Alabama Gulf Coast · divorce · dogs · Fairhope, AL · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Final May Day

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Well here we are, the end of May and the celebration of a year of Wayfaring Tail Wagger. May turned out to be a rather interesting month. We had our first named Tropical Storm, Alberto, who didn’t make much of a fuss but did however, get me on my game as far as prepping for the storm season. I was able to get the Rialto Zephyr cleaned, began working on the sails to get them in proper order, and my Dad and I got the engine started! That’s something to be excited about.

In other news, I was promoted at my job and now it seems all I do is work. I haven’t had time for writing much, which is always a downside to “adulting.”

It occurred to me that I don’t have nearly as many adventures as I had originally planned. I think I miss that the most about my previous life, the adventure. I feel stale sometimes, like that heel of bread that no one ever eats. They just leave it in the bag on top of the fridge for weeks before it becomes dried out and crusty, tossed in the trash for lack of use. I’m not feeling sorry for myself, just an observation. I decided that I would at least find a local adventure and stumbled upon Blakely State Park in Spanish Fort, AL, just a 20 minute car ride from here. I think I’ll be hiking tomorrow as soon as I’m off work.

This month I discovered an amazing restaurant right here in Daphne AL called Bangkok Thai. They have the BEST green curry I have had in AGES!

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I always order the medium spicy and it’s just hot enough to cure what ails you! The staff is extremely friendly and welcoming. I’ve been twice this month alone.

May has really been a month of reflection. It was the anniversary of everything that happened that changed my life. It caused me to see how far I’ve come and how much further I have to go. It was a reminder that I am a survivor, independent, creative, and best of all resilient. Not all of it was a pleasant memory. I miss my life still, at least the life I had before. The pain has dulled a bit and I’m able to make it through the day without tears now. I heard something on a podcast today that I’ve decided to make my mantra. “I am defective, but I am healing. I am broken, but I am rediscovering myself.” I have also learned that I need to have a little grace and mercy for myself. I have accepted that I can’t change what happened. Now I’m allowing myself to move on from it. I am rediscovering who I am and who I want to be and realigning my life.

I am so thankful to those of you who have traveled with me on this journey. I hope you will continue to follow along as I chart out new adventures for Ava and I. Thank you for all the love and support. Your comments have encouraged me over this year in more ways than you’ll ever know!

Here’s to another year!

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Alabama Gulf Coast · divorce · Fairhope, AL · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Uncategorized

Home

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Home /hom/ noun- The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

A simple word with a a defined meaning. A physical place, and yet not a physical place. As a military family, home was often very loosely defined for us. It could be the base housing unit we resided in, or the friends and churches we called home as we traveled the world. It could be my childhood home in Jackson County Mississippi or it could be wherever my parents and siblings were living at the time. Home became more of an adjective to describe a feeling of comfort rather than a physical place for me. It became memories of sitting on the front porch with my Granny while I listened to her recall her childhood. It was skipping down dirt roads, hand in hand with my Daddy as we carried our cane poles to the ditch for fishing. It was the way my Mama played the piano every night after she mopped the floor as I lay watching her from my bed. That was home.

Today’s blog is about the place I call home now. It’s mixed with those same memories as I mentioned before, but it’s also a very physical place that I have learned to love the more connected I feel to it. After moving from New England, I joined my parents in the small coastal area of Mobile, Alabama. Like I mentioned before, I grew up just across the state line in Mississippi. Mobile was the largest city near us and we only visited when we were shopping for school clothes or Christmas. As a teenager, it was the only place I could go to see a movie. I didn’t really know much about Mobile other than my parents always warned me about watching my surroundings as Mobile had a significant crime rate.

Mobile is a beautiful oak tree lined 300 yr old city. She’s had a history that predates America’s birth, one that is rich in both tragedy and triumph. She sits proudly at the mouth of the Mobile River and the Mobile Bay. She’s musically talented, quite the party girl (just check out her Mardi Gras celebration), and rooted deep in faith. Her people are stereotypically welcoming, gracious, and full of southern tradition. To her east, sit small picturesque communities such as Fairhope, Daphne and Spanish Fort.

I sailed the Rialto Zephyr back from Perdido Key, Florida in September and made her new homeport Mobile. The bay is great for first time sailors because typically she’s calm. Although shallow, the bay provides an easy navigating body of water. I’ve learned so much just in the short time I’ve sailed here. Small coves and inlets provide shelter and the occasional beach bar/marina.

The downtown area is dotted with restaurants, bars, art galleries, and cathedrals. You won’t go hungry on Dauphin St.

The sunrises and sunsets over the high rises, with their color coordinated rooftops is breathtaking.

This is my home. Where the air can be so thick you can taste it. Where swamps and marshes give way to the Gulf of Mexico. Where I am loved, accepted, and comfortable. Home.

 

 

Alabama Gulf Coast · divorce · dogs · Fairhope, AL · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Uncategorized

Blog Anniversary Post 1: If I’m in Love…

 

Love has become a word that is often painful to think of let alone even feel. This last year  I watched someone I love become someone I didn’t even know. I was abandoned by “love”. I was really angry about that for a very long time. You see, I thought that after everything I had been through, I deserved that relationship. I deserved happiness and while that is very true, I missed the point that the love and happiness I really deserved was a love for myself.

You see, I hated myself. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see the dark haired beautiful woman that my friends and family told me I was. I saw acne in my late 30’s, pounds that I had lost and regained, wrinkles. I saw a woman who had never had a great fashion sense, who often didn’t wear make up or fix her hair, except in the laziest of pony tails, and I hated her. Inside I began to remind myself of what a failure I was. I wasn’t the mother I wanted to be to my children or the daughter that I felt my parents could be proud of. I was unemployed, practically homeless if not for my family taking me in. I really developed this self loathing after Kenny left. I created scenarios in my head where instead of the gaping hole of silence he’d left, there were discussions about how he didn’t love me anymore, how I was no longer attractive, or how I couldn’t be what it was he wanted. All of those scenarios, however, were self inflicted. He never once said those things.

I became incredibly depressed. Often finding myself in crying spells for no apparent reason. I was miserable. Friends and family would remind me how loved I was, how strong and brave they believed me to be, but it didn’t matter. I didn’t believe it about myself. I moved home heart sick and broken. At least my definition of broken. I had always been a spiritual person, a Christian. My faith was a huge part of my life, but as time wore on I began to feel indignation toward God. How unfair to allow my heart to be so shattered! How could He, the God who loved me, abandon me. I later learned He had certainly NOT abandoned me. While He didn’t give me the answer I wanted, He has certainly led me to a place of healing, and that has been learning to love myself.

I remember the day that the thought of how much I truly hated myself hit me like a ton of bricks. My friend Brian and I were walking the docks in Fairhope. Patient and understanding, Brian has listened to me with possibly the most nonjudgmental ear. I was pouring my anger out, hot tears rolling down my face, when he grabbed me by the shoulders and turned me around to face him. “Rebecca,” he said, “Girl you aren’t angry with anyone but yourself. I don’t think you like yourself very much. As a matter of fact, I think you hate yourself. For every good and positive thing someone tells you, I know you’ve got a negative, angry retort on the tip of that tongue. You are never going to be able to move on if you hate yourself forever.”  Anger welled up inside of me. How dare he tell me that I hated myself. It made me angry because deep down I knew it was true.

“You’ve got to learn to love this amazing, talented, fierce woman you are.”

I had no idea where to even start. Self love had always seemed selfish to me. If I only loved myself then where was the love I was supposed to have for my family, my kids. I started small. I looked up and read about self care. I finally found a description for how I felt inside. Just like my bank account that stayed in the red, I was deep in the red emotionally. I’d been writing “love checks” for everyone, but making no deposits for myself. Being in love with myself wasn’t self centered or narcissistic as I had believed. It was essential to my self confidence, self worth, and ultimately my sanity.

One of the first ideas I had to be comfortable with was being alone. Being alone seemed incredibly frightening to me. I had learned to wrap my self worth up in what others valued me for. I wasn’t comfortable on my own. I decided to do something fun just for me. At first, this was painful. I chose an activity that I had previously never done on my own. I went to the movies. I thought that was easier than my first idea of dinner by myself. I was nervous almost like first date nervous and then I realized, hey this is sort of like a first date with myself.

I made a dream board. ALL FOR ME. Up until this point, my dreams had centered around the things I wanted for my family. I cut out pictures of places I wanted to travel to, of the boat I would eventually own, even products or items I had always thought I’d like to have.  I started a journal, one that is so deeply personal that I keep it locked away. It has the good, the bad, and the really ugly. It was so empowering to just release some of those thoughts and then mark through them with a black marker.

I learned the power of no. As a people pleaser, it was really hard for me to not want to be all things to all people. I discovered that saying no wasn’t always negative. My “yes” moments hadn’t always led to my best work. It’s hard to be at your best when you worn thin. This is a really hard lesson for women.

I made a list of my accomplishments to counter all the things I believed were failures:

  • I raised 3 great kids despite the challenges we faced.
  • I was hired by a major airline company doing a job I really love.
  • I bought the boat!
  • I am a published writer.

The list keeps growing. Now before I go to bed every night, I mentally tick of accomplishments of the day. Nothing is insignificant. Today will include menial things like, cleaned the bathroom, loaded the dishwasher, cooked a healthy meal to share with my family. It also includes some big ones like finally believing a coworker when after listening to me share a little bit of my personal life remarked “You are one amazing, interesting person! What an empowering testimony you have!”

I don’t know where this road is going to take me and sure there are days when I feel that doubt and negativity creep in but you know what, I have the tools to combat it now.

If I’m in love, I’m going to love me for who God created, for who my family sees, for the woman my friends believe is worth friendship, for the mother my children still need, and for the soul who was ALWAYS worth loving.

Even when she didn’t believe it.

 

 

 

Alabama Gulf Coast · divorce · dogs · Fairhope, AL · Government · Gulf Coast · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Happy Anniversary! 1 Year of Blogging and Giveaways!

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Happy Anniversary to Wayfaring Tail Wagger! It has been one year since I began this journey. A HUGE thank you to everyone who has followed along and been such an encouragement to me. So much has changed in the last year. Good and not so good, but I am grateful to be here 365 days later.

May is going to be exciting here on the blog! Get ready for a month long celebration of this past year and the amazing years to look forward to. I’ll be hosting guest bloggers, giveaways and a VERY BIG SURPRISE at the end of the month so STAY TUNED.

This year has taught me so much about resilience, the love of a family, the kindness of friends, the inner warrior princess that I am, and the “it’s ok to not be ok” attitude. I’ve learned about navigating through fear and heartbreak. Faced some of my biggest demons head on, and I’ve come out with a fierce love for the broken, a better understand of those who suffer mental illness, not to mention a new acceptance of the person I am becoming today.

So to kick off the month long celebration, I’m announcing my first giveaway! Anyone who comments on a post in the month of May will be entered for a drawing to win a T-shirt! Drawing will be held on June 1st via a live Periscope posting.

Thank you to everyone who has made me feel so accepted as I started this adventure a year ago. I am forever grateful to those of you who partnered along side of me, encouraged me, and sometimes gave me a shoulder to cry on. You are amazing!

Here’s to another year!

Happy Days!

Alabama Gulf Coast · divorce · dogs · Fairhope, AL · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Friday Favorites: Sharing Tips and Products that will change your life!

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Good morning everyone! It’s Friday! So many of you are winding down the work week and heading into the weekend! For me, Friday is my actual Sunday. My “weekends” consist of two weekdays off. I really don’t mind it because I feel as if I’m often able to accomplish more during the week than on a weekend. So as you are off and running in the race for relaxation, I want to share my FRIDAY FAVORITES list. These favorites are in no particular order of importance or use! Just some really great things I’ve come across and used this week.

  1. If you are looking for a GREAT and I mean G..R..E..A..T (in my best Tony the Tiger voice) blog about sailing, please check out my friends over at http://www.youngandsalty.com. This week they shared a blog from Ryan and Sheena about not giving up on your boat and to be honest I needed to read that this week. Several times over the last few weeks I’ve asked myself if it were really worth it, AND I’M NOT EVEN ON THE BOAT FULL TIME RIGHT NOW! So go over and visit Fiona and Robin at http://www.youngandsalty.com.
  2. Kiehl’s Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Mask. THIS STUFF IS AMAZING! After being in the sun on the boat, my skin can become very dry and dull. This great mask is perfect for brightening my skin. I use it 3 times a week and I’ve definitely seen improvement in my skins appearance.
  3. Audible.com- Ok so maybe I’m behind on the times but I just recently discovered Audible.com. I love books! Unfortunately, there’s not a great deal of space on a sailboat to be lugging tons of books around. With Audible, I can download books and listen to them on the boat! Sure it’s not the same as opening a book, but trust me you’ll be glad you saved that cabinet space for something other than books.
  4. The “Buddy Bowl”. Ava is the absolute WORST about being a messy drinker. She sloshes water all over the place, especially on the boat. While it’s not a big deal for the most part at home, on the boat having water all in the cockpit is not fun. It’s hard to clean up, creates a slipping hazard, etc etc. I read about the Buddy Bowl in another blog and ordered one for Ava. It’s FANTASTIC! It’s practically spill proof. Ava also loves it because the water doesn’t touch her nose. She will now go to this bowl over her traditional water bowl at home. It’s great for keeping insect out and other pests. Go purchase a Buddy Bowl at http://www.greatamericanspillproof.com
  5. The Boston Warehouse Bottle Cover with Life Preserver. Ok this is so CUTE! What a great gift idea for sailors or those who love them. I had a friend bring over a bottle of wine to share in honor of the new galley floor being installed and it was an instant hit! http://www.amazon.com

 

Those are my five Friday Favs for this week. I hope you’ll check out these great products and let me know how they worked for you.

 

In other news, things around the Wayfaring Tail Wagger have been really changing at breakneck pace. For those that have followed along for the last year and know how this whole story started, I finally received closure in the form of divorce papers from Ken. I never spoke to him again. Not a phone call, text, or even an email, but I realized several weeks ago that there was no explanation that would ever be good enough to justify how our family was destroyed. It’s enough to know that I did everything I could and that I still love him even after all that was done.  My son Brandon finished his first year of college and will be moving home for the summer. I’m so excited to have him here again. He has volunteered to help out with the boat refit and I can never have too many hands with that.

Life is slowly but surely taking shape once more and moving forward. There are still days when the sting of the abandonment is so painful that I cry. There are days when I miss Kenny, my best friend, and there are days when I’m still so angry and confused that I have to literally busy myself with something to get my mind away from it. Sometimes I feel like there has been no progress, that my life has been stagnant like the inlets and swamps here on the coast. Then a little breeze of happiness will lift me like my sails and I realize that I can’t change the wind that blew my life into this new direction. I can however, adjust my sails, and realize that life in every form is an adventure. Adventure isn’t always safe. It’s a risk, a chance. Adventure doesn’t always have a happily ever after. It often involves loss and fear. It can be scary, lonely, even discouraging at times, but even in those moments, it is filled with wonder, excitement, and hope. I don’t have to love the dark moments on this adventure of life, but I will continue on this path with the hope that one day the fog will clear and the paradise I am searching for in the form of happiness will appear.

Fair winds and following seas everyone!

Alabama Gulf Coast · divorce · dogs · Gulf Coast · Sailboats · Sailing · Uncategorized

Monday Musing: Big Dreams or Greatest Fear.

When I first moved back home to the Gulf Coast, my life was a COMPLETE mess. My husband had just up and disappeared (literally), my oldest son left for college, and my daughters moved out. My family completely fell apart in a matter of weeks. I was at a loss as to what to do with my life. I became the prodigal daughter returning home to live with my parents, something I had not done in nearly 20 years.  I didn’t have a job and I’d lost my only source of income. It was devastating.

The first months were spent in mental anguish as I tried to come to terms with the devastation and honestly there were days I couldn’t even be bothered with getting out of bed. Miraculously, I was hired at a local marina as an office assistant. The job was easy and helped to keep my mind off of things like wanting to kill myself, because yes those types of thoughts crossed my mind more than once. I made friends with my coworkers, learned the insides and out of running a marina, and on a crazy whim I bought a sailboat. It was quite possibly one of the most absurd and spur of the moment decisions I had ever made, but it saved my life. I began to dream again. I imagined sailing all of the Gulf in the Rialto Zephyr. I planned her complete refit, even a new galley design. I looked at ways to make living aboard for Ava, my German Shepherd easier. It was as if I was finally able to breathe again. Some days those breaths came out as sobs as I mourned the life I had once had, but I was breathing.

Due to some unforeseen circumstances, the marina I worked for and eventually began running as the Operations Manager was forced to close. It was acquired by the local city government and everyone employed there was laid off. It was a very sad day for me.  I loved the marina. I even attempted to convince the city to allow me to run it as a contractor but they never considered it. For three months I was plunged back into the uncertainty of being able to make it. I felt so ridiculously inadequate. Would I ever be able to survive on my own again? I didn’t want to be a financial burden to my parents who had so lovingly offered their home to Ava and I. I worried that I may never be able to recover emotionally, financially, mentally. Then in January, I was hired by a large airline corporation. The job didn’t pay well but it certainly had it’s perks and for someone who dreamed of traveling, it worked. I began dreaming of the refit of the Rialto Zephyr again. At this point, other than minor cleaning projects, I had pretty much abandoned her in a local marina. I couldn’t even bring myself to look at her. It was as if she were a friend I had turned my back on and was now riddled with guilt about it.

Yesterday I finally got the nerve to head back to the marina to check the bilge and make sure she hadn’t sank. I was happy to find that she was in better shape than what I had imagined. A spark of imagination flickered once again. My friend and I took a walk around the marina. At one time it had been one of the premier marinas in our area. Now derelict boats littered the landscape. It was as if we were walking through a boat graveyard. I jokingly made a video and posted on Instagram that I had discovered where boats go to die, but honestly it made me incredibly sad. We locked up the gate and started to head home when I received a text from an unknown number. It was the gentleman who owns the boat yard and marina. He was making sure I hadn’t had any trouble getting in. I thanked him for leaving a key for me and agreed to get with him to sign a new lease this week. Then something I’m still trying to make sense of happened. He asked if I knew anyone who was interested in leasing the boatyard and marina. He has decided to get out of the business but didn’t want to sell the property. He knew my background from the previous marina and thought I might know someone. I told him that I would “put my feelers” out and ask to which he replied that he was hoping to actually meet with me to discuss my ideas about the business. He remembered talking to me shortly after I had been let go and he said “You seemed so passionate about your marina that I couldn’t help but think you might be able to bring this old boatyard back to life.” I was at a complete loss for words. This is my dream. Like seriously, my dream. When ESM closed it’s doors, I was determined to find away to get back into the business and own my own sailing related company.  As usual however, the demons who’ve taken up residence in my mind began shouting at me. “You can’t do this! You have no money to start a business! What in the world makes you think you are capable of doing this? You can’t even manage your own life!” It’s times like this I’m thankful for the friends who have joined me hand in hand through this journey I’ve been on. I shared what happened with two of these people and to my surprise they responded with well what are you waiting for!

So here I am in complete fear, writing a business plan, and figuring out a way to revive a boatyard and marina without having much startup. I’m scared SH#$#less! It’s hard for me to push down the thoughts that are holding me back. What if it doesn’t work? What if I fall flat on my face? That’s when I reminded myself of one of my favorite quotes; “Everything you want is on the other side of fear~ Jack Canfield. I’ve lived for far too long in a land of dreams and hopes. It’s time for me to pack my bags and take those first footsteps on a journey that is taking me to the other side of fear. I will never achieve anything if I never act on my dreams, even if it means failure, or struggle, and failure has ALWAYS been my biggest fear. It’s time though to shed the uncomfortable skin I’ve been living in and actually live.

Have you ever been faced with something that was your biggest dream but also your biggest fear? I’d love to hear your stories of perseverance!

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Alabama Gulf Coast · divorce · dogs · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

New Job=New Adventure…well sort of

I briefly mentioned in an earlier blog that I’ve recently been employed in the airline industry. A travel/adventurer bloggers dream job right?!? So far I’ve traveled to our company’s headquarters back and forth for the last month. It was for the most part a positive experience. My job has been interesting as well to say the least. Last night I nearly ripped my thumb off in a cargo door, removed a ziplock bag of pee from the cabin, and marshaled in my first aircraft. I’m looking forward to a break working the counter, but I know that will have it’s own set of challenges.

Imagine standing in front of an 18 wheeler waving lighted wands as he screeches on the brakes. That about sums up how I felt, only the 18 wheeler was an enormous jet. It was exciting and scary as #$#@%@ all at the same time. Part of my job entails a pretty significant physical aspect. All I can say is that I have mad respect for people unloading the planes. I keep telling myself I’m being paid to do crossfit now but my aching muscles really don’t care about a paycheck. My coworkers have been really amazing and patient as I’m learning the ends and outs.  I love the versatility of this job as well. One day I’m outside, the next I’m the smiling face at the counter.

I think the best thing so far however is that I travel anywhere in the world for FREE. All of the places I’ve been dreaming of visiting that I couldn’t get to on the boat or because it was incredibly expensive, are open to me. I have an ever expanding list now! It didn’t go as well for my sister who attempted to use my benefits today. She’s currently stuck in DFW trying to get to Salt Lake City. Apparently EVERYTHING is booked everywhere. It does make me a little wary of traveling on a short schedule.

Meanwhile, with finally having a job again, the restoration project on the Rialto Zephyr can continue! I purchased the new galley floor and tomorrow I’ll be resealing all the port holes and cleaning her like CRAZY! The weather is getting nice enough to sail and I am itching to hoist them up and head out! I’ll be posting a blog about the flooring and maybe even upgrading the blog so that I can include videos. So many ideas, so many possibilities. I decided to go with a cork board floor made by the company Lisbon Cork. I purchased it from Lumber Liquidators ( http://www.lumberliquidators.com) . I’ve read the reviews and so far it seems everyone is happy with the product. There were a few issues with installation mentioned, but we’ll see how it goes. 1FE6D562-277E-4DAC-AFB9-99E592AB820D

If there is one thing that I have discovered about myself through this journey it is that I hate complacency. I am always, I mean ALWAYS, looking for the next big adventure. I’ve had friends tell me I have a gypsy soul, that I’m restless, or that I’m crazy, all three of which might be true. I would rather look at it like God created me with an incredible imagination and when I dream, I dream big. I want to make a difference in the lives around me. I don’t want to travel just for fun. My goal for the next year is to travel to places where I can volunteer in some capacity. Whether it be an orphanage in Haiti, or maybe a summer program in an intercity neighborhood, I want to actively be involved in bringing hope to the places I travel.

Ava is doing great! She’s enjoyed our little break from the boat and played like crazy in my parents backyard. It’s been a nice change for her. She’s currently losing her winter coat so it’s also nice not to be cleaning up a mountain of dog hair off the boat! I spent some time playing fetch with her and brushed out her coat. We went for a ride in the truck and she is as usual her happy go lucky self. Life is good right now and I think we may find our happiness again.

“You must go on adventures to find out where you truly belong” ~Sue Fitzmaurice. This is what I intend to do until I once again find my place in the world! Keep the adventure alive guys!

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