When The Pain Sets In

Sometimes, your heart is bound up with so much emotion, words are hard to find. Your mind is so consumed with an avalanche of thought that you can not grasp even one. It’s like water droplets over a waterfall. 

Sometimes, the pain is so baffling, it feels as if time is standing still. Your destiny is too far to imagine, and your past comes in like a flood. It can be overwhelming… Suffocating… Constricting and condemning.

Sometimes, in that very moment, is when you need the reminder of His love and His grace. It is comforting… It is reassuring… It is strengthening and redeeming… 

He will heal. 

Only believe. 

What Makes You Tick?

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…
 

This photo not only sums up one of my favorite places, but it always turns my thoughts towards my Savior as well. For He is Living Water. ❤️ John 7:37-38

 
 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?

For the sake of online safety, I don’t post any present day photos of my guys, but my little family is a great big part of me!

 

What makes you tick? Will you kindly share one or two of them with us today? 😊

 

I love this man with all my heart! ❤️

 
 

My childhood home will always be a part of me.

 

Heart Overflow

I sit here this morning with a heart overflowing with gratitude. We had a housewarming shower yesterday, from our church family, and they really just “blessed our socks off!” I told my husband last night that I almost feel guilty by how much they blessed us!

I have just been in amazement lately by how much God has blessed us. I am just overwhelmed, and my heart is full. It’s not because of “stuff” that I have received, it’s more because I know it’s God blessing. It just seems that He has been pouring out blessings for our family recently.

For example, this house to which we just recently moved. I’ve told people, time and again, it’s as if God just took a checklist of all the things we desired in a home, added a few desires we didn’t even think about, and said, “Here ya go.” I mean, seriously, we have a WATERFALL in our backyard!! Not one we built ourselves, one that is formed by natural rock with a little creek running over it!  If anyone knows us, they know that had to be God to provide that kind of beauty in our very own backyard!

Another example, I had a truck that I absolutely loved. It was really hard to decide to sell, but we decided, in order to lessen our monthly cash outflow, we’d go ahead and sell it. It was an item that car dealerships were really looking for, and we came across a really sweet deal. So, now, we are without one car payment, and I’m driving a Cadillac!! Yeah, I know, that’s hard to believe, but it’s true.

These are just two of the many blessings we have received lately. I am just simply in awe of my God. Some would try to argue that it’s just circumstantial or, even, coincidental, but I’d have to disagree. I believe in a God who is the Creator of the universe, the Creator of my being, and the author of time and space. He is a God who loves us enough to send His only Son to die for our sins. He is a God that cares about the world’s greatest catastrophe and the smallest sparrow that falls from a tree. He’s just a good God, and I’m so thankful I serve Him.

Do you know Who I’m talking about? If you don’t, I encourage you to meet Him and get to know Him on a personal level. I promise you, He won’t disappoint you, and He will never let you down! 😉

John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Just Thought I’d Share, Again

Just thought I’d give you another glimpse into my world today. I did this last Thursday, and you all seems to enjoy it; so, I thought I’d share some more this week…  

   

  

  

Truth. (sums up my life with my husband ❤ )

 
 

True Story. (*I did not take this pic – off internet*)

  

Love of My Life…doing what he loves to do

Their Destiny

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

Wednesday’s Ode #17

  
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! 😉

  
   Doesn’t that look just awesome?! …It tastes even better!!

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!! 

 …WAY too close, JGrizz!!

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!

Wednesday’s Ode #16

  
I absolutely love the state of Georgia!

   I moved to the state of Georgia almost 18 years ago, and I fell in love with it from the start. We first moved to a small town in the northeast side of the state, and we lived there for about three years. From there, we moved to almost South Georgia and then back to the northern part of the state over the next several years…sometimes, you can move a lot when you’re in ministry. Because our extended families live in various places outside the state, and because we love finding small towns to explore, we have traveled through almost the entire state. 

Truthfully, where we are now, in the northern part of Georgia, is probably our favorite; however, we’ve really loved each place we’ve been…We just love Georgia. We love the swamps near Waynesboro and the remote wilderness of the Cohutta. We love the coastal shores of Savannah and the rolling hills of Blue Ridge.  We love the bright lights, big city of Atlanta and the tiny country towns of Rutledge, Vidalia and Ball Ground. 

In no particular order, some of our favorite areas of the state are: Cloudland Canyon, Clayton, Hiawassee, Elijah, Big Canoe, Clarksville, Savannah, and Tybee Island. We love the waterfalls, hiking trails, and small town antique shops. We love to hike to the top of Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia, and take the stairs to the top of Amicalola Falls (about 600 steps from the base to the top!). We have spent time on the waters of the  Chatuge, Chattahoochee and Lake Lanier. We’ve perused the shops in the Mall of Georgia and Atlantic Station. We have taken the drives on the Richard B. Russell Parkway and “jeeped” the back roads into the Cohutta Wilderness. We’re constantly revisiting “old favorites” and trying to explore new adventures. 

  
I have written quite a bit about mountains lately in my Wednesday Odes, and I don’t want to be too redundant; so, you can read about a few more of our favorite places by reading one of my past Odes for the North Georgia Mountains. If you’re not from Georgia, or if you’ve not been here in a while, I invite you to come back for a visit! There’s just a little for everyone to enjoy! 🙂

  

Wednesday’s Ode #15

  
I love the Great Smoky Mountains and Cades Cove! The beauty of these places cannot be compared to any other. The Smoky Mountains National Park has a gorgeous landscape, and I love driving through it during each season to see the beauty of the land. 

This is one place where you truly can experience every season. In the Spring, there is an assortment of greens sprinkled across the hills. The birds, deer and smaller wildlife are bright with life and, seemingly, excited that winter is now passed. The summers can get hot, yet, not as hot as other places. The days are comfortably warm with the evenings still becoming a bit cool, especially in the higher elevations. 

Fall is probably my most favorite time, as the colors can almost be found nowhere else. No matter where you go in The Smokies during the fall, the foliage is just simply gorgeous. This is proven by the plethora of tourists who make yearly visits to the mountains during the month of October. That is probably the only thing I don’t really appreciate about fall months in The Smokies. 

  
The wildlife is definitely something to see in the Smoky Mountains National Park. You can just take a drive or a nice hike, and it is possible to see deer, bear and even elk. Upon driving into the park from Cherokee, NC, you will often see elk in a pasture off the side of the road. If you drive into Cades Cove, especially at dusk, you will see herd of deer, and many times, you will have to wait in a line of traffic because of a “bear jam.” If you are in search of some wildlife, The Smokies are a fun adventure!

There are so many hikes to take that I would not be able to mention them all. I will mention a few of my personal favorites, Abrahm’s Falls, Ramsey Cascades, the Chimneys, Gregory’s Bald, Newfoundland Gap, Clingman’s Dome and the Cat Stairs. If you’re looking for an overnight hiking trip, you can hike to Mount LeConte and take a snooze break at the LeConte Lodge. This is definitely not your five-star hotel. You will not find your high speed internet, modern accommodations or the swimming pool, but it is a warm meal, hot shower and bedding for the weary travelers. To show you how remote this inn is, the food and supplies needed for this inn are not transported there by car. They are packed in on llamas!! I, personally, have never stayed there, but my dad says it’s a pretty neat experience, and it’s definitely a warm welcome after s long day’s hike. 

  
If you visit the East Coast and the  Appalachain Mountain Range areas, The Smoky Mountain National Park is a must to place on your itenarary. You can stay close in Gatlinburg, Sevierville, Pigeon Forge or Townsend, and many cabins and other accommodations have “mountain view” rooms. There’s plenty of other things to do in the area, as well, but that might be another blog for another day. If you have never been to The Smokies, I encourage you to make the trip. It will be well worth it! 

  

Wednesday’s Ode #13


I love waterfalls! I absolutely LOVE them!! I love the walks and hikes that take me on a little journey to get there. I love them when they have an abundance of water flowing, and I love when there’s not so much. I love the refreshing feeling I get as I gaze up at them, and I love the tingling of my toes when I’m gazing down the falls.

I love what happens every single time I get near a waterfall…my soul is renewed. It is as if a calm comes over my whole being and the cares of this world are simply washed away like the water going over the falls.

Once again, it reminds me of the Scripture I quoted in last week’s ode: “…and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory.” Ezekiel 43:2, and here’s another that reminds me, “His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.” Rev 1:15

I hear Him calling to my heart every time I’m near the falls. I love those times.  …hmmm, I think I need to take a hike and find some rushing waters real soon! 😉

   

   

In the Depths of the Falls

 

I saw a glimpse of something today. We took a little hike to Amicalola Falls and were standing on the bridge, looking up at the falls when I saw it. Looking up, this song started rolling over and over in my mind, and before I realized it, I was softly singing: 

Peace, peace, wonderful peace

Coming down from the Father above

Sweep over my spirit forever I pray 

In fathomless billows of love

As I stood there, listening to the waters rush over the rocks and tumble down below, I began to really see it…The rocks were solid, strong, unyielding. There were sharp places and dark places…green, squishy patches and dry, splotchy parts…even some spots with crackly, dry weeds. Yet, where the water flowed, the rocks were smooth and even shiny, almost like jewels glistening in the sun. The waters rushed over the edge at one place and trickled down, hardly noticeable in another. Sometimes, it would bounce and jump, almost seeming to dance in laughter off the rocks, and in others, that same water swirled and pooled, making little collections of shimmery basins in which you could’ve cooled and refreshed your feet. The falls were simply beautiful, invigorating and peaceful, inviting and overwhelming, all in the same breath. 

As I stood there, tears streaming down my face, I could see the depths of my very soul. The rocks are the image of my soul. It’s solid, strong, and unyielding, sometimes for very good reasons, sometimes for not so good. The water is the Living Water of God. It washes my heart, cleanses my mind and purifies my soul. It causes the green patches of soft, squishy grass to grow.Those are the places where I’m tender and soft toward the things of God. I’m pliable, moldable, easily moved and quickly changed. These are the places where I long to stay, to learn, to grow. 

Yet, there are other areas where it’s not so sweet. His water has to smooth out the sharp, ragged, painful places, those places we’d rather not talk about, those pains we’d just as soon forget. He pours over those jagged rocks of my soul to bring life, restoration and joy.

I was reminded, in that moment, all our souls are in this similar state of being. Some are more, some are less, but we all have sharp, jagged rocks that need His soothing. We all have dark places, those things which are ugly and hidden from the world that need His cleansing. Each one of us has a dry spot or two that needs more water and oh, those pesky weedy areas that are in such need of His purifying. Every one of us has a need for so many more of those soft, squishy, green patches, those places where His love and mercy abide. Our soul longs for those times when we are fully immersed in His goodness and grace.

You see, when we let Jesus into our soul, His rivers of Living Water rush into our lives to show us His love, His grace, His mercy, those things which He’s just been waiting to pour out. Sometimes, the water is so loud, so consuming, we can’t even contain it or comprehend it. Other times, He lets it trickle down a forgotten path, one we thought we’d pushed far into the past to a place never to be seen or remembered again. Yet, He gently lets His waters flow, washing over those places, drawing us back, soothing our soul. 

Just as these falls towered before me, His Living Water towers over our souls. He cleanses us, changes us, and transforms us into a beautiful spectacle for all to see. As we allow His water to wash over the depths of our being, we will know He is God. We will know He loves us; we will experience His grace, and we will be transformed into a new creation. We will become a beautiful waterfall that others will gaze upon and feel refreshed, invigorated, challenged and changed. They will gain strength and wisdom as they see what the Lord has done in our life. Many will long for the same as they see the place where He abides. All we must do is allow His Holy Spirit, His Living Waters to flow into and through our lives. Will you let Him flow today? 

“…And let anyone drink who believes in me.” As Scripture has said, “Out of him (or them) will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38