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Tag Archives: Life

Enter Spring – Write & Release

I only wish I had said it first.

Gifts Of The Journey

Blackbird Egg - Elizabeth Harper

If you were to peek behind the curtain at GOTJ, you would see more than a few potential posts that read, <no title> Draft.

Some have photos, some don’t, a few are complete and ready to publish needing only a last read-through first. But given what has been happening in the world over the last month or so, my posts seemed like an uninteresting waste of your time and mine. So I let them sit.

It is not the first time I’ve done this … taken an impromptu sabbatical where I have withdrawn into reading while neglecting my writing.

Unfinished potential some might call it.

A friend asked me yesterday how my book was coming along and I while I wanted to say which one, I just said simply, ‘ It’s not. ‘

‘ Oh,’  he said, as he shook his head slowly, ‘ I thought you would be one of the ones to…

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Good Fortune!

I have had the good fortune to spend some time in the woods in the past few weeks and it was amazing. I get to go on my children’s  end of year trips with their school. By the way they all 4 have attended Evergreen charter school and that is another blessing altogether. It is an ELOB (Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound School) charter and is an amazing learning environment here in Asheville. There is always a waiting list for students to get in. So much so that there is a group of parents and teachers that are going to start a sister school so there will be another ELOB school in Asheville to handle the demand. That gets me back to going on the end of year field trip with our youngest. I have been on this same trip with three of our 4 children and since this was with our youngest it may be the last time I make the trip to this particular area. I was standing in this beautiful mountain meadow enjoying the kids running around feeling the cool mountain air and enjoying the sunshine when it hit me. I will never do this again with this group of people under these circumstances. Sure I can always come back but it will never be the same. I will be ever grateful for the opportunity that I have had to have the memories of our kids growing up. Especially outside in the beautiful mountains that I am blessed to live in. We spent three days in the woods hiking looking at the wildlife and flowers and enjoying each others company. We had good food that I and other parents helped prepare with lots of help from the kids! There were about 40 kids and 11 adults on the trip and all of the children made a presentation as part of the trip. This was not just some camping trip it turned into an outdoor classroom and the kids did amazing jobs. They had to bring all the information on a subject, like energy conservation, the effects of mountain top removal, the life cycle of a mushroom and its uses and many others. They taught us what they knew and we had a short assignment where we wrote about what we learned. I am so glad at 51 I get to go back to school, even for a short three days and get to be a student and let a 10-year-old teach me. What good fortune!

Tara and I took off last Sunday and went to Bent Creek which is a forest about 10 minutes from The Pines Cottages. It must be the amount of rainfall and the mild temperatures we are having but in the 11 years I have lived here I have never seen the forest floor more beautiful than it is right now. There was a carpet of flowers of all shades and varieties. We must have spent the entire afternoon just walking and talking about everything and nothing. At one point we sat on a log on the edge of the stream and were looking back on the last 24 months and were overwhelmed with gratitude. I survived stage 4 cancer and am cancer free and am as good or better than I was before the cancer. It was a tough process and here I was after the chemo and radiation and hospital and cancer clinic and feeding tube and surgery sitting on a log enjoying life like nothing had happened. What good fortune!

I hope if this blog finds you and you decide to come visit these ancient mountains you will make some memories that you will carry with you for a lifetime. No matter where your travels take you I hope you find Good Fortune!

Allen

Spring Again

We have been working away. Cottage 8 is almost finished (I will post before and after pictures in separate post). We have also been painting picnic tables, the outside of the office (see below), and some days it seems that anything Raquel can reach with a paint brush is fair game.

Office's New Paint Job

I continue to work on the gardens, although not much was done through the winter and I am just recovering from a herniated disk so i feel impatient wanting to get into the gardens. I long for a team of enthusiastic landscape/horticulture students. If they exist, they probably don’t travel in packs.

They are disbursed throughout the property and all painted different colors matching the cottages.

They are disbursed throughout the property and all painted different colors matching the cottages.

Allen built, painted and installed some dog poop stations over the winter. They are little boxes with grocery bags so that guests can pick up after their pets. They are not quite complete in that they need little signs (my domain) and we are looking for metal waste baskets with lids that we can attach.

This idea was prompted after a not-very-nice review on Tripadvisor after some guests stepped in dog poop (while walking their dog), so rather than those industrial stations Allen created a solution that was a little more us.

I feel like I am forgetting the other things we did over the winter….we made Cottage #2 our only pet-free cottage and put a sofa bed in there.  Cottage #9 was remodeled in the fall. So we have now remodeled #2, #8, #9, #10 & #13 and they all look great and still each with our own personality.

Cottage #9 Remodel Slideshow

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We hope to see you soon.

Tara

Life is Messy

So this blog thing seems to have shown my worst side of follow through.  We have been getting the kids through the end of school, remodeling cottages, taking care of the grounds and taking care of our increase in business (a wonderful thing!).  Most of our clean laundry fails to get put away before it is worn again, the kitchen has stalled in the middle of a remodel, book bags are strewn inside the door, a multitude of converse in all shapes, colors and sizes lay about the house…..And Allen is losing his mind….life is messy, children are messy, a busy business is messy…..I wrote this paragraph a month and a half ago…

Now it seems the summer is coming to an end.  We have worked alot, played some and enjoyed a steady flow of business.  This summer has been hot, really hot and we managed to get AC in all the cottages, which was essential for business.

But life continues to be messy; the back of the house (our side) looks like multiple projects have vomited.  There is furniture in various stages of re-finishing, garden benches that need repair, lumber, appliances and all things in between you can imagine that it takes to run a house farm.

Allen seems to have hit a different plateau of acceptance with some of the mess, although some days I am afraid he is going to start chucking various pieces and projects out through the shop door so that he can move around and get to the table saw.  But on the positive side:  The office has been re-painted and set-up as a little retail shop, there are new garden beds, Cabin 1 and Cottage 2 look great, there is AC in all the cottages, the front patio has had all the flagstone re-laid and mortared, all the little soft rockers have new slipcovers, new curtains are going up, and we now have a solid and dependable cleaning staff of two.  To top it all off – business is really great!

This week we are focused on getting ready for the weekend.  Today is Allen’s 50th birthday and on Saturday we are throwing him a party.  It is also the year anniversary of his last cancer treatment and a celebration of that milestone.  We have survived this very messy year; full of fear, anxiety, physical and emotional pain, financial hardship and all the other gloppy, gooey gunk that comes with life and I am grateful.  Grateful for the mess because it means our lives are full, our children are active and healthy, our business is growing and we have had an opportunity to feel fully present.  I love our messy lives.