Giving Thanks

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I am your typical American in many ways. I am privileged. I have everything I need. I get myself things that I want. I have a job. A home. A family.

Yet, often I find myself wanting more. Searching for something else to buy, filling the space around me. I want to upgrade. I want it bigger. I want it better.

Is it ever enough?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy and  I constantly think about how lucky I am in so many ways. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say how much I love little luxuries like new clothes, pretty shoes, beautiful home furnishings, and things of the like. An adoration for material things creates a vicious cycle– the more you get, the more you want.

But whenever this time of year rolls around and we gather to give thanks, I like to reflect on what it is that I am grateful for in my life. And you know what? It’s never for the knitted blanket I just bought, the array of cozy-chic sweaters I treated myself to, or the tube new lipstick I brought home with me.

When it comes down to it, I am thankful for memories, people, pets, and promises of the future. The things you can’t necessarily touch.

Thankful.

My little sister and her dog, Coal. Our friends found this dog and my dad and stepmom made him a part of their family.

My little sister and her dog, Coal. Our friends found this dog and my dad and stepmom made him a part of their family.

Coal!

Coal!

Thankful.

My friend, Mark, who tried (unsuccessfully) to leap across a creek while we took a winter hike. It's moments like these that always make you smile and you never ever forget.

My friend, Mark, who tried (unsuccessfully) to leap across a creek while we took a winter hike. It’s moments like these that always make you smile and you never ever forget.

Thankful.

Old friends….

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Newer friends…

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And of course, Friendsgiving.

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Thankful.

My mom and stepdad adopted this stray kitty we found in July '13 after Taste of Tremont. They named her Lorelei.

My mom and stepdad adopted this stray kitty we found in July ’13 after Taste of Tremont. They named her Lorelei.

Thankful.

My pet-loving, artist of a little stepsister.

My animal-loving, artist of a little stepsister.

My bug-loving little half-sister.

My bug-loving little half-sister.

Thankful.

My angel and my devil.

My angel and my devil.

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Thankful.

That I moved to Colorado with this guy.

That I moved to Colorado with this guy.

And then moved back to Cleveland with him.

And then moved back to Cleveland with him.

Thankful.

Like many others, I love the Christmas music and the shopping that has become a part of the holiday season. But despite all of the commercial glam that encourages people like myself to shop til you drop, this time of year has a way of reminding me what’s really important. Acts of kindness, hilarious mistakes, travel nightmares, memories of the years behind us, moments with those who are here with us now, delightfully naughty animals,  recipes passed down from generations, keeping traditions alive and starting new ones, forgiveness, and a little extra time away from work to soak it all in.

What are you thankful for?

~Steph

Flying

DSC_4124It’s the only word to describe my dogs as they charged through golden fields on Saturday.

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As soon as we freed Denver and Colette from their leashes, they flew.

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Their bodies were flying.

Their spirits were flying.

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I had never seen our timid, cautious girl smile like this before.

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Just a happy, glowing soul, wiggling her butt and tearing through the meadow, the way all doggies should.

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I’m sometimes nervous to take our pups off of their leashes. I worry that they’ll see a critter or catch a whiff of something and take off until they are out of sight. But Mike has a little more trust in his heart and wears a cloak of confidence about these things, so he quietly does what needs to be done. And thank goodness. Because as soon as I see this…

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…I let go and I understand.

They need this.

This is what their life is all about.

Space.

Air.

Grass.

Flying.

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This tall, grassy meadow fills them glee.

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A pure, deep happiness that I’m not sure humans ever feel in such an unadulterated way.

And watching them live this truth reminds me of what’s important. Their fearlessness calms me. It reminds me to have faith in myself and in the world around me. It reminds me to trust. To explore. To wonder. To breathe. To take it all in.

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And if I can do all of that… if I can feel just a fraction of what my dogs feel in those field of gold… then I can even fly a little too.

~Steph

Autumn Leaves Are Turning

Well folks, daylight saving time is officially over, and the sun is setting earlier and earlier. The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer, and all of them are getting colder. But before we settle into the winter mode, there is still a lot of autumn to be enjoyed.

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A few weeks ago, Mike, Denver, Colette & I took a drive down to Mohican State Park to take in the sights and smells of autumn. And also to burn off some of the puppy energy that has turned our house into something of a war zone.

This was not our first trip to Mohican– we went camping there this summer with some friends and we fell in love with the place. You can read more about that here. Anyway, we were pretty stoked to see the park painted gold and red. And we weren’t disappointed.

Here are some (okay a lot) of my favorite shots from the day.

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On our hike up to Lyons Falls-- with an "F"....

On our hike up to Lyons Falls– with an “F”….Some jokester thought it would be pretty funny to change the “F” to a “B”…. and I agreed.

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DSC_4032 DSC_4033 DSC_4038 DSC_4059 DSC_4055Ah, lovely, glorious, beautiful, colorful life.

When the autumn leaves are turning.

Until next time.

~Steph