Medical Emergencies and Multiple Hospitals

*apologies, this was written Thursday Morning but I’m just getting around to posting it. I will update more later*

Here I am again dear readers. Unfortunately, events like this seem to be the only time I’m able to find enough free time to write. I’m sitting here in the floor, back against the wall, in a hospital room listening to my father and my boyfriend snore.

Life is a complicated animal. Much has happened, as is the case for everyone. But over the last few weeks, it’s been crazy. My grandmother went in the hospital for not being able to breathe. It went from her having a goiter on her windpipe and artery to her also having a very aggressive form of thyroid cancer. While trying to get everything scheduled for her to start radiation at Emory, my mom has also been trying to take care of my father.

Renal failure, diabetes, eye issues, neuropathy (to the point of not being able to feel in his hands and feet), and balance issues are just a few of the lovely things my father faces every day. It’s a constant battle. But, it gets better. Yesterday morning while my mom was getting ready to take my father to dialysis, he fell and broke his ankle. Pretty severely. It was also my mom’s birthday. And her mother was in the hospital due to severe fluid retention that turned out to be a blood clot in her leg.

Today, they managed to get my grandmother released from our local hospital but only to take her to Emory in Atlanta to begin her first day of radiation treatment. My dad is supposed to have surgery on his ankle today. My poor mom can’t be in both places. So I took the day off work to come watch over my dad.

It’s so hard to see him like this. Restless, in pain, and a shadow of his formal self. But this is life. It happens to all of us who are here long enough. And I know he hates for me to see him like this. But I guess we all come to a point where we have to bite our pride and accept the help of those who love us, regardless of the situation. So, while my mom drives to Atl with her sister-in-law and my grandmother, I am sitting here doing research for the coming days after surgery.

Planning to add a ramp to the stairs at my parents’ house. Looking up trailer hitch receivers and cargo trays for my mom’s car to carry a wheel chair for my dad and/or my grandmother. Planning food prep menus to help my parents when they’re exhausted but still need to follow dad’s dietary restrictions.

So many things to do. So little time. The curse of my life.

In these situations, with a loved one who’s health is chronically failing, it’s difficult to explain. People always ask me how he’s doing. It’s hard to say, isn’t it? It’s not like chemo, there is no fight and then remission. The only thing that helps renal failure is a transplant. And what can you tell someone then? He’s hanging in there waiting for  someone with a good kidney and pancreas to pass so he can have them? That, by the way, is not something people want to hear. It’s the truth, but people do not want the truth. Not the whole, unaltered truth that makes them uncomfortable. So I tell people the truest thing I can. He’s still here.

And for now, that’s all that matters.


 

” ‘ Some people don’t understand the promises they’re making when they make them.’ I said. ‘Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyway. That’s what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway.’ ” – John Green, The Fault In Our Stars

“He admired my melancholy madness and said that it was graceful and beautiful. But it was neither of those things. I was a hurricane at the centre of a collapsing, burning, building; and I wasn’t someone to be admired at all.”

“Even if you know what’s coming, you ‘re never prepared for how it feels.” – Natalie Standiford

“You wake up every night to fight the same demons that left you so tired the night before, and that, my love, is bravery.” – unknown

“Well it breaks my heart to see you this way, The beauty in life where’s it gone? And somebody told me you were doing ok, somehow I guess they were wrong.” Flogging Molly “Whistles the wind”

“Don’t ever think you’re alone here, We’ve just been trapped in different hells, and people aren’t against you dear, they’re just all for themselves.” – e.h.

“May we exist like the lotus, at ease in muddy water.” – Zen proverb

“Keep your chin up little stargazer, At worlds above your own, You are small but you are stardust, And that’s worth more than you’ve known, For every sun and solar flare, Is made up just like you, And if they’re cause for wonder Then I promise you are too. Look out little stargazer ‘Til nothing’s left unseen, And know there’s not a patch of sky Where no one else’s eyes have been, That the darkness that enfolds you Holds countless other starlit hearts, And with this you stand together Though you live lifetimes apart. Be brave now little stargazer The sky is growing light, And courage wanes like moonbeams When it’s pulled out from the night, But like those who gazed before you; Know when your heart is full of fear, That it is always in your darkness That the stars start to appear.” -e.h.

“we mature with the damage, not with the years.” – Mateus William

“Enjoy every sandwich” – Warren Zevon

“I abide my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this is also a chasing at the wind. For in much wisdom is much grief. And he that increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow.” – Assassin’s Creed

“Empedocles claims that, in utero, our backbone is one long solid; and that through the constriction of the womb and the punishment of birth, it must be snapped again and again and again to form our verterbrae; that for the child to have a spine, it’s back must first be broken.” – The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation M.T. Anderson

“She looks back out the window and as the light slides along her profile, I think I see sadness. And I wonder if she’s sad that I’m so weak and so afraid when she’s always been so strong.” – The Forest of Hands and Teeth

“If I leave you it doesn’t mean I love you any less.” – Warren Zevon “Keep me in your heart.”

“Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.” – Tyler Knott Gregson

“Take the night and darken everything around me, Call the clouds, and listen closely, I’m lost without you. Call your name everyday, when I feel so helpless, I’m fallen down but I’ll rise above this.” – Seether “Rise above this”

“We live in grim times indeed if even children are too world weary to believe in magic.” – Fable

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis

“She’s all laid up in bed with a broken heart, while I’m drinking Jack all alone in a local bar. And we don’t know how, how we got into this mad situation, only doing things out of frustration, trying to make it work but man these times are hard.” – The Script “For the First Time”

“Mama whispered softly, time will ease your pain. Life’s about changing, nothing ever stays the same.” – Patty Loveless

“Life asked Death, ‘Why do people love me but hate you?’ Death responded, ‘ Because you are a beautiful lie, and I am a painful truth.’ ”

“But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out all the clearer.” – Samwise Gamgee “LOTR: The Two Towers” – J.R.R. Tolkien

“These are hard times. The world hurts. We live in fear and forget to walk with hope. But hope has not forgotten you. So ask it to dinner. It’s probably hungry and would appreciate the invitation.” – Libba Bray “Going Bovine”

“It’s not hard to do. It’s just not easy yet.” – Monte  Selby

“Life is a grindstone, and whether it grinds a man down or polishes him up depends on the stuff he’s made of.” – J. Billings

” ‘Sometimes,’ he said while gripping the fabric of his own pant leg, “You run out of tears long before you run out of hurt.’ ” – Tyler Knott Gregson

“Listen to the musn’ts child, listen to the don’ts , listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me – anything can happen child, anything can be.” – Shel Silverstein

“I clutch my pillow to my chest and bury my face in it. I don’t cry. I just ache. Grief is not as heavy as guilt, but it takes more away from you.” – “Allegiant” Veronica Roth

“Needles and pins, needles and pins, sew me a sail, to catch me the wind. Sew me a sail, strong as a gale, carpenter bring out your, hammers and nails. Hammers and nails, hammers and nails, build me a boat, to go chasing the whales. Chasing the whales, sailing the blue, find me a captain, and sign me a crew. Captain and crew, captain and crew, take me oh take me, to anywhere new.” – Shel Silverstein

“She taught me all about real sacrifice. That it should be done from love… That it should be done from necessity, not without exhausting all other options. That it should be done for people who need your strength because they don’t have enough of their own.” – Veronica Roth Insurgent

“A nurse guy came in and told me I had to leave, that visitors weren’t allowed, and I asked if she was doing okay, and the guy said, “She’s still taking on water.” A desert blessing, an ocean curse. ” – John Green The Fault In Our Stars

“We all carry things inside us that no one else can see. They weigh us down like anchors, they drown us out at sea.” – Chelsea Smile Bring me the Horizion

 

Wanderlust & Wordy Wednesday: Lake Winnie

Hello dear readers! Today’s destination is, I hope, a fun one. I went here many times as a child and always loved it. As a family, we went here instead of Six Flags. Shocking, yes I know. Today’s destination is Lake Winnepesaukah, or as it is more commonly know, Lake Winnie.

For those of you who don’t know, Lake Winnie is an amusement park in Rossville, GA, just south of Chattanooga, TN. It was opened by Carl and Minette Dixon in 1925 and was named after the Native American word Winnepesaukah, meaning bountiful waters. They purchased 100 acres surrounding a 9 acre lake. It was originally home to the largest swimming pool in the southeastern US (22,000 sq ft) but was later removed. The boat shoot ride, designed by Carl Dixon and opened in 1927, is the oldest mill chute water ride of it’s kind still open in the United States.

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The original Boat Shoot, still in operation. 

Flat rides were added in the 40’s and 50’s, and the first roller coasters were added in the 1960’s. The most iconic of these, the Cannonball, is a wooden roller coaster added in 1967. This is one of the first “big kid” roller coasters that I ever road. One time, my brother and our cousins were riding it, and because there was no one else in line the operator didn’t make us get off. He actually sped it up and we jumped the tracks coming back into the station. It was fantastic and I still carry fond memories of this coaster everywhere I go. The coaster actually has a top speed of 50 mph, a 70 ft vertical drop, and 2,272 ft of track spanning three quarters of a mile. It’s only 90 seconds but oh so worth it. Other rides here include more modern coasters now, as well as many kiddie rides.

2013 saw the addition of the SoakYa water park, a 5 acre expansion for the park. The park is set up like a classic American Fair, with a midway featuring food, rides, and games. It also has an outdoor concert area called “Jukebox Junction”. A lot of people will tell you that the park is outdated. Personally I think that it’s classic. I enjoy the fact that it reminds me of a simpler time. It’s not as new fangled or complicated as Six Flags but I feel like that’s really just part of it’s charm.

If you’re ever in the area, do me a favor and give it a try. Reserve judgement for yourself. You can find all the info you need, such as hours, ticket prices, and more here. Do you have memories here? Share them with me!


“I’m looking at her. She’s sitting across the room on the couch, book in hand, arms pressing down the blanket that wraps her body. Lost in words, but sensing my gaze, she looks over the pages and smiles. Then her eyes and mind return to another world, while her heart stays here with me.” – Dean Jackson

“She understood that the hardest times in your life to go through were when you were transitioning from one version of yourself to another.” Sarah Addison Allen

“Do I have to spell it out for you, or scream it in your face? The chemistry between us could destroy this place.”

“Watch carefully, the magic that occurs when you give a person just enough comfort to be themselves.” – Atticus

“Don’t let the heart that didn’t love you keep you from the one that will.”

“Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.”

“You are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering.” – Ernest Hemmingway

“I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.” – Oscar Wilde

“There are far, far better things ahead than anything we leave behind.” – C.S. Lewis

 

Wanderlust & Wordy Wednesday: Old Car City

Hello Dear Readers, I apologize for those personal posts if they weren’t for you (which judging by the feedback, they weren’t). We’re back to travelling today. Our destination is one I absolutely cannot wait to go to. It’s Old Car City in White, GA.

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Old Car City is the world’s largest known classic car junkyard. The vegetation that we’re famous for here in the South intertwines with cars that have been left there for good. It started as a family run dealership in 1931 and is still family owned and operated in its current state. It’s like a museum and grave yard all rolled into one. As someone who values classic cars (and owns a semi-rare one) it breaks my heart a little. However, I also find it fascinating.

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There are over 6 miles of trails and 4,000 cars in Old Car City. They are open Wednesday thru Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There are two separate admissions prices, depending on whether or not you want to take pictures. Having never been, I assume it works on the honor system now in the age of camera phones? But I would pay the second price anyways so I could take all the pictures I want. It’s $15 for no pictures, $25 for making or taking pictures. If you are not making or having pictures taken, then it’s $10 for children 7-12. Active military members get half price on either option. They do ask that all commercial photography contact them ahead of time.

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It is interesting to mention that the city of White, Georgia is relatively small itself, with a total of 618 acres and a population of only 670 (2010 census). White acts as a stepping stone between it’s urban (or urbanizing) neighbors to the south and the rural towns to its north. Who knows how long it will be before places like this are swept away to make room for more high rises, malls, or parking lots? Places like this are special to me because they represent a different way of life that is unfortunately being passed by for more modern conveniences. Pretty soon, the only place to see cars like this will be in books (hah!), on the internet, and in museums.

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To me, road side attractions like this ran by families and “characters” are just the bee’s knees. They’re what I grew up on and they are something that I love. They’re so different than the mass produced theme parks and tourist traps that are turning every town that was touristy because it’s different (had something unique to offer) into the same mega-mart kitschy place. I’ve watched this happen to towns I grew up loving that you know can’t tell apart, except in name. So please, when you find places like this, stop in. Slow down. Enjoy them and enjoy life. Get to know the people who run them. And help them hold out in their little corners of the world. old-car-city-photo-shoot-web41

I know that this probably doesn’t appeal to everyone. “Who wants to walk SIX MILES through junky old cars?” That’s ok. Stick with me for a post that does show things you want. I can’t please everyone all the time but this one hits close to home for me, seeing as how my “day job” is in the automotive industry. If there is somewhere you would like to know more about, please leave it in the comments or message me!

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“It was winter when he left, Her heart stood shivering with the trees, Afraid unlike that mighty forest She’d never get to bear new leaves. But branches know a thing or two About needing to let go, That even with no audience You never cease to grow. So when spring seeped though her skin (As spring is always wont to do), Her heart sent out its roots And like the world around she grew. Stronger than she thought she could And braver than before, She left her former self To rot amongst the forest floor. It was summer when he came searching Back to the place where she had been, Feeling small beneath the forest And its brand new coat of green. She smiled to know he’d never find her For the person that he missed, Was a version of herself That long ago ceased to exist.” -e.h.

“It’s said she’s made of storm cells And a wild wolf’s hungry heart, That she’s learnt the lightning’s secret To ripping darkened skies apart. The power of her presence Can bring the mountains to their knees, Her song is one of chaos As she stirs the angry seas. But if you’ve met you’d be no wiser For she is also born of light, Another face amongst the crowd; The hidden hiding in plain sight. Great power doesn’t always come Inside the forms that you’d assume, But you would never down her strength When she is howling at the moon.” – e.h.

“Sometimes the most beautiful people are beautifully broken.” – r.m. drake

“I promise you these storms are only trying to wash you clean.”

“I can say with great certainty and absolute honesty that I did not know what love what until I knew what love was not.” – P.T. Berkey

 

Love is Unconditional, Relationships Are Not.

Life is a funny thing sometimes. It always has a way to bring us back around to a lesson that we learned before and may have, somehow, still forgotten. When I was little, I heard somewhere (either from my parents or read in a book)  that you’re better off to learn lessons from other people because you don’t live long enough to make them all yourself. I took that to heart, but there are still lessons that I have to learn for myself, the hard way.

I’ll be turning twenty five soon. An “official” quarter lifer at that point. I think it is a testament to the stresses of my generation that I had never heard that term used before we came into adult-hood. Some of us have been forced to grow up fast, due to circumstances beyond our control. It’s a testament to the lessons we’ve learned the hard way and the stress that we are under to be adults who are respected instead of looked down upon as “entitled”. It’s a testament to knowing how many of my peers are on anti-depressants and in therapy (neither of which they can afford, so it just gets stacked upon the thousands of dollars of student debt they have). It’s bad when there’s now a name for it because we are having “quarter-life” crises instead of mid-life.

One lesson that has been the hardest learned for me, and that has recently come back to remind me just how I learned it, is that while love is unconditional, relationships are not. This requires a little bit of back story, so bear with me.

My last relationship (as you’ve heard me mention over the last couple personal posts) was very abusive. He was a compulsive liar and very good at gaslighting. I was young and naive, and he wasn’t (naive, that is, he’s younger than I am). He knew exactly how to manipulate me to get what he wanted. This lasted for three years. Three years. The result was that during this, my already low self esteem dropped lower, I became even more withdrawn and anti-social, and I was more lost than ever. I was a teen. My parents were going through a rough time. It was, I thought, the love of my life.

I had only had one other guy before this ever tell me that I was beautiful and that he was in love with me, but that relationship wasn’t meant to be. We never even dated. So, when this guy came along, I took a chance. In some ways, I regret it deeply. I lost a lot of friends and missed out on a lot of experiences (including enjoying experiences like prom and graduation) because of this guy. At first it was great, but then every thing changed and I found myself in a situation that I knew in the back of my mind, was not safe and was not healthy. However, like a lot of people who find themselves in abusive relationships, I loved him hopelessly. As much as any 15-18 year old can know love. I was convinced that I could change myself to be that person he loved again. I was convinced I could change him to not be so quick to anger.

I convinced myself of a lot of things that still make me cringe and turn red with embarrassment. Please believe me that hind sight is 20/20, a lesson taught to me by one of my favorite history teachers. It was his response as to why people see things more clearly or differently after the fact than in the heat of the moment. Somewhere, another quote came to me when I needed it the most. It took a lot of time for it to sink in, and a lot of courage for me to finally cut him out of my life. I had tried before, just to go to being friends with him. This was a false hope. The only way to break that cycle is complete cut-off. The reason I can’t remember where this quote comes from is that I have literally dozens of notebooks, scraps of paper, journals, and files on my computer filled with quotes gathered over the past ten years of my life.

That quote was this: Love is unconditional, relationships are not. It rattled around in my head for a long time as I wrestled with exactly what it meant to me. And what I took from it was this: Yes, love is in fact unconditional. We don’t get to decide when it happens, where it comes from, who it applies to, nor how deeply it runs. It is something that exists beyond us, on another plane. Relationships are not unconditional. Ask anyone who’s ever been in one that has ended, from lovers to friends. They will all give you a reason. And most of the time will tell you that they are still in love or still love that person. Sometimes there are just parts of a relationship that we cannot handle. While this does not mean that we no longer love the person, it just means that we now realize it is not healthy for us to be a part of their life anymore.

From dirty socks and differences in politics, to lying and unfaithfulness, there are many conditions that define what you expect in a relationship. We all think that a failed relationship equals no longer loving that person but that is not the case. I think that line of thinking is what makes relationships, especially long ones, hard to walk away from. But it’s not love that has failed. There are some things that even love cannot change or conquer. You can love someone and realize that you can no longer live with them. You have to choose to let them go and love them from afar. And it hurts. Damn does it hurt. Usually. It hurt me to realize this, but the more he hurt me, the easier it made it. That breaking point is in different places for different people. I was lucky to realize mine before I fully committed my life to his.

Now, it has been nearly 7 years since we split. I do not talk to him, I have only seen him once (in a failed attempt to get my things back). I do not friend or follow him on facebook or any social media. His number is blocked from my phone and, to be honest, I no longer remember it though I once knew it like I knew my name. Now, I am seeing a pattern of a toxic relationship develop with someone close to me who I thought new this lesson. Unfortunately, they’ve been blinded to it by the beauty of the “honeymoon phase”. It frightens and angers me for this person because they’ve been through this before and deserve so much better. But that only served to remind me of another lesson. One that is just as hard for me to accept and follow.

I’m a nurturer. The Mother Goose. I want what’s best for the people I love and it’s hard for me to accept that sometimes I have to step back and let them make their own decisions and deal with the consequences that follow. My boyfriend actually reminded me of this one, which was slightly humbling because I’m the one who taught it to him. There comes a time when you are really going to hate a decision someone close to you makes. You’re going to think that you know that this decision is only going to get them hurt. But it is not our place to make decisions for others, it it only our job to love them. Sometimes you get presented with the ultimatum of accepting their decision and loving them, or losing them from your life. I learned a long time ago you can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be, or think that they need to be, saved. You’ve got to let people go their own way and just be there for them.

Simply another reminder that love is unconditional but relationships are not. Relationships are full of not only conditions but compromise. You have to decide, in every relationship, what compromises you are willing to make and what conditions are hard lines. This is always complicated by love. It’s pretty good at blurring those lines. There is always going to be someone that comes along that you love so much you turn into a pirate, going, “Rules? I thought those were more guidelines…”. There’s always going to be an exception to your rules for some people. Trust me, I’ve met one that just broke every rule I’ve ever had about a person and I fell in love with him anyways. I was willing to throw everything away for him, and he knew it. I am lucky enough that he loved me enough to not let me do that.

So,thanks for hanging in there with me and letting me ramble on. I’m not really sure where I hoped this would go when I started, but I’m ok with how it turned out. And, dear readers, with all your loved ones, just remember that love comes in many shapes and forms, and just because you might not have a great relationship with someone doesn’t mean you can’t love them.


“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck”

“Your heart is surrounded by cobwebs and dust, it hasn’t seen the light of love in years. your skin is painted with blue and green circles, and red lines going in all directions. this is the aftermath of strangers,  of friends, of family, who are tyring to claw their way into your cobwebbed heart. they tried knocking first but you slammed the door in their faces, as if they were a door-to-door salesman. it’s time. time to let them in, time to clear away the cobwebs and the dust. time to let the light in.” – a.y.

“you can always find something beautiful in something destructive and now I finally understand why I’ve always been so fond of you.”

” ‘The trick, kiddo,’ his mom replies slowly, ‘is finding someone who complements you instead of completes you. You need to be complete on your own.’ ”

“Darlin, forever is a long, long time, and time has a way of changing things.” – Big Mama The Fox & The Hound

” ‘You,’ he said, ‘are a terribly real thing in a terribly false world, and that, I believe, is why you are in so much pain.’ ” – Emilie Autumn, The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls

“I would have loved you with everything I have. But you didn’t want to be loved, turns out you just wanted to be fucked.”

“People have a habit of inventing fictions they will believe wholeheartedly in order to ignore the truth they cannot accept.” Libba Bray The Sweet Far Thing

“You can never really know someone completely. That’s why it’s the most terrifying thing in the world, really—taking someone on faith, hoping they’ll take you on faith too. It’s such a precarious balance, It’s a wonder we do it at all. And yet..” – Libba Bray

“I love you for who you are, not who the world thinks you should be.” – Libba Bray  Beauty Queens

“He admired my melancholy madness and said that it was graceful and beautiful. But it was neither of those things. I was a hurricane at the centre of a collapsing, burning, building; and I wasn’t someone to be admired at all.

“If there’s a thing I’ve learned in my life it’s to not be afraid of the responsibility that comes with caring for other people. What we do for love: those things endure. Even if the people you do them for don’t.”“I used to think that when people fell in love, they just landed where they landed, and they had no choice in the matter afterward. And maybe that’s true of beginnings, but it’s not true of this, now. I fell in love with him. But I don’t stay with him by default as if there’s no one else available to me. I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other. I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me.” – Allegiant

“I know that I am birdlike, made narrow and small as if for taking flight, built straight-waisted and fragile. But when he touches me like he can’t bear to take his hand away, I don’t wish I was any different.” – Insurgent

“The worst thing is watching someone drown and not being able to convince them that they can save themselves just by standing up.”

Wanderlust & Wordy Wednesday: Georgia Renaissance Festival

Hello again Dear Readers! Today is a bit of a two-for. I wanted to make brief mention of one thing and then I’m going to cover something near and dear to me.

First thing, everyone loves free stuff, right? Well, I know I do. April 16 thru April 24 is National Park week. What does this mean? It means free entrance to ANY National Park! April 16th is Junior Park Ranger Day and the parks will have badges and activities just for the kiddos. April 22nd is Earth Day. April 23 is #InstaMeet at the National Parks. There will be designated times and places to gather to take photos and videos just for your Instagram, if that’s your think. April 24th is Park Rx day with a focus in the parks on encouraging a healthy lifestyle.

National Parks have always held a special place for me. My parents have been taking me and my brother to them to hike and enjoy nature for years. I have been to most of the major National Parks all across the U.S. Please, take advantage of this FREE Park Week and get outside and have some fun! Find out more information here.

My next post, and our actual “destination” for this week is a seasonal event. This event starts April 16th and runs through June 5th. I am talking about the Georgia Renaissance Festival. For those of you who do not know what that is, it’s a really big festival celebrating life like it would have been in Medieval England. Specifically, it is set in the reign of King Henry VII and Anne Boleyn.  There are “cast members” who are officially employed by the festival and will be in character at all times. There are craftspeople who demonstrate older ways of doing things, such as the Weaver’s Guild, Glassblowing, and Fencing.

There is food everywhere (yay!) and tons of things for kids to do. This is a very family friendly place and it is also very educational. I actually went here for the first time on a field trip in 8th grade. There are demonstrations, gifts to buy, and fun times to be had by all. There are also “theme” weekends such as Pet Friendly, Highland Fling, and Kid Free. My favorite “theme” weekend is opening weekend. Adult tickets are buy one get one free. Every year. It’s the best time to go if you aren’t sure that it is your thing. You get to experience the entire festival for half the price.

Be sure to get there early. Traffic tends to back up and the later you get there, the further away from the gates you will be parked. You also don’t want to miss the opening ceremonies. It’s just a taste of what you will find inside. The jousting is always a good time, as are the side shows. I personally recommend the Washer Women. We laughed so hard we were in tears. Seriously, I cannot recommend this festival enough. You can find directions here. If you go, please post some pictures or stories of your trip in the comments!


“it’s not the endings that will haunt you But the space where they should lie, The things that simply faded Without one final wave goodbye. Like a book with torn out pages, Forgetting things you’re sure you knew, A question with no answer And a song stopped halfway though. So when your mind attempts to store them, Their crooked shape will never fit, And forever in the corners Of your consciousness they sit. Jagged edges made from moments You can’t be quite sure were the last, Slicing open thoughts that healed As they attempt to slip right past. You see, not knowing is what haunts you, The memories that never mend, For they are puzzles missing pieces, Of all the things that didn” e.h.

“She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings.” – Ariana

“What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.” – Charles Bukowski

“Integrity is making sure the things you say and the things you do are in alignment.” – Katrina Mayer

“One of the happiest moments in life is when you find the courage to let go of what you can’t change.” – unknown

 

 

Wanderlust and Wordy Wednesday

Well friends, my wanderlust got the better of me for a moment and I forgot my blog. I have a nice entry to share with you about this lovely hike the bestie and I took the Saturday before last. But I’m going to save it for a night when I have more time to blog. Things, as always, have gotten a little busy for me lately. I made my first trip to the dentist in over 6 years, but that’s a post for another day.

Today my wanderlust isn’t as much a destination as it is a question. I try my best to give you destinations every Wednesday, but wanderlust is about so much more than that. I usually tend to gravitate towards places that I’ve been so that I can recommend things to do, see, and eat while you’re there. However, I also LOVE road trips. Would you, my dear readers, be interested in me showing you some of my favorite road trips? These would include destinations, stops along the way, side notes, restaurants, and hotels.

I do enjoy making road trips for people and I’m lucky that my parents took me on some pretty neat ones when I was little. If you guys are interested, I’ll incorporate them every now and then into my Wanderlust and Wordy Wednesday series. Variety is the spice of life, right?


“The only thing standing between you and your goals is that bullshit story you keep telling yourself.” – unknown

“She was a shooting star, Her smile so bright and rare, That by the time you had blinked, There was no sign it had been there.” – e.h.

“What if the grass is greener on the other side, Because it’s always raining there, Where the ones who never fail to give, Hardly have enough to spare, Where people with the broadest smiles, Have pillows filled with tears, And the bravest ones you’ve ever known, Are crippled by their fears, It’s filled with lonely people, But they’re never seen alone, Where those that lack real shelter, Make you feel the most at home, Maybe the grass looks greener, Because they’ve painted on its hue, Just remember from the other side, Your grass looks greener too.” – e.h.

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of embarrassing bravery. And I promise you something great will come of it.” – benjamin mee

“The most dangerous woman of all is the one who refuses to rely on your sword to save her because she carries her own.” – r.h. sin

“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” – Shakespeare

” Be the same person privately, publicly, and personally.” – Judah Smith

“You need to understand that life isn’t what you’re given. It’s what you create, what you conquer, and what you aim to achieve.” – unknown

 

Wanderlust & Wordy Wednesday: James H. Floyd State Park

Hello dear friends. I apologize for being away. Things around here have yet to slow down but again, I promise I will try to do better! Today’s destination is James H. Floyd State Park in Summerville, Georgia.

James H. Floyd is also known (and mostly referred to) as Sloppy Floyd. I’ve been here many times but amazingly enough, I don’t have any pictures so these will be pictures pulled from various sites. Sloppy Floyd covers 561 acres near the Chattahoochee National Forest. There are two stocked lakes, three miles of hiking trails, and it’s only 1.6 miles away from the trailhead of the Pinhoti.

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No boat? No problem! You can rent paddle boats, kayaks, and canoes. There are several picnic areas, two playgrounds, 4 cottages, and 25 cabins. The lakes themselves are BIG. They cover 51 acres. There’s also a really nice board walk. It’s also a great place to geocache, if that’s your thing.

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There is one part of this park I’ve never been to, but heard about recently from some friends who live in the area. There is a short hike called the Marble Mine Trail. It leads to an absolutely beautiful area with a shelf overhanging a reflection pond. There’s a cute little waterfall that cascades over the shelf. If you would like to learn more about the mining history of this area, the Georgia State Parks offers Hidden Gem: A Walk Through the Mining Industry and I suggest you visit it for tour times and info. 2012-04-01-11-18-32

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They also offer a First Time Camper program if you’re an urbanite looking to teach yourself or your kids the basics of camping with the guidance of a ranger and gear that you can borrow instead of buy (Just bring your own sleeping bag or blanket and pillow).

This park is not far from Rome. It’s an easy day trip if you’re in Rome staying the weekend or some such. Have you been here? Show me your pictures!

 


 

“She folded her life like origami, Made what was large into something so small, Bending and creasing her edges, Until she filled almost no room at all, She’d learnt to always say sorry, That she was a burden for taking up space, And so into herself she was folded, Locked in her own suffocating embrace, The world tore at all of her edges, Once sharp corners had started to fray, Now so tiny that nobody noticed, As she slowly began to decay, Reduced to just ashes of moments, The wind swept her up off the floor, And her pieces were scattered in places, She’d not dared to inhabit before, As her eyes took in all of the beauty, Of a world which she’d lived life deprived, She learnt there’s no need to say sorry, Taking up space simply means you’re alive.” – e.h.

“Be there for others, but never leave yourself behind.” – Dodinsky

“one day you’ll make peace with your demons, and the chaos in your heart will settle flat. and maybe for the first time in your life, life will smile right back at you and welcome you home.” – r.m. drake

“She was a shooting star, Her smile so bright and rare, That by the time that you had blinked, There was no sign it had been there.” – e.h.

“I want to apologize to all the women I have called pretty. before I’ve called them intelligent or brave. I am sorry I made it sound as though something as simple as what you’re born with is the most you have to be proud of when your spirit has crushed mountains. from now on I will say things like, you are resilient or, you are extraordinary. Not because I don’t think you’re pretty. But because you are so much more than that.” – rupi kaur

“strong woman accepts both compliments and criticism graciously, knowing that it takes both sun and rain for a flower to grow.” – unknown

” “How do you know when it’s over?” “Maybe when you feel more in love with your memories that with the person standing in front of you.” ” – Unknown

“You’ll meet her, she’s very pretty, even though sometimes she’s sad for many days at a time. You’ll see, when she smiles, you’ll love her.” – Pan’s Labyrinth

“I don’t know how it is you are so familiar to me – or why it feels less like I am getting to know you and more as though I am remembering who you are. How every smile, every whisper brings me closer to the impossible conclusion that I have known you before, I have loved you before – in another time, a different place – some other existence.” – Lang Leav

“She sent me just one postcard From the place she now called home, Spoke of the things she wished she knew Before she left her life to roam. That she had always felt the weight Of the whole world against her lungs, Heard the silence left by sentences No one had ever strung. And so she did the only thing That she knew how to do: she fled. But looking back, the only place, That needed leaving was her head. For in its nooks and crannies Was where her whole world did reside, And when you’re the one who’s seeking There is no where you can hide. She wrote of climbing mountains, Crossing rivers, swimming in lakes, But with distance came a feeling That each distraction failed to shake. (Here her writing started wobbling Like she was fighting not to cry, And as I read her final sentence I think I understood just why.) ‘I thought I’d left it all behind,’ she said, ‘But I have never been so wrong, For it is only now I realize That I have brought myself along.’ ” – e.h.

 

 

Wanderlust & Wordy Wednesday: Desoto State Park, Al

Hello again dear readers, friends, neighbors, and lurkers (yes I see you there in the shadows, it’s ok). I (once again) apologize for missing last week. Things around here got a little crazy and then I fell under the weather. Still am, actually. A sinus infection and an ear infection. However, we are moving forward! As promised, this destination would make a great addition to my previous destination.

Today takes us to Desoto Falls State Park. It is 8 miles north of Fort Payne, Alabama and covers over 3,500 acres. Desoto Falls (104 ft tall) is the state’s highest waterfall and is located 6 miles north of the main park. It was named after Hernado de Soto and was developed in the 1930’s be the Civilian Conservation Corps. The park has 25 miles of hiking trails, 11 miles of mountain bike trails, a CCC built lodge and cabins, restaurants, camp sites, chalets, motel, swimming pools, and a nature center.

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The boyfriend and I went here after stopping at Little River while out on the bike one day. It’s a beautiful drive from Little River to Desoto State Park and the park itself is lovely. The drive in the park up to the main falls is one of my favorite. You go on the edge of the mountain and wind up above Mentone, Al.

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Waterfall chasing seems to be a big thing on the Facebook lately and I promise if you are anywhere close to DeSoto, it’s worth the trip. We also browsed the store and nature center while here. We didn’t have time to eat but the restaurant menu sounded delicious and we really want to go back and try it. We did find a geocache while here. It was right under our noses but I’ll be darned if it didn’t take us a good 15 minutes to land on the right location.

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There are so many trails and waterfalls to see here that you need to spend more time here than we did. I highly recommend making a solid day or two of it. I hope to update this post more later, once we go back. Have you ever been to DeSoto? What’s your favorite part?

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“There is a fable in the forest Whispered by branches as they blow, A tale about the truth of leaving Things that no longer help you grow. For on the surface it looks simple; Like you need only lace your boots, But there is nothing quite as painful As untangling your roots. And proof is found in tree stumps Of the price some pay to flee, That they would cut their lives in half To cut the time before they’re free. Yet from the little left behind Life has been known to grow again, For unless you take your roots A part of you will still remain.” – e.h.

How is it so easy for you to be kind to people he asked Milk and honey dripped from my lips as I answered cause people have not been kind to me.” – rupi kaur

“Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back, and reasons to stay.” – Dalai Lama

“Be the person you needed when you were younger.”

“She was a forgiver. Her heart was so large she didn’t know hot to give up on people, because she always believed the good in those she loved. It was until she was walked on so many times, she had no choice but to let go of those who burned holes in her heart.” – C.R. Bittar

“Learn to say “No” without explaining yourself.”

“she woke up every morning with the option of being anyone she wished. how beautiful it was that she always chose herself.” – tyler kent white

 

Wanderlust & Wordy Wednesday: Little River Canyon, Al

Hello again dear readers, I apologize for missing last week. It’s been super busy at work. But we’re back at it this week! We’re crossing the state line into Alabama! This has quickly become one of our favorite trips on the bike. Next week’s destination ties into this one in what can be a lovely day ride or a fun weekend trip.

Our first destination for today is Little River Canyon. It’s also on Lookout Mountain but is in/near Fort Payne, Alabama. It’s a 15,288 acre preserve that protects what is said to be the nation’s longest mountain top river, Little River. The canyon is said to be the deepest east of the Mississippi. Prior to being handed over to the National Park Service, it was actually the southern-most part of Desoto State Park.

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It’s said to be one of the cleanest and wildest waterways in the South. It’s undammed aside from a small and derelict hydroelectric project at Desoto Falls. The sandstone walls are up to 600 ft tall in places and  can be seen from the 11 mile long  Little River Canyon Rim Scenic Drive (AL176) which I HIGHLY recommend. We made a trip there just to drive the scenic parkway.  It has many great pull offs with great views of the canyon and the state’s highest waterfall, Grace’s High Falls.

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There’s a nice boardwalk from the pull off on the right side of the bridge you see here. You can walk around it down to the rocks where you will see people sunbathing and playing in the water.  Just beware that you aren’t supposed to get within 100 ft of the top of the falls. This doesn’t stop people but be aware that if a ranger sees you, it’s a hefty federal fine, as this is a national park, not a state park. You can also walk across the bridge, as there is a fence diving off the walkway from the road.

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There’s a pull off for Martha’s Falls (Hippie Hole) a little up from here that is a really popular swimming hole. I haven’t been there but from my understanding, it requires a small hike.

Have you ever been here? I’d love to see your pictures or hear about it!


  • “one day you’ll make peace with your demons, and the chaos in your heart will settle flat. and maybe for the first time in your life, life will smile back at you and welcome you home.” -r.m. drake
  • “I made my life an arrow, The tip a deadly sharpened point, So people never came so close, That I may disappoint, I’d sit and watch in silence, As the world would pass me by, Wondering how far I’d fall, If I ever tried to fly, You watched me with such interest, Like it was me you tried to find, As though you knew all of my secrets, And the thoughts within my mind, You looked like all the others, But what I did not know; Was while I’d made myself an arrow, You had made yourself a bow, And apart we’d both been useless, But we’d finally worked out why; Since you need someone to pull you back, If you ever want to fly, So you aimed me with precision, And I flew straight from the start, Until I landed with a solid thud, On the target of your heart.” – e.h.
  • “Watch carefully, the magic occurs, when you give a person, just enough comfort, to be themselves.” – atticus
  • “Books are many things; lullabies for the weary, ointment for the wounded, armour for the fearful, and nests for those in need of a home.” – Glenda Millard The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk
  • “She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the Universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings.” – Ariana
  • “do you remember the first time you were called annoying? how your breath stopped short in your chest, the way the light drained from your eyes, though you knew your cheeks were ablaze? the way your throat tightened as you tried to form an argument that got lost on your tongue? Your eyes never left the floor that day. you were 13. you’re 20 now, and i still see the light fade from your eyes when you talk about your interests for “too long”, apologies littering every other sentence, words trailing off a cliff you haven’t jumped from in 7 years. i could listen to your forever, though i know speaking for more than 3 uninterrupted minutes makes you anxious. all i was you to know is that you deserve to be heard. for 3 minutes. for 10 minutes. for 2 hours. forever.  there will be people who cannot handle your grace, your beauty, your wisdom, your heart; mostly because they can’t handle their own. but you will never be and have never been “too much”. “- unknown
  • “I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead. Some come from behind. But I’ve bought a bat, I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have trouble with me.” – Dr. Seuss
  • “Every time they’re at sea, The oceans start to weep, wishing they were half as wide, As his love for her is deep.” – e.h.

Wanderlust & Wordy Wednesday: Rock City

Hello dear readers! Today’s destination is just a small part of a larger whole. The area in which it resides is so large that I’m going to break it down into some of the major attractions in several posts. I will also cover the area as a whole at a later time. Are you ready??

Perhaps, if you have been to the South, you’ve seen this sign before. ebd2ecca-1f39-45a9-ae85-edc4ab567b1f

Yep, Rock City. It’s technically located atop Lookout Mountain, in Georgia, although most people tend to say it’s in Chattanooga, TN. However, before we talk about the place, let’s talk about these barns. They have a history all their own.

Depression weary Americans were just starting to love the open road again and in 1935, Rock City Founder Garnet Carter came up with the genius plan of using barns as billboards. Clark Byers, the man who painted the barns, braved bulls, lightning strikes, and more for three decades. By the time he retired, in 1969, he had painted more than 900 barns in 19 states.

The owners of the barns were usually given free passes and a bunch of promotional wares, such as a Rock City thermometer, along with a full repainting of the barn. The highway beautification act of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency saw them as more of an eye sore and the legislation meant that many of the signs had to be removed.

The barns are still painted today by Byers’ successors and most of them are found in small towns with colorful names like Stamps, Arkansas.

Rock City has been around for a while. There is history to support that Native Americans lived here, as well as the Battle of Lookout Mountain (where both Union and Rebel soldiers claimed to be able to see seven states from the top). Hikers and geologists were familiar with it long before it was a public attraction.

Garnet Carter was going to develop a residential neighborhood complete with a golf course. He was going to call it Fairyland because of his wife’s love of European folklore. Fairyland was 700 acres, encompassing Rock City. His wife, Freida, set out to make it a big rock garden, marking a path that wound its way around the rocks, ending at Lover’s Leap. She planted flowers and placed statues all along the path. Her husband realized people would pay to see it and opened it to the public in 1932.

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There are many attractions here. Unique rock formations such as the Fat Man Squeeze, the Needle Eye, and the Balanced Rock (910 tons) are just a few things to be found here. There are thousands and thousands of labeled plants and trees, wildlife, and views to die for.

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Rock City also has several special events though out the year: Valentines at Lovers LeapShamrock CitySouthern Blooms Festival (For all you gardeners!), Summer Music WeekendsRocktoberfest, and the Enchanted Garden of Lights. Whether you go for a special event or just because, there’s never a bad time to visit Rock City! Have you been? Share your experience with me!

 

  • today my professor told me
    every cell in our entire body
    is destroyed and replaced
    every seven years.how comforting it is to know
    one day i will have a body
    you will have never touched.”  – Brett Elizabeth Jenkens
  • “We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.” – The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall
  • “She is delightfully chaotic; a beautiful mess. Loving her is a splendid adventure.” – Steve Maraboli
  • “Like wildflowers; you must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would.” – E.V.
  • “They say the things that finally break you Are the words caught in your throat, And she has years of thoughts not uttered Crammed in the pockets of her coat. A whisperer amongst a world That’s learn only to speak, Where silence must be broken For the proof that it is weak. But wherein lies the weakness Of keeping words held in your hand? When others listen to reply She listens just to understand. Surely it’s strength when things unspoken Fill the room up to the brim, And she’s the only one among them Who has taught herself to swim.” – e.h.
  • “There’s nothing in this universe that exists the same as you, and stars would weep with joy at what their lonely atoms grew. And maybe you’re just a point of light in a world that makes you small, but our sky with one less star is not really our sky at all.” – E.H.
  • “She was a person you would not be surprised to find sitting by herself in a corner of the world where she didn’t belong, writing things in a notebook to prevent the rise of panic.” – Alice Munro, Hold Me Fast, Don’t Let Me Pass
  • “She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the Universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings.” – Ariana