finding happiness in everything

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Exploring Tomoka State Park, FL


Tomoka State Park is located in central Florida on the east coast side. It’s only about a 30 minute drive north from Daytona Beach, 20 minute drive east from Destination Daytona (in Ormond Beach), about an hour and half drive from Orlando, 15 minute drive from Flagler Beach and is located just on the mainland across the Halifax River from Ormond By The Sea.

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Family oriented and pet friendly, this state park’s admission was $5 per vehicle or $2 per bicyclist or pedestrian for an all day stay. There are camping sites within the park and several great fishing holes. We didn’t enter into the camping area, so I can’t tell you much about it, but we saw a great many folks fishing all over the park.

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Gorgeous greenery, seasonal flowers and filled with palm trees of various sorts, this park is inviting and beautiful.  Large turnarounds are situated along the main gravelled (crushed shell) roadways. Well laid trails to hike are scattered about and there’s some wildlife to see. Large turtles call this park home as well as a stray alligator from time to time also. The turtles were particularly intriguing to our dog. They were digging into the soft sandy soil to conceal their eggs, so we didn’t get to see them up close.

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At the far end of the main trail there is a large tribute statue to the Tomoka Indians. It is weathered terribly and large sections of the statue have fallen off. The state of decay was sad to see, but it seems any money spent on the park has gone into the upkeep of the grounds – which were very nice. A restroom facility is located in the same alcove as the statue and there are several camping or cookout sections there as well.

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Visiting the Tomoka State Park was a delight for the day and gets a 5 out of 5 for family friendly and pet friendly. I highly recommend it! Click here to learn more about the park.

Adventuring onward….

Chrissy

No matter where you go, there you are.


No matter where you go, there you are.

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Drinking a giant mug of joy juice (coffee) I hear birds singing this morning in a happy way. It’s obvious that change is coming. Life is changing.

Yesterday I enjoyed my back yard in Knoxville, TN. This morning I woke up in Plainfield, IN. In a few short hours we will trek to Danville. A sleepy little town west of the big city. A comforting place where life seems slower and nostalgic. There’s love waiting for us there. A cute dollhouse cottage with a small front porch and a swing. Always a welcoming smile and hug at the entrance, it’s a small home full of character and memories.

The drive from here to there is beautiful in its own right. Narrow curvy roads hug corn fields most of the way. Occasionally we will spot a deer gracefully wading through what’s left of last year’s corn stalks. A replica of Sheriff Andy Taylor’s police car is parked in front of the Mayberry Cafe in the quaint downtown area. A true Americana style town, it’s pricey to live here. The old gas stations boast of the available fuel with rather hefty price tags & public parks aren’t exactly free. I was told once, “they’d tax the air if they could figure out how to.” I still see it as a happy place though.

Away from the city, the dirt in Indiana is sweet. Not candy sweet, but mossy sweet from a wet winter, like new fallen rain. It’s a musty smell like my beloved grandmother’s cellar that makes my heart happy. As we drive, I’ll catch a sweet whiff of it if I’m lucky. The air here is different, it doesn’t squeeze my chest like east TN. It’s a little easier to breathe & a little easier to walk.

It’s another day, another adventure and another opportunity to love each other.

A new love 💘


 

I have a confession to make. I fell in love several months ago. Keeping it to myself until just recently when I shared it with my husband was difficult to do. He has been understanding and very accepting of my new love. He’s definitely my best friend and understands.

You see until recently, I enjoyed travel as long as it was recreational, short lived and I knew we were coming back home soon enough.  But lately, so many things have changed in our lives. All the kids are “grown” or at least they think they are. They have all moved away from home now and declared their independence.  We are now Empty-Nesters and have grown into a new class of people. One that I always assumed would never affect me much because I just knew that all the boys would still be around. I assumed that they would be around regularly and that the house they would always come home to- the house they grew up in, the house they matured in and had so many developmental memories and such- would somehow mean the world to them. Why I thought this way, I’ll never know.

I moved away from home at 18 and struck off on a life of my own too. I never looked back or even considered going back home. Actually, I saw going back home as a failure in life. If I couldn’t make it on my own, I would have been devastated!  There was one point when I went back though, in 2001 for about a year and half when both my parents were in a terrible car accident. Mom begged me to come help her and I did. That was short lived as God gave her Grace and she was walking again when I left. Alas, I digress…. so back to my new love…

So delusional thoughts aside, reality is often not was we expect it to be. In an adventurous ever changing world that we cannot control, we are but passengers on this  ride through life. A passenger doesn’t control the direction – and in my life God is the driver. So in recent years, I have just sat back and watched he scenery as I’ve been passing through. God is still my greatest love of all, number 1 in my life…my husband is number 2. But as for this new love I referred to, well it surprises me just as much as it has surprised my husband.

I love to travel! Not just leisure travel, but packing up and moving away travel. This travel is one that I had always denied before, absolutely refusing to leave East Tennessee.  Now, I’m excited by the thought and look forward to many new adventures along the way!

 

Memorial Day


My Daddy. Vietnam War Veteran.

My Daddy. Vietnam War Veteran.

Happy Memorial day everyone! As millions of workers are off today for remembrance of fallen American soldiers and their loved ones left behind, please take a moment to say thank you to a veteran or an active duty soldier.  I believe there is more awareness now due to media coverage of all types, but there are still many soldiers that are forgotten, left behind and the memories of their unselfish service is forgotten or fading.

It only takes a moment of time to say thank you. Sometimes, that is all someone needs to hear… just 2 words – Thank You.

I personally thank you if you have ever served in any branch of our US military. I appreciate the freedoms you contributed to. I appreciate the peace you helped maintain. You didn’t have to be on the battle front to be important, you simply served. It’s an honor and my gratitude overflows.

It doesn’t matter where you are now or what you “became”.  Your life matters. Your service matters. You matter!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!

**My father served. My Husband served and many other members of my family have served. A great number of my friends have served or are still serving. So my passion for veterans is well seated. Please pass along this note of gratitude to encourage others to say a simple THANK YOU to our men and women in uniform past and present.

 

 

Love,

Chrissy

Apples to Apples


She called me the other day to tell me that she had gone to her first cousin’s nursery.  As I mentioned in a previous article she loves flowers. It’s something that gives her peace, tranquility, and gives her a productive way to pass time. She was really excited about the availability of herbs there. She exclaimed happily, “there’s Rosemary, mint of all kinds, cooking herbs like basil and Sage – bushes and trees. Your heart will be happy when you see everything.”  Before I realized it we had been talking over the phone for over 20 minutes! The best part was that she could hear me. It was a two-way conversation. 🙂 She and I have not had very many two-way conversations in the last couple years. Her hearing has been slowly leaving her for the last 15 years. And over the last couple years it’s been so bad when she calls, she just tells me something, can’t hear my response, then she’ll just hang up when she’s finished talking. 

She’s in her eighties now.  She and I had a very rocky relationship for the first 20-25 years of my life. On my side it was a love/but-don’t-want-to-be-near-you thing from time to time & on her’s it was a love/frustration thing.  I’m quickly approaching my 40th birthday in a few days & maybe this is why I’ve chosen to write about her.  It’s therapy for me. It’s an understanding of who I was as well as who I am now.  I don’t think that 40 is old, but I’ve always thought of it as a halfway point in life. Now that I’m here, I realize how awesome she is and I was never able to see that before.

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Mom, me and my brother – around 1980

By age 40 she had already lived a very eventful, energetic, entertaining and absolutely amazing life.  She taught herself to play guitar when she was about 10 years old by watching the older gentleman in town play. She was fiercely independent and generally self-taught in just about everything. She had worked on the farm, went out with her sisters, was a waitress at Blue Circle, and sewed at Standard Knitting Mill. She had a couple of short-lived marriages, experienced living independently, and enjoyed attention as an entertainer. She met Dad in a club (he was the entertaining musician of the night) & joined up with his talent to hit the road as an entertainer. She recorded in Nashville and was courted there by some big-time small names.  She used her resources & connections to boost & mold Dad’s career. When she realized some of the contractual deals he had made in the music industry, she took over and became his manager of sorts. She started negotiating his deals.  With her resources, resilience, and intellect they made a lucrative living.

She married  for the rest of her life, for better or for worse, in 1968. She was 33 years old. She had always wanted children but for some reason biologically could not bear any herself. She prayed and she had almost the entire city praying with her – that she would have children. And one day, in 1976, her prayers were answered.

There was a phone call from a lady that they knew on the south side of town. This lady said if you still want a child you can have my youngest, but you have to come and get him right now.  Dad went to pick up the ugliest baby boy in the world, who would become my brother. (If you ever read this dude, you know I love your ugly face.) They had him for several weeks when they received another phone call from another lady. This lady said to them, I’ve heard that you wanted a baby and I’m on my way to the XXXXXX Home for Children with both of mine. To make a long story short, this is where I come into the picture.  There’s an argument over whether I was two-and-a-half or three months old at the time, regardless I was a baby. I was a pretty sick baby, so she leaned toward my experienced Aunt Evlou to help for the first few nights.

At 40 years old she adopted my brother and I. At a point in her life when other people would be considering retirement, taking it easy, trying to finalize how they want to enjoy the empty nest years, she became a parent. I never gave it much thought in previous years, but now that I am approaching that very same age I realize what a heroic feat that was!

At this point in my life, I am very close to the empty nest years. I cannot image chasing a little one around and changing diapers at this age! Most of mine have moved away and I only have one teenager left at home (on a daily basis) – who will leave me soon I’m sure. I am considering the future, and how I would love to retire one day. I’m dreaming about buying an RV and traveling, or purchasing the boat my husband wants and sailing up & down the coast for a few years. I’m considering how I want to rearrange the rooms in the house and could create an office and workout/hobby room in those empty spaces. My Mom was considering how to convert a music studio into a nursery and buying formula, diapers, while seeking parental advice. I wake up in the middle of the night to text messages asking me for gas money; she woke up in the middle of the night to check on two infants breathing.

To be continued…

 

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