50 / 52 : “Underground”

Recently, my little family took a spontaneous 3 hour drive. It took us up the side of a mountain to an amazing hole in the ground. We went to explore the gorgeous, gaping depths stretching beneath our feet. Through a doorway, then down rock-carved stairs–reverence and awe instantly caught us off guard. The magnificent Luray Cavern captivated our curiosity during our long walk through its mysterious formations.

50 / 52 : “Underground”

Underground

This is definitely not the most exciting self portrait, especially in comparison to where I was standing. I did not know what to expect and was not very prepared for the awesome photography opportunity the cavern provided. It was truly AMAZING. I could have spent hours exploring under there. Every time we turned a corner it was breathtaking! The “lakes” with their glorious reflections, the vast expanses, the towering, statuesque pillars–a true wonder.

Luray Cavern

Every angle held new rocks, shapes, and textures. It was an easy subject to photograph and also fun to edit.

Luray and Me

My husband took this one, not too bad! 😉

Wednesday’s Word #30

This past week we were blessed to be able to stay with my brother and sister-in-law down in Florida. We got to see many loved ones and do some pretty fun things. It was my daughter’s first time flying on a plane and my son’s first time remembering it. Overall, it was an amazing trip – it went as smooth as can be. Once we arrived home it hit me how much I miss the people I love… It is funny to come back from vacation.

“NORMALIZE”

verb: to make normal; to establish or resume in a normal manner

It is that kind of “sigh” that takes place right as we walk in the door after traveling. We discard the bags to the side and automatically start getting back to our everyday life.  My kids run to their rooms and straight to their toys. The cats come out from hiding to say hi. We swing open the blinds and check to make sure everything fared well in our absence.

It is hard to want to unpack…bleh. Especially when we know we are going to pack a few things right back up shortly. We have a very busy rest of the summer planned before my husband goes back to work. Normal takes on different forms and different lengths of time in our house. Getting back to “normal” during the summer is a bit different with a teacher in the family. Since my husband has been off for the summer it just seems like playtime – chores, work…again…bleh.

I guess for us, “normalizing” will probably happen for real at the end of the summer. For now, I like the temporary normal….and am so grateful for the break to Florida – it was a beautiful time!

Wednesday’s Word #28

This past weekend my husband had the honor of being the best man at the wedding of his college roommate and great friend. We decided to travel to this wedding by car…10 hours away. My husband had never been further north than Washington D.C., so driving to see the sights on the way seemed like a great idea. I had never driven through these parts of the country either, wow, was it beautiful!

“MOUNTAINOUS”

adjective: abounding in mountains; of the nature of a mountain; resembling a mountain or mountains, as being very large and high

synonyms: alpine, big, colossal, gigantic, highland, huge, mammoth, tall towering

We drove through northern Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania on our way to Ohio. It really was some of the most amazing sights I have ever seen. Everything was picturesque: little farmlands resting in valleys as the fog gently rolled in, red barns in green pastures, churches and graveyards set on hills, and trees everywhere, blanketing the mountainsides. The road moved up and down with the landscape. We would be driving in a valley, then climb, then all of a sudden we would break out into this wide open space and this incredible scene would be laid out before us.

This was the first time I actually witnessed the “purple mountains majesty.” I never really understood what the song meant by that phrase until this trip…BEAUTIFUL. Every time I looked out onto the sides of the mountains and saw all the treetops, all I could picture was them coming alive and taking a walk…maybe I’ve read too many books. I have always been a beach person, and I still am – I have a hard time feeling landlocked – but my heart has opened a bit to love the colossal mountains and the beauty they hold in their valleys.

13 / 52 : “Historical Accomplishment”

Last week was my husband’s Spring Break. We took the kids to Kill Devil Hills, NC in the Outer Banks for a couple days. Then of course there was a fabulous Easter weekend at the in-laws. This self portrait has a touch of history and a bit of self-accomplishment. It was taken at the beautiful Wright Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

13 / 52 : “Historical Accomplishment”

“The Wright brothers, Orville (August 19, 1871 – January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867 – May 30, 1912), were two Americans credited with inventing and building the world’s first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903.” (wikipedia.org)

The vastness of this National Park hits you as soon as you step onto the grounds. As you take steps on the path it almost feels like you go nowhere. It was a very appropriate place for the brothers to set up camp and take flight. A great, open space with very few inhabitants made for the perfect spot to fly…and to take a long walk! I find the history alluring and the 60-foot-tall memorial itself to be a masterpiece. It is so peaceful to sit up on the hill in the wind and look down upon the grand field and realize the amount of work and engineering that went into powered flight.

As I said, it is a long walk to get to the top of that 90-foot hill. At this point in my life some of the medicines I am currently taking make it difficult to take long walks uphill and downhill, so I wasn’t sure if I would get stuck somewhere on the journey and have to get airlifted outta there…haha. No, but seriously, I was very proud of myself for making it through the whole experience.

Inscribed on the base of the monument: “In commemoration of the conquest of the air by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright conceived by genius achieved by dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith.”

If you are ever in the area, you must stop by this National Park and Memorial for a taste of history and some good exercise…or a good game of hide-n-seek if you are anything like my son.

7 / 52 : “Sweet Memories”

Okay, so it is a few days late and it is an old rediscovered photo, but it is my portrait project and I make the rules. I took this of myself a number of years ago on a visit to my future in-law’s house. A house in the rural farm country of North Carolina. In a prized old farm truck, driving through the fields. This brings back sweet memories of my mother-in-law’s amazing country cooking, laughter, bright stars in the open country night, and love.

7 / 52 : “Sweet Memories”

I know its a bit grainy/unclear (thanks to it being a scan), but it is still one of my favorites. This special truck is now gone and the promise ring has long since been replaced with a wedding band. I think sometimes it is good to take a look back at past work, at least for me, it draws out some inspiration to a somewhat non-creative week. The photos taken from this period in my life are a treasure to me. Some things have changed so drastically after this point…I guess you could call these my “golden years,” or the years I look back on with a warm smile.

Wednesday’s Word #10

New year, new name…back to the blog after a short break. The lovely Christmas break was not quite refreshing, it was very busy, but it was fun. So, my word for this week is:

“RECIPE”

noun: a set of instructions for making or preparing something, especially a food dish; a medical prescription; a method to attain a desired end, i.e. “a recipe for success” (dictionary.com)

synonyms: ingredients, prescription, method, compound, technique, process, instructions, program (thesaurus.com)

This may seem like a strange word, but all of its descriptions are very appropriate for me this week.

First, I love recipes…I’m obsessed. I love finding good recipes, planning meals, trying new foods and combinations – then following the recipes to a “T”. I am not very good at varying from the “set of instructions” so I just make sure that it is going to taste great by sticking to what has been done before. 95% of the recipes I try come out great. I make sure they come from a reliable source! One of my favorite Christmas gifts I received was from my wonderful brother and sis-in-law: Taste of Home: Casseroles by: Reader’s Digest. Wow…love it. I am trying my first recipe out of the book tomorrow…then another one the next day, not going to lie – I am pretty excited. I will have to post some pictures if they come out good!

Second, the year of 2011 was a pretty rough medical year for my family. There were glasses and eye issues, unexpected surgeries and an incurable disease…in just my immediate family. Unfortunately doctors, hospitals and medical prescriptions  have become the norm for us. We are praying that 2012 is, what I am hoping to call, “a year of healing” for various reasons.

Third, we took a major vacation to visit my family in Florida and my husband attended a required conference for his doctorate degree program while down there. It took a major planning “process” to get us all there starting on Christmas day….we definitely prayed for a “recipe for success.” HA HA It all went as smoothly as it possibly could, even better at some points! Prayer works, especially for two very long car rides with two small children in the back seat to go very well! Now it is just finding a “method” to get back to normal after Christmas and a long vacation…

Food, doctors, travel success…that wraps up this week. Praying for 2012 to be a great one for everyone!