Portland is an amazing place to be a part of. There are so many weekend events that bring the community together. My husband and I have been making it a habit to be a part of the community, if only to get my introverted self out. There is always something going an and this summer, as it nears its end, has proven to be adventurous and fulfilling.

This summer we did so much.

I got the fortune of a patient husband to teach me how to properly have a green thumb. I am glad to say I have not killed either my gardenia bush or my rose bush. I’m also learning that spiders love them and mushrooms can grow where there is no poop.

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I traveled to Boise where my whirlwind of summer writing started. Hung out with old friends, made new ones, walked a town that I absolutely love and got tanned. Enjoyed an arcade bar and sorta danced in the backseat of a drunk frined and an almost drunk friend. Best part, grilled on my own for the first time.

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Jeremy and I took many hikes. Explored the need to be outdoors and how much we love it. We went to places that were easy hikes but never went to. We also had the fortune of having our niece and nephews on one of the hikes.

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Enjoyed a medieval renaisannce fair and watched them joust. Is it considering jousting when the are on foot?

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Enjoyed and entire weekend with family from out of state going up and down the Washington and Oregon coast. Astoria, Mason Lake, a little town we never heard of, Cannon Beach, Corvallis, Newport. Lots of miles. Lots of laughs. And most of all water baxters.

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But, yesterday, we had the good fortune to walk both the streets of NE Portland and be a part of the weekly summer festivities of the Portland Saturday Market. I enjoy walking the Saturday Market because of the vendors, the food, and because the motto “Keep Portland Weird” is resonated in that market. You have creatures from all walks of life in attendance.

Examples include:

A little girl playing a ukulele with a sign that said, “Practicing musician. Every little thing counts.”

An older man staring into the river with a sign that read, “I sleep with Miley. Need money for an STD test.”

A younger man walking the waterfront pleased with his sign, “I need money for weed. Indeed!”

But, my most favorite personality we met yesterday? Tara.

Tara is a Street Artist who paints amazing canvas with spray paint and paper. Yes, I know it sounds simple but her work with the paper, dabbing here and there, cutting off the paint there and here, is amazing. What makes Tara stand out besides the work she does? Like all the other vendors she had a sign out too. “I am homeless. I will not beg for your hard working money you have earned. Let me work for it.”

Now, I am not opposed in helping out where and when I can. I would love to be in an outreach that helps the poor and homeless. I will be able to get that chance. But, Tara was different. Upon reading her sing I was instantly awestruck. I held the deepest respect for her. I was incredibly inspired by her bravery and respect for how hard people work. My heat instantly wanted to help her.

I explained to her about the painting I wanted. The colors I saw with it. She couldn’t give me what I wanted as it was nearing 4p, she was out of some of the colors and others was stolen just the night before. She instead, I told her when I see her again I will ask for the painting. Until then, I’ll settle for a bookmark.

So, I received a book mark with Portland’s cityscape sitting on the river with the beautiful moon resting above.

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I gave Tara more than what she was asking for the bookmark because I think it is beautiful work, she was modest to think it was horrible work, she was willing to take next to nothing for it and still be thankful.

Tara, you have taught me that excuses are really just for people who don’t want it bad enough. You are in an incredibly hard situation and yet you look at the positiveness of what is in front of you and work hard with what you have. Before meeting you yesterday I was finding an excuse to not go after my passion. But, now, now I want it even more. Thank you.

If you are ever in the area and you get to walk the streets of the Portland Saturday Market go and find Tara. You can even eat your Voodoo Donut while she paints you one of her masterpieces.

Spray on, we’ve got no more excuses. xoxo

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