finding happiness in everything

Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

A new love ūüíė


 

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!

 

Adventure in Hilton Head, SC


Everyone who knows me knows I’m a savings freak. I shop On-Sale only, use coupons, rebates, savings apps, and am a member of over 20 different “points” programs. I get freebies in the mail & I’m all about budgeting. I say all this to let you know the many travels I write about have been fugal initiatives funded by savings, gift cards, & rebates. Now, on to the Hilton Head Adventure!

I had oftentimes heard of Hilton Head Island but never been & was thrilled to have an opportunity to go. South Carolina was a state I’d never ventured to before. I was so excited to be there I took the first photo op I got.

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South Carolina Welcome Center

The drive to Hilton Head wasn’t too bad. Once we got out of the mountains in North Carolina, it was a relatively smooth drive. South Carolina was pretty flat. The only serious traffic congestion was on I95.

We stayed at the Best Western about 1 block from the beach. Not a bad walk at all. The hotel was quaint & the staff friendly & accommodating. Our first room stank as though only men had peed there for an extended amount of time, so they moved us the next day to a ground floor level room – no Febreeze needed ūüėČ

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Pee stink room

On our first full day I asked my husband if we could rent some bikes. He obliged & we rode to the Pines to see the sights. ¬†The locals told us that we would need to ride down near the entrance and then ride along the beach and then come back into the community ¬†to gain admittance. They neglected to tell us that riding along the beach was like towing a tank behind your bicycle! Well, at least that’s what it felt like for me. My husband had no trouble whatsoever! He flew down the beach with complete ease and left me in the dust, literally. I had only managed to pedal a short distance before I had to get off and push the bicycle. There was such a heavy drag on the back wheel it was almost impossible for me to pedal. I figured, “Great! I’m left… all alone… I will sun burn and die of dehydration on this stupid beach while pushing this stupid bicycle. My back hurts, my legs hurt, I’m going to die here…in the sand…on this beautiful beach. I’m thirsty. Can’t stop though. If I do, I’ll just sit down & be lost forever. Crap! I’m too old to even get my face on a milk carton. No kids will identify me. Adults will just step over my limpless body assuming I’m taking a peaceful little nap. Then an alligator will come out of the ocean & drag me into the water…because they drown their prey. There could be an alligator in those bushes!” At this point, I got back on the bike & eventually found my husband who’d peddled back to find me and ask me why in the world I was so far behind.

“Watch me”, he says, “it’s easy. Look, I haven’t even broke a sweat. Why are you going so slow?” ¬† ¬†I can’t remember my response, but I’m sure it wasn’t pretty.

We finally made it into the Pines & after peddling 3 freaking miles we figured out that there was absolutely nothing to see in that community! In my mind it was a waste of money to rent the bikes, a waste of time, a wasted day that I could have been laying on the beach like a lazy old fart while my husband swam in the ocean.

So this total endeavor was about three-and-a-half to four hours long and by the end of it, we finally made it back to the hotel, I felt like death. ¬†I realized how seriously out of shape I was and I realized that South Carolina is not quite as flat as it looks when you’re riding a bicycle. ¬†We parked the bikes on that day and although we had paid to rent the bikes for an entire week, I don’t think we ever got back on them.

The great thing about the hotel and the entire Community where we stayed is everything was totally within walking distance. The walking didn’t hurt me near as bad, so we walked a lot after that. We looked at some of the shops and we found a unique mom-and-pop restaurant to eat at every evening.

Overall it was an absolutely fabulous adventure & I’m so glad we went ūüėČ

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. ūüôā 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.

Edna Hensley

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 Рthat 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…

 

I’m not like her, am I?


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Noticing the changes that¬†occur in all of us as we grow older is chilling. It’s a reminder that this life is not forever. It can also give a subtle reminder to enjoy each day as though it were our last.

My mother was always very happy while she was working in her flowers. My grand mother was the same. I also very much enjoy all the time I get to spend outdoors and my flowers make me happy too. Isn’t it funny how we become so much like those who raised us? Some say that they are nothing like their parental figures, but if taking an honest look, we all become like them in some ways.

There was a day when I would cringe and possibly fight someone if they said, “You sound like your mother.” I was very young then. I have a birthday fast approaching and will be¬†nearing the mid-point in my life. These years, especially the last 4-5, ¬†have been my pinnacle period where I have been happy, satisfied, loved, content and enjoying the day-to-day. I have also come to understand my mother in ways that I never thought possible. So now that I can see her with different eyes, I feel it a compliment if someone compares us.

Here she and dad are a few months before they adopted my brother and I

Here she and dad are a few months before they adopted my brother and I

 

 

There are stories that aren’t appropriate to hear when you are young that fall on your ears as you mature. Your parents had a life before you. Their personalities and previous life experiences¬†might impress you if you take time to listen.

My mother was a beautiful young lady that turned heads everywhere she went. She had an appeal about her that attracted many people. She was also very forthright and spoke her mind. She was called blunt, uncaring, hard, and mean. She was a savvy business woman that knew what she wanted; this drive and desire overflowed into all she touched. She was obsessed with continued learning and was enthralled by conversion with someone well educated. She was firm yet loving and she was stern yet compassionate. She had some less desirable traits as well, but don’t we all?

The thing I admired her most for was taking me in. She was 40 years old that year, in 1976. I was just a few months old.

To be continued….

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