thanksgiving in the valley

snowy path

We spent Thanksgiving at my stepmother-in-law’s house in the Shenandoah Valley. Daniel’s dad grew up in this area, so he took my sister-in-law and I on a walk down to the river. The town was quiet, blanketed in fresh snow.

winter tree in snow

snowy field

haint blue roof

At about this point on the walk, I realized I couldn’t feel my toes.

snowy path

winter river

They have a lovely dog I enjoyed petting while we waited for the turkey to finish cooking. Donna, the aforementioned stepmother-in-law, makes delicious brussels sprouts with bacon, which I greedily ate with a heaping mound of mashed potatoes.

dog face

candle bokeh

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shrinemont weekend ’14

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In the beginning of July, Daniel and I headed out with friends from church to attend the annual congregational get together at the Episcopal campground that borders the George Washington National Forest. It’s taken me forever to get to posting these, because on the way there, our car broke down (RIP) and the rest of July was spent either car-less or in Florida to buy my grandparents’ car (thanks, Grandparents!).

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I had a most relaxing time despite the stress of losing a vehicle. We played literary games, sang gospel songs in three parts, read on the covered porch, ate s’mores, and went on a very educational hike thanks to the presence of an ecologist and a former geology major. I fell in a creek, got bitten by a horsefly, and overheated a bit, but that’s part of the joy of summertime!

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The weekend could not have been better.

 

april flowers

white flowers spring flowers dogwood pink dogwood purple flowering tree sp6 sp7purple flowering tree and lightThis journal has turned into a place for photos and little else. I talk plenty in everyday life, but I haven’t felt the need to reiterate here. I’ve always journaled in some form or the other, but with access to various social media platforms, I have so many ways to have my voice heard or reflect on my day in small phrases and brief conversations. Maybe I need long form, but maybe the quiet is fine, too.

Charlottesville went from black and white to vibrant technicolor in the past few weeks. I’m enjoying the spring blooms as much as I can because I know they’ll give way to lizard green leaves in a few short weeks.

hiking at Shenandoah

hike shenandoah national park hk33hk6 hk7 hk10 hk11 hk13 hk14 hk26 hk29 hk25hk28I went on a 5 mile hike on a section of the Appalachian Trail that runs through Shenandoah National Park with friends from church on Saturday. It’s one of the best things I’ve done all year. We stopped at overlooks along the way to rest and read some Psalms, and on the last stop we shared in the Eucharist. One of the girls said that the hike felt like a prayer. I agree. Thank God for this place.

 

I-64 lookouts

I-64 boasts 2 lookouts between Waynesboro and Charlottesville. Since it’s a divided highway they’re only accessible going east from Waynesboro, so I have to wait until I have reason to head out that way to take in the view. This week I remembered to bring my camera along on a thrifting excursion, so I stopped at both lookouts on my way back home.

What a lovely fall day!

waynesboro, va blue ridge mountain lookout valley lk7 lk8 lk1I asked the Century Link man who was stopped with me to take my photo. Thanks, Century Link man!

It’s days like these that make me fall in love with Virginia all over again. I’m lucky to live here.

Click on any image to see an enlarged version.

at the skyline

blue ridge moutains love queen anne's lace frolicking girl in wildflower fieldbee on wildflower skyline drive mountain overlook yellow swallowtail butterflymountainsTaylor and I became fast friends this summer. She’s moving to Georgia at the end of the week and I wanted the chance to meet her husband, newly arrived from Wales, before they departed. I took the day off and we all took a trip to Skyline Drive.

We saw wildflowers galore, dozens of butterflies, bees harvesting nectar for Wildflower Honey, deer, a turkey, a groundhog, and panoramic mountain scenes. We even got the chance to stop in to the Visitor’s Center to purchase some memorabilia; while perusing the gift shop, we witnessed a Junior Ranger excitedly – and somewhat bashfully – getting sworn in. We clapped for the new ranger, exchanged group photos with a family parked at one of the overlooks, and marveled, once again, at the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains.

 

madison county, va

mad10mad2 mad4 mad5 mad7mad13 mad8mad11 mad9We took a trip out to Madison to meet up with my friend, Taylor, before heading to a local peach festival. She lives with her mom, three dogs, a couple cats, and some feisty goats on a few acres surrounded by mountains and lush Virginia countryside. I’m so glad I got to see it before she moves to Georgia next week. I’m going to miss her a lot. But it’s ok because we bought friendship crates at the (otherwise lame) festival!

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