What’s your B.R.A. Support

I recently took a trip to the Shenandoah National Park with my buddy Genny. During this trip I had the opportunity to discover the importance of B.R.A. support!

Genny and I stayed at Skyland resort, in the Shenandoah. The accommodations were quiet, comfortable and clean. This trip was an opportunity to unwind, connect with a friend, with ourselves and enjoy the great outdoors.

It was a beautiful trip as the mountains found their peak color in the autumn sun. We hiked Stoney Man Trail and reached the summit of 4010 feet.

Then we hiked Little Stoney Man just as the day was coming to a close. The air was fresh and crisp. Snow was beginning fall. I took a deep breath, the cool air filling my lungs. I found contentment.

On day two of our trip we challenged ourselves with a “difficult” hike, taking on the Cedar Run Loop in the White Oak Canyon. It is an 8 mile hike, considered more strenuous than Old Rag Loop (one of the more popular hikes in the Shenandoah).

The difficulty came in the form of increased stair stepping over rocks and tree roots for the majority of the trip. We lost the trail for about 50 yards. Climbing though brush and sliding down large rounded rock, we eventually found the trail continue on the other side of the river.

The challenges were worth the experience as we traveled down the canyon along the river bank, experiencing waterfalls the majority of the way.

The trail was very strenuous in ability and length, more than we were conditioned for on this day. Grateful that I had brought my hiking stick as I found myself slipping, tripping and falling on roots and rocks hidden under the abundance of leaves. It became my saving grace and saving face as I met many obstacles along the way. It was during one of my many stumbles that I began to realize the importance of added SUPPORT while taking on challenges on the trail and in life.

The day took a turn for the worse around mile 5 when my Iliotibial Band (IT Band) began to rub creating discomfort along the side of my left knee. It only got worse as we traveled up and down the canyon and crossing the river 3 more times.

As we reached the Whiteoak Fire Road the pain was stabbing on the side of my knee. I gritted my teeth and slowly hobbled the remaining portion of the trip. It was difficult and I was unbearably slow. My buddy Genny was an amazing support with patience and encouragement. I am not sure I how much further I could have gone without her help.

As the pain increased I found my energy level decrease. To move forward was challenging. There is something I do when things get really tough whether on the trail or in life in general. I say to myself, “Thank you Jesus”. This is the start of a long conversation I have rattling off words of gratitude. “Thank you for the colorful trees. Thank you for the opportunity to hike. Thank you for my friend Genny.” Some how by doing this it brings a sense of calm and focus within me, giving me energy.

As the sun began to set, I needed to muster that last bit of attitude to finish this hike. Finding attitude comes from within. From a place of reserve. A place we do not know exists until faced with a challenge. And when we find that reserve we discover new strength within ourselves we never knew was there. And in the end I was grateful for this wonderful discovery.

We finished the hike shortly before the sun set. Without my B.R.A. support I am not sure I would have made it. Without my Buddy, my new found Attitude and my Religion, I may have given up.

B.R.A. Support is just as important for men as it is for women. It is important on the trail and in every day life. Think about who and what makes up your BRA support. What’s your B.R.A. size and Is your B.R.A. giving you the support you need to meet the challenges in your life? If you are finding your reinforcements not holding up, it might be time to get fitted for a new B.R.A.!


The Tiger Talisman

20130909-144523.jpgJust when we were getting settled into our evening routine an unusual shape caught our eye. Amazed by its presence we realized there was a tiger that decided to join us. Startled and excited we sat and watched and wondered how could we be so lucky to be in the presence of such a creature.

Each camping event has its own experiences and tales to share. This outing, to Holland State Park, was no exception.  Joined with me on this trip were my trusted, well-seasoned daughter and my college roommate and her son who had only camped a couple times prior to this outing.

The tiger, which was a small fury plastic toy, was left behind by a previous camper and found by my crew as we readied our site for the evening.

The tiger perched upon the ledge of our campfire became our watchdog and more importantly our camping talisman. The tiger brought magic to the evening as only tigers can do. Laughter, bonding, sharing of stories of years past, followed by a lifting of spirits. Then a sigh, a sense of peace and the thought that life could not get any better than this moment.

Camping and being in the outdoors is an amazing and rewarding activity giving participants the opportunity to connect with themselves and with others in a way that cannot be achieved in everyday life. But to find a tiger, to remind us of this moment and bringing magic to our evening, well that is very special.

A talisman is an object that is supposed to possess special powers or even a charm that can exercise powerful influence on the human spirit. The tiger had magic powers. The tiger had become our talisman.  Was it the talisman that brought magic to our time together? Or was it being outside and unplugged that made it so special, giving us the opportunity to connect with one another?  Or perhaps it was a little of both.

My college roommate, as I found out, is a natural at camping. With her golden tan and athletic build, just shy a day of her 48th birthday, you would have thought this woman had been and outdoorsman all her life. What a birthday gift to discover a new passion. My roommate exclaimed with exuberance that camping had not seen the last of her and that she was going to get out and camp more with her family and with me.

As we parted, my roommate picked up the tiger and packed it in her tent bag. “I am taking this with me”, she said “and we are doing this again next year!”  With a smile I said, “Of course, as long as the Tiger comes too”.

On my backpacking trip in the backcountry of Isle Royal National Park, in the middle of Lake Superior, I found dimes, feathers and an infinity bracelet that became my talisman, my magic and my reminder to an unforgettable trip I took with my daughter. As I wear the bracelet around my wrist it became a reminder not only of what I experienced while I journeyed five quiet days in the wilderness, it too became a reminder of something bigger than myself watching over me and leading me forward along my journey.

How about you…do you have a talisman that brings magic and a reminder to your time in the outdoors?

There is a fox in the Tree?!

20130819-115907.jpgIt was no small feat, with juggling of schedules and a lot of planning, but a camping trip with good friends and first time campers finally occurred.

Along with camping with newbies, comes the temptation of bringing the digital world  in the form of electronics, telephones, games and bluetooth earpieces into the camping experience. For me camping is a time to unplug from electronics and plug into the real world around us–nature. Taking in surroundings through sight, smell  and sound opens us up to a world otherwise silenced by layers of digital noise and distractions. Sharing the etiquette of unplugging while camping went over surprisingly well with the teenagers but not so easy with one of the adults.

As we were sitting around the campfire enjoying our surroundings a very large bird swooped in and landed in a nearby tree.  Very excited by our visitor I exclaimed, “There is a Hawk in the tree!” “What”, exclaimed my friend, “there is a fox in the tree?” With that statement howls erupted from around the campfire while further confusion of a fox in the tree plagued my friend. “Where is there a fox in the tree?” “No”, we all exclaimed.  “There is a very large Hawk that flew into the tree right behind us”, I said. Confusion still on my friends face.  With that I replied, “Take the bluetooth out of your ear and you will be able to hear better.  “There is a hawk in the tree!” I said one last time.  As the earpiece was removed there was a slight pause and an “ah ha” moment blossomed across my friends face. “Ohhhh”, he replied, “there is a hawk in the tree!” Smiles and laughter erupted with subtle jeering from fellow campers. 

Take time to unplug not just out camping but at home and plug into your surroundings and those around you.  If you don’t… you might find a fox in your tree.

Wishes Alone Can’t Make My Garden Grow!

Garden fairy

“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I have participated in the ritual of preparing and planting a vegtable garden for 25 years.  Each year I am met with many challenges while gardening, leaving me with minimal results. I ask myself, “Why do I continue to put so much time, energy and money into gardening”? My father always had a successful and productive garden and his parents had one too. I want to be a part of this legacy as well.  Perhaps that is why I persevere, to attain the green thumb that seems to run freely through my family which I have yet to achieve. This year I have decided to take a new approach to my gardening by identifying what prevents me from finding success, then tackling those challenges one by one.

Virginia, where I live, is not blessed with the best soil for growing crops, unless it happens to be Tobacco. Yes, those school text books were right.  The red clay soil is everywhere and a challenge to work with. How on earth the settlers lived on this land is a real mystery to me.

Challenge number one:

#1 Dirt

How to create a rich soil environment to produce the best possible results.

When I have managed to grow anything in my garden, more often than not, it has been enjoyed by wild animals and not my family.

Challenge number two:

 #2 Fox

How to keep the fruits of my labor for myself.

The dog days of summer can reach well past the 100 degree mark in Virginia, making it a problem to keep the soil evenly moist.

The heat stirs up my third challenge:

#3 Flower

How to keep my garden evenly watered, even when I am not around.

I live in the suburbs on a quarter acre lot covered with shade. I am limited by space and the amount of sun my land receives.

My fourth and final challenge:

#4 House

How to create a garden with limited space and  a lack of solar energy.

As I review my challenges I realize that I need to make an adequate plan to create a viable and productive garden. Making plans are important but sticking to them are optional.  Flexibility is always key. Learning is essential.

I have spent much of my life hoping or wishing for things, like a beautiful and productive garden.  Wishing and hoping is only a small thought that moves me forward toward my goals. Bridging the gap of a wish or a dream, to see the fruits of ones labor, takes planning and perseverance even not knowing if the outcome will reflect what we are hoping for. To choose to journey forward toward our dream we must take time to ponder and plan and then implement our thoughts and ideas.


What in your life  have been dreaming about?  Is it time to take that wish or dream and make it a reality?  Give yourself time to hear what your heart is trying to say to you. Write down the steps it will take to bridge that dream and make it a reality.  Remember there is no right or wrong answers. Listen. Your heart won’t quiet until you hear what it is trying to say.  You will never know if the outcome will reflect that of your vision if you don’t get started. It does not matter if it does not match your vision perfectly. Be flexible.  By moving forward guided by your intuition each step you take becomes part of your journey down a path to a place you are suppose to be.

Is this where I am suppose to be…or am I just lost?

Setting off on a journey.

Setting off on a journey.

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.” – Anon

Journeys are comprised of experiences that are gathered as we travel in life from one destination to another. Our passage may take a week or perhaps a life time. The routes in which we travel are not always clearly marked and at times we may find ourselves wandering in the world with no point of orientation. Are we lost? Or is being lost where we are suppose to be and this disorientation all part of our personal journey?

Since I was a child I have always had a love of being in the outdoors. From spending time camping with my family to playing in piles of dirt that was to be used in my father’s garden, being in nature is – for me – like being plugged into an energy source that inspires and rejuvenates at the same time, clearing my soul. Nothing is better than being in the natural world.

The path of my life became more unmarked as I set out to discover my life’s purpose in my early 20’s. I felt lost as I traveled to New York City to intern with professional artists: I found myself trapped in a world of concrete, with little green. It was suffocating.

After that, I took a job with the US Government. I saw ahead of me echoing images of long days in an office with no windows, sitting at a desk. And this was true for the next 18 years of my life. Was this my destination, I asked?

I left the office job and have spent the last several years raising children. As the years passed, I quietly listened to a restlessness rise up within me, the call of the outdoors growing louder in my spirit. I have finally begun to heed that call and venture forth, back into nature.

I am a novice at both writing and everything having to do with “the outdoors”; I do not claim to be an expert at either. This blog is my journey to quench my curiosity and meet the challenges of both self-expression and personal fulfillment. I hope to learn things I have always been curious to discover, uncovering new skills and tools for life along the way. I am excited about this adventure. I hope you are too.

Come along and see the messes I make, what I am most curious about and what lessons I discover as I travel in any direction that the current pulls me. Maybe through my wanderings I may not find myself lost after all, but actually end up right where I am suppose to be.

About Me



Full of spirit and imagination, I am setting off on a journey to explore and discover the great outdoors. As a mother of two, I have spent many years nurturing my children’s exploration of the world, it is now my turn to quench my curiosities that call to me and lead me forward. Living in a metropolitan area all of my life has made it difficult to truly nurture this desire. I have decided bringing more of natural world into my everyday life a goal of mine. With limited time and natural resources it will take work to put this Mother back in Nature, but I am looking forward to the challenge!

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