Sea Something Today!

When I stop and look around, I see a lot of beauty and history right in my own area.  I bet it’s the same for you, too.  “Busy” and the “to-do lists” gobble up our time like a ravenous hawk, eating our precious minutes away.  At the end of the day, all we have is our memories and experiences.  One of my goals this year is to make those memories and experiences less stress-filled and more smile-filled.

I know I’ve mentioned my list of things I want to do while I am 44 before…I keep another blog documenting my year and my progress towards reaching my goals here.

Number 2 on my list was to see the Statue of Liberty.  I was only there twice before, first as a camp counselor in the early 1990’s, and again with my cousins and family in 1994.  It is only 70 minutes away, and you’d think that I’d see it more than just twice in 44 years.  But I let a calendar and list of things I have to do dictate my life for far too long.  As a result, I made it a priority to see it this year.

I took my niece, who did not know where we were going (which made it even more meaningful and fun).  First of all, it was surprisingly inexpensive:  $7 for parking, and $27 total for ferry tickets/admission to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  I didn’t realize that people buy tickets for the crown and pedestal online months in advance, so they were sold out; however, to add on those benefits is only a few dollars more.

As we rode the ferry over to the landmarks, I looked at the skyline of Manhattan, and took in all of the changes.  I also thought of my cousins from Sacramento…was it really 21 years ago already that we did this together?

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I wasn’t heartbroken about not being able to go inside the Statue, because my niece and I would have had to waste time standing in more lines in the heat.  Just walking around the Statue’s grounds was enough for us.  We also took in Ellis Island, ate lunch, bought some trinkets (including postcards and pins for my collection), laughed a lot, and learned some photography tips along the way.  For a diary-type reflection of the day, please read my blog post from my Living 44 blog here.

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Looking back, what made the biggest impact was the reason I went in the first place:  the Statue of Liberty is right here, 70 minutes away, and here we were, among so many people who traveled hundreds, if not thousands, of miles just to see this historic landmark, and more people who traced their ancestors’ journey through Ellis Island.

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My point is not to go on and on about the Statue of Liberty.  Rather, what I learned is to appreciate the history and the special places that are close by, and to share them with my family members and friends.  I now have a lot of memories and photographs from a wonderful day spent with my niece that we can both cherish forever.  Instead of sitting in the air conditioning on the couch, I got out there and did something wonderful.  All it cost me was a few bucks, a quarter of a tank of gas, and 500 minutes.

This week, spend some of your minutes on YOU:  find a place close to you and just go there, whether it is a park, a beach, a nature center, a historical home, or a museum.  Laugh and learn, either by yourself or with someone you care about  The minutes you spend will return priceless dividends of memories.

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Please feel free to share a similar experience you made time for this week in the comments below.

Until next time,

Jill

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 8/15/2015

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What a whirlwind of a week!  I will be writing about all of my wonderful excursions and lessons I’ve learned over the past few days in upcoming posts.  Until then, enjoy these Internet finds when you are tooling around or just need a break.

I love her too

Using Your Senses to Be Carefree

I absolutely adore this cabinet

I always wondered how mobile alerts were generated…

15 MORE things not to do on the beach

When you are on the edge

Why not just ask? (I love this)

Become the superhero you are meant to be

I might need to get this stylus

and finally, an oldie but a goodie… (warning: some adult language is used in the last 3 links…)

Strap in, shut up, and hold on…we’re going back to the 1970’s via JC Penney’s catalog…Part 1 (the best, Jerry!  The best!)

I hope you are having a spectacular day, and if the weather is grand when you read this, please bookmark these links to look at another time…get out there and enjoy the day!

Until next time,

Jill

 

 

 

 

“Sea” Why Summer Is So….

Summer.  I’ve always loved summer and everything that comes along with it.  Living at the Jersey Shore for 44 years and counting, summer has a role all of its own every year.

Summer moves to its own rhythm and is its own entity.

Summer has its own magic.

The mid-afternoon lull of the crickets and the angle of the sun has changed ever so gradually over the past few days, signs that summer is now on the downslide.

I am not going to think about it though.  Instead, I intend to enjoy each and every moment and relish each day.  I am going to bask in summer’s shine, and let its grasp take hold of me.  I am going to just be.

What do I love most about summer?  Let’s see…

nectarines * cherries * flowers * butterflies * gardening * mowing the lawn * bicycle rides * walks * birds * ice pops * the ice cream man * watermelon * baseball * beach runs * corn on the cob * fishing * the boardwalk * rides * games * breakfast * ice cream * summer music & playlists * salt water * seashells * sea glass * sunburn * sunscreen * potato salad * crabbing * fireworks * finding 4 leaf clovers * fireflies * crickets * blueberries * day lillies * writing * sitting at my favorite places and just being * sandy feet * surf shops * the smell of the ocean * shrimp * tomatoes * sunrises * sunsets * swimming * the beach * ocean waves * laughing with family and friends * the warmth * sunshine * the park * seafood * burgers and dogs * pluots * peach pie * caterpillars * sea stars * horseshoe crabs * sitting at the Inlet and watching the boats *

My friend, Cortland Coleman, summed it up best in one of his recent posts:  “Beach days, patio nights, blue skies and salt water. You just can’t beat summer.”

20150803 Photo 2 Beach Cort

No, sir.  You can’t beat summer.

What are some of your summer favorites?  I’d love to hear!  Please share in the comments.

Until next time,

Jill

 

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 8/8/2015

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Hello friends!  As promised, here is this week’s roundup of interesting website and Internet finds.  However, it’s supposed to be a beautiful weekend here in New Jersey, so bookmark this list for the next bad weather day and make some memories this weekend!

Mick Fanning continues to spread awesomeness

The Jersey Summer Bucket List (pardon the typos…it’s the best NJ.com can do)

Sign Up and get 2 Free Ebooks from Heather O’Neill Coaching

Motivate Me Podcast will inspire you

How to Access Our Inner Wisdom

I want to go back here

I love this artist

Join the Intent community!  (my username is jmieco if you’d like to follow me)

This book is on my wish list

and finally,

131 days and counting, and the only reason I’m looking forward to winter

Have a splendid day!

Until next time,

Jill

 

 

 

 

“Sea” My Gift from the Sea

I have been thoroughly enjoying summer and everything it has to offer.  Last week was a whirlwind of activity, seeing many new places and making memories with my friends and family.  After the busy week, I was longing for some solace, so I decided to watch the sunrise up at the beach.

On Sunday, August 2, 2015, I set my alarm for 5:10 am.  After quickly getting ready, I was at one of my favorite spots, Osborne Avenue Beach in Bay Head, NJ, by 5:30 am.  Sunrise wasn’t until 5:55 am, but I didn’t want to miss twilight’s opening act.

I walked down the platform to the sand, sat on one of the bulkheads, and took it all in.  The ever changing colors of the sky reflected in the ocean, on the homes, and on the sand.  At least 20 underwing moths flew in from over the ocean one at a time, many of which landed right on me.

Like a little kid, I get excited when the sun is approaching the horizon, and as it did, I was shouting “Here it comes!” in my head.  Two surfers entered the water right before the sun broke through, which made for some wonderful photos and mental memories.

There it was, the sun, and the start of another day here on Earth.  I took a deep breath and said, “Thank you for this day.”

As the sun’s height grew, I got up and began walking south in search of a sea shell or a piece of sea glass to remember my morning.  Whenever I go to the beach, I find a shell, write the date and beach location on it, and put it in my “nature’s memories” jar (note: my jar used to be known as my “shell memory jar,” but if I go to a non-beachy location, I’ve started doing the same thing with stones).

The ocean water was very warm and comfortable, and I walked along the edge where the wash surged onto the beach, letting my feet enjoy the remnants of the salt water waves.  The air was permeated with that wonderful salt-air scent, and I wish I could bottle up that smell, or make a candle with that exact scent because there’s nothing else in the world like it.  I drank it in, taking more than a few, deep breaths.

I paused for a moment and looked to the southeast horizon, thinking of those two Florida teens, Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, who have been missing at sea since July 24, and hoped that they are still out there, alive and well, just waiting to be found.  I said a quiet prayer for their safe return, and continued walking.

There weren’t many shells on the beach, even at the highest point on the sand where the overnight tide had reached.  No shells and no sea glass, just a few pebbles and sand crabs. More underwing moths made their way landward, and again, a few landed right on me.  I don’t know where they came from, but my husband later told me he also had them on the boat when fishing Friday and Sunday.

After walking two blocks, I still did not have a souvenir.

Something finally caught my eye, something tumbling in the waves, and at first I thought it was a piece of red brick.  It is nothing new to find bricks, duct work, or pieces of shingle here and there, as parts of homes STILL wash up as a result of Superstorm Sandy, which was almost 3 years ago.  However, as I approached the item, I could see clearly that wasn’t a piece of brick.

I bent down to pick it up.  It was shaped like an arrowhead or a shield, about one inch long and 1/2 an inch wide, with no jagged edges.  The one side was very smooth, and when I turned it over, I gasped and was filled with what I can only describe as awe. On the back was a cross, or what to me looked like a cross. I held it tightly in my hand, overcome for a moment with emotion.

After posting a photo of what I found, someone commented that it was nothing more than a piece of tile, the back of it beveled so that the mortal will stick better (hence the cross shape), and obviously another piece of one of Sandy’s house victims.

However, I see it much differently.

It is my tile cross.  My gift from the sea.

And the message that immediately came to mind when I picked up and grasped my tile cross for the first time was this:  Have Faith.

Anybody can find a shell.  Anybody can find a piece of sea glass.

But I found my tile cross.  My gift from the sea.

That’s pretty profound.

Have faith.

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My Tile Cross…My Gift from the Sea

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 8/1/2015

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It’s a beautiful day here along the Jersey Shore, so you might want to enjoy it instead of checking these out now…save these for later and get out there!

Want to make a difference today?  Send this teen a birthday card for his August 19 birthday!

Participate in The August Break, 2015 by Susannah Conway

Join the Summer Slowdown 2015

I love my Passion Planner!

You don’t have to shine

Checking in with your spirit

To be a teacher and remain a student

And finally….

I want to go here.

And here.

And here.

Enjoy every moment of today!  Until next time,

Jill

“Sea” and Join The August Break 2015

Hello!  I hope you have been enjoying your summer.  The past week was filled with a lot of activity and I will be writing about some of the lessons I’ve learned and what I’ve seen.

However, before I do so, I would like to invite my readers to join me in participating in Susannah Conway’s “The August Break, 2015.”

From her website about this year’s August Break:  “This is a community project that has no real rules —  the idea is to simply take a photograph every day for the whole of August. That’s it. Pause, look around you and shoot what you see. Live inside each moment. Pay attention to what’s there. If it’s the summer where you are it’s a lovely way to be present to the moments that will be gone before you know it. If it’s the winter, what better way to liven up your day than with a creative project to play with? You can use any camera. You could shoot every day or every other day or just on weekends. You can share your photos or just enjoy taking them without sharing. You can start and not finish. You can join in at the end.”

If that has piqued your interest, please head on over to her August Break, 2015 page here for more information and to add your blog to her blogroll.

I will be participating and posting my images on both of my Instagram accounts, using the hashtag #augustbreak2015.

I hope you join me in recording “a month of mindful pleasures” this August, because if August is anything like July, it will be over before we know it.  If you are planning on participating, please comment below so I can make sure I follow you this month!

Until next time,

Jill

The Topics: A Month of Mindful Pleasures (From Susannah Conway’s “The August Break 2015” website)

“‘Sea’ What We Are”

Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” has been one of my favorite books ever since I first read it back in the dark ages of the mid-1980’s.  The story of Scout, Jem, Atticus, Boo, Tom and Dill always resonated with me, not so much because of the moral messages, but moreso because it brings back memories of childhood summers, when I didn’t have to have a care in the world.  In fact, when I used to teach summer school, I would save this book for the last book we would read, hoping that it would make the same impact on my students, but I could never read the last two pages out loud because they made me tear up.

Yes, that’s the sap in me.

But, that’s also the problem with me.

There’s a difference in looking back fondly on wonderful, nostalgic memories and in letting the past having a hold on the present.  And that’s where my guilt lies.

I have spent too much time over the last 20+ years looking back in retrospect.  They say that “Hindsight is 20/20,” and I completely agree with that.  My problem, though, is that I wasted hours re-doing events from the past 20 or so years in my mind the RIGHT way, and wistfully wishing for the impossibility of a different outcome.  The bad decisions, the heartache, the burned bridges, the wasted money…all of it.

I am guilty of letting past failures overshadow present goodness and worth, which as a result negatively affected my PRESENT peace of mind and wasted time I could have spent in a more positive manner.

This ties in perfectly with what I found to be the most powerful three sentences in Harper Lee’s newly released and highly anticipated book, “Go Set a  Watchman.”  Since “TKAM” is one of my favorite books, and since I am a high school English teacher, I had to get the book the day it was released.  Once it was in my hands, I finished it in three days.

If you haven’t read it, this will not be a spoiler by any means, and I do not wish to discuss any praises or flaws with the book itself.

However, this one passage really hit home:

“Remember this also:  it’s always easy to look back and see what we were, yesterday, ten years ago.  It is hard to see what we are.  If you can master that trick, you’ll get along.” – Dr. John Finch/Harper Lee

When I read that, I stopped and re-read it at least 3o times.  I wrote it down in on a post-it to put in my planner.  And I really thought about it…

It is easy to look back and see what we WERE…it is hard to see what we ARE.

And it is so true.

For years, instead of seeing what I AM, I saw what I WAS, which as Dr. Finch said, was easy to do.

But, doing that took precious moments and time away from my PRESENT and my FUTURE, leading to stress and disappointment, to disillusionment and bitterness rather than to acceptance and peace.

But NOW…

I “SEA” WHAT I AM.

I definitely haven’t mastered it like Dr. Finch advised, but I realize the importance of what I AM and of my place in the NOW.

I cannot change the past.  That is done.  And it took me this long to finally admit it.

I will no longer wish to change or apologize for the things I did or the choices I made.  I’ve done my time and asked for forgiveness for too long, most importantly, from myself.

Instead, the person I AM, who is a result of all of those things and choices, forgives me and will focus on and live in the PRESENT (while acting responsibly for my future self).

So, what am I?  Well, let’s “sea”…

I am a wife.  A partner.  A writer.  A photographer.  A teacher.  A student.  A sister.  A daughter.  An aunt.  A daughter in law.  A sister in law.  A friend.  A colleague.  A collector.  An observer.  A reader.  A thinker.  A doer.  An ambassador for kindness.  A traveler.  A woman.  A person.  An “endurer.”

And, most importantly, I am a human following Dr. Finch’s advice of mastering the art of seeing what I am, one day at a time.

 

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So, what are you?  I’d love to know.

Until next time,

Jill

 

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 7/18/2015

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This weekend is supposed to be very hot and humid here along the Jersey Shore.  As you find yourself seeking some relief inside, perhaps you might like to visit some of these interesting links from the week.

Some great words of advice from Wil Wheaton

Who are you and what do you want?

This Kit   |   This Necklace  |   These Lights

Inspiration from Mallika Chopra

How Susannah Conway shoots with her iPhone

Spread some kindness!

and something for fun:

Which Disney hat should you wear?

Enjoy your day, your weekend, and your life!

Until next time,

Jill