Today, I’d like to share with you someone who has a common love of mine for Gatlinburg, Tn. Cjwagner24 has dedicated his whole blog to all things G’burg. He will tell you about local happenings, opinions about the area, beautiful sceneries you need to see and wonderful places you need to eat. I have really enjoyed discovering his blog, and I believe you will, too.
I love to sit and watch the sunset, the sunrise, or anything else on the mountains. The range is so mesmerizing to me. I thought I’d share today…
All of these pics, except the first, were taken from the same location within one week of time. It is amazing to me the moods the mountains can bring. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little rendition.
I wanted to do a little different post today. I’d like to hear from those of you out there who frequent The Grizzle Grist Mill, as well as, those of you who might be dropping by for the first time today…
I was scrolling through my iPhone pictures this morning, and because I probably tend to be a photo hoarder, I have way too many pictures stored there! However, even when I clear the storage down to just a few (100 😳), there are a handful of photos that I like to keep in there. It made me wonder if there might be others “out there” who do the same thing? Are there some things that you keep close just because they seem to be a part of you? Is there a photo or a possession you have that just seems to sum up who you are and what you’re about?
What makes you tick? Will you kindly share one or two of them with us today? 😊
I love Fall flowers! You may be asking, “Well, which ones? … There are certainly more that bloom in Spring rather than Fall.” However, I am actually talking about something a little different….
I’m talking about when you’re walking in the woods, and the forest floor is covered with leaves all over. There is no potting soil, no planters and no mulch. There is only massive trees, fallen limbs and a blanket of underbrush all around.
I’m talking about those moments, when no mum, pansy or marigold can be found; yet, the most beautiful array of bouquets can be seen when you glance across the forest ground…
I like to call these “fall flowers,” because they are just like flowers, bringing a burst of color and joy to all who take time to notice them.
What fall colors have you seen lately? What’s your favorite “fall flower?” I’d love to hear from you! 😊🍁🍂
Originally blogged October 18, 2014…
I stood on the side of Black Rock Mountain, overlooking the valley, and I took this picture through the trees.
It was as if God had let the trees grow up in such a way that He left a “frame” just for my picture.
It was beautiful.
I could have stood there all day and gazed through my little “window.”
The fall colors were just beginning to change;
so, you could see bits of red, yellow and orange shining through all the green.
The temperature was perfect with a little breeze blowing through.
It made my heart long for the day
when the earth will be healed and the land will be made whole.
I love the fall.
I love nature.
I love the mountains, and I love that He created such a land for us to behold.
“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.”
Originally posted April 22, 2015… Now, with a few more pics. 😉
Today, I’d like to be headed toward what I am going to give tribute: the mountains! Oh, how I love the mountains! We live near the North Georgia Mountains, and every time I get near, every time I get even a glimpse of them, I have to take a couple of really deep breaths and just close my eyes and let everything else simply slip away.
I am, specifically, in love with the N.GA mountains and the Smoky Mountain National Park; however, I have been to the Rockies, as well as, several other parks and mountain ranges along the East coast, and I love them all!!
There is just something about standing at the base of an ancient hill that has withstood the test of time. Those ranges have stood strong amidst rain, blistering heat, earthquakes, snow and mankind. Their strength precedes them. Their peace hovers around them, and it can be felt with more intensity the closer you get.
Some fear the mountains, because they are unpredictable and unwavering in the raw elements; however, I have found my time spent hiking, walking, or simply gazing up at the trees, is always refreshing, revitalizing, and it reequips me for the days I have ahead. Some grow frustrated and restless as they draw near to the sheer size of the mound; yet, I find myself longing for moments of solitude in their midst. They are a fortress, a refuge, a high tower upon which I will lean and find rest. They bring me peace, strength, and even, wisdom, as I gaze at their majesty. They are a constant reminder to me of their Creator and mine.
I just love, love, love the mountains!! My heart is longing to escape to that fortress even now. …Hmmm, I wonder if I could possibly squeeze in a trip to them today…or at least, over this coming weekend! 🙂
When you look at your child, do you ever wonder about his or her destiny? Do you wonder whom he will follow? Who he will become? Or maybe, whom he will encounter along the way? What path will she choose? Will she fight hard against conformity, or will she bend and sway to whomever screams the loudest at the moment?
How do we ensure their safety in this big, dangerous world? How do we protect them and guide them, while also, giving them the freedom to grow and develop their thoughts, their dreams and, even their faith, on their own?
We can only accomplish this, successfully, when we look to the Creator of their souls. He can and will help us, if we will but ask and follow His lead. The Word tells us God has a plan for their lives, good plans, prosperous plans…We find this, specifically, in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” So, we must entrust them to Him at an early age. We must submit our own lives to Him and follow His lead. Our children not only learn from what we say, but they learn most by what we do. If we follow Him, they learn, by example, what and how to do it. If we’re resistant to Him, they will, also, learn how to resist and fight against Him.
I saw this come to fruition the other day, as we came upon a beautiful waterfall on one of our hikes. You see, my husband and I absolutely love waterfalls. We will purposefully go on a hike to find those which we haven’t yet seen. We will revisit many, and even though we’ve seen them countless times, we will remain at them for limitless amounts of time just gazing and listening. It’s as if our souls settle as we stand in front of the gushing streams of water. Our thoughts are purified, our hearts are untangled from the cares of this world.
Twice, in the last week, we took our boys to a couple of waterfalls. Last week, we went to a very well known waterfall in North Georgia, Amicalola Falls.
We stayed there, admiring the falls, for probably close to 30 minutes, just simply lost in its beauty. As we stood there on the walkway, gazing up at the falls, people were constantly moving in front of us. Some would remark on the heights, on the beauty; many would turn their backs to the falls, take their little selfies, and then walk on pass. Others would simply walk by, glance at the falls and keep on walking, as if the 600+ steps of the hike was their one and only goal, or maybe just being able to say, “I was there,” was their purpose for coming.
We stood in amazement at their lack of amazement, as if this was simply some mound of dirt on the side of the path to whatever was more important in their journey right then. Even as I didn’t say a word to our oldest, I watched as my oldest son became livid with these people he didn’t even know. He couldn’t believe their disdain for God’s creation. He said nothing to those around him, but I heard about it for quite awhile as we made it back to our truck.
This past Friday, we went to Horse Trough Falls, again, in the North Georgia Mountains. It is set off the beaten path, and it is simply gorgeous! Joey and JMan stayed for a bit, but JMan wanted to get to the creek to build a dam and cool off from the heat; so, JGrizz and I remained at the waterfall while dad and youngest went back to the creek bed.
JGrizz sat at the man-made platform for a bit, then, ventured past where he could get closer to the falls. He took a few pics; then, he just found a comfortable spot on an old tree that had fallen across the creek, took off his shoes and just enjoyed the sights, smells and feel of the waterfall for a good long while.
As I watched him, I realized, he has become his Daddy’s son. This may sound silly, because, of course, this is obvious to anyone who knows the two of them. Yet, sometimes, I think, as our children grow into adulthood, there are definitive moments, those moments when we actually see the handprint of God on their lives and the tiny part we played in their development. This was one of those moments for me.
I could see his Daddy in his awe of God’s beauty. I could see the settling of his soul as he sat there lost in his surroundings. I could hear his Dad’s blunt (not-meaning-to-be-harsh-only-truthful) voice as he told me he didn’t want me to talk if I sat beside him on that log. I could feel his Dad’s love as he later hugged me, as if to say,” I really wasn’t trying to be rude. Sorry it came out that way.” I could even see his Heavenly Father’s courage, confidence and strength as he walked boldly among those slippery rocks just to get a closer glimpse of its beauty. My heart was full as I gazed at the man he was becoming.
Then, he said the words that sealed the moment within my heart. We were talking about the little streams of water which break off from the main portion of the waterfall, yet, still find their way to the bottom. JGrizz said, “Those streams are like me, and the rest are like society. I find my own way.” It was as if God was showing me in that moment, he has what it takes to make it. He will reach his destiny.
When we made our way back to the creek bed, I could see the sparkle in JMan’s eyes as he built his dam in the creek, it was the same sparkle his Daddy has. It’s the spark of wonder, adventure and just plain fun! Oh, the wonder of a child. We should never lose it, no matter how old or busy we become.
I saw my husband’s love for life within the lives of our sons, and I saw the love of our Heavenly Father wrapped up in their wonder for His creation. These things come to be as our children follow in our footsteps. They not only hear what we say; they see as we see and act as we act. If we will but submit them until God and allow Him to guide their lives, they will follow Him, and He will help them to reach their destiny.
““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
I absolutely love Highlands, NC! At over 4,000 feet in elevation, it is the second highest town on the East Coast, and it is simply a wonderful little town. If you’ve ever visited Gatlinburg, Tn, we always say Highlands is everything Gatlinburg should be…without all the Tshirt shops and commercializations. It is simply beautiful, and if you’ve never been, I encourage you to make a trip! It is a definite favorite for me and my husband, as we spent our first and second honeymoons here, and due to the cooler temperature year-round, we come here at least 4-6 times a year, if not a good many more.
It’s not a big city. It’s a quaint little mountain town with a little bit of “high society” living. They’ve got wonderful accommodations, restaurants and shops. One of my favorites is The Old Edwards Inn; the character of this place is incredible. They have a library, in which, you can actually find a book to sit and enjoy, high vaulted ceilings and even a hidden butler pantry where the staff may come to serve the guests. Their restaurant, Madison’s, has some of the best shrimp and grits I’ve ever put in my mouth…and being a Southern girl, that’s quite a bit! They have inside seating, a wine garden with outside seating, and even a rooftop terrace where you can choose to have your meal. Now just imagine: a lovely rooftop terrace, with beautiful shutters, table settings and cushioned seating, overlooking the little town, and a gentle summer breeze blowing in the “heat” of summer with ceiling fans gently rolling. The temperature gauge rising no more than about 70-72 degrees, because you’re at such a high elevation! The waiter brings you a pleasant cheese and cracker tray for an appetizer, “just right” sweet Southern tea, mini biscuits and cornbread made fresh daily, and your meal consists of fish and chips and the best shrimp and grits you’ve ever tasted. They even serve the shrimp and grits in a mini iron crock; so, they stay warm throughout the duration of the meal. It is a fine Southern meal to remember! 😉
For dessert, you’ll want to walk down the street to Kilwin’s, where you can choose homemade fudge and chocolates, or you can choose from a mass variety of Mayfield ice cream. The pralines and chocolate dipped Nutter Butters, PB cups and Oreos are some of my family’s faves; however, my personal favorite is the turtle caramel apple! They take a Granny Smith Apple, dip it in caramel, roll it in pecans and, then, drizzle it with chocolate, and they will slice it right there for you; so, you don’t have to try to bite into that monstrosity! It is divine!! If you’d like a wonderful cup of coffee with your dessert, you can also find it there; however, I prefer a cup of Buck’s Coffee, preferably a cup of white chocolate mocha, just across the street. Outside Kilwin’s is a brick patio with lots of umbrella tables and chairs where you can enjoy your coffee and yummy desserts, and on Friday and Saturday evenings, often times, they will have a live bluegrass, country (or other Southern genre) band playing. It’s simply a delightful ending for a great day.
These things have just got to be in heaven!
Now, if you’d like to work off some of those delicious calories you’ve added to your waistline during your stay, they have a ton of shops for you to find any number of items, and they have a numerous amount of hikes for you to explore. You can stop by the Highland Hiker and pick up a local booklet of all the Day Hikes Of Highlands, and explore till your heart is content. You can check the local weather and head out for a delightful, cool climat-ed, adventure.
We, personally, love Dry Falls, Glenn Falls, Sunset Rock and Whiteside Mountain. Dry Falls had recently had a remodeling of the parking lot and walkway, and it’s an incredibly easy walk to a beautiful waterfall which you can walk behind. When it has had a lot of recent waterfall, the roar can be so loud that you can barely hear each other talk while standing behind it. Glenn Falls is a little bit longer of a hiker but definitely an easy one. Many people who go to this one say they’ve always ended up at the bottom of the falls, but haven’t ever been to the top. Upon starting out, there is a sign to the falls on the left, and to another location on the right. Choose the left; then, a little bit further down the trail, there is a fork in the road where you must choose the right side path in order to get to the top of the falls. The left path takes you to the bottom. We always choose the top of the falls, because we like to put out feet in the water, but please, please be careful here! There are no boundaries once you cross over the overlook area. You can get as close to the edge as you’d like, and if you have adventurous boys like mine, your mother’s heart can very easily suffer about three heart attacks during your enjoyment of the view and the cool waters!!
If you are visiting the area with your significant other, Sunset Rock is a must! You drive to it, and walk just a tiny path that opens up to an incredible sheer-faced rock that overlooks the town of Highlands. The view from here at sunset definitely earns its name! If you’d prefer to just drive to the many water falls, you can pick up a map, head out and literally drive under Bridal Falls and drive around to see many others. Just beware of the very curvy, and often, very narrow highway you must travel to see these. You might want to have a designated driver who doesn’t want to sightsee and drive! Haha.
If you’d prefer a bit longer hike, Whiteside Mountain is a great choice. We hiked here during our honeymoon week and saw our first Peregrine Falcon face to face. The little snapshot camera I had (these were the days before iPhones and digitals!) didn’t really do it justice, but he was about 3-4 feet from us and just seemed to sit there and simile for the camera. The hike is pleasant, and the views are simply breathtaking!
If you are on the East Coast and have never been to Highlands, it is well worth the trip!! It is a beautiful town that is surrounded with breathtaking sights, and the weather, especially in the summertime, is a very welcome delight! If shopping, hiking and sightseeing is your kind of thing, this is definitely a must-see!