Archive of ‘Confessions’ category

Local Library

By Natalie

Since for the past year I’ve been in the habit of taking Grant to story time at the Library, I’ve fallen in love with just how wonderful a place full of stories can be.

The set up at our library has the children’s area and books on hold downstairs. Fiction and nonfiction rest upstairs with dozens of tables and chairs strewn along the length of the windows.

imageTypically I’ll search for the book I’m ready to dive into next at home and place it on hold. Then I’m able to walk in with G, grab my book, and lead him to the little house made up of storybooks for kids. He steps inside the little house with a couple other tots, all pulling corduroy and other plush storybook characters out of a basket that sits in the corner.

He usually steps out to present his findings to me, smiling and grunting. He excitedly stumbles back into the little house to see what else he can discover, while I stand there alongside 20 other moms and nannies watching our littles play.

If you have a little, infant to toddler and you’re not in the habit of going to story time I have to tell you truthfully that you’re missing out. The first time I went Ryder was almost 3 and Grant was 4 months. Little toddler girls ran up to the car seat when I grabbed a bottle to feed Grant and they could not stop uttering the word Bae-Bee when I placed him on my shoulder to burp him.

These days when we go to story time Grant is happy to get up and run into the middle of the room with the other kiddos while a librarian reads to them. He’ll venture out just far enough to be on the other side of the circle, standing to stare at each woman sitting in front of him until he comes across my face sensing recognition. I smile and say “Hey.” In a hushed tone. He runs to my lap, barreling into me. He’ll sit like that for just a moment until he gets settled and then he’s right back up to repeat it all over again. It never gets old to see his face light up when he spots me in a room full of other women and children. My heart melts every time he joins me for the next song.

imageClap your hands *Clap-Clap* Clap your hands *Clap-Clap* Everybody clap your hands *Clap-Clap* Clap your hands, clap your hands, clap your hands, clap your hands, everybody clap your hands. *Clap-Clap*

And then we go into Stomp your feet *Stomp-Stomp* Stomp your feet *Stomp-Stomp* and G really gets into it. Hinging at his knees on the edge of my lap to stomp his heels on the floor.

On the days when I forgot to place a book on hold, but am still yearning for a good read I head up the stairs with Grant in my arms. At the bend in the stairs he points to a painted picture on the wall. “Uhhhah” he moans. “Yes I know Grantsy, it’s a ship in the ocean.” We stand there for a minute gazing at the blueish watercolor.

Once we hit the top of the steps it’s deadly quiet. I step into an aisle of nonfiction and G continues his pointing and “Uhhah” sounds. The area echoed like you would not believe. “I see that book.” I whisper.

He motions toward the window, pointing to the trees outside. Making some more babble, when an older woman rounded the corner into our view.

“Well hello.” She whispers. “You must be the one I heard, huh?”

G smiles and rests his head on my shoulder bashfully.

“Yes, you’re a sweet boy huh?” She smiles and moves on. G picks his head up to watch her go.

I snag a book on parenting, or the development of babies and we make our way downstairs to check out. G sits up on the counter while I scan the books giving my arm a break. I hum our story time tunes as I set him in his car seat and we head back home. He giggles as he looks out the window, kicking his legs in approval of our outing.


The Nip in the Air

By Natalie

I walked into the Harris Teeter this morning to grab a bag of tortilla chips which I forgot on my original grocery shop yesterday. I’ve planned to make a dairy free Mexican layer dip this week, which I have been oddly craving for quite some time, and finally decided that the only way I’d be able to have it dairy free would be if I made it myself. This layer dip has been on my mind for so long, and I remembered every ingredient for it, except for the tortilla chips! Can you believe that?

I grabbed a couple bushels of firewood on my way out since the chilly air has finally made its way here. And we’ll hopefully be enjoying a fire this very night.

imageWe’re obsessed with our fireplace around here, didn’t you know? And when I say we I mean Brandon is obsessed with creating them, I am mesmerized, and cling to the warmth of them, and Bingley will plop very nearly too close the second those flames pop up. I think he will be devastated if our next place doesn’t have a fire. To be honest it’s another thing to set at the top of our priority list! Which is really the beauty of renting, because we have lived in such different spaces we’ve learned what functions well, and what to avoid.

Speaking of… Chilly weather.. Chilly weather, and three boys is possibly the most stressful mix ever. Did you know? Now that the weather has gotten cold enough for the necessity of coats, shoes, and hats there has been quite the wrangling going on at the Coggins back door. I’m pretty sad to say goodbye to barefoot, and swim shorts. image

I’ve got two socks, and one shoe on Ryder. One sock on Caleb that isn’t fit quite right, and I’m battling with him to put a coat on. Grant is totally aware now of the fact that putting shoes on means we’re going out, so he reaches for the doorknob like a trapped prisoner.

“Why do we have to wear coats?” Caleb says.

“Because it’s cold outside, and I want you to be warm.”

“Why is it cold?”

“Because it’s winter now.”

“Why is it winter?”

“Because the season changed.” (Mind you, I’m holding this conversation yelling over Bailey’s whining, and shrill barks. You might ask, “Why don’t you just let Bailey out while you get them ready Natalie?” To which I’d answer, “Because God forbid I did, then Grant would crumple to the floor in anger that I didn’t let him out barefoot, and coatless too.” It’s really a matter of preference.)

Caleb continues, while I pull a hoodie over a frustrated Ryder. He gets a particular sort of upset when you put a hoodie on him instead of a coat. Like you’ve just betrayed him by dressing him in something he cannot take off. But that is in fact why we put it on him, because otherwise he’d be frolicking in the nip shirtless!

“Why did the seasons change Matalie?”

“Alright Caleb, that’s enough questions, put this on.” I hand him a jacket, and help him with the zipper.

By this point Ryder is ready, Grant’s got shoes on, Caleb has a coat on, but insisted on changing his shoes. Pullover, pullover, where is Grant’s pullover? I grab it off the couch, and slide it over his head to which he always giggles, and that helps relieve the commotion a bit.

Somehow I’m always the last to put my shoes on, but I’m not silly enough to wear anything that takes more than a slip onto my feet when I’m with them. So I’m ready quickly, and open the door. The boys, and Bailey all trample past one another, spilling outside like a waterfall.

Of course, on a good day, I get each of them ready individually, in secret, before Bailey even hears anyone utter the words Outside.

 

 

On Befriending My Curls

By Natalie

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After spending a muggy day outside this past summer my hair was more than what I would describe as poofy. Despite the frizz I decided to run to Michael’s to stock up on the supplies I was out of, and browse through the new fall decor. While I was browsing I came across this older woman who was dressed in her finest, looking like she had just come from her weekly salon appointment to have her hair done up. I motioned to squeeze past her as I thought she would most certainly judge my young manner of dressing in workout shorts, and a tie-dye tshirt. Hair gone awry, and flip flops flapping against my heels.

But she slowed her cart as we passed one another, made eye contact with me and said, “Your hair is very pretty.” with the sweetest old lady smile you’ve ever seen. Shocked, I blushingly smiled, and thanked her. I went home and looked at myself in the mirror and thought, “You know I wouldn’t be me without these curls.” Brandon is a huge fan of my curly head, most especially when they’re at their softest poofiest state. Even just today a woman passed me in the grocery store and complemented my curls. So why do I have the hardest time accepting them?

imageMaybe it’s because I’ve spent countless hours in front of the mirror trying my hardest to love them. Being tired of the fact that I can’t wake up, brush my hair and walk out the door. Maybe because I’ve endured several steam burns to the head while straightening the unruliness. Then curling iron curling them for a softer more acceptable look. Maybe because I’ve sat through the stinky, burning chemical relaxers in hopes of relaxing those defiant curls, only to later find out that now my roots were curly, and then ends lay limply straight against my shoulders. Not to mention all the hair loss. Maybe even because deep down I hate meeting someone for the first time with my natural curly head, only to later come across them with straight hair that gets complimented. That is the worst. It makes me feel like my curls are messy, and undesirable. Leaving me feeling uncomfortable in my natural head of hair.image

But this woman in Michaels, and the lady at the grocery store. They got me thinking.. I have a number of reasons to appreciate my locks.  A couple kind strangers, a handful of old coworkers who’d made it a point to compliment my uniqueness, one loving husband, a single Dove curly hair commercial, and alot of acceptance later I’ve decided to befriend my curls. That’s right! I said BEFRIEND them. From the cowlicks above my ears, to the roaring 20s wave on the left side of my temple, to the tight spirals that sit at the back of my cheekbones. I’ve come to terms with them. Most especially I’ve come to terms with the fact that no matter how hard I try to tame them, every single curl on my head has an intention of its own. After years and years of battling them, I confess to you I’m worn out. And you know what’s hilarious? The less product I put in them, the more beautifully they spring. It took me years to find that out! The more I’ve learned how to treat them the more they’ve been compromising with me. The irony is ridiculous.

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To my fellow curly heads,

Instead of shedding tears as I know you have while wishing desperately you were born with straight hair, start loving on those locks.

What I use to care for my curls
I’ve also used

I have tried the no shampoo method, replacing it with baking soda. I’ve also tried drying my hair with a cotton tee, instead of a terrycloth towel. Neither seemed to make much difference, and I really couldn’t handle the mess, and lack of scent with baking soda.

No curlyhead is the same. I must express my frustration with the fact that just because something works for me doesn’t even necessarily mean it’ll work for my sisters! I cannot necessarily walk up to another curly head, ask her how she nourishes her hair, and expect the same result. That fact can be frustrating, but really, it’s fantastic. Not one person has each individual curl that I do, where I do. We can totally be compared to snowflakes. Different, and beautiful, in our own unruly way.

Go on little snowflakes, be proud of that gorgeous head of hair!

Convicted

By Natalie

I want to blame you for everything.

Because forgiveness is just too much work.

I want to blame you for hurting people I love, but that’s not my fight. It’s theirs.

I want to blame you for my struggle with self worth, and acceptance, but then how would I ever learn to love myself?

I want to blame you for making me think that my husband will be done with me one day, just like you were.

But you didn’t tell me that lie did you? Sure you showed me in your actions. But you never told me that. I believed it for myself. I tell myself that lie everyday. And I really really really want to point a finger at you, and demand an apology because you hurt me. But I don’t think that’d all of a sudden change my mind.

Change doesn’t begin with you, but with me. Because I absolutely refuse to be your victim anymore. And I have to continuously tell myself that. Because honestly, I haven’t quite forgiven you yet. I thought maybe I had. But continuing to blame you is not forgiveness. And I want to be forgiving in my life.

I refuse to sit back and wait for Brandon to disappoint me. Because I am haunted by the idea that I would need to apologize to him on my death bed for not trusting him, due to your mistakes. Those were YOUR mistakes. Not his. I pray for a healthy growing marriage, and I’m never going to get anywhere if I continue to blame you. It’s about me now.

So I’m going to try and stop thinking of you as the reason for all my insecurities, and start thinking of you as someone who is in need of compassion, and forgiveness.

Luckily for me my God is not a God of lies. Luckily for me he designed a husband for me who is commited beyond my understanding. And more full of love for me than I ever felt from you.

Life Lately…

By Natalie

2015 is rolling right along, and so much has grabbed my attention, that I thought I’d give you a quick recap of Life Lately. Hang with me, we’re goin fast!

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My beautiful sister Nadir gave birth to her first born last month! I’m amazed by my sister’s strength, and overwhlemed with the beauty of a woman’s ability to go through pregnancy, and childbirth! It’s alot of work to bring life into the world! I was so excited to visit just a couple days later to share in their blessing.

imageNorah did not dissappoint. She’s pretty stinking adorable, and she’s leaving the whole family smitten with love for her. Passing down my crown of being the youngest isn’t half bad.

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School is almost out! Which means I get to see more of this cool kid ↓↓

Bring on the summertime fun!

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If you follow me on Instagram you know I found the best Farmer’s Market ever!  On Saturday I excused  myself past people to grab a giant 34 cent carrot.. Have I grown up, or have I grown up?

My first visit I stood over baskets of strawberries with giddiness in my eyes, because those strawberries were tantalizingly bright red, and gorgeous. After the man who proudly grew them noticed I was interested he said, “Go ahead and try them there strawberries.” Tickled by his accent, and guiltlessly wanting a taste I picked up a little red guy and bit just below the green. And it.. was.. the best dang strawberry I’ve ever tasted.

The next week when I asked B to tag along he insited we grab a cantaloupe. But once we got to the pile we stared at the cantaloupe, and then at eachother. How do you pick a good cantaloupe? There’s so many rules to ripeness.. how will I possibly remember them all? This one’s too green.. this one’s too hard.. this one doesn’t smell strong enough.

“I think you smell the butt.” I said to B.

To which he replied. “But they all smell so good.”

“Whenna you gonna cut it?” An older man asked, noticing we were in need of assistance.

“Umm probably today.” I said. Then he proceeded to grab at the cantaloupe, and handed us a good one, and moved on. And it was a GOOD one.

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Cherries just like the ones we’d pick off of the tree when I was little. How could I pass that up?

When I was 2 or 3 I’d galavant through the backyard with cherries in hand, and when my mom asked me what they were I’d say “Gwapes” and she’d say “They’re Cherries!”

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Plants!!! call me crazy, but I had no idea there’d be more than produce, and fresh flowers at the farmer’s market. I stared at an oversized pot full of Elephant Ears as tall as I am, for 10 minutes. Deliberating… Because, I really, really, wanted those guys in my home. But, I settled for a hanging pot of succulents to accompany the bedroom window. And really, can you go wrong with succulents?

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Speaking of plants…

I found this precious nursery not too far from where I work. imageI wasn’t expecting too much, but once I walked in I followed the sign for houseplants, and I stepped into this beautiful haven. Mhmm I’ll take one of each pretty please.


During a casual Wednesday morning trip to Jo-Ann’s with little Grant I spotted this fabric, and could not get over how it had our entire living room color scheme. After getting a couple feet cut for a bunting I grabbed some matching bias tape, and whipped out my coupons. Because Jo-Ann’s ALWAYS has coupons. Total for this DIY was five dollars! [And lots of leftover scrap fabric for other projects.]image

When I got home I popped in an old musical, and got to tracing, cutting, and sewing.

Since we’re living in a rental I’ve been using as many Command hooks as possible to avoid holes in the wall, and it hasn’t been too big a deal aside from the fact that I miss our curtains. But this bunting has been a stunning alternative!

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In case you wondered..

Bingley wanted to say hello.

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Oh! And I thought you’d like this pretty decent little drawing we spotted on our table at Mama’s Coffeehouse. image

Life’s been pretty sweet huh?

On Marrying Young

By Natalie

imageI’m not sure I would reccomend marrying young to just anyone. Because it’s definitely not for everyone. It’s not because I regret marrying at nineteen by any means, I just think that we are a rare commodity. I tell people I’m married and their eyebrows go up. “Oh Newlywed huh.” They’ll say. To which I respond. “Actually coming up on four years.” Then their eyes pop, and the jaws literally drop in disbelief. It’s pretty fun to watch. There are so many great benefits to marrying young. For us specifically it’s been an adventure. A bit of a financial roller coaster at first, in which Brandon was working freelance, and we were eating a whole lotta hot dogs for dinner. But then we just kept moving forward. And we’ve grown into responsible tax paying adults together. You see we hopped in the same car, and kept on the same track with the same goal. That’s the benefit to marrying young. To begin adulthood with similar expectations and share the same end goal, enjoying life all along the way.

But Brandon was not your average twenty-one year old guy. And I was no regular nineteen year old girl.

In addition to being madly in love with a man of God, this is why I was ready…

I can’t tell you that I had no childhood. Because I did learn how to ride a bike. Sort of… with training wheels. Ok, you got me. I can’t really ride a bike or swim. Dad gave me a grand total of like two lessons, and I never quite mastered either of those. I did however manage to master climbing the overgrown holly tree in our backyard. I made mud pies by the deck when my mom wasn’t looking. Scarfed down my easy bake oven creations like they were the best dang brownies I’d ever tasted. I played teacher, and house, and the occasional secretary. Who played secretary? Clipboards and all? I had big dreams guys.

So yes, I had a childhood. I remember it being whimsical, and I remember it being fun. But once I hit about eighth grade, I needed to learn to fend for myself. My sisters were working, and mom was working. They weren’t always around to be sure I finished all my homework, or ate my vegetables. Well… I shouldn’t pretend like I was all on my own. Nem definitely completed a few science fair projects for me. And Nadir definitely helped me get through some books I needed to write reports on. But once they moved out I was left making my own dinners, and caring for myself until mom got home late from work. Being raised in a single parent home leaves you fending for yourself… a lot. This is in no way to say that my mom should have been there. Cause guess what? Dad should have been a better man, and been there. Sometimes I wonder if I should write stuff like that and then I decided that I own my stories. I hope people understand that if you want to be spoken of highly, maybe you should treat people better. They shouldn’t have to tiptoe around your words or actions. You should have acted better. Thought about the venom in your words before you spoke them.

I am in no way saying that my mother could have done better. She did perfect. I am who I am today because I had to figure things out for myself. I didn’t have parents to fall back on or mooch off of. I learned to make my own decisions. My own meals. Suffer the consequences of not completing my homework when no one made me do it the night before. Now I realize how many things must have been on my mother’s mind. She wasn’t worried about holding my hand while I finished my algebra. She was too busy figuring out how to put food on the table, and pay rent. She trusted me to be her helper, and fend for myself in the areas I was capable. I can’t wait to have my own children and be faced with the challenges she was able to face alone. How much stronger will she seem to me then when I have Brandon by my side?

If you don’t believe in prayer you haven’t met my family. You haven’t met my sisters, and our husbands that my mom prayed for since we were small. That we would love, and care for husbands who were good men, ones who sought satisfaction in their own wives, and never needed to look any further. It’s amazing to think that my mom prayed for Brandon before I could make logical decisions. Do you realize the importance of that? As a product of her prayer I can tell you I’m eternally grateful. Thanks mom. It worked.

Before I Pass

By Natalie

At first I thought I may be a little young to be thinking about the end of my life. Then I realized that if I don’t come to terms with the fact that one day my life will end, will I ever take any risks? Will I ever be willing to uncover a boldness in myself to make difficult decisions, and attempt things that scare me?

If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.

-Lemony Snicket

I used to hate being home alone. Hate sitting in my own living room because the door was near the couch, and what if someone came knocking? I hated going places on my own, because I’d see a sketchy dude and think up the worst. My mom was a single parent to three girls and in desperate attempts to protect us we learned to be extra cautious. But as I got older this caution turned into paralyzing fear. Leaving me uncomfortable around most men I came across, building up what if scenarios, and afraid of putting myself in a situation where I may be hurt. Then Brandon said “Pack your bags.” The day he got a new job, and I got thrusted into this unfamiliar place. There was no room for being afraid anymore. I had to explore on my own, and after getting over a smidge of culture shock I made it. I’m not sure I’ve quite overcome my fear, but I have definitely broken a large chunk of the bondage that fear held over me. And now, I’ve learned something. That sometimes you just have to throw yourself into your fear, and take control of it. Because living in fear or hurt is hardly living.

rp_image2-1024x1024.jpgThe truth is I have to choose happiness now. Live in the “Why not’s?” Because who knows when my heart will stop ticking…

Life is too precious to submit to fear’s heavy bondage.

Too short to be dragged through our past when we need to let it go.

Life is too magnificent to spend our days in silent war with ourselves.

Too brief to not love unconditionally.

Too unforgiving to make the same mistake twice.

Too quick to let people in your life go unappreciated.

Too beautiful to hold on to relationships that are damaging.

Too authentic to not be honest with yourself and others… God is the author of your story, you are merely the storyteller.

I never imagined myself as the memoir type. I have notebooks full of high school creative writing fiction I’m too embarassed to share. I think during that time I was desperate to create other worlds that were safe, and made sense. Now that I’ve figured a few things out the hard way I’ve grown to enjoy this world. Here I’ve been for the past year docummenting my life as I live it. I realized the other day, these are pretty much my memoirs. And forgive me while I boast a bit, but I’m so proud of myself for continuing these memoirs as long as I have. They’ve allowed me to let certain things go, and learn more about myself in the process. It’s been a complicated journey where I’ve balanced on the fine line of emotion and forgiveness… Before I pass I want to make sure that I explored all the opportunities I wished for. I want to look back on these memoirs with feelings of nostalgia. I want to live a life that was surrounded by people who care for me, and support me being ME. I want a life that was well traveled, and fearless. One that our future children could admire. They’re big dreams, I’m aware.. But I have today, tomorrow, and how ever many more days I’m blessed with to figure it out.

An Open Letter

By Natalie

Today, I’m just going to have to say what’s on my heart.

An open letter to the woman who’s generousity healed a heart.

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Brandi,

Every day I look at Bingley I’m reminded of your compassion. How I want to be a woman who can be that compassionate. To willingly gift something just to cheer someone up.

Bingley is currently sleeping behind me, snoring, stretching out his paw every now and then pressing into my back. He is crazy. He is clingly. He tracks so much water from his bowl. He leaves hair all over the place!!! He pulls his crate mat out of his crate and drags it all over the house, and leaves fluff and thread all over the carpet as he thrashes it around. He jumps into the shower if you leave the bathroom door open because he loves baths! He woofs next to the bed when I want to sleep in, and then when I open my eyes he barks as if I’m unaware that he hasn’t been fed. He gets cranky when we stick our feet under him under the blankets. He is a pillow thief! On the bed, and the couch. He is a 75 lb wild animal in our house.

But Brandi,

He sits for his food, and waits for a command to eat it. He’s great around kids. He’s great with other dogs. He’s protective, and sweet. He loves to cuddle and give kisses. He was there when I received a second subpoena for court. He laid next to me while I had the paper in my hand. Full of anxiety, and fear, and dread.

It’s been a long long road but I think I’m getting there. Getting to the point where I’m not going to allow myself to worry about losing him just yet. There was a moment only a few months ago when our mutual friend Chloe brought me to the pet store. Bingley could pull an 18 wheeler on the harness we had for him, and she urged me to try some different ones. First we tried a gentle leader which immediatey sent fear straight to the pit of my stomach. “This thing is only attached to his muzzle, and neck! No way man, I have no control over him.” Was my only thought. So we tried a different one that sat low on his front legs. With every step I swore I’d see him slip it any second. Other customers walked by with their dogs and my body tightened. Lastly she fit him with a prong collar, loosely resting on his neck until he pulled. This one was working. He walked next to me. He listened to my commands.

Chloe pressed me for my thoughts on the collar but my words were choking my throat. She attempted to reassure me that though it may appear to be menacing, he was perfectly fine. But my mind was somewhere else.

“Natalie what is it?” She said. Then I looked up at her with tears pooling in my eyes.

“You can say it Natalie.” She continued. And then, with a year’s worth of build up I broke. I confessed how terrified I was of losing him. How terrified I was of getting a harness that wouldn’t hold him, or that he would get loose from. And that once again it’d be on me. It would be my fault that he got loose, and I don’t want to live through those consequesnces again. The truth was, this collar was the first one that I’d felt comfortable walking him in. I realized I could finally let go.

As always, thank you for providing me with the chance to face my fears. And while doing so being in the constant companionship of this sweet dog. You’ve made us family.

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Natalie

On Being an Introvert

By Natalie

imageThe more time I spend in Charlotte the more I discover a little bit more about myself. Which is really what we were hoping for with this move. We’ve entered into a week of rainy days, and cloud cover around here and I can’t help but confess that I sort of love it. While mud puddles, and cold, wet feet are absolutely no fun the cold gloom gives me this sense of coziness. I, my good friends, am an introvert. If I could have my way when greeting you for the first time it’d go a little somehing like this…

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You see, I am fond of books, and Netflix binges, and fuzzy socks, and my couch with cozy pilows and blankets. I am fond of keeping my home, my personal space tidy, and inviting. I am fond of my craft room where I’m able to put my creativity to practical use. On a rainy day I want to snuggle up at home. On sunny days I want to go on dog walks in the park, and out for coffee on my own.

imageIt’s who I am, it’s why I’m best understood through writing, and I think I’m ready to stop being ashamed of it, and help others understand their fellow introverts. I’m not lonely, I’m not bored, I’m simply recharging when I wish to stay in.

imageKnow that if you have an introverted friend they are not always going to want to make an event of things, or be around a ton of people. Especially people they’ve never met. But if you have an introverted friend you must be extra special, because if they have deemed you worthy of their time you must be pretty rad.

Now that you have a better understanding of how I happen to be wired here’s some Introvert myths I’m ready to bust.

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I wanted to say “Oh yes Myth 1, and 6, and 10 are all so true.” But really they’re all right on, and you’d do well to take our word for it. Thanks for listening friends, I’ll step off my soap box, put my jammies on, and make myself some hot cocoa now. Cause that’s what I do.

This Introvert is done for the day.

Autumn Dog Walks

By Natalie

image1Recently I went on a walk with the puppy on possibly one of the last warmer days here in Charlotte. Does it get any better than this? It was a white t-shirt, dark denims kind of day. Where the sunlight kissed the pond after a fabulous date, and left it sparkling.

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Bingley was overdue for a long long walk. You wanna know how I knew? Because a couple nights before he began barking at me continuously to play, and then proceeded to run around in circles chasing his tail… This went on for a while.. Until eventually he got dizzy, and waddled off to the side of the room.

As Bingley and I passed the bridge we came across a photographer which is a usual occurrence at Freedom Park. Her lens was pointed toward a twitter-paited couple nuzzling noses. The woman wore a short fluffy white dress and a veil. The man wore a fitted suit. A neatly wrapped bouquet of flowers lay beside the photographer. It was some sort of wedding shoot. But on a Wednesday? Perhaps it was an after the wedding session. Whatever they were there for, they seemed to capture the attention of all passerby.

Then, careening downhill came a young boy on a bike. His eyes peeked out from under his helmet, as his hands gripped the handle bars. His dad was jogging behind him, arms out, and ready for anything. The little boy thrust the handlebars side to side in desperate attempt to keep his bike upright. His training wheels were fresh off, and this was his big day. What an event to witness.

His smile was wide, even through his wobbliness. “Mommy! I did it! I did it!” he yelled. A woman with sunglasses and running shorts yelled up to him. “Good job baby!” After a few more steps I began to pass her stumbling behind her daughter’s bike. She whispered encouragements to the little girl who was taking on the slight hill with more caution than her brother. I smiled at them as we passed. This was quite possibly the sweetest scene I’ve witnessed all week. I’m not sure what could even top it next week. As we were going in opposite directions I passed this family of four a few more times. And with each passing I saw the kiddos get better and better. They grew more confidence, and were cycling straighter paths without the aide of their parents. It was adorable.

During this wonderful walk, and all of my people watching I had a thought. “Have I ever been the source of someone’s inspiration?” Young woman walks giant black lab briskly. Young woman discreetly takes photos of trees, and pet. Or so she thinks.

I was inspired by everyone at the park that day, who’s to say I didn’t inspire them? Not just the family teaching their children to ride bikes, or the photo session couple. But the boy sitting on the quiet bench by the ducks working on his laptop. The woman across the way from my bench that sat cross legged on her blanket under the willow tree engrossed in a novel. The old man that sat on his cooler holding onto his fishing pole leisurely. It was the perfect day, with a laid back kind of afternoon. I’m going to enjoy them while they’re here I think. Just until the winter months. Go on trees, keep those leaves changing. And wind keep those cool breezes coming.. We’re loving it out here.

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