Struggle till' Dawn

Dwell not upon thy weariness, thy strength shall be according to the measure of thy desire.

Arab Proverb

*Yesterday morning I was abruptly awakened by prodding from none other than Cody, with my sweater stretched out in his hands, he says "Get your camera, you have to see this sky!". I groggily wanderer over to the window and lifted the panel to behold the most commanding sky that called to be captured, if there's nothing to cause an unmotivated soul to get their butt in gear it would definitely be a sunrise as grandiose as the one you see above. I know, it's not the best photo you've seen from me but I could care less about that. I could have trekked over the brush separating our yard from the neighbors but I didn't want to!! I've noticed other morning skies from my bathroom window while getting ready for work, but until yesterday I never felt compelled to actually make the effort to digitally record a Charlie Hollar Sunrise. Maybe this is my opportunity to wake up a little earlier in the mornings to gather more sunrise photos such as this............

Burning Day

Racing to reach a spot so that we could capture this amazing sunset I was worried that it would become another surpassed interchange to the evening. I love sunsets like nothing else in this world, they are so stunning and marvelous words can't even begin to describe the shear beauty they represent. On our way home from the cemetery we watched the sky morph from one color to the next and were intent on finding a spot that would allow us to capture the essence of an end to a great day. Sometimes I miss being by the water..........

Tonight Cody and I went to one of the last showings at the $2.00 theater, cheap as I am we may never see a movie on the big screen again! 3:10 to Yuma is a movie I've been wanting to see since if first debuted, a) because Christian Bale is my most favorite male actor EVER and b) Because it was a western style flick. If there is one thing you would never guess about me, it would be my affinity for John Wayne films, hence my partiality to westerns in general! I heard someone saying that they thought 3:10 to Yuma was on the same level as Tombstone, and to a certain degree I concur. This movie doesn't have the star studded cast that Tombstone was given but the story was what did it for me. The ending wasn't such a surprise but it was very different from the norm - I liked it a lot! I highly recommend seeing this movie for yourself; action packed from beginning to end. Unfortunately we did miss the first 5 minutes or so.................................

Emblem of Innocence

People often say that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder,' and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look.

Flight of the Soul

“May God grant you always...A sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you, a sheltering Angel so nothing can harm you. Laughter to cheer you. Faithful friends near you. And whenever you pray, Heaven to hear you.”

Post Processing

So, I've been lounging most of the day and taking some time to tinker with my new laptop. It was nice hanging out in bed this morning whilst having the ability to try out my new program on some photos I've been dying to manipulate. The above photo is from the Stone Mountain Set, if you have seen the original then you know how dramatically this photo has changed. Personally, I think it looks pretty awesome this way, although the original had a completely different appeal since it was complimented with a brilliant blue sky. As my friend "B" pointed out I've always been somewhat of a purist when it comes to my photography, meaning I never really spend a whole lot of time altering my photos since I generally like them the way that they are. Now this photo reveals to me that a little post-processing never hurt anybody.
Let me know what you think, which one do you like better?! Click on the link above to see the original.

~ Home Bittersweet Home ~

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.

John Howard Payne (1791 - 1852)

It may be tough for others to hear the truth about where my heart lies but it can never truly eclipse a place that no matter what will always remain my home. I miss each and every one of you more than you could possibly know and although I am not physically present just know that my essence remains...........until next.

Well, we made it to Jacksonville and back in one piece, thankfully. It was a nice visit and lucky for us not very hectic. I enjoyed staying at my Mom's house this time so that I could get in some quality time with her this visit, Ju-Ju also stayed over for the same reason. On Saturday we stayed at Mom's and didn't go anywhere at all which was truly welcomed since our visits usually consist of go go go! Thanksgiving day was a wonderful treat, I enjoyed seeing everyone greatly. I set up my camera on it's tripod and took more photos than most were willing to pose for, although posing wasn't exactly what I wanted. I relished the opportunity to get some candid shots of my family, it's not very often I get willing subjects that allow me to do this. Then again maybe because it's usually just me and Cody. I'm happy that I was thinking in advance when I scheduled to have today off as I'm very wore out from the drive and the rain which has set in is definitely not helping matters so today I plan to take it easy. More to come........

News to me................

I just recently found out that I was selected as the Featured Stream of the Week with one of my Flickr Groups. I truly appreciate the recognition and am thrilled that I was thought of enough to be nominated for such, thank you so much for the positive feedback!
Check out my Flickr Photostream here.

And Away We Go..........................

So, I'm not exactly sure whether I'll be able to do updates to the blog while I am gone, although I do not plan to leave this town without my new laptop in tow I tell you that!! UPS shows that it is to be delivered today, but yesterday our quirky UPS guy didn't come until 3pm. Heather (my co-worker) planted the seed that I was waiting for it so who knows maybe I'll get it earlier. Either way I won't stress over it like I would have this time last year. Speaking of, this photo was also taken on Thanksgiving last year, I think it was pretty much our first couple's photo. This tells me that we have been together for well over a year now, in spite of that we don't actually know exactly when our true Anniversary is?! I mean what kind of couple are we, um, the kind who don't count the days I suppose! I do on the other hand keep pretty immaculate records on my day to day activities (some would call me anal) so I could in theory look into my 2006 planner to pin-point the date we got together. I have actually done so before but have since forgotten, go figure! I think for us it's better that way.............

* I sincerely hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving Day Holiday, and you fill your bellies guilt-free with all the trimmings. I'm going to do my best in gaining 5lbs. while I am off for the next five days!!!

Is that a Maki roll or are you just happy to Sashimi?!?!

I'm hoping that while I am back home we can get yet another sushi fix! These photos are from last years visit when we stopped off for some lunch at what used to be my favorite place to eat. The last time Cody and I did sushi we sort of went overboard celebrating his new job, but honestly how can you not when it comes to that stuff. It's awesome! It nearly turned my whole world upside down when I tried it with raw fish for the first time as I was a vegetarian when I tried my first (veggie) roll. Ever since then I've been completely hooked and I get a hankering every now and then which consumes me until the desire is satisfied. Yummy goodness that sushi is..............

*So, the time is getting closer and for some reason I am finding myself a little nervous even. This is pretty weird since I'm just going back home to see family and friends. I've changed a lot in the past year and I suppose it's hard to relive what I have left behind at times. I wouldn't say that I moved to run away from anything, it was just a matter of opportunity if you ask me, and suffice it to say it all worked out better than I initially imagined. It hasn't been all peaches and cream, believe me I've dealt with my fair share of adversities since being here, and yet the world still revolves. In a sense I'm stronger and am better prepared to face these challenges now because of what I have been through. What was important to me then makes no difference to me now..............I am a lot more fulfilled being here amongst what I have come to love, the mountains, traveling, nature, photography, and most importantly MYSELF - I have come a very long way!

My He-Art................

© 2006 J.E.M.

I can't even begin to communicate how much I miss those eyes. I wish so badly that I could see him more often than I do but I know that it has been my choice to be so far away and that's something I have had to come to terms with. I think about my heart a lot and I wonder if he thinks about me too. I am missing out on so much while I am here and he is there. I'm slacking on my Auntie duties - I know. I will have very little time to make up for it while I am back home since I won't be there for very long but I plan to make the best of it. Ju-Ju I can't wait to see you!

© 2006 J.E.M.

*If you haven't noticed these pictures were taken last year during Thanksgiving back in Jacksonville. Cody and I decided not to go anywhere this past weekend so I don't have any new photos to show you. I figured that what I have ahead will be more than adequate to satisfy my inherent need to take copious amounts of pictures. Till' then just enjoy last years photo.....

Short Week...................

On one hand I'm ecstatic that this is going to be a short week for me but on the other hand I am not looking forward to the 8 hour drive back home on Wednesday. Since my treatment on Thursday I have not been in as much pain but I have traded that for soreness which pretty much translates to pain. Hopefully Cody will do the bulk of the driving although unlike heading to Atlanta I will try my best not to fall asleep on him during the drive. I'm looking forward to seeing my family as it's been since last Thanksgiving that we visited Jacksonville. The above shot is from the pier which overlooks the park directly across the street from Uncle Gene's house. He lives right on the river pretty much and it's become customary for us to venture over once our bellies are laded with Thanksgiving day goodness. I am so looking forward to stuffing my face with ham, deviled eggs, sweet potato souffl'e, and everything else that's making my mouth water right now as I think about it. Hopefully the day will also lend some ideas for Christmas gifts for those I have yet to buy for. My head start on Christmas shopping this year has only gotten a total of four people out of the way, I guess that's better than nothing!
Great news I won my new laptop yesterday!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've been going back and forth on this for some time now and I finally decided that a laptop is what I truly need. I can't stay on the computer long once I get home from work since after all I've already been sitting at a desk all day long. All I get done usually are my daily blogs and most of the time I need to have it planned out beforehand so I can get it done as quickly as possible. With this laptop I will be able to comfortably do my thing on the couch without paying dire consequences later. I know with a laptop it poses other problems i.e. looking down for long periods of time, although I'm going to try my best to take preventative measures to avoid these issues. I'm so excited, now only if it came before I left on Wed.............but that would be a miracle!


*The first snow of the season graced our presence today, it was highly unexpected; although that may be because I fail to check the weather like I used to?!?! Snow is perhaps one of the most mesmerizing sights I have witnessed in my life. For so long I was deprived the experience of seasons while I lived in Florida; this will be my 3rd winter and I'm looking forward to it. I'm excited that we now live near the greenway trail so maybe this year I will get some good winter shots without having to drive anywhere when there is a heavy snow. Ah, but there's the question of motivation again!! I am thankful that we no longer live at the top of that treacherous hill any longer.
Acupuncture: This appointment was very different from the last two I had. This week my pain levels have been abnormally high, as a result they decided to place more focus on the actual pain instead of the heat, FINALLY! This time I received a total of 14 needles, sounds painful, huh? It may seem scary but it's not. As I laid there on my stomach and attempted to relax I was so tense it took me a while to settle into the treatment. Once I did though I sank into the table and just started to melt - it felt really good to slow down. Quieting my mind is another hard part while I'm lying there; I try to eradicate any negative thoughts that wiggle their way into my head during what is supposed to be a relaxation period. After my time was up and the needles were dislodged I sat up after a moment and was relieved by the fact that afterwards I felt lighter. My shoulders are a little tender but I sincerely hope that I get some extended relief as well as some much needed sleep. I won't have another appointment until after Thanksgiving, until then I will try my best to remain calm and collected.

Tory's Den

The photo above was taken inside a 20 foot cave, legends say that it served as a hideout for British Loyalists during the American Revolutionary War!
I could not get a good shot of it from the outside because of how invasive the sun was at that particular time of day, and we were in a hurry at this point to get to the next trail after seeing the sights so I didn't dare take out the tripod. Now, the picture below of Tory's Falls is a prime example of how starved we are of rain at this time. No where near as photogenic as Lower Cascades Falls as shown in the previous post, although that too was not as robust with rushing water as I would have liked to have seen. Tory's Falls was pretty sad really, but I still decided to share the bad along with what I profess to be good.

I'm beginning to see that I am missing the boat in one fundamental area of photography, LIGHTING. I attribute it to the fact that we enjoy sleeping in on the weekends and I can't imagine dragging myself out of bed at the crack of dawn on a Saturday or Sunday to get the job done. I know my level of ambition is no where near those who take the astonishing pictures I wish I was motivated and dedicated enough to capture myself. I'm sure that I will come around soon enough but until then I won't let it bother me.

Lower Cascades Falls

In a span of just 3 hours Cody and I managed to squeeze in an entire days worth of outdoor activities. For starters the plan was to leave no later than 10:00 but we got sidetracked of course and didn't end up leaving until 11:30, and as I mentioned in a previous post it took us 2 hours total to get there. Once we got into the park we were hoping to find some food available but much to our dismay there was no food in sight. After speaking with the most unhelpful visitor center attendant ever we finally got it out of her that there was a restaurant just 5 minutes away, knowing that there were copious amounts of hiking to be done it was imperative to get some food beforehand. Thankfully, we found a little diner which screamed the fact that it was a place where locals frequented. After filling our empty bellies and studying the trail map we were headed back to Hanging Rock State Park. The first trail we took was to Lower Cascades Fall which was the waterfall I originally spotted in a photography book. I'm sure Cody got sick of me saying how cool it was that we were actually there in the flesh, finally. This by far was the most brilliant waterfall we encountered out of the four we visited while at the park. I was definitely pleased that we chose to see that one first so we weren't rushed; I was able to take my time and as a result fired off about 20 frames. I know that this photo can not succeed in portraying how incredible this little alcove really was but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.*In the very recent past you would have had to maneuver a steep and somewhat rugged climb down but they have since completed a project which allows just about everyone to gain access with little to no problems. It starts out with a wooden boardwalk complete with stairs which make the descent a whole lot more gradual than it would be otherwise, and turns into stairs composed of rocks as you see above.

Hanging Rock State Park

You may ask and/or wonder, "Why do they always go to State Parks?". Well, I have thought about this from time to time and the answer I come up with is that these are places in which you can obtain the most information on with just a simple search; and the fact that this alone makes it so much easier to up and plan a last minute excursion is what appeals to me most. This waterfall you see behind Cody and myself is or was just a picture I saw in a book a week or so ago. As I glanced through the pages I came across this place and said " I want to see that!", and if you don't realize how fulfilling something so seemingly insignificant can be I suggest you try it sometime. I often check out books and peak into visitor guides to find out about these places that otherwise would go unexplored. It thrills me to no end to see for myself something that was merely a photograph or description in a book or magazine. I know right now I'm just talking small potatoes since these places are so close to home, but this people is exactly why it's so special to me. I know that I can not got to Las Vegas or where ever all throughout the year so instead I satiate my need to travel by exploring that which is right outside our door. Okay, well, I know 2 hours aways is not just outside our door but you get the gist of it, right? I know I sound like a broken record when I talk about the mountains but these sights never cease to amaze me, everything is always so beautiful and I know how lucky I am to live in such a magnificently fascinating venue, believe me. I would do it no justice if I chose to sit at home all the time! I revel in the opportunity I have to share these places with you and I am also thankful that I have someone like Cody to readily have these experiences with, I truly am a lucky girl!

*More waterfalls to come so be sure and check back!!

Captivating Encounter

“I didn't ask for it to be over, but then again, I never asked for it to begin. For that's the way it is with life, as some of the most beautiful days come completely by chance. But even the most beautiful days eventually have their sunsets.”

Stone Mountain Falls

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”

~ John Burroughs

*Good new: Cody went to work today after about 3 weeks of not being on the job. I'm going to miss my stay-at-home boyfriend! Today, as well as the next week will serve as somewhat of a trial period to see how it works out. Our roommate Steve is the one who found the job for him doing trim work, on the plus side, if this works out he will be making more than before and he will be the envy of all who must work outdoors in the frigid winter months. Please keep your fingers crossed that he will be a good fit with the new crew.
Other news: I forgot to tell everyone about my Acupuncture last week, sorry. It went pretty well, was weird though. According to the lady I am carrying a lot of heat around my neck and shoulders which is why my muscles and skin are constantly inflamed. So, they worked out a treatment to help with that, they put about 10 needles in my hands and feet (no neck or back) to try and release some of the heat. Since Friday I’ve noticed a difference as far as my skin goes, the inflammation has significantly gone down! I have another treatment today and maybe then they will proceed to work on my neck and back this time. The cost is on a sliding scale based on your income, and I only had to pay $15 for the treatment!!

Starts with a Seed

A wise man once said, "Lance Armstrong wasn't winning Tour de France on his tricycle!", and as I couldn't stop laughing hysterically when Cody said this something about that statement rang so true in my mind. What he was trying to tell me was basically that everything comes in time, and essentially we must take baby steps to reach the status of ones who put their heart and soul into something and alas conquered. True, sometimes it comes easier for some while others struggle to accomplish such feats. In one day I can be encouraged and discouraged just as easily and in equal amounts. I see things that compel me to create but then I will also see some things that makes me wonder whether or not what I have to give will be as widely accepted as I hope. And when I'm sifting through the seas of the many other artist amongst us I can't shake the feeling of intimidation I have about putting myself out there like them. It seems as though it's a constant battle trying to convince myself that this is where I take that leap of faith and hope for the best. It's all a matter of perception, and yes, there will be those that like my work, and there will be those that don't. Plain and Simple..........but not really.

Orange Blaze.................

Achieving the things that are important to me can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. I have been in this mode where ideas and projects are abundant. For me it is hard to pour everything I have into something that I have yet to determine what the outcome may be. Being scared of the unknown is something that has held me back quite a bit in my life, but I have done my best to shed the habit of not having enough faith in all that I am and all that I have to give. As time goes by I let go a little more and I worry a little less. I always want things to happen a lot faster than they usually do and as a result my patience wears thin. On the other hand I know these things take time and I understand our paths are not always ones of least resistance, and where I am today is not where I thought I would be had you asked me 4 years ago. This goes to show exactly how much and how often we deviate from our paths. That brings up another point, are we deviating from our paths or is that precisely where we are meant to be? I suppose I agree with that statement a little more than the previous one. I have always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and it's that adage I have referred to on many occasions to get me through some very trying times. Even if at the moment I was telling myself "Everything happens for a reason" and I didn't necessarily trust it at the time I still knew deep down that it is what was true. Now I am at a crossroad, ready to pursue my next path as I desperately try to decide which way to go so that I may realize these dreams that seem so far out of reach. As I am unsure of what each may bring I will simply do my best to keep my dreams alive...................


It's the Journey that's Important
by John McLeod

Life, sometimes so wearying
Is worth its weight in gold
The experience of traveling
Lends a wisdom that is old
Beyond our 'living memory'
A softly spoken prayer:
"It's the journey that's important,
Not the getting there!"

Ins and outs and ups and downs
Life's road meanders aimlessly?
Or so it seems, but somehow
Leads us where we need to be,And being simply human
We oft question and compare....
"Is the journey so important
Or the getting there?"

And thus it's always been
That question pondered down the ages
By simple men with simple ways
To wise and ancient sages....
How sweet then, quietly knowing
Reaching destination fair:
"It's the journey that's important,
Not the getting there!"

Stone Mountain State Park

A shock to me as well as Cody but things got a little out of hand on Saturday morning and the days events didn't go exactly the way we planned. I attest that how I chose to handle the situation was probably not the best and I see that now; I realized that not to long after it happened but when you're in too deep it's hard to turn back. So, since I've built you up I'll just tell you what happened - we went to the dump and once we left we decided to go back to the house to drop off a mower we picked up and so that I could get some Aleve. Instead of going left, he went right which made the trip home much longer than it rightfully should have been which didn't sit very well with me, as I was extremely irritable at that point. By the time we got home I was fuming and in no mood to hang out with Cody, whom is usually always my most favorite person in the world. I reacted instead of allowing myself time to calm down and subsequently left Cody to stay home while I went to Stone Mountain State Park alone. I was truly lost without my sidekick I quickly learned, I mean literally - I got lost! hahaha The trail I took was confusing at times but it was still a nice day although it would have been much better had my cohort been in tow. And to give you a clue as to how foreign it was for me to be alone on the trail, I would look back as if Cody were behind me at times then I realized he wasn't there like he normally is. I felt bad about the whole thing, I told him that was the old Jessica taking over. The next morning we were able to discuss the situation, convey our feelings rationally (as irrational as the other thought they may have been), and even laughed about it afterward. Lessons learned, I daresay that was probably the biggest and worst misunderstanding we've had during the course of our relationship, and if that's the case - I think we're doing pretty good.
*Sorry babe, we'll go back to Stone Mountain together :)

Bittersweet Placidity

This is another photo I took this past weekend on Sunday while we walked around Bass Lake. I just can't wait for this weekend to finally be here, one more day. Tomorrow afternoon I have my very first visit for Acupuncture; the appointment wasn't supposed to be until next Friday but I asked to be on a waiting list just in case of a cancellation and luckily I was first in line. I'm sort of nervous; I tend to get upset when I start talking to someone new about my current condition but I'm sure that I will be fine. The picture below is one I took of the house the Saturday morning on our way to Bays Mountain Park. The house looked so great with the tree complimenting it with that bright yellow frame. That was the morning after our five days of non-stop rain, it was a beautiful day!