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The alarm went off this morning, and I almost laughed at it as I rolled over and slammed by hand down on the Snooze button. I was supposed to get up and go to the gym bright and early this morning, but instead, I snuggled deeper under the covers and resumed sleep time for a bit longer. I haven’t slept that well this week, thanks to my husband having allergy problems one night (he kept sniffling, then running to the bathroom for Kleenex), and yesterday they started a huge construction project in my apartment complex. Guys in big dump trucks were outside my window until after 10pm last night digging and banging around, then they resumed after 5am this morning. I guess they don’t sleep much either!

So, where was I? Oh yes, I was being a delinquent from the gym, and had crawled back under the covers to regain another hour of beauty rest. By the time the alarm went off again, my husband had already left for work, and I was alone to lay quietly and wake up on my own terms. Usually I am a morning person and just bound out of bed at the first sound of the alarm, but when I’m this tired, I take my time and really have to allow my body adjust to the thought of physically climbing out of bed.

As I laid there this morning, stretching my limbs, the first thought that came to mind was “I love my bed!” I mean I REALLY love my bed. I have one of those Sealy Posturpedic knock offs, you know, the kind that have the memory foam so when you lay down on it, it practically forms a perfect mold around your body. My husband and I had picked it just a few years ago. I was all about a cheaper mattress and was quite hesitant to spend such a large amount of money on a mattress I thought to be “for old people with back pain.” But after lying on every mattress the store had to offer, he was able to sway my mind into believing that this mattress would give us the most bountiful sleep of our lives, so I was car-sales-manned into purchasing this particular mattress.

Ever since the day that mattress was laid onto the box springs on my bed frame, I haven’t regretted a penny that we spent on it. This mattress is seriously magical. When I lay down on it, I can be wide awake after a can of Diet Coke, and within minutes it will lull me to sleep. I swear it has temperature regulations built into it. I tend to be the warmer of the two of us, and I somehow manage to stay cool even with the 10 blankets my husband has thrown over us in the middle of summer. Even my dreams have been better and more positive since sleeping in this bed.

The bed is where I go when I want to relax and read. It is where I go if I just want to kick back by myself when my husband’s friends come over and watch war movies or world kick-box fighting championships. The comfort it brings me is like a security blanket to a small child, I never want to be detached from it whenever possible. If someone were to ask me, “If you had to spend the rest of your life at one place on earth, where would it be?” I would certainly answer, “In my bed.”

Today’s simplest pleasure:

Never underestimate the power of a comfortable mattress.

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A year ago today I was in the far-away state of Alaksa, riding a train on the Alaskan Railroad with two of my good friends and former college hockey teammates. The fourth member of our party was not in attendance on the trip, as she was the bride-to-be and had her hands too full with last minute wedding details to miss two days of preparation and planning.

The flight from Michigan out to Alaska was anything but spectacular. Eight plus hours of flying and a day spent in an airport is not my idea of fun. But as soon as we boarded the train destined for Denali, all memories of a day wasted in a plane and airport vanished. As we left Fairbanks and wound our way around the Alaskan countryside, it became evident to me that Alaska had some of the most beautiful land I had ever laid eyes on.

Upon arrival at the gates of Denali, we marveled at the mountains that surrounded us. Even in the summer, some snow still capped their peaks. The sky was a magnificent shade of blue, unlike sky that I have ever seen before. We grabbed our bags, and set out for a short trail hike. We crossed over a bridge with a raging river far below. It had a strong, powerful current perfect for thrill-seekers who dared to white water raft down its course. At the tops of hills, we often stopped and snapped photos of the mountains and green landscape that stretched below us. As beautiful as it was, nothing could prepare me for what I would see the next day.

At 5:30 A.M., our alarms went off, and the 3 of us quickly dressed and made our way to the awaiting bus. We were the youngest on the bus by far, but we didn’t mind sharing the ride and an adventure with some more mature folks. We drove away from town and arrived at the gates of Denali National Park and Wilderness Preserve just as the first signs of dawn approached. As our bus entered the park, we stopped not too far into our journey, and I snapped photo after photo of the most amazing sunrise I think I could ever possibly see. Before the sun shone above the horizon, a fog laid close to the ground, hovering eerily over the plain and tundra. As the sun made it’s entrance, many shades of oranges, reds, and purples highlighted the sky and shone off of the mountains around us. It was a truly majestic, magnificent, moving sight to be had by all.

We saw many other wonders as we drove through the park that day. A moose on the side of the road eating her fill of grasses. Three Grizzly bears who came down from the mountain-side and decided to take a stroll right past the side of our bus. We all looked on amazed, as they gave us a sniff, then headed back to the woods. Painted mountains with layered levels of brown, tan, and cream colored stone and dirt. And finally, Mt. McKinley herself, off in the distance with her peak covered by a low layer of white clouds. As beautiful and awe-inspiring all of these vision were, to this day, I still am reminded of the gorgeous sunrise I witnessed at Denali every time I am awake and see its first rays welcome my day here back at home.

Today’s Simplest Pleasures:

1.) Who knew the colors of the rainbow can be found even where it isn’t raining? One of my favorite places to find it is when the sun first starts to rise in the morning sky.

2.) National Parks should be something we all work to preserve for future generations, because they are home to animals and vast wilderness that can teach and inspire us.

3.) The beauty of nature never ceases to amaze.

Like most people, I like going on vacation and enjoying myself when I am not at work. It is nice to have a week or two off several times a year for “me time” and “family time” to be spent doing the things we enjoy without having to worry about the stresses and chaos that can come at the daily grind. And don’t get me wrong, I love my job, and I love what I do, but every one needs time away to keep them fresh and re-energized.

Vacations are usually pretty sparse and far between, since I am still new to the working world, so my only time off is the typical “weekend” of Saturday and Sundays between these vacations during the year. My husband and I try to make the most of this time and often travel to visit our families or go fishing, but on occasion, we make a short “vacation” of our weekend by traveling somewhere near by, usually within our state, and staying at a hotel for a night or two just to “spice” things up a bit. It’s a great way to get away without spending too much money or using much in the way of our vacation time/hours to do so.

A good example is this past weekend. My company, for the third year in a row, offered a continuing medical education (CME) conference for doctors and providers at a ski resort just two hours north of where I live and work. The docs in my office all wanted to go, so we shut down early on Friday at noon, no vacation time wasted, and we drove up to the resort that afternoon. We enjoyed two days (Saturday and Sunday) of half day classes, two evenings of dinner with all of the providers and families, and an afternoon (Saturday) of relaxation around the resort.

My husband and I not only had fun meeting other families, and perhaps making some new friends, with some of my colleagues, but it was a nice time for him and I to reunite after a long week of many hours spent at work and little time and energy left at the end of the day for us to reconnect. We enjoyed a quiet lunch together after my classes on Saturday. We felt like kids again, sliding on an “alpine slide” down the side of a ski hill with my coworker and her husband, and frolicking in the pool with the kids, hitting an inflated ball around like a volleyball, trying to keep it up in the air for as long as possible. At the end of the day we had a hotel room we crashed in, watching the Olympics, sharing a few drinks, and good conversation, without the worries of cooking or cleaning dishes like we did at home. Even the two hour drive was pleasurable, him and I catching up on conversation about our weeks and our plans for the following. We arrived home this afternoon, tired from late nights and early mornings, but at the end of this weekend, we feel as if we just returned from a small vacation with new friends and stories to share.

This weekend’s simplest pleasures:

1.) A vacation doesn’t have to be far from home.

2.) It can be relaxing and energizing to leave work and home behind, even if just for a night or two, to spend time away and just enjoy life.

3.) An occasional weekend away with your significant other can be a good way to reconnect after a long week.

Every year around this time I have a craving that hits me after nearly every run, gym session, or hockey game that I play. It is not an insatiable appetite for a large juicy steak. Nor is it a desire to stuff my face with a bowl of the finest pasta. Rather, my hankering is for something cold and thirst quenching. Most athletes would reach for a Gatorade to replace all those electrolytes lost in that orange sweat that streams down their faces.  No, for me, Gatorade just won’t cut it. Instead, what my mouth is craving is something colder, icier. My mouth wants a Slurpee.

I think it must stem back to my days of youth athletics. I blame my Slurpee cravings squarely on my parents’ shoulders. They, after all, were the ones to encourage my strange obsession. After most Little League Games, I ran with Mom or Dad to the concession stand and waited patiently in line. The hot, humid Michigan weather always left me sweaty and parched. While other kids were picking out slices of pizza, hot dogs, or candy, I shunned these things in favor of an icy cherry and Coke twisted Slurpee. A layer of cherry, followed by a layer of Coke, followed by a layer of Cherry, and so on until I had the perfect blend of flavors. The first few sips were always pure bliss as I gulped them down. Until the headache hit of course. It never deterred me though; I still choose a Slurpee 9 times out of 10 when it came to post game snacking.

I don’t indulge in my Slurpee cravings nearly often enough anymore. I can thank some of my fall off the Slurpee bandwagon to my grown up taste buds that have become a bit more sensitive to the sweetness levels in these drinks. Another reason can be thanked to the local concession stand at my hockey rink never being opened after my 9 P.M. men’s league games. However, this past Monday night, after our late game, my husband and I jumped into my Explorer and had a simultaneous craving hit. He looked at me, I looked at him, and at the same instance we shouted “I want a Slurpee!” I practically squealed the tires as I pulled out of the parking lot on a quest for icy-sweet-goodness. After pulling a quick run at the local 7-11, we headed home, smiles plastered across our faces as we sipped down our frozen treats.

Today’s simplest pleasures:

1.) Who knew that a Slurpee could make a mouth so happy?

2.) There are so many flavors to choose from, any combination of Slurpees can be mixed to form your own one-of-a-kind mix.

3.) On a hot summer day, sipping on a sweet, frozen treat not only satisfies it symbolizes summer in a cup.

One of my favorite times of year involves my family’s trek out to Detroit for our annual family reunion. Next to Christmas and Thanksgiving, I consider it one of my most favorite “holidays.” It is my mom’s family who holds the reunion, often at one of the little parks in St. Claire Shores, MI right on the beach of Lake St. Claire. We missed out last year thanks to a wedding (my own!), but this year I was excited to hear about the rekindling of a fond family tradition.

Saturday afternoon I spent time picking out just the right recipes for my contribution to the picnic potluck. I choose a zesty homemade corn and tomato salad and a sickingly sweet pistachio pudding salad for dessert. When Sunday rolled around, I packed our cooler with these two large salads, 8 hamburger patties, a bag of rolls, some beer and lemonade, and my husband’s personal potato salad. We hit the road on that sunny day and coasted along until 2.5 hours later we rolled into the parking lot across from the park.

As we entered the park, I saw that it was a popular place. There were at least 5 other large gatherings going on at the same time. Even though I hadn’t seen some of these people in years, I was quickly able to establish my family. I could see some of the older men setting up a game of horseshoes, a family tradition at these parties. The tables were covered in food, but more importantly, Italian food. I saw a baked ziti, some lasagna, salad, fresh Italian breads. I must say, us Italians don’t want anyone to go hungry; we love to cook and share our food! As my husband and I entered the circle of tables, family came running over to great us. Most of them had not met my husband before, but they quickly embraced him as one of their own; hugging and kissing him on the cheek. He must have turned about 8 shades of read with all of the older women cooing over him. He definitely stuck out like a sore thumb in this group; the Italians with all of our brown haired heads and eyes and him with his Swedish/Irish fair-skinned complexion, blond hair, and blue eyes. My mom’s aunt even asked if he was from Australia!

After my parents and grandparents arrived, everyone assembled at their tables, and the food was passed around. Talk was non-stop; I caught glimpses and phrases of multiple conversations going on. I wanted to hear about everybody and everything; it was nearly impossible to keep up. After the meal and some birthday cake to celebrate my Grandpa and Great Uncle’s birthdays, people resumed mingling. Our wedding albums were produced which brought a small crowd of people, mostly my mom’s female cousins, who wanted to pour over the glossy photos. Finally, just as soon as the day had begun, it came to an end. Clouds began rolling in that afternoon, and a storm beckoned. We packed up our belongings, and spread our kisses around to our loved ones, promising emails and phone calls to keep in touch, before packing up our car and hitting the road once again.

I feel so blessed that I have family that enjoys getting together on a regular basis to celebrate our love and friendship. I know of so many other families who are broken from divorce; others do not get along and feud too much to make it worthwhile spending their free time together. I hope for every person that they at least have an opportunity to spend time with immediate family on a routine basis in order to enjoy some food, fellowship, and bonding to help strengthen the ties that keep families strongly united.

Today’s simplest pleasures:

1.) Family reunions are a time to strengthen family bonds and to catch up with loved ones whom we may not see very often.

2.) Food and conversation may seem like basic daily necessities, but when combined with the right people, it is a foundation on which love and tradition can be built.

I received my first diary, a Hello Kitty pink covered book, as a gift from my grandparents right around the ripe old age of 10. From there I was off and running. It was a secret place where I could jot down my preteen thoughts, apprehensions, crushes, and more. Most nights before bedtime I could be found in my room, sitting at my desk, pen in hand, journal open, writing furiously. Often I wrote about something that had happened that very day, usually at school. Other times I wrote fictional short stories. Either way, the writing was a cathartic experience through and through.

Over the years, the diaries changed with me. After Hello Kitty, I found a white plastic covered journal sporting a rainbow on the front, and a lock on the side. My brother, although younger than me, was getting old enough to be annoying and a snoop, so I needed the lock to keep him out of my business. Next came a journal with sections of different colored paper, and a lock of course. With that journal, I would write out of order, choosing to write on whatever colored paper my mood was in that day.

As I entered my high school years, instead of writing down short stories and my emotions, I changed to a more artistic outlet. I developed a quote journal for inspiration. The journal I chose was a basic black hardbound covered book with blank white pages. I cut out pictures of my favorite athletes from my sports magazines and pasted them in the blank pages. Around these pictures, I found quotes from auto-biographies, magazines, or even TV interviews and filled up the journal in no time. The journal would come with me to my hockey tournaments and track meets. I found it be a great source of inspiration and motivation before competition in a time before I had a portable cd player and headphones to bury my ears in.

In college, I was much too busy with studies and sports to continue my journal tradition. The portable cd player was with me at all times; at the track as I sat in the holding area waiting for my race to be called to the starting line. At the rink, the headphones were glued to my ears as I sat in my cubby in our locker room awaiting the last ticking minutes until the zamboni cleared the ice and the warm up music, “Welcome To The Jungle,” started. The creative outlet was missing without the journaling, I missed having a place to share my thoughts.

In recent days, I have started this blog, and have found the creative juices to be flowing once again. Some days it is hard to come up with a story, but most days the words flow freely from my fingers. I am having fun reminiscing and using the modern technology to help me portray my thoughts. I realize that I can’t be as open as I would if I was writing in a personal journal, but at the same time, I feel fairly comfortable sharing as much as I have, because I feel my viewers can relate to my experiences. I find it just as fun to visit other’s blogs and websites, to see the various types of people and their ideas that are out there. For those who have never owned a journal or a blog, I challenge you to find some form of creative outlet, a place to publish your views and perspectives, because it is a rewarding and personal experience we each are entitled to.

Today’s Simplest Pleasures:

1.) Writing is a wonderful creative outlet where we can express our feelings and emotions freely.

2.) Journaling and blogging can take many different forms; find one that works for you and go with it.

I just married my husband over a year ago, and I can still remember my honeymoon like it was yesterday. My husband and I ventured to the Caribbean island of St. Lucia to a Sandal’s resort to celebrate tying the knot. The weather was a balmy, tropical 85 plus degrees ’round-the-clock. We were greeted by palm trees, banana plantations, and the local people who were so kind and happy to have us as visitors we almost didn’t want to leave. Our resort was just as beautiful as every picture the AAA Travel guide showed us. We were surrounded by lush landscaping and trees that bloomed flowers the colors of a rainbow. The flowery plants attracted an array of hummingbirds; these birds so small and fast, you could only catch a glimpse of them out of the corner of your eye then they were gone. We had three different pools to pick from for our lounging pleasure each accompanied by its own unique poolside bar. There were daily activities galore: beach volleyball, catamarans, kayaking, shuffleboard, and beach-side massages. The pictures we took and the memories we shared will last a lifetime, but nothing will I treasure more than the daily walks we took together on the beach.

The second day of our trip my husband and I decided to explore the beach front property in front of our hotel. It was considered a public area, so we passed groups of local St. Lucians sun-bathing and chasing their kids around the sandy lots. At first we just walked down the beach enjoying each others’ company until my husband spotted his first piece of sea glass. It was a green, smooth piece of glass that had once helped form an old soda bottle; most likely Coca Cola was my guess. He stuffed it into his pocked without saying a word; I watched his action and then quickly followed suit. Soon we were both walking the beach, head down swiveling side to side as we searched for the sea-formed treasures hiding in the sands.

The first day we came back to our room with a pocketful each. We collected our hardware into a plastic bag. From that day on, every morning and afternoon we would spend about an hour beachcombing for our sea glass. We even set guidelines: no brown glass allowed, no sharp pieces, only well worn pieces, and no pieces smaller than the end of our thumbs. We greedily snatched up all we could; we didn’t see it as stealing. We saw it as us helping to make their beaches a cleaner, safer place.

When we arrived home a week later, tan and relaxed from our trip, I pulled a big plastic bag from my suitcase. Inside was at least 5 pounds worth of sea glass we had sorted and soaked in clean water. Each piece had been lovingly dried and polished. I headed to the grocery store and found a quaint glass canister with a clear glass lid that had a hinge to hold it on. We poured our glass into the container until it filled the top. Snapping the lid shut, we stood back and smiled. We didn’t need expensive, fancy trinkets to help us remember our honeymoon. Instead, this canister and the glass that it held was a simple reminder of the time we shared together collecting each piece to help form a unique, one-of-a-kind souvenir.

Today’s simplest pleasures:

1.) Sometimes the best memories and souvenirs are not the ones we buy but the ones we build ourselves.

2.) Find or start your own unique hobby during a vacation to help you remember your trip for always.

There was something different about this day. As I stepped out my front door, I realized it was not an ordinary summer day. At 6:30AM, it was still somewhat dusk. The sun was just starting to peak above the horizon. The air was cooler, almost crisp; not a drop of humidity hung in the air. Running down the well worn sidewalk, I spotted some yellowed leaves dusting my path when it hit me. Fall was in the air. And with fall meant school was right around the corner.

Every August, a few weeks before school started, I always felt a rush of emotions. Part of me became this anxious being; worried about a plethora of things. Would I like my classes and my teachers? How much homework would I have? Which lunch break would I have? How would I get to school? What did I need to bring with me to school on the first day? Should I wear pants or shorts on the first day of class? Which locker would I be assigned? Who would be in my classes?

The other part of me would become extremely excited. I would beg my mother to take me with her every week to the grocery store just so I could browse the school supply aisle. She would always let my brother and I pick out one or two things that were on sale each week until we had all the required materials. My favorite part was selecting between the various markers, colored pencils, and other art supplies. There were so many beautiful colors to choose from. I felt if I had just the right rainbow of colors, I would be able to create the most magnificent colorings of all.

There was also the decision making that went behind which Binder Keeper to select. They were the plastic binders that velcro-ed shut. Every plastic cover had a different theme. There were those with animals, some had scientific themes, or bright arrays of colors. One year I choose a water scene with a dolphin jumping out of the ocean in front of a setting sun. Another year, I choose a bright purple binder as a nod to my favorite color.

I would spend hours in my bedroom, carefully placing the dividers and lined notebook paper into my binder. I would pack my new backpack carefully, placing the binder in first, then my pencil pouch, followed by my ruler, calculator, and art supplies. At least a week before classes began, I’d go through my closet and try on several outfits; contemplating which would look best for school pictures on that first day back.

The first day of class would finally arrive and with it the butterflies in my stomach. I would be so nervous, I’d have a hard time falling asleep the night before. The morning would come quickly, and I would bound out of bed an hour early just to get prepared. When the school bell rang, I’d run into school with all of my excited peers and rush towards my first classroom and a new school year.

I have been out of school three years now, and I still feel the pre-school-year jitters around this time every year. While I may not have a new school year to look forward to, I still feel that same sense of a leaf turning over. I started my current job September 10th last year, so now I have a year review to look forward to rather than a new teacher or class. Labor Day is the last holiday and vacation time to look forward to before the upcoming big “family” holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is, essentially, the last “hurrah” of summer before the pools are closed and boats stored away. A time to enjoy the warm weather once more before the crisp mornings turn into cool days requiring coats and pants. No longer needing a new backpack and school supplies, I head to the stores for end of the summer discounts and a few new fall items to accessorize my work wardrobe. I may not have classes to attend, but my heart is never far from all those children and the adventures they endure each fall as they head back to school.

Today’s simplest pleasures:

1.) The excitement and annual routines of a new school year aren’t just for the kids. Carry some of this excitement with you into your daily activities; it can help make things seem fresh and anew.

2.) With the start of school comes the change of season; enjoy the warmth and sunlight now as it will not be long until fall is upon us.

3.) Remember your first day of school and all the fond memories that it conjures up; it will make you feel young at heart again.

As I step into my parents’ house, I hear an all too familiar, “Bark! Bark!” Rounding the corner at top speed, our family Yorkie, Max, comes running at me full steam ahead. His ears are plastered back, tail wagging one-hundred miles per hour and, I kid you not, I swear he has a toothy doggy smile plastered across his adorable face. If he was a German Shepherd or Lab, he would surely knock me to the ground. Instead, thanks to his small size, his excited pouncing only reaches thigh high at best. It is as if he is seeing me for the first time; when I squat down to his level, he stands on his hind legs to reach my cheek and plaster it with sloppy kisses.

I love this about him, no matter if I have just walked in the door after a month or an hour long absence, it is always the same joyful greeting each and every time. His greeting is like this for me, my family, or even a random door-to-door salesman off the street. Every person is greeted as if they are his long lost friend. After the routine greeting, Max usually runs for his favorite toy, an old tennis ball. He grabs it in his mouth and then proceeds to prance in front of you, waiting for you to lunge for the ball or chase him around the house. He believes that every visitor has entered his house for one reason, and one reason only, to play with him. He will pester each and every person for a few throws of his ball until he wears out his welcome. Finally, the adrenaline surge will die down, and he will resume his regular call of duty, guarding his beloved spot on the couch.

The love this dog shows is unconditional. When he has an accident or misbehaves, rather than moping or holding a grudge after being disciplined, he quickly forgets and returns to his fun-loving self. When I was younger and had tears after a heartbreak, he was there to confide in without judgment. He never complains or whines if something doesn’t go his way. And there’s no need for fancy workout equipment for my parents; he’s their biggest motivation to go for nightly walks after dinner. Max is advancing in age, and I dread the day when he is no longer there to be my fuzzy, loving friend. But I will always cherish the fond memories of his tail-wagging welcome I’ve received at my parents’ front door.

Today’s simplest pleasures:

1.) The love a pet can give is truly unconditional.

2.) Our pets make wonderful friends and can enhance our day-to-day lives.

3.) Need a workout friend? Grab your dog and head out the door for a walk. It’s an easy way to bond with your pet and improve both of your fitness levels.

This morning, I awoke and performed the same routine as most Sunday mornings. I ate some breakfast, read the newspaper, and went to church. This has been my Sunday mornings for as long as I can remember. It’s as comfortable to me as slipping on my favorite pair of running shoes. I have my parents to thank; they raised me this way. Every Sunday, like clockwork. Get up, eat my Cheerios, brush my teeth, throw on my Sunday best, and out the door we went.

My parents both come from strict religious upbringings. My Dad was raised in a very strict Netherlands Reformed Church; my mom, Catholic. My parents met halfway, and decided on a Christian Reformed Church as their home to raise my brother and me in. For many years, my Dad was an infrequent attender with us. He was burned out from the Church from years of over bearing rules. Gradually, he started attending more and more. After my brother was born, I only remember him missing church due to work or illness.

As I grew, I became curious like most kids do. I knew what I believed in, but I knew there were other religious and spiritual groups outside of my church. I knew that I liked the idea of going to church; it felt like food for my soul. Every week a new message; a lesson to help build me spiritually. I had many questions though; I wanted to know what other people did to meet their spiritual needs.

When it came time for me to leave home and attend college, I choose a school in Massachusetts; quite a ways from my small community in Michigan. The city was much bigger, school was tough, and I had to make new friends. But one thing still remained, I still had this spiritual drive inside me. So, like I did back home, every Sunday I continued my tradition. I had to find a new church though, Christian Reformed was hard to come by in Boston. One year I settled on an upbeat multi-denominational student led church group. The next year, I attended a small Methodist church with some friends. When it became tough to find rides to leave campus, I walked across the street and attended Catholic masses each Sunday. I also took my required core classes of Philosophy and Theology at school. Through the diverse churches and messages I came across, I always was able to walk away feeling “full”. Not one church or religion I encountered felt better than another. They all had wonderful things to contribute to my spirituality.

Today, my husband and I attend a rather large, traditional Christian church. We both feel comfortable there, which is important to me, because he comes from a non-religious upbringing. When we are away from the church, I find other ways to engage my spiritual center. I pray, or run and enjoy my surroundings, or strike a few yoga poses, or read the Bible. To me, religion is more than just going through the motions of attending church, it is finding those things that strengthen us at our core.

Today’s simplest pleasures:

1.) Find your way to feed your spiritual needs be it attending a church, traveling to holy lands, striking yoga poses, meditating, or studying theology or philosophy in school. It will help strengthen your entire being and enrich your experiences while here on earth.

2.) Share your spiritual progress with others; it may help awaken the eyes of someone who has been asleep but didn’t know it.

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