This is the ‘camp’ that Fred (my dad) built - when he was 18 years old. Each summer I reflect back on my barefoot week of unstructured peace and fresh air, during the three hour drive home.
He purchased two lots with his savings while earning $35/week, and the paperback book “How To Build A Log Cabin”. We found the book and his log of all his costs including every pound of nails he bought along with his guidebook. My dad and a couple buddies who all worked long hours in family businesses Monday through Saturday, would drive up from Boston to Ossipee, NH after work on Saturday evenings. The story is they would all start getting sleepy in Ossipee and couldn’t make it to North Conway so he looked for land there. They knew at 18 years old that they needed balance in their lives and a day of rest was deserved and critical.
First year they dug and built the foundation as well as the well, next year the studs and the third year they closed it in and built the sturdy beds simply made of 2 by 4s. His sister ‘Honey’, a paraplegic from an auto accident at 19 years old, would go up and cook for the guys, paint and swim in the lake. She was an accomplished artist - a housewarming painting of a ‘ski bunny’ she painted for him hangs on the wall to this day.
Growing up we spent winter breaks and Sundays skiing at Mt. Whittier together. Two weeks every summer were spent swimming, boating and waterskiing with our cousins, and our parent’s friends and their children. Adults in the cabin and the kids in a giant canvas tent in the pine grove clearing. Great summer memories with days in the water, s’mores at night with a marshmallow toasted golden on the tip of a twig whittled to a point, then playing Uno or Monopoly and falling asleep in the tent hearing the adults play charades and dancing the night away with a turntable... No radio or television to this day - and no one misses it! Every 4th of July we would set afloat ‘wish boats’ made of a piece of scrap wood with the remains of a candle stub melted and standing on it, make a wish and set it off the shore at sunset. This year we watched others across the lake send off their version of our wish boats with candle-lit lanterns floating into the black night, appearing to join the thousands of twinkling stars.
With only one addition/renovation in 2009, adding a second floor master bedroom, my siblings, our kids and now their grandchildren have spent every summer at this log cabin in the same camp as we did, with different friends and relatives joining us each summer to continue the tradition of sharing the gift he built. Still swimming, paddling and skiing, napping in the hammock and cooking s’mores over the fire pit after dinner, followed by a board game or working on the latest puzzle. Little did my dad know the legacy he built 72 years ago as a teenager, would become the relaxing tradition of barefoot, lake living and togetherness that now spans four generations.
As I reflect on what makes this week so special each summer, I think of ways to bring this piece of heaven home with me, to carry pieces of the behaviors of this legacy into my life for the next year-
* Noticing nature
* Morning coffee on the deck with gratitude
* Time with loved ones
* Moving each day naturally (walking the dog, kayaking, hiking, paddle boarding, cycling, waterskiing)
* Socializing in a relaxed manner
* Daily nap
* Sleeping 8+ hours
* Preparing fresh food and eating together
* Games and puzzles
* Technology break
* Walking barefoot
* Unscheduled - period
* Evening dog walk
I look at what I love about 'camp' and realize they are all what put our life in balance. Socialization. Movement. Simple unprocessed food. Rest. We can all fall asleep with the window open, waking to the call of a bird to it’s mate. It may not be a loon’s call echoing across an early morning glass-like lake, but we can still practice presence and lay there quietly, taking deep slow breaths while tuning in to the breeze drifting through the window and unique calls outside our walls for a minute or two before we rise. Maybe we take five minutes (or get up 5 minutes earlier) to slowly sip a cup of hot lemon water, coffee or tea while reading a devotional or writing down our morning thoughts, prayers and gratitudes before beginning our day? How about setting up a puzzle table and see if it doesn’t draw in family or friends - if only for 15 minutes breaks. Why are meals so special on vacation? Is it the family meals? Eating with friends? Simple fresh food? The many hands helping out to cook and clean up? Why don’t we have a pasta night or taco night with another family each week - and use paper plates? It would be a fun social time, inexpensive and easy clean up - a one hour camp moment each week! Why do we convince ourselves that we have to stay up so late working on our computers when half of it is social media? Maybe we can get to bed earlier so that we get those 8 critical hours of sleep each night, and then have energy to actually socialize with humans on the weekend - just like at 'camp'. What about shutting off the television and reading a book with a cup of Bedtime tea instead of gazing at the ‘blue light’ the last hour of our night before bed?
What makes your vacations special and how can you carry little ‘vacation breaks and treasures’ with you throughout the year? Can you find ways to balance your life with mini breaks in your day and week? Share how you find ways to carry the peace of vacations into your weekly schedule?
I began my HOLISTIC journey into FUNCTIONAL medicine by default, as a patient and parent seeking personal knowledge and the best care for my children, while looking for the cause of my constant exhaustion, overall pain, brain fog and digestive issues. It is very difficult for traditional western physicians to dig deep when they are restricted to ten minute appointments, but I needed to know how I had gotten to this point and how to dig my way out. I was willing to do the work and preferred to try a more natural route first. I hated the 'band-aid' prescriptions typically handed out for symptoms, and felt there had to be a root cause of my issues that weren't being looked at. I was an avid gardener with backyard chickens growing organic vegetables for my family. I had enjoyed walking, hiking and practicing yoga for the past 25 years, but barely had energy for any of it. I knew 40's and 50's was still young(!) and I shouldn't feel this way. As a special education advocate for the past 20 years I knew being PROACTIVE was the only route to success. I was seeking WELLNESS medicine.
I'm a researcher by nature. In 2013 I decided to leave my marketing career in my family's business after 30 years and FOCUS on my daughter's and my health. I was discovering my preferred holistic approach to life was taking a step further - looking at NATURE through scientific, peer-reviewed research; viewing the whole body as an integrated, functioning system, with root causes for most dis-ease. After listening to my gut (literally the second brain) and tuning into my body, with the help from a knowledgeable nurse practitioner and physician, I began to heal my body and got my life back - COMPLETELY. During my research and healing I discovered the Institute for Integrative Nutrition* and after a year of intensive training I attained certification as an Integrative Nutrition* Health Coach; then continued another nine months focusing on the MICROBIOME, the Mind-Body-Gut connection - our 'second brain'.
I discovered exercise, managing stress, being spirituality centered, eliminating environmental/personal care toxins, and engaging in meaningful relationships were just as important as the organic food I had always grown and cooked. AND, the latest diet that worked for someone else, just might not be best for MY body, or the next person's bio-individuality*. I learned that gut microbiome is critical to our wellness, and the unbalance caused by many treatments is the cause of many issues, which can be restored. I am now coaching clients to become attuned to their bodies and create a lifestyle that fuels wellness.
I have always been an advocate for people struggling. I LOVE helping others and feel the purpose of my TWO decade journey was to help others rediscover their health, happiness, and peace. Today I am pain-free, healthier than I have been in 20 years, and have more energy than ever after focusing on my WHOLE health.
We all should be drinking 8-10 cups of water a day,... and fruit juice, soda or coffee doesn’t count. If it’s a hot day and you’re outside, or you are vigorously exercising, bump it up another 50%! The problem is accurately keeping track of how many glasses we have drank without using an app. I have found in the evening if my voice is hoarse or my skin feels dry, I know I am woefully behind my 8-10 cups of water consumption.
When the body is dehydrated your entire system is dehydrated. Ever noticed the leaves on a plant when it’s thirsty? They are wilted. My cactus actually shrivels up. Our system do the same. Try gettting a blood draw when you’re dehydrated, the phlebotomist will not be able to find your vein. Our skin dries, our brain shrivels, kidney stones can form and bacteria can build up causing UTIs. Dehydration can affect blood pressure and brain fog as well as make you believe you are hungry when you’re actually thirsty, so drink up!
What is my simple app-free method? I love my Beautycounter S’well bottle. First of all, it’s a 2 cup capacity - 5 bottles seems more attainable than 10 cups, and it doesn’t sweat so I don’t have to worry about it when I have it in my tote next to my iPad. Second, they come in all kinds of great designs! In the morning I put five rubber bands at the top, as I empty the S’well I slip a band down to the bottom of the bottle and refill the bottle. Each time I drain the bottle I slip another band down to the bottom. At a glance I can see how I’m doing during the day. The last thing I want is to try playing catch up at night, as I’ll be up every couple of hours and interrupting my sleep. Goal: Have every band at the base before bedtime - if not by 7PM! Do you find it hard to keep track of how much you’re drinking?
Organic gardener, whole-food, plant-based cook. Educator and advocate for healthy, toxin-free living. Wife and mom, sister and daughter. Service-minded Rotarian. Photographer. Storyteller.