First Mother’s Day Without One

I made it through my first Mother’s Day without my mom. Never ever thought those words would be uttered by me. What a strange, difficult process parent loss is.

On March 16, 2022 mom went to her local hospital. Multiple tests results led us on a rollercoaster of fears and emotions. 10 days later, she passed away. Super suddenly. A rip-your-heart-out kind of devastation.

It has been so hard, and hard isn’t even a big enough word. I’ve experienced loss before, but nothing even touches this.

They say the first year of ’firsts’ is the hardest. ‘Firsts’ being holidays and such. There have been several right in a row for us. My parent’s 55th wedding anniversary, Easter, Mother’s Day, and tomorrow is her birthday.

Maybe you’ve already been in similar shoes- if so, my heart goes out to you. Or maybe you don’t know this type of loss-if so, my heart wants to protect you from it, because it’s flat out heartache.

My husband, Little Bit, and I had been planning a mini vacation before mom got sick. We decided to still go. On Mother’s Day, we went to my favorite place in the entire world, Dauphin Island, Alabama.

I’ve got to tell you, it was immensely healing to stand on the white sand, hear and feel the waves coming in, find sea shells, and take a huge walk down the beach.

We ended our island time at a tree that I love more than just about any other tree. It’s a gigantic live oak in the middle of the island.

Each time we go there, I visit it. There is just something about trees, you know?

They survive big stuff sometimes, like wind, hail, and storms. That tree has seen many tropical storms and maybe even some hurricanes, yet it still stands there, branches outstretched and welcoming.

While there, I cried about my momma and asked for strength. Strength for the other upcoming firsts and strength for the missing because honestly, there’s a lot of missing her.

Mother’s Day was a sappy, teary day for me, gratitude filled because I am a mom, and heavy because I don’t have one.

In Biloxi, I got a new t shirt that says, “Saltwater heals everything.” I’m not sure about the everything part, but it certainly made that day a little easier.

I appreciate you reading this, thank you.

Jessica

Beach at Dauphin Island
favorite tree, favorite island

A Good Sunset

I love a good sunset, don’t you? The kind where the sun just holds its space. It’s not in a hurry to put itself to bed quickly, but instead offers a brilliant fading glow.

Last weekend we ventured to a nearby lake. I seemed to be the only one who was interested in stepping into the 30 degree chill to look about.

So, after layering on sweatshirts and a hat, I made my way to a dock, a beach, and up a long set of stairs. Photographically, it was worth a cold nose and toes.

I saw bird footprints in the sand, reflections in puddles, patterns on the steps, and the sun, that glorious sun! A lot of people I know are moon fans. I do love the moon, but my heart belongs with the sun.

We caught the sunset at the perfect time, but instead of me taking the pictures in my usual spot there, I went to the right. And, kept going right, which gave me a new perspective.

The cool part? I was able to try different things, see the sunset in a new-to-me way. It was fun and I love all the pictures I took.

So, here’s to more good sunsets and trying new things. Hope you are doing well! I appreciate you reading.

Jessica

the birds beat me to the beach
love this pattern on the stairs
reflections in the picnic shelter
sunset view
sunset around a tree

Nature on a December Sunday

We’ve had a ton of rain lately. Yesterday, we went down to the river to see how much it had risen. At that time, it was up close to 10 1/2 feet over normal and certainly was not it’s regular glorious, clear color. My husband said it may take a week before the mud makes it way out.

As the trees clumps washed by, I wondered where they would end up. The current was quick. Will we see them again eventually, as we cross river bridges when we head to the state south of us? Interesting things to ponder, as water whizzes by.

After looking at the water for awhile, I found myself wandering about, taking pictures of various things. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything, much less picture wise. Today, I start.

Unmeasured Journeys~ the rising river
Unmeasured Journeys~ a unique leaf
Unmeasured Journeys~ bark and things
Unmeasured Journeys~ river rocks
Unmeasured Journeys~ the river after lots of rain this week

Swim Beach

Yesterday we went to a super cool place called Crowley’s Ridge State Park in Arkansas. It was built by the CCC in the 1930’s.

There is a 31 acre fishing lake and a smaller lake that is so awesome. It’s a swim beach, complete with water slide, steps leading into the lake, and there’s even paddle boat rentals.

We missed the swimming season by about a month and I love summer, but on this early fall day, we had the place to ourselves.

If you’re traveling through Arkansas, north of Jonesboro, Crowley’s Ridge State Park is definitely worth a stop.

Celebration Sunset

I am taking some classes and have been struggling with one particular test. Of course, it was the only thing holding me up in getting my certificate, ha ha.

FINALLY yesterday, I figured that test out!! Woo hoo!!!! Afterwards, we hopped in the truck and headed to the river to see a celebration sunset.

**** Bonus~ on the way home, we saw the moon!

Carnival Rides

I love an old fashioned county fair. We went to one today, over in the southeast corner of Missouri. We saw some exhibits, watched a little barrel racing, got a snow cone, and spent a good chunk of the afternoon in the midway.

PS Don’t let that round Ferris wheel looking thingy fool you– it is fast! We were way up on the top and that thing started rockin’ and rollin’! I actually heard myself say out loud, “It’s ok, look at all the physics that when into building this thing, we’re going to be all right!”

Hilarious.

When I stepped out of the seat, the guy working there asked me if I liked the ride. I said “yes, but I didn’t know it was going to be SO scary.”

And, we both laughed. Loudly.

County fairs. The tail end of summer. What a great way to spend the day, riding carnival rides.

Let’s Wear Kindness Well

Yesterday a fellow blogger, Phoebe, had a post inviting people to share words of encouragement that they use to cheer/lift someone up. I thought that was the most fabulous idea!

Reading the comments was endearing and refreshing. I mean, most days the world is made out to be such a cold and not nice place, you know?

But, here were all these thoughts, eloquently strung together to make anyone feel a little bit better. And, in that sense, it reminds me of nature. Nature brings such a comfort, especially flowers. No wonder flower shops are so busy.

So, today, I thought I’d do sort of a spin off of Phoebe’s idea. In the comments, please feel free to share any and all words of encouragement, praise, comfort, etc to anybody out there that may need it.

I’ll go first:

To whoever needs this today,

You are the sun, you know? Even with all the ‘buts, ands, and howevers’ you are worthy of wonderful things. ❤️

So, please join me! Feel free to offer up your words of grace. Let’s be like the flowers, let’s wear kindness well.

The Archway

If you are anywhere around Exit 275 on I-80 in Nebraska, and you want to see something really cool, stop at the Great Platte River Road Archway museum in Kearney.

On our way from Cheyenne Wyoming to northwest Missouri yesterday, we took I-80 through Nebraska and stopped there. Oh my gosh, you guys, it is amazing!!

The museum chronicles travel history in the area starting with covered wagons, stagecoaches, the Pony Express, and highways.

We each got a ‘personal-type’ museum guide via a device that looks like a tv remote with headphones. The exhibits had numbers on them and you can just point them at ones you want to learn about and press play.

That was my first experience with those and it was really neat. You can move at your own pace, turn the volume up or down, there’s no rush to miss a tour group.

The museum itself is extraordinary with its escalator entrance, the lifelike figures, the detailed murals ceiling high, railroad history, and a great display about the highway system. It ends with a step inside a vintage diner with booths and jukeboxes.

The gift shop is really nice and there’s even an ol’ vintage Coca Cola machine, if you fancy a soda in a glass bottle.

I’m so glad we went! Their website is http://www.archway.org if you’re interested in learning more.

On the Road

We are at a gas station in western Nebraska and when I looked up and saw this on the building, I laughed out loud! You just never know what you’ll see, on the road.

Rainbow

Yesterday, we started our day in Silverthorne, Co, went over Loveland Pass, through several mountain towns, and through Rocky Mountain National Park.

The Park itself was packed!! Cars and people everywhere, which is fine, but it limited the number of parking places, so I didn’t get many photographs.

We did get to stop in Estes Park for some fun family activities at Fun City. On our way out of Estes Park, through Big Thompson Canyon towards Loveland, this beautiful rainbow appeared.