Quiet Winter Walks

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We have been trying to enjoy the soft, silent beauty of this winter season when it’s not minus degrees. We bundle ourselves and the dog up (yes, he has a coat AND boots for the extra frozen days) and trek through the woods for some fresh air and refreshment. It’s a different world during these winter months and it feels good to get out and enjoy it when we can. It’s really not so bad when you are prepared. I’ll take scarves, hats, mittens and sweaters any day over the sticky hot of a sweltering summer day. Find the good in all seasons and you’ll always have something to look forward to.

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The Upper Peninsula

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Matthew, Ollie, and I decided to start out August right by treating ourselves to a quiet, relaxing vacation to the Upper Peninsula. We found a simple, newly updated 100-year old cabin for rent on a small lake. Our favorite part was the amazing deck overlooking the water. There’s something so refreshing about eating your meals as you look out onto the peaceful ripples of the lake. We would definitely go back.

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It was only in the high 60’s to low 70’s, so we didn’t have the chance to swim in the lake. The cabin did include two kayaks though and I wish we could still venture out every day. Dipping your paddle into the cool water as the sun is setting is my kind of way to end a day. On our last night there, we followed a beaver or otter through the lily pads for at least 15 minutes. This trip has awakened a dream in both of us to someday have a cabin of our own on a quiet lake.

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matt dock

Ollie really loved the peaceful setting to relax and go for long walks down the wooded road without lots of scary noises and sights he’s not really into here in the city. He liked seeing deer, butterflies, and birds instead. He says he would go back too!

ollie trees

lake trees

lake views

do small things with great love

Ollie winter walk., originally uploaded by ordinarymoment.

I like the fresh feeling a new year brings, another chance to live and experience, a time to reflect and make changes where they are needed. There are things I want and need to make happen this year so I am hoping 2013 treats us well.

Life is always interesting, isn’t it? Some years incredible, others with deep disappointment, hurts, loss. Joys and sorrows, balancing each other out. Of course I know it is those hard times that help us to grow, to become stronger, to understand ourselves and others in new, better ways. We need difficulties to fully appreciate the beautiful moments in our lives. Though knowing this doesn’t ever seem to make it easier during those not so great moments.

Sometimes it’s easy to let yourself be overwhelmed with the pain and wrong in life. To feel hopeless and small, wondering how just you can do anything to leave this world a better place. I love this quote from Mother Teresa:

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

The small things make all the difference–a smile, a note of thanks, a kind word. Tiny gestures of kindness we all have time for, no matter how busy life gets. One of my goals for this year is to just make it happen. So often I think of something I should do, something that I know would brighten another’s day. Yet I use the excuse of busyness, of being tired, losing my energy and motivation. We don’t always know what someone else is going through, when someone is having a bad day–imagine how they might feel by just your simple act of kindness. I want the people in my life to feel loved and appreciated, to spread little moments of joy when I can. So that, I suppose, is my New Year’s Resolution: to stop making excuses, and make things happen!

2012 was not my favorite year…but sharing a picture of the best part that makes me smile and laugh all the time up above.

laughter and joy.

6 months ollie, originally uploaded by ordinarymoment.
Bringing a dog into our lives has brought so much laughter and happiness. Almost 30 years old, and I had never owned a puppy of my own. Ollie is crazy and funny and adorable and frustrating at times, but oh how we love him. He’s helped us to discover new places and has inspired adventures. Beautiful hiking spots so close to home yet never explored before. He likes to eat and sniff all things–most especially mulch, leaves, pieces of fireworks, any little bit he can get into his mouth outside. He ate so much sand on his first beach trip that his poop was sandy for two days straight. He is tinier than we were expecting and can jump so high, even when we form our arms into a circle and tell him to “Jump through the hoop!”. He likes to do yoga stretches after he gets up and gently jumps up so you can give him a hug. (He is peeking over the couch cushion as I type with his favorite tiny basketball and a wagging tail, hoping I will play some fetch). He is a fraidy dog and hides or barks if something is out of place…a jacket, a rubbermaid container, a big pot on the stove. If we are watching tv and not paying enough attention to him, he will jump on the back of the couch, barking at us to tease us, hoping we will play. He is energetic and playful but when he is finally tired he will snuggle on our laps while he falls asleep. He is pretty awesome and we can’t imagine life without our little Ollie bud.