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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!