Summer Vacations & Life Lessons

Life has, as usual, been going a million miles a minute this summer. Between moving, truly settling into the new job, picking up training clients and learning how to keep up with DC’s speed – I could not have been more relieved when I realized that my annual summer trip to Maine was actually going to happen. Granted, it only ended up being about 2.5 days between traveling and being able to get off work, but I was thankful for any time in my favorite state.

Maine is essentially my second home because I have family there and we’ve been making the 12 hour drive up the coast at least twice a year since before I was born.  Even as all the kids have grown up and moved to different parts of the country we’ve found time to get together and come to Maine as a family – it’s always the same great summer vacation. Until last year. In 2012 I lost my grandmother and my aunt about six months apart. My aunt and godmother, Cookie, finally lost her five year battle to cancer. It rocked my world. I never wrote about it on the blog because I wasn’t quite sure what to say at the time.  I still don’t really know (except that damn I miss her), but after our most recent trip I think the lessons she left with me are becoming clearer than ever – and they’re relevant to many of the messages I write about on here.


It’s cliche, but you can’t say that having a close family member pass away doesn’t make you realize how much you need to live life to the fullest. You certainly never look back on your life – and I talked to Cookie about this after her diagnosis, she emphasized this – and say, “I wish I worked more” or “I wish I surrounded myself with more drama” or “I wish I spent less time doing things I love.” Ya know? Animal welfare, shelter work and even plain old dog ownership can be tough fields to be involved with. You owe it to yourself to find the positive aspects of that work and soak it up. Surround yourself with opportunities and people and choices that make you happy and bring out the best in you – because one day you’re going to look back and be glad you did.

It was a weekend of memories, reflection, family time and, of course, beautiful coastal Maine scenery.  Can’t wait to head back in just a few months.

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Home is where the heart is!


4 thoughts on “Summer Vacations & Life Lessons

  1. I suspect both your grandmother and aunt would be proud of what you have accomplished already in your young life. So glad you had a little time to “be with them” again in a favorite place where they felt near.

  2. Family is the greatest thing. I’m sure both your grandmother and your aunt are smiling down on you because of how proud they are. I just lost my grandmother a few weeks ago and my aunt isn’t doing well right now either. I look to your blog as a sign and will cherish everything just a little more. That and I’m going to do everything I can to make it out to Cali and see my aunt as soon as possible! Very nice blog. Loved the pictures as usual!

  3. Beautiful photos and beautiful thoughts about your aunt. Her lessons to you are ones that humans need to hear over and over and over again. Dogs, however, seem to have those lessons mastered!

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