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

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Merry Blogmas Kickoff and Dinner Last Night

As promised, I am kicking off my Merry Blogmas Blogging Challenge today! 5BB3380E-1BA8-4707-B1CC-54DAE3082D66

A huge thank you to acontenthousewife.com and Pinterest for the list above. As I scroll through the list, I am already formulating a plan to blog/photograph the events. I will post the photos on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtags that correlate to the list (ex. #YourViewToday or #Nighttime) I would love for you to add your own challenges by using the hashtags and by tagging me @WayfaringWagger on Twitter.

I can see there are going to be a few challenges to the list for me, but I’m really excited to do this. I’ve never participated in a blog challenge before and if you read my post from yesterday you know the reason this is so important to me. I really hope more people will read this blog and that you will give me ideas to write about. I definitely want to get back into travel writing or even some DIY with the Sailboat.

Speaking of the Sailboat, my beloved SV Rialto Zephyr, made her way across Mobile Bay yesterday and has found a new home at the Beachcomber’s Marina. I’m really excited to have her so close again. I can’t wait to start working on her, well, that is as soon as I find a paying job again! That’s proved to be more challenging than I thought. The job market here is pretty specific and if you don’t have a skilled trade (pipefitting, welding, shipbuilding) or a human resources degree, well then have fun flipping burgers at McDonald’s. Right now I’ve submitted my resume to everything from office work to retail. I’m either overly qualified or don’t have the education required for the position. I’ve been seriously considering going back to college. Ok, I’m completely off topic now. I was talking about the boat. Yesterday my Dad and his friend David sailed the Deja Vu, Dad’s boat and the Rialto Zephyr across the Bay. While bringing them across they ran into a pod of 20 bottlenose dolphins. My Dad took a video and it is absolutely incredible how they broke the waves on the bow and surrounded the boat. They are such interesting creatures, so intelligent! I can’t wait to get out on the water again and see them. I think I might post the video to Twitter and Facebook if I can get ahold of it.

Dad and David got in at about 6pm from their trip. Daddy called and asked if I could have dinner ready as a thank you to David for all of his help. I’m glad he asked me to cook because it got me out of the funk I was in. I drove to Walmart and was pleasantly surprised to find my favorite tea in the entire world! If you’ve never had Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Sunset, you are not living my friend!! It’s really hard to find and I would have never thought that I would find it here. It was all I could do not to buy up the entire lot.  I settled for one tin and went on about my shopping. I decided to make Lemon Chicken Pasta Bake. It turned out really well, but I would tweak the recipe just a bit if I make it again. I wanted to share it with you because honestly, it’s probably one of the easiest and fast dishes I’ve made in awhile. So here ya go!

1 lb. Chicken breast, boneless,skinless (psst sometimes I use thighs because I like them better)

3 cloves of Garlic

1/2 Lemon

1 sprig of fresh parsley

1 Yellow onion

2 14.5 oz Cream of Chicken Soup (Ok so here’s where I’d tweak it, the pasta came out a little dry so I would add some sour cream or maybe another can or two of the soup)

1 tbsp. of Lemon juice

1 lb. Pasta. ( I used bow tie)

Salt and Black Pepper (Plus any other spice you enjoy! I used an Italian blend and it was great)

3/4 cup of Milk

2 tbsp Parmesan cheese (again a tweak! I used way more than 2 tbsp!)

Instructions:

Boil the pasta for five mins.

Cut the chicken up into bite size pieces

Cut up the onion, garlic and place into a bowl with chicken pieces

Drain pasta and add to bowl, set aside

Heat up the soup and milk in a sauce pot. Whisk to a thin consistency and then add to chicken mixture.

Squeeze lemon juice and add spices

Pour into a greased baking dish and cook for 45 mins at 450 degrees.

Sprinkle with cheese, parsley and lemon slices

Place back in oven and cook for 5 minute or until cheese is melted. (I actually broiled my dish for 5 mins and it gave it a nice crispy top)

And there you have it! Voila! Easy dinner but looked great and tasted fantastic too.

I hope you will join me in my Merry Blogmas Challenge. It would mean so much to me to gain new followers or have interaction from those of you who currently suffer through reading this.

Merry Blogmas Everyone!

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

Wishing Well Wednesday

Happy Wednesday everyone! Today is Wishing Well Wednesday. I decided to do something a little different this week. We are entering what I affectionately refer to as my least favorite holiday of the year, Christmas. Now before I start getting hate mail and name calling like Scrooge and Grinch, I should explain there are several reasons why I really am not a huge fan of Christmas and yes, most of it has to do with the cliche “it’s all commercial.”

Christmas for me as a child was a fairly happy time but it was always a time of year that my parents were noticeable more sad. My Dad was always concerned that his teacher salary didn’t allow them to shower us with gifts. My Mom was concerned about this as well, but she also had the deep hurt over her father passing away near Christmas. I mean I think it means something when your Mama’s favorite Christmas song is “Please Come Home for Christmas” by the Eagles, quite arguably one of the SADDEST Christmas songs EVER. (Sorry if you’re reading this Mama but it’s true!) Despite all of this, I still think fondly of our Christmases. As an adult Christmas wasn’t much happier. We were a Navy family so typically we were far from home. It was a time of year that I would be more homesick than imaginable. I would shellac on the smile for my kids and sing about it being the most wonderful time of the year, while on the inside I just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep through it all. That seems really crappy, however, it gets even better. This year for Christmas I am home but due to my family completely dissolving before my eyes, I’m more than likely not going to even see my kids. Yes, they are grown and in college with the exception of my youngest, but the reality that this is the first year we’ve not been together for the holiday has completely crushed what little Christmas Spirit I had.

I’ve decided I need something to spice the blog up and possibly keep my mind off the fact that this is possibly the saddest Christmas I’ve ever had. So I’m going to be doing a 30 day photo/blog challenge. I really don’t have too many followers on this page but I’m going to ask, no BEG that you share this blog, my twitter and Facebook and follow along. I want/need feedback. I’d love to hear how you are getting through the Holidays or maybe even a response to the challenge for the day. Tomorrow I’ll post the list and the challenge will start on December 1st. I have to admit I’m a little excited to do this. I’ve never participated in a challenge and I’ve certainly never done one involving photographs.

This is my Wish for Wishing Well Wednesday: I wish that not only will I complete this challenge, but that it will maybe spark a little Christmas Joy in my life and despite my rather bleak outlook, I’ll have a change of heart. I wish to gain more followers and to find out more about all of you that have taken time to read my blog!.

Happy Wishing Well Wednesday!! What’s your wish for today?

Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

One Way: A ticket to a new life or a dead end?

REVISION ALERT: After some more research I discovered that I am not eligible for the WHA visa either. SAD FACE. Guess I’m never going unless I’m just a visitor.

It’s been an interesting few days around here. Thanksgiving Holiday has come and gone. It was less painful than I thought it would be. I had such anxiety about looking at Facebook and it’s stupid “share this memory” feature that I swore off social media for the entire day. Instead, I drove with my friend to my mother’s childhood home in Fruitvale, Alabama. It was always our tradition to spend Thanksgiving with my mom’s family.

Fruitdale is an extremely rural town. A gas station, a school, and a few small churches are the only commercial buildings to dot the landscape. Residents travel to Mobile or even further in search of work. My mom has a rather large family, so we gather at my Aunt and Uncle’s camp house that was built specifically for gatherings. It’s a beautiful place with deep woods. I really enjoyed seeing everyone and relishing how they all complimented the Seafood Gumbo I brought.

I have still been restless as ever though. I did something a little rash and slightly unconventional yesterday. As many of you know, prior to moving back home, I was managing a dairy goat farm in Chester, NH. I loved my life on the farm almost as much as I love my life on the sailboat. It was handwork but simple. I’m always looking for new places to visit and if you read my “Wishing Well Wednesday” you know that currently I am wishing to travel to Ireland. Yesterday I began looking at some interesting ways to make that trip happen. I researched a few volunteer organizations like WWOOF and Workaway. If you aren’t familiar with these organizations you should definitely check them out! Unfortunately I don’t have an endless supply of cash, so if I travel for any length of time I need to consider possibly working and earning some type of pay. I love the concept of WWOOF and Workaway where you essential work a few hours a day for board and food, but again I have a few bills that I still need to be able to cover here in the states. A few things I discovered while researching working in the UK and Ireland is that it is MUCH EASIER to obtain a Visa in Ireland. Great Britain is on a Tier program so if you don’t have a specific job skill that is highly needed, getting a Visa is nearly impossible. Ireland on the other hand has a Working Holiday Authorization that allows Americans to live and work in the country for a year. It can be renewed after that if needed. So by now you are probably wondering how the farm has anything to do with this. Well, here it is. I found over 30 farm job listings and I applied for them! I didn’t really think I would hear anything back. The jobs consisted of mostly farm hands or stockmen, primarily on cattle dairy farms. I was really surprised when I actually received emails inquiring as to when I would be in country and available for work. One family offered accommodations in exchange for a half day as an Au Pair. So now I’m in this dilemma. Should I take this seriously????

Moving and working in Ireland would be an adventure for sure, but there are some pretty big drawbacks that I didn’t really consider. Traveling with pets oversees is an expensive process and if you know me, you know I’m not going anywhere without AVA. It’s also a little costly for airline tickets, so that’s money I would need up front. You also have to show you have money (at least $4000) to support yourself as well as a return flight already purchased. No one way tickets here!

A one way ticket to a new life sounds exactly what I need, even if it were only temporarily, but I’m afraid as usual I’ve gone and leaped without really looking. What do you think? Adventure or scary “wtf have I done” moment? Only time will tell.

via Daily Prompt: One-Way

dogs · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Wishing Well Wednesday

It’s Wishing Well Wednesday! Today my wish is about traveling to Ireland. I’ve always wanted to go to the Emerald Isle. The culture and history has fascinated me for years. I gained a little taste of it having lived in Boston where the Irish community thrives but it didn’t satisfy the longing I’ve had to go.

I’ve had a great deal of time on my hands lately so I started “planning” my trip to Ireland today. I’ve put it on the dream board for one of my destinations. Who knows if I’ll actually ever make it there, but here’s to dreaming right! I’d love to go for my birthday next year.

There are a few hinderances to traveling to Ireland though. While airfare isn’t as expensive to other destinations, traveling with Ava wouldn’t be a thrifty option. It can cost upwards of $4000 to import a pet to the UK. So, sadly she won’t be able to join me on this adventure.

My dream starts out with staying at a working farm in Ireland. For me getting to know the people is just as important as getting out and seeing the sites. I found a wonderful website with great review on Ringey’s Farm, a farm stay close to the village of Adare. (www.rigneysfarm.com) The five day itinerary looks EXACTLY what I need. With experiences such as Farmhouse Kitchen where visitors can bake Irish Soda Bread and homemade butter to a Basket Weaving and Woodworking Workshop, this has me written all over it. It’s conveniently located only 45 mins from Shannon Airport and the modern city of Limerick.

Limerick offers pubs, restaurants, and shopping as well as a mix of historic parks and churches. There is also the Wild Atlantic Way trail for those who might want to travel further by car.  Ringer’s Farm is located just along the outskirts of Curraghchase Forest. The Forest has over 700 acres of beautiful trails. It also is the home to Curraghchase House where poet and author Aubrey Thomas de Vere lived. The house was also occupied by Alfred Lord Tennyson, one of my favorite poets.

If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk in my garden forever” Alfred Lord Tennyson

Adare Village is regarded as one of the prettiest and most picturesque villages in Ireland. With it’s stone buildings and medieval churches, such as Holy Trinity Church, one could spend an entire day just wandering it’s streets. The village has also been considered the “food gourmet of the West”. It’s dotted with many fine dining restaurants as well as the pubs that most American travelers want to put on their list to visit.

So this is my Wishing Well Wednesday wish! Closing my eyes and making a wish to be far away in the lovely Irish countryside. How about you? What’s your Wishing Well Wednesday Wish?

Adoption · Alabama Gulf Coast · Uncategorized

November National Adoption Month

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An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place and circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break –

                                                                                                                     Ancient Chinese Proverb

On any given day in the United States over 100,000 children currently wait for their forever families. 20% of these children wait five years are more to be adopted. 30,000 of them will “age out” of the system having never had a family to call their own. While 1 in 3 Americans have talked about adoption, only 2% have ever adopted.

In 2015, I was given a first hand opportunity to work with children in the foster care system. I was employed by St. Ann’s Home and School in Methuen, MA. The home was a group facility with a number of children who were in the “system”. I remember the first few weeks working there, coming home in tears. My coworkers and supervisors cared a great deal for these children, like their own. Many of my “kids” endeared themselves to me in such a way that even today I think of them. As a mom, I wanted to bring them home with me. So many of just needed someone to show them that they were loved and that there were people in their lives who wouldn’t leave regardless of the circumstances.

The average age of a child in the foster care system is 10-11 years old. I remember a social worker once telling me that if the child hadn’t been place by 11 years old the odds were that they would never find a permanent home. Teenagers have the lowest overall adoption rate only being 5% of adoptions in 2015. As the mom of 3 teenagers, I can understand the apprehension about fostering or adopting a teenager. I’ve heard everything from “these kids have other issues on top of just regular teenage issues.” and while the fact that they have experienced hardships is true, I don’t think it should disqualify or discourage families from opening their homes and hearts to these kids.

There are many reasons I believe in fostering and fostering to adopt. These kids need you! America is a country with tremendous opportunity for success but there are children who may never know a life without fear or chaos. They deserve a stable family and the ability to not just survive but thrive! There aren’t nearly enough homes for these children. After the age of 6, it’s extremely challenging to place older children and sibling groups. While residential homes like St. Ann’s, provide safety, basic needs and structure, they cannot provide a family atmosphere. The longer the child stays in a residential home, the more institutionalized they become. Let’s face it, living with 12-20 other children in dorm like arrangements isn’t normal unless you are in college or the military!  These children need to feel the belonging that comes with being placed with a family.

I personally believe the foster system is a mission field. Foster parenting changes entire generations not just the child you are caring for. It will change their children and their children’s children, breaking what is often a cycle. If 1 family out of every 3 churches adopted from the foster care system, there would be no more orphans in the United States.

Maybe you are like me right now and you know in your heart that you cannot foster/adopt right now. There are still ways you can make a difference in the lives of these children. I wanted to share a few of these with you. (Information from http://www.adoptuskids.org)

  1. Become a court appointed special advocate or CASA.As a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) volunteer, you’re empowered by the courts to advocate on behalf of a child in foster care. You don’t have to be a lawyer or social worker.

    The work done by CASA volunteers involves gathering information from everyone in a child’s life, including parents, relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers, and others. This information will then be used to inform judges of what the child needs and what will be the best permanent home for them.

    To be a CASA volunteer, you simply need to:

    • Pass a background check
    • Participate in a 30-hour pre-service training course
    • Stay with a case until it’s closed (approximately 1.5 years on average)

    The National CASA Association has more information on becoming a CASA volunteer.

2. Mentor a child in foster care.

Becoming a mentor or tutor for a child in foster care is a great way to make the difference of a lifetime for children in need of permanency. There are lots of different ways to mentor children of all ages.

3. Offer free photography or video services.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, your photography and videography talents are a priceless gift that can go a long way toward helping children in foster care. Adoption agencies around the country are in need of high quality photos and videos of children that can be shared with prospective families.

Use the National Foster Care and Adoption Directory to find agencies where you live that could benefit from your services. You can also connect with the Heart Gallery of America program, which organizes expos and galas with framed portraits of children available for adoption.

4. Become a Respite Provider. Respite care workers provide parents and other caregivers with short-term child care services that offer temporary relief, improve family stability, and reduce the risk of abuse or neglect. Respite can be planned or offered during emergencies or times of crisis. Respite may be available to foster, kinship, adoptive, and birth families in need of support. Talk with your caseworker or use the National Foster Care and Adoption Directory to find local agencies in your state that can connect you with information on how to become a respite care provider where you live.

5. Fundraise or Donate Supplies to Foster Care Agencies.

Many children in foster care have very little to call their own. Everything from back-to-school supplies, toys, and suitcases are needed by foster care organizations around the country. Whatever you can do will go a long way, whether it’s donating money or supplies directly to an organization in your area or organizing a fundraising or donation drive.

Use the National Foster Care and Adoption Directory to find a local agency to partner with to help children in foster care.

A great organization that I have raised funds with in the past is Together We Rise. Having seen kids in the foster care system arrive at St. Ann’s with their belongings in trash bags broke my heart. Together We Rise provides “Sweet Cases”, new duffle bags filled with essentials like toiletries, blankets, and a teddy bear. They even have an amazing program for foster kids who are entering college for the first time where they have help and a family setting to help them move into their dorm rooms. Find out more at http://www.togetherwerise.org

You can make a difference in the life of a child. Consider foster care or adoption.

It will change your life as well!

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Uncategorized

Monday Musing: A day in the life of me

IMG_1347See this face? This is what I typically wake up to every day! The cup of coffee is mandatory, otherwise I wouldn’t be upright. Have you ever had one of those days when you really, and I mean REALLY, have to search for something good in your life? I’ve been feeling incredibly sorry for myself the last few weeks. It’s been seven months since my life turned upside down. Although I’ve made some gains in the right direction, the are some days that the past hits me hard enough that it literally takes my breath away and causes physical pain. This morning as I took Ava out, the sun was shining, the waves breaking over the shore and wildflowers were being kissed by monarch butterflies. I breathed in deep, said aloud “You are so incredibly lucky REBECCA!”, and the truth is that I really am. I forget how while my life is currently going through a rough patch and I have so many things to be thankful for.

Ava is one of those things. She has brought me so much comfort through this transition in my life. My parents have been an amazing source of support and strength. I’ve made some really interesting friends since returning home. I own and live on a sailboat for goodness sakes! How many people can say that?!? Speaking of the boat, I’ve not been aboard for a few weeks. I decided to move the boat to the West Side of Mobile Bay and have spent some time staying with my parents. It’s been a nice little break. I may even decide to spend the winter living with them while I make some repairs on the boat.

I haven’t had much time to write, or much to actually write about. I spent the weekend with my parents. We drove to Lucedale, MS and walked the Gingham Tree Festival. It’s a huge one day arts and crafts festival. There were some really amazing vendors and artists there but as usual, I really feel as if I don’t fit in there. Most of my time was spent people watching and realizing how different I’ve become over the years. Sunday I went to Whole Foods, sampled cheese and wine, so that was pretty awesome. I baked a chicken for dinner and enjoyed having a real kitchen, a convenience I don’t have living aboard the Rialto Zephyr. While I do have a galley, it’s not entirely functional. I sometimes miss living in an actual home.

The holidays are coming up and I have to admit I have more anxiety about them then I care too. Facebook loves to share memories with me and I know that last year’s Thanksgiving was pretty incredible. Facebook will be sure to remind me and it’s going to hurt. I wonder if I could just avoid being on social media that day and every day leading up to it? I am looking forward to my kids coming to visit for Christmas though! This is the longest we’ve ever been away from each other. I’m so proud of the progress they’ve made and the lives they are creating for themselves. They give me hope that all of this is temporary and I’ll find my way again soon too.

 

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

Dia de los Muertos: Remembrance

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I’ve always had a different approach to death. Even as a child it wasn’t something that scared me or even really caused much anxiety. Growing up a PK, or pastor’s kid, I had experienced death at a young age. I remember the first time I saw a corpse. It was a great uncle that had passed away, someone whom I really didn’t know all that well. At the end of the funeral, as the family passed by to look on the body one last time, my Dad picked me up and gently carried me towards the coffin. “Rebecca, you understand that this is just a body. Your Uncle Fred’s soul has gone on to be with Jesus and while we are sad and we’ll miss him, this body is just a shell and he is living in Heaven.” I don’t think my 6 year old mind truly comprehended what my Father was talking about. I remember feeling a little strange staring down at the body of my Uncle. This was just an introduction to death. Later, I would begin accompanying my Dad and Grandfather to the hospital to spend time with those dying. I was never frightened to hold their hands, tell little stories and even sing. This really shaped my little mind and death wasn’t feared. Maybe that’s why I appreciate the holiday Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.

Dia de los Muertos is celebrated throughout Mexico and Central America. Over 3000, years old, it couldn’t be stopped by the Catholic Church and eventually they embraced it as their own aligning it with All Saints Day. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray and remember those who have died. They build ofrendas, or little alters, to the deceased. The celebration lasts two days, beginning with children building alters to children who have passed on. Then, on Nov. 2, family and friends gather in homes or cemeteries, They build the ofrendas, decorate graves and tombs, and share the deceased’s favorite food and drinks, often tamales. It’s a joyful, colorful remembrance that celebrates the loved ones. I think it’s beautiful. Calaveras, or sugar skulls, are eaten and often funny stories and antedotes about the deceased are shared. There is dancing and music and death is not feared. It reminds me a bit of my own heritage.

In New Orleans, death is also something centric to the culture. Jazz funerals wind their way down moss ladened oak tree lined streets. Songs like Nearer my God and Just a Closer Walk with Thee are played as families march from the church to the cemetery. It’s somber and sad until the “body is cut loose” and buried. As the family makes their way back home, the band begins to play upbeat music. The group of mourners who followed the band and family, the Second Line, breaks out into dance and celebration. Parasols are twirled and handkerchiefs waved as mourning turns into dancing. The dead is celebrated, remembered, and sent off with a party that is joyful. The tradition is thought to come from the Congo, brought by slaves to New Orleans. It’s so central to the culture in New Orleans that you often see Second Lines forming after parades, weddings or any eventful celebration.

Remembering our loved ones, however we choose to do so, honors their legacy and memory. While I don’t celebrate Dia de los Muertos, I’m going to pause a minute today to thank God for those who have gone on before me, for the influence they shared and the love I had for them. I’m thankful that I’ll see them again one day, that this life isn’t the end and like my Dad said to that little precocious 6 yr old girl, I will be celebrating with Jesus and my loved ones one day. Happy Dia de los Muertos!