Friday, December 30, 2011

Planning 2012

The year is quickly coming to an end and we have covered many miles. We began the year in west Tennessee then happily moved east to Knoxville. A few short months by the mountains and then we found ourselves in North Carolina. But I am making plans for New Years Day - a mountain hike. We are only 2 hours from the smokies and if I plan this right, the picnic will be packed, our back packs loaded in Red Fred, coffee will be ready to brew and we can be on the road by 7 and in the mountains by 9. I have a really, really good year planned!

Here's to the Good Life!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Blessed Holiday Season

It is Christmas Eve. Jenn is home and we are all sharing the love. Presents are wrapped and plans are being made to be at Liz & Thad's early tomorrow morning. We have been playing family games, sharing stories and catching up on all the time past.

I marvel at the beautiful group of people that I call family. I marvel at the diversity and the alikeness. I love watching all of them - each telling their story in their own way - their own style. I love spending time with them and I love that they love spending time with me.

My family - the loves of my life all in one house for the holidays. This truly is a blessed life.

Here's to the Good Life!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Life with Family

It's almost Christmas and I am so excited to be spending the holidays with our daughters. There is no place I would rather be than with our beautiful family. Life is so good sharing it with family.

Here's to the Good Life!

Monday, December 19, 2011

City Lights

Tonight Jim and I drove through the town of McAdenville, North Carolina. The whole town decorates for Christmas (It's nickname is Christmas Town) and traffic was backed up for miles with people wanting to catch a glimpse, or a picture or two of this beautiful lighted city.

As we drove, stopping often as the traffic in front of us stopped, I realized that somebody, a long time ago, really, really loved Christmas - and that love of Christmas was seen and felt by the thousands of people who cruise through this little town in December.

Joy is seeing lovely traditions passed from generations long ago that is so powerful it lights up a whole city.

Here's to the Good Life!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tis the Season

Just a week until Christmas and the excitement is building. I love the holidays. I love buying and giving gifts. I love being with my daughters at the holidays. I love having celebrated so many Christmases with Jim's arms wrapped around me. I love the Joy and excitement that 3 grandsons bring to the holidays. I love seeing Liz with her husband and knowing the love they share for each other. I love Jenn coming home from the big city and filling all of us with so much Joy and appreciation.

The holidays seem to enlarge the Joy of Love, the Joy of Life and the Joy of Family!

Here's to the Good Life!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Going to the movies tonight with the man I love the most in the whole wide world.

Here's to the Good Life!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Joy of Recognition

Today has been a beautiful day here in North Carolina. Sunshine and almost 70 degrees. The squirrels outside my office window have been chasing each other all day and the leaves on the ground have gently tumbled around the yard. I remind myself to appreciate these moments that may seem so insignificant but hold so much Joy when I open my heart to them.

Joy is recognizing beauty and allowing it to touch my soul.

Here's to the Good Life!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Adding Joy

Jim and I just finished a walk around the neighborhood. Looking at lights and giving John Wayne a little exercise. The sky was clear and sprinkled with stars. Christmas lights twinkled on most of the houses we passed and we returned home feeling refreshed. Just a little more Joy added to our day!

Here's to the Good Life!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wishes from the Heart

I have spent most of the day preparing Christmas cards at the travel office and feeling great appreciation for all the friends we have made over the years. I am not sure yet if I will be sending out my own cards, as time is running out for all the Christmas things I want to do. But it was Joyful today to think of friends we have made on this Journey. Friends from Indiana, Michigan, Florida, Tennessee and now North Carolina. Whether I send a card or not, I wish all my friends a very Happy Holiday Season and trust they will know what is in my heart.

Here's to the Good Life!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My favorite day of the week...

A lazy Sunday morning. It was Jim's turn to get up early and take John Wayne out, so I got to stretch and roll over - and enjoy my lazy morning. When I finally got out of bed, Jim met me with a delicious cup of coffee with chocolate sprinkles! Joy in the morning!

Here's to the Good Life!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Writing Joy = Feeling Joy

Each morning I open the web site for my blog, and each evening I have been shutting down my computer all the while ignoring that I have not written my Joy. I must admit that I have been more than a little lazy in not living up to the goal I have set for myself - to write my Joy as often as I can.

I have been caught up in the day, forgetting how powerful these little words are for me. I feel empowered when I pull the words down and put them on this page - the words that describe how I feel, how I love, how I Joy.

It never takes me long to put the words together. The stories that make up my day come easily as I sit to write. The feelings and emotions that filled my day with Joy all seem to come flooding back and the words and stories flow.

But I have let time slip by without words and I have begun to realize how important these words are to me and for me.

It is the words that describe the Joy of the beautiful mountains that Jim and I drove through today. The gorgeous moon shining outside our front door. The delicious Americano that we picked up at starbucks today. The beautiful boots that I wore with the 2 inch heel. The rolling hills as I drove the last leg of the journey home. The hot apple pie I took out of the oven at just the right moment. And it was that moment that Jim grabbed me and hugged me - just because!

As I write the words, the Joy floods me again and I am revivified. Ahhhhhh Yessssss! I needed this writing session. It fills me with Joy to write my Joy!

Here's to the Good Life!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Glow

It's the first day of December and it always brings back memories of when our daughters were little and we kicked off the Holiday season with breakfast in bed (usually chocolate donuts) and christmas carols playing through out the house. So many memories of those wonderful years.

Now I like that Jim and I are still creating memories. We had chocolate donuts this morning, I have been shopping for mistletoe and we are going to decorate the tree this weekend. Our days have changed since our girls were little, but love still surrounds me and the holiday season still brings it special excitement. And come Christmas, we will be embraced in hugs with our beautiful daughters, and Christmas will have that special family glow once again.

Here's to the Good Life!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2 1 3

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend at Liz's and made it back to NC safe and sound. It was so good to spend time with Tucker and Rollin and Fynn and to see their sweet faces again. I adore these little guys and love that they adore Jim and me too. Our lives are truly blessed with TWO amazing daughters, ONE amazing son in law and THREE amazing grandsons.

Here's to the Good Life!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Joy is......

Joy is baking good things for Thanksgiving dinner.
Joy is spending time with family and friends over Thanksgiving dinner.
Joy is driving through the mountains the day before Thanksgiving dinner.
Joy is hugs from grandsons in anticipation of Thanksgiving dinner.
Joy is eating all the good stuff for Thanksgiving dinner.
Joy is being thankful for Thanksgiving dinner.

Here's to the Good Life!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Morning Joy

I walked this morning at 5:00 and enjoyed the beauty of a quiet dark morning. The stars were hidden by clouds but a sliver of the moon was visible most of the time. I love this time of the morning the best. So quiet - so dark - no distractions from the world around me. As I walked this morning I deliberately thought of things I appreciate. The most important - being able to walk so early in the morning feeling beauty and joy all around me.

Here's to the Good Life!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Crowder's Mountain

I worked this afternoon and Jim took a hike to Crowder's Mountain. He even has proof, as you can see - John Wayne looking down from the mountain top perch.

It was a beautiful day and I am glad that they got to hike in the mountains - somehow I feel better knowing they spent the day in the mountains and I get to hear all their stories.

Here's to the Good Life!

What It's All About

I began a new job yesterday (Saturday) and I am thrilled to be back to work. I am working with a Travel Agency so I am in a position that allows, in fact encourages, so much creativity. I have been putting my desires out to the Universe, not knowing where it it would take me, yet trusting that it would lead to the perfect place at the perfect time. And here I am. No worries, no fears, just trusting that all is well - and it is.

I am going into the office for a little while this afternoon, and while working a weekend like this is not the norm, we are getting ready for an fabulous social event that is requiring additional prep time. And I am imagining all the fun we will have, all the laughs we will laugh and all the Joy that is flowing to us. I am looking forward to the people I will meet, the travels I will travel, and the friends I will make along the way. That's really what it's all about - Having fun, seeing the world and making friendships that last a life time.

Here's to the Good Life!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Looking for the Best View

We took John Wayne to the park tonight for a run. This little dog can run like the wind so Jim and I will get at opposite ends of the park and call him back and forth rewarding each run with a doggie treat. John sits patiently as we dig a treat from our pocket and then he will flop down on his belly. He will gently lap water out of Jim's hands as I pour from his water bottle and roll in the grass if his head gets the least bit wet.

But the fun part is watching this little dog run as hard as he can, sometimes leaping through the air, landing in a sitting position waiting for our approval. Often we run with him, encouraging him to run faster and faster and in the end he will flop down and wait for us to come to him. Back home he is just a little limp rag doll waiting for Jim to carry him to his bed.

At the end of the day we realize again how much John has changed our lives. Today, because of John, we spent time at the park running and looking for stars - because he always reminds us that the best view is Up.

Here's to the Good Life!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Main Time

I talked Jim into helping me do the laundry tonight at the downtown laundromat. We got all the clothes in the washer and we had a full 24 minutes to walk down Main Street. It has been raining all day, so the sidewalks were covered with wet leaves and the streets glistened from the lamp posts and it felt like the perfect night to be walking down Main for 24 luxurious minutes.

Here's to the Good Life!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just gotta say Life Is Good!. Sitting here looking at a beautiful moon shrouded with clouds in the horizon. I am looking forward to seeing the stars early tomorrow morning. It's so good here.

Here's to the Good Life!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Getting My Joy On

I have been acutely conscious of not writing my blog for the past few weeks as we settle into our new life in North Carolina. Although I did not write my Joy each day, that did not keep me from experiencing my Joy.

As I learn my way around town I realize how quickly I adjust to a new life style. We are living in a second floor apartment again, something we did in Collierville for 3 months. I am waiting to go back to C-ville to pick up my washer and dryer and in the meantime making a weekly trip to the laundromat.

I drive down Main street as often as possible to see the life going on there. The restaurants and shops draw my attention and I found myself on a Sunday morning at 7:30 am driving Main Street, just observing all that is going on in this beautiful town. My favorite seat at the laundromat affords a complete view all the way down Main and I sit there mesmerized by the bustling activity.

Of course we have ventured past the city limits checking out a cluster of small towns outside of Charlotte. We drove out to Crowder Mountain and the Blue Ridge Mountains. We drove north to Blowing Rock and Boone, each time expanding our horizons and thrilled for the new sights and experiences added to our personal history.

We have found a park 3 blocks away that we walk John Wayne to several times a week and let him run like the wind. The Caravan coffee shop is 4 blocks away and their Americano's compare to Starbucks any day. A new (to us) pizza place out on Wilkinson Blvd pulled us in right away. A catfish restaurant out on New Hope Road keeps calling to us.

John Wayne has made a new friend in the neighborhood - a little black and white Shih Tzu named Cora that he is crazy about. Jim and I attended a Chamber of Commerce Networking and met business people from around town. We attended a concert at the Belmont Abby and enjoyed the beautiful music of Thomas Pandolfi. We are making plans to tour the Botanical Gardens. I have driven to the Gardens and can't wait to see the beauty that awaits us.

Wonderful opportunities are waiting us here and as I begin my early morning walk like I have always done where ever we live, I remind myself that I am open and receptive to Joy.

Here's to the Good Life!

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Joy Filled Weekend

After two busy weeks of packing our house in Tennessee, then unpacking in North Carolina, we have only one thing on our to do list this weekend: Explore North Carolina!

I am looking forward to all the discoveries we are going to make this weekend! We are keeping our Journey alive and filled with Joy!

Here's to the Good Life!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Looking Forward to Tomorrow!

I think I unpacked my last box today. Jim and I hauled a few more to storage and now I feel like I am ready! Tomorrow I begin my job search as I also develop ideas for a new business. All of this will come together perfectly I know.

So I am going to turn in early tonight and I will be looking forward with great anticipation to the wonderful things in store for me tomorrow.

Here's to the Good Life!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Settling In

After a full 24 hours of "connectedness" we are settling in. The condo is becoming more organized. The fridge and pantry are stocked. The closets are organized and we can actually find our clothes now. John Wayne has found special places to hide his rawhide bones. Jim is memorizing his favorite cable channels. We have chosen parking spaces in the the lot downstairs. I found the Post Office today as well as the UPS Store. Discovered there is an Ikea store and a Trader Joe's in Charlotte. I found my way to a Starbucks in Charlotte.

Yep! We're settling in and discovering, just as we knew all along - Life is Good Here!

Here's to the Good Life!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Condo in North Carolina

Barely a week since my last writing and we are moved into an apartment (we are calling it our condo) in North Carolina. All of my fingernails are broken, but all of our belongings arrived safe and sound. Jim and I loaded a Uhaul on Saturday and drove to NC on Sunday. The moving guys carried everything up to our second floor condo and by Monday night we had a bed to sleep in and a sofa to lounge on. Today, the cable/internet guy was here at 8 a.m. and somehow we are beginning to feel "normal" again.

I marvel again at how quickly we set up our home. Four empty rooms that now feel like home. Already we have shared laughter and stories. We talk often of Jenn and Liz with her family. I plan to unwrap family pictures tomorrow and spread those thru the house - just little reminders that keep us connected and reminding us of the love in our lives.

And there is much love in our lives - and this house (this little condo) is bursting with love, with life, with joy and with laughter.

Here's to the Good Life!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Another Writing Anniversary

Yesterday marked the second year anniversary of my Journey of Joy Blog. I spent the day looking for a new home in North Carolina. When I began this blog we lived in Florida and sold our house the day after beginning these writings. After that we moved to the Memphis area to be closer to Liz and her family. We moved to Knoxville for 6 months and now, two years later, and having only been in North Carolina for 2 days, we are starting over.

But this Journey that I am on is clearer today than it was before. Of course we have been tossed a few unexpected curves, but I think I learn better from the curves and the hills than just that easy open road.

I have to say that the highlight of this past years was living by the Smoky Mountains. I never imagined how much I could be "in love" with nature. The mountains are breath taking. The streams startling, and the trees so lush and green that we could not bear to be out of the mountains for more than a few days at a time.

Our drive to North Carolina from Knoxville was one of the most beautiful drives I have ever been on. I followed Jim though the mountains and my heart sang at the beautiful changing colors, the shadows, the sunlight. Ahhhhhh, I could go on and on.

Other wonderful highlights include time with family. Nothing is better than spending time with my daughters. And although I have not seen Jenn since last Christmas, I feel her love every day. I have been blessed to see Liz often while we were in West Tennessee. She and Thadeus are a joy to be with. And our three grandsons, -there are not enough words to descirbe the joy and beauty they bring to our lives.

The one constant in this ride has been Jim. My husband of so many (but not enough) years. The man who loves me beyond measure, and enjoys this journey as much as I do. My sister, LaDonna sent me a song today that sums up how I feel about Jim. "When you put your arms around me, I am home." No matter where we are, where this Journey takes us, he keeps me grounded and brings me home with just his touch.

This past year has been a wild ride. A Joy Ride. And I all I know is that I am right where I am suppose to be (for today anyway!)

Enjoying this Ride and looking forward to the next roller coaster curves and hills that await me.

Here's to the Good Life!

Friday, October 14, 2011

God of My Story

My sister sent a song to me from YouTube titled Good Life. One of the lines in the song is: We are god of our story. When I first heard this, I had to think for a minute, but then I saw the truth of this statement. We can tell our story how we want, which means: I am god of my life story.

I began to think of how I have tried to tell my story with Joy. My Journey, my Story. I am approaching 2 years writing my Journey of Joy and still I am amazed at the Joy Ride. Even now Jim and I are making huge changes, and I remember, I am god of my Story! I get to choose my attitude, my gratitude, my love, my appreciation, my joy.

Tomorrow Jim and I will be moving to North Carolina. We have never been there before, but this is my story: North Carolina is going to be the adventure of a life time. And I am glad my story and my journey are leading us on. I am god of my Story!!! and My story is so very good!

Here's to the Ride!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Enjoying the Ride

We finalized plans today for Jim to accept a job in Charlotte, North Carolina. You just know everything is right when it all falls into place and the excitement builds. We are so eager for this new phase, even though we are still enjoying it right here. We have never been to North Carolina so we are anticipating so many wonderful things to see, things to do, places to go, people to meet.

Soooooo Enjoying this Ride!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Feeling the Love

We spent the day in Gatlinburg with Liz and Thad and their boys. We all met at the Ripley's Aquarium and enjoyed hours of seeing amazing sea animals. And when the trip was over, hugs and kisses from everyone. Rollin insisted on hugging me several times before he would put on his seatbelt. I came home revivified from their love.

Here's to the Ride!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Jim went camping last night with Tucker in the Smokey Mountains National Park. I stayed home with John Wayne!

Tonight we shared stories of our adventures! Tomorrow we'll share our adventures!

Here's to the Ride!

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Season of Change

The trees here in the mountains are beginning their color change. The days are milder and the nights are cooler. A crispness meets us each morning and gives way to warmer sunshine as the day progresses.

Our lives are changing too. As desires and dreams are manifested, change comes in unexpected ways. Although we love it here, and we have only been here for a short while, it appears that the wind of change is blowing again. Moving us to heights we never dreamed, places we've never been, and to sights we've never seen.

I can think of nothing better right now than this Season of Change that keeps life flowing through us, - keeps us breathing, - and always keeps us loving!

Here's to the Ride!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Time With Family

I just received a call from Liz and she is coming with Thad, Tucker, Rollin and Fynn to spend the night tomorrow and I am so excited. Time with family is so special - so fabulous - so thrilling - so amazing! So that will be my day tomorrow! Special! Fabulous! Thrilling! and Amazing!

Here's to the Ride!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Alive with Life!

We met some friends in downtown Knoxville tonight for dinner. We walked around Gay Street and then down to Market Square. What a beautiful, perfectly beautiful, evening! I love the energy and the aliveness of these towns. So many people out and about. Music on almost every corner and coming out of every door way. Families with children and happy couples walking hand in hand. And I keep thinking Aliveness! That is how it feels. And I revel in my own aliveness that seems to be enlivened by this beautiful town.

Here's to the Ride!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tailgating with a View

Tonight Jim and I picked up an ice cream treat and drove to a hillside where we parked and sat on the tailgate of Red Fred to watch the mountains. The sun was setting behind us but our eyes were riveted on the mountains. Taking in the beauty while enjoying a little dessert. And all the while feeling so blessed to be here in this life time together.

Here's to the Ride!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Can You Say F A B U L O U S

Fabulous Day! Fabulous Life! Fabulous Mountains! Fabulous Family! Fabulous Love! Fabulous Me!

Here's to the Ride!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Finding Joy

I love it when laughter fills our house. Jim and I watched a little TV tonight - something I don't do very often. But tonight, the show was uplifting, heartwarming and humorous and we couldn't stop smiling. Not that we wanted to, but we couldn't.

This reminded me of my Journey to find Joy everyday. It is so amazing at times to see where that Joy comes from. But even more amazing is that I do always find Joy - every day! every time! No exceptions.

Here's to the Ride!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Even our Dog Loves the Mountains

As often as possible, we try to take John Wayne with us into the mountains. And it is so fun to watch him run and check out everything. He seems to find beauty and joy in everything he sees and sniffs. He runs and bounces along beside us. Sometimes he will run ahead and then dart back to check on us. Often he seems to be directing our attention to something that we missed and I still marvel at what he has brought to our lives.

After our hike yesterday, we decided today to drive to Clinton to stroll through some antique shops. Knowing John might not be welcome in all the stores we left him at home. However, this evening when we got back home, John got Jim to the back door, he then came back for me to follow him and when we both were standing at the back door, he ran for his leash. We realized then that he was trying to get us to take him to the mountains! Jim and I both laughed with delight at this little dog who, with all the energy and love he can muster, encourages us to head to the mountains again and again.

Here's to the Ride!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hanging Out In the Clouds

Jim and I planned this day to hike to Clingman's Dome. It is the highest peak in the Smokey Mountains - and today I think it was the coldest too!

We saw so much beauty today. The "Dome" is about 50 miles from our house where it was about 60 degrees when we headed out. It was a breezy 28 at the top of the Dome. As we drove towards the Dome we watched the temperature drop. We stopped at the Newfoundland Gap and could hardly stand outside long enough to take a picture - the wind chill was chilling!! We passed trees changing colors, saw golden leaves floating in the Little River, and from a distance what looked like snow at the peaks. When we finally drove the last 7 miles up Clingman's Dome Road, we realized that the trees were truly frosted. A thick coat of white frosting covered all the peak trees. It really was beautiful!

This tree, plastered with berries, was also covered in frost. It was beautiful. As we walked the last half mile to the Dome, we saw bears at the tops of trees eating these frosted berries. What a sight. The view was limited at the top because we were encased in swirling clouds. But we were so glad to be there - hanging out in the clouds!

We also walked a "quiet walkway" down to the river. As we headed back to the truck I talked Jim into checking out a side path where we stumbled upon an old cemetery with stones dating back to the early 1800's. Many of the stones did not have legible writing and the whole area was surrounded by a stone wall, although the wall was broken down in many places.

We walked another path that took us past two old (old) fireplaces, still standing tall as the trees with no other evidence of the home and family that once lived there.

This is what we love about the mountains. It is beautiful and it is different every time we drive there. And you can feel the beauty all the way down to your soul!

Here's to the Ride!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Starting the Day

One of my favorite times of the day is early in the morning when it is still dark outside, drinking a cup of delicious coffee and reading one of my (loved) books. Then a short time given to meditation and I feel like my day is off to a wonderful start.

But really, my morning starts before all that. When I awake in the morning, still lying in bed, I begin to think of all the things I am grateful for, I think of all the people in my life whom I love so much, I think of the beautiful day ahead - and I know it's going to be a beautiful day long before I get out of bed.

Actually, my morning is planned the night before. Sometimes as I fall asleep I am so excited for the day that is coming. Excited for the wonderful rest and sleep I know I will have and how good I am going to feel in the morning when I realize I am awake. I know I will wake up smiling because I am smiling as I fall asleep.

How can you start a day better than that? Waking up with a smile followed by gratitude, coffee, reading and meditation! This is the good life! And it all begins with a smile the night before.

Here's to the Ride!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Staying Grounded

Today I have been thinking of all the places Jim and I have lived. The houses we built and the ones we remodeled. The cities we lived in, the friends we made, the restaurants and shops that became our favorite. Sometimes I think I want to settle down for a long time, and then I remember the fun we've had and the places we've seen and I know that it is better to go with the flow. I don't know how long these mountains will hold our attention (I am still hoping for a long time) but for now, I want to remember to savor fully this beautiful place where we have landed - and when the time comes we will soar again.

Here's to the Ride!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Conscious Appreciation

This morning as I stepped outside with John Wayne, a shooting star zipped through the dark sky startling me again at the beauty of a starlit sky. I have looked at the sky often today, and the horizon of mountains in the distance and I can only feel great appreciation for this beauty that surrounds me.

So I have spent most of my day consciously appreciating all that is!

Here's to the Ride!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Life Is Good!

I am driving to Memphis today. I know this is going to be a beautiful day! I love Life!!!!

Here's to the Ride!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Humbled by the Mountains

Today we hiked Rich Mountain Trail and at the top met a young(er) couple who said they were being quite humbled by the hike. This was a two mile hike with a final elevation of over 1600 feet. I am not sure of the elevation where we started, but it was uphill all the way. We stopped occasionally to enjoy the beauty, the views, to listen for sounds, to rest and to drink water. However, the words of this man stuck with me and I began to think how a mountain will humble us.

I was humbled by the sheer size of this beautiful formation. Humbled by the beauty and sounds of nature. Humbled by the magnificent Source who created this beauty. Humbled by our amazing bodies who carried us up the mountains and down. Humbled by the senses which take in the smells, the sights, the sounds. Humbled by a path that many have walked. And in the end, humbled by a love that led Jim and I to the top of the mountain and back.

For all of this, I am grateful!

Here's to the Ride!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Living This Day

It has been rainy most of the day and tonight the temps are dropping into the 50's. I have opened a few windows and am looking forward to snuggling down under warm covers. I like to look for Joy in these little things because it is the little things that compose my day. I don't want to take for granted the beauty presented this day, or the friendships cultivated. I want to remember, with Joy, living this day!

Here's to the Ride!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Friends Without Names

Standing in line today at the fabric store a lady started asking me about the fabric I was holding to be cut. So we began to chat and found (again) that this really is a small world. We had so much in common as we began to discuss our lives with each other. In the end, my fabric was cut and her number had not been called, so we said goodbye and went our separate ways. I was smiling as I left the store, and I believe that my new, unnamed friend, was smiling too.

Here's to the Ride!

Monday, September 12, 2011


Today was an absolutely beautiful East Tennessee day! Life is good here!

Here's to the Ride!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Looking East

After a day in the mountains we have spent this day looking for a view of them. We drove out Highway 321 for a few miles sighing as they came into view. We drove to Knoxville, looking east most of the time and watching the horizon.

I keep thinking of the contrast of this horizon with the flat ocean that we use to watch while living in Florida. Water for as far as you could see. The sun cresting and spreading a golden glow past even what we could imagine. Jim and I would stand by the ocean often, watching that early sunrise and feeling revivified somehow.

Now we get that same sensation gazing at, being in, or hiking up the mountains. Revivified somehow, inspired to see more, longing for more day light so that the view is not lost. Always, ALWAYS, planning for another trip eastward.

Here's to the Ride!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sometimes you just don't need words.....

....but I am a writer - so I have plenty of words! And these words in my head are begging me to try to describe this beautiful day Jim and I spent in the mountains of North Carolina.

Jim had to drive to the French Broad River again today to complete an engineering job. I packed a picnic and we headed for the river this morning. It takes almost 2 hours to get there, so we arrived right about lunch time. We decided to drive towards Hot Springs North Carolina and on the way passed the Wolf Creek Trail Head. We followed a gravel road for a couple miles and ended up at the creek shown above. We unfolded our lawn chairs parked them by the creek, filled our glasses with ice tea and enjoyed our lunch.

We headed to Hot Springs which ended up to be a really small town on the French Broad. We talked to a guy who guides white water rafting (no thank you - I did that once and I'm still alive and I want to keep it that way) but we also found a good place to kayak the same river.

Jim (who loves to talk to everyone) got a tip from a Hot Springs local to go check out a different river - so we headed further into North Carolina. And, actually, we did not make it to the river until about 7 p.m. We got side tracked with a side road promising a hiking/bicycle trail . We just can't pass checking out something we haven't seen, and in the end, Jim and I hiked 4 miles to the top of Mill Ridge Trail, and of course 4 miles back down. All the rest of the pictures are from that wonderful hike. We had one little "startle". Jim almost tripped over a snake and I just reminded him that NO one has died of a snake bite in the Smokey Mountains. (I read this in our trail book) He reminded me that we were NOT in the Smokey Mountains - Ooooops! So we tossed him (the snake) back into the woods to find a new home.

But really, the words that are in my head can not really describe the beauty, the tranquility that we experience walking through the woods. The breath taking views as we crest a mountain, the breeze gently moving the trees - making us think a water fall must be close by. The butterflies, the flowers, the birds, the air, the clouds, the trees.....I could go on and on and yet it still leaves me feeling like I have not conveyed what we experienced today.

I think that what we really experienced today is God - Source - Love - Divine Beauty. And there are no words in any of my many dictionaries that can define or describe this. But Jim and I will know every time we look at the pictures of this day that what we experienced really was spiritual. Therefore no words are needed.

Here's to the Ride!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Another Night, Another Lesson

This morning John Wayne decided that he needed a drink of water and a few minutes outside. I finally (begrudgingly) got out of bed at 2:00 am, filled his water bowl and opened the back door. As I stepped outside I was amazed at how bright it was, like a light was shinning on the back porch. I looked up and saw a full moon, glowing so brightly that I stood in amazement. Normally, for me to see the moon at 2 a.m. would not be such a big deal but we have had clouds and rain for the past 6 days - no sun, no moon, no stars. And here I was (another lesson from John) looking at the sky and enjoying the most beautiful sight that I could imagine at that time in the morning. I stood on the patio for several minutes taking it all in - and feeling gratitude that John wanted to go outside.

When I got up again at 6, the clouds covered the dark sky and there were no stars or moon to be found anywhere and we have endured another day of mostly clouds.

So I feel special gratitude tonight for that interlude at 2 this morning that allowed me a glimpse of beauty that I would have missed had it not been for the lesson that John wanted to impress on me again!

Though out the day my thoughts have gone again and again to those few minutes standing on the patio - and I can only feel love and appreciation for a Universe as lovely as ours! And for a dog who knows (somehow) how to get me to the place to see the loveliness. Even at 2 in the morning

Here's to the Ride!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Looking for Home

We drove to the mountains tonight to look at a house. It is too far from town, but we loved the drive, of course. As for me, any excuse to drive towards the mountains is worth it.

For now we will continue our house hunting, looking for that perfect place to call home - hoping for a view of the mountains - but maybe not in the mountains.

Here's to the Ride!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


We drove home on Monday and I am adjusting to the change. It feels so right to be here, yet there is a connection to our house in West Tennessee. It is always good to see our grandsons and our sweet Liz and her husband, Thad, but feels so good to come home. So I spent the day unpacking, re-organizing all the "stuff" we brought home, making plans for our future.

I flipped open my Life is Good Book for a daily quote and found "Go with the flow"

Life is Good when flowing.

Here's to the Ride!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Westward Bound

We are heading west for the weekend. Going to spend time with Liz and Thad and Tucker and Rollin and Fynneus!

Life is Good in West Tennessee!!!

Here's to the Ride!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This Moment

The weather is slowly changing here in east Tennessee. The nights are getting a little cooler, the days are not so hot and we are actually looking forward to "needing" to wear a jacket. While that is still a ways off, I want to remember to enjoy all of the days. To enjoy this moment and to not only look for the next one. Writing each day allows me to do this for it encourages me to be present here and now. Tomorrow is new and different and I will be present, but for now, this moment - ahhhh, this is what I am living for!

Here's to the Ride!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mountain Nature

We drove to the mountains tonight just to spend a little time in nature. Sitting by the river, watching a beautiful sky, drinking in as much beauty as possible. We have come home revivified, but knowing we will go back. In fact, counting the days until we make our way again down Highway 321, cresting the hill and sighing as the Smokey Mountains come into full view!

Here's to the Ride!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Measuring My Day

Today I spent some time reading and meditating. It feels so good and I am so grateful for the time to sit in quiet stillness. Realizing that all is well. Savoring the moments of this life. Feeling gratitude for family and friends. Feeling appreciation for the beauty granted each day. Knowing love beyond measure. Blessings beyond words.

Here's to the Ride!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sundays are my Favorite

Jim and I have enjoyed a very slow Sunday -sleeping in, chatting over the best coffee, sitting side by side reading the morning paper and eating toasted english muffins. A beautiful relaxing morning.

Then, Jim picked a bucket of pears from the back yard, we rounded up our canning jars, the lids, boiling pots and recipes, and soon we had canned 4 quarts of pears. This too seemed to fit so perfectly into our lazy Sunday.

Here's to the Ride!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Special Day

Today is Jim's birthday and it has been fun to make him feel special all day. It really is such little things that make us feel special, a smile, a touch, a kindness shown. Although we have celebrated many birthdays together, they seem to grow more precious each year. I think that as we count the years, we also count our blessings and realize again - this really is a special day!

Here's to the Ride!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Settling In

Today Jim and I renewed our license plates for Blount County (pronounced Blunt) and registered to vote. We know that with each little step we are settling in more, making this home, and changing our lives. We continue to sight see around town, visiting neighborhoods and shops that we haven't been to before. Today we saw the old and new(er) court house. We had coffee and apple bread at the Vienna Coffee House. We checked out a new driving range, had a picnic in a parking lot and wrapped up the day with a movie. Yep - it's feeling more and more like home!

Here's to the Ride!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Agreements of the Heart

It feels like forever since Jim and I have been to the mountains. So I packed crackers, cheese, ice tea and a book for me and a magazine for Jim and drove to Look Rock Mountain. We sat at the top of the mountain enjoying our evening, planning our future, reminiscing other times and agreeing whole heartedly that Life is Good!

Here's to the Ride!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Happy Dog Day

Yesterday our little John Wayne turned one year old. Although we have only had him with us for the past nine months, we celebrated this little time lapse for him. I am still reminded that he is teaching me - patience, compassion, love and reminding me to look skyward - even when it's raining!

Tonight I asked him to "sit" for his birthday picture, and he was happy to oblige me - of course then we headed to the kitchen for a little b-day treat - teaching me again "do unto others as you would have them do unto you!"

Here's to a little dog joining our Ride!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Learning Knoxville

We spent the day in downtown Knoxville learning some of the history, listening to young artists sing and play guitar at the Blue Chip Cafe, visiting the farmer's market and crafts at Market Square, touring the Blount mansion and a Presbyterian church, watching movies of the Smoky mountains from the early 1900's to the 1960's at the Bijou Theater, and walking Gay street from one end to the other!

Joy is learning the town.

Here's to the Ride!

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Birthday Wish

Today is Tucker's Eighth birthday. I marvel at how quickly the years have gone by and as we count the years we see beauty, love and wonderment in this child who brings so much Joy to our lives. I wish Tucker so much Joy, so much Love, so much Life! I love you, Tucker!

I am so thankful to be a part of his life - and thankful that we get to enjoy this ride together!~

Here's to the Ride!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Joyful Day

Last night we slept with the windows open, but by noon today it was beginning to warm so I closed up the house and turned on the air. I am excited about fall coming, the cool nights, the comfortable days. This will be our first fall by the mountains, and while I know we are still a few weeks away, it feels so good when the evening temperatures drop into the 60's and days are clear. The mountains seem draped in clouds that move towards us in the evening, and by morning the grass is wet with dew. It all unfolds so beautifully - the minutes, the hours, the days - all for my enjoyment!
Joy is appreciating each day!

Here's to the Ride!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Grateful Day

I have been feeling tremendous gratitude for this beautiful day. I have sat in the back yard, a soft breeze blowing, reading and gazing at the sky. I have kept the windows open all day, something I haven't been able to do since early spring, and I hear the birds, the cicadas and the crickets. I see the leaves swaying in the wind and feel Joy at the sight of this beauty. I hold Jim's hand and I am grateful for this love. I prepare a glass of ice tea and I am grateful for this refreshment. I breathe deeply and I am grateful for this life.

There is much to be grateful for.

Here's to the Ride!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hitting Balls

Jim and I went to the driving range tonight. It was the first time I have hit a ball in about 6 years - and I must admit that it was pretty obvious that I did not have my game on! But still - it was a beautiful evening. We were facing the great Smokey Mountains, my new shoes were comfy, my glove fit - well, like a glove and the sky was gorgeous blue! It's a beautiful ride indeed!

Here's to the Ride!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I promise

Last night we camped at the Great Smokies National Park in a two person tent. Aside from the ground being extremely hard, and the rain dripping in on my forehead - it was a pretty good night.

And while I don't really "get" why people like to camp and sleep outside - I do want to try this again - and next time I promise I won't forget the s'mores!

Here's to the Ride!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Going Camping

So the big day is here! The tent, sleeping bags and coolers are packed in Red Fred and John Wayne has all of his gear packed too!

In case I survive the night, I have packed champagne to have with breakfast! Enjoying the ride!!! woooohooooooo!

Here's to the Ride!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Star Gazing

Jim and I are planning a camping trip for Saturday night. I have not tent camped for 30 something years but I have finally mustered the courage to try it again. The temps are suppose to drop into the 60's tomorrow night so it should be a wonderful night to sit around a camp fire under the full moon, gazing at the stars. The stars are really why I am doing this. Leaving the city lights to be alone on the mountain top with the love of my life and millions of stars!

Here's to the Ride!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I grew up with 3 brothers and learned early how to hold my own. I was a tomboy through and through and could do anything a boy could do. I loved climbing trees and playing cowboys. We spent our days in the yard and the woods making up games and filling our days with fun. We had no close neighbors so we used plenty of imagination, sticks and anything we could get our hands on to play.

When I turned 12 I became a girl - at least that is how I recall it. So when Jim gave me my first pocket knife today - an original Swiss Army campers knife - it made me think of my years as a tomboy. A time that will never be forgotten!

I don't climb trees any more but I do think that I will enjoy telling stories of me and my brothers. Each time I take this knife from my backpack I will remember those tomboy days!

Here's to the Ride!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Let's Play Golf

This morning I cleaned my golf clubs - which haven't been used since June 18, 2005. I found a receipt for the last time that I played golf with Jim in Vero Beach, Florida and my clubs have been stored away since then. However, after finding a beautiful golf course in the mountains, my desire to golf has been renewed.

Yet as I cleaned each club this morning, I was reminded of the many times we did play, especially when we lived in Michigan. We golfed some of the most beautiful courses there, and often with friends - and wonderful friendships that continue until this day. In fact, I can't wait for Deb and Steve to come and play in the mountains with us. Deb is the one who convinced me to take up golf back in the late 80's and we had some wonderful times on the many courses we played. We took a golf vacation to Crystal mountain and Sugar Loaf. We played Jack Nicklaus's famous course, The Bear. We played The Links at Whitehall and one of my favorites was Bennona - playing through a beautiful orchard of apple, pear, peach and plum trees. We played when staying at Turkey Run and I made my first hole in one - most amazing! We played the Pines, the Channel, and on Amelia Island. We played in Jamaica while celebrating our 20th anniversary. We played in Grand Cayman, Cozumel and so many more that I can't recall all the names.

But maybe the most amazing was recalling these memories today by the simple task of cleaning my clubs. Remembering dear friends, recalling the day I got the new clubs and bag from Jenn and Liz (and Jim) on Mother's day. My favorite clubs are my 5 iron, my 7 iron and my 3 wood. I remember practicing with my putter over and over - and still not able to"read" the greens. But this I do remember - I have spent many joyful hours at a golf course and I am looking forward now to new memories, new stories, and new courses to play!

Here's to keeping it in the fairway!!!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Don't you love it when you are so excited that your fingers tap, you feet thump and your heart pounds because you are so excited about something! Well, that's how I feel tonight! Enjoying this ride!

Here's to the Ride!

Monday, August 8, 2011


Jim and I made another trip to the sporting goods store tonight. New golf grips for him and finally new golf shoes for me. I can hardly wait to go golfing now!

It has been exciting to pursue some of the outdoor activities that we have enjoyed over the years. I think our kayaks will get more use here in Tennessee than they ever did in Florida. Our new backpacks have already been used frequently and I keep them packed and ready to go on a moments notice. We are hoping to break in our new light weight tent and sleeping bags this weekend - depending on the weather - and our bicycles have already logged more miles here than Florida and Memphis put together.

Today I bought emergency ponchos to keep in our packs. My picnic basket is stocked 24/7 and the coolers are always stored close by. Swimsuits and beach towels, as well as sunblock, are always waiting in my beach bag and Jim has his fishing gear ready at all times. The portable charcoal grill is packed and folding chairs lay close by.

I have an entire closet dedicated to hiking, camping and picnic stuff! And really, it all is just the necessary amenities for living by the mountains. Joy!

Here's to the Ride!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

We love it here!

As I drove home from the mountains today, I could still see them in my rear view mirror as we followed Hwy 321 back to town. We spent most of the day in the Smokies and filled our day hiking several miles and grilling brats by the river. We drove to a nice fishing place and parked our chairs on the water's edge for a couple of hours. Jim fished as I continued my reading of Science and Health. We planned next weekend's hike and talked about all the things we still want to do. We made plans to golf in the mountains, camp in the mountains and kayak in the mountains!

And still, I kept my eye on the rear view mirror as we drove away - conjuring a plan to lure Jim back here again soon............I think a picnic on Wednesday night would be absolutely perfect. A bottle of wine, a couple of steaks, candles, maybe a chocolate dessert..............Yes, we will be back soon! Very soon!

Here's to the Ride!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Looking at the Horizon

Jim and I drove into Knoxville tonight to check on one of his engineering jobs. Then we headed to a sporting goods store - golf shoes for him, golf glove for me. But as we drove around Knoxville and then finally headed home, our eyes were always on the horizon - looking for a view of mountains and finding joy each time we spotted them.

Joy is a mountain view in the horizon!

Here's to the Ride!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011


We came back home with another Uhaul trailer full of "stuff" and I have spent Wednesday unloading and Thursday unpacking. I do marvel how the things we own seem to make us so comfortable. We brought our dinning room set this time and I have enjoyed putting it together and am already making plans to invite new friends to dinner. My Christmas stuff is all stored in the basement along with our winter clothes and I am feeling more and more settled.

I packed away antique blankets today. I set crystal candler holders on the dinning table. I cleared drawers so that I can sort beautiful kitchen utensils gathered from our many shopping trips. I put together my Himalayan Salt lamp from Liz. I found my Nag Champa incense to burn tomorrow. I hung a picture from a long ago time in Muskegon Michigan. I sorted through my grandsons art drawers and threw away numerous empty gum wrappers. I stacked trays of photos in the corner to peruse through at a later time. And then........

I packed a picnic and Jim drove me to the mountains. Wrapping up a beautiful day - unpacked and unwrapped!

Here's to the Ride!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Wonderful Weekend

We arrived back in Memphis late on Friday night and were greeted with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a platter of Apple Strudel for breakfast and a love note from Liz and Rollin. So we spent the weekend with beautiful flowers, beautiful people and beautiful food.

Family makes life so very good!

Here's to the Ride!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Going West

Jim and I are leaving the mountains this weekend to wrap up some things with our old house and visit family. I have mixed emotions as I leave this place we now call home. I am excited to see Liz and Thad and our grandsons, but anxious to sell that house and finish the ties with it.

But in my heart, I know that all of this will work as it should and my job is to find Joy all along the way.

Here's to the Ride West Tonight!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Planning a Hike

We have been studying our map tonight. Checking off trails we have already hiked. Reading the history of those still left on our to do list. Appreciating this time in the mountains.

Here's to the Hike!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Setting Sun

As the sun goes down, Joy is knowing that I have savored the day.

I have looked for and found beauty.

I have reached for and touched love.

I have listened for and heard the silence.

Here's to the Ride!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Rainy Day Picnic

All afternoon I had been working on a picnic. Chicken breasts were marinating. A fresh tomato salad was chilling. Squash and zucchini were brushed with my Veggie Rub. Fresh dinner rolls were waiting for butter. The wine glasses were packed - I just needed Jim to come home from work.

And then the skies opened up! Somehow, I convinced Jim to drive us to the mountains and we headed to our favorite Look Rock picnic area. It continued to rain and we knew there was no protection from the weather - and our chicken had to be cooked!

As we drove up the mountain, we recalled a covered porch with a picnic table at the Look Rock Ranger Station at the entrance to the campground. Jim politely asked the campground manager if we could have our picnic at the covered porch and he was happy to oblige us.

Jim quickly set up the charcoal and began the heated coals. I set the table and opened a bottle of Marietta Old Vine. We toasted our rainy day picnic, enjoyed a delicious meal, and sat and talked for hours. When we arrived home, the skies had cleared and the sun was just fading over the horizon - and we were so thankful that the rain had not kept us from a picnic in the mountains!

Here's to the Ride!

Bear Sighting

On Sunday afternoon Jim and I drove the Rich Mountain Trail. It is a one way 8 mile road to the top of the mountain and back down into Townsend. We spotted a bear and stopped to take pictures, not realizing that she was a Momma bear. Jim was snapping pictures as the cub began to climb down a tree not more than 20 feet from us. The little guy was looking straight into our eyes and calling for his Momma. It was beautiful to behold. So we snapped our pictures, and left them to their woods and the beauty that is Rich Mountain.

Here's to the Ride!

Abrams Falls

Yes - we really were there! On Sunday Jim and I hiked 2.5 miles to the falls and then back to the trail head for a picnic. This waterfall is located in the back country of Cades Cove. The trail follows Abrams creek most of the way, winding around 2 or 3 mountains. However, at times we were looking way (way) down a mountain side to see the river through the woods.

Several times we crossed the river when we finally came down the mountains, and each crossing was a single log laid across the water with an attached log hand rail.

It was an arduous hike and coming back many hikers stopped us to ask how much further and if it was worth it. Our answer - always - YES. It really is worth it!

Truly - a day in nature is always worth the beauty we experience.

Here's to the Ride!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Momma's got a brand new pair of hiking shoes

Sunday's Agenda:

Hiking Abrams Falls.
LENGTH: 5.0 miles roundtrip, from the trailhead in Cades Cove.
HIGHLIGHTS: Abrams Creek and Abrams Falls.
CAUTIONS: Do not climb on slippery rocks around falls.
TRAILHEAD: Drive towards the mountains from Maryville to Cades Cove. Turn right onto unpaved side road. Road terminates into trailhead.
JOY: Abrams creek plunges over Abrams Falls into one of the largest natural pools in the Smokey Mountains National Park. It is a lovely place to see!

So our hiking gear is packed!
CAMERA - check
WATER - check
DONUTS - check
NEW HIKING SHOES - double check!!!!!

Here's to The Ride!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Filling Empty Spaces

Liz and her family left yesterday afternoon and I have been trying to keep busy so that I do not notice the quietness.

As I listen for the sounds of family I hear the AC kick in. The fridge just dropped ice into the ice maker. The neighbor's dog is barking. The dryer just buzzed another load completed. My computer just beeped a new email received. The dishwasher is still noisily banging the pots and pans.

And yet, from some where, I hear Tucker and Rollin and Fynneus laughing. I hear them tell me that they love me. Rollin is telling me again about losing his first tooth. Tucker is asking to watch monster bugs on the discovery channel. Fynn wants to go to Starbucks. Rollin is looking for chalk to write on my basement floor. Tucker is checking out his bicycle and getting ready for a ride. Fynn needs to go shopping so that I can buy him a tackle box. All of them want to know when they will see me again.

Today I am filling empty spaces with the wonderful memories we created in just a few short days. And I am feeling blessed beyond words. Joy beyond definition. Love that is boundless.

Here's to the Ride!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Haven't had much time.........

To write lately...........

But my life and my days are filled with Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy!!!!!

Here's to the Ride!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Eating Blackberries in the Smokies

We drove to our favorite picnic area tonight and hiked a short trail along the top of the mountain. We picked blackberries and ate them standing in the woods. How cool is that! I already want to go back for more!

As we drove down from the top of the mountain, we saw clearly how the Smokey Mountains got their name. We stopped to take in the view and to snap a few pictures. God! This place is beautiful!

Here's to the Ride!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Just Couldn't Wait

We could not wait until the weekend to go to the mountains, so I packed a picnic, loaded the car up and Jim drove Eastward. We sat by the river eating dinner, listening to the rushing water, gazing at a beautiful sky, seeing the lushness of nature - both feeling so glad that we were here!

Jim did a little fly fishing, I did a little reading. I waded in the water a little, then we both settled back in our chairs to just sit in Joy! That is the best feeling. Sitting in nature, surrounded by beauty, with the love of my life. Joy multiplied!~

Here's to the Ride!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Making a Plan

I am gazing through the window shades at an almost full moon - thinking how special my life is. How grateful I am for this ride. How grateful I am for family. ......and planning my next trip to the mountains this weekend! Life is good!

Here's to the Ride!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Company Is Coming

Joy is getting ready for family. Liz, Thad, tucker Rollin and Fynneus will be here on Sunday! It has been several weeks since i have seen them and i am filled with anticipation! So much to show them - so many hugs and kisses to to gather! Life is Good!

Here's to the Ride!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Weekend Well Used

Another glorious day in the mountains! We took John Wayne with us today and enjoyed a hike along the river at Elkmont campground. We had a delicious picnic - grilled chicken, corn and salad - before heading home. It is so magnificent to spend the day in the mountains and then to return home in the evening feeling revivified and ready for the week ahead. John enjoys the time outdoors too, and usually sleeps quietly for hours after a mountain outing.

I sit here now at the end of the weekend relaxed, satisfied, contented. Two beautiful days with the man I love doing the things we love best. That is Joy!

Here's to the Ride!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Natural Reading Room

Today Jim and I rode our bike through Cades Cove. It is a one-way road through the park and on Saturday morning they close it off to motor vehicles until 10:00 am. It is 11 miles around the cove and we covered it in 2 hours. But during that 2 hours we saw wild turkey meandering the fields. We saw deer content to nibble grass and trees as we took their picture. We had to stop as 8 bucks jumped the fence, crossed the road in front of us and jumped the fence to the other field. We rounded a corner and found dozens of people watching a wild bear in the woods. The people did not bother him at all. He turned over logs looking for bugs and meandered around the side of the mountain - in no hurry to leave us.

After our ride, we drove to a quiet place by the river. Jim fished and I set up to read. I realized that I had the most perfect reading room in the world. So here is my view of the reading room provided to me today. Gorgeous!

Joy is reading in Nature!

Here's to the Ride!

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Bountiful Gift

Today Jim brought home a box of eggs given to him by someone he works with. The box contains 4 different colors of eggs and reminds me of Easter. But it also reminds of the bountiful gifts of nature. I am looking forward to breakfast now, knowing these beautiful gifts are waiting in the fridge for us.

There is Joy in Bounty!

Here's to the Ride!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A New Library Card

Jim and I checked out the local library last night. Imagine my surprise at finding a coffee cafe inside the library. Whooooo Hoooooo! We both HAD to get library cards and carefully checked out the cafe as well as the endless shelves of books, magazines and videos!

When Jim called me today to make plans for the evening, he found me at the library reading Science and Health with a delicious Mocha Latte grasped firmly in hand. Smiling!

Joy is reading at the library with a fresh cup of deliciousness.

Here's to the Ride!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Adventure in My Blood

Jim had only one question for me as we hiked Gregory's trail. His question: Are you glad you have adventure in your blood and that it makes you want to see the top of the mountain?

My answer: Yes!

Joy is adventure in our blood and love beyond measure!

Here's to the Ride!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Courage to Climb a Mountain

Yesterday we hiked 5 miles to Gregory's Bald and 5 miles back down the mountain. It took 8 hours, four bottles of water, one granola bar, 1 bag of mixed nuts, lots of bug spray and tons and tons of Courage. We followed a one person lane around the mountain that seemed to wind to forever. Passing deer, bunnies, a horseback rider, small mountain streams, and other courageous hikers.

Ohhhhhh, but at the top, a grassy meadow surrounded by beautiful blooming Azaleas, Blueberry bushes galore and a 360 degree mountain view. Courage rewarded!

Here's to the Ride!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sunrise and a Triple Water fall

Jim and I enjoyed our first sunrise over the Smokies this morning. I got up before 4:00 and checked the sky - it was filled with stars so I brewed our delicious coffee and we headed for the mountains. The sky was clear as we climbed Look Rock Tower and watched as sunlight dazzled us with the panoramic mountain views. It was the most perfect morning.

After the sunrise we drove to the National Park and hiked 4 miles to a triple waterfall. The beauty that we have seen this day has been breath taking and at the same time makes breathing easy. Walking the mountain trail enclosed with a canopy of leaves and greenery with
only the sound of the river falling swiftly over the rocks. Watching beams of sunlight splashing the ground ahead of us making us want to see whatever is ahead or just around the corner.

As the trail got steeper it turned into switchbacks and we tried to imagine how these trails had once been used by trains and cars and now they are barely passable. We saw old steel rails from a long ago era when they hauled trees from this area. We saw only a chimney standing in the middle of a clearing - standing alone - no longer useful. We saw flowers. We sat on moss covered rocks. We felt the cold water with our hands. And still, at the end of the day it was hard to leave the mountains.

Here's to the Ride!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Planning a Sunrise

Jim and I have been busy tonight packing for a sunrise breakfast. I have all the fixings for coffee - ready to brew at 4:00 am. We have his new (huge) backpack loaded with biscotti, the camera, binoculars, flashlights, walking sticks, water and a blanket to sit on - all ready for our trek to Look Rock Tower.

I am so excited to see the sun rise over the mountains tomorrow morning. I am excited to get up early and see the stars from a mountain top with the view unhindered by city lights. And I am excited to spend the beginning of this July 4th weekend in the mountains of Tennessee.

Here's to a Beautiful Sunrise!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sharing the Beauty of the Day

Today I joined Jim as he drove to Bridgeport Tennessee to engineer the telephone cable for a new bridge across the French Broad River which is fed by the mountains of North Carolina. I went because it assured me a trip to the mountains - I was not disappointed.

We crossed the mountains on a one lane gravel road, watching for bears and following the meandering trail of a fast flowing creek, encased by rock and trees as far as we could see. The road was completely surrounded by green plant growth and with the rays of sunlight filtering through the tree tops, it gave the appearance of a lush beautiful garden - laid out for us.

We drove for miles through the mountains without passing another car. We stopped and walked to a small lake that is used by helicopters to scoop water for forest fires. We gently touched greenery as we drove past the lush landscape - just by simply reaching our hands out the window.

And we smiled at each other with love for the beauty that we were sharing on this beautiful day in Tennessee.

Here's to the Ride!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Louisville, Tennessee

Jim and I took a drive tonight to the small river front community of Louisville. This little town is nestled on the east side of the Tennessee river with yachts anchored at the town marina. We discovered a wonderful place for a nice cold beer sitting over the water reminding us of the Tiki Bar in Florida where we often ended our warm sunny days.

But now Florida seems like a life time away as we drive back home on Louisville Road (aka 334) overlooking Maryville, all the while focusing on the lines and lines of mountains in the distance. Yes, we are loving it here! And we are grateful for all the places we have lived. All the life we have enjoyed. All the beauty we have gathered.

Here's to the Ride!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sittin' on Look Rock

I am back in Knoxville and it feels good to be "home". We missed the mountains so much that Jim took the day off and drove us to the mountains. We grilled burgers and then hiked to Look Rock. Look Rock is a cluster of huge boulders at the top of the mountain. Now they have constructed a beautiful tower above the rocks and that is where we hiked to the last time. when an older man told us how, as a kid, he use to play and climb on the real Look Rock which is located just below the tower right on the edge of the mountain. So Jim and I went to the real look rock. Although you may not be able to tell from the picture, we are at the top of this mountain. Sitting level with the tops of many trees, with only more mountains and trees in the distance.

So we just sat there - enjoying the view, enjoying each other's company, enjoying life.

Here's to the Ride!