For three years in a row I had the pleasure of heading to West Virginia with two friends for a girls get-away weekend. After breakfast, we would pack our lunch and head to that day’s designated hiking spot, and usually not return before late afternoon or sunset.
On one particular hike one of my friends asked what we each saw as our unique giftings. I actually wasn’t sure how to answer at this weird stage in my life, when empty nest syndrome has started to kick in bit by bit. One friend brought up my singing, which had always been my number one passion, but, that has changed through the years with raising a family. My other friend asked me about the healthy products I like to make for myself and friends and asked why I didn’t consider doing it as more than just a hobby.
Long story short, she and our other friend encouraged me to follow that passion, and two years later it has come to fruition! I really wasn’t sure about sharing it here on the blog because we have all been “spammed” by one business or another, and I truly care about my blogging friends. But, I also share what is going on in my life in other ways, and know that some of you are actually into this kind of lifestyle as well. And, hopefully it will explain why I don’t always keep up with reading and writing on here as much as before!
So, here’s to chasing a passion and turning it into a reality….
So, this week I officially enter a new phase of parenting…my youngest is now an adult, gasp, where did those years go??!!
I always said I could have bought a second home in the islands if I had a dime for every time I took my kids to the grocery store and an older mom said to me…”enjoy these days, they go by quicker than you know.” They would always look at my kids with longing smiles and eyes seeing long-ago made memories brought fresh to the surface at the sight of my little ones-and now, I am that mom.
Yes, I am guilty of saying that exact same thing to moms I see with little ones in tow. And as I’m saying it, I’m thinking to myself, when did I become that mom, the older one, with kids no longer with me as I shop or run errands. Yes, it does indeed go by more quickly than we could ever even begin to imagine.
With each stage of their lives comes a new set of joys and concerns….the joys hopefully outweighing the concerns.
I taught pre-school before staying home with my own children, and I have to admit, it was the irony little, rascally boys that always brought a smile to my face. When the other teachers were wringing their hands and shaking their heads, I was laughing just a little on the inside at their harmless, mischievous little antics, totally oblivious to what my future held. Oh yeah.
Be careful what you wish for it’s often said, and before long I had my own little rascally boys, and oh what a ride it has been! I am convinced, though, that God needs fun-loving mischievous little boys in the earth as well as proper little chaps, and He seemed to know just the mom to give them to!
This belief was challenged just a bit when high school rolled around and I was convinced the school office had my cell number on speed-dial. I’m sure my hair color consumption tripled as the gray hairs seemed to increase exponentially during these years.
But now here were are, four months from having high-school behind us as well, and like the other stages of their lives, I’m sure it too will go by in a blink. I will greatly miss sharing an afternoon cup of coffee with my younger son as he relates the tales of his school day, and the tears of laughter I shed as he impersonates some very colorful characters. Yes, for all the gray, I’m sure the laughter he inspires has added years to my life.
So to my youngest son, happy 18th birthday “little buddy.” The joy, love, and laughter you have brought to my life and others far exceed what I could put into words. Follow those big dreams, climb those seemingly impossible mountains, use all those talents God blessed you with to enrich the lives of others, and always, always carry a bit of that playful, fun-loving little boy with you, as time keeps marching on.
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
– Albert Camus
How does a landscape go from beautiful to spectacularly beautiful…..it gets clothed in the magnificent colors of that breathtaking season we call fall.
In the summer, my son and I were able to enjoy some of the natural beauty the picturesque state of West Virginia has to offer… I shared a post with some of our highlights here. I was once again able to enjoy its beauty, but this time in its fall glory, on my yearly, girl’s-weekend getaway with a few treasured friends. In this post I’ve gathered some pictures from that trip and also a few from our past fall trips; I hope you enjoy!
Trails were marked with a kaleidoscope of colors and leaves decorated fern, moss and rocks like nature’s confetti.
They softened the path as we walked and the ones that didn’t make it to the ground graced the evergreens like natural Christmas ornaments.
The countryside was decked out in all its splendor…
while fields of gold nourished the lingering butterflies.
Dolly Sods was a mosaic of colors resembling nature’s quilt on one side…
while showing off its grandeur, tinged in autumnal hues, on the mountainside.
The many waterfalls and creeks in this state are only that much more scenic when fall is in the air…
Mountains, valleys, creeks and rolling pastures, Autumn in West Virginia is simply spectacular!
A special thanks to our husbands for, once again, manning the “home front” while your wives hiked the trails!
As in the last post, pictures of West Virginia wouldn’t seem complete without its most famous song…enjoy!!
Younger than the mountains, Blowin’ like the breeze.”
The above lyrics are from the song “Country Roads” by John Denver, and if ever a state deserved to have a song written about it for its beauty, West Virginia is certainly deserving of that honor.
My younger son and I were blessed to have a week to explore some of its beautiful trails, gorgeous in their own right, and leading to breathtaking views at the end. Pictures will never do it justice, but I will attempt to share bits of the beauty we enjoyed.
Although Blackwater Falls (pictured above) is probably the biggest attraction, we preferred the idyllic views of:
Not far into the hike, it felt as if we had stepped onto the set of a magical Disney film or a Lord of the Rings set. From the moss-covered rocks and trees to the abundance of ferns, blooming rhododendrons, mushrooms, and the babbling brook leading to the waterfalls, it was truly like stepping into another world.
Lindy Point was another place we explored. Hiking this trail was like taking a stroll through the jungle….rhododendrons hugged the path as we made our way to the top where we were met with this view:
In the Monogahela National Forest we hiked part of the Dolly Sods Wilderness. It boasts incredible views from the top and has terrain of bog and heath ecotypes more commonly found in southern Canada.
summer before senior year
The rocks are extremely fun to navigate, and the scenery is simply spectacular. While resting on a large rock formation taking in the views, I looked to a nearby evergreen and was delighted with a sighting of one of my favorite birds, the Cedar waxwing.
It was the first time I had ever been on equal altitude with this beauty!
The drive up to Dolly Sods is quite long, but the beauty along the way makes the journey as enjoyable as the destination. A variety of wildflowers, butterflies, and a scenic creek adorn the trek, making a non-stop drive all but impossible to a camera-wielding, nature enthusiast.
Queen Annes Lace
And, of course, what drive in the country would be complete without a good ol’ barn-sighting…or a house that looks like a barn, not sure, but charming, nonetheless.
After a hike at dusk one evening, we saw this adorable woodland creature…
Growing up near the shore I will always be a fan of the ocean, but I am always grateful for a trip to the mountains where I can hike and relish a different kind of beauty…all a part of this glorious gift we have been given called nature.
This post is dedicated to our dear friends Ed and Denise….thank you for introducing us to the beauty of this often overlooked state, but mostly for your gift of friendship!
For your listening pleasure, the song behind the post:
I hope you find your own country road to explore and take in the wonders around!