Tonight I discovered the hard way that if you stand in a swamp or marsh long after sunset, you might feel a fire ignite around your toes and spread up your legs. And when you scream and pant and try to put out that flame with your hands, they too will become engulfed. And when you finally get to a light source you will find that it isn’t actual fire, but fire ants, and they have now scorched your appendages with their fiery poison and, thus, now own you.

That said…

Happy write31days! My theme is simple: 31 days of discovery. Come along with me!

[DISCLAIMER] This post is so short because I left my computer at work and I’m blogging through the WordPress app which is trés annoying.

chasing sunsets.

I guess a part of Dan’s new gig around these parts is that he’s gone a lot more often than he was before. At this point in time I’ve already been a single mom for two weeks this year and LET ME JUST SAY THAT being a single mom is hard. Shout out to those who did/do it everyday. Lemme buy you a beer or five.

Since Dan is gone during the days while I’m home with Dax anyway, it really doesn’t kick in how much I miss him (or how lost and confused I feel without him here) until the evening. As soon as 5PM rolls around, Dax and I are staring at each other, wondering what to do with ourselves. Do we eat more food? Do we roll the ball back and forth again? Do we surrender to mind-numbing media and turn the television on? Do we cry?

Typically those options never really appeal to me, so I usually scoop up that little bundle of chunk and drive over to the beach to watch the sun set. I’ve already blogged about it here but it bears repeating — the sunsets in southwest Florida are stupid beautiful. Better than anywhere else on earth, I promise.


Dax could really take it or leave it but for me, watching the sun sink in a morphing, watercolor sky for those fleeting moments is a godsend.


As I watch the sky change from blue to grey to purple to orange to red and, at last, grand-finale-pink, I forget that I’m still a foreigner. I forget that I’m in exile. I forget that I’m in Nineveh.

Unfortunately this mind-numbing process only takes about fifteen minutes, so once the sun is down it all comes rushing back with the waves. It seems as if the second I get to the beach I’m already thinking, How dare you, sun! Why couldn’t you have taken your time? You just blew through that like it’s something you do everyday! Do you REALLY have somewhere to be right now? Ugh. What next?

Annnnnd cue the lonelies.

The last time I did this (where I took those pictures) my heart was in a different place. In recent weeks, I’ve been really focusing on all the things for which I am grateful in my life — Nineveh included — and so, finally, watching the sun go down wasn’t just another goodbye I had to endure but instead the beginning of a period of rest and reflection.

Sure Dan was gone. And I love having him around so that sucked a little bit. But while I was aware of his absence I was also aware of the feeling of the sand between my toes, the breeze on my face, the LACK OF HUMIDITY AT THAT TIME OF THE DAY, the warmth of my son snuggled up against my chest, the sounds of children splashing in the surf, the sight of the pelicans swooping down in methodical dive patterns…

In a world powered by the Internet and social media, and the idea of who can get things done harder better faster stronger, it can be hard to sit and really appreciate the things that are going on around you at that current time and space. It can be difficult to not want to immediately move on to something new, something fresh, something different.

To chase the next sunset.

But even when the sun sets, there is still a real beauty left. There is real creation and, thankfully, real transformation.

If you find yourself looking around at what you’re currently dealing with and screaming out, Enough already! What’s next? I challenge you to stop. Breathe.

Slow down. Take it all in. Notice the things you feel like you’re too busy to notice.

This is the only life we have.

And oh, how beautiful.

what i noticed for nora: a mystery.

Dan and I have (finally) resumed our running routine. Three days a week, when Dax first stirs, we go get him, I nurse him while Dan changes into running clothes, then while I change Dan gets Dax ready, then we head out the door with the jogging stroller.

We’ve orchestrated this little routine because it leaves little room for complaining or excuse-making. If Dax is awake, so are we, so we might as well run.

At the end of our run yesterday, as we were coming back into our apartment complex, we ran past a few trees that we see everyday but I never really “noticed” until then. I made Dan stop.

“Give me my phone,” I said breathlessly.


“Because I have to [GASP] notice something for [GASP] Nora.”

Dan handed me my phone and I snapped a picture of these little beauties.


In the picture, they look like oranges. But they’re not. Look at the size of the leaves for reference, and you’ll see that these tiny, orange fruits are no bigger than sweet peas. But they’re orange. And on a tree.

And I have no idea what they are

Since I haven’t lived here a full month year yet, I have never seen these things go through all the seasons. (By the way, in Naples, there are a grand total of TWO seasons: snowbird season — or just “season” — and off season.) It will be exciting to see them bloom and grow and ripen over the next few months to find out exactly what they are.

These little orange bulbs remind me of my own “season” of life. Like these tiny fruits, it is a mystery to me, currently in the very early stages of blossoming. I don’t know what it will turn out to be like once it’s ripe, or how long it will take to get there. All I know is that at this moment it is new and fresh and beautiful and intriguing and I’m eagerly awaiting the impending harvest.


what i noticed for nora: banyan trees.


If you’re coming to visit us on a weekend, I’m going to take you to the Farmer’s Market on Third Street South on Saturday. (But you’ll have to get up early with us because it’s from 7:30 to 11:30 in the morning.) Not only are there tons of stands with organic produce/meat, there are also homemade jewelry stands, arts and crafts, and even a woman who sells homemade organic dog and cat treats!

Oh and don’t eat breakfast because we’re going to get s’mores beignets from the sweet Dutch man in his food truck. (I may be turning into an organic/clean food Nazi but I can’t refuse fried dough just yet.)

To get to the market, we have to drive down Broad Street, which is lined with these GORGEOUS banyan trees with twisty roots and sturdy trunks and limbs that stretch for days.

According to some random Welcome to Naples! signs that are posted all around the city (still not entirely sure where the city limits are for this reason) Naples is nicknamed Tree City, USA. It’s quite fitting, as you can’t turn your head without laying eyes on at least 100 palm trees.

But these trees are special to me. The first time I saw them I literally gasped at their beauty.

I’m not entirely sure my picture does them justice but just trust me on this one.

introducing: what i noticed for nora.

Moving to a new city is exciting, but the emotions of what you leave behind can definitely cloud your view of your new home. I’ve lived in Naples for fourteen days now, and I’ve absolutely been blinded to the beauty around me by the overwhelming sadness of leaving Tallahassee behind.

A few days ago, I was able to catch up with my good friend Nora on the phone. It was so nice to hear her voice and, for those precious minutes, Tallahassee didn’t seem so far away.

Nora, a Detroit native currently living in Tallahassee but who has lived in countless other places around the globe, is no stranger to this phenomenon and, in order to replace sad feelings with grateful ones, suggested I try to notice — like really notice — at least one beautiful thing a week about my new home and to write about it. I thought that was a good idea.

This week’s WHAT I NOTICED FOR NORA , or WINFN, (if you say it fast, WIN-FIN!) is a bit cheat-y because I actually noticed it before I talked to her. And how could you not?

Along the southwest coast of Florida, the sunsets are to die for. The few I’ve had the pleasure of ogling have left me breathless and thankful.




[Full disclosure: I did take these pictures with Instagram but no filter! Swearsies! The sunsets here are just THAT pretty. For more sunset pictures (and a thousand pictures of my kid) you should follow me.]

I think this practice is good for anyone. Not just those of us who just moved to a new town and are desperately trying to figure out where/what/how/when/why everything is. Even if you’ve lived in your town for a while, try this. Try to discover something beautiful — even if it’s something small — about where you live and take a picture of it. This will force you to really notice it for all that it is. Creation. Splendor.

A blessing.