Going the Distance

I recently took some time off from my full-time job and my cookier job, and traveled to northern Michigan with my husband. On our trip, we went to a sand dune by the name of Sleeping Bear ( It was raining, the sun was hiding behind the clouds, and it was starting to get a bit chilly. That did not stop us though, and to be honest, I was just so glad it wasn't 100 degrees outside that I didn't even mind!

I have been to a few sand dunes with him, and while I myself do not fully understand his excitement for climbing sand only to look at more sand, I do like to do things that make him as happy as the things that I know he does with me that he maybe doesn't enjoy as much....say carving jack-o-lanterns for example. He LOVES the dunes... any dunes. He grew up on them, spend many an hour riding four-wheelers on them, and just has overall extreme happiness when talking about dunes. I mean, just look at his smile in the pic below!

Once it felt like we had been climbing for hours (only to find out it was like 10 mins max), my husband had me stop and look at the view behind us. Wow. We were like REALLY high up. Like, so high up that I couldn't see the bottom of the dune that we had started climbing. This really made me proud of myself. I was no longer winded (because remember... I am a cookier and no spring chicken) and the pain that I felt climbing, was suddenly forgotten as I looked out over the dunes at all of the beauty that lie before me. That was, until my husband turned back around to what had been in front of us and asked me if I wanted to keep going. "What is up there?" I asked... "More dunes" he replied. NO thank you sir. BUT, you can go and I will just wait here and enjoy the view. Which is exactly what happened. He took off in a sprint while I surveyed the land around me, taking in the chance to people watch (which I thoroughly enjoy doing btw), and I noticed people of every walk of life.

There were, I kid you not, Tibetan monks in their bright orange traditional Kashaya robes, smiles plastered on their faces, silently climbing the steepest side of the dunes to my left. There were gays, lesbians, straights and those who I could not identify. There were older than me folks, younger than me folks and babies with their parents, eyes wide and taking in all of the excitement. There was every race you could think of and yet no one seemed to be arguing over who was the best, the biggest, or the most offended. Instead, everyone was encouraging each other to keep pushing up the dunes, offering to take pictures vs selfies, and smiling at each other, all while making eye contact and sharing the joy of these natural phenoniums with awe. It was like we had gotten to literally take a break from the crazy world that seems to be the norm as of late.

Once we slid our way back down the dune, we hopped in the car and drove to another part of the park and went up one of the hiking trails. It was raining steadily at this point, and there were not too many people on the trail, yet it wasn't just us out there. I wasn't prepared for the hike to be as difficult as it was, yet instead of getting discouraged and giving up, I found myself excited to make it to the top. The view wasn't what my husband had hoped for, as he wanted to be able to see the miles and miles of lake Michigan that would stretch out underneath us. To me though, it was majestic and beautiful! I loved the clouds, the mist and the fog that to my eyes, only added to the mystery and beauty that goes along with water and beaches. Later that week while discussing what our favorite parts of the trip had been to that point, I surprised my him by saying that the hike was by far my favorite. I was able to see the beauty and not be upset by the weather or the lack of what her perceived as the "perfect view". To me, it was perfect, because I was with him and we conquered the climb together, and got to see the spot just as God wanted us to see it that day.

I think that a lot of our trip helped remind me of what is important in my life, versus what others have tricked me into believing is important. My health, my loved ones and my outlook on life is what I need to focus on and be grateful for. Was our VRBO amazing? No, but the lake front view was. Was the weather on our hike gorgeous? No, but our time together was, and the wonders of what we saw before us couldn't be replaced no matter how 'lovely' the weather had been. Did we have wifi and a big screen tv? No, but we got to disconnect from work, social media, and the news for a few days. In those few days, we got to remind ourselves of who we are and what we need to refocus on energies on. We got to breathe, relax, and simply live in the moment.

So my challenge to you all, is to refocus. Put down your tablets and your smart phones (after you finish reading this that is), and 'disconnect' for a few hours. Close your eyes, take a deep breath in, let it out, and just listen. What do you hear? Is the sun shining? If it is, what does it feel like on your skin? Is it raining? What can you hear it hitting as it falls? Are your kids home? Take a moment to listen... REALLY listen to what they are doing. Are they happy, fed and have clothes on their backs? Because if they are/do, then you have done the parenting thing as you should, and have no need to keep beating yourself up over the other things. We all need to remember what got us where we are now, what makes us happy, and stop worrying so much about the things which we cannot change. We can only change ourselves and ultimately, we are the only ones who can make ourselves happy.

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