Sunday, January 22, 2012

Has it really been this long?

Me, with Ginny and Liam on their visit "down south".

Alright, I know I have been a blogger slacker or a slacker blogger. I have not posted since September 17, 2011. Wow! I did change the title of my blog....Nana's Nest.

Since I posted last, I turned 50 years old. Sweet, dear friends from church came over with pizza and cupcakes to help me celebrate. I had calls from all my children. Sarah and Greg gave me a gift certificate for a massage at Scarborough's. I went and had it during Thanksgiving break. It was heavenly. Turning 50 was not a big deal, just a number. I would not be who I am without being 50 years old, so it is all good.

Sarah and babies came down in October/November. Some highlights of that visit: We had a family BBQ here at the house. There was good food, family, laughter, lots of Liam and Ginny kissing, and visiting. The next day my sister has a Halloween party. I dressed as a Hyatt High School cheerleader. Ginny and Liam were adorable as a gingerbread man and a gingerbread girl. Bonus: My oldest son Jacob and family came in that day just in time to go to the party. Sarah was here a week, then spent a week in Gonzales with her in-laws. I went down the following weekend for Ginny's baptism. It was a great day, and I enjoyed the ceremony and time spent with Greg and is family. I am so grateful to them for their love of my Sarah.

Speaking of Jacob and family. They are my temporary boarders. I have enjoyed their presence and company. Alia kisses everyday is a great thing. They had moved to Missouri for about a month, but did not find it to their liking. Jacob is now working for the electrical union. He is presently at Conoco, and there appears to be lots of work in the future. I am glad for them, but will hate to see them go when they fly this nest to live in their own.

Christmas came and was spent with family. It was great having Alia in the house for Christmas so that Santa could come. We spent a great Christmas Eve. It was a Mexican Christmas Eve spent with Jacob, Alesha, Alia, Daniel, and Randy.........yes Randy. I missed my Sarah and family. We shared Christmas by Skyping. Christmas Day was spent at my parents, again enjoying the company of my family. We play "dirty Santa". I left with a Fleur de Lis watch and candles. Buffalo Wild Wings gift cards were very popular this year and the fight was on for those. Tim Tebow's book was also popular. (I bought two of those as Christmas presents, but have not read it. I also bought the same people the Drew Brees book).

A new year has come. I have learned to count my many blessings every day. Some days, I count them by the hour. I still yearn for a life I use to have. I am grateful that anger is not a part of my life. I am hopeful for the future. I am grateful for all the people placed in my life that help me to cope with life. I truly feel they are all heaven sent. I am grateful for the awesome people I work with. We have a professional and spiritual bond that I know can not be found every where. We never start a grade level meeting without prayer. We truly ask God to lead us in our interactions with the children every day. I am grateful to my family who has acknowledged my desire to deal with the changes in my life in my way. I am grateful to my children who offer love and support from both near and far, and respect the decisions I have made about personal feelings. I am grateful to church family who happen to just "come by" invite me to join them, or call. You do not know what an impact you have made in my life by reminding me I am loved. I am grateful to my therapist...yes a therapist. She is my "paid" friend that has helped me cope with my life changes. She has helped to keep me "in the game". Although I know I have to do all the work, she has been sincere in her efforts to guide me in my latest life journey. Some times it is not pleasant, but she jolts me into thinking about what would be best for me or at least accepting the decisons that I have made or were "made for me".

I am grateful for my life and all of those in it. I am grateful to God for the life He has given me for I know it was chosen for me. I hope that I am worthy of the jouney.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Another reason to go to Tennessee

Although I had a great time exploring the mountains, I had
another reason for going up to Tennessee. My step daughter,
Jade and family live in Athens,Tennessee. I got to spend a
few days with them. In fact, I got to spend time with the kids
while Jade hosted a Mary Kay party. We went to a jumping
house place, we ate at Arby's, and then did a little shopping at
Walmart. At Walmart, we bought giant marshmallows, ice cream,
root beer, some movies, and a game. We spent the rest of the
evening snacking, watching movies, and playing the game.

One evening, Morgan and I made supper. We decided to use
what ever was in the house, no trips to the store. We had
spaghetti, squash, and cake. I had a fun time with Morgan in
the kitchen. Morgan is Jade's oldest. She is 11. Miami is 6 1/2,
and Daniel is 2 1/2. There was lots of snuggle time that went on
with all three kids. They are sweet, sweet, sweet.

I took a few pictures at the jumping place, but decided to just post
the above picture of all three. I miss you Jade and Phillip, Morgan,
Miami, and Daniel. I hope to see you soon.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Journey Continues

After I did not get to go on the one way road, I went to the
Cherokee Entrance to Smoky Mountain Nation Park. They
have a great living museum there. There are old buildings
and even some farm animals. I walked around the grounds,
visited the center and gift shop inside. I love to read local
stories, so I bought a book called, Tall Woman. It is a tale
of life there in the mountains. I enjoyed it.

When I left the park center, I traveled back to Maggie Valley,
where I was staying. I did a little shopping, mainly just looking.
I did buy a dress at one of those glorious "junk" shops. I will
post pictures later. I also had a Bluebell coconut shake at an
ice cream store.

Those straight rows would drive me nuts. I have my
classroom set up in groups.

I love to visit old school houses. I already been to one there
in Smoky Mountain National Park when I was up there
last November. I found out about this one in my research
of the park. It is in Chatalooche Valley. This area is where
they have re introduced elk. That is another reason I went
there. It was raining when I got to the valley where the
elk were. I have seen elk in Colorado, so I did not feel
impressed to sit in the rain and look at elk. There were plenty,
and the drive to that valley was gorgeous. After I left the
elk, I stopped by the Beech Grove school. As you can see
by the sign, it was built in 1903.

It was raining, so I put a garbage bag over me, took off my
shoes, and plodded through the soggy grass to the school.

The teacher's desk at the front of the room. As messy as
I keep my desk, this would not have worked for me.

This a church just up the road from the school.
I believe it was built around the same time as
the school.

This stream runs right outside the front door of the church.
I know they must have done their baptisms there.

This was one of the last scenes I saw that evening. It is so
beautiful and peaceful.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

And There was Peace in the Mountains........

A few years ago I bought a wall hanging that says,"You are
closer to heaven in the mountains." I also have a picture
frame that says,"And There Was Peace in the Mountains."
Since the first time I saw the green mountains of
Arkansas to the first time I breathed in the splendor of the
majestic Rockies, I have loved the mountains. There is
such a peace there, and you really are closer to heaven
in ALL sense of the words. The Smoky Mountains also
hold that peace, and that is what I sought on a beautiful
day in July this summer.

I stopped at each over look, got out, and just breathed in
that sweet, clean air. The view gives me a sense of
eternity that can not help fill me with peace. The day
before I had stood at the bottom of those falls, and felt thunder
rumble through the mountains and through my body and soul.
I felt as though God met me at the bottom of those falls. As
I gazed at the mountains...HE WAS EVERYWHERE! All of my
senses were heightened and each breath seem to cleanse my
soul. There was peace on the mountain.

Now, my goal for the day was to travel this one way unpaved
mountain road. The speed limit is 10, and I had nothing but
time. In fact this road was my prize of this trip. Even more
than Chimney Rock, I desired to travel this mountain road. I
once again loaded up my trusty ice chest and set out for
my adventure of the day. There would not be much hiking
done today for my boots still were soaked!

Ahh... isn't that inviting? What? What does that sign say
at the beginning of the road. Closed? Closed? Closed with
a gate blocking the road? Now this was not part of the plan.
I found out later from rangers that the road was closed due
to bridge damage from the torrential rains of the day before.

I decided to walk down the road for a little while. Oh gosh,
it was so beautiful, so lush, so green, looking like a
bear could jump out at any minute.! I wanted the comfort
and safety of my little Toyota. I did not mind seeing a bear, in
fact I wanted to. I just wanted to see it from the inside
of my car. I decided that this road would have to be
traveled another time.

I know. God was on this road too. Look at the Light. It
looked surreal.

On my way up to that road, I passed this creature. Elk were
on my agenda for the evening for they are in another part of
the park. I suppose this one yearned to travel "my road" as well.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Appalachian Journey Continues

I had done some research about places to visit. I discovered
Chimney Rock a couple of days before I left. I was watching
the movie,"The Last of the Mohicans" and was curious as to
where it was filmed. Imagine my delight when I found out
it was right in the area I was going to be staying. I stayed
in a small town named Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Chimney
Rock State Park was less than an hour away. I got up the
next morning, prepared my little ice chest, and grabbed
my back pack. Remember, I had thrown my
hiking boots into my car.

This is Chimney Rock. It was my goal of the day. There
are 500 steps leading up to it. I just took my time, and
rested frequently at platforms.

After you climb Chimney Rock, you can go on up above. I
had all day, plenty of water, and food.
This is a rock called Devil's Head. If you look closely, you
can see the resemblance.

This is looking across the other direction. It is called The
Opera Box. It was one of the coolest places I have ever
been to.

This young man works for the park system. He said he could
see everywhere up there, it was cool, and his cell phone
worked up there. I told him he had the best job on the

I could have sat there all day. There was not much room for
sitting, and people were waiting to get in there. I visited it
on the way up and down.

Just another rock shelter.

When I learned that part of The Last of Mohicans was filmed
at Chimney Rock State park. The last 17 minutes in fact.
If you know the movie, one of the most dramatic moments
is when the son of the older Indian is killed and pushed off
a water fall. The younger British sister then jumps off
as well. I wanted to see those falls. The picture above
is the stairs leading down to the trail to the falls. Down is
a key word. My knees did not like going down. Once I got down
the stairs, the trail is rather mild going to the falls. It began
to rain, but I thought it was just a short shower...........
WRONG!!! It was a deluge. I was soaked from head to toes.
I had gotten so hot going up to Chimney Rock and above.
My head was already wet from the sweat. The rain
felt so cooling at first. As it ran into my eyes, it burned.
After a while the rain rinsed my hair clean. I was so wet,
even my shoes were over flowing. When I got to the
falls I sat at a picnic table. That is when I remembered
my phone. I put my pack under the table and took
out the phone. The screen was already clouded up. I
thought it would dry out. WRONG AGAIN!!! I put it in a
ziplock with some cheese I had. My camera was still
working, thus I did get these pictures.

If you look closely, you an see the platform at the falls
was a torrent. The steps leading to that were mini
water falls. I am suprised I made it without falling.

The picture does not do it justice.

Remember the scene with the body sliding down the
mountain side?

My visit to Chimney Rock turned out to be one of my
favorite things I have ever done. I was not done yet,
though. The Great Smokys held much more for me.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Solo Sojourn

About 3 weeks ago, I decided to take a trip to the Great
Smokey Mountains. I really love mountains, and those
are more approachable than the Rockies. I researched
different places I wanted to see and do. I decided to
make North Carolina my focal point.

I took off on a Monday. I reserved a room in Ringgold,
Georgia. Ringgold is just a few miles from Chattanooga,
Tennessee. I enjoyed the drive there, going through
Mississippi and Alabama to get there. I went through
Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Every time I go through there
I always call it Satan's town because former LSU
coach Nick Saban coaches there. I am sorry that
a tornado tore up their town and killed so many people,
but I still hope Alabama loses.

I got to my motel about 10 that night. It had been a
long drive. I just wanted to go to bed. I opened up
the back of my car and could not find my
suitcase that I had so carefully packed the night
before. I had brought food, water, hiking boots, and
other needed supplies. My suitcase with clothes,
underwear, and toiletries was sitting by the
back door where I had left it. I set the
alarm on the house before I left. It beeps
as you are going out the door for you
only have so long to get out the door or
it will go off. It always puts me in
panic mode. I guess in my panic
I forgot the suitcase.

I was so tired that I just washed my
teeth with a washcloth and decided to
find a Walmart the next day. I did
have my GPS with me, so I got
to Walmart with no problem. In fact,
it was just 3 miles away. Now, all
I had was the clothes and flip flops I
was wearing. I bought a couple of
T-shirts and a pair of shorts. I got
a pack of underwear, toothbrush and
tooth paste, and a few other necessities.
I decided to just become a mountain
woman for the next several days.

I had scheduled a train ride in Bryson City,
North Carolina. I hit the road to get there
in time to ride the train. It was a 4 hour
round trip. The train goes through the
mountains to Dillsborough, North Carolina.

I have ridden many trains in several different
states. This one was great and I am glad I

This stream went along our route many times.

What is a train ride without a tunnel?

The bad guy wearing a black hat. He robbed the train!

The Lone Ranger after he saved the day!

I found out while I was riding the train that the movie,
"The Fugitive" with Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones
was filmed along the train route. After they finished filming,
they just left the train/bus wreck there. Also, the movie, "My
Fellow Americans" with Jack Lemmon and James Garner
had scenes filmed on board the train I road.

This kind of shows how "real" movies can be.

This is the bus Harrison Ford was riding on when he "escaped".

All along the route there were many farms. It looked like
they were growing tomatoes, peas, and there were even some
that had nothing but flowers. There were acres of Zinnias.

I enjoyed the train and the peacefulness of the ride through
the mountainous woods. I looked forward to the next few
days exploring the area.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Finish My Course With Joy

Acts 20:24 (King James Version)

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Yesterday, Bible Baptist Church, hosted a lunch for all the employees of the schools in DeQuincy. I work at DeQuincy Elementary. Anyway, they prepared a wonderful chicken spaghetti lunch for us. It was waiting for us when we got there. They served all of us in a matter of minutes. This was our third day to sit through meetings, so lunch is the most exciting part of the day!

The food was blessed, and then we enjoyed the meal while some civic leaders of DeQuincy spoke to us. The mayor spoke and our school board member did as well. Both men reminded us that teaching was a calling(a statement I have always believed). Both men expressed the fact that we had the future leaders of the world in our classroom.

Next, the pastor of that church spoke. He talked of the Apostle Paul and then read the scripture I have quoted above. The wonderful thing about God's word is it gives us what we need at that time. What I got from his talk was this: Find the joy at the end of each day. Find the joy in every event in your life. When the day is done, find the joy.

In the past year, this is something that I have had to remind myself of daily, sometimes I had to remind myself of it by the minute. Find the joy. It is hot and dry outside......I don't have to mow as often. I am missing my children and grand children......Skyping is the next best thing to being there. Welcome to the future, with its "Jetson" video phones. I can't sleep or wake up super early......I got to see the day break with its silent beauty and I got to hear that still small voice that fills us with joy and wisdom. Finish my course with joy. At the end of each day, find the joy.

Getting back to the lunch at Bible Baptist yesterday, after the pastor spoke a group of young people performed for us. I guess you could call them a "praise" band. They sang a song that spoke of God's Grace. I think I even heard echoes of U2 in the music. They had us stand and the words to the song were on a screen. The message was pure: God's Grace abounds even during the mysteries of our lives.

After the song, the pastor asked us all to hold hands and join him in prayer. He even took prayer requests and mentioned these names in his prayer You know it is true....whenever 2 or more are gathered in his name.........I have no doubt we were all of one mind and one purpose. The Spirit swept through that baptist church, and I swear that I could not stop smiling on my way to the car. My steps were light. Three other teachers had ridden with me, and they all seem to have received Joy as well.

I am so grateful to that church who honored us as educators. I am grateful that they chose to remind us that we have a wonderful Teacher in our lives everyday. I know that this new school year will not go perfectly, but I am determined to find the joy at the end of the course.