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A High Point

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“Mountaintops inspire leaders. Valleys mature them.”

-Winston Churchill

There is a place where I feel in complete peace. The view is overwhelmingly breathtaking. Every time. It’s a place where I can be completely honest with myself about the seasons that I am in. I can go there broken, angry, when I’m on cloud nine, or just because I had the time. I am always accepted and there is no judgement. There is always a feeling of coming home, a relief to be in a place that I am completely known. The worries, the busy days, all the weights of my world just melt away in this place. I get just what I need at every visit, comfort, rest, quiet, encouragement, a reality check… just a simple stillness that meets me exactly where I am at in the moments that I find myself there.

My alarm goes off at sunrise and I debate going back to sleep but then I remember the little adventure that lies ahead of me and I get out of bed. My backpack is already packed and in the quiet morning I wash my face and brush my teeth and quickly slip on my shoes and out the door. Even though my body is screaming for more sleep there is an excitement inside of me that fuels my determination to make it to my destination.

After I park and double check my backpack for water and my small breakfast I take my first step on the dusty trail that is my very own yellow brick road. My legs begin to warm with every step, as the elevation slowly increases the sleepiness fades away, my breathe quickens and my body begins to feel alive and energized. On the way up there are a few climbs that make my muscles burn and tempt me to stop pushing upward. I don’t want to take any breaks for fear of losing any momentum that’ll shorten my travel time. I’m anxious to be home and enjoy the air and be in awe of the beauty that I know awaits me.

I always sit for a minute at the one mile mark. The engraved stone that read “1 mile” is gone but the mold of its resting place is still there serving as my own personal checkpoint. I have one final climb to push through, and then I’ll be there. With my headphones on I watch the world pass by, I slowly sip my water, while inhaling deeply and exhaling with precise control, my heart is pounding. I give a polite nod to each passerby and sometimes a slight smile, they say with their eyes, “You’re almost there.” I sit just long enough to recover my breathe, then quickly get back on my dusty feet, recommit myself to this climb with a quiet determination to finish strong no matter how I feel. I am my own coach. “You’re stronger than you think you are. Come on. Press in.”

I’m suddenly aware of every step and the size of every boulder on my way up. I’m carefully calculating my path on the way up doing my best to conserve what’s left of my energy so I don’t have to stop again. I’m so close I’m just ready to get there. My deep concentration to keep my momentum gets interrupted as people who’ve already quenched the beauty slowly trickle down the narrow path I’m struggling to stay on. They politely step aside or quickly pass probably relating to me, because it’s where they were moments earlier.

The best part is the last twenty feet before the top, because I’m completely depleted, challenging all my limits but there is always a burst of energy that meets me and I charge forward, raising my gaze to my horizon. There’s a shining silhouette of relieved hikers enjoying the reward of their hard work and I step over the top, and the sky just opens up and a refreshing relief just washes over my body and my mind is free of everything. I am home. There is a calm that settles over me and a thankful smile spreads across my face as I take in a panoramic gaze of my little piece of heaven. I am reminded of how truly blessed I am. I sit off in my own little corner so that I can bask in the pure joy of this place.

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Snapshot Story: Sisters make the best friends.

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“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are.
The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”

This photo was from yet another epic bathroom selfie photo shoot! Yep Valerie and I are shameless and if there’s good light and a mirror, then the photo shoot is ON! I know that a lot of people hate on selfies but really if you had this much fun taking selfies…well why not! This night we took tons of photos and laughed til it hurt. We talked about life and dancing while I was getting ready and then went out for more dancing. We are addicted, must be the dance instructors in us. That is what I love about our friendship, it just IS. We make the best of each day, she has become the sister I never had. It doesn’t matter if we’re just getting a refill on our cheap drinks at the gas station or if we’re having a serious life talk in the parking lot, we are for each other every step of the way. We laugh all the time about nothing and share our concerns when needed, but the love and support is unconditional. Life is hard and you need friends that will stand with you in the storms as well as celebrate the sunny days with you. Growth doesn’t happen in isolation. Good friends will encourage you, challenge you, inspire you, support you….love you.

Cheers to all my friends and special shout out to my Valentino! Thanks for being there for me. Love you!

Thanks to The Daily Post for this prompt.

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Maya Angelou: An Inspiration to the World

Maya Angelou: An Inspiration to the World

“I believe the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare.” “I can be changed by what happens to me. I refuse to be reduced by it.”

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

“My mission in life is not to survive, but to thrive: and to so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

Maya Angelou’s life and successes just prove that you can build a beautiful life no matter what your background. She was truly gifted with an amazing ability to speak so profoundly and elegantly. Every time I read her poems, quotes, books… I am always left in awe of her writings and simply inspired. She was deep and I’m so thankful that she was able to share her talent with the world. She was the phenomenal woman, a legendary author, a real woman whose story and life has brought hope and strength to me, in my own life.

May she rest in peace…

Dr. Maya Angelou

April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014

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