This is a gorgeous RHODODENDRON Bloom in our Yard.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Awesome Mother's Day for ME!!!!

Bert (Tre),  a Happy Mama, and Mark at their home the evening of 5/13/18
Dear Friends,   To say I had a great Mother's Day this year is an understatement... I may have had the BEST Mother's Day ever  thanks to my son, Mark.  Mark and big brother Bert (who had to work on Mother's Day) moved to Maryville in April.   Maryville is only a little over an hour from where George and I live.  Mark has lived in Texas for a long time ---so I can't remember when I was able to be with him on Mother's Day. This year was SO special.

Most of you remember that Mark is the son who lost his wife last August.   He spent months grieving and wondering what he was going to do with his life.  He finally made the decision to move back 'home' (Mark was born in Maryville in 1970) near the mountains that he loves SO much.   He found a good job in the Maryville area ---and even though it was hard,  he tearfully left his family and friends in Texas, yet knowing that he had made the correct decision.

Since moving here,  he is doing GREAT...  He spends every spare minute in the mountains hiking or driving around in his new jeep.  Or in the evenings after work,  he is walking on the Greenway in Maryville,  or searching out new places to meet people,  hear music and drink a cold one!!!!!  As much as he misses Debbie,  he knows that she is glad that he is moving on and finding happiness.

On Mother's Day,   Mark asked me ahead of time what "I" wanted to do...   AND --since I also love the mountains so much,  I told him that I'd love to go to the Smokies and have a picnic....  He took my thoughts and made them happen BIGTIME.  Today I will share some of the MANY pictures we took on Mother's Day  (5/13/18).

First,  I received some gorgeous fresh flowers  (Mark knows how much I love flowers.)

Gorgeous cards from Mark and Bert

Off to the Smoky Mountains in Mark's shiny red JEEP;   Mama just thinks she is going to drive it!!!!!! ha

We headed up the Roaring Fork Motor Trail (near Gatlinburg) and stopped at the OGLE Cabin...  

Roaring Fork Motor Trail  (We saw a bear near here not too far off of the road.  George got a picture --but since he left his camera at Mark's house,  we haven't seen his pictures yet.)

At one of the overlooks along the Roaring Forks Motor Trail;  Such beautiful mountains --but you can still see evidence of the damage the wildfires of Nov. 2016  did.  See the dark tree lines in the distance?   BUT--the good news is that nature has a great way of coming back!!!!

George and Mark are rock-hopping along Roaring Fork near the Bales Cabin

A little cascade along Roaring Fork;   Also--note the reflections on the big boulder from the Rhododendron Bushes!!!!

My little hiker ---who loves being in the mountains!!!!!! 

Mark captured this picture of me sitting on a log at the Jim Bales' Place along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail.

We stopped at the Place of a Thousand Drips (waterfall) along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail .   There definitely weren't  1000 drips --but it was still pretty.

Next,  we drove to Metcalf Bottoms and Mark fixed us an awesome lunch  (cheeseburgers,  baked beans, and chips)....  YUMMMMMMMM.

Mark took this picture of two hungry people enjoying a delicious meal...  Food  (any kind of food) always tastes better on a picnic!!!!!)

I think Mark is saying,  "Enough pictures.  Let's EAT!!!!"   ha ha 

Dinner is over... Tummies are full.  Time for a NAP.

Mama got to take a turn in the Hammock... Could have stayed there for hours!!!!!   (But --glad there was no picture of me trying to get out of that thing!!!!! ha ha)

Our next stop was gorgeous CADES COVE late in the afternoon

All of the 'critters' we saw were far away from us,  but I captured a couple of shots with my long lens.  This male turkey was spreading his tail feathers to try to impress the lady...  Not sure it was working!!! ha

Again, far away --but I at least got more than a 'spot' with my long lens;   We saw bears --but none close enough for a really good picture.

Last but not least,   Mark surprised me by stopping by Brewsters in Maryville on our way home for an ICE CREAM cone....  I had wanted a soft-serve cone from the Cades Cove store --but we got there too late.  The store had closed.  (I promise I didn't eat both of those!!!!! ha ha )
What an awesome day.   Who could EVER want more than a ride in an open jeep in the mountains,  a chance to spend time with my son,  a delicious picnic dinner,  and then a Black Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Cone????????

Thanks,  Mark,  more than you will ever know.  Just being with Mark is great --since he is so enthusiastic and fun to be with!!!!!!    I just wish Bert (who had to work) and Jeff and Dawn (who had her parents at their home for the weekend) could have been here also!!!!!!


Monday, May 7, 2018

A Must-Read Book for YOU

Dear Friends,   I have been reading an awesome book,  written by a  blog and Facebook friend of mine.   DEE READY has been a blog friend since about 2012...    Do you have certain blogs that you ALWAYS go to --no matter what????   WELL---Dee's blog has been one of my favorites.   If you'd like to check out her blog,   click HERE.    Dee is a writer and no matter what she says,  I can relate in some way to her situation....

She has written a new book  (her memoir) entitled  "PRAYER WASN'T ENOUGH"....  Even though I have read her blog for several years,  I found out that the book goes more into detail about her decision to enter a convent and become a nun, how life was on the inside,  and then how she survived once she she made the decision to leave. We sometimes think that we are following God's plan for us, but later find out that we took the wrong road.  Taking that wrong road is sometimes not as hard as starting over anew..  

I don't want to spoil this book for you,  but  I will say that Dee's 8.5 years in the convent in the late '50's and '60's  weren't easy for her.   Her ideas of finding peace there through prayer and 'solitude' weren't what she expected for sure.   I was interested in reading about 'community' in the convent, and how that affected her... You will find out about her teaching experience while in the convent when you read the book....  You also won't believe how long it took her to actually leave the convent after she made the decision to do so.

Life after leaving the convent wasn't much easier for Dee for many years... How does one go back into the crazy world we live in --after spending so long without knowing what was going on in the outside world?   In some ways,  leaving the convent may have been harder than staying there.   But  Dee did it --and I, for one, am SO proud of her.

I hope I have said enough to make you want to READ her book...  I will say that no matter what Dee went through,  she doesn't blame or express any bitterness toward anyone at the convent or elsewhere.   She is a gracious Christian Lady,  full of faith and love and hope, who knows that being in the convent was part of her 'growing' experience.   She knows her weaknesses --and has worked her way through them, one step at a time.  We all have those growing experiences ---and going down that 'dark road of life'  makes us stronger.

Please read the book!  To me,  it was an entertaining read filled not only with harsh realities,  but also some humor.  You will enjoy reading about her  'hard-boiled-egg' experience!!!!!!! Ha!

My Friend,   Dee Ready

You can order the book from Amazon.  Click HERE  for a paperback copy OR a Kindle copy.  You can also check out Dee's Facebook Page.   Click HERE.

If you have questions or thoughts,  I'm sure that Dee Ready can help you!!!!   I'll bet that you,  like me,  can relate to much of what Dee has endured in life.   The one thing which Dee has done that many of us don't do is that she has come to terms with her weaknesses and has made the necessary changes in order to find that  joy, love, acceptance, and peace in her own life...  Oh --how I wish we could ALL do that!

I'll close with one of Dee's comments  I read (and copied) from one of her Blog Posts a few years ago:
"Do or say one helpful,  compassionate good thing to someone each day."