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3 Cheers for Surfers Healing!

Justin LOVES the water!  When he was younger, even though he could swim he loved to let himself sink to the bottom of the pool and rest there.  It was soothing for him, he said he liked the way it felt.  But how do you think lifeguards felt about that?  We know he could swim, but its unnerving.  You see, drowning is the leading cause of death for kids with autism.  And we live in Virginia Beach – surrounded by water at both the beach and the bay.  So the only way to retain our sanity as parents was to make sure he was a capable and confident swimmer.   So he swims, does SUP, and has tried surfing and snorkeling, too.  And he loves them all!

Today was Surfers Healing Virginia Beach, a highlight of the year for our autism community.

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The program runs camps around the world that pair pro surfers with kids with autism – to take them out to ride the waves and expose them to surfing.   If the organization is new to you, check out their website to learn more about this great org.  http://www.surfershealing.org

The kids love it so much that its in high demand.  The camp extended to two days, and the over 400 slots are reserved within less than an hour of opening!  And I can never say enough about the kindness and heart of the surfers who participate.  They are so great with our kids!

This was Justin’s second year and – true to its hashtag – it was #oneperfectday.

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The weather cooperated so we had sunny, clear blue skies and warm water.  The dolphins even made an appearance off the surfing area to And while I loved watching my little surfer, we stayed for hours watching so many other families cheer on their sons and daughters.

When it was Justin’s turn to surf, he confidently followed his surfer  out into the surf, and they paddled their board out a good distance to wait for some good waves.  They floated around for a while (my little guys might happily do that for hours) then caught their first wave rolling in.  With the help of his surfer, Justin rose to his knees and them stood up on the board.  Sometimes for a few seconds then a spill, sometimes longer as they rode the wave all the way in.  When they reached the coast, Justin would turn around and march back through the surf … ready to give it another go.  He was brave and confident and happy on the water.

Here are a couple pics I captured of Justin out on the water.  John Wright did the official pics and they should be posted soon.  Here’s his FB Page Link

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And here is a mesh of a few other pics I captured from the 1-2:30 slot on Saturday, Aug 15th.  (just click on the image to see the full image … the preview will just show a part).  Still trying out this new photo gallery, Mesh, to see what I think …

Thanks to Izzy Paskowitz for realizing that water helped your son, and growing a program to extend it to the global autism community.  We are so grateful!

Close Up – Tree Bark & A Poem

I couldn’t help but pair one of my favorite poems with this image.

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Hiking in Virginia

On Stripping Bark from Myself, by Alice Walker

Because women are expected to keep silent about
their close escapes I will not keep silent
and if I am destroyed (naked tree) someone will
please
mark the spot
where I fall and know I could not live
hearing their “how nice she is!”
whose adoration of the retouched image
I so despise.

No. I am finished with living
for what my mother believes
for what my brother and father defend
for what my lover elevates
for what my sister, blushing, denies or rushes
to embrace.

I find my own
small person
a standing self
against the world
an equality of wills
I have lived to understand.

Besides:

My struggle was always against
an inner darkness: I carry within myself
the only known keys
to my death – to unlock life, or close it shut
forever. A woman who loves wood grains, the colour
yellow
and the sun, I am happy to fight
all outside murderers
as I see I must.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/close-up/

Key West, FL

Beneath Your Feet – Exploration Pics

Which of your photos capture you at your most relaxed, the relaxation or exploration shots?  Well that’s what I went to explore today …

Stumbled upon a photography prompt this week to post a picture of the ground ‘beneath your feet’ – or any variation on that idea that might inspire us.  I was noodling through my pics and remembered several pics that I had taken – out on a hike, on a kayak, by the lake, that all had my toes peeking onto the bottom of the picture.  Bit of a trend, seemed funny at the time.  But as I think about it … every one of those are me in anti-work mode.  I am out and about, wandering and exploring.  Or relaxing with my feet up (and that’s so rare a picture is required as proof!) :-)   I guess, in a tiny way, for me the pics celebrate getting out of my head (and work mode) and enjoying the physical world.  All great memories!

And apparently I have no in-betweens … its boots or barefoot!

Enjoy other great fotos from the Beneath Your Feet challenge at: Link

…before they close forever …

Quote from Anthony Doerr, from the novel All The Light We Cannot See

My friends and family all know how much I love to travel.  To explore, to discover new things, to have adventures, and to share what I pick up along the way with others!  I just can’t get enough of it.  On the flight home from New Orleans I read the quote above: “Open your eyes and see all you can, before they close forever.”   And that’s it in the end – we are gifted with just a finite amount of time on this earth, and I can only hope to see, hear and experience life richly and to make an impact with the gifts and time I am given.

Sometimes we read things that just strike a chord with what’s on our mind or our heart.  Today this was it for me.   Find beauty.  Connect deeply.  Make an impact.  Love life.

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Summer Vacation – NOLA Satchmo Summerfest

There always seems to be a great festival or concert going on in New Orleans, and this trip was no exception – it was the weekend of the Satchmo Summerfest.  And the great musical traditions of Louis Armstrong live on in his hometown!  The event featured many different traditional jazz and brass bands playing on the grounds of the Old U.S. Mint just off the French Market.

We saw some great bands – my favorite was the Paulin Brothers Jazz Band.  I loved the stories they told about growing up in New Orleans in a musical family and how much jazz music was a part of their life.  Forgot to take a video – but here’s a YouTube clip of them:

Between performances, the NOLA Jitterbugs taught dance lessons, and encouraged the crowd to dance during the performances – which they did.  It was as much fun to watch the dancers as to hear the terrific music :-)   Something about swing dancing just makes me smile – it seems so happy and so free.  There was a dad out there teaching his little girls to dance, couples of all ages sowing off their great dance moves, and some colorful characters too!

We were loving the great dance moves!

Fun afternoon in NOLA!