About brandib1977

I'm a single gal living in rural Appalachia. I have a job that keeps me busy and a to-do list so long I'll never see the end. Adventures- both big and small- are an important part of my life. Since I don’t even have a houseplant depending on me right now, I’m free to do basically whatever I please. This blog tells some of those stories. Life is pretty darn good!

Give Me A Moment, Please

I’m home now and will be back to work again this morning after four days of adventuring with a friend. There’s much to say about this trip because we packed as much as possible into every day. The good news is that there are stories to share. The bad news is that there’s so much to share that I need a moment to unpack it all in my head and get started.

So, for now, here’s a favorite picture that was captured while walking around Mount Airy, North Carolina. It exemplifies how full this trip was of memories made by simply being in the right place at the right time.

My friend and I were both of the mindset that we wanted to see and do as much as possibl while we were there. The hotel was basically a place for a good night’s sleep and a shower so we would be prepared for another fun day. We had some specific destinations in mind but were open to unplanned fun and wandering off the beaten path because there was a sign that pointed somewhere that sounded interesting.

Honestly? My best memories from these last four days are a product of saying YES when opportunity arose. We just kept looking around that next bend and kept seeking whatever came next.

That’s one of the keys to happiness, if you ask me. Life is big and interesting. Maintain a sense of curiosity, go looking for the unusual and the mundane and seek out the beauty in the smallest things. Stop and admire that great vehicle, notice the tiniest wildflower at the side of the road, be present and look for reasons to be happy. It’s there if you look for it!

Stick around. There’s a lot to come from this North Carolina whirlwind trip!

Back To Reality

I’m traveling home from an adventure with a friend today. There are so many stories to share but, for now, here’s a picture from the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville.

I tell you to make the journey fun and am pleased to say that I did exactly that for the last few days. I’ll be dragging myself in tired tonight, almost overwhelmed with memories of beauty, history and the magic of finding something spectacular around the next bend.

Stay tuned. Stories will be on the way soon!

On The Nest

I encountered this lovely swan and her protective mate looking after their eggs at Yoctangee Park in Chillicothe. They made me smile and I sincerely hope they make your day too.

Happy Saturday, friends. Go find something that makes your heart happy today.

Meeting Ulysses S. Grant

If you ever a have a chance to see Dr. Curtis Fields, Jr. give a presentation on US President Ulysses S. Grant, please go. He is an educator, a living historian and the preeminent portrayer of Grant in this country. His presentation will blow you away.

At least, that was the case for me when I had the pleasure of seeing him at the Ross Heritage Center in Chillicothe, Ohio on April 27. Incidentally, that was Grant’s 200th birthday so they even had birthday cake in his honor.

Dr. Fields spoke to a packed house for about 90 minutes without ever breaking character. His presentation on what he called “Grant’s Desperate Years,” between 1854 when Grant left the Army and the start of the Civil War, was fascinating.

His children were born during these years and he worked at everything he could to make something of himself and to give his family a good life. Unfortunately, if Grant didn’t have bad luck, he would have had no luck at all. None.

In fact, the first couple of stories about his failed business ventures were sort of humorous but it quickly turned sad. I had no idea he struggled so much before finally finding some success.

It’s one thing to listen to a history lecture. It’s a completely different experience when someone looks and sounds the part as they tell you their life story. My companion and I stood for the entire 90 minutes and I never once got bored or tired of standing. That’s high praise and I would do it again if given the chance!

Want to learn a little more about Dr. Fields? This is a short article that you might enjoy.

Revisiting Wesley Chapel

One of my favorite stories I have told here involves Wesley Chapel, an abandoned church just 30 minutes up the road. I hope you’ll revisit that story here.

Meanwhile, I stopped by the other night just to check on the old place and to further mourn its deterioration. Here are some pictures.

Things have worsened a lot since my first visit.

The windows had all been been boarded up but someone has removed some barriers so you can see inside from a few angles.

The piano remains, likely because it was too heavy to carry and impossible to even give away.

Can’t you hear it? I’m imaging an elderly woman named Mabel who pounded those keys with vigor as the congregation sang “Shall we gather at the river.”

This next image will haunt my dreams.

I don’t know why it bothers me so much but I find the sight of that lone chair in an empty and forgotten church entryway incredibly troubling.

The steeple still reaches Heavenward but it looks worse for the wear.

Here’s a closer look at the cross on the other side of the steeple.

Part of me wishes I could stop going there and part of me doesn’t want to try. Meanwhile, go read that first story if you don’t mind. Here’s that link again.

Delight

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” – Maya Angelou.

We’re all a work in progress. While the process may not be pretty, it’s kind of exciting to think we have the potential to transform ourselves into something better than we can imagine.

If you could do anything or be anything, what would it be?