it comes from inside.

So of course, I was always meant to live by the ocean.

I thought any town not within walking distance was off my radar.

All I wanted, all my life, was a small clapboard cottage, with a garden, on the beach.

 I thought it might go something like this,

I would mind my own business and I thought it'd be great if everyone else did the same.

I wanted surf and sand seven days out of seven. and when I say surf and sand, I meant mine.

I wanted it to be just me, just my people, my friends, just my own garden, my puppies, my own beach roses and my own clean fences (make them white picket please).

I wanted the simple life.

Imagine my surprise when I got all of those things and realized it was only part of the story.

I don't remember exactly what I thought moving back to my home town would be like, but I knew it would be a tight fit. I could do it, I could suffer for the cause (what exactly was the cause I had yet to find out) but I would do it happy. There'd be no more pictures to take. The ocean that surrounded me like a hug would be long gone.

Noise, yep, there'd be lots of noise. And people. Way too many people.

It wouldn't be pretty.
It turns out, I was right about the noise. Wrong about the people. I landed somewhere out in the deep end, and decided to stay. Because these are some of my people. They are newish additions and most of my youth. They shape me and encourage me.

We make floats together and don't bat an eye when we all dress like hippies. I love them. I hope they love me back. We get together and stay until the sun hikes down past the edges. We stay 'til talk of the past makes us mellow and nostalgic. we laugh together like we really mean it. We stay until the air is thick and hushed, until our shadows cast love on the walls. We stay while the music slows and the glasses are empty. We stay because all of us, every one of us, needs these times. We needed them then, and even more so now. Because as Summer 2013 winds up, this is another memory we'll carry with us. There will be a next time and it might involve sweatpants, a few more wrinkles and the everyday celebrations. We'll hold it just as fiercely as the fancy, seeing the wonder in the simple and abundant gift of friendship, the coming together of all of our different hearts to walk together through all our come-what-mays. old friends rock. they just do. they help to weave the past and present into a secure fabric for the future.

and the beauty. It turns out, the rumble of a train late at night is an excellent stand in for breaking waves. and a mid-west garden is just as beautiful as a quite line of palm trees or nights spent turned inward. But I'm a complicated girl, and in spite of all this wonder, my head is tilt-a-whirling and my heart is beating hard.

I still have the urge to retreat to the ocean, where the clock ticks slower and the cookies never burn. I framed the idea of peaceful solitude in my mind and nailed it to my heart. I equate stillness with rest and rest with the sea. I believe in my soul that I will find more peace between walks on a sandy beach, watching my beach towel flap in the breeze than on a city sidewalk.

I didn't know that I would also find it in the faces and the scars. right here.
I didn't know what I didn't know.
It seems pretty dang obvious now.

My heart at the moment is in this place, because this is where I am, right now. I feel it stronger here. I watch everyday turn from heartache. I turn away, knowing that I need a break. feel that old familiar pang of guilt, showing my messed up heart, but I keep on loving anyway. 

The truth was never hidden in the salt water or the pain, but in the life I lead. I see it all, but I can't trust it until I do it for myself.

What I know now is that beauty is everywhere. Coast lines and horizons don't own the rights. It is painted on the side of barns and abandoned buildings. It's etched in brick and sprayed on steel. You take it with you, it comes from inside.

So, I bask in it. I delight in it. I take thousands of photos, because there is more beauty than I can handle, and because the light keeps dancing around. My mind isn't enough for the memorizing. I don't have to look past the waves to find it. This life is the gift. Where blessings are multiplied, so is the love. And that's everything. This is the simple life, where I strive not to be immune to being impressed, where the hardest work required of me is the opening of a door. I find myself thinking a lot about what "home" really means. Only lately have I caught a glimpse of its truest heart.

Somewhere around the time we moved into our new home things got hectic and messy and before I knew it, I was hosting parties without having my crap together. I was answering the door with no mascara and putting my friends to work. It started to not matter so much if the floor was dusty or the burgers were burned. It was just the being together that mattered.

It seemed like the best way to roll, at least on some days. I still harbor the propensity to over-fluff on occasion.

Friends and life are like salt and pepper, baby. They're locked at the elbows.

Life doesn't care about the details. Friends are happy to lend a hand. It isn't about impressing them, it's about opening the door into your world ~ the place where you live. It's all of it, whether it falls on one of the glitzy days or one of the yoga pants ones.

It's fully welcoming. Completely at ease. It's shoes on the carpet or feet on the coffee table. It's chips and salsa out of the bag. wine served in a juice glass.

Sometimes, red solo cups collide with the fine china.

And you feel the love down to your toes. 


Avocado Caprese Wrap
serves 4

4 whole wheat tortillas
1 cup arugula leaves
12 ounces fresh mozzarella or buffalo mozzarella (2 packaged balls), sliced
4 small tomatoes, sliced (I prefer home grown or Campari)
2 Avocados from Mexico, peeled, pitted and sliced
30 large basil leaves
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lay the tortillas on a flat surface and arrange ¼ cup of the arugula on the bottom ⅓ of the tortilla. Arrange 3-4 slices of mozzarella on top of the arugula, then a few tomato slices and then avocado slices. Top with 5-6 basil leaves and then drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Starting at the bottom, roll each tortilla tightly tucking in the filling as you roll towards the top. Cut in half, seam side down, and serve.


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