8 Things I’m Thankful For On This Thanksgiving Morning…

It’s Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season.  The time of year when friends and family gather near and far to create memories and build their traditions.  Today marks the 4th Thanksgiving in a row I’ve spent in Key West and I can’t help but to take a few minutes to reflect on the things that I am most thankful for…

Sunshine – I honestly cannot tell you what a difference the sun makes in my life.  This weather has been absolutely amazing.  I’ve been spending at least an hour outside every morning reading and enjoying the stillness of the morning.  I’ve also taken to moving my mobile office outside to soak up some vitamin D while I work.

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My Parents – about a year ago I started working with a sales coach.  The first project that she had me work on was a vision board.  I’m happy to announce that as of today, except for the fact that I’m not Oprah or Richard Branson and don’t own a home in Maryland or New Hampshire (yet), every single thing has happened that I put on that vision board.  Including spending Thanksgiving with my family.  My mom and dad just arrived yesterday to spend their first island Thanksgiving with Ed and I!

One of the things I’m looking forward to the most is watching the Thanksgiving Day parade with my dad.

My Family – I never really knew just how lucky I was/ am to have the family and support system that I have until I got older.  When you are younger you assume that everyone’s life is just like yours.  Good or bad, that’s rarely the case.  So thank you for loving and supporting me.  And thank you Katie and Jamie for giving me the most beautiful, happy, little niece.

Ed – I’m thankful for him everyday for so many things.  It’s pretty cool finding your person.  Even cooler when their name starts with the same two letters yours ends with… #kweedwin

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My Job – I’m thankful that I have a job that provides me with the opportunity to help people purchase their dream home.  Whether a first time home buyer or a snowbird looking for a vacation rental, I love helping people find their perfect place in paradise.  I also love that it allows me the flexibility that I desire to be able to be involved in my community.

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My Friends – When I was back in my hometown in Maryland this fall one of my friends told me that she prays her daughter has the group of friends she did in school.  I really thought about that statement.  I have a solid group of friends from each stage in my life and I’m so very thankful for them.  I made a solid group of friends in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland, some of those friendships dating back 25 years.

This Blog – Although my writing may be sparse I love having this blog as an outlet.  Writing is when I feel my best.  It’s when I feel the most confident which is very odd because it’s also where most of my vulnerability lies.

Happy Hour – This one is self explanatory, eh?

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Of course this is just a short list but an important one.  Finding things to be thankful for each day makes the world seem like a better place, to me anyways.  Happy Thanksgiving, cheers!

Wake Up America!

Orlando

Before you read any further I want you to imagine this.  Imagine the sounds of cell phones of 50+ people ringing but going unanswered.  Loved ones calling the victims to see if they are OK, only to have their calls go unanswered for hours.  The chiming of text tones rivaling the sounds of a pinball machine.   That’s the sound track that played as the first responders waded through bodies in PULSE night club asking victims to “raise your hand if you are alive”.

It’s taken me almost 48 hours to figure out how to put into words how I feel about the MURDERS that took place in Orlando yesterday morning.  So without further ado… here goes.

I’m devastated.  It’s an act of TERROR.  It’s an act of War.

The massacre in Orlando was deliberate and disgusting.  Hate crime doesn’t even begin to cover it.  What happened in Orlando, the largest massacre in US history, was a hate crime against not just a group of American’s but America in general.  Because, NEWSFLASH, Radical Islamist hate America, Americans, and everything we stand for.  So that being said does that mean I am now under attack.  Because I choose love?  Because I choose to accept everyone regardless of their skin color, religious affiliation or sexual orientation?  I for one am proud to stand with the LGBTQ community.

If you think that gun control and stricter gun laws would have prevented this attack you need to get your head out of your ass.  If it wasn’t an AR-15 it would have been a bomb.  And if it weren’t a bomb it would have been a  plane.  It would have happened regardless because of ISIS and their hate for not only the LGBTQ community but for Americans in general.

This hits close to home for me because I live in Key West, FL.  Our motto is One Human Family. I walk past drag queens on the reg and just the other day got glitter bombed at a housewarming party by a dude wearing black angel wings and a tube sock.   Everyone is accepted here, everyone.  And I don’t want to have to worry about my black angel winged friend Max, the drag queen next door,  or myself for that matter just for having fun and being myself.

This toddler pretty much sums up what I’d like to say (aside from fuck off) to ISIS and everyone else who thinks America is so terrible:

The person who committed this act pledged allegiance to ISIS when HE made the  911 call in Orlando.  This person was on the FBI watch list and interviewed on more than one occasion for radical Islamic ties.  This person cheered”that’s what America deserves” during the 9/11 attacks, while his classmates watched in horror.  This shit is real.  And it’s scary.  What happened yesterday will go down in history.  Think 9/11, think Paris, think Boston, think San Bernardino, and now sadly, think Orlando.

I’m sick of the political correctness in this country.  I’m tired of the leaders of our country using a time out approach for ISIS.  Whatever happened to taking your belt off and whipping some ass?   I mean Jesus, I’m not one for corporal punishment but how many people have to die before not only our country to realize that ISIS isn’t just some piddly underground group in the desert.  These are calculated killers that have amassed a large following and are continuing to grow.

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And yes, Arney, ISIS is a tumor.  ISIS is America’s tomahhhhh.   ISIS is the world’s tumor.  And someone needs to grow or find some balls and do something about it.  Has anyone seen the captain’s balls?

It’s doubtful anything will change in the next few months but I urge you to take stock in the upcoming election. It’s important.  Do your own research and draw your own conclusions.  Don’t believe all the media hype but do use it as a catalyst to do your own research on the issues that are important to you.  To say this election is important is an understatement.  Yesterday morning ISIS took the right to vote away from 49 people, and as an American, you can’t afford not to vote.

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My heart and prayers go out to those who lost their lives in Orlando as well as the friends and family of both the victims and survivors.  I am so so sorry and cannot even begin to imagine what you have been through and the long road to recovery ahead.

#KWCHALKPROJECT

***DISCLAIMER:  Before you read any further click play on the link below. You need some mood music to read this post!***

Ok, you may now proceed…

A few months ago I was casually scrolling through my Instagram feed and you know how these things go, one click leads to another, then another, and another… it’s never-ending.  Any who, SuperLoveTees, an account I follow had posted this pic and it caught my eye.  I also instantly fell in love with the hashtag #chalklovebomb.

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So I clicked on the Instagram user @ladysadye and found this amazing account of brightly colored sidewalk chalk inspirational masterpieces!

I have been looking for a way to be creative and inspiring at the same time so I decided to start my own chalk project here in the Southernmost City:  The #KWCHALKPROJECT

A few weeks ago I ordered myself some Crayola sidewalk chalk and decided to drop my first #chalklovebomb in Key West.  I’m addicted.  Having this creative outlet has been a great way for Skyy and I got get out into the community, walk the different neighborhoods and sprinkle good vibes along the way.  Lately as we’ve been listening to Oldies Party Radio on Pandora as we stroll the hoods; it makes people smile and has been resulting in spontaneous dance parties along the way (how can you not dance to Boogie Shoes?!)

Check out some of the sunshine I’ve been shoveling lately…

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IMG_0398My hospice patient (I’m a volunteer) told me I was going to get arrested for vandalism.  I told her I was going to drop a chalk love bomb on her doorstep 🙂  Happy Super Soul Sunday!  Cheers to channeling your inner five year old and tagging sidewalks.

 

An Ode To The Girl Cave…

First let me start by saying that I was a bit overzealous when I decided to challenge myself to a post a day for the month of November. Rather than beat myself up about essentially failing my challenge to myself in the first week I’ve decided to tweak it and challenge myself to 30 posts in the month of November. Get excited, there’s some 2-4-1 Tuesdays in your Shoveling Sunshine future!

Over the weekend I closed one chapter of my life and started another. Tomorrow I will bid my final farewell to the Girl Cave and officially begin a new chapter in my new apartment! Whoo hoo!

The Girl Cave will go down in history as my favorite apartment. And that’s really saying something because I’ve moved 13 times in 10 years. Yes, you read that correctly (8 of them were to Key West (college included)). The Girl Cave was so much more than an apartment. It was my haven. My sanctuary. My 250 square feet of comfort in what was the most trying time in my life.

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I’ve said this a million times, everyone should live alone one time in his or her life!  It’s seriously the most amazing experience. I went from living with my parents, to college roommates, to being a live-in nanny one summer, to live-in boyfriends, and back to roommates. For 29 years I had lived with other people and I decided when I moved back to Key West it was time for a change.

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The Girl Cave was the perfect landing spot for me to get on my feet in my first year back in The Keys. If those walls could talk they’d have quite a story to tell and not just of my drunken adventures. So many people had lived in the apartment before me that by the time I moved in I didn’t even have to put any nails in the walls to hang my pictures. When I would get food delivered, there was a 50/50 chance the delivery driver had lived there at some point as well.

The thing makes the Girl Cave so special for me is that I both lost and found myself in that little apartment. I had just moved back to Key West and into the apartment when my sister passed away and although on the outside I looked like I was coping with my loss ok, inside, I was completely drowning in my grief.

Then, it was like someone gave me a lifeline. Something inspired me to change my tune and that I did. I took the black out panels off the windows and doors (symbolism at it’s finest) and I began the search for myself.

Needless to say, nowhere in my 5-year plan did I think I would end up “finding myself” in a small little termite-ridden studio on Frances Street.  It was on that quest that I finally started to take time to smell the roses. Okay, maybe not roses, but definitely the Night Blooming Jasmine! I started to reconnect with nature, it was proof and a reminder that life goes on and that we are all connected.

I think anyone who suffers a tremendous loss is looking for a connection, and like I said, I found my connection in nature. When I hear and feel the wind blow through the pocket park on my morning walk with Skyy or when the rays of sun cast a perfect glow on the ocean; that is when I feel the most present and connected. It’s in the moments when I am present that I notice the lingering butterfly or hear the chirping birds outside; and it’s in those moments that I feel my sisters spirit with me.   That serves as the perfect motivation to stay here, in the Now. It is in the Now that I feel both my and her spirit the strongest and that is where I have chosen to reside.

So thank you lovely little Frances Street hideaway for keeping my secrets, helping me grow and connect, for providing comfort and warmth when I needed it most, and for teaching me how awesome it is to start your day with an outdoor shower.

Cheers!

You Are Beautiful

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One small sticker, one powerful message.  I had first heard about this little sticker a few years ago, I don’t remember where or when but  remember loving the idea when I first heard about it.  A few weeks ago I visited their website and saw that they will send you some of these fabulous stickers for free, and for a small donation you can get a whole slew of these magical little affirmations.

Naturally I sent in a self addressed, stamped envelope with the suggested donation of $5 enclosed and patiently waited for my #YABsticker delivery to arrive.  Then one day a few weeks ago I got my envelope back in the mail! I opened it right up and took a look at the tiny little wonders.  I put them in my purse and started thinking about all the places I wanted to put one!

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The one place I knew for sure I wanted to place a sticker was the most photographed site in Key West; The Southernmost Point.  So many pictures are taken there daily and imagine if my little sticker makes it into a few of them?!

So Skyy and I set out for a trek to The Southernmost Point last night to place our first sticker.  It’s really amazing how many beautiful and amazing things you start to notice when you focus on looking for the good in everything you do.  I decided to take my time walking through old town last night on our way to the buoy; to take in my surroundings and reconnect once again with why I pay $1250 a month to live in a 250-square-foot studio.

Our first stop was our favorite pocket park on the corner of Grinnell and Angela, also the home to our first #YABsticker.

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Take 1

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Take 2.

Wouldn’t ya know it, when we walked out of the park and I caught a rainbow over my favorite intersection; Grinnell and Angel Street.
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I took that rainbow as a sign from my guardian angels to look up on my walk to see what else I could find.

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This cute bottle brush tree on Windsor

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I fell in love with this door at first and then the whole house when I saw that little gem in the corner of the window.        Go Noles!

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This beautiful tree (it’s even prettier because it’s not on my street and I don’t have to clean up all the flowers that fall)

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My new favorite house in Key West (Corner of Whitehead and United Streets). All the right flags, old fashioned christmas lights, and an amazing yard to boot!

We made it to the Southernmost Point and of course there was a line of people waiting to get their pictures taken.  So I stuck my sticker on the back side of the landmark, where it will still be seen by tons and photographed by many.  It also reinforces the meaning of our motto in Key West; You Are Beautiful = One Human Family.

You Are Beautiful sticker on The Southernmost Point, Key West, FL

And check out the sunset we caught on our way home!  The sky was beautiful last night, some wicked clouds on one end of Duval and the beautiful sky pictured below on the other.

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Sunset @ The Southernmost Point 7/10/14

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Sunset @ The Southernmost Point 7/10/14

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Sunset over Naval Air Station

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Someone’s recycling bin that revivals my own. Cheers!

You Are Beautiful.  Three small words, one huge meaning.  It’s really amazing how you can turn your day or night around by looking up and looking for the good in everything.  So while some people may have been focusing on the black clouds that plagued half of the island last night, I myself, was focusing on the picturesque sunset and the people lining up to take their picture in the place that I call home.