

Daily gratitudes:
Walking
My mini-workout today with Christine
Beautiful days
Leashed bird dogs approaching sitting pigeons
Big storms

 

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