Finding Joy in Him

Through Every Season

Tag: Happily Married to Mike (page 1 of 4)

Rock City Gardens

If you’ve ever driven through this area of the country, you have seen a ton of barns like this one. 
We finished our Arboretum hike early enough that we had time
to drive up Lookout Mountain and see what the fuss was about.
 
It turns out that it’s aptly named.  Rocks, more rocks; big rocks
with a pathway that took you through
places with names like “Needle’s Eye.”
At one point, we got turned around and ended up going the opposite way of the crowd
which in a way made it more adventuresome.  Who needs maps?
While making our way up stream through the front end of
“Fat Man’s Squeeze” we unintentionally scared a bunch of people 
who thought we were unable to squeeze through and had to turn around.
 
I think a little laughter slipped out as I explained that we’d gone the wrong way.
There were places to sit.. 
Beautiful trees
 Gnomes hiding in caves and little fairy cities.
 
A wooden swaying bridge that I was happy we’d missed in our confusion. 
Then the highlight was a lookout over Lover’s Leap 
where it’s fabled that you can see seven states on a clear day.
Flags were hanging appropriately at half staff for the Boston Marathon victims.
Alabama’s stats.
A nice engraved stone showing where each state is for those of us who have gotten turned around.
Alabama 25 miles south and Georgia where we were standing.
South Carolina 80 miles this way
North Carolina 50 miles with the Smokys. 
Seeing the Smokys stand out from this distance made me love them even more.
Kentucky and Virgina 130 miles this way
And Tennessee half a mile this way.
Proof we were there squinting into the western sun.
More walk through caves.
A tree growing between the rocks.
Maybe my favorite photo.
Rainbow hall: lined with colored windows which allow you to walk through a rainbow.
I so want to do this in my house.
High Falls.. a man made, 140 foot, water fall that flows under Lovers Leap.
Us.  I tried to get the waterfall.. it’s in the very most right corner behind my shoulder.
A very beautiful day that I’d love to do over again. 
Love,
Jenny

Relections on Heaven at Refection Riding Arboretum

Warning: Lots of photos
Saturday after lunch, we went to the Refection Riding Arboretum 
at the foot of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga.
We so enjoyed walking it’s 3 mile loop which you can drive, bike or walk. 
 These horses reminded me of a Canadian TV show we’ve been enjoying, Heartland.
The cool spring breeze was so refreshing.
 Had to get one more with the mountain in the background.  🙂
 The Arboretum has a has a level 4 rating which means
 it has labled at least 120 different species of trees.
 Everything is colored with missing Joel now.  
We could not help thinking about how much he 
would have enjoyed the hike as we walked along.
He would have loved everything about it.. the beauty, the adventure, the history, the day.
Wild hydrangeas.
 As I snapped photos,   I wondered if Joel and Jesus went on hikes together
and if they ever had any need for photos or scrapbooks.  
One room cabin with spring feed water basin.
This cabin was dedicated to John and Margret by their grandchildren with 
Psalm 19:1-3
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.  
Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.  
There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; 

yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

 Favorite flower picture.
 I hear that the colors in Heaven are even more amazing than any we’ve ever seen.
 These flowers were growing on a Florida Anise Tree
These mushrooms reminded me of our very first real nature walk together 
at OP Schnable Park in San Antonio.   The Lord so blessed us that day with tons
of different mushrooms, bees and mating garter snakes.

Pages from Joel’s Nature Journal

 Joel was 10 years old.
 We all took turns using our first digital camera.
Joel’s version of what the snakes were doing below.   🙂
 We had to look up what kind of snakes they were
 We were all amazed by God’s creation.
The one below was from a different walk at OP Schnable.  
We went there often; there was so much to see 
and it was an easy drive from our house.
We met our good friends, the Chagoyas, there just last May.
Back to the Arboretum.. 
 We’ve been to St. Augustine.  Glad we didn’t have to walk here from there.
Cherokee monument.
 Joel so enjoyed taking nature photos.  
Will I get to see all the scrapbooks he’s collected when I get there?
 
About halfway through our hike we came upon this rock.. it amazed me.. 
I took half a dozen photos and still could capture the wonder of it so I took a video.
There was water springing up from the rock.. it reminded me of the water God provided in the wilderness for the Israelites and these verses from 
Revelation 21
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away,
 and there is no longer any sea…3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, 
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be 
 His people, and God Himself will be among them,4and He will wipe away every tear from 
their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, 
or pain; the first things have passed away.” 5 And He who sits on the throne said,
 “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”
6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. 
I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.
I’ve wondered many times how spending time with Jesus will work in Heaven.  
Will thousands of others be sharing my long, quiet walk with Jesus?    
 In Revelation 21:22 John says, 
“I did not see a temple in the city, because 
the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”
 I was glad when I read in Anne Graham Lotz book, Heaven My Father’s House, last night 
that I wasn’t the only one who’d wondered.. and who’d selfishly not wanted to give up 
the wonderful, intimate, daily, individual, fellowship that we enjoy with Him now.
Anne believes that “There will be no place in Heaven 
where God is not physically, actually present!
  Because He is omnipresent, 
He will live fully and completely with me every moment, 
as though I were the only resident of Heaven!  
And He will live every moment fully and completely with 
you as though you were the only resident of Heaven!  
What a wonderful place Heaven will be!”
 Mike noticed, while on our hike, that sometimes the path would disappear beneath 
the forest overgrowth and we would have to look up ahead to find where to go next.
Mike at edge of a bamboo forest.
He said that in life we can get so focused on the here and now 
that we feel lost and have to look up to find eternal perspective again.
Beekeeper hives center right.
 I’ve been meditating on Colossians 3:1-4 lately. 
 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, 
where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, 
not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
 I meditated on it before.. to keep myself in check that I didn’t love earthly things too much;
now because earthly things are too unbearable.  
 Mike’s view.
My view.
Wild flowers and dandelions.

 Yet another view.. what’s that in the distance?
 Turtles enjoying the sun.
So nice to take time and listen to the heavens
 and the earth declaring God’s glory.
Dogwood tree.
And for a grand finale an Azalea bush.
Looking up,
Jenny

Celtic Women in Concert

Mike and I had a very nice time away this weekend.  He took me to see Celtic Women in concert Friday night in Chattanooga.  He’d surprised me with tickets for Valentine’s Day.  
It was so sweet of him.  Celtic music is my favorite. 
 I love the clogging, the bagpipes, all the stringed instruments; it’s all so beautiful.
The stage was beautiful.  We had good seats.  The singers were very jovial 
which made the show all the more enjoyable.  The way the violinist danced and 
especially twirled around while she played was amazing.  
The climax of the show for me was when they played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes.  
I found a youtube video.. but it’s just not the same as being there. 
They sang some sad songs: “O, Danny Boy,” of course, “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Mes 
(I had to find my tissues).  Then towards the end they sang, “The Parting Glass.”  
I could just see Joel up on stage dancing around, smiling, lifting a cup of joy to us.  
He loves to dance and is always smiling.. and I know his cup is overflowing with joy.
Of all the comrades that e’er I had
They’re sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e’er I had
They’d wish me one more day to stay
But since it fell unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all 
Warning: cute video of Joel playing freeze dance with all the girls at
Judi’s 10th birthday party.  
 James is playing the part of the dizzying
camera guy. 

Spring Break Photos Part 2

Lake by our tent at sunset
 We got home from Pigeon Forge, unpacked then repacked for
 camping Thursday morning with Josh and Patrick.

Our tent.. Josh and Patrick ruffed it along a river.. no electricity or bathrooms.  I like hot showers.

 The National Forest was beautiful and only 1.5 hours from our house.. 
so we hope to go back sometime.
The river was REALLY nice.. clear.. beautiful.

First of many waterfalls.

You can see the river bed.

My very own Texas Cow Boy.
We read that there are over 100 water falls along these canyon walls.

We didn’t get pictures of the boys.. most of the time they were off on their own..

While we were hiking this trail they were running off the road while messing with their GPS getting a flat tire.  We had no cell service so they were unable to reach us for help.  :-/

Spring Break Photos Part 1

Yum Fudruckers

Judi, Miranda and James on the left.  Rebekah, Nichole and Mike on the right.

 Girls in Judi’s car following us bumper to bumper (the norm) in Pigeon Forge.

Our view Sunday evening.

Our view Tuesday morning after 2 days of snow.

Making snow balls.

4 inches of snow on the cars.

Which ball is smaller?

I think this one is.

Our snow person.

Our tongues keep popping out to catch snowflakes.. 

Mountain at the end of our road.

Friendly horses in Cade’s Cove

Cheese!

The church choir.

It was a little muddy..

James was computing while climbing the mud slide and slid himself.. ipad survived the mud.   Judi said, “I have a towel you can use in my trunk.”  James asked, “Where is that?”  Judi, “Attached to the back of my car.”  James wouldn’t budge.. do involved in making sure his ipad was okay.  Judi was so great that she marched down, got the towel and gave it to him… while the girls and I laughed at James for falling in the mud and took pictures.

We are church goers.

Maybe my favorite snow picture.

Or this one.

The barn.

Girls in the hay loft.

both sides.

Jumping down.

I got mud on my rear.. is that from James?

Best cabin yet.

The road behind.

The road ahead.

Did I share enough of these?

Love this one.

2 Bicycle Wheels = 1 Pot Rack and 1 Mobile

I love bicycles as art.  
Mike and I’s first piece of art was a poster of bicycle. 
It’s hung in many homes; 
living rooms, a bathroom and now in our kitchen.
I found this bike at a thrift store last Friday.
 It was small, old, rusty, and the seat was torn to shreds
and the color of the wheels remind me of my car!
 It was exactly what I was looking for 
and for the exact price I was hoping for – 5 dollars!
I “hid” it in my garage with our other bikes 
over the weekend hopping Mike wouldn’t notice and 
I wouldn’t have to explain why I bought it.
 Saturday morning he asked,
“Why is there a little girl’s bike in our garage?”
I didn’t want to say, 
“I am going to use it for a pot rack and a mobile that I saw on line;
see how cool they are?”
So I said, “I bought it for parts.” 
He was a trooper and didn’t ask any more questions.
Thank you, Sweety.
Monday morning, I got to work.. 
I looked up on youtube “How to take off a bike wheel.”
I LOVE youtube.  I learned that you have to disconnect the brakes
first then turn the nuts “counter clockwise.”  Knowledge is power.
The only problem I had was with the little safety screw thingy above.
The screw wouldn’t budge.  I had to cut it off with a hack saw.
Once I had both wheels off, I took one to the store for parts
which came in a little under 6 dollars.
 Then I cleaned up the wheels a little with soap, water and sand paper;
they were pretty rusty. Then I taped up and painted the inside rims
with rustoleum primer (to stop the rusting) then metallic paint,
which I had on hand from other projects.  🙂
I saved the smallest gear to hang up my back wheel;
I thought it was cute and I needed something to fill up the big hole.
I had the ceiling hook on hand, too.  It matches, too. 🙂
This nut from the bike was big enough not to slip through the gear hole.
I took some picture wire (from other projects) and tied on 
with an overhand knot to secure it,
 then wrapped the end of the wire around and 
pulled it through the gear and back wheel.

I made similar loop/knot on the other end to hang on the hook.
I dug through my school supplies and found this world map.
Pretty isn’t it.  It’s from 1975.
So old that I felt guilty using it for school 
way back when the kids were little. 
I googled “How to make paper airplanes” and found diagrams on this site.
I cut up my map and made it into 8 paper air planes.
I tried to make each one a little different.
I “laminated” my map with clear contact paper 
way back when.. so they were nice and thick.
I stapled in a small strip of map to make a loop to hang them from,
 then hung them from my back wheel.
 Isn’t it great?  That space looked so naked before.
 On to the Pot Rack:

 These are the parts I bought earlier.. 
(all 3/8″ – same as the bolt from my bike)
a wood to metal screw, couplings, hex nuts, jam nuts,
 washers (I only used one), 
and a 10 inch carriage bolt that ended up being too long,
so I switched it out for a 6 inch one later.
 I really appreciated the instructions from the link above.. 
but felt like I needed more pictures, so I took some.
I filled up the medal side of the wood to medal with nuts
and topped it off with a washer,
 leaving just enough threads for the coupling to screw halfway up.
The jam nuts are what keeps everything from unscrewing.
When you tighten them against the other nuts, they lock in place.
 I found a joist in my ceiling with my stud finder,
 drilled a small hole through, then I used my wrench 
to screw the wood to medal screw into my joist.
I always wondered how you were supposed to screw those
things in without missing up the threads.
 I tightened all the bolts together 
and I had a secure place to hang my pot rack.
 The threads on my bike wheel bolt were tighter than the threads
on my carriage bold so I was unable to keep my ball bearings and cone. 🙁
I exchanged my 10″ carriage bolt for a 6″ one.
filled it up with nuts and the extra coupling.
The guy from the web site above used a bunch of washers.
The nuts were more economical and lock nicly.
I left enough room to screw into the coupling
and a little room near the wheel so I could 
get to the tightening ridge under the head of the bolt, and
so I it would be a little loose for turning and reaching my pots.
I screwed it into my coupling and tightened all the nuts.
Next I got out these $9.00 shower curtain hooks I found at Target.
They were much cheeper than any pot rack, or “s” hooks I could find.
  And ta-da.. they match my cast iron pots and pans..
I like it..
Much easier access than in my crowded cabinet,
much cheaper than any other solution I could find
(just under twenty bucks), fun and a little artsy,
and my pans can air dry without getting rusty.
Hope Mike lets me leave them up.
Love,
Jenny

Disney Land California

Our hotel in Anaheim was next door to the conference center 
and just down the street from Disney Land.  
This was Judi’s third trip to a Disney park.. Mike’s 9th.. 
My first trip to Disney World was with Mike on our honeymoon.
He’s been a few more times than I.
 The two parks are a lot a like.  We decided that the weather makes
Disney Land nicer.. but Epcot makes Disney World better.
 We actually went inside the castle for the first time…
 It was kinda cool.
 Savannah joined us for lunch at Shakey’s 
(Mike and Judi and I had their lunch buffet 3 times that week.)  
then spent the rest of the day at the park with us.
Waiting in line for “It’s a Small World” ride. 
The girls ducking the camera. 
The girls joining in.  Judi was so happy to have someone to ride with.
They hadn’t seen each other since Judi was 6 months old.  
I think they enjoyed getting to know each other.
 Mike and I like the quiet, boat rides the best.
It’s a small world after all.. 
Glad we don’t have to travel to Thailand to visit Savannah.
She got her U.S. Citizenship last year.  🙂
We had smoked turkey legs for dinner.. with plenty left over 
for Savannah to take home to her dogs.  
Love,
Jenny

St. Louis Art and History Museums

Mike and I have different ideas of how vacations should be spent.
I like to plan a head; know what we are going to do; 
maps and schedules in hand.
Mike likes to “be lazy and do nothing.”
I don’t know what that means.
I think it means that he wants to sit around
playing on his ipod or lap top or watching the 
news in the hotel room until he is bored,
then ask me what I want to do.
Several times it’s turned into hours of driving 
looking for a place to eat.. that isn’t there anymore.
We obviously didn’t starve this trip.
James got the Smokehouse Burger at Smokey Bones.
So this trip we tried to carefully balance maps, schedules, 
being lazy and knowing where we were going to eat.
I did my homework so I’d know what 
I wanted to do.. and not be lost thinking he’d planned it all.
I did some Google research on St. Louis attractions.
After living there for 4 years, you’d think we’d know, 
but the kids were really little then and we didn’t have Google 
(How’d we live with out Google?  I’ll never know.),
so we mostly did whatever was free and kid friendly.. 
the Zoo, the Science Center..
In my search, I found the Fitz Bottling company
 Where you can eat lunch and watch them bottle root beer.
 The food was great.  Root beer had corn in it.  
We called a head to find out if they were bottling that day.
They were.. we expected a tour.. but got a window view.
All in all an enjoyable experience.
The St. Louis Art and History Museum are free..
thanks to St. Louis city taxes.
 This statue of St. Louis was given to the city by France.
We had no idea who St. Louis was, so James looked him up for us. 
 He was a very passionate French king in the 1200’s who helped the Crusaders.
Several cities around the world are named for him.
 Judith and Holofernes by Giorgio Vasari
We wondered why there hasn’t been a movie 
made about Judith.. a very thrilling story.
The Account Keeper by Nicolaes Maes 
I am falling in love with Dutch artist this year.
Can’t go wrong with birds and my favorite color.
 Beautiful.
 Some modern art.. I actually really liked… 
inspired by the opening of the Berlin wall.
I liked this painting of the Crucifixion because it’s so active.
by Tiepolo 
 And of course this one by Millet
The Knitting Lesson
The art museum was much bigger than I remembered.
I think we only saw 3 rooms the one time we went before.
They are in the process of making it twice as big.
The basement rooms were lots of fun.
Love,
Jenny

Black Friday Deals

We are not one of the brave shoppers that spend their 
Thanksgiving waiting in line then shop all night, but we do enjoy 
going out late Friday morning and seeing what they’ve left behind.
The last year or so having popcorn popping in the house
hasn’t been the best thing for my corn allergy.
It makes me dizzy, confused, and really irritated.
So for a while I stopped buying it.
I finally suggested that we buy a microwave for the back porch.
We found this one for $40 at Target on Black Friday.
It’s actually too small for a regular bag of popcorn,
but it works great for those new microwaveable popcorn bowls.
 I made this shelf totally out of scrap wood. $0
Then bought two cans of spray paint for it. $8
 And now we have a popcorn station.
We could have gotten a used microwave for less.. 
but Mike has this thing about used and public microwaves.
Our other great Black Friday deal was these golf clubs.
There’s a group of men at our church that plays golf 
together from time to time that Mike would like to hang out with.
He needed someone to practice with before playing with them
and suggested that it would be a good way for usto have fun and exercise together.. especially if we walk the corse instead of riding a cart.
I made him promise several times that it was
 just for fun and not competition.  
We played a couple of times before and really enjoyed it.

The clubs were regularly $400 for each set.  We got both sets
for around $150.  I didn’t think I needed my own set..
Maybe Mike didn’t want to share his with me.

Mike rented “Golfing for Dummies” from Net Flicks.. and
we found a driving range and have gone out a few times.
I might be enjoying them even more than Mike.
We also found a cheep course near by.
It’s closed for the season.. so we’ll have to practice up for the Spring.

Love,
J

Wicking Planters

When Mike and I were in Alaska, we saw these awesome purple flowers.  I remembered seeing them in San Antonio too and loved them.  We found their name on google: “Purple Sensation Allium” and discovered that they are related to the onion and come from a bulb that you plant in October.
Mike surprised me with 22 bulbs for my birthday! 🙂 
My thumbs are far from green so I started doing lots of research 
on how to care for them and discovered that they will rot in clay soil..
which is exactly what we have.. so I did more research..
About this time, the weather turned cooler and Mike started taking me and 
the dogs for walks.. wonderful.. feeling so much better.
One afternoon, I spotted this climbing wall etc. out for the trash 
and thought, “Those would make great planters.”
   
They wouldn’t fit in my car so one of Judi’s friends 
came by with a truck and picked them up for me.
A random hot air ballon flew over our house.
At first, I thought they were red wood, but while Joel and I 
were cutting them down to size we realized they were just pine 🙁 
So I bought some 5 year stain to help them last longer.
While I was waiting for them to dry, I started wondering how I was 
going to water these flowers.  I am always killing plants 
with either too much or too little water.  
So I googled “how to water your planters” and learned about “self wicking planters” and “earth boxes.”  
They are watertight planters with a water 
reservoir in the bottom and an overflow pipe so you can’t overwater them.
They only need to be filled about once a week.  Sounded great to me.
I did a bunch more studying and shopping and here’s how they went.
Josh, Joel and Mike helped me dig out the water reservoirs.
I cut an 1″ hole for the overflow pipe.
 I used WeedX in the bottom of the planters to help
protect the plastic liners from rock punctures.
I have a bunch and it’s not good for much else.
After a bunch of reading, I decided to make the water reservoirs
between 8 and 12″ deep and the soil 13″ deep.
The water will only wick up through 12″ of soil. 
 I used 8 mil. plastic liner.
 Measured and cut it.
 It’d make a great green house.
 Folded and stapled the corners over.
Enjoyed the fall scenery. 
 Ta da.. watertight planter.
 I had to be really creative with the overflow pipe.
Spent an hour at Lowes thinking in the plumbing section. 
I needed something to go through the wood 
and plastic and be water tight.
I used 3/4″ nipples and adapters..
Punched a small hole through the plastic.
 
Squeezed the nipple through the plastic and the 1″ hole I drilled.
Then used a bunch of silicone calk
and tightened the adapters on snugly.
Then I went in for breakfast while I waited for it to dry.
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