My Big Life Change!

Picture taken by Abby Austin of 1000 Miles on my own two feet.


To transform my life, with God's help of course, one step at a time.

1. Get healthy & honor God with my body

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

2.Become at least 50% sustainable with emphasis on doing our part to take care of God's planet.

3. Live life as an adventure, experiencing new places, things & people.
18 out of 150 bucket list goals accomplished

4. Become debt free & build security for my family, so we can then bless others financially also.

5. Continue to grow closer to God, building My family's faith & sharing the Gospel with those we meet, by using the talents and gifts God has provided us.

6.Continue to make money by creating and sharing my thoughts and beliefs through artistic expression: all the while hoping that my art will impact others. "Holly Kennedy

: All I know is, if you don't figure out this something, you'll just stay ordinary, and it doesn't matter if it's a work of art, or a taco, or a pair of socks! Just create something... new, and there it is, and it's you, out in the world, outside of you, and you can look at it, or hear it, or read it, or feel it... and you know a little more about... you. A little bit more than anyone else does... Does that make any sense at all?" Quote from PS I LOVE YOU

Monday, March 26, 2012

We're Baaaccckkkk!!!!

This is why we left Oklahoma and travelled 2200 + miles across the country. My brother and his wife and his  brand new little baby girl! But the biggest excitement for us was just VACATION!

John and I haven't had a vacation in so long that we almost didn't know what to do! Don't worry it quickly came back to us!

So when we started planning our trip to go see my brother's new baby, we saved some money and started dreaming about what we would do and see along the way.

My worries started piling up along with excitement that we finally got to leave this state for a little bit! Who would keep the dogs, would our apartment be okay, how in the world would Joslyn do in the car for that long of a trip?

Of course, like most worries, many of them were in vein. Thursday night we packed and dropped off the doggies at my sister's house. We got up Friday morning all packed and ready to go get our rental car. Joslyn and I stayed in the car while John rented the vehicle. He splurged a bit and got us an SUV and I was so excited to get to have all that room. The SUV was so nice and really was great on gas. Since we have been Mitsibishi owners for awhile, it was kind of fitting to see if the Endeavor would fit as our next vehicle. It sure is a contender!

So we packed up the SUV and off we went! Our first stop was to see Granny and Pawpaw at their new home in Checotah, OK. They moved out to Checotah for good in December of last year and Joslyn has been missing them so much! So we spent about an hour with them getting caught up on all the recent news. Then hit the road again.
We also wanted to stop and see my mom on this trip but scheduling never worked out.

We tried to make it to Memphis the first night, but fell short about 30 minutes. Joslyn, who had been a gem for most of the trip was getting extremely hard to deal with and was hungry and ready to get out of the car. So we stopped in Forrest City, AR. Whatever you do don't go to this city for vacation. It was really dirty and just not desirable for a stay. John picked a cheap hotel that looked okay from the front, but when we drove around to the back and entered the room we were not happy. Unfortunately, Joslyn was just not going to be able to get in the car again, so we stayed. The floor was wet and the room smelled musty and there were mold spots on the ceiling. The wall paper was peeling up and I was very nervous about the neighborrhood. I was up most of the night, checking for bed bugs and John was up most of the night checking on the car. It wasn't until the next morning, in the daylight that we realized the whole reason the room was awful. In the picture you can see that there was some kind of fire in the room above us and for some reason they didn't feel concerned about the obvious water damage. Not enough to remodel or at least put us in another room. Not like they were full of patrons either. So we learned our lesson, and gave them a really awful review and hit the road.
The second day was a much longer drive then the first, so we got on the road really early, that and we couldn't wait to leave the hotel. So our plan was to make it to Tim's house that night, no matter what we did! We were so excited to see Tennessee! The drive through Tennessee was long but very plesant. We made pit stops and enjoyed our drive through the swampy part of Tenn as well as the Mountain parts. We took a little detour and drove through Nachez State Park and got out and toured their tiny musuem to let Joslyn stretch her legs.

The museum was full of artifacts from the earlier centuries of settlers. We stopped to admire this hand made wheel.
After a much longer drive we stopped for lunch at Loretta Lynn's Restaurant. They had a buffet of down home country food. The food was okay, nothing spectacular, but it was really neat to see the pictures and memorabilia of hers. During the summer months you can tour her ranch and stay at her campground. We didn't have time to check out the campground.
The best part of the drive was the mountains! At the edge of Tennessee and through North Carolina and South Carolina are the smokey mountains. They are so beautiful! I enjoyed every scenic view! I couldn't stop talking about them. The coolest thing I saw was the way there were natural waterfalls next to the highway, plummeting down the rocky cliffs. Just gorgeous!
We arrived around 10:00 our time 11:00 their time. And of course the first thing I had to do was hold my little niece! Isn't she precious! I was memserized by her tinyness and her cuteness. Joslyn kept saying is that my baby Selah? So cute. Joslyn only got jelous once when momma changed Selah's diaper. Otherwise she was very good. We tried not to have daddy hold Selah while Joslyn was awake to make sure that she didn't get jealous.
During our visit, we had a wonderful time reuniting with my family. We really enjoyed every moment catching up with them and getting to see their beautiful house and meet some of their friends. Sunday we all slept in a little bit and Tim made us a big breakfast of French toast with Holla bread and turkey sausage and hashbrowns. I helped him in the kitchen a little and we enjoyed talking about food and spices. After awhile Tim took me to town and we checked out their local grocery stores and I made the purchases for that night's dinner. I made my famous guacamole and chicken enchiladas. I got to accomplish an adventure, which I will blog about later.
The next day was Tim and John's birthday! So us girls let the boys out for a little while and we hung around the house until we went out to dinner that night at one of Tim and Beth's favorite places. I will do a blog post on this restaurant in a few days, because of the spectacular service that was provided at this restaurant. The Sultan House of Kabobs is in Charlotte, NC and is a mediterranean food wonder! Tim and Beth invited some of their closest friends and we all met there. Beth had made carrot cake cupcakes for dessert and we sampled the different foods and enjoyed the good company. It was really neat meeting their friends. They have good taste!
The next day we took some time and took the kiddos to a really nice park in the area. Cherry Hill is a fantastic park, with a huge walking track and a great playground. Joslyn has been having trouble with grass and dirt areas lately. She won't walk in them because she says she doesn't want to get muddy, so it took some conviencing but I finally got her to play in the sand pit, and then we couldn't get her out of it. She found a couple of friends to play with and really enjoyed herself. We took a few photos of Selah while we waited on Joslyn.
She is a doll isn't she?

We really enjoyed our whole time with them and are so very grateful of their hospitality. Every moment spent will be captured in my memory banks for years to come. I really miss my family sometimes and a trip like this makes the time spent together all that more special. Thank you Tim and Beth and Selah for letting us come! Tim started a fire int their fire pit that evening and we toasted the end of our trip with smores and ice cream.

The ride back was just as nice. Joslyn rode in the car that first day back for 12 hours. We would stop for lunch at a place she could play but most of the way she watched her dvd player and would sometimes play with stickers and her books. I could not believe how lucky we got with her and how wonderful she was. Of course when we got out of the car that day we had to let her go unwind, as you see in the video. As a treat for her we got a hotel with an indoor pool and her and daddy went swimming that night. We ordered in pizza and really enjoyed the heck out of that hotel. This one was a Comfort Suites hotel and got many stars in my book!
 We had such a great vacation and I am so glad that we went. I want to especially thank my sister for watching my puppies while we went on vacation. She had trouble with Jinger, but kept them all the same for us! And she even gave them haircuts! Thanks Deb! Thank you friends for your prayers and well wishes for the trip. God is so good! Now it is back to the grindstone!


  1. Thanks for sharing the photos :)
    Blessings Renee

  2. What a great review of your vacation. I had tears in my eyes the whole time because I know how important family time is. And you guys enjoy each other so much. I feel blessed to just read about it.

    I too have been to Loretta Lynns restaurant. I traveled by van with the company of only myself to NY and stopped there. LOVED it. I also had to have a new tire put on the van somewhere close by there and was extremely blessed by the kind people in the area.

    Thanks again for sharing you're trip with us.

    1. Thank you Marcie! I really feel like you guys are family!

  3. What a fun adventure for Joslyn! We have talked about going on a road trip, but Maggie does not like to be in the car very much. She is a great flyer, but not sure how a road trip would go!

  4. Sounds like you had a great trip over all! Congratulations on the new addition the the family also! Your niece is beautiful! Very happy to hear that all went well! (Minus the stay in Forrest City! Yikes! What were they thinking?!)

    1. Thanks Ashley! We are so fond of her! Seriously! Forrest City, needs to rethink their whole city plan!

  5. Aww! She is such a sweet darling! Glad you made it safely! On the other hand, I seriously want to think about camping in the Tennessee mountains!

    1. The smokey mountains are absolutely so beautiful and they even have white water rafting. just another miracle that God made for us to enjoy!

  6. Brown, that sounds like so much fun! Having family close is priceless, and I'm glad you were blessed with a safe trip, and that Selah is a healthy, happy baby :) Sounds like a lot of fun! Looking forward to hearing about your adventure and reading your review of the restaraunt. I can't wait to see the Smokies!

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  8. good for you and your whole family!!