Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Weekend In Whistler

When G and I started talking about what to do for our 25th Anniversary, Whistler was one of the first places that came to mind.  The Canadian mountain resort town is located about an hour north of Vancouver, BC (and only 3.5 hours from our house) which makes it the perfect place for a weekend getaway.

If the name sounds familiar, you're probably remembering Whistler from the 2010 Olympics. While most events were held in Vancouver, the Luge, Bobsled and Ski Jump competitions happened at Whistler.

Most people come to Whistler/Blackcomb Mountains to ski, and while we have done that, our favorite time to visit is in the fall.  It's less crowded, the weather is usually good, and the scenery is breathtaking. 

We stayed at The Four Seasons Whistler, and I cannot say enough about the hotel and its staff.   We were upgraded to a suite for our anniversary, and every person we dealt with was pleasant and helpful, and went out of their way to make sure we had a great time.

The views from our balcony were stunning.

The Aspen-like pedestrian village is a great place to wander, shop and eat.

On Saturday Whistler hosted a Mudarella Run, and thousands of women were waiting in line to ride the gondola up to the start of the course.  I have no idea how these two were going to compete, but they were definitely having fun.

The areas surrounding Whistler have miles of hiking trails, so we set out for some adventure. The mountain is also home to a large population of black bears, and we saw five of these guys hanging out by the side of the road, getting ready for their long winter's nap.  I have never been that close to a bear in the wild before.  Yikes.  Glad we were in the car.

Luckily we didn't run into any more bears on our hike, but we did find beautiful scenery at every turn.

With apologies to my Canadian friends, the American dollar is currently very strong in Canada, making it an affordable place for a relaxing weekend.  The soul soothing beauty, delicious food, and friendly residents are icing on the cake.

Just watch out for bears.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Motivational Monday XXVII

This past weekend was full of "last times", which made me sad.  But then I remembered this quote from my favorite little bear.  So true, and I know I'll be referring to it a lot in the upcoming months.

Have a wonderful week!


Be sure to stop by The Blended Blog today.  We're continuing our Fall Blog Hop with some great ideas to transition your closet from summer to fall.

Friday, October 2, 2015

September Gratitude In Numbers

September has come and gone, and it's time to share my gratitude in numbers. Monday I'll be linking up with my favorite Saskatchewanian, Deena - I hope you'll join us!  Here's what I'm grateful for this month...

--7 bands, 3 comedians, lots of food.  We had a fun, stormy day at Bumbershoot, Seattle's music festival.  At one point, the rain was coming down so hard, Bumbershoot had to be suspended for a bit.  Ironic!  Our favorite band was Fitz and The Tantrums, who rocked it like only a 44 year old Seattle native can.  We also saw comedian Bridget Everett's Cabaret show, which was hysterical and entertaining, but also extremely uncomfortable with my 18 year old son sitting next to me.  Should have read the reviews first.

--1 heart bursting with pride.  That would be mine.  It's been awhile since I wrote about C's progress through his college work and internship, and he continues to do great things. Last week he was asked to give a presentation to State and industry leaders about the T-Ten program at his school, which recently received National recognition.  This is not a kid who likes public speaking, but he practiced and prepared, and nailed it.  Afterwards, six people approached him about future jobs at their dealerships.  He's still got his eye on the Ferrari prize, but it's always nice to be asked!  I'm so grateful for the wonderful young man C has grown into.

--30 days of glorious September.  It's my favorite month.  The weather is perfect, and there are birthdays and anniversaries, yummy apples, and outstanding sunsets.

--72 hours in Whistler, Canada with my husband.  I was so grateful to get away for three days and enjoy the beautiful town and each other's undivided attention.  I'll be sharing more next week.

--12 steps.  I can't even write about our friend Todd without tearing up. Fourteen months ago, after his body surfing accident, he was told he would most likely never walk again, but take a look at this. He is the most inspiring, persistent person I've ever known.

This is from a couple weeks ago... Working hard on a cardiac walker!
Posted by Big Daddy's Big Adventure on Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pope Francis and The Joy Of The Gospel

"Division of hearts doesn't overcome any difficulty. Only love is capable of overcoming difficulties.  Love is a festival.  Love is joy.  Love is to keep moving forward."   --Pope Francis

Although I don't mention it much on the blog, I was born and raised Catholic, and went to Parochial school until 5th grade.  I currently belong to St. Mary's Parish, and our priest, Father Dwight, pilgrimaged to Philadelphia to hear Pope Francis speak last weekend.  I'm looking forward to hearing about his experiences.

I'm a complicated Catholic.  While I love going to Mass and participating in the familiar rituals I grew up with, there are many tenets of the religion that I don't agree with.  I have to admit that I didn't pay much attention to past Popes, although I followed John Paul II during his World Youth Day celebrations.

But then Francis was elected Pope.  And I really like this man.

Is he perfect?  No.  Above all else, he is the head of the Catholic Church, and there are many things we don't see eye to eye on.  But you can't look into his face without seeing love, joy and peace.  He genuinely cares for and loves people.  To me, that is the most important place to begin.

Francis is like no Pope that has come before him.  He doesn't live in the papal apartment at the Apostolic palace.  Instead, he stays in the Vatican guesthouse where he can live and eat in community with others, including staff and Vatican workers.  He loves to meet people, and walks into the crowds who come to see him, handing out hugs and kisses.  He refuses to wear the papal red shoes, choosing instead to clothe himself in simple black garments.  He is a leader that is humble, and not self serving.

As things settle down from his recent visit to the United States, it will be interesting to look at the long term impacts.  This trip was well choreographed to show the pontiff at his best, but where do we go from here?  The number of Catholics in America has been in a steady decline.  Will Pope Francis' presence here change that?

I recently finished reading The Joy Of The Gospel, which is a translation of an apostolic exhortation delivered by Pope Francis in 2013.  While this isn't a difficult book, it's not a fast read either.  The book is divided into five chapters, and gives great insight into who this Pope really is.

The tone of the book is summed up in the title:  joy.  Catholics are famous for their "Catholic guilt" and somber tones.  But Pope Francis is all about joy.  The joy of faith, joy of the gospel, and sharing that joy with others through missionary outreach.  He calls us to live these principles in joyful evangelization. He wants us to leave our comfort zone and spread the word of God.

As I slowly read this book each day, I was touched by Pope Francis' love for God and his commitment to compassion for all humanity.  He writes about cooperation and reconciliation with other faiths and the role of religion in the quest for world peace.  He challenges everyone to be more joyful and loving, and to share that love with all people.

I highly recommend this book to anyone, Catholic or not, who wants to make the world a better place by living the Gospel message.  We are all in this together, regardless of which religion we follow.  There is so much information to learn from The Joy Of The Gospel, that I plan to start it over again.

Whether you agree with Francis completely, partially, or not at all, I do think he will do good for the world during his time as Pope.  Maybe the winds of change are blowing in the Catholic Church?

*I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.*

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Blush and Plum

Blush and plum are one of my favorite color combinations.  Plum is such a pretty jewel tone for fall, and the blush scarf adds a little softness to the outfit. Plus, these colors look great with white pants, which I think have become the most versatile item in my closet.

This outfit is gorgeous - if only I had somewhere fancy to go!

October is almost here, and my friends Carrie and Casey will be hosting Create28 Fall Looks for the entire month.  Such a great way to look at your closet in a new way and come up with some pretty fall outfits.  Hope you'll join in.  

Linking up today with Garay TreasuresThe Pleated PoppyThursday Fashion FilesFashion FridayFabulous FridayPumps and PushupsHow I Style ItNot Dead Yet StyleMy Refined Style

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

25 Years Ago Today

25 years ago today, we were married. Thank goodness for pictures and video, because everything was such a blur.  

I do have a very distinct memory from our honeymoon, however.  It was the third day, and we had rented a convertible and were heading to Napa Valley. The California early fall sunshine was brilliant, the day was gorgeous, and we were filled with joy, love and hope.  I turned to G and said "we're going to have the most wonderful life".

And we have.  Our marriage is far from perfect, and there have been many bumps in the road.  But at the end of each day, I can honestly say that I'm so happy to be married to this man.  

Last weekend, G and I vacationed in Whistler, BC, Canada. Most of the people who knew we were celebrating our anniversary were surprised and even shocked that we had been together for 25 years.  While I appreciated the enthusiasm (especially the upgraded room - thank you Four Seasons Resort!), it made me sad.  Is it really that unusual to be happily married for this long?

I recently came across a blog post, and the author had a list of fifteen non-negotiable qualities she was looking for in a spouse.  Included were things like blue eyes, at least 6 feet tall, already established in his career.  It was like reading a casting call for The Bachelor.

After a successful 25 years with my best friend, let me share the following, much more important qualities.  Trust me.  Look for someone who:

  • calms you down when you're all kinds of crazy, legitimate or not.
  • encourages you even when you don't believe in yourself.
  • leaves you love notes.
  • has patience with your parents.  Trust me, there will come a time when they will push it, and it will be sooner than you think.
  • listens when you talk and talk and talk.
  • watches chick flicks with you and pretends to be interested.
  • never tears you down, or insults you, no matter what you're fighting about.
  • has a sense of humor.  There are many times you will need it.
  • holds your hand.
  • takes you away every once in a while, even if it's just for dinner.
  • thinks you're beautiful, even on those days when you are clearly not.
  • loves his mother and treats her with respect.
  • lets you go to bed mad.  Sometimes things just need to wait for morning.
  • supports you through everything life throws your way. Everything.

We're happily in it for the long haul.  I'm well aware that I hit the jackpot when I met this guy all those years ago in 9th grade.  I have no idea what I did to deserve him, but I'll take it.  25 years sounds like a long time, but really, it's gone by so fast.  

At dinner on Saturday night, a couple came into the restaurant in their wedding dress and suit, to have their first meal as husband and wife.  We thought about stopping by their table to say congratulations, but didn't want to interrupt a happy moment.  Instead, we quietly took care of their bill, wanting to pay our good fortune forward, remembering what it was like to be so young and excited about the future.  I hope that in 25 years they will be where we are today.

Still filled with hope, joy, and love.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Motivational Monday XXVI

My husband and I spent our anniversary weekend surrounded by beauty in the Canadian mountain town of Whistler.  The weather was mostly good, the food was delicious, and the company outstanding, of course!  I'll share more soon.

Have a wonderful week!

Stop by The Blended Blog for week three of our summer to fall clothing transition hop.  Joy, Nicole and Christy are sure to have some great suggestions.

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