“We must go ahead and see for ourselves” – Jacques Cousteau
As yet another year draws to a close it is hard not to anticipate the year ahead. For me, the year ahead comes with deep, dark apprehension as we bring in a leader whose policies on everything I stand for frighten me. Our planet, our rights, our tolerance and acceptance of others, and our relationships with powers in the world. The election was a very dark day for me. I have tried desperately to understand but it is impossible. Instead, I will focus my efforts as I always have in the past: Continuing to use my voice to advocate for the voiceless and stand up for my beliefs. I refuse to be silenced.
I will continue to live in the moment and practice gratitude for every blessing I have: My family, my health, my freedom, my ability to follow my dreams and my quest to make a difference in the world even if it is small. Everything counts – perhaps more than ever before.
As we move into full blown winter, I end my post with some of my favorite captures of nature at its best. These were all taken last week as winter finally arrived full force into Minnesota. I don’t recall ever seeing such a surreal sight. We had a huge snowfall and then suddenly the temperature dropped to a mind numbing -24 F wind chill. The lake had not yet frozen over so in the morning steam was rising from the open water into the sunlight.
I layered up in two pairs of long underwear, two face masks, wool socks and hat and went on a run around my favorite urban lake. I admit that the first five minutes were bone chilling cold yet as I rounded the corner and saw this unearthly view it was worth it. All the darkness lifted and an enormous smile of gratitude crossed my frozen face. There is so much beauty in the world if only we can see it, breathe it, feel it and embrace it.
“Our way is not soft grass, it’s a mountain path with lots of rocks. But it goes upwards, forward, toward the sun.” – Ruth Westheimer
“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” – Louis L’Amour
“The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations”. – Anais Nin
“The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” – Chinese proverb
Over the next couple of weeks, I look forward to seeing my family over the holidays and welcoming in the new year with an exciting adventure. I’m off to Costa Rica to a new adventure. Stay tuned…
This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Anticipation.
Nicole! excellent shots…I suppose they must have been shot with your smartphone! These are so refreshing!
I always believe that you don’t need to travel if you can marvel at the natural beauty around your home. Not to be misunderstood with the reason for not travelling. But being able to appreciate natural beauty everyday is a bliss, which some are not entitled to….some are unaware…and rest don’t bother.
And you’re lucky, Nicole! Enjoy the festivities!
Thanks my friend. Yes they were shot with my iPhone. Many I do with Instagram post processing are as I always have it with me and it is easiest. There is truly a ton of beauty around me here at home and afar. Thanks so much for the comment! Happy New Year!
Beautiful pics dear
Do visit my blog dear
Beautiful thought provoking posts! Thanks for sharing!
Plz follow if you like my post
i enjoyed by reading your site.i too a great lover of nature.so nice
Your diligence was rewarded with beautiful shots, Nicole. Take heart. No one wants to silence you; your voice will not only be heard, but still welcomed. Enjoy this Christmas season with your family and anticipate the new joys of the upcoming year. There will be many.
Oh thanks Janet. Sometimes I feel we live in such a scary world. I felt like the election really showed how people can be when people differ on strong opinions and beliefs. I’m so grateful that I have a safe place and home here online where I can share my thoughts and feelings. I have never been threatened or bullied. Unlike so many other women I know in journalism and blogging (one famous blogger was getting death threats for writing about her adopted children of color). It is a scary world out there but alas there are still many wonderful, carrying people. Happy New Year and Merry Christmas to you! 🙂
These pictures are absolutely stunning! Indeed, we are always surrounded by beauty and we need to open our eyes and heart to truly appreciate what surrounds us each and every day!
The best way to brace the new year is with a positive mindset and a grateful heart as in your post 🙂
Thank you so much! I truly appreciate it. Yes there is no use being negative. It is best to embrace life and go full force ahead!
Glorious photos Nicole. Merry merry to you and your family. As you say, there is beauty all around us. And love to as long as we give it away.
Oh thank you dear Alison! Happy Holidays and New Year to you and Don. I loved your past post on the two of you and how you met. It was wonderful.
Have a great Christmas and an adventure-filled New Year, Nicole!
Thanks Lexi! You too! can’t wait to hear about Cuba. I can’t remember if you’ve been there or not. I really really loved Cuba and would love to go back.
Have not been yet – very psyched to go!
You will love it Lexi! Are you going with a company?
No – totally on our own. Did all the arrangements ourselves.
Wonderful! Have a great time!
Excellent advice, Nicole. Happy holidays!
Thanks Debbie! Happy Holidays to you too!
Fantastische stimmungsvolle Bilder. Danke für’s zeigen. Ich wünsche Dir ein frohes Weihnachtsfest.
Thank you for your positivism in the face of your disappointment and anxiety regarding your country’s impending change of leadership, which I totally share. As you say, we have to maintain our hope and go about our normal daily duties with optimism.
Yes there is no use sulking but there is use fighting for what my beliefs are. Thanks for the support. 🙂
Your blog and wonderful photos always a standout above the rest, Nicole. Your living with such intent, inspirational.
Your blog posts and wonderful photos always a standout, Nicole. Your living with intent, inspirational.
Thank you Ruth for this lovely comment! 🙂 You made my day!
Your photos so beautiful
Thank you so much! I have over 15,000 photos now on my blog! Been blogging six years now!
Aww thank you so much.
Wishing you all the best Nicole and looking forward to Costa Rica!
Thanks Sue! You too!
Season’s greetings! Happy holidays! Stay Blessed!
Thank you! Season’s greetings to you as well!
Amazing photos. Thanks for sharing. We are considering Costa Rica next year, so I look forward to an update.
Thanks! I am sure I will be blogging a lot about the trip when I get back. 🙂
The photos are beautiful, Nicole, but I don’t envy you those temperatures. It’s turned cold here too but not below zero yet. Whatever is around the corner, I wish you joy this Christmas. 🙂
We are used to the cold Jo so that actually makes it easier. As long as you dress appropriately you are fine even in the real extreme temperatures. It has warmed up a ton so it is gorgeous. 🙂
A spectacular and moving post Nicole. I can see that “smile of gratitude” 🙂 Have a wonderful time with your family over the holidays and I look forward to reading all about your adventures in Costa Rica. Warmest wishes and a Happy New Year.
Thank you Andrew! Happy New Year!
What beautiful photos Nicole! I wish you and your family much joy this holiday season and many blessings in the new year.
Thank you LuAnn! You too!
Definitely fantabulously worth it!!!
Thanks! Happy New Year!
Your photos are stunning
Thank you so much!
Amazing photos. I am so glad that I found your blog.
Thank you so much and welcome!
Amazing photos thanks for sharing!
I am one of the newest bloggers, Do check out my blog to know what is it about. I hope you have a good time, Thank you! 😊
Thank you so much! Yes I will try to check out your blog soon. Just got home from vacation. Appreciate you stopping by!
Thank you so much 😊
Your capture of the winter fog is beautifully refreshing. Sunlight always sheds different light in the winter with its low angles.
People like you with a positive outlook can be the sunshine on our political winter. Stay true to your beliefs and stay active. Our government works best on debate and participatory constituency.
Happy New Year!
Thank you for the beautiful words of inspiration and for stopping by my blog. I truly appreciate it! Happy New Year to you too!
Your photos have an interesting combination of themes – vast openness coupled with a sense of danger within the unknown. Nice job.
Thank you so much! 🙂
Lovely photos, lovely to take in our natural surroundings, I hope your trip away was full of memory making!.
Thanks so much!
Happy new year.
Happy New Year to you too!
You have some great photography skills! Thank you for sharing us your shots 😊 by the way it would be great if you could visit our blog at http://www.thefrugalmillennial.com Godbless!
Thank you so much! I will try to check your blog out soon as I just got home from a week away. Thanks for sharing it with me! 🙂
There’s a lot of beauty to be found in nature for sure and I’m glad you’re choosing to stand up and not be silenced or oppressed during this presidency. I’m right with you on that, I refuse to have my right revoked.
Thank you so much! Time to stand up and fight, right. 🙂
Some incredibly beautiful pictures..Wow.. Inspiring..Happy holidays!!!
Thanks so much! So glad you enjoyed the post and were inspired. Happy New Year!
Amazing photos to compliment amazing writing! While I too am I little wary about what lies ahead with our soon-to-be leader, but I still look to the year with hope and excitement. Great post!
Thanks so much for the comment! 🙂
Beautiful photos! Was refreshing to see first thing this morning. Keep moving forward.
Thank you so much! Will do! Already moving forward and have a fresh outlook. 🙂
These pictures are wonderful! I hope you do keep using your voice to speak up for the voiceless. Now is a time more than ever for people who oppose everything Trump (ME TOO) to show and be the better part of humanity.
Thank you so much for your kind words! Sorry for the delay in responding but I was traveling. Yes now is the time
More than ever to stand up and fight for our beliefs. We are so fortunate to live in a democracy. On another level I would like to check out your blog as the name captured my attention. I’ve had chronic neck pain for 30 years yet I too keep
Great photos. I don’t envy the below zero temperatures, but I would trade the cold rain we’ve had the last tow days for a good snow. I’m going to try to enter 2017 with hope.
Thank you! Since then it has warmed up
And got cold again. I got to escape to the jungle of Costa Rica so got my dose of high heat and humidity. Now back home and the 30s feel beautiful. Thanks for stopping by my blog!
Winter is a hard time of year for me. Thank you for reminding me of the beauty to be found in the season.
Me too! But once I learned to
Embrace winter and get out every single day no matter how cold and awful I’ve learned to love winter and beat my years of winter blues. 😌💛
Thank you so much!
Stunning pictures and what a beautiful place.
Thank you! There is beauty all around us! 😊
Embracing everything except hate. Love it. Beautiful pictures!
Thank you and yes we must embrace love ! Best way to be! Happy New Year!
Beautiful shots and post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It has been a challenging time for myself and I struggle daily to stay in gratitude for abundance and the blessings I do have.
Thank you! Yes we are so
Inundated with bad news. I was in Costa Rica last week where no wifi and just basics of life. People were so happy and enjoyed life. Hard to
Come back but must also be grateful. 😌
Your welcome. Crazy I just had this conversation with my boyfriends son. Times have changes and computers and internet have ruined a lot of things as much as they are nice and convenient and all. I miss the good ole simple days when we actually communicated lime humans. People do not understand how much meaning is lost in text messaging and instant messages. Then there is the constant hands and eyes on the phones. I am so guilty but I am also trying to change that also.
Yes so true. I grew up way before internet. Now my kids are growing up obsessed with it. Yet we try our best to set rules on how much they can be online. It is hard though when all their friends do it too. It is a worldwide issue.
Yes it is we are struggling wuth that right now too. They start so young.
Yes and it is hard in the depths of a cold Minnesota winter! Hard to keep the kids outside.
Same here Michigan brr…come in spring ☺
Yes, it is really cold here in Minnesota. Glad it is warming up though. We are skiing tomorrow so that will be nice to get out as a family. 🙂 Happy weekend!
Beautiful! I am scared to and I live in Canada so I can not imagine having such a dope in charge. Yikes.
Thanks for the comment. I think the whole world is either afraid or laughing right now. Just hope he isn’t as bad as I imagine.
Yes we have to stay positive ! Plus you can always move to Canada!
Thanks! Lol. Yes I thought about that. 🙂
If I came upon the scenes you did, like you, I’d forget I was freezing half to death. Those photos are ridiculous. Girl, get them framed.
Oh thank you! Yes it was so amazing!!! Now the lake is all freezes over. Such a spectacular moment in time. Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. Appreciate it! 😌
Beautiful photos! Happy New Year!
Thank you! Happy New Year to you too! ✨🌟
Thank you! 😌
Beautiful post and images, Nicole, and congratulations on it being featured on Discover! Happy New Year!
Thank you so much Jane! I had just left for Costa Rica when I saw all the comments coming through and had no idea what happened until I saw your comment. What a wonderful surprise. Happy New Year!
I had a feeling that you didn’t know, given your travel. It’s a fun honor… I was “discovered” a couple of months ago and was rather bowled over by the nice response. Hope Costa Rica is fabulous!
Thanks Jane! Yes it was nice! So nice to get so many comments too. I feel like my blog has declined a bit in the community I have built over the last six years. I simply haven’t had the time to read other fellow bloggers posts as much as before. I hope to work harder this year at it! Costa Rica was amazing. Now to catch up! 🙂
What amazing shots! I admire your determination to go for a run in this freezing weather. I was in New Jersey as Winter began to fall and I couldn’t wait to come back home to sunny Mumbai . It truly is a gift to enjoy every moment in life in every circumstance…..Thanks for this inspiring and motivating post
Thank you so much! Yes we
Must embrace nature!
Happy new year 😀
Happy New Year to you too!
Well how beautiful very awesome picture’$
Thank you so much! 🌟
Awesome photos! You are an inspiration.
Wow thank you! 😌
Great pics! Please have a look at my blog guys and comment on how I can improve! I cover range of articles from film reviews to holiday tips to revision stress!
Thank you! Will check it Out! 😌
Nice read, thanks for sharing! 🙂
Good message for 2017
WOW! The post is incredible. I loved every single word! As a person who loves nature a lot I enjoyed seeing the pics too! Good luck on the Costa Rica trip, waiting for the photos from there! And Happy New Year))
Thank you so much! Just got home. Stay tuned as I have over 1,000 pics from Costa Rica!
That’s a lot of pictures!
Yes I love photos!
Best neture life
Great photos!! Thanks! I too look forward to living in the moment and feeling gratitude.
Happy New Year
Thanks ! Me too!🙏
Both your photos as well as the thought behind them are amazing. Truly apprecite it 🙂
Thank you so much! 🌟🌟🌟
Amazing pictures 👍👍
I am starting out and would love for you to check out my blog🤓
Thank you! What will you write about? Would love to take a look. 😊
I’ve posted some pieces, take a look🤓
Thanks! I just did. I love your photography and the blog looks beautiful. Deep thoughts. 🙂
Beautiful photos! And it is refreshing to hear someone with such a positive attitude!
Thank you! Yes being positive is something we must practice every day. Life is stressful and it is easy to get down or grumpy. I try my best to be grateful and thankful! 🙂
Thank you! 🙂
Beautiful pictures and amazing post
Thank you so much! Happy New Year!
beautiful pics and thank you for your inspiring words!!!
Thank you so much! 🙂
Thank you and so glad you enjoyed!
This is such an inspiring article!
Thank you! So glad you enjoyed my post!
Wow! Did you really take these photos?📸📸📸 they are amazingly spectacular. Thanks for sharing them! From http:/observingthesphere.wordpress.com
Thanks! Yes took them with my cellphone. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the photos!
Thank you for your inspiration through your encouragement and pictures! It brought a smile to my face and hope that there are other people in the world like me who remain hopeful. Have a great New Year!
Thank you so much! So glad it inspired you. Happy New Year!
Such beautiful words and illustrations – thank you
Thank you so much! Glad you liked the photos and words.
Wow, these photos and the post! Great!
Stunning & love the quotes. Thank you for sharing 😊
Thank you so much for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed the post!
Beautifuly worded, many new year blessings.
Thank you! Happy New Year to you as well!
Thanks so much!
Thank you so much!
This post was such an inspiration…just when you think every thing is ending …… beautifully written!! Thank you so much <3
I am so glad you felt inspired by my post. Thank you! 🙂
Beautiful post and beautiful photos.
Thank you so much! So glad you enjoyed my post.
I loved this post! It didn’t get that cold in NYC but it’s been in the 20’s. Great photos.nice quotes
Thank you! 20s feel almost tropical to me now. 🙂 Happy New Year!
Thank you so much for sharing! I truly appreciate you and your perspective. I thoroughly enjoyed the lovely pictures and exceptional writing. Thank you.
Thank you so much for your comment! Happy New Year!
At last I have broken the anticipation, as I set up this blog I wish to inspire those who had lost the hope of existence, those who feel so hated and those who feels life is so difficult for them.
I promise you will have the hope to live again after going through my blog.
Wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing.
I love your photos it is really outstanding…keep it up looking forward for more
Thank you so much! So glad you enjoyed them. 🙂
And so in our minds and hearts we find common ground untouched by our tread…Lovely photos
Thank you so much!
Beautiful pictures! They are truly amazing!
Thanks so much! So glad you enjoyed the post!
Absolutely beautiful photos!
Thanks so much!
Love these pictures! One of my goals this year is to become more familiar with my Nikon and takes some good photos of our family!
Thanks so much! Sounds like a great goal!
Shots clinically taken. very refreshing.
This post is beautiful.!
Thank you so much! 🙂
Amen to this! All we can do is practice gratitude and create our own happiness. A new president or policy will not vastly change our lives or situations. Only we have the power to do that.
Yes that is so true. I guess I just am so hugely concerned about the environment. That is one of my greatest concerns because without the health of planet, then everything else doesn’t matter. But yet we can only do so much. Practicing gratitude and also advocacy is the best. 🙂
Loved your thoughts, do breeze past my blog too http://highinloveblog.com/2016/09/01/weed/
Will do! Thanks!
Those photos are breathtaking, can you send them to me? it won’t be for public use.
Thank you so much! You can actually just take them off the website directly. Feel free. 🙂
Reading this post was purely blissful and the amazing pictures added a second star to it! Shine on, blessings all the way from India. xx
Thank you so much!
Anticipation of the year ahead of us is always scary and exciting to think about. With 2017 bringing a new form of leadership in the United States, you never know what might be in store for our country. American citizens will never fully agree with our new leaders decisions, but in reality wanting our countries president to fail at his presidency is like wanting the pilot to crash the plane we are all on. Everyone needs to continue to live in the moment, be thankful we live in a country that has freedom and we are based in a republic; in which the powers of sovereignty are invested in the people and are exercised by the people.
Very true! I don’t want him to crash and burn yet I am terrified at losing our democracy. Gag orders on the EPA and shutting down the White House comment line (I have called to voice my concerns about issues I disagree with) to me are
Terrifying as are many of the policies his administration is implementing. I fear our nation is becoming more divided than ever. I strongly believe in our rights of freedom of speech yet am fearful when it is starting to get blocked. Plus now our state is considering making protesting harder which is another red flag.
I sure hope that Trump tries to unite and not divide our nation as well as our relationship with other countries! We need them!
Carpe diem ❤
Carpe diem happens to be my very favorite all time quotes. Thank you for the inspiration! Looks like I need it more than ever now!