Finding Meaningful Time – Cannon Beach Yoga Festival 2015

IMG_7679I have been fortunate enough to attend the Cannon Beach Yoga Festival for the last two years. This was my take away from last year and while it is short and sweet, it is still very important and spot on. Our breath is the most important tool that we have and it is what keeps us grounded and keeps us alive. This is something that I continue to try and remember on a daily basis, even though our breath is always with us it is sometimes difficult to use it as a tool and actually stop and take a breath before acting. But when we do, we can be even more present and mindful in whatever it is we are doing. What  I learned this year and what I will continue to explore when I am back in the “real world” is what to do and how to act – after taking that clarifying breath. What is it that lights me up? What is it that I am most passionate about? I have touched on this before and I am still working towards my goals, but what about in my day-to-day life? What about those short moments of time, how do I fill that space meaningfully?  This is the burning question. I am like a lot of other moms (and dads) that spend my day taking care of the others in my life. Which is something I love. I love my family and I love taking care of them, but there is a lot of extra time that they do not need caring for, but sometimes that time is choppy and disconnected, so how do I fill my time? I am sure you can guess: Facebook, organizing and replying to emails, surfing the internet, checking out Pinterest, picking up the house and so on and so forth. Not really meaningful time. Just time being used up. The goal now is to use this extra time that I have in a meaningful way. Yes, there will still be work to get done and emails to respond to, but if I don’t over think it I can usually get that work done pretty quickly and then I can make time for meaningful activities like: Writing (hey here I am – pat on the back!), reading, painting, meditating, calling a friend or relative that needs support or compassion, taking a walk, being in nature, cooking an amazing meal (if your kitchen is available to do that) and the list can go on and on, if I take the time to think about what makes me happy and lights me up, not just falling into my usual habits of looking at a screen.

I am so grateful to have had this weekend away to really help me on my path to find my IMG_7650passion. I learned so many great techniques from my Twists and Hips workshops with Brad Waites and I am looking forward to diving deeper into Sarahjoy Marsh’s new book that I bought over the weekend, Hope, Hunger & Healing. I am always so enlightened after attending a yoga retreat or festival and the real work that my good friend Jen and I always discuss on the last day of these types of events is “How do we keep this energy and spark going at home?” – and as I mention above, my goal is to stop and take a deep breath and really think about what is meaningful and what will bring me joy in the moment. Now, don’t get me wrong, I will still find time to browse Facebook & Pinterest, but my hope is that I can make more time for the more fulfilling activities as well.

Thanks for reading, until next time!

KG

Big Hugs for Valentine’s Day & You too!

love selfValentine’s Day gets a bad rap a lot of the times. I get it – why do we need a day to remind the people we love that we love them? Shouldn’t we be doing that every day? Yes, we should and we don’t need to spend money on stupid cards, flowers or crappy candy (good chocolate is the exception) to show our love and gratitude for the people we love in our lives.

On this Valentine’s Day I think the focus should be on Celebrating Love. Celebrate love by showing your love for everything. Not just the people in your life but the wonderful life you have. Celebrate this amazing world around you and all the blessings that are in your life. You do not need to do this with gifts, instead do it with actions, get out in nature and do something you love with your loved ones, explore and discover new things. If you want to give gifts, make something special, bake a cake, create art together and share it. But make sure it comes from the heart, not just something you have to do because it’s the day we’re suppose to do it.

I also think this is a great time to show love for yourself. Whether or not you have a significant other to celebrate with or a family to share your love with, this Valentine’s Day, I think everyone should take a few minutes (or longer) to give yourself the love you deserve. Don’t wait for someone else to buy you a massage, get one for yourself. If you want some decadent chocolate – go get it. If you need a nap, a moment of silence or time to yourself in a nice hot bath – take that time without guilt (easier said than done, I know). I have talked about this in the past about how challenging it is for so many to have loving compassion for our selves. We spend so much time caring for others, working hard for others and trying to improve ourselves so we can fit in to the stereotypical norms of society we lose track of who we are and what we REALLY need to be fulfilled. For a lot of people, being with friends and family is what fulfills them, but what happens when the security of others is not around? Are you able to sit and be okay alone? This should be the goal for Valentine’s Day – before you shower your loved ones with gifts and love – remember to give yourself a little love and compassion first. This gift will be even more meaningful to your loved ones, because once you can truly love yourself and be happy with what you have, then you can share that love with others around you.

This is something I am personally working on and I have a consistent mantra that I try to remember on a daily basis. The word is Maitri (or metta) and it is a Sanskrit word for Loving Compassion. This is a meditation that is helpful to practice when trying to cultivate more love for yourself (and others), I practiced something similar to this in a yoga class this week, which I felt was very fitting for Valentine’s week. The goal now is to try and keep it going after the hearts and flowers have moved on!

Happy New Year – A few days later

Highlight of 2014 was our hot air balloon ride in New Mexico

One of the highlights of 2014 was our hot air balloon ride in New Mexico

Happy New Year! I know this post is a little delayed, but the sentiment is still true. I am so happy to be starting a new year. 2014 was not the best year for our family, between cancer news, car accidents, impromptu kitchen repairs and a number of other bumps in the road, I am happy to say goodbye to 2014 and ask the powers greater than me that 2015 bring us more blessings, health and happiness. I know that life will always bring struggles and challenges, and how you deal with those issues is what makes you stronger and more resilient. I also know that we are still very fortunate for all that we have and things could always be a lot worse. But when you have stress – no matter what it is, that stress is equal to any other stress and needs to be managed in a healthy way.

My hope is that 2015 is a year of healing, planning, purging and getting ready for our next adventure. In my last post I said I would report weekly about how the planning for the trip was going – that was a lofty goal, considering that we had a lot going on over the last few months and although we are constantly planning and thinking about the trip, the main steps we are taking to get ready are mainly purging our house of things we no longer need and getting the camper ready for the trip ahead.  The next few months will be really about getting our house ready for renters. The first step is replacing the floor that was removed for water damage throughout the kitchen. Removing everything from the kitchen definitely brings an element of chaos to the house, but it is also a great opportunity to get rid of the stuff we don’t use and practice eating and making dinners in the camper.  Life is not always easy, and I know there will plenty more challenges along the way, but the way we handle them is what will keep your sanity.

Until next time, friends, thanks for reading!

What do I want to be when I grow up?

This is a question my daughters ask me from time to time, and my first answer is always – ALIVE! I am just happy to be here and every day is a blessing, but what am I passionate about and what do I want to do when I am here and alive on the planet, well that is a very good question!

Lunch at the edge of nowhere.

Lunch at the edge of nowhere.

What I really, truly want to do is explore and share my experiences with people. I want to write about travel. Technically that is what I am doing, but I don’t do it enough, and I don’t get paid for it – that would be a nice little perk. But I also want to spend time with my family and watch my girls grow and learn and explore as well and really enjoy life while we can. Not just go along with the rat race that ends up being our daily lives – day in and day out, doing the same thing over and over again.

And because of that, Andrew and I are working on our “Year on the Road” plan. Also known as: The Gap Year. The Sabbatical. The “I need to take this trip or I need to move out of the country” trip. (We are still working out names). I believe it is important for everyone to leave the city that they grew up in for a little while, see new things, find some adventures and take some risks. My big trip was traveling through Europe after college graduation (that was a long time ago), this was one of the best and most memorable trips of my entire life – maybe that is because I met my husband, my soul mate, my best friend, and the person I love more than anything, on that trip! And he also loves to travel and explore and can use a little break from reality for a bit.

That’s the selfish part, we have Wanderlust and we want to see the world – or our entire country to start. We have talked about taking big trips like this a few times in our lives, but one thing or another keeps getting in our way, so this time, we are going for it! We also want to connect with our kids and give them an experience of a lifetime, we are not getting any younger and this world is going crazy, everyone is on devices all the time, connected to a screen, we have ADD, we are always trying to multi-tasking – it is craziness! We need to slow down and stop to breathe. We want to see the trees, hear the birds, smell the flowers, get out and SEE OUR WORLD. I know this will be an amazing, educational experience for our kids, we will learn so much while we are out there – more than they learn in the classroom. We will be learning in all aspects of our life on the road. And this will be something that they will always remember – and possibly the theme of their college essays or conversations with their future therapists. Either way, it will be time together as a family.

We understand that this trip is entirely possible and at the same time understand that there will be some challenges. We know that a lot of people think we are crazy (which is part of the reason we want to do it). We know there will be bumps along the road, but this is our goal: Our family of four will take 9-12 months, starting the summer of 2015 (exact dates TBD), living out of our truck camper traveling around the US & Canada, we would love to travel and explore with family and friends all over the country.  We invite anyone to come and travel with us, maybe we will come and camp in your driveway – Danny, Debbie, Houser Cousins. We would love to travel with you on your breaks – Skiing over Spring Break anyone? Let’s plan it. We are going to start mapping out our plan and we would love for Family and Friends to be part of that plan!

This is our goal and we are working towards it. This is my way of becoming a travel journalist. Starting in my 40th year (or 41st – however you look at it) I am going to start writing about it.  Please follow my blog, and keep us accountable. I will do my best to post at least once a week about what type of progress we are making towards our goal of living on the road.

Thank You Friends! I have had a wonderful birthday weekend and I am looking forward to many more amazing days ahead!

Lots of love!

Until Next Time, kg

—- http://untilnexttimekg.com/

I’m a Little Bit Country

IMG_8878I never thought that I would say this, but I do think I am a little bit country. My family and I recently went to a Zac Brown Band concert at the Gorge Amphitheater. In my opinion, The Gorge is by far the best place to see a concert. We tried to see a concert there last year (on the exact same weekend) and it was cancelled due to weather. This year we got lucky. We saw The Zac Brown Band and they played a super fun and amazing show. I never really considered myself a country music fan until recently. Almost two years ago, we got a truck and a camper and have been spending a lot of time on the road. My husband introduced me to Zac Brown and with the amount of hours we have spent in the truck, you really get time to truly listen to the music and the words. The song Quiet Your Mind is one that really hits home for me. In this one song, it talks about everything I need to remember, every single day of my life. Here are the lyrics, take a look and you will understand what I am talking about. These are the lines that hit me:

IMG_8816At the end of the water
A red sun is risin’
And the stars are all goin’ away
And if you’re too busy talkin’
You’re not busy listenin’
To hear what the land has to say

Quiet your mind

I hear the waves
Sun beatin’ down on my shoulders
It’s a near-perfect day
Wishin’ I wouldn’t get any older
They say that it’s gone ‘fore you know it and
Soak it all in
It’s a game you can’t win
Enjoy the ride

The lyrics are simple, but they are right on – the idea that this is the only life we have and we need to enjoy every single day we have. We need to take care of ourselves so that we get more of these amazing days, but we also need to sit back and relax and enjoy the ride.

With that in mind, the other song I love by Zac Brown is this one, Free. It makes me think of my husband and I, and our dream of just living and traveling around the country with our family and enjoying every single second together and not worrying about anything else – because all we need is love. IMG_8844

Thanks for reading – Until next time!

kg

 

The 3-Week Trip

Over the past few months, our family has been talking about our summer trip – which ended up being named “The 3-Week Trip”, Andrew and I had a lot of planning to do, what to bring, where exactly we would be going, what we needed for the camper, etc. Whenever we talked about it we called it “The 3-Week Trip”. After months of talking about it, the time finally came that we got to pull out of our drive way and set out on “The 3-Week Trip”! Our first stop was Bend, Oregon to visit our good friends Tom & Lisa and their dog Ruby. We parked Wolf Creek in the driveway and took the bikes off the front of the truck and got busy in Bend. We rode our bikes everywhere, to dinner, to the park, to the river and all the spots in between. We had a great time paddling and floating down the Deschutes River in the sunshine. It should be noted, this is not a simple ride down the river, you do need to have a little skill and be aware of what is going on around you, at one point on the river you need to exit at the Colorado Ave bridge, if you are not watching the signs you could get into serious trouble and head into the portage. Andrew found this out the hard way, from his paddle board, he skillfully helped a family from disaster and helped them get to safety. We also enjoyed some lovely meals in Bend. While Tom & Lisa were kind enough to make lots of snacks, dinner and breakfast for us, one night we went out and rode to an awesome food truck pavilion called The Lot.This place was great, it had something for everyone, there are about 8-10 food trucks surrounding a covered patio with a bar in the middle! Perfection! We all got what we wanted, didn’t spend too much money, it was lovely.

Walking Ruby

Walking Ruby

Camping in Bend

Camping in Bend

 

 

 

 

 

After 2 nights in Bend we were off to our next stop. We headed to South Lake Tahoe to a place called Camp Richardson, on the California side of the Lake Tahoe. One thing we did realize on this trip is that driving time in the camper is a lot different than driving times provided by Google Maps. We found out that when Google says it will take 7 hours to get somewhere it will really take us about 9-10 hours, as the trip went on we made the adjustments and determined that on our next long road trip driving times will be much shorter and staying times will be longer. When we finally got into Camp Richardson after about 9 hours on the road, we were greeted by a huge thunderstorm (which made getting the paddle board on the roof a little tricky), but we couldn’t let it keep us in, we needed dinner so we set off in our ponchos to the restaurant and had dinner in the historic Beacon Bar & Grill. The next day the sun came out, in the morning we rode our bikes into town to get groceries for dinner and in the afternoon we were able to play on the water. Andrew and the girls rented a jet ski, while I paddled around the lake.  We enjoyed dinner at the campsite that night and the girls made friends with the other kids on their bikes. It was a great sight watching the kids bike around with other girls from Nevada & California, they had fun checking out other kids campers, making plans to meet up and exchanging addresses to be pen pals. One great thing about being away from home for awhile is that the kids learn to break out of their comfort zone and explore new things and meet new people.

Fun on Lake Tahoe

Fun on Lake Tahoe

tahoe bike gang

Lake Tahoe Bike Gang

 

We spent 2 nights at Lake Tahoe and then we were off to the Grand Canyon, another super long drive — seeing a trend yet? After this long trip, we learned no more driving at night. Setting up at night, even in a camper is tricky, but we made it to the North Rim without hitting any wildlife (thank God and super driver Andrew!) and rested up for a great day at the Canyon. In the morning we got up and headed to Point Imperial, the highest point on the North Rim at 8,803 feet (2,683 meters), overlooking the Painted Desert and the eastern end of Grand Canyon. We hiked one of the rim trails for a couple hours and then had lunch in the camper, overlooking the Canyon. For me, this was one of the highlights of the trip and one of the things I love about having our camper. Being able to have all your stuff right there is so convenient and made lunch a great experience. After lunch we explored the North Rim lodge and listened to some great Ranger Talks. The next day we took a tougher hike down into the canyon. We started at the North Kaibab Trail, headed down past the Supai Tunnel into the Roaring Springs Canyon. We turned around at the bridge that was recently built and headed back up, overall we hiked about 6.5 miles – we were super proud of the girls. It took about 2 hours to get down and only 2 hours and 15 minutes to get back up. They were super hikers! After the long day of hiking we had lunch at the North Rim Lodge and then decided to get on the road so that we could break up our 10 hour drive to the cabin in New Mexico into two days of driving – instead of one long day…see we’re learning! We did a little cheat here and ended up in a hotel in Farmington, NM. We were going to find a place to camp but with the camper packed with the paddle board, bikes, a bbq and much more, we couldn’t really boondock it with all our gear. We enjoyed clean sheets, fresh showers and a free breakfast! And were able to get on the road early and were able to see family in Eagle Nest in the early afternoon.

Beautiful Grand Canyon

Beautiful Grand Canyon

The view from the camper for our lunch stop at Imperial Point

The view from the camper for our lunch stop at Point Imperial

Relaxing at the North Rim  lodge.

Relaxing at the North Rim lodge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super hikers made it to the bridge!

Super hikers made it to the bridge!

 

 

 

We stayed in Eagle Nest for five days, this was a great time to visit with our family, do some laundry, sleep in real beds and spread out a bit. The first night we headed into Red River with cousins Jon & Monica and watched the two-steppers at the Motherlode Saloon. Andrew and I learned that we are not two-steppers and probably shouldn’t try again until we take some lessons. We spent a lot of time in Red River and Taos. The highlight of this trip was by far our hot air balloon ride with Eske’s Paradise Balloons. We started the morning by taking off in a hot air balloon at sunrise, touching down into the Rio Grande Canyon and then enjoying a champagne breakfast on the river. Absolutely amazing and breathtaking views. I love hot air balloons and in our past trips to New Mexico we have watched the balloon rallies, and always talked about going up in one, but thought the girls were too young. This trip they were old enough and it was AWESOME!

Girls in the balloon basket.

Girls in the balloon basket.

hot air balloon ride

Our balloon almost in the Rio Grande

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a great week at the cabin but had more of the Western US to see, on this trip we ended up going through all of the Western US states (except for Texas). The next stop was Dinosaur National Monument. This ended up to be the favorite spot for both the girls on the trip. The campground near Green River was great, we were close to the river, there was huge hill for the girls to climb and run down, we played in the water, hiked and explored all the amazing fossils, dinosaur bones and Petroglyphs. The Quarry Exhibit Hall was extraordinary, it was fascinating to see all that has been discovered in this part of the country and it was fun to imagine what it must have been like millions of years ago.

Touching real dinosaur bones!

Touching real dinosaur bones!

Playing in Green River

Playing in Green River

As we started on our second half of the trip, we headed North. Our next destination was Henry’s Lake in Idaho, near the western entrance of Yellowstone. On the way there we stopped in Jackson Hole at one of our favorite spots, Snakeriver Brewery – now you know why it takes us so long to get to each spot. In addition to driving slow (or at least the speed limit) we do like to stop for lunch and try to get out stretch our legs and have something other than gas station snacks and fast food. When we got to Henry’s Lake it was super windy and cold. Which we were very sad about, it was a beautiful campground and an awesome lake, but way too chilly to paddle board. Instead of spending the day on the lake we decided to explore Yellowstone, which was great. We had camped there a few years ago but really didn’t see all the park. This trip we saw geysers, boiling mud pots, tons of bison, elk and the girls finished their third Jr. Ranger program of the trip (they also got Jr. Ranger badges in Grand Canyon & Dinosaur). At a few points we got a little too close to the wildlife. A giant bison ended up galloping in front of us while we were exploring the mud pots.This was a bit frightening as it is a

Bison ready to charge across the boardwalk we were on!

Bison ready to charge across the boardwalk we were on!

huge animal and it was moving very fast. Andrew was not pleased that our family was not all together when the bison was moving, but in my defense, I did not want to get in front of it, so I stayed put (but I may have been taking a few too many photos prior to the running of the bison). Another learning moment. From the bison experience we knew it is safest to stay together, so when we were crowded by tons of elk in Mammoth Hot Springs, we stayed together as a family and let the Park Rangers tell us where to go and how to stay out of their way. And we still got some great photos!

Elk wondering in Mammoth Hot Springs

Elk wondering in Mammoth Hot Springs

Yellowstone

Yellowstone

We left Yellowstone late in the day and headed out for a short drive to Bozeman, MT, where we planned to stay a couple nights with my brother Dan. Since he was working that night we planned on eating at Dave’s Sushi, where he is one the sushi chefs. We sat at the bar and had Dan whip up whatever he felt like for us, with a few requests from the girls. The mango cucumber roll was a favorite! The next day we headed out to the Hyalite Reservoir. This little gem is only a few miles outside of Bozeman and college kids and families come to picnic, hike and play on the water. We had super fun day paddling with Uncle Dan and hanging out on the water. We really wish we had more time to hang out in Montana, but our trip was coming to an end and we had a few more stops on the way home. After a home cooked dinner with Dan and his friends, we hit the road again the next morning.

Girls paddling with Uncle Dan.

Girls paddling with Uncle Dan.

The last leg of our road trip ended in our home state of Washington. We drove most the day and ended up at Alta Lake State Park. This one of the many areas that was devastated by the wild fires at the beginning of the summer and had been closed down for awhile. As a result, a lot of the area was burnt down, houses, camp grounds and tons of trees were all gone. It was very sad to see all the devastation that the fire caused, and also amazing to see how much in such close proximity survived. Luckily the fires have been over for awhile and the park was reopened, and we were able to enjoy it with a few less crowds.The weather was the

Fun playing at Alta Lake

Fun playing at Alta Lake

hottest at Alta Lake than it was anywhere else on our trip, the day we spent on the lake it was almost 90 degrees! Which made it great to sit on the beach, paddle, play in the water and slowly prepare for re-entry. Our last stop on the trip was Lake Chelan. We took a family vote and decided that we wanted to see another new town and park, so we took a gamble and checked to see if anyone may have checked out early at the Lake Chelan’s Lakeshore RV Park – we got lucky!

Signs of the fire in Alta Lake State Park

Signs of the fire in Alta Lake State Park

Although you generally need to book it 9 months in advance, when people go home early, we got a spot! We spent our day in Chelan biking to lunch at Campbell’s Resort and then on to Slide Waters water park – this was the girls choice and we figured they had been such super campers over the whole trip, they got to have their choice of activities that day.

The next day we got up and had to head home, we decided to make one more fun stop in the town of Leavenworth. We had a yummy lunch at Icicle Brewing Company, bought fudge, nuts and fancy olive oil to take home and then we made the super short drive (just 2.5 hours) home. Coming home was bittersweet, we had tons of laundry and gear to put away, but it was great to get back to familiar faces, sleeping in our own rooms and falling back into a normal routine.

The girls are back at school now, which is the only way I would be able to get all these thoughts down in one day. And now its on to thinking about the next big trip. I just bought my wall map of the US & Canada so we can plot out where we will go next!

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed our adventures. We certainly have!

Until Next Time!

kg

Injuries Suck.

As I do with most the issues I struggle with, I write. Today, I am writing about my Facebook-20140605-112522recent injury. I have been dealing with a running injury for over a month now, and I just posted an article about it on BlogHer, you can find it here. I also want to say Thank You, to my husband, my friends and all the specialists that I have been working with for your help getting me through this, I will run again, and I will not beat myself up in the process.