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

Happy Anniversary! Reflecting on a Year

 

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Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

It’s here! The anniversary date of Wayfaring Tail Wagger. What a year it has been! There’s been some incredibly HIGH highs and LOWS that made me believe I was drowning while on the surface, but here we are. I survived.

I wanted to take some time to update and reflect on the past year. One of the most amazing things that has happened in this year is that you, yes you, my readers have followed along. When I started this blog, I really didn’t expect much from it. I thought it would just be a great way for me to release in print what I felt in my soul. I never dreamed that I’d have followers who devotedly read my blog and shared their own lives with me as well. You will never know how this encouraged me not just to write more, but keep my head up and believe that things would get better. Thank you!

This blog started with heartbreak and life change. While I am still recovering from the heartbreak, I can happily say that life is moving forward again. It’s not always easy. Some days it’s like trudging through calf deep mud as I try to make my way, but I am moving forward. This year saw me lose my husband, my home, my family structure that I cherished, and ultimately lead me to the realization that I had lost myself over the years. It saw happier times like the day I stepped foot on the Rialto Zephyr and knew that she was mine. It was the day my dad, Brian, and I sailed her from Perdido to Fairhope. An adventure! It’s now filled with memories of Ava happily sitting on the bow with Kaitlyn, Brandon and Kendall being home for the summer from college, and time with my parents that I may have never had. And while it’s intermingled with sadness and deep sorrow, I’ve come to the realization that while I was broken I was filled with a courage that I didn’t know I had. Courage to continue when I didn’t want to live. Courage to take a chance.

Somedays I still feel like the poet in Psalms 23 says “Yay though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will feel no evil. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me”. There are times when I am in that “Valley of Death” when everything around me feels lifeless and fear sucks the breath from my chest. I recently recalled a night from when I lived in New Hampshire and Kenny and I were working on the farm. It was pitch black outside and the goats had not been brought in. They bleated from outside in the far field. It was dangerous out there at night. Predators could end their lives in a second. I walked out into the field with a stick and kept the herd together as we made our way to the barn. My rod and staff comforted them and guided them to safety. Guess what that’s what the Psalmist is talking about! Although I’ve been in this valley, God has been leading me, even through the blackest of moments when I couldn’t see. He was there guiding me to safety.

Ok so updates! My Dad and I were able to get the engine running on the Rialto Zephyr. It was a moment of pure joy. I jumped up and down like a little kid, laughing. My Dad did a little jig and a whistle. We ran her for awhile, cleaned the bilge, and the cabin. Brian joined me the next day and we started a list of projects, large and small. The first I sat out to accomplish was to re wrap the mast inside the cabin. It’s currently wrapped with a dinghy, brown rope like material. It sheds a brown itchy mess every time I touch it. So off it goes. I decided to go with braided line. We started wrapping it and OMG it takes FOREVER. After only getting a quarter of the pole done in an hour, I decided to take it down and cut off the old material. I’ll let you know how it works out. I’m putting pictures below of what it looks like right now. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know! Brian helped me lift the sails and she’s definitely going to have to be re-rigged. That’s quite the project. I may enlist the help of a fellow sailor, David, who lives in the marina next door. He has become my walking encyclopedia of sailing knowledge. I highly suggest becoming friends with someone like David in your marina!

Brandon started working at a new restaurant that has just opened in Spanish Fort. If you like Italian food, you will LOVE La Dolce Vita in Spanish Fort. It’s traditional southern Italian food and the chef, Diego, is an amazing guy from Italy creating things I never even dreamed of. You really have to try this place out if you are local! Tell them Rebecca sent you!

Ava had her yearly check up and I am HAPPY to report that she is a healthy, happy dog.

We survived this year.

Thanks for following along on our adventures. I love you all!

 

Fair winds and Following Seas!

 

Rebecca

 

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!

Fair Winds and Following Seas!pexels-photo-185801.jpeg

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

Even World Leaders Nap: National Napping Day

Happy National Napping Day! If I could chose a national pastime other than baseball, it would be napping. My nap times are sacred. I even have an entire day that I set aside to nap! According to the National Sleep Foundation ( http://www.sleepfoundation.org ) naps while naps do not make up for the inadequate sleep that millions of Americans lose, they certainly are beneficial for improving mood, alertness and performance. However, there are certain stigmas associated with napping such as laziness or lack of ambition. I find this very interesting. In other parts of the world napping is woven into the daily lives like a tapestry. Some countries such as Spain and Italy have dedicated times for a siesta or riposo. Businesses close and workers take time to have lunch with family and snooze for 20-30 mins. Here in America it appears we are all about the work grind. 29% percent of American workers report falling asleep or becoming extremely sleepy at work. $63 Billion dollars are lost every year in productivity due to tired employees. (www.sleep.org)  This has led companies like Nike, Zappos, and Google to implement napping into the work day.

When I was a child, I remember my Grandfather taking a nap every Sunday afternoon. It was a ritual. All the grandkids knew that we had to play quietly or outside while Pawpaw napped. He worked hard during the week at the local shipyard and preached Sunday mornings. It was the only day of the week he didn’t work. Now I know the idea of remembering the Sabbath, seems a little old fashioned to some, but I think we should adopt this practice in our lives. Maybe your not a napper, but you could benefit from some down time. Some of the best advice I ever received when my kids were babies was to “NAP WHEN THEY NAP.” At first it was hard to not feel guilty about napping when my kids did, but eventually I came to realize I was a much better mom and person when I wasn’t sleep deprived! Often I didn’t sleep, but instead would grab a blanket, turn the ringer on my phone off and pick up a book or magazine to read quietly. Just that “break” was all that got me through some days.

A short nap (20-30) minutes is recommended as opposed to hours long. This type of nap will give you alertness without the grogginess that a longer nap might induce. Find a space you be comfortable and relaxed. It’s also important to consider the time of day. Napping too early might make you want to sleep more while napping too late might interrupt your nighttime sleep schedule. 20-30 mins might not seem like a lot of time, but just that short break is incredibly beneficial. If you find you are having a hard time falling asleep try listening to a mediation. This was extremely helpful to me. I lay back, kick my feet up and listen to a stress relieving mediation and often find myself dozing off.

So when you are feeling like a nap but think it makes you look lazy, remember world leaders such as George W. Bush, Winston Churchill, and Albert Einstein had a dedicated nap time!

Happy Napping!

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