Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Happiness Begins The Moment You Decide

Since I turned 50, I seem to be drawn toward one main theme--authenticity.  A similar thing happened at 30, but it's even stronger now.  I've heard from many women that it only strengthens with each consecutive decade.  We become older, freer, and more our true selves.

I used to feel bad about all the wasted years not really strong in who I was, or fully accepting of myself, but it is all part of the human experience.  Those younger years, you're trying to conform--or conform by not conforming, but at your core, you're looking to belong--to grow into the adult world and find a way to survive in it.  As you get older, society cares less about you, and you care less about society.  You've lived life--found what's most important--gravitated to what's most true and fulfilling--and let the other bull crap fall away.

Year by year, it gets easier and easier and easier.


I came out as a cigar smoker at 30 years old, and have continued the love affair ever since--whiskey and scotch, too.  Apparently, I've passed that love of cigars (and whiskey) on to my children (above).

I also love hanging with family. I love the great outdoors--especially the Northwest USA. I love Lake Roosevelt--which is actually the big old Columbia River that lies between two dams.  You all know I love my horses--that goes without saying. I've come to love my curly hair, and I took the opportunity, this last vacation, to allow it full rein--crazy bangs and all.  And, I love wine.

Our annual family vacation to Lake Roosevelt accomplished almost all of those things, and it's one anyone can do.  You can camp out on the beaches along the 150 mile stretch--or you can rent a house boat with 5 bedrooms, a hot tub, kitchen, bbq, shower and all the amenities.  We rented a house overlooking the beach (You can't own land along the beach) and stored our boat and waverunners in slips at the Seven Bays Marina.  We spent all day on the water and, at the end of every day, returned to the rental home to make dinner and play board games.

The landscape along Lake Roosevelt will take your breath away, over and over and over.

(That speck you see is my husband on his waverunner.)

Like the large "white rock" (above)--the namesake for Whitestone Winery--now called Lake Roosevelt Wine Company.  It's the only vineyard on the south side of Lake Roosevelt, and all of their, red only, wines are estate grown. They're open on Saturday and Sunday for tastings, food, and music.

You drive your boat up to the beach

And, a driver in a 4-wheeler is waiting to pick you up and take you up the very steep mountain side. If he somehow missed your arrival, there is a walkie talkie waiting for you to call up the mountain and let them know you. have. arrived!

The winery is a quaint little yurt overlooking the Columbia Valley and Columbia River.

There is live music

and food

Lawn games

and, of course, wonderful red wines. We bought one for lunch and two--the Cab and the Merlot-- for the remaining two evenings of our vacation. They were delicious.  You can read about this rare vineyard here in this excellent article "Clusters Along the Columbia."  It's the only one like it in the Columbia Valley.

Every moment of this vacation was so perfect, my heart ached when it ended.  There was so much happiness--and everyone pitched in for all the cooking and cleaning--it just seemed so easy and...relaxing.

I saw that quote I began this post with on Facebook this morning, and it hit me that, yes, beauty begins when you to decide to be yourself, but more importantly, happiness does, too.

This picture was taken the last night.  We went in to have dinner, but then decided to go back out, smoke a cigar, drink our Wolfhound Irish Whiskey and float under the setting sun and sliver moon, waiting for the stars, which my husband promised us would be brighter than we've ever seen.

For some reason, it sums up how I feel right now.


  1. I love how you described the change as we age -- the caring less about "fitting in" and caring more about being authentic. It was in my mid-50s that I stopped coloring my hair. Your family vacation sounds very much like ours. Next year, in addition to the extended family vacation, we are going to rent a beach house for our family -- Brett and I plus my kids and their significant others. They are the core group that I most love to hang out with.

    1. You will have so much fun when you do that. Our little nuclear families get bigger and bigger with significant others and then grandkids. My husband and I have a combined family and just his side now is 4 kids, 4 spouses, and 12 grandkids--so 20 people--22 with us. In order to spend quality time with each set, we have two summer vacations--one with my kids and one with his. So far, it's working out great. Life is short, no matter how long you live, and these moments are precious.

  2. It all sounds just about perfect! I'm taking a few well-deserved and long-awaited days off from work this week and next. No grand plans, just going to relax and enjoy not having to go to work. Maybe spend a couple nights at the beach and ??? My father in-law was a cigar smoker too. Me? I enjoy a few hits from my pipe every now and then, especially when in nature. Authenticity is the BEST! We all struggle with it when we're young, and hopefully throw those shackles off as we age. You did put it perfectly.

    1. I love a good pipe, too! It has been a while since I lit mine up. Enjoy that vacation--sometimes the simpler ones are the best!!

  3. Good looking crew. Interesting none of them got your beautiful dark curly locks. Your kids must think you are the coolest mom ever! We like whiskey too, Jack is our friend. I've never been on a house boat, let alone vacation on one. I would absolutely LOVE it, but getting my hubby to agree would prove difficult. He isn't a water loving guy. Had to chuckle at the photo of your family lined up waiting for the four wheeler, your hubby looks like mine does when I stop everything so I can take yet another picture :))) Such a gorgeous area! Great revelations. Love how you live life large!!

    1. My husband wasn't happy at that moment--you are quite right. I tried not to take many pictures, but the winery adventure was one I really wanted to share to get the word out about it. Cheers to good whiskey!

  4. Looks like a beautiful spot and you sure have great weather for your getaway. When I was checking on Belle last night I had to stop and look at the sky, "and stood there amazed"... with a big smile. So beautiful and bright.

    1. Oh, the sky, the sky. It can still take my breath away night after night.

  5. Awesome! And thanks, I needed that :-)


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.