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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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 · 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 · 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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