Waiting for Fall

Though Fall is officially here it has not felt like it with the temperatures in the high 80s. Since the Burke Fall Festival, however, it feels that the season has arrived. Autumn is my favorite time of year. Cooler temperatures while the sun still shines brightly are so refreshing. It’s time to wrap yourself in your favorite sweater in the mornings and evenings; time to have the first fire in the fireplace; time to consider flannel bedding.

During the harvest season smells abound, reminiscent of all that is comforting and safe. What smells better than freshly made applesauce? Okay, maybe baking pumpkin bread, or apple crisp, or homemade tomato sauce. The combination of those smells remind me that home is a warm and comforting place, and fill me with cherished memories from many years of family harvest celebrations.

The glorious taste of autumn flavors is a pleasure in all ways. The tang of fresh crisp cider, crunchy sweet carrots and parsnips fresh from the garden, tart homemade pickles, and warm baked pumpkin bread fresh out of the oven, dripping with butter. . .

While I wait patiently for the Fall colors, I think about all the places I will photograph this year, knowing that I can’t plan the best pictures. Nature has a way of doing its own thing, so it’s never easy to know which landscapes will be best to photograph from one year to the next. I anticipate the road trips and walks along trails in search of the brightest colors and the best shots. I’m always looking for just the right light in Fall shots and there are so many variations to be found in the early morning fog, or the mid-day sun, or the blueness of the evening.

In Autumn the world is filled with the sound of crunching leaves underfoot, with the wind blowing making it appear as though the leaves are falling like rain. Walking through the village you can hear the corn husk decorations swishing in the breeze, and the wind chimes in the backyards come alive with song. We are reminded that tougher weather is coming by morning or evening flights of geese honking overhead.

Oh, the blessings of Fall!

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I’m a Phoenix

We have all seen commercials for The University of Phoenix, and though I’ve been aware of them for years, I never thought that I would take a course through their program. But. . .never say never!

With advertisement like that, who wouldn’t want to be a Phoenix?

So, yes, I do have a brain, do love to learn, and though I didn’t expect that I would still be taking required courses for yet another endorsement in education. . .whew. Here I am!

In order to earn an endorsement needed for my new position as Director of Specialized Instruction, the Agency of Education for the state of Vermont has insisted I needed to meet a few proficiencies. I did some research to find out how to best address these proficiencies and courses through the University of Phoenix emerged. The AOE approved their courses, so I have enrolled.

Right from the beginning, as I was researching online learning to meet these proficiencies, Phoenix was responsive and helpful at every turn. Before I’d even gotten offline from the first time investigating their website I received a call. Tami asked if she could help in any way, so I told her my story and gave her the list of proficiencies and in less than a day she’d found me a handful of possible courses. Once they were approved by the AOE Tami walked me through the enrollment process, made sure I had all the paperwork needed to cover the financials, and made sure we picked a start date that worked for me.

While my first course will begin on October 4, Tami also shared some workshops that are offered to help new students learn about how Phoenix works. I signed up for the new student orientation workshop, which I just finished. I’m so glad I did the workshop because now I feel very prepared for this first course.

I am looking forward to this new adventure. My experience with online learning is limited and this will be my first ‘high stakes’ online course. If anyone out there has experience with this learning venue and wants to offer some advice, that would be great.

Yoga Certified

Wow! This journey of becoming a certified yoga teacher has been a fantastic adventure of learning, reflection, and camaraderie. Beginning in August of 2015 and ending August 2016, a group of 18 came together for one weekend each month to delve into the world of yoga. Along with that I found myself also delving deeper into the self, striving to better understand the inner workings that led me to this wonderful experience.

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Like the transformation of caterpillar to butterfly, emerging from the safety of Heart Space Yoga and teacher trainer Andrea Thibaudeau has been a metamorphosis of sorts. We delved into the history and philosophy of yoga, anatomy, and dived deeply into ourselves, becoming more aware of all that we need to feel spiritually and physically complete.

My most powerful takeaway is that I already have within in me, as do all living things, what is needed to be fulfilled. To learn to trust your own wisdom is a compelling lesson – one that should not be forgotten or dismissed. As I move forward with newfound skills and knowledge I hope to instill this same teaching into the work I do with others. Another way of saying this is that each of us is enough, just as we are. At our core is perfection and when we take the time to look inward with awareness and a non-judgmental mind, we can see the perfection that exists within. Perfection does not mean without flaws or challenges, but rather that what we are is all we need to be. This does not mean we never change, because without change there is not growth. By looking inward we can recognize the challenges we face. Andrea often referred to this as ‘the rub’ – those things we encounter in life that make us feel a bit uncomfortable. These ‘rubs’ are the truths we want to access through self-awareness and when we treat them as opportunities to expand we can enhance our lives.

Moving toward my own expansion and a desire to bring the world of yoga and mindfulness to others, I am taking steps to creating my own studio and offering of classes. I am so excited about the possibilities, which are endless. To begin I have ordered the supplies I will need to teach my classes. . .

They arrived this week~
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Whew! What a load of boxes! I was so excited that I poured myself a glass of wine and went to work making a celebration of the unpacking ~ and look how wonderful my props are~

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My hope is to tie nature into my yoga practices and so I went for the natural, earthy tones and hope my students will love them as much as I do. More importantly I hope I will put them to good use helping others.

I immediately invited my husband to a little restorative session with the new props and I think he appreciated my experimentation. He certainly looked relaxed.

As I move forward on this journey I will be looking for places to offer classes. I have been approached by a number of friends and acquaintances, mostly in the 50-70 age group, and I am working on developing classes for beginners as well as restorative classes for those who need more directed relaxation and mindfulness time or those who have physical limitations.

I have added “Sweetwater Studios” to my menu bar on the home page of the blog, where readers can access information about Sweetwater Studios~Fitness, or Sweetwater Studios~Photography.

There is so much to be appreciative for these days, and so many who have, and continue to support me in my journey!

Namaste to you all!

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Coming Back

OhmygoshImissmyblog!

I really do.

It has only been two weeks since my last post, but it feels like MONTHS! For three and a half years I have been posting very regularly – like two or three times a week, and then this summer I fell back and sometimes was only writing one post a week. It makes me very sad. It’s the routine that I’m missing; and the connection to those few but very faithful readers who left me sweet comments and made me feel like we would always be connected. And I’m missing those writing sessions that allowed me to go in so many different directions until I settled on one thing that I felt was post worthy.

Sitting here now, babbling on is feeling really, really good. So many wonderful things have been happening in my life so I’ve found that I am too busy to keep up with the blog and I’m hoping that will change. Being busy is not a bad thing, but when it distracts you from doing some of the things you love it’s a sure sign that it’s time to reevaluate what is keeping you busy. Though I’m not quite at the reevaluation phase yet, it’s reassuring to know that I am aware of the possible need and am being mindful of what is important in my life.

Today was another crazy hectic day in what has become a whirlwind of work. I have always taken great pride in my integrity at work and strive to do the best I can. Sometimes that means bringing it home with you at the end of a long day. But today I said no and left the work behind and instead took a nice, long, brisk walk in the woods and fields nearby. Oh, that was so refreshing. It was also so valuable because it allowed me time to clear my mind and think about a lot of things I needed to think about. For example:

I thought about how I don’t miss eating meat. Not one bit.

I thought about finding balance in life and how important a walk is when you’re feeling unbalanced.

I thought about running again, and actually did run a few hundred yards, testing the waters again.

I thought about the homemade maple ice cream that I will enjoy later this evening.

I thought about how I so enjoyed the long labor day weekend because I thought very little about work, spent quality time with good friends, spent quality time at home (a place I adore), and spent quality time with my husband at Willoughby Lake (another place I adore).

I did not think about work.

I thought about how nice it was to have had the time to make maple ice cream, scalloped potatoes, AND sourdough bread this weekend.

I thought about a nice visit with my son yesterday.

I did not think about work.

I thought about creativity and how important that is to me.

I thought about a draft of a memoir I started about seven years ago, and how it’s title is 7*7, and how the number 7 is very important to me. My life cycle seems to go in seven year phases. That made me think about some of those phases and how each one seems to begin with a BIG event and that BIG event has a trickle down effect on the next seven years of my life. And that made me think about the BIG event in 2001 (divorce) and then in 2008 (marriage) and then in 2015 (beginning yoga teacher training). And THAT made me think about how exciting life is with all its adventures. And THAT made me think that I need to get back to that memoir and get busy working on it again.

I did not think about work.

When I returned home I settled down with a big glass of ice water and a sweet little weekly paper that I haven’t read in I don’t know how long, and I read it out on the deck as the day darkened and the air cooled. I enjoyed it immensely. Then I heated up some yummy leek and potato soup and enjoyed that on on the deck as well. As I sat out there watching the day end I decided I would get up early tomorrow and go on a photo shoot before I go to work, because that’s the way to start a day!

And that made me think that I have taken some sweet photographs recently, so I decided to share one with you, in celebration of this blog post.

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Moving at a Fast Pace

Over the past few months I feel as though I’ve been neglecting my blog. It’s not a good feeling – I equate it to neglecting a good friend, a spouse, or a child. Blogging has been the thing that has kept me connected to regular writing and when it becomes less regular it is as though something essential is missing.

It certainly isn’t that I don’t have anything to say, it’s more that I haven’t had the time to devote to it recently. Life is so full of many exciting ventures that sometimes what is a priority at any given time becomes part of the ebb and flow of life. Like the ocean’s tide, at times certain aspects of life move closer to shore and at other times some aspects move further away. As most do, I try to ride the current that is life, and recently my blogging is ebbing while my career is flowing. That will change and I must learn to be patient and recognize how the tide is changing in my life.

Since water is the analogy today I will take the time to share some recent pictures I’d taken during a recent outing to Lake Willoughby when the lake was more intimidating than I’ve seen it before. Enjoy, and let them take you on your own journey of recognizing what may be flowing through your own life right now.

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