Big Day at Big Spring

One time my parents came to visit us and we took them to a couple of local springs. My momma LOVED water. I mean loved!! Oceans, rivers, lakes, pools, and mountain streams, water was her thing.

Yesterday, my son and I went back to one of the places we took her. Near Van Buren, MO is a place called Big Spring.

near Van Buren, MO

It is a beautiful, powerful natural spring, tucked back in the corner of the rocks, by a small cave. I took a video so you could hear it.

Big Spring, Van Buren Missouri

When we were there in 2018 with my parents, my momma took a picture of me that she absolutely loved. It was me, looking at the spring.

picture of me my momma took in
September 2018 at Big Spring

To try to recreate it, I had my son take a picture of me yesterday. Funny thing is, I had no idea, but I was actually wearing the same blue long sleeve shirt!

me at Big Spring July 2022

Behind the spring is a set of rock steps that go up and lead to a short trail. It was 102 degrees yesterday and luckily, the trail was shaded.

one of two trails at Big Spring
trail sign
looking up from trail
looking down from trail

The trail just sort of ends. You can turn around or walk across a bridge and back to the parking lot. We chose the bridge because it’s new and it took a couple of years to build. It was our first time to walk across it.

view back towards Big Spring
from the new bridge

If you are ever near Van Buren, MO, Big Spring is definitely worth a stop. There is a campground, access to the Current River, an old CCC camp as well.

We really enjoyed our day, despite the heat. Our adventures didn’t end there, but that’s for another post.

Thanks for reading. Hope you have a wonderful day.

Jessica

Keep on Walking and Growing

About ten years ago, my friend Kristi said something to me that has helped me a billion plus times in all the days since.

She said, ”keep on walking.”

Walking? To where?

A country road? A hiking trail? Around a lake?

Maybe. But, her reference was to life. I don’t know about you, but I seem to have a tendency to get stuck and stay stuck.

  • stuck in habits
  • stuck in routines
  • stuck in grudges
  • stuck in whatever it happens to be

Fine and fair enough, I mean this is life we’re talking about. In all of those instances, I’ve grabbed onto her advice with both hands, and have pulled myself along, eventually gaining on getting un-stuck.

But, what about grief with its raw and real ride? There are numerous potholes, substantial downpours, and giant ruts.

When I was in high school, my friends and I would venture out on a dirt road, west of town. When we had lot of rain, the road became a sloppy mess. Guess who got stuck almost every time? And, guess what we did.

We walked.

Cell phones weren’t even invented then. We stepped into slimy mud, sometimes up to our knees, but we’d didn’t stay sitting in the truck, just waiting. We walked.

Today, I find myself thinking about if it’s even possible to keep on walking through grief.

In past losses, I long-jumped my way over all the hard stuff and right into the missing. Other losses I didn’t even deal with until years later. Forget walking, I ran right around those, straight to the finish line, whew, done.

This time, it’s not the same though. It’s my momma. I’m trying to approach her loss differently. Instead of skimming right over it, I’m sitting in it. Like a potato in a stew.

Why?

I don’t want to face all this in ten or fifteen years, I want to do it now. So, is the ’sitting in it’ of grief comparable to being stuck?

Sadness, missing, emotions, wishing, replaying, longing, thinking about, loving, memories?

I don’t think so. Those things are what make a loss fluid and moving. We don’t stay in say, replaying what happened forever, we might move on to thinking about or sadness or memories. That’s not what I call stuck. To me, that’s growth and healing.

I do think it’s possible to keep on walking through grief and I also think it’s possible to ’keep on walking and growing’ through it, too.

Thanks for reading.

Jessica

keep on walking and growing

Switchbacks and Waves

This blog was started in 2015. Mostly its been filled with some nature photographs, some lessons on acquired wisdom, and things about family.

Lately, my writing feels somewhat scattered. A post on this, a post on that, then bam, a post about my momma.

What I am figuring out is, grief is not linear.

It doesn’t start on such and such day then make a straight line to an end date. Mine, anyway, feels like more of a zig zag or perhaps like some winding mountain road. Calm on the straight aways, yet intense on the curves.

Another thing I’m learning is, the path of losing someone isn’t all encompassing. Sure, in the beginning it can feel like that. It did for me. At that time, every passing moment was a reminder that my momma wasn’t here.

Now though, instead of grief being a constant aching, it comes more sporadically. One moment fine, the next moment tears. Two days fine, the next one tears. Like waves.

Oh my gosh, waves. For weeks I’ve been trying to remember a song my momma loved. It just now came to me: ”Wave on Wave” by Pat Green.

Now that I think about it, mountain roads and waves have something in common: they go back and forth. They have this beauty and calmness that seem to balance out even after rockslides and storms.

Maybe life is similar. Maybe writing is, too. Maybe instead of me thinking my words have to be all organized into a certain category, I could just let them show up, whenever and however they do.

My back field is full of thorns, stickers, and stumps. Some spots are a mess to walk through. Sometimes my skirt gets snagged and my ankles get scratched. Hmm… that sounds a bit like grief.

But, you know what? My back field is also full of wildflowers and there’s a doe and her baby living back there, even in all those stickers and even in all those weeds.

Perhaps me writing all this on a random Sunday morning is a reminder that the beauty in my writing will prevail, even if the subject matter is out of order and things feel messy.

And, maybe it’s even a reminder, that there can be a beautiful-ness in grief, too. Not on the wind raging, hail filled days, of course, but maybe in the quiet, “a memory brings a smile days.”

What I’m going to do is just trust my writing. Scattered posts or not. I see now that the switchbacks can allow for some amazing scenery and the waves can bring solace.

Thank you for being here.

Jessica

some curvy Forest Service road
a blurry wildflower from my land
and CoCo the kitten
Queen Anne’s Lace standing out
among the stickers and thorns

Family Day Out

Saturday is our family day out. Today we decided to try a bowling alley we hadn’t been to in a nearby town.

I’m not what you’d call a very good bowler, ha ha. But, tonight I broke 100!!!! I got a 119! I think that’s my all time high. I was so excited, I took a picture.

I’m the M

Before the bowling alley, we went to a Missouri Department of Conservation area called Otter Slough. I love that place. In the winter, it’s filled with snow geese. In the summer people fish the ponds.

a pond at Otter Slough
Otter Slough
even these guys were hanging out there

We’ve had a really great day. Love Saturdays. Love summer. Love my family.

Thanks for reading!

Jessica

My Favorite Picture of the Day

My gosh, I LOVE being a mom. Is there anything better in the entire universe??

Two days ago, my son and I went for a drive. A local lake was calling our name, so we ventured out there. It was a place we’d taken my momma to when she came to visit once.

Except for a million gnats, mosquitoes, and some bull frogs, we were the only ones there. Sometimes there, the water is so still, that the reflection is pristine. This time the water was moving a bit, but it was still pretty.

I took some pictures, but wanted to show you my favorite picture of the day. No explanation needed on why, I suppose.

Holding our kid’s hands is a gift all on it’s own. The scenery was a bonus.

Hope your day is wonderful.

Jessica

my favorite picture of the day
Ripley Lake
reflections on Ripley Lake

Sometimes It’s Jewelry

Jewelry is kind of generational thing for me. My grandma was in a ’jewelry of the month’ club. I thought that was cool, so a couple of years ago for Christmas, I signed my momma up for a ’bracelet of the month’ club.

Oh my goodness, did my momma love jewelry. She had stands full of gorgeous necklaces and bracelets and jewelry boxes filled to the brim with beautiful pieces.

If you’ve seen my other blog, you know that jewelry is pretty much my thing. Her love of it was for wearing. Mine is of taking it apart and making something unique with it. Though I do love wearing it, too.

When she was in the hospital in Lincoln, we stopped by a shop on our way there. I purchased four green agate bracelets with a star that were titled, ”Unexpected Miracles” and three rose quartz bracelets representing love.

I split them between my momma, me, my sisters, and my nieces. My momma and I got the miracle ones.

We were comforted by the thought of miracles, in a day filled with crappy possible diagnoses and an up in the air future. She put her “Unexpected Miracles” bracelet on and I did, too.

Things did not go as any of us had hoped and prayed for. And, in the days immediately following her passing, that miracles bracelet was practically glued to my wrist. I wouldn’t take it off.

A few days went by and I started looking online to see if there was such a thing as a bracelet for grief. Luckily, something perfect for me showed up. I want to share it with you today in case you or someone you know has grief hanging out by the garden gate.

When I found the shop, I ordered right away. The one I chose is called The Healing Grief Mala bracelet, and I tell you what, it has been a blessing in ways I can’t quite explain.

The colors are very calming and the stones and wood each have specific meaning. I wore it for a solid month, every single day.

The Healing Grief mala from The Meaningful Mala

I ordered one for my sisters. Another loved one was struggling, so I handed her mine. Then, I ordered another one for me.

The grief has eased up a bit most days, they say the shock lessens some, and I’m finding out that is true. I haven’t been wearing my grief bracelet like I did in the beginning.

On the tough days, though, when tears suddenly roll, I reach for it and put it on. I’ve been wearing it a lot this week.

It’s funny, the different things that bring us comfort in the days of loss. Sometimes it’s flowers or seeing an item they loved. Sometimes it’s a song or a picture. Sometimes it’s a card they sent or a message they left. And, sometimes, it’s jewelry.

Her shop is called The Meaningful Mala and the link is:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheMeaningfulMala

(There’s no commission for me- I’m just sharing to share.)

Hope your day is lovely,

Jessica

Missing My Momma

I’m making art today and the tears stream.

If you knew my momma, you know what a creative person she was.

There wasn’t any kind of art or craft she wouldn’t/ didn’t try. And, she nailed them all. Painting, sewing, gardening, jewelry making, crotchet, the list is long.

Yesterday was the three month mark of her passing, it’s still hard to believe that she did. I’m guessing if you’ve lost your momma, you think of her every single day, too.

Last week was pretty weepy- every song I heard was something she loved. James Taylor and the like. Today, as I am making a sweet piece of art for a friend, it’s Fleetwood Mac’s ’Gypsy’ that started the memory wave.

Parts of my life have been hard. I went through some rough stuff here and there, but nothing compares to the missing of my momma.

If she was still here and I wrote a post about how I was missing somebody else, she’d write a short, sweet comment and write, ”Love, Mom.” She was generous like that.

Thanks for reading.

Jessica ❤️

some rose in MO

Summertime Swim Party

Well, I pulled off a surprise party! For over a month, I’ve had a surprise swim party planned for my husband’s 50th birthday!

A month ago, my invitations went out to some of his work friends, his bowling friends, neighbors, and some local friends.

We were all able to keep it quiet! Even me, which was a bit tricky, ha ha. I almost slipped up a few times.

Because we live near the river and lots of families go there for the weekends, and kids have baseball games, etc, I made it a come and go open house.

Yesterday morning, my husband still had no idea!! About noon, my son and I gave him a gift to open. In it was party blowers and an invitation to his own party! He was very surprised!

We had a great crowd. Everyone brought a potluck dish and we had a ton of food. The temperature was 102 degrees, so the swimming pool was full.

We all had a wonderful time.

Here’s to friends, life’s big celebrations, summer, swimming, and surprises.

Hope you have a glorious day!

Jessica

our pool this morning

Farm Fresh

This morning my friend and I went to our local farmer’s market. For a small town, there was quite a selection. The different booths had:

  • canned pickles and canned vegetables
  • embroidery towels
  • earrings
  • plants
  • wood art
  • t shirts
  • crotched items
  • vegetables
  • fruits

I went in search of cucumbers. I saw on a recipe on a blog this week for refrigerator pickles made with rice vinegar that I wanted to try.

There was a really nice seller from Arkansas who had cucumbers and potatoes. Another gal had organic home grown tomatoes! Yum!

I also got two bags of fresh lettuce and some Campbell, Missouri peaches. Around here, Campbell peaches are a big thing.

Here’s what I got and I had a little of each for lunch:

farm fresh

I also met a gentleman who makes wind chimes and can tune them to different songs! How cool is that? He said he’s done the Westminster Chimes, Pink Floyd, and Deep Purple songs. I asked him if he could do Fleetwood Mac. My momma LOVED Fleetwood Mac. I was raised on Fleetwood Mac.

Oh how I would love to hear Fleetwood Mac from my porch! I’m going to see about getting some.

What a wonderful morning out with my friend. We got to support some small businesses, meet some local artists, and get some farm fresh food.

Hope you have a great Saturday!

Jessica

River Time

You know how sometimes it just feels good to get out of the house? That was us today. So, after running some errands, we ventured north for some river time.

There is a Forest Service area on the Current River, about seven miles from our house. We got lucky and had the place to ourselves. Our only company was some minnows and a little frog.

the most I saw the sun all day
a near perfect rock heart I found
if you look close you can see a frog down and to the right of the top green leaf
reflecting sun
a wildflower’s view
a lower angle of the first picture

Thanks for reading. Hope you have a great day!

Jessica

Cat on My Lap

Pink is my favorite color, but sitting out here at my pool this morning, I’m actually leaning towards blue.

pool blue
summer blue

The weather finally warmed up, so yesterday our pool was full of swimmers. It’s a bit early for swimmers today, so right now, there’s just a cat on my lap.

this is Squealer the cat

Hope you have a great Sunday!

Jessica

Bollinger Mill and a Covered Bridge

Today we got to do 2 pretty cool things. Saturdays are our family day out. We ventured over east of us and started our day at a 100 mile long yard sale.

We did a lot of looking, but not much buying. It was fun to look at so many different things for sale.

At the end of the 100 miles, we stopped at Bollinger Mill State Historic Site, near Jackson, Missouri. I love that place. Why?

There’s a 3 story mill and a covered bridge, in one place. They are gorgeous!

Bollinger Mill
covered bridge at Bollinger Mill

I wish I could’ve gathered up the smell somehow of the bridge. It was antique and woodsy. Imagine stepping into a really old rustic barn- that! That’s what the bridge smelled like.

initials carved inside the covered bridge
reflection of the mill under the covered bridge
my view from a knothole in the covered bridge
the river side of Bollinger Mill, the covered bridge sits to the right

What a wonderful day! If you are ever in southeast Missouri, Bollinger Mill is definitely worth a stop.

PS I wrote a post about our 100 mile yard sale adventure on my other blog, if you’re interested, it’s https://jeweledagainbyjessica.com

Thanks for reading,

Jessica