Monday, July 6, 2015

Fleeting Moments

Whatever form it takes, camping is earthy, soul enriching and character building, and there can be few such satisfying moments as having your tent pitched and the smoke rising from your campfire as the golden sun sets on the horizon even if it's just for a fleeting moment before the rain spoils everything. -- Pippa Middleton: English Author and younger sister of Catherine (Duchess of Cambridge)

Wow! What a weekend at Blackberry Blossom Campground! The family and I had a fantastic time despite all the rain that seemed to be nonstop. Thankfully, our tent and canopy, along with "Kermit's Pickin' Porch" kept us all dry for the most part. Owner's Ed, Jan, and daughter Savannah really made us feel right at home our entire trip. This is now our go to camping spot. There is a store on the property that really made the trip convenient when you forget those much needed items, plus there's items you don't need of course as well but boy do you want them. Jan and Nellie (Savannah), make all of the little crafts by hand as well as some lip smacking goodies that you better get if you stop in. Believe me, you'll be wishing you did if you didn't. I purchased the Apple Butter (pictured) and Nellie's, Queen Annes Lace jelly she made that morning that taste like pink lemonade. We definitely made memories and had a few firsts at the campground. My 4 year old, Madelyn, caught her first fish giggling the whole time, and my 1 year old, Rosalee got to go camping for the first time ever. We all can't wait to get back to Blackberry Blossom!  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

find a way or an excuse

If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you'll find an excuse. -- Grant Cardone (March 1958 - Present) Sales Expert & Author

Above is a shot of the lower Rock Creek Falls, which I think is prettier. It looks small in the photo but I would say it's about 30 or so feet tall. Everything was so saturated from the recent rains and made everything so green as you can see! I think you agree that the quote above is true for just about anyone and everyone that is human. I know it is true for me. When I don't want to do something or when it's not that important to me I will find a way or an excuse to get myself out of it. Hiking up to Rock Creek Falls yesterday was quite the challenge. The hike itself wasn't very long, ONLY 2 miles (4 round trip), but with a 40 pounder on my back it was quite strenuous to say the least considering it was all up hill. However, my 3 year old, Madelyn loves hiking or should I say riding, the mountains, and waterfalls. It seemed like every little waterfall we passed, which was a lot, she definitely pointed it out. So, needless to say, I could not give up because the best was yet to come. I felt it was important to the both of us so coming up with excuses to give up was not an option. We made it to both of them but this here Dad is not in the shape he was when he initially hiked this trail 4 years ago regardless of the extra 40 lbs I had tagging along.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

stay ambitious

The ambitious are criticized by those that have given up. -- Grant Cardone (March 1958 - present) Sales Expert & Author

It's so easy sometimes in life to just give up. I guess it's easy to give up because most of the time giving up is taking the easy way out. To not do something is probably one of the easiest things in the world to do! However, to me, giving up is a double edged sword because when you give up there is always something you're missing out on. Yes, it may be minimal and sometimes you may not mind to miss out that something but eventually, if you continue to give up, something big is going to come along that you are just going to miss out on. Giving up kind of goes hand in hand with taking risks. One of the oldest sayings in the book is, "no risk, no reward" which is just what happens when you give up...NO REWARD!! Can't afford to take risks you ask? I say we rephrase that and eliminate the question all together and say we can't afford to NOT take risks just like we can't afford to give up!! You never know, that small risk you take today could really pay off tomorrow. All you have to do is take it! Consider this a challenge!

Friday, June 6, 2014

simple but not simpler

I believe that a simple and unassuming life is good for everybody, physically and mentally. Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. -- Albert Einstein (March 1879 - April 1955) German-Born Theoretical Physicist 

There's really nothing better than a glass of sweet iced tea out of a Mason jar! Lets face it, everything is better out of a Mason jar whether its pickled okra, fresh strawberry preserves, or apple butter, you name it, it's better! Not only does it make the things we eat and drink better, it also can take you back to a more simple time. A time to where our cell phones weren't attached to our hips, a time where everything just seemed to move a lot slower. I wish so bad sometimes we could all get back to that and I do try to keep things as simple as possible but when the day is done I know it's really just wishful thinking. I took this photo one sunny afternoon at an antique store in downtown Bristol, VA. The store was HUGE and I really didn't have all that much time but I did manage to take a few photos of some things here and there. Pictured above, as you can see, is a line of Mason jar called The Clyde. The Clyde launched in 1871, but only for a brief period. After doing some research I wish I would have purchased it because its kind of rare. John Mason of Philadelphia, invented the first glass canning jar in 1858 and became a partner in the Consolidated Fruit Jar Company. Consolidated hired many other glass makers to blow their jars including the Clyde glass works out of Clyde, New York. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

from whence we came

We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came... -- John F. Kennedy

I know it is now June, but I actually took this photo back in March. Needless to say, I couldn't really enjoy the ocean but that was not the reason we went down for a change. We went down to see my buddy Austin get married. Going there for a couple of days really made me realize how much I miss the ocean and being able to visit pretty much whenever I wanted in Jr. college. It was really good to see some old friends I used to raise cane with back in the day. Seeing everyone brought back some really good memories and restored a few lasting friendships. Apart from that things have been crazy but good lately. We are expecting a new baby girl at really anytime and we will never be able do the things that really need to be done before she arrives, but aren't things always that way?! There really is never enough time in the day, but it always seems to be just enough even when you think it won't be. Life is good.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

don't give up

Anyone who minimizes the importance of success to your future has given up on his or her own chances of accomplishment and is spending his or her life trying to convince others to do the same. --Grant Cardone (March 1958-present) Sales Expert & Author

The hike up and down to Laurel Falls today is not a very far one but boy was it tough! At first it's all flat land with bridges even to cross a couple of little streams and then, BOOM! We were going up and down, left and right, down these rocks, up these rocks. However, it wouldn't have been so bad if I didn't have a 40 lb little one on my back! The rock steps going down to the falls stretched about 100 yards and was not so bad because momentum could just kind of take you down. However, going back up was exhausting!! But all of it, even the climb up was so worth it. Failing was not an option!! The quote above fits the journey we endured to a tee. I just hope me taking success as an obligation rubs off on my little ones and to never give up!! 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

hope of the world

In God's wildness lies the hope of the world - the great fresh, unblighted, unredeemed wilderness. The galling harness of civilization drops off, and wounds heal ere we are aware. 

Yesterday I ventured out to find more snow than what fell at the cabin and it led me up to trusty Unaka Mountain in Unicoi County, Tennessee. Sadly, it was blocked off after about a mile of heading up the mountain but it was still worth the short drive up. This doe here was just standing in the middle of the road until I passed and then stood there almost wanting me to grab a photo of her after she crossed the road! If you zoom in on the photo you can see snow on her whiskers that I thought was really cool. It was really cold 18 degrees so I didn't hang outside of the truck too long lol. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

places to play in and pray in

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.
-- John Muir (1838-1914) America's most famous and influential conservationist
Yes, I've been on a John Muir quote kick lately. He has such great quotes about the mountains and conserving the beautiful land we live in. Above is a stack of rocks, obviously, that we saw while hiking around the "Blue Hole." It's alway cool to see how these stacked rocks stand the test of time and remaining standing. It always reminds of the Bible story about the wiseman who built his house upon the rock, on Christ the solid rock! 

Friday, August 30, 2013

good tidings

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like Autumn leaves. 
-- John Muir (1838-1914) American Naturalist and founder of the Sierra Club

This past Sunday, the girls and I were fortunate enough to venture out to the Blue Hole located just outside of Elizabethton in the Stony Creek area of East Tennessee. It was such a beautiful day, I could not waste it sitting at home even though there's still so much to do there. I heard about the Blue Hole from friends but have never been able to make it out there until now. I wish there was a little bit more water but it was still beautiful nonetheless. The hike is short but tiring to say the least, especially when you have a 30 lb child on your back, lol. Pictured above isn't the actual "Blue Hole." The actual "Blue Hole" was very crowded and did not present the shot without someone swimming in the ice cold water. However, the upper falls pictured is my favorite!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

author of something beautiful

One of life's quiet excitements is to stand somewhat apart from yourself and watch yourself softly becoming the author of something beautiful even if it's only a floating ash. 
-- Norman Maclean (1902-1990) American Author: A River Runs Through It

The quote above by Norman Maclean is absolutely right. Every single one of us are authors of our very own beautiful book; the book of life! I think one of the best things about the book of life is that it's always changing and it's also always right. Yes through life we make wrong decisions but that's why it's so beautiful. It's beautiful because we are continuously learning and growing from our mistakes. In the photo above is a picture of my girls taking a stroll on the covered bridge in Elizabethon, one in which life I created. God has blessed me with the little one on the right with her mom and big sister. However, I am not just blessed through her, I'm blessed with all 3 of them and every other person in my life who has been there for me!  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

nothing worth having is easy

My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him, all good things - trout as well as eternal salvation came by grace; and grace comes by art; and art does not come easy. 
-- Norman Maclean: A River Runs Through It (1992)

The other week, the girls and I went over to beautiful Sycamore Shoals in Elizabethton, TN. The park stretches along the Watauga River and offers a trail you can easily navigate by walking, running, or even biking. Sycamore is a great place to take the kids because they can actually walk without have to worry about them falling off a cliff. Above is a shot of a bridge that stretches across one of the streams that the Watauga feeds and to the left is a shot of a garden of Black Eyed Susans. Beware, the water is ice cold!!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

a snails pace

By perseverance, the snail reached the ark. 
-- Charles H Spurgeon (1834-1892) British Particular Baptist preacher

The girls and I ran up on this snail at Limestone Cove in Unicoi, TN. Either the heavy rains brought it to where it was, a good 100 ft. from the stream, or it got there by perseverance. If I had half as much fight in me to persevere through life's difficulties I would be unstoppable in everything I did.  This just goes to show how the willingness to succeed overcomes the willingness to fail and failing my friends is unacceptable but it may take you a while so keep on trucking! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

the mountains have called

The mountains are calling and I must go. 
-- John Muir (1838-1914) Advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States

The mountains have been calling me and finally, 3 years after I moved away, I'm back in the hills of Tennessee. I had almost forgotten how beautiful this place was. Needless to say, it's good to be back. Hopefully now, I can keep my blog up like I want to. This is a photo of Red Fork Falls towards the base of Unaka Mountain in beautiful Unicoi County, Tennessee near Johnson City. Y'all should have seen me and my girls. Emilia was wearing flip flops, Brittani was carrying my camera and as always the "snack pack", and I had Madelyn in the Hip Hammock on my back. Key word there is "hip." Needless to say it was quite a struggle, climbing up and down rock after rock with a 30 lb child hanging on for dear life and loving every minute of it. Oh yeah, forgot to mention it was RAINING!! Luckily the rain quit for a few minutes so I could take a quick pic. Haha, check out Madelyn on my back!! So much fun! Can't wait to go back! 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

the art of God

“All things are artificial, for nature is the art of God” – Thomas Browne

For those of you who know me, you know that I love the outdoors and love to deer hunt. I just wish I had more time to do it. At times, I've found myself dreaming about shooting that monster buck to hang on the wall. Yes, I would still love the trophy, but now I see it in a different light. Not only would I love to bag the trophy but first I'm aiming to shoot it with my Nikon if I'm close enough. I was lucky this past weekend because there were deer everywhere. I "shot" this deer on an old friends land who I used to rent from when I lived in Tennessee while attending college. This girl was just standing there looking at me while I sat on the 4 wheeler shooting away. This particular morning I think I saw like 15 deer. Good times, good times!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Judge Not

"Judge not unless you judge yourself"  - Bob Marley

I think this quote fits the photo perfectly and to be honest, after thinking about it, at first glance, I definitely judged this place. Matthew chapter 7, verses 1 and 2 in the Bible are very similar to this quote as well. Matthew 7:1-2 says "Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you." If you could make a guess, what do you think this building use to be? It shocked me as well. At first I thought this was just an old abandoned shack in the outskirts of Pilot Mountain close to where I live, but as I moved closer it was something totally different. This is actually an old abandoned church and everything is still in there, except maybe the piano. If I could guess, based on my religious studies and by the looks of the alter and pulpit, this used to be a Lutheran type gathering place. I could be wrong so don't hold me to that but I'm pretty confident. Nevertheless this place is cool!! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Knox Vegas

Wow! I did not realize it has been since DECEMBER since I last posted. I guess that just goes to show how busy life can get at times, but I plan to do better. Well, since my last post, things have changed a little bit. I now work for a company by the name of Cellular Sales. Cellular Sales is the worlds largest premium retailer for Verizon Wireless. Anyways, every new employee has to go through a week of training and my week of training lead me to Knoxville, Tennessee. During the week I took full advantage to soak up the sights of old Knoxville and just unwind a little before starting my new found career 100%. Out of all the photographs, this one here is one of my favorites. Ground first broke back in 1927 by a Chicago-based contractor named George M. Fuller for the historic Tennessee Theatre. A short 55 years later the theatre was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Needless to say this was a pretty cool site to see. For more information on the Tennessee Theatre just simply click here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

the country life


Ironically, rural America has become viewed by a growing number of Americans as having a higher quality of life not because of what it has, but rather because of what it does not have! -- Don A. Dillman, American Author

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

life of purpose

The purpose of life is a life of purpose. --Robert Byrne 

This shot here is just a small example of how "Old Salem" operates on a day to day basis. There are tours, and little old shops up and down the streets with people dressed like they did back in the more primitive days. You can enter the shops but you have to purchase tickets to ponder about the stores.

Monday, November 28, 2011

old salem

The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has it's own reason for existing.
-- Albert Einstein

Yes, I know, I have a lot of catching up to do with my postings. This is the entry way of the Old Salem Visitor Center in Winston Salem, NC. This place here is where my photo journey began for the day. If you're ever in Winston Salem or close to it, I would definitely recommend taking a few hours to explore the historic district. You won't be disappointed you did! Click here for more information on this neat little district.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

generous harvest

We must give more in order to get more. It is the generous giving of ourselves that produces the generous harvest.  -- Orison Swett Marden (1850-1924) American Writer

Autumn, or the harvest season, is by far my favorite time of the year. After the long, hot Summer, there really is nothing better than the weather cooling, hunting season, pumpkin pie, and the leaves changing. I've rode and rode past countless corn fields and told myself every single time when the opportunity presented itself to stop and grab a quick shot but I kept putting it off. Needless to say, I finally stopped and grabbed the shot I was looking for. So, as the leaves change, I challenge everyone to go out and explore the wonders of Autumn!