Exploring the Land of the Midnight Sun

This past week I vacationed in Alaska with my husband, my parents, my brother, my sister-in-law, my three nieces, and my nephew.

Here’s a photo of the squad.

This trip has been in the works for almost two years! My mom traveled to Alaska two summers ago with a group of her friends, and she had the absolute time of her life. When she came home, she couldn’t stop talking about the adventures she’d had and her desire for all of us to make the same trip.

(Here’s just a glimpse of the beauty we witnessed in AK)

But you and I know vacations are never as glamorous as they appear in the photos we capture, and this trip was no different. Traveling with ten humans is no joke. Some of us are introverts; others are extroverts. Some of us like to sleep in; others like to stay up late. You have shower schedules and people with varying appetites. Not everyone likes mustard on their sandwiches.

We also came to realize that even though we’re blood, we’re not always the best communicators.

Still, this trip was special. Being a long distance Auntie, it really meant a lot to be with my kiddos, to ride with them in the bed of a truck, to play cards with them on a ferry, to cheer them on as they reeled in fish, and to listen to their riddles.

Here they are, from oldest to youngest!

      

     

They each have wildly different personalities and from each of these precious young humans I gleaned something special this week.

In no particular order, here are some of the bits of wisdom I collected from these kids.

  1. Don’t be afraid to somersault when everyone else is walking
  2. Never give up, even if you continually reel in seaweed
  3. Share your talents, even among strangers
  4. Make friends wherever you go

There ya have it. In keeping with my Gratitude Series, this week I’m most thankful for the opportunity to vacation with my family, even if we are a crazy bunch.

What are you most grateful for this week?

XO

T. Shaw

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An Attitude of Gratitude (Week 1)

Last week, I mentioned that I wanted to start a gratitude series, where I would be able to take time every week to reflect on the good in my life. Welcome to the first installment!

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The day I graduated with my M.A. in English, I told my husband that I wanted my first act as a graduate to be visiting my local, public library, so I could apply for my very own library card. Even though I have studied literature for several years, I have rarely found time to read for pleasure. Finally, I was going to be able to make my own reading lists! However, when we got to the library, it was closed. Ha, just my luck. But ya know, I persevered and went again the following week.

I haven’t had a public library card since elementary school. I remember going there often with my mom and picking out picture books. One of our absolute favorites was a book called A Five-Dog Night. If I remember correctly, it’s about a grumpy old man that an old woman befriends. She happens to measure the temperature by how many dogs she snuggles in her bed every night. Now that I’m talking about the plot, it sounds a little creepy, but I promise it was a cute, heartwarming story, but I digress.

Over these last couple months, I’ve checked out a few books.

Image result for mosquitoland       Image result for we were liars       Image result for the light between oceans

Image result for the light we cannot see       Image result for the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society

I truly can’t explain how much I have loved this summer post graduation. I feel undeniably free. Perhaps that is why I haven’t been blogging as much. I have enjoyed living with very few responsibilities. Life has been relaxing, especially when I’m in the arms of a good book.

That is why this week I’m most grateful for my library card. I’m reminded of Ray Bradbury’s admiration for libraries and his belief that those who have access to a library have access to a free education.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

XO

T. Shaw

Is gratitude weird?

My church just started a series called “Summer in the Psalms.” This past Monday a speaker taught on Psalm 1. One of the things she said that stuck out to me was, “What resides in your hearts and minds will become your daily lives.”

I was immediately reminded of one of my graduation presents. It is a journal called A Life of Gratitude: How to Appreciate It All Big and Small by Lori Roberts. Basically, it includes short prompts that hopefully inspire thankfulness as you dwell on “the good stuff more often.”

Instead of keeping my meditations private, I thought I’d share what I’m grateful for here. My goal was to post every Wednesday, and I was hoping you guys would also share what you’re grateful for in the comments.

But then I typed up my gratitude list from the first entry of my journal…

  • sunshine
  • a light breeze
  • the birds that sing, even the one that bites me (yes, I’m talking about my not so nice parakeet named Sam)
  • Dobby, my furry best friend
  • my marriage
  • my home with my parents
  • the future ahead
  • the new growth on my bonsai
  • my friends
  • my family
  • graduating “on time”
  • literature
  • the power of words
  • poetry
  • author Isabel Allende
  • Danny’s new position
  • Wednesdays
  • summer break
  • good T.V.
  • quiet moments,
  • singing,
  • God’s Word
  • prayer
  • yoga
  • blue skies
  • fluffy clouds
  • long—I mean, short walks
  • long showers that help me think/remember how blessed I am

Originally, I had no intention of sharing this list. Then when I typed it up, my list suddenly felt silly, maybe even a little bit weird. I’m still going to share, because it meant everything to sit on my back patio, take in the fresh air, and reflect on even the smallest bits of goodness that either get unintentionally ignored or forgotten.

Feel free to make your own mini list in the comments. I’d love to hear what you’re grateful for at this moment in time.

Also, I’m hoping that every Wednesday I can take some time to reflect and expound on 1-3 things that I’m thankful for that week. We’ll see how it goes!

Happy Wednesday, y’all! I hope you have an awesome rest of the week.

XO

T. Shaw