Sometimes- actually, a lot of times- I find myself in awe of where we live. The beach, the channel, our marinas, our parks, the art throughout the community, the big houses... it's all so beautiful. I have always loved this area, but I have discovered even more to love since I have moved here.
One of my favorite places is the channel that goes out to the lake. Every time I drive down to Silver Beach, I have to catch my breath when I get a glimpse of the lighthouses and the sculpture on the "St. Joe" side. It was only recently that I learned the name of this sculpture by Richard Hunt, "And You, Seas". I love its movement, how it mimics the waves. It feels dynamic and ever-changing, like the water and landscapes at our beautiful beaches.
I hope you can take some time to enjoy the area this weekend! It is supposed to be wam(er)! :) Have a wonderful, restful Friday, Saturday and Sunday
When I was in early elementary school, my parents decided we were going to live "on a farm". I use "on a farm" loosely, as our livestock were more pets (and a money pit!) than anything else. We had goats, sheep, and pigs, but in eighth grade, I determined it was not enough. I decided we must have a llama.
At first, you may have had the same reaction as my parents- "A llama?!". Yes. A llama. Not only are they majestic creatures, but they are incredible at herding sheep. (Although, my dad may have disagreed with this a time or two!) They are also protectors, capable of killing predators to our livestock, like coyotes, dogs, raccoons, etc. I must admit that my primary reason for wanting a llama was fairly selfish. I wanted to ride it like a horse.
I begged my parents for months to get a llama. I did research, made PowerPoint presentations, wrote songs and led numerous conversations around llamas. I think my parents eventually just got sick of it, so my dad took me to a farm in Sunman, Indiana. It was there that I found the most beautiful llama in all the land, Josephine Adaline. (All my pets have a first and middle name. )
When I first saw Josie, she was standing in the sun, the wind gently blowing through her long, wispy ear hair. She was breathtaking, and I was instantly in love. As we proceeded to load her into our trailer, she began bucking like a wild bronco. It looked like a scene straight out of a rodeo! My dad, slightly panicked, turned to me and asked, "Are you sure this is the one you want? We could get a tame one instead." I implored him for Josie, assuring him I would tame her and she would make a fantastic pet. I think he was in full-on denial when we got home and could not get her to move off the trailer for two hours.
Josie never did become "tame". She hated to be touched and honestly preferred that all humans stay 10-15 feet away from her. On the random occasions that I would pet her, she would throw her ears back, swoop her neck around and give me the "stank eye". She liked me more than my dad, though. I think she would intentionally toy with him by herding the sheep in the opposite direction he wanted to her go, knocking him down and showing her teeth to him with ears laid back.
Josie was great in a lot of ways. She was an amazing protector to our sheep. She would pick favorites, love on them and sleep with them. She would do barrel rolls in the dusty dirt during the summer. It was hilarious to see her on her back, legs kicked up in the air, just doing her thing. Even if she wasn't friendly, I still loved her.
Josie was 2 when my family got her in 2002. She lived for 17 wonderful years before she passed away in September 2017. I was, and honestly still am, devastated that she is gone, but she had a wonderful life on the Berglan Fox Farm. I feel so fortunate to have had her in my life. My goal is to have more llamas (or maybe alpacas- they are smaller!) again someday, but none of them will ever compare to Josie.
Do you have a favorite band, album or song that takes you to a different "place"? Like, no matter the stress, chaos or pressure you are under, you can listen to the music and it helps to relax you? For me, it's ODESZA.
I am very aware for many of you that might be a very obscure band. You are probably asking yourself, "WHO?". Well, you're in luck, because I have shared their latest album below. :)
When I was a classroom teacher, my kids used to call ODESZA's music "lighthouse music". As they would have time to work in class, I would play ODESZA, and we would watch the St. Joseph lighthouse webcam. (Unfortunately, that webcam is gone, but here is the "new" one we watch in the Stewart office: https://www.earthcam.com/usa/michigan/stjoseph/lakemichigan/?cam=lakemichiganbeach). This was always so relaxing and enjoyable for my students. They would decompress, take some time to focus and find some peace during the day. They would always request "lighthouse music" during any quiet or work time.
ODESZA plays a lot of festivals, and (believe it or not), festivals are not really my thing. When they went on tour last summer, I got so excited, because there were a number of tour dates that were actually like concerts, not multi-day events. I went to see them in Indy last April with some friends, but I also had the opportunity to see them in Grand Rapids in August. I had just moved here and none of my friends from back home were able to go with me. It was the first time I ever went to a concert by myself. It was sort of an overwhelming experience, but something about this music makes me feel at ease. After, I was "proud" of myself for venturing out on my own to do something I really enjoyed.
I listen to ODESZA a lot-- when I go to the beach, when I am working in my office, when I am cleaning my house, and even on long road trips. But there is a specific reason I am writing about ODESZA today. There have been times in the last few weeks that I have felt very overwhelmed, very uneasy and very stressed. In almost every one of those moments, I found myself listening to this music. It allows me to take a second to calm myself and breathe. It has become my "lighthouse music".
Their latest album is called "A Moment Apart". It seems fitting, as I can think of so many moments that have been set apart by this music. It reminds me of warm, sunny days at Klock Park, enjoying my favorite place in the world. It reminds me of taking risks and doing things independently, like going to that concert in Grand Rapids. I think of the time I spent with my third and fourth graders at Kendall Elementary and Frances Slocum Elementary. I hear the kiddos humming along and see them watching the waves in front of the lighthouse. These are moments that have been set apart, because they are moments that have given me joy.
Maybe ODESZA isn't quite your style. That's ok! I hope you have some music that can set moments apart for you. Have a great, restful weekend!
My parents are coming to visit this weekend. We have not seen each other since December 30. This is the longest time we have ever gone without seeing each other. Even when I was in college, I would see them every other weekend or close to it. Our houses were 8 miles apart when I lived in Marion.
It felt very strange to hear Old Dude (my dad) say he missed me more frequently. It was kind of weird that they started FaceTiming me instead of calling. My mom has started referencing going to more places “without me”. I hadn’t even realized it had been so long until last weekend. When it dawned on me, I felt horrible... and I realized how much I missed them.
I am very fortunate to have such a close bond with my mom and dad. We see the strain, heartache and struggles some of our families experience each day. We know the impact this has on their relationships and wellbeing. I am truly blessed have a mom and a dad who happen to be my best friends.
We aren’t doing anything too exciting this weekend. We will eat dinner at The Mark, have breakfast at Joe’s, visit Tim’s Too at some point (you all think I am kidding when I say I don’t cook! ) and go to see the live mannequins in downtown St. Joe. Most of our time will be spent catching up, relaxing and truly enjoying each other’s company.
2019 has gotten off to a hectic start! We have faced challenges, braved the weather and felt some stress a time or two. :) Take some time this weekend to catch up on a relationship with someone you’ve missed— a parent, a friend or an old colleague. Remember, you need a support system, too! Enjoy your weekend!
Tomorrow is my dad's birthday. My dad, who I refer to as "Old Dude", is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. His dad got very sick when he was only a teenager, and he became the sole caretaker for his father, providing care for him until his very last breath at home. I don't think he ever really had time to grieve his father's death, as he became the "man of the house" and entire support system for his mother. He is extremely intelligent and is the "go to" for many of the manufacturing processes at the GM plant in Marion, Indiana. He is hardworking. He was worked 10-12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week for 35 years. Many of those hours were "put in" to help my sister and me go to college, to support our "4-H farm" and to make sure my family never had to go without. He has a great sense of humor and is an amazing husband. It has been awesome to watch my parents grow closer in the last few years, especially during their time on the boat here in St. Joe. He has the biggest heart. He gets so excited to see my nephews that he will not be able to sleep for days in advance! He asks about my "boys" every day and lights up every time he visits them. He takes pride in letting them outside and working on projects (like building a fence!) to make their lives a little better.
I am so incredibly grateful for my Old Dude (pictured below with my Lapua). I recognize how lucky I am to have such a loving father and role model. Who is someone you are grateful for? Take some time to let them know how much they mean to you!