Sunset at the Boat Ramp

We’re lucky. We live by a tiny town with a river that’s part of Ozark National Scenic Riverways. It’s called the Current River and is known for its clear water, movement that flows enough to carry canoes and kayaks, swimming holes, and fishing.

A couple of nights ago, my son and I went to the boat ramp in town. I was able to catch these sunset pictures. What a lovely evening it was.

January 27, 2023- sunset at the Current River
sunset at the boat ramp- January 27, 2023
snow in my mirror reflection- January 27, 2023
a tree in my window reflection- January 27, 2023
Current River view from the parking lot-
January 27, 2023

It’s so wonderful to have nature close by. It fills up this photographer’s heart a million times over.

Hope you have a great evening/day!

Jessica

©️ COPYRIGHT 2023 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS- ALL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY ME- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

On Glimpses of Things

Yesterday we went to the river. During floating season, there are people all over the place and river ‘sounds.’ Things like: laughter, chit chat, boat motors, dogs barking, car doors shutting, music playing…

Currently, on the Current River, it’s the quiet time. The temperatures are cold in the water and in the air. I don’t mind the busy season, but I sure love the ‘nobody’s around you can hear nature’ time.

For instance, last night we were the only people there. For me, that brings nature back into sole view. Details called out. I noticed. There were pine trees swaying in the wind, leaves on the snow, pine cones sitting on overlooked paths, and my truck hood acted as a mirror.

January 27, 2023- pine cones at the river
January 27, 2023- snow as the perfect backdrop
trees on my truck hood- January 27, 2023
January 27, 2023- pine trees sway

On the way out, we were paused by a tree that crossed over the road. A gift really. A ‘slow down moment’ in days filled with hurries. So we did it, we paused.

tree leaned over the road- January 27, 2023

After going around it, I found myself looking, for color in the trees, for something that would demand a camera, or something that would make a stellar photograph.

Nothing really stood out ahead, but when I looked back perfection and grace were wearing the same coat.

My side mirror gave me a glimpse of what truck windows would notice, if they did such things. I stopped and got out. Here’s what I saw:

January 27, 2023- a scene that caught my eye
January 27, 2023- a window’s view

Glimpses of nature on some random Friday, filled up my lens, eyes, and heart with abundant gifts. Love when that happens.

Thanks for being here.

Jessica

©️ COPYRIGHT 2023 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS- ALL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY ME- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Tools and Things

Yesterday’s post was on handles. Today, I have some more cool pictures to share.

I love the idea that someday I’ll be reading my old blog posts and I’ll see these photos and remember traipsing around my dad’s tool shed, chasing the daylight.

Another thing I love, is that these things seem to have earned their places. They are not so new and a little worn, but they are still useful and somewhat charming, right where they are.

Hope you have a nice Monday.

Jessica

small shovel
vintage cabinet
blue and red
wooden toolbox
lantern and minnow bucket
tools that have done their share of work

©️ COPYRIGHT 2023 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS- ALL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY ME-ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ©️

Handles

Handles… and not the CB kind. (Think old fashioned radios truckers used and cool names.)

I’m visiting my dad. After doing my walking laps, I got this idea to see if I could photograph some handles. I struck it rich with an old tool shed and some equipment. So many cool ones here.

Hope you’re having a wonderful day.

Jessica

a rusty trailer
vintage tiller
water hydrant
tools
toolbox
shovel
drawer
my momma’s mower

©️ 2023 COPYRIGHT UNMEASURED JOURNEYS- ALL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY ME-ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ©️

Patterns

Math is my thing. I loveeeee math. Instead of seeing the whole of things, I tend to see the pieces and patterns.

Yesterday I set out to notice patterns so I could photograph them. Here are some that I found.

lines and curves
fence posts
decoys
insulators
sets
more curves
glass
circles

Thanks for being here!

Jessica

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022-2023 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS- ALL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY ME- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Back to Photography

I’m going back to photography. For awhile, anyway.

Just came in from taking these.

Jessica

hydrangeas
pine
corn sheller
puddle
old jug
pretty mirror

©️©️©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 AND FORWARD- UNMEASURED JOURNEYS- ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY ME- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sparkle in a Jar

A couple of years ago, there was a big craze with jars. Dried cookie ingredients in a jar, put gratitude on pieces of paper and stick them in a jar, salads in a jar, mason jars as gift holders, and more.

Yesterday, I received one of the coolest gifts I’ve ever seen! A ‘plant a bulb’ in a jar.

Like a flower bulb.

In a jar!

I’ve never heard of such a thing. Planting bulbs in the ground? Oh yeah, done that. In a jar? How fun!

Christmas was looking to be a hard one without my momma. So guess what one of my besties did? She found out that Amaryllis means ‘sparkle’ and she sent the bulb jar to me.

How sweet is that?

Because honestly, I haven’t felt very sparkly lately. Crying takes the shine right out. And, I’ve been doing my share of tear dropping recently.

Sparkle in a jar?

That grows and blooms into a gorgeous red flower?

I

am

in!

Thank you, SanDee, for the pick-me-up. It makes me want to plant sparkle bulbs all around my ten acres. What a beautiful show that would be.

Love when friends ‘show up’ on days- well, on any days and all days. The ones in the beginning, the messy middle, and whatever kind show up after.

She’s been there for me and with me through so-much-stuff. Buckets full. Before my momma went in the hospital. During the devastating 10 days of tough diagnoses and all the days since my momma made her heavenly trek.

Sometimes, being in this, this parent loss thing, some things feel like an end. The thing I love the most about her gift?

It’s the beginning

of a life

tucked up in a bulb.

I took some pictures of it so you can see. The directions say that the roots take 2 weeks to develop, then in 6-8 weeks it’ll bloom. Then, the flowers are said to last 2-3 weeks.

Perfect timing.

That’ll put it blooming on the year anniversary when I lost my momma. She passed away March 26, 2022 at 11:11 pm. It’s already making a hard day better. In March!!! ❤️

Here’s to flowers and friends and things that show up and work out when we aren’t even looking for them. I’ll take those sparkles- now and in 3 months!

Thank for being here!

Jessica

gift from my friend
bulb and growing medium
instructions
planted

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS- PHOTOS TAKEN BY ME- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Dancing the Day Away

My grandma Wilma kept daily journals for years. In them is just regular ol’ stuff. Things they did, calls they got. I used to do that when my kiddo was little, so he could read it when he grows up.

I think I’m going to start doing that again. Here’s some things I’m going to put in it about yesterday, Christmas Day:

  • 80’s music coming from the kitchen
  • magic tricks
  • my husband making homemade gumbo
  • Santa
  • white Christmas
  • talking to my dad
  • ice sparkling on the swimming pool
  • staying up til 2 am reading Christmas books Christmas Eve
  • homemade sugar cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve
  • sunshine
  • messages from loved ones
  • the Christmas Vacation movie- where Clark goes down the sledding hill a zillion miles an hour, so funny
  • tears over my momma because she is missed
  • the cats walking around on the frozen swimming pool
  • listening to vinyl records on the suitcase record player after we opened presents
  • dancing in the living room to Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Fleetwood Mac, AC/DC, Leo Sayer, and a song my momma LOVED- Funky Town
  • playing games
  • working on a puzzle
  • laughter splashed all over the day
  • hanging out
  • my counting of blessings

Sounds like a wonderful journal entry and some great memory makers. Especially those silly cats, ha ha. My favorite parts were the gathering of gifts, magic tricks, laughing, and dancing.

My momma lovedddddddddd dancing. Years ago, we nicknamed her kitchen, “Diane’s Dance Hall.” It was surely fitting that we danced our day away, too.

Merry the-day-after- Christmas. Hope your holiday was what you hoped it’d be.

Jessica

Funky Town Christmas tunes

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS- PHOTO TAKEN BY ME- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Angels at Christmas

My heart is with you at Christmas.

Hope you have whatever kind of holiday it is that you need. Sometimes they look different for us all.

Sharing some angels today.

my momma gave me this angel years ago
angel from my friend Kristie
tiny angel on my tree
our tree topper- my husband gave me this angel in 1995
angel ornament from my momma
angel from my dad
past gifts from my friend Kristie
a gift from my momma years ago
angel in my china cabinet
angel from my dad
the angel with the harp is from my momma

I just love angels, don’t you? ❤️

Thanks for being here this year. All your likes, reads, and comments really do mean so very much. As my friend, SanDee says, ‘heart on sleeve.’ It’s been a very heart on sleevy year for me.

Your kindnesses and plain ol’ flat out support have been more than appreciated. They’ve been read, listened to, sat on, absorbed, and are becoming part of an ever growing strength.

Love how we all learn from each other, don’t you?

Merry Christmas.

Jessica

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS- ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY ME-ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

On Vulnerability

Nine Christmas Eve’s ago, my cousin’s mom suddenly passed away, leaving us all shocked and devastated. In the nine years since, I have paid attention to how she has navigated the loss of her beloved momma.

Although I didn’t quite understand her loss, I tried to be there for her. One thing that I noticed was that she didn’t stuff the loss down to deal with it later. In my eyes, she bravely stepped right into the loss of “holy sh*t, I’ve lost my mom, what am I going to do?”

I don’t know about you, but when a friend or relative loses their mom/ parent, I pay attention. There are lessons that live in someone else’s experiences. I hadn’t been IN her shoes, but when she talked about her days that came with her loss, I listened.

I still do.

A couple weeks ago, she said something monumental to me. It was about her view of grief. She’s nine years in, to mom loss.

I’m nine months in.

Her words were soothing and healing, instantly.

INSTANTLY

I’ve tried to write about it for two weeks. I’ve typed, backspaced, typed, backspaced. Words jumbled up. Couldn’t get them out in the way that I wanted.

Why?

Well, not everyone understands the roads we are on.

Some do. But, everyone?

No, not really.

Writing about loss and vulnerability is sooooooooooo hard. It’s somewhat edgy. Talk about it a little and it’s acceptable. Talk about it a lot and it’s ‘you’re grieving too much.’

Vulnerability is like a coat that nobody wants to put on. A hundred and fifty degrees below zero and there’s a coat of vulnerability laying there? Forget it, I’ll freeze.

With vulnerabilities come shame. Being nine months into mom/parent loss, I can see why people don’t talk about losses.

Grief isn’t discussed much. Sure, people throw out lines of “take your time”, “everyone grieves in their own way”, “deal with it however you need to’ while at the same moment, there seems to be an invisible time limit on when someone’s grief is enough and they should just move on or that there’s some particular way to get through it.

Twice this week, I’ve felt judged about my mom loss. That I’m not doing it right or I’m taking too long. If I just move on, my holidays won’t be hard.

Grief with stipulations…

Writing about the last nine months has been a gift, a privilege, and a heartache all at once. I write because I know that I am not the only one dealing with loss.

My hope is that if someone somewhere reads my words, that maybe they’ll find a smidgen of comfort or something that makes them feel a tiny bit better.

You know?

Loss with stipulations?

It does not work for someone like me, who is in it.

Stipulations only add to an already overflowing plate.

And, hey, I get it.

People mean well. Nobody wants anybody to be sad. I’ve said similar things to people myself to try to help them feel better fast.

Now I see that it really doesn’t work. It probably just pushed them away…

Yesterday, I cried most of the day over feeling like my grief is taking too long and that I’m not doing it right,

Most. Of. The. Day.

It was prompted by the phrase: ‘ohhhhhhh, you’re not doing very well, are you?’

Ouch.

Very well compared to what? That started kicking up self doubt like you wouldn’t believe.

What I’m getting at here, is that being open about how momma loss feels is super tricky. Do I have to talk about it? Not really. Would grieving quietly be better? Safer? Perhaps.

Hmm… trade vulnerability for quiet healing?

Maybe I should…

On the other hand, look at this space that sharing my journey has created here!!!

It includes things like:

  • being able to share similar stories
  • real honest to goodness compassion showing up
  • a place to talk about sad days, sudden tears, and hard moments
  • connecting to others who are in loss too
  • learning from each other
  • stumbling around in how to write after being so open
  • being transparent and being met with kindness and support
  • opening doors to conversations about parent loss
  • peeling off layers of crusted up, protective hearts (including mine) to let some things out and in
  • lessons shared
  • hugs sent
  • tossing old stories of time schedules in grief to the curb
  • opening the heart for new ideas instead

I think I’ll just stick to what I’ve been doing. Sharing. Because if I cry for a day, I cry for a day. The best I can tell, putting myself out there is making me stronger, too.

Thanks for being here and for reading.

Big hugs,

Jessica

this photo is for SanDee

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS- PHOTO TAKEN BY ME-ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Her Holiday

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about how I’ve got nothin’.

To write, that is.

Same today.

I know you all know that I had a catastrophic momma loss this year and have literally been one-step-at-a-timing through the days. I’ve gotta tell ya, this first Christmas season without her is rough.

I’m going to try something new: write a poem right this second and see if any words accumulate on the page. If not, this goes to Drafts. If so, we’ll see what it says.

Here goes:

Her Holiday by Jessica 12/18/22

‘Saturdays tick by

the calendar pages flipping so quickly that my eyes can barely keep up.

I saw her in March

it’s now December.

The wind blows days around like glittered snow in the afternoon sun, beautiful but fleeting.

Christmas approaches without her

heart aches

tears run

missing her like crazy.

She LOVED Christmas

had boxes of decorations, a brilliant tree, lights on outside things.

She adored Christmas shopping

the hand picking out of gifts for those she loved

even when a walker had to accompany her to the stores

nothing stood in her way at Christmas.

Seven days

is all that stands between

me and my first Christmas without her.

Ouch how that hurts.

Surreal

but real.

I told her we’d miss her every day

I was correct

we do.‘

Hmm…

I find myself asking ‘who will read such a thing?’

I mean, sadness at Christmas? Come on!

Part of me wants to backspace it out like I’ve done on every post I’ve tried to write since the 9th.

Maybe this time I won’t. Maybe ‘poem right this second’ worked. Maybe my writing is unblocked. ❤️ Now that would be something!

Thank for reading.

Jessica

an ornament my momma decorated my house with once

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS- PHOTO TAKEN BY ME- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Birthday Love

Well, there’s about fifteen minutes left of this first birthday without my momma. It was a spotty-teary-day, with the biggest amount that came this morning.

This afternoon, we shopped for bowling shoes. Found a pair and two bowling ball bags, so that was nice. We had our Birthday Bowl-a-thon at two different bowling alleys. It was very fun.

Birthday dinner took us back to the restaurant I wrote about a couple of times in the past several months. One post was about crying at the table. The other was about crying and smiling when a Stevie Nicks song came on while there.

Tonight I did quite well at our table. That is, until an old beloved Christmas hymn came over the speakers.

The part of a song that got me all choked up this time?

“Sleep in heavenly peace.”

Cue the waterworks…

Gratitude of my day of birth:

  • that I had a momma who loved me
  • that even though today was hard, I made it
  • being with my son and husband
  • hearing from my dad and siblings
  • getting texts from friends
  • two delicious meals out in one day
  • candles, cupcakes, and party decor
  • nice people who bowled next to us
  • the five friends who remembered me on social media today
  • the pre-birthday blogging wishes I got- thank you
  • I appreciate all the birthday love

Thank you for reading.

Jessica

our birthday cupcakes

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