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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Well, Hawaii was a blast. I mean, like there’s any other way to describe something so close to paradise. I will say, however, as much as I thought that I was going to be fine in the heat and humidity, I was actually a little overheated a few times. When I had gone there before, it was at Oahu, and it rained a lot. Not a very hard rain, of course, but enough that it actually cooled me down quite a bit.

This time we were at Kona, and while it was still a ton of fun, the side of the island we were on really doesn’t get much more rain than we do in Central Oregon. (Which isn’t much at all.) The muggy humidity and lack of rain got to me a few times, but thankfully it wasn’t too bad overall. I guzzled water like a freaking camel and never went anywhere without my trusty 32 oz. HydroFlask.

We packed a lot into just a few short days, so Brother and I were pretty tired by the time we got home. But we got to see the tallest waterfall on the island, watch a live volcano, and go inside the oldest church on the island. We drove all around and saw a lot of different scenery. Plus our last day there, we got to spend the whole day at one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen in my life. We made definite plans to go back someday, and now we have a better idea of what to do there and where we want to spend more time.

I didn’t get quite as many photos as I had hoped for, but I was still able to get some decent ones. Even a few that I will be able to use for marketing purposes.

Which brings me to my announcement.

I’m super excited (and a little bit scared) to introduce my latest project, Hawk’s Haven Photography and Design. Any of you who have read my book, Prince of Light, might recognize the name Hawk’s Haven. It’s actually a family name. My grandparents used to own this little one-bedroom cabin by a lake. There was no running water, no electricity, and nothing but a wood stove for warmth. But multiple members of the family used it for vacations (and even a couple of honeymoons). I was quite young when we used to go there, but I still have fond memories of it. We went there to get away from the stress of everyday life and just enjoy nature. Thus when I decided to pursue landscape/nature photography and use my photos for home decor, it felt like a fitting tribute to the name.

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Photo taken at the top of Black Crater in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. Design by yours truly.

I’m so excited for this, guys. I’m still a writer and always will be. I’m also still working hard on book two of the Prince of Light series.

But there were a series of hardships I had to endure before I could continue working on that particular series. I know some of my followers have been here for a little while, and while I’m not sure exactly how many read my blog on a regular basis, they might have noticed some changes over the last year or so. I won’t go into details for the sake of the people involved, but last summer, I ended my marriage. In fact, this month has been a bit surreal for me, because the paperwork was finalized last October. It’s been almost one year exactly.

Believe me, you never think that you’re going to contribute to that statistic until you do. I never imagined that I would end up divorced. I mean, it’s not like you go into marriage with that mindset. I certainly didn’t. But the situation was an abusive one, and it wasn’t changing despite many efforts and time in counseling. Needless to say, writing a romantic storyline wasn’t exactly number one on my priorities, which is why the Prince of Light series had to take a hiatus.

For the most part, I feel strong. I don’t hate men, and I don’t hate my ex. I forgave him a long time ago. Unfortunately, this was the necessary path for both of us, but I believe we will both be better for it. I have amazing family support and a brilliant church family that I can’t praise enough. I am BLESSED. It’s hard to work through some of the emotional things that come from enduring something like this. Yes, I have moments where I feel like a failure. Moments where I feel like damaged goods. Anyone who has been through this can attest to that. But they’re just moments. I know who I am, and I know what I’ve been called to do. And I’m ready to start writing again.

Part of my healing has come from starting Hawk’s Haven Photography and Design. I’m narrowing down exactly which products I enjoy working on the most, and I’m always looking to improve my craft. This has been my dream since I was in my early twenties, and to finally be able to make it a reality is amazing.

And the best part? It’s a brand-new season and a fresh start.

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Sneak peek at a design not yet available on my site. Lucky you!

Thanks for all the support, dear readers. I’m still going to post on a regular basis, but hopefully you won’t mind seeing some occasional pic-spam from my other projects. Plus, I’m always looking for good quotes that are public domain, so if you think of any that would look good as a print or greeting card, leave a comment.

Be blessed!

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Montana

Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve been privileged enough to visit quite a few places. Oh, not nearly as many as some people, I know. I’ve only been out of the country once, and that was to Canada. (Though both Vancouver and Victoria were lovely places to see, especially Victoria. Gorgeous gardens there.) But I’ve now seen a handful of states, especially here on the west coast. There’s always been something special and unique about each place, something I’ve enjoyed. I loved the tropical climates of Florida and Hawaii, the warm winters of Sacramento, the lush forests of Washington, even the strange desert beauty of Nevada. But no matter how wondrous the location, Oregon always felt like home.

I’ve been all over Oregon, from corner to corner, and while I like some places better than others, for the most part I enjoy the state as a whole. We have the beauty of the coast, lush forests and farmland, high desert, mountains, plains…pretty much something for everyone. I was always very particular to my home state, and I never thought that I would really want to leave it.

And then in May I visited western Montana.

Holy. Moly. Granted, we have some pretty beautiful mountains in Oregon. The Cascades run down the western side of the state, not too far from the coastal range. There are some pretty decent peaks, the highest of my region being Mt. Hood. Lots of skiing, hiking, and rock climbing for those who like that sort of thing. In fact, it was my favorite range that I’d yet seen…until the Rockies.

Husband and I covered quite a bit of ground on western Montana. We originally came through Coeur d’Alene, ID, which is nestled right at the base of the mountains. After staying the night there, we continued on into the heart of the amazing Rockies. I originally wrote on FB that what was so impressive about the Rocky Mountains wasn’t so much their elevation as how MANY of them there were. I mean, we had been driving for nearly three hours and were still surrounded by mountains.

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Well, I quickly had to backtrack when we finally crossed through them and ended up approaching from the other side. After seeing the icy tops of Glacier National Park, I realized that perhaps their elevation WAS rather impressive.

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We traveled through Missoula a couple of times, stayed one night in Butte, and saw a fairly good amount of the mountains as we headed south to Yellowstone National Park.

Thus I have a confession. For the first time in my life, I saw another state as home. (Don’t hate me, dear Oregon!) Those snow-capped peaks and seemingly endless rows of forest absolutely captured my heart. They are simply stunning, and I found myself reluctant to leave, even after only a week. Yes, it rained several days while we were there, and no, I would not like driving in the snow.

But I fell in love with those mountains, and I truly hope someday to go back there, perhaps even permanently.

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While I love to travel, I don’t always get a chance to do so as often as I’d like. (You know, that whole “not-having-money-unless-I-go-to-work” thing.) But every once in a blue moon, we get to go on a fun road trip and see something new. We went to a leadership conference put on by the Calvary Chapel in Boise, Idaho last year and it was really good. So when we were offered a chance to go again this year (for free, no less!) we said “Heck, yeah!”

Honestly, it was the first time that I’d ever been to Idaho. I’d never driven that far east before. I’ve traveled all over Oregon, my home state. I’m probably a bit biased since I was born and raised here, but I do happen to think we have one of the most beautiful states out there. (I mention that I’m biased because I’ve only ever visited 5 states here in the U.S. in my entire 27 years of existence. Sad, I know.) Other states have beautiful attributes, but Oregon has something special. It goes from the dry, high desert to the fertile, lush valley. It has a coastline that’s almost always worthy of photographing. There are plains, mountains, valleys, beaches and even large(ish) cities, for those who don’t care for nature. Of course, to see all of this you have to drive several hours, but the views are worth it.

Everything’s so green right now! Fields and grass aplenty! I actually hadn’t traveled through Eastern Oregon hardly at all. North, south, central, west…those I know pretty darn well. But east? Not so much.

We spent two nights there. The hotel was pretty nice, though I have decided that hotels in general don’t regard short people who have to put on makeup in the morning. They are notorious for installing large, obnoxious counters that helpless 5’2″ shorties like myself have a most difficult time reaching across. I can’t see what I’m doing from five feet away, so I have lean over, using all of the muscles in my lower back to hold myself upright whilst I line my eyes, lengthen my lashes, etc. Not to mention the lighting always sucketh. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put on my makeup in a bathroom not my own and thought that I was looking okay, only to step out into the harsh sunlight and realize the error of my judgment. What was hidden by bad lighting is now horribly exposed in the unforgiving sun.

But I digress. Apart from a slight pain in my lower back from too much counter leaning, the trip was most pleasant and quite fun.

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It’s a love-hate relationship between humidity and my hair. On the one hand, my hair feels so amazingly soft that I love it. On the other hand, the added moisture apparently gives it license to do whatever the heck it wants. I give it an inch and it takes a mile.

We traveled to Vancouver, WA this weekend for a family wedding (pictures to follow) and I tried to curl my hair for the event, only to have it end up a rather half-hearted attempt in the end. Most of the time my hair is really easy to maintain. If I curl it in the morning, it stays curly all day long. If I straighten it, same thing. However, when there’s any moisture in the air, my hair becomes this half-wavy, half-straight hot mess. I guess I just haven’t been in that kind of environment long enough to know how to handle it. I’ve only ever visited places like that. Our climate is extremely dry.

Sometimes I wish I lived someplace nice and humid. It’s always so green and beautiful. But I think the rain would eventually drive me crazy. Having grown up in the high desert, where the sun shines the majority of the time, I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t see it on a regular basis. It makes me happy. I like to be happy.

I think I need to look into nature photography. Then I could travel to all of the beautiful, humid places I want to visit and have a legitimate excuse. I love to take pictures, but most of all I love to manipulate pictures. Photoshop is seriously like crack to me. I could sit there for hours (and have, actually) working on just one picture.

I need more hours in the day. I’m not able to do the things that I love to do because the persistent problem of money, darn it. Hence why I’m looking at publishing my book. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to quit my day job, but part-time would be nice. Very, very nice.

*sigh*

What would life be like without dreams, I wonder? 😉

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