Last week, I was in Florida working and extended my trip through the weekend to spend time with my friends. Taking a mini-vacation! Like super mini. We had things planned out pretty much, but a ride on the back of a Harley Davidson motorcycle to the beach totally turned my head.
It has been so long since I’ve ridden I can’t even recall the year. I just know it was with my dad. When I was a little bitty thing my parents put me on a bike in a diaper and a dew rag…favorite picture ever! The picture is gone thanks to a house fire when I was 15, but the memory lives on. That last time riding with my dad I remember I was finally tall enough and strong enough to hold his bike up. Well I still had to lean heavily to one side. Those short legs of mine and that Yamaha didn’t go together. He had more than one so he took one sister and I took the other! I was excited because I’d finally earned the right to ride by myself on one of his bikes. Dad would normally take two of us or one at a time. Off we went for a ride down the back roads enjoying our time together. As a kid of divorced parents sometimes it was tough, so I loved those times with him. I miss the opportunity to spend time with him but cancer is a real bastard.
I didn’t realize until we were tooling down the road how much I would be reminded of those times and would miss him in that moment. It about brought tears to my eyes and I didn’t want to ruin a happy time with sadness. I sucked it up and knew that it was going to be another awesome experience to go along with the times I spent riding with my dad. There was a huge grin that could NOT be wiped off my face…my joy was apparent cause my dimples were showing!
I’m on the controlling side so it says a lot when I have trust in the driver because I never worried or got anxious. There are people I’ve ridden with that I never wanted to get behind again, or I wanted to take over! He wasn’t one of those – because I got on that bike any time there was an opportunity. Cold as hell that last time out but totally worth it. Too bad for him I spent most of my time sight seeing, so I didn’t say a whole lot. I know my head was on a swivel. I had never been to the Tampa area and I was taking it all in. Lots of farm country – more than I expected. Well I did give notice to be prepared for my cold hands cause I tucked them anywhere I could. Lol No shame my fingers were freezing!
The tiki bar was fun and the music was interesting. Karaoke would’ve been way more entertaining. The views of Tampa Bay were exceptional. There was a cruise ship coming out of Port so the sun was an amazing backdrop. Food was good…my shrimp tacos were delicious. On another day we saw the manatees. I had never seen them in person or mangroves so that was fun. Check out the video of the manatees swimming around by the coal plant. They like the warm water this time of year…it’s about 20 degrees warmer.
The horticulturalist in me was excited to see and touch the mangroves. I did not remove any since that’s against the law fyi. I’m a bird watching enthusiast – my nerdiness knows no bounds. Really. Did a little bird watching, saw a sea turtle and some huge redfish. Ummm just hand me a rod and reel cause redfish are good eating! I’ll just need someone to bait it and remove the fish. Yes I have high expectations when it comes to fishing, but I will catch a ton if they’re biting! After some wildlife adventures we were off to the Hot Tomato. Holy cow the BLT has 10 pieces of bacon on it. Excellent little hole in the wall. Highly recommend that place. Sorry I ate the sandwich and never thought about taking a pic. Just trust me on this one.
So the weekend didn’t go exactly as planned, but it was what I needed and didn’t even know it. It was relaxing and I enjoyed the people I was with and the places we went. Obviously I need to do this more often – find that work/life balance. Don’t get me wrong I would’ve had a great time with the original plan this was a fabulous alternative. Go for a ride on a Harley with a fantastic person or just tool down the road on your own!
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” – Booker T. Washington
Lord I hope this true – because in the end I’ll have overcome the equivalent of Mt. Everest based on the current level of obstacles. It’s up to each one of us on how we tackle that mountain. Will it beat us or will we succeed and overcome in the end. I want to hang my prayer flag at the top of my Mt. Everest!
Actually my son had to do a project a few years ago for his English class on the book he was reading. Peak by Roland Smith is exceptional and I’ve read it with him more than once and on my own just cause. It’s one of our favorites. Anyway in rubric hell he had to select several items to get all the points he needed to achieve a good grade. One of the options was to recreate something from the book hence a prayer flag. I still have it in my home office. It represents our love of the book and the beginning of his love of reading. Sweet memories!
Life is full of obstacles to overcome and figure away around or just figure out. We can spend lots of time just trying to figure things out. It’s important to not be paralyzed by indecisiveness or fear of the next step. Just like my first post Jump. Jump knowing you’re going to get some bruises, jumping knowing it might hurt, jump because action is better than inaction, and jump because it means you’re alive and free to make the choice to go in any direction you choose. Hopefully the direction you choose is a path that leads to a greater success, the next peak or maybe you rise to the pinnacle and you can see for miles around you and choose what side of the mountain you want to travel down. What new adventures are on the horizon or to look back at what you’ve overcome because the past is an important teacher and influencer on how we approach the future. Eventually I want to walk down to the beach and sit in the sand or stand in the surf and just enjoy life. Oh and I need a cocktail cause that’s what we do!
Unfortunately I’m nowhere near getting to that beach unless it’s a vacation. Funny thing I don’t seem to be picking the beach I head for the mountains. I think my compass is confused. I can see it as more obstacles or that I’m working on achieving even greater success in my life. It’s all in your perspective!
Geez don’t know about you but I’ve been asking myself that question A LOT lately. Actually I’m thinking I’ve wandered off the path and I’m in the briers all tangled up and getting stabbed with the thorns. I feel a little scratched up and possibly bruised from the struggle. I start struggling even though its futile and I should just go straight to some prayer and ask for help right then…BUT that would be a big no because my pride is a bit extreme and wants to figure out a plan first. I’m telling you this does NOT help me at all because eventually I have to recognize, that I have absolutely no control over what is happening in my life. What I do have control over is how I’m going to react to it. Do I continue to struggle? Do I not seek some heavenly help and admit I need God to take the load? Do I welcome help when it comes to light and allow my pride to fall to the wayside? Pride is the root of my evil. It gets me every time!!!!
I will freely admit that I struggled for a day this time before I admitted to God that I was not in control, and could he please take the wheel of this out of control life I’ve got going on right now. Not only has he taken control but I was given some insights into why I’m in this situation. DO I LIKE IT? Yeah I’m screaming….that would be no but I recognize why it’s happening and that there is a plan. It’s not my plan, it’s God’s plan. Will I be Job and put my faith in God’s plan for me and those I care for, or do I really think I’m better and can come up with something even greater….just saying now that I don’t.
He has a purpose and maybe I don’t see all the parts of the plan, but my responsibility is to humbly accept it and know the results will be exactly what they should be. Maybe God has to make little changes for the big change to fall into place or maybe it’s a test and I need to fall in line. If you aren’t a believer I’m sure this all sounds strange, but my faith has sustained me since the day I accepted Christ when I was 8 years old. A big commitment that equals only one thing – Grace. Hard to image that I made such a momentous decision at an early age, but it has been a rock in my life even when it’s been a roller coaster. I’ve been on lots of strange paths and narrow winding ways that have felt dark and lonely in the beginning and then I remember I have Grace….I know Jesus. Is it an easy path…I would like to say yes, but the first part of this blog will attest to a big fat no. I always struggle and it’s because my pride gets in my way. Each day I don’t have a struggle is a day that feels blessed and like the burdens are weightless – if only I could remember that when I start to build the walls and make my own plans and design my own path – ugh I make it tough on myself.
To quote Forrest Gump ‘Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.’
You feel like you have things going in the right direction and then BAM! Life smacks you right up side the head. So my reaction is to hold tight to my faith and know that there is a plan. That doesn’t mean I standby and let life bowl me over, but I do acknowledge my reality and move on. Perseverance seems to be my middle name anymore. I’m just going to reach into that box of chocolates and see what other tasty bite I can get out of this life. Enjoy the little things – Rule #32
My goal is to be a role model that my son can look up to and know that being responsible and accountable are expected and should be embedded into your life. It’s not an after thought or an option when it feels good or people might be watching. Even when you’re the only one, stand-up for what is right. It’s not always easy or the popular choice but then I have never taken either so why start now. Makes me want to do a ‘Twanda’ yell!!!
True statement – I don’t think I have the power to tell anyone what to do, but if I can spark a thought, a change in attitude or even make you wonder I’m doing the job I set out to do with this blog. Ok maybe that wasn’t my orginial purpose but I like the idea.
I know I can’t get everyone on board with Star Wars…Lord love ya! I do want to spread some positivity. Am I positive all the time…ummm no. I have my moments of being in the pit of negativity, but it’s all about how we pull ourselves out and move on. I did say I would try to keep it real. I’ve held to that even when it’s a bit on the personal side, and feels very much like I’m exposing parts of myself I’d rather keep hidden. This is a journey, an experience, a voyage possibly to a new frontier…well maybe not space but in a direction inspiration takes me.
I’ve been inundated with Star Wars memes this evening and they’ve obviously gone to my head. Along with the Stars Trek movie I watched. As for travel I’m about to hit the road some more. In some cases to places I’ve been and other times it will all be new. With the new year I plan to incorporate both blogs into this one. Just easier to keep up with. Plus I’m sure a little travel, food and adventure will interest a few.
Adventures come in all shapes and sizes…my roll as a parent and mother gives me plenty, work has its own set, and then there’s my personal decision to make new choices or take the road less traveled because I can. As I start this new year I hope to continue in those choices. I realized as I started writing the travel blog that I had to do more than just travel. I needed a plan or idea of what I would like to see or do in the places I visited or else nothing would be seen or experienced. Yes it’s tiring and requires some serious motivation when you’re working and putting in the hours but it’s worth it. Go with some places or ideas in mind, ask locals for suggestions, be willing to get in the car and drive till you see something interesting or take a walk.
This year includes some bucket list states for my son and I. A pirate adventure….for real I’m going to Gasparilla. Got a wedding in Colorado in the mountains to attend…omg you know there will be pictures galore. Plus so much more!
So fire up your inspiration and find your inner spark and light it up! Let’s start 2017 off with a flourish and finish with a bang!