"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Friday, October 30, 2015

October Books

Jesus & Muhammad by F.E. Peters --  a blogger/FB friend recommended this book to me, and I got it after putting it on my Amazon Wishlist.  I took about six weeks to read it. Not because it's that big or that deep, but I just didn't read it all the time.  There wasn't tons of new stuff, but it was interesting enough to see these men's lives laid out. I found the parts about poets in Muhammad's time interesting and maybe new (pg. 76), and the Satanic verses (pg. 114) always fascinate me.  

Twisted Innocence by Terri Blackstock -- the third and final book in the Moonlighters series; this one deals more with Holly, and the team's final push to get justice for the murders committed by Leonard Miller

Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck -- an easy read I got at the library about a cooking show host who cannot cook, but can entertain well enough to bluff her way through it - with the help of her crew.  But wait and see what happens when the show is sold, and her secret is exposed!

Hatteras Girl by Alice J. Wisler -- the story of Jackie and her dream to open the Bailey House as a B&B, and her friends' and family's desire to have her engaged by the end of the year!

She Makes It Look Easy by Marybeth Whalen -- have you ever met someone who makes everything look easy - or makes it seem not-that-difficult to have a nearly perfect life? Well, when Ariel moves into a more upscale neighborhood she meets her neighbor Justine who comes across just that way. And Ariel tries her best to fit in by being more "perfect" like her new friend.  A good lesson about things not always being the way they look from outward appearances.

My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren -- after watching her mother die in a car accident, Isadora has a difficult time leaving her house.  Yet she hosts a radio show where she advises people about love and dating and marriage.  What happens when the BoyNextDoor calls?

Don't Look Back by Lynette Eason -- this is the second book in a series I started a few months ago; part of the Women of Justice series that I came across at the library; this one deals with Jamie and her past abuser who is stalking her again.

Come Walk With Me by Joan Medlicott -- after being widowed unexpectedly Claire struggles with life alone. Sure she has two adult children, but she doesn't get along well with them.  After a quick move from New York to Florida, Claire still struggles with loneliness.  She tries reconnecting with her children and making new friends.

A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea by Eunsun Kim -- I am a sucker for books like this so when I saw this one on the new books shelf, I got it.  What a tale of the author along with her mother and sister's escape.  They were just trying not to starve.  I enjoyed the epilogue when the author talks about her visit to the Midwest (USA) and her impression of people in the US.

Jesus and the Jewish Festivals by Gary M. Burge -- this is another of those small, colorful books that share Bible stuff in context. I picked this one because of some Jewish festival happening near the end of September/first of October.  What I especially liked was how the author pointed out Jesus saying "I am the bread of life" and "the light" and "the good shepherd" at certain times, and how his Jewish audience would have understood those things. 

A Killer Among Us by Lynette Eason - the last in the Women of Justice trilogy this story is about detective Kit, the adopted twin sister of Jamie (main character of the previous book), as she works with her partner, Noah, and the team to solve a mystery.  I remember being shocked at the first of these books, but since I knew how the author hid the killer, I figured out the guilty party in these last two pretty quickly.

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate -- the story of a lady who just arrived on the Outer Banks with her two children; Tandi agrees to clean the house of the landlady who died in her sleep. She discovers papers written to "Father" and later realizes these are prayers to God. 

The Girls of August by Anne Rivers Siddons -- Keeping up the yearly tradition of meeting at a remote beach house during the month of August, four women adjust to life after one of them died a few years prior.  I liked this book for the most part and will look for more books by this author.

The Perfect Letter by Chris Harrison -- Leigh leaves New York City for a brief work conference back home in Texas, and ends up being confronted with people and letters and memories (big deal ones) from her past

The Shadow of Your Smile by Susan May Warren -- a lady falls hard on ice and loses 25 years of memories!  She cannot remember being married, and who are these young men calling her "mom"?  She's still in college!

Take a Chance on Me by Susan May Warren -- I've already read a couple of her books that I found at the library.  This one is about a family in northern Minnesota and a new assistant district attorney who comes into town.  Darek, Tiger, Ivy, Jensen...those folks

The Sweetness of Tears by Nafisa Haji -- I like how the author had the different characters tell this story by assigning them chapters.  This one is about Jo who grew up in an evangelical Christian family in California.  In high school, she is troubled by the fact that her parents' eyes are blue while hers are brown.  After puzzling over this for a time, she asks her mom, and discovers a family - and a family background - very different from the one she has known.

Red: A History of the Redhead by Jacky Colliss Harvey -- the author touches on redheads in ancient history mentioning Thrace in particular; redhead clusters around the world; the recessive gene; art with redheads; redhead symbolism; red hair on men and woman and how that is perceived; redheads in movies and on TV; how redheads need more anesthesia; even a redhead festival in Holland

Sweet Blessings by Jillian Hart -- this book is so silly; a man, of course, comes in to save the day every.single.time. Except for when the dear lady saves him from a lonely life due to all her sweetness

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Mountain Trip with My Mom

Last mountain post, finally!!!  :)

Earlier this year, my mom and I were able to take a couple of overnight trips.   In March we went to the Southport/Oak Island area, and in mid-April we went to the Boone area.  Well, after Andrew and I took our day trip to the Boone area on October 11, I asked Mama if she wanted to go since we both had a couple of open days.

So, on Tuesday, October 13, we met at my house (since I live a bit closer to the mountains) and we headed to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Getting ready to leave

We enjoyed many of the same sights Andrew and I saw two days prior, but we also went to a few places that Andrew and I skipped.

"...and here's my house."

We visited the Moses Cone Manor grounds, and took a short walk and enjoyed the view.

We also ate lunch by the stream at the Julian Price picnic area.  We took another short walk there. 

this was something we saw on the walk

Then we enjoyed looking at the lake.

And other views along the parkway.

Later we went to Blowing Rock where we split up.  We shopped a bit, snacked some, read, walked, enjoyed people-watching, stuff like that.  We checked in periodically, but this was our time to just do what we pleased.

I found a lovely sunny spot with wonderful flowers at the Episcopal church.

the little park behind the parking area

I bought a winter flag with cardinals and a lamp post at a small shop.

Eventually we left there to eat supper at Cracker Barrel, and then we went to our hotel for the night.

The next morning, we headed to Valle Crucis where we first stopped by to see a church I remembered from a previous visit with Andrew.  I actually thought this was the white church with the green roof, but found out I was mistaken.  This was the stone Episcopal church with the retreat or conference center on the grounds.

It's only a few minutes drive from the community park which was our next stop.  We walked some here, posed for a few pictures, and then took some time to just relax and read.

Mama picked this spot by the river, but it got really gusty after a time.

Eventually she moved to a sunny spot

closer to where I'd been reading in the sun.

We saw these folks just before we left the park

Later we visited the annex and original Mast General Store.  Mama met a family from Florida. They were all sitting out on the back porch. The family shared their pickled okra (I declined, but Mama tried it.)  She said they asked where she was from, and finding out we were from NC, looked at each other and said, "See? The locals do come here."  (We aren't exactly local local, but more so than Floridians would be!)

From Valle Crucis, we went through Boone towards Todd. Andrew often rides his bike on the old railroad road, but Mama and I were actually going to check out the area around Elk Knob State Park on Meat Camp Road.  We went two miles past EKSP and ran into some stunning views!  I turned around at a driveway just past a bridge, and we stopped at EKSP for a couple of pictures.

We left there and visited Todd for a short while before heading home.

We had a great trip!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Day Trip to the Parkway and Elk Knob State Park

On Sunday, October 11, we decided to take a day trip to the Boone area. Sometimes you just have to get away for a few hours!  We left at, like, 6:30 in the morning, and were on the parkway before nine.  Andrew took his bike, and we stopped at this overlook for him to get ready to bike the Blue Ridge Parkway.

He biked for a few miles while I stopped at some overlooks for pictures.  I've been to the mountains when it was foggy, but I had never experienced the parkway being clear and the Yadkin Valley being filled with clouds.  It was so pretty!  Like a field full of fluffy cotton...

I also went to Thunder Hill overlook and took a very short hike on the Mountain to Sea trail where I found the apple trees a few weeks before.  The trees were loaded!

I also found these things.

And here is a view from the top of the trail.  See the clouds filling the valley...

Andrew didn't bike for too long this time because October is peak leaf season and the parkway gets so.full.of.vehicles!

We decided to hike instead. 

Rough Ridge Overlook is one of our favorites, and it was gorgeous. And busy. And the most muddy I've ever seen it.  Hooray for recent rains after a pretty dry year.  But we only hiked to the first big overlook which had wonderful views. We decided to skip the upper rocks since it was so crowded.  Lots of App State students hike there. I don't know why those kids aren't studying!

Instead we went on down to Beacon Heights, and Flat Rock, and later went to a new (to us) place nearer to Todd called Elk Knob State Park.  The volunteers maintain the trail very well, and the view from the summit was nice although I prefer the balds where you can see 360 degrees. I admit Max Patch, Roan Mountain, Whitetop Mountain, and Bluff Mountain spoiled me this year about that!

Beacon Heights parking lot

view from the summit of EKSP

resting my weary bones

Elk Knob State Park entrance area

The Elk Knob area was very nice - driving up there (Meat Camp Road) was so pretty once you get past the shacks with Confederate flags (haha)!  My mom and I went back to that area a couple days later, and went two miles past Elk Knob State Park, and were smack dab in stunning views!  We loved it.

We drove through part of Todd on the way back to Hwy. 421 which takes us home.  That's where we saw this field of pumpkins, and cows on hills, and awesome scenes like this. I love farm scenery.

Valle Crucis and the Parkway before heading home

Andrew and I finally left the Abingdon/Damascus area, and headed towards Valle Crucis, North Carolina.  We traveled for about 45 minutes through eastern Tennessee to get there. It was so crowded at the park and the Mast General Store and annex!  We saw some guys playing rugby at the community park. Never seen that before.

Unlike Damascus which was just mostly cloudy, the area near Boone was foggy.  You can see that in some of my pictures from the park.

Remember a few weeks ago when we went to Valle Crucis and these things were tall and yellow?  Now they are tall and wheat-colored.

After leaving Valle Crucis, we decided to make like we were heading towards home on hwy. 421, but then we got on the Blue Ridge Parkway headed north.  I knew that area was lower elevation than Boone, and was curious if we'd run out of the fog.  We did eventually though it was never blue skies and sunny. Still, there were some pretty views along the way.

We went on a few short walks. This one at the Lump Overlook.

Jumpinoff Rocks has a half-mile trail to an overlook.  The trail smelled good, and was very pleasant.

We stopped at the Northwest Trading Post to look around. I got a fall garden flag, and Andrew got a snack.  Then we decided to head for home.