Thursday, May 12, 2016

Remember to Breathe

I have a big weekend coming up. First, another Bookbub ad for one of my middle grade books, and at the same time, I'm putting the next one in the series up for pre-order. (It will be released on the 27th) Not to mention an out-of-town trip for my sons college conference track meet! (GO BRANDON!)

I've been going full-steam with a lot of things, and I need to stop and take a breath. I often do this by getting out into nature, so I went on a couple of solo hikes the past couple of weeks. Not only did I get some much needed exercise, but there is a renewal that takes place for me, deep in the woods. I'm blessed to live in a gorgeous area, where I can drive for an hour (or less) in any direction and have an incredible variety of settings. Ocean to the West, the Cascade Mountains (and volcanoes!) to the East. Seattle to the South (although I avoid it) and lakes and trails to the North.

I also like to call myself a photographer, but I haven't been keeping up on that hobby lately, and I think my blog reflects it. I can tell when I'm stressed, because I pull back from the things that relax me the most. Isn't that ironic?

So. My point, I guess, in sharing this is to remind you that while it's good to stay focused and moving forward with your goals, don't lose yourself in it. Remember to stop and decompress every once in a while!

To help encourage myself, I'm going to share some of my favorite serene settings. Places that I have either returned to multiple times due to their calming effect, or want to return to. I may or may not have shared these before!

This is by far my #1 spot. Flathead Lake, Montana in Blue Bay. It holds special meaning for me. I have come to this exact location since I was a child, for family reunions and camping trips. Hours spent in the sun with my grandma and grandpa(who is gone now). Mom, Dad, sister, cousins, and numerous aunts and uncles. This is Native American property, and it really does feel sacred. I know that might sound corny ... but I don't care! :)

Mount Baker National Park. This is one of the trails that runs along the shore of Baker Lake. Yes, this is really how it looks ... almost magical. There are a couple of spots, when you come around a bend and the silence hits you like a physical force. There were a few times when I just had to stop and literally sit down on the trail and just soak up all of that silence/stillness. It's SO good for the soul! The picture below is the view from one of the hike-in campgrounds, of Mount Baker at dusk. Can you picture yourself sitting there, just being still and amazed at the beauty surrounding you?

Mount Rainier National Park. The picture above is one I took at Reflection Lake (aptly named). You get there by taking The Road to Paradise. I'll admit, that while this is one my all-time favorite pictures, and the beauty and serenity of the place is undeniable, I don't know if I'll ever get back there again. The road absolutely terrified me. I don't do well with narrow, high, no guardrail roads! The image below, however, is of Silver Falls, also in the park. I have hiked the trail to it several times now, and it has turned into a summer tradition for my sister and I. We call it camp TarDuly (my sisters name is Dulcy). Corny? Yes, but there is nothing more relaxing than a family tradition filled with positive experiences and memories, in this magical setting!!

These last two picture are from my very own neighborhood. Yup! If I don't have time to go for a drive somewhere, all I have to do is step outside. I call the image above, 'silence'. It's at the end of my road (about a mile from my house), where the slough converges with the mighty skagit river. Just breathe that in. ;)  The picture below is also down the street from my house. The fields often flood in the winter, and the snow geese and trumpeter swans love it. I waited for a couple of weeks to catch this image of the setting sun, with the geese/swans on calm water. (it was usually raining!)

This is it for now. I know that I need to get back to producing some new images. It's been a while, and that isn't healthy for my soul. I hope that perhaps this might inspire you to look into some new areas around where YOU live, to start building those memories!!!

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