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Over the Sea to Skye

Where's your favorite place in nature? The place that touches you to your core?

Mine is at any body of water, but the coast specifically. It almost doesn't matter what coast—I just need the surf rolling to shore, a salty breeze, and an occasional glimpse of sun. I'm actually happier walking along the water's edge when it's cooler. And quieter. And, well, a good deal less bright.

Here's the thing: I'm really pale. I mean, like, burst-into-flames-vampiresque pale. I've known two shades my whole life: porcelain white and lobster red. Clouds are my friends.

I found the perfect combination of my favorite seaside elements in Scotland last August. Touring there was like a bucket within my bucket list: every time we neared a coastline I became giddy.

What about you: do you come to life around water? Like each wave that hits the shore takes your worries with it as it rolls back to sea? That's what it does to me. I'm invigorated and calmed by the surf at the same time.

For our 10-day...

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Beauty in the Breakdown

Fear is a powerful thing. It can color your every thought, darkening every corner of the mind, extinguishing hope. Around this time last year, I encountered such fear in myself, recognizing it for what it was, acknowledging it, and letting it sink into my bones.

You see, just weeks before, the person I love most in this world was lying in a coma following a cardiac arrest and we didn't know if he would return to us or how different he would be if we were blessed enough to get him back. Throughout the 10-day ordeal, I took each day as it came, refusing to believe that the supreme being who'd taken my father in such a similar manner would take this incredible man, too. So, I stood strong--breathed in, breathed out--and kept going.

But, once he did make it back, and I brought him home, and I lay awake all night listening for his steady breathing, and I knew he was safe--that he was truly going to be okay--the fear that had been masquerading as calm all along finally showed itself for...

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