Why This Blog Exists

Elk Peonies.jpg

Peonies on a spring day in Ohio – just because they’re pretty. 

It was a shock to realize the one year anniversary of this blog is just a few weeks away. After all, most new blogs don’t make it past the first year. I started writing here for a couple of reasons. The first is that pictures and stories posted on Facebook prompted friends to request a blog with more in-depth stories.

The other reason Make the Journey Fun was born is that I needed a project at the time. It’s not a secret that 2018 was a transformative year and a period of self exploration. Having this outlet was a healthy part of that process.

Since then, I’ve written about things that interest me and that I hope interest you as well. If you’ve been around for a while you probably know how random the subject matter can be. That’s because I write the kind of stories that I like to read – the bloggers who invite their reader into their home and life and thoughts.

Photographer Jim Grey comes to mind as he mingles stories of his personal life with camera reviews and pictures from his travels on Down the Road. I look forward to his posts every day and have learned a lot about photography as well as the National Road which frequently appears in his storytelling.

The Frugal Girl is another great example of personal storytelling as she shares about her family and their efforts to live responsibly.

Neither of them present themselves as experts in any topic but simply share their thoughts in a pleasant way. In a world of self proclaimed experts and glorified internet trolls, these blogs are like a breath of fresh air.

So I tell the stories that friends sometimes request and stories that I would want to read. And it has been a wonderful experience to do so. Near strangers sometimes strike up a conversation in the grocery store and friends often message with their thoughts. Not to mention the people I’ve met online who have provided insight and even a kind of friendship that wouldn’t have existed had it not been for this space of written word and photos.

It’s been a fun ride and I have absolutely nothing bad to say about it.

In the world of bloggers, the experts measure your success by statistics. I’m honored each time someone subscribes or says they like reading here. However, I measure my success by the great conversations that occur online and in-person rather than by my statistics.

But as the year is winding down, I can’t help but assess the future and whether writing here is the right thing to do. I’m better now than I was a year ago and no longer need this outlet.  Yet, it’s still fun to share here so I’m planning to keep going until it’s not fun anymore or until folks aren’t reading anymore.

Please accept my thanks for bringing me into your world each day and for coming into mine. It’s lovely hearing from so many of you – both in the cyber world and the real world. I appreciate you all! I’m also happy to share observations from my corner of the universe and hope that you sometimes find yourself enlightened, inspired or even encouraged.

Enjoy your day, my friends. Spend it doing something that makes you happy.

 

 

 

 

 

Adapt, Revise, Change, Repeat

“Every success story is a tale of constant adaption, revision and change.”

Richard Branson

If there’s something you really want, you don’t get to just announce that you want it and then attain your goal without working for it. That means following Mr Branson’s plan to constantly adapt, revise and change.

I’ve somehow gotten off the road toward my goal of being healthy and strong. That was the focus of 2018 – to challenge myself, to stretch and grow and to be as strong and healthy as I can be.

It took about a week of convalescing with a dumb sinus infection to realize how far off mark I have been for the last few months. I’ve lost my drive and am grasping at straws seeking meaning.

So, here I am, regrouping again and trying to determine if I need new goals. I think I’ll stick with healthy and strong and see where it takes me for the remainder of this year.

Here’s hoping I can regain some of the excitement and genuine interest in the world that I used to have.

Make it a good day, my friends.

Recommitting To Myself

new years 2019I’m not a huge fan of the New Year’s Resolution. Maybe it’s because I believe every day is a perfect time to commit to doing something that’s necessary or good. Maybe it’s because I see how quickly most people fail with their resolutions. It takes at least a month of commitment to form a new habit. Sadly it takes one bad decision and about five minutes to revert back to our old ways. Then discouragement sets in and before we know it, we’re waiting for next January 1 to repeat the process.

Last spring, my beautiful friend Sarah introduced me to the Whole 30. It’s designed to help kick a sugar addiction and it’s an elimination diet to help folks with health issues figure out their allergies or other food related problems. For me, it became more of a lifestyle to stave off sugar cravings, lose weight, have increased energy and greater mental focus. I even found that food was causing some mild Rosacea like symptoms.

I quickly learned that I am happier when I eat whole foods and avoid heavily processed stuff. 

It’s a real commitment to be a Whole 30 Pescaterian. It’s a lot of cooking and most convenience food is off the table because it’s packed with sugar and all sorts of nasties you can’t pronounce and probably shouldn’t digest. For most Whole 30’ers, the prospect of eating in a restaurant is enough to incite panic. In other words, it’s a commitment and a challenge. And unlike most diets, if you make a mistake today, you don’t just pick up and go on tomorrow. You go back to day one with every slip up. So if your goal is to just get through the thirty days, it’s stressful when you’re new or when you’re trying to eat on the go.

Like I said, I have achieved a place of lifestyle where I try to stick with it as much as possible but am not bound so tightly by the rules of being on a thirty day round. This healthier diet gave me more energy for hiking, working out and going on adventures. After a few months of being really strict, I gave myself a season of leniency – more or less to see what my tendencies are, what my weaknesses are and what I do if given some leeway.

Turns out, my weaknesses and natural tendencies are appalling.

So today I start a new Whole 30 round and recommit to some of the lifestyle choices that made me so happy last year – drink lots of water, fuel my body with good food, get outdoors when possible, hike a lot, read good books, listen to amazing music, write daily, and surround myself with people and things that make me happy.

I’m also doing a reset on my budget. The holidays and poor self control on this last road trip tell me that I simply cannot be trusted with food, money or anything else. Ha, ha… ahem.

So, I’m not making a resolution. Instead, I’m making conscious decisions to recommit to what’s good for me and to what’s really important.

If you are among the many today who are committing to a resolution, here’s my advice – PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!!! Write out your strategies, write down what you’re doing, study your choices and reward yourself for good performance.

If your goal is to cut spending so you can pay off a credit card, you would need to make a budget, write down every penny you spend, study your spending habits and chart your progress as the credit card balance decreases. Then periodically reward yourself with something special but not necessarily something that costs money. Maybe you invite a friend over for coffee or take a long, hot bubble bath. If you have kiddos, plan a picnic at a local park.

You get the idea.

Whatever you do, remember that the thing you want – the slimmer body, the fatter bank account, the life without cigarettes, or whatever it is – you can work toward every day of the year. You don’t need a calendar or a silly annual tradition to make it happen. You WILL need some elbow grease and a commitment to make it reality.

I have my plan together and I have a goal to be good to myself. And really, my friends, what’s better than committing to being kind to yourself?

Best wishes with your resolutions or goals or whatever it is you call them. Go forth and conquer every day this year! Let’s make 2019 our best year yet!

The Year In Pictures (Proof That It Does Get Better)

When the year began, this is is what I was photographing.

As you can probably see, my mood was dark and brooding. I spent hours stomping around in the cold and looking for anything I could find to occupy my mind and camera. My world was quite small too. My adventures took me around my own property and local state parks but not much further. Life was quiet and introspective. It was intensely focused on self betterment and on finding beauty despite the starkness and darkness that seemed to envelope my world both inside and out.

If you’ve been following this blog you know I’ve come a long way since January. In fact, I’ve come a long way since starting this blog over the summer. And I am thankful for that.

This has turned out to be a very good year. A beautiful year, actually. I’ve had so many adventures as well as time with friends and family and have learned a lot.  I’ve traveled near and far, spent countless hours relaxing on the back porch and met some special people along the way.

I still do some black and whites but have come to enjoy more playing with color and light. In fact, most of my recent black and whites exist because the color or light is poor but the conversion salvages the picture. Here’s what I’ve been photographing lately.

My eye reaches for happier things… I call this photographic proof that it does get better.

48416903_10209755131673433_8729230697920724992_nMy life isn’t what I thought it would be a year ago but that’s ok because it has turned out to be great anyway.  In fact, looking back on last January, it’s leaps and bounds more than I could have asked for or imagined.

I am cautiously optimistic that 2019 is going to be even better and I look forward to seeing what life has in store. I’m certain something special is around the next corner.

Happy New Year, my friends. Make 2019 amazing!