Listening to: Love and some verses - Iron and Wine
Safely settled in my niche in the world I tend to see the same things over and over again. Smack dab in the middle-o'-the-road-Ohio, I have my life relatively routed. I could draw red lines on the roads I travel most often - Work and home- Gym and home-to Mom and Dad's and home- grocery and home - you know, the standards... It is however when you color outside the lines that you sometimes experience the most unexpected gifts - stumbled upon like a surprise in the midst of all-too-thought-through and over-planned afternoons...
I have found new paths that have blown me away from those regular routes and as always, they are the ones that challenge me, change me and continuously make me better. Most of all, I am finding that they inspire in me a new perspective...
I just went on vacation to North Dakota. I know, right? Who goes on vacation to North Dakota? My family does. As a little girl growing up I always found it mildly peculiar that my family took vacations to Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Arizona instead of the super-uber-child-fantasy Disney vacation. Instead, my family vacationed along the Frank Lloyd Wright-house-tour circuit. At the time I was completely uninspired by the fact we'd be spending the day traipsing through someone else's house... I was 7 and that was weird. Now, having lived through this... I want to go re-see all these places of my childhood. Go figure - having experience a taste of something I vaguely understood as a child, it changed my perspective as an adult... I love art and architecture and creativity and thinking outside of the proverbial box.
North Dakota was a family trip - one of the first we've taken in eons. We went in search of my brother-in-law's family farm where we would all spend some quality time together as well as dedicate/baptize my new little niece. The trip in itself was a great opportunity to push our typical family vacation to new limits - complete with light packing, horseback riding, camping and a bit of flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants. Our family is a bit of a combo-affect-vacationer - the planner-beach-lounger-who-likes-mid-day-naps. We were certainly in for the rides of our lives and got an altering one.
My brief time spent there was incredible. Every time I get to encounter my niece, I am simply overcome. This new little girl has simply run away with my heart and her smile turns me to mush. True story. I can't tear myself away. So quality time coupled with the expansive natural beauty that unfolds before you in North Dakota... I was whisked away into the stories of Teddy Roosevelt... ahem and well, Calamity Jane and Jesse James - the real one, not the poser... Golden and kelly-green fields rolled along side the blacktop for miles until the buttes jet up unexpectedly like little God-placed sandcastles. I got to hear amazing stories from my brother-in-law about his working summers on the farm with his cousins and stories from his mom and aunts and uncles about their growing up on the North Dakota farm. We learned parts of their family history - and even better - we got to see it, hear it, feel it and experience just a taste of it. Camping out on the buttes one night I got the full experience - saw a falling star, achieved mosquito bites on my face and woke up with freshly-dewed hair in the morning. :)
When you get a good taste of perspective it alters you. Irrevocably. Perspective can motivate and inspire something immovable within you to move without your even realizing it. There have been a handful of experiences in my life when I knew I was not the same person after that I had been before. Most of them involved major life changes and when I had chosen a very specific path for myself - translated into my "drawing lines" analogy - I switched marker colors and did a bit of coloring - some involved coloring inside the lines and some involved coloring outside. Other experiences have involved people - people who have altered forever the lens through which I see with their compassion, honesty, truth, compassion, loyalty, kindness, acceptance, friendship and love.
... And these are the things I choose to see - - with a bit of perspective.