The Best Vacation Destination for a Family Fourth of July

If You Happen to Vacation in Alaska If you happen to find yourself in Alaska on vacation on the Fourth of July, you’ll want to make sure and take a trip out to Seldovia. I should mention that taking a trip to Seldovia takes planning, since no roads lead to the town. You can travel by ferry, water taxi, or air taxi. My parents and I boarded the Discovery at 10:00 and took the scenic tour across Kachemak Bay. Victoria,…

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Photography, the Other Art

Not Everyone Can Draw Not every month has five Sundays, so I’ll take the opportunity to explore the other A in MAPS (you can find more about this series here). Last week, I shared how having a learning mindset helps us conquer things we thought we couldn’t do in our younger years. Today I’ll share some tips for upping your artistic quotient with photography. Next week, I’ll tell you about my latest physical challenge. Artistic expression baffles me at time.…

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3 Surprising Reasons Why Birding Can Help You

Birding and Alzheimer’s Prevention During my impressionable growing up years, my mom ran a respite care business in our home. The ladies she cared for introduced me to the problems with aging: forgetfulness, fading memories, and loss of dignity through dementia and Alzheimer’s. I didn’t know many kids my age who could identify ‘Alzheimer’s’ as a proper noun, and not a Southern rendition of ‘Old Timer’s.’ Ever since those days, I thought that memory loss and odd behaviors went hand-in-hand…

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Beauty Lurks in Unexpected Places

Beauty Lurks Beauty lurks in unexpected places hoarfrost springs from a shriveled red berry beneath a subzero sky Beauty hovers at wood’s edge speckled fawn twitching elegant ears, blinks slowly in dappled sunshine. Beauty hides behind dark clouds sunrise stretches fingers out across the water filled with snowy geese. Beauty peeks from angry eyes, of a girl too young to carry life’s burdens on slender shoulders, itching to escape Beauty manifests hope as a young man reaches out a hand…

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The Things that Motivate Me to Leave My Comfort Zone

Can a Bird Motivate Me? “There’s a rare bird in Anchorage,” I said. Pedro rolled his eyes. “It’s a hawfinch,” I explained. “They live in Europe.” Pedro may have sighed AND rolled his eyes. “I suppose you want to go look for it?” I grinned. “Absolutely! While you hang out with Laura, Louis, and Abel, I’ll just pop into Anchorage and pick up some things at Costco and look for the bird.” “What about the weather?” he asked. “No snow…

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Birder’s Paradise? Or Birding in Paradise

Texas in the Summer I clutched the dripping Gatorade bottle with one sweaty palm and unscrewed the cap with trembling fingers. They might call Texas a birder’s paradise, but it felt a little more…hotish, shall we say? For the past three hours, I had wandered the trails of Resaca de la Palma State Park—on a toasty 98˚ with 80 percent humidity July day. Most people enjoy the World Birding Center parks in the fall or spring. The weather turns balmy…

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The ‘Other Lessons’ that Inspire (aka, When We Don’t Get What We Want)

A Journey to Inspire Me The boat rocked back and forth as it rose and fell with the swells of the ocean. The deep blue of the water vied with the sky for my attention. On the horizon, thunderheads piled up between us and the receding shore line. I couldn’t wait to discover the secrets of the open ocean and let them inspire me in some creative way. The hot wind whipped my curls into my eyes. I didn’t bother…

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Do You Suffer From Puffin Disease?

Next Stops, Puffin Paradise and Seldova I spent my first night alone at a roadside pullout just north of Homer. When I woke up the next morning, I discovered that someone else had pulled in to camp behind me. I couldn’t decide if having someone camp in the same pullout made me feel safer or creeped-out. After a quick breakfast, I headed into Homer to catch a ferry to Seldova, where friends of my parents live. I had met Paul…

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