Rest

Rest

In keeping with my last post, Fallow, I was forced into a bit of rest this week and realized that I needed it much more than I even realized.

I had been struggling through Day 2 of Horrible Headache, when I kindly informed my husband that I would not be making progress on the house that evening, because I was going to soak in a hot bath. (He wholeheartedly supported this, because he’s wonderful.)

I soaked. I sipped a glass of wine. I watched Persuasion. I may or may not have done all three at once.

Then I took myself to bed early, with a good book (reading approximately 1.5 pages before completely falling asleep).

I woke up this morning refreshed. Not perfect, but the headache was gone, the exhaustion was gone, the stress of just getting ready for work (much less actually working full time) was gone. I hummed along on my to work, listening to an audiobook during my hour commute, and arrived half an hour early. It was a good way to start the day.

I think more rest will be in my future.

Right around the corner…

Right around the corner…

Hiking with the puppy at Northwest River Park.

I’m beginning to learn that some of the best adventures, the most memorable memories, are right around the corner.

I’ve spent so many years searching for adventure. As a teenager, I went to South America five times. I chose a college 41 hours away from home. I have traveled, taking trips, internships, and jobs in random states. I love to travel. I love to go. It makes great memories. It makes life an adventure.

But I’m learning to be content where I am. Life has changed and, right now, international trips just aren’t in the budget. But there are different kinds of adventures, like figuring out this whole marriage thing. And the challenge of living life to the fullest on a frugal budget. So we’re learning to do things like camping locally.

Husband and I spent Friday night through Sunday afternoon at Northwest River Park, literally ten minutes from our house. It’s a delightful little park, with a number of hiking trails (and bridal trails, I’m thinking that might be another adventure in my future), a river (obviously), and a wonderful campground full of mature shade trees.

Our camp site.

We’ve only taken Ginger camping once before, and it was a bit of an adventure. This time she did wonderfully! (Only minimal separation anxiety when one of us would leave the site to find water or something…but not at all afraid of the tent this time around!) She’ll be a camping pro before long =).

I’m so glad that while I have scaled back the funds required for these adventures ($40 for camping plus $5 for gas), I haven’t had to reduce the enjoyment and refreshing rest they offer. Husband and I both come from families who prize camping above just about any other kind of vacation. Sure, cruises are great and islands are nice, but camping? Camping is THE BEST!

I hope it’s a tradition we can pass on to our children.

Aside from a few ticks, some annoying mosquitoes, and a chilly first night, our trip was perfection.

Loving the little things.

Despite the fact that we purchase a brand new bone, Ginger preferred her sticks.

Despite the fact that we purchased a brand new “camping” bone, Ginger preferred the plentiful sticks littering our campsite.

There's nothing quite like breakfast made over a camp fire.

Hiking some boggy trails.

Steak dinner by lamp light?

New definition to reading by the fire.

Hiking puppy!

Paw print.

Tuckered pup.

Camping with Husband.

Cyprus trees.

Looking forward to making many, many more such memorable trips, right around the corner…

My holiday mantra

I firmly believe that the holiday season should be enjoyable. So although its still a bit early, I’m mapping out all of the wonderful things we want to do, trying to fit each and every one into the schedule so nothing falls through the cracks.

But every year I really want to make this season less about “doing” and more about “being,” and more often than not, I lose that somewhere along the way.

This year, I once again dedicate this season to joy and contentment. And to keep myself on track, I am adopting a very special Bible verse:

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

This will be my mantra this season.

In light of it, I have decided that amid my packed schedule, I need to make room for pondering.

Let me explain, when I was in Haiti last spring, my trip leaders explained that there might be some slow times during our stay. Sure, we were planning to see and do a lot, but they had purposefully left a significant amount of flex time in the plan. Why? Well, because things happen on trips like that. Things that are unexplainable and things you cannot plan for, but things that will touch your heart.

They were right. Things did happen. Not every time we left ourselves open for it, but far more than could have been possible had we packed out our week there.

So this holiday season, I want to make room for “things” to happen. I want to make room for pondering, for slowing, for treasuring. I want to make room for God. That’s what it’s all about anyway, isn’t it?

To do this, I am going to need a plan. It is such a non-concrete goal that this concrete-sequential girl needs some tangible ways to get myself there.

The first one is reading Little Women.

Little Women is one of my most favorite stories in the whole world. And since it begins and ends in the holidays, I always think of it as a holiday story.

And let me tell you, I know this story inside out. I’ve even read Little Men, and my 1914 edition of Good Wives (which my parents brought me from Europe), and other Alcott books like A Quiet Little Woman and The Inheritance. So you can imagine the shock I felt when I realized just a few weeks ago that I had never actually read Little Women.

Dismay.

So my first path to slowing this season, my first step to pondering, is to read Little Women.

And I mean really read–all out hot tea (or cocoa), warm blanket, papasan, and Christmas music playing softly in the background.

A Sunday afternoon trainride

On Sunday afternoon, Husband and I decided the beautiful day was a perfect opportunity to try out the new light rail in Hampton Roads, called The Tide.

It cost us only $3.50 each to be able to ride the light rail all day, but it wasn’t a bad price just to go into the city for the afternoon either.

We started at the Newtown station, just across the Virginia Beach line. We took the train almost all the way to the end, and got off at York St. From there, we stopped into a local coffeehouse called The Cure (www.curenorfolk.com).

Although they were out of the particular drink I initially wanted to try (Gingerbread Rooibos tea), I would highly recommend them to anyone in search of an independent coffee shop with great selection. (They serve food too!) I ended up with a “Harvest” steamer (carmel and cinnamon) and enjoyed every drop.

From there we walked lazily through the old part of Norfolk (Freemason and Ghent areas) sipping our steaming beverages, exclaiming over the old architecture, and enjoying the city gardens. The live oak trees were absolutely amazing. I wish we could have gone in some of the homes that we saw, I can just imagine the stories those walls could tell…a few of the gated gardens too!

It’s hard to think of a more perfect afternoon…