Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It is often heard that 'It's the little things in life...' that make up life's great, positive moments. And this is true. All of life's tiny packages seem to add up to that one huge cargo box. The shy quiet new girl in school turns into the best friend of 15 years. The sweet smile of a co worker turns into a world of romance. And it's all those little, precious moments that bring you to the big present.

It's also the 'Little things in life...' that cause us great stress, even more than maybe the bigger situations. It's the overdue library books, that keep reminding you that they are over due by sitting on the coffee table, and you say to yourself "I'll return those tomorrow after work." Or that $1.60 road toll that you have to pay, but your license plate information is outside so you say to your self "Next time I'm outside, I'll write it down." Things as little as the laundry basket slowly taking over your closet, and you telling yourself "On my day off..." Scenarios like these seem to sprout up everywhere and just as quick as weeds. Before you know it, your stress and anxiety level is through the roof. You feel that you're buried underground, and just letting all the weeds accumulate, until your Self garden is taken over. You begin to lose sleep, constantly thinking about the to do list that you have to get done, tomorrow. Tomorrow comes, and the cycle continues. You make up excuses as to why you can't accomplish these small tasks. "I'm tired.", "It's my day off, I just want to relax." or the most popular "I'll do it later".

This the root to my anxiety. The root of my weeds. I procrastinate. I make up excuses. I stress out. In reality, it would only take me minutes to complete any of these tasks. I need to be not lazy! And, just as it has happened time and time before, when I accomplish these 'Little things' I feel that much better. I feel great. I have a sense of accomplishment, and can sleep soundly at night. So why don't I just do these little tasks when they creep up? Why don't I pull these weeds when they sprout? Beats me.

So I'm making an effort to conquer these weeds out of my life as soon as they crop of, instead of waiting till my Self garden is overrun. I want my Self garden to flourish with bountiful fruits and veggies, and with calm and contentment. I want my flowers to grow.

Picture taken by my Wonderful cousin Allyssa, on her 2nd vacation to the lower 48, to visit me:)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Smellin' of the Smoky's

Money's a little tight these days, not only because of the depressed economy (although I'd like to lay blame to that), but because I am only 24, and have been living on my own for a year or so now. In any case, when such events come around that require thought, creativity, and some cash, I'm in a little bit of a pinch. This year, however, I've combined my 2 year anniversary with the boy, and Valentine's Day (which so happens to be the boy's birthday). Instead of running around like a chicken with it's head cut off at the local mall looking for the perfect gift, the boy and I decided to save up our monies and rent a small, quaint cabin in the heart of the Smoky Mountains.

After moving to Columbus, Indiana, from a little town in the middle of West Central Pennsylvania which is covered with rolling hills and deep forests, it was both refreshing and welcoming to return to a similar place of my native home. To be among the Great Appalachian Mountains, walking her trails, drinking her water, and reliving her history, it was exhilarating to say none the least. Waking up for two mornings to witness the "smoke" of the mountain range, to here the song of the birds, and to breath freely the fresh air, seemed to give my spirit the lift it had been needing. I was able to put all anxieties and stresses away for a brief moment and enjoy life at it's simplest. I didn't have to worry about finances, or stress over my job, or fuss over what to cook for dinner, I was on a vacation, a reawakening.

The cuisine was delicious. We chose to eat at restaurants that were exclusive to the town of Gatlinburg, the 'Gateway to the Smoky's'. Wild trout, tender steak, seasoned potatoes and decorated pastas, adorned my plate. Both restaurants were set in a 'lodge' type theme, and the service was excellent. And the pancakes? Incredible. Hearty? Yes. Syrup drizzling over my apple wood smoked bacon. Pancakes with melted butter. Coffee, black at first, then with a splash of cream. What a great breakfast I was treated to.

We took a personal tour of Cade's Cove, the first settlement in the Smoky Mountains. It was astonishing to see the progression of the early settlers, at first, building a log cabin totally by hand. Sweat poured out over all 3000 handmade, wooden shingles. Blood was shed as men labored to cut, then notch, each log with a reverse dove tail. Muscles ached and backs broke over the heavy stones heaved from the Mountain. All this effort went into a house with one room equipped with a humble fireplace, and a loft, where the boys of the family slept. At the end of the tour, the houses were made with lumber, due to the lumber mills moving into the area. Bricks replaced rock as the chimney materials, and the houses had multiple rooms and a few outdoor buildings. But again, let's remember the time and labor these early settlers put forth. Absolutely astonishing.

The Smoky Mountains harbor this town, this cove, in her forests. To hike her trails was exhilarating. We started at Newfound Gap, where a section of the Appalachian Trail runs through. To walk on the actual Appalachian Trail was awesome enough, but to see what lies under your feet, and around you, was breath taking. And I did lose my breath (due to the hike). The higher up the mountain we hiked, the colder, and rockier the path became. There were a few points on the hike, that the trail was still snow covered, when down at the cabin, it was in the low 70s. The boy and I hiked the trail not wanting to stop, but realizing that we had a 7 hour drive back home. As soon as the trail started a decent, we turned around. We decided to leave our mark, and show our gratitude towards the mountain for giving us the opportunity and the memories of the Smoky's. At our turn around point, we built our own little inuksuk. An inuksuk is an old Alaskan Inuit term meaning 'to act in the capacity of a human.'

Our trip came to and end when we turned around to return to my jeep. We got in, and drove down the mountain road. It was so lovely to visit the Smoky Mountains, especially in the Spring. The boy and I have already started making plans of returning to the Mountains, at least 3 more times, one for the remaining seasons. We have even started to draw up a tentative itinerary of what we'd like to do, or what we weren't able to view this past trip. In any case, it was nice when we arrived home, and our little cat, Sonny Jim Scrambles was waiting for us, in need of much cuddling.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Gratitude in Line

Take a deep breath. You will get to where ever you need to go. You will arrive to your destination at the time you were meant to arrive. Don't blame other external factors for your tardiness [period]

I am trying to be a more patient and understanding person. Think of it as a late New Year's Resolution, or possibly, a right on time Life Long Resolution. I need to be more empathetic towards not only friends and family, but especially to those people that I do not know.

How easy is it for us to blame our own problems on complete, and most of the time, innocent strangers. It gives the facade that we are not to blame, and that we're 'off the hook', but somewhere in our conscience, we know that we, ourselves, are still at fault.

I was standing in line at the oh so fine establishment of Wal*Mart yesterday. I needed a quick key ingredient to my turkey burgers (you know, buns.) My shopping took all of 10 minutes, picking up some extraneous items that were not on the list (flea collar, Starbucks coffee...) I migrate over to the express check out with the shortest line, and wait patiently for my turn to pay my dues. Manning the register was a woman well past her mid life. She slowly rang up the patrons groceries with care, taking her time, after all, what's the rush? Our intimate, little line, soon grew. I couldn't help but over hear some of my fellow line members start to complain. "She needs to be put in a nursing home." , "She should be greeting people." and "She's too old to even run the computer." Direct quotes.

I thought to myself, 'move to another line, go shop somewhere else, do your shopping at another time.' There were many alternate and active options for these people, instead of tearing this woman apart for their own self gratifying egos. Maybe with elderly woman needed a job to support herself. Maybe she has a sick husband, child, grandchild, etc at home. Maybe she's tired and bored watching reruns of the Andy Griffith Show. Whatever her reasoning, she was in her right place at the right time, you--disgruntled patron of Wal*Mart, were not.

Be understanding. Be patient. Be grateful. There is always somebody worse off than yourself.