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.

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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!

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Stick + Beach = One Happy Dog

Every year on Christmas Day we head down to a local beach in Maine after an exciting morning of opening presents.  The scenery is gorgeous: mountains, crashing waves on the sand, ice and snow.  The beach is usually deserted and we spend the afternoon collecting sea shells and skipping rocks. This year, we shared the beach with a stranger and her friendly pup.

The dog was absolutely adorable. We watched as he and his owner played fetch all the way across the beach. He would bound after the stick and then dig furiously as trying to capture it, continually unable to grasp it as he dug it up and reburied it.  It was hilarious, and soon we were cheering for him when he finally was able to retrieve the stick.

My Aunt is extremely outgoing and it was no surprise when she struck up conversation with the dog’s owner. It turns out he is a rescue dog from Alabama named Beckham (a name that perfectly fit his stunning good looks). He has one blue eye and one brown eye that sit below big ears. He demonstrated how lanky and athletic he was as he bounced around the beach, tail wagging wildly. Beckham was actually with his Grandma, who lives in Maine, and he seemed to be loving the cold weather and the soft sand. On our way out we saw them jogging home. He looked like one awesome dog. I so love running into rescue dogs and their humans when I least expect it!

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A Little Piece of Heaven

Confession: I’ve blogging remotely for the last few days! I’m in Acadia National Park in Maine, one of my most favorite places in the entire world. I recently got a new lens (more about that later!) so I threw myself into photographing all of the things I love about the Maine coast. Here are a few of my favorite shots – I hope they give you a sense of how amazing this place is. (Then I added some photos of my kitty nephews for good measure.)

You must be wondering… where is Otis while I’m away? Check back tomorrow to find out!