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

How I express my Creativity

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From an early age, I was a creative soul. Born into a family of gifted musicians, I learned to play several instruments and to sing. Creating was something that just came natural to me. Whether it was the imaginative stories I dreamed up and wrote about, or the intricately detailed make believe games I planned for my sisters, creativity seeped out like ink on blank pages.

Now as an adult that creative spirit is alive in this blog. It is nurtured by every photograph that I take and share, every sail on the Rialto Zephyr, every adventure planned. My creativity is a celebration of my uniqueness and all the quirks that make me who I am.

People often confuse creativity with the act of making something but it means so much more! According to Dictionary.com the definition of creativity is: the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination. Creativity is innovative ideas in the workplace. It’s by-products are some of the major achievements in civilization; think of the invention of the wheel.

Over time society has really downplayed the importance of creativity. We are taught not to think for ourselves. Educational settings often stifle creativity in favor of memorization. Schools drop music and art programs in favor of more time to cram math facts. Recess, a time when young children could explore and imagine, is almost nonexistent. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. Imagination opens up doorways and possibilities unknown. Imaginative and creative play is how young children discover the world in which they live.

I was so incredibly lucky to have grown up in a family that encouraged my creativity. When I was 7, my parents purchased a Play-Skool camera as a Christmas gift. I set out to document every aspect of my life. From the mundane to the extradorinary, I snapped away. I remember pretending to be a National Geographic photographer. I wrote articles on the different flowers and animals I photographed. My Dad encouraged me to start a family newsletter. I wrote articles about my family and my aunts and uncles, how this cousin had made the honor roll, or this one caught 8 fish. It might seem silly, but that encouragement led me to write more as a teenager and now as an adult.

If you look at society, our most successful scientists, musicians, artists, and businessmen will tell you how being creative led to their achievements. Many businesses point to the lack of innovation and imagination in the workplace.

So next time you feel like being creative, don’t let society get you down. Step out of the box and think or make something beautiful. You never know what it might lead to!

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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 · 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 · Fairhope, AL · Gulf Coast · Sailboats · Sailing · Uncategorized

In Remembrance: The Dauphin Island Regatta Disaster of 2015

pexels-photo-76978.jpeg      Every year sailors from all over the Gulf Coast gather for the Dauphin Island Regatta. Known as one of the largest point-to-point races, the Regatta is held on the usually calm Mobile Bay. On April 25, 2015, the tranquil bay would burst with a tragic event that would change sailing on the Bay forever. All in all 6 lives were lost and 10 sailboats, ranging from 20-27 ft. were sunk. Over 40 people were pulled from the water, rescued by fellow competitors, Coast Guard, and multiple agencies who patrolled for hours.

April 25, 2015 began with a steady 15-16 knot wind under overcast skies. Mother Nature gave no indiction of the hell she would unleash in just a few hours. There were some indications however, that the weather could become problem later in the day. A storm system moving in from the west was predicted to make a significant marine impact with heavy rain, lightening , and straight line winds. Many sailors watched the storm front, but most thought they would have time to race and then rally up in Dauphin Island.

The day hadn’t started out as smoothly as hoped. The race had already suffered a significant delay due to a miscommunication from the host that year, the Fairhope Yacht Club. Each year, the regatta is hosted by a different sailing organization. Fairhope Yacht Club, a premiere sailing organization in the picturesque town of Fairhope Alabama was the 2015 host. The morning of the race an erroneous message was released saying that the race had been cancelled, causing several registered participants to miss the start time. The notice was taken down but it caused organizers to push the start back by an hour. A false start caused another delay. At 10:45am, the National Weather Service released another warning for the area. “Thunderstorms will move in from the west this afternoon and across the marine area. Some of the thunderstorms may be strong or severe with gusty winds and large hail the primary threat.” Still, of the 125 boats registered, only 8 withdrew before the start. The storm appeared to be on track to move into the area around 4:30pm, so most participants felt as if they had enough time to complete the race and return to port.

As the storm approached the bay, a weather phenomenon known as a “bow echo” began to form. This formation typically indicates a strengthening in a storm. By 3pm, a wall of rain began to make it’s way toward Mobile Bay. In neighboring Pascagoula Mississippi, the front slammed into the Manama, a 600 foot oil tanker and heaved it aground. As it made it’s way towards the sailors, an event known as a “Derecho” formed pushing a wind ahead of the front.  It exploded with the force of nearly 70mph winds. At 3pm, the cameras on the Dauphin Island bridge showed complete white out conditions. The world’s fastest boats in the world couldn’t have outrun the storm as it bulls-eyed the sailors. For 45 minutes, the bay churned as if a hurricane had moved above her. Sailors were thrown into the water. Boats were rolled, submerging, masts breaking off as they righted again.

My parents lived at the mouth of the Dog River and the Dauphin Island Parkway bridge. I remember my mother calling me the afternoon of the storm. She had never seen a storm hit with such ferocity. She and my Dad watched the rescue effort and participated by walking the shoreline looking for anyone who may have been stranded or washed in. After days of a massive search and rescue effort, the Coast Guard ended it’s operations. 6 lives had been lost in this tragic but perhaps avoidable disaster.

Since that fateful day in 2015, the Regatta has adopted stringent rules that they hope will help prevent similar tragedies from occurring.

  • Skippers must provide a master list with cell phone numbers of everyone on the boat.
  • All boaters are required to download the “RaceQ’s” app that will track their location on the water. That way, loved ones onshore and members of the race committee can make sure everyone is safe and accounted for.
  • All crew members must wear life jackets for at least the first five minutes of the race.
  • All life jackets must have a whistle attached.

Many wonder, however, if even this will be enough. Some point fingers at the Fairhope Yacht Club saying that organizers should have cancelled the race the night before. Others say it was ultimately the sailors responsibility for the safety of their crew.

For the 2018 Regatta, Fairhope Yacht Club was once again the host. On April 28, 2018, the race went off without a hitch under beautiful blue skies. The lives of those lost and the heroic efforts of the rescuers were remembered.

In memory of:

17-year-old Adam Clark of Mobile.
50-year-old Robert Thomas of Pickens, Mississippi.
27-year-old Kris Beall of Pineville, Louisiana.
72-year-old Robert Delaney of Madison, Mississippi.
67-year-old William Glenn Massey from Daphne.
71 year old  “J.C.” Brown of Mobile, Alabama

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