Sometimes we look at sights in nature but don't really see. While hiking in the woods the other day, it became a realization that we need to open our heart and eyes to see the beauty of the simple things in nature with each season. There is so much order and purpose in His creation. God has given us awesome beauty in this world to see and enjoy... if we would but stop to see and feel it. Join us as this blog is about stopping to see the real beauty around us...to touch and feel it... "Through the Lens".

Our Friends

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Choosing a Path


Being in an RV makes it easier to go to National Forests, State Parks or even National Parks.  Once in those areas, we have many opportunities to seek paths that will take us to specific destinations or to even start down the path not knowing where it would lead.  Exploring different paths is a great way to see things you may never have seen if you don't explore.

      


                           



We have all taken paths that lead us to magnificent views or awesome sights and then, I would imagine, we have all taken paths that led us to some dangerous situations or places we didn’t want to be.

        


Many of the paths that we take are man made while others are just natural.   It doesn’t matter because both can be pleasing to the eye.
                         

When we get to our destination, we are speechless at the beauty or awesomeness we see.   Then there are some paths that can be a bit rough or not very traveled but still are interesting and worthy of exploration.
                            


I would also imagine that we all have, at some time, taken the wrong path creating problems for ourselves.  The beauty of exploration is that we can always find our way back to the right path.  
                          


We wish you many happy moments on the paths that you take and may you find lots of beauty and joy in your explorations.  
                          

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.  Seek His will in all you do and He will show you which path to take.

Psalms 37:23-24

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Calm Life...

"It's okay to be happy with a calm life.". I read these words on a facebook site the other day.   I believe they were written by Sue Fitzmaurice.  I would not want to use someone's quote without giving them credit.  Anyway, it got me to think a little about a calm life.  What exactly is a calm life, what does it look like, how do I get it??


As some of you already know, this is our second time to enter the full-time lifestyle.   This time came differently than last time.  We actually thought we had a calm life.  I mean sitting on the front porch, visiting a certain restaurant for lunch nearly every day just to get out and actually have something to do and interact with people.....isn't that calm?  Or maybe that is boring???  All I know is Mike and I both felt like something was missing...we just couldn't put our finger on it.

Everyone knows it's good to stay active, be busy and involved in something.....we weren't.  We just did the same things over and over all the time and being restless inside.   One day we both asked ourselves, "why don't we full-time again?".  Can we do this!  Can we go back?  Why not?  We weren't giving up much by staying.   So after much praying....we listed our house. Forty-eight hours later we had our asking price by way of a cash sale.

This was our motorhome when we full-timed our first time
We didn't want a large motorhome this time,  Mike had a situation with his left eye that has left him legally blind in that eye.  His depth perception is not great and is definitely not good for driving a motorhome.   We decided to truly simplify our lives and travel in a smaller RV that we could both drive, park in any spot we desired and tow without investing in a very large truck.
This is what we wanted in our next RV.  We want to explore national parks, national forest and even do some off the grid type camping.  Our style had changed and what we wanted from the lifestyle had changed.  That's when we discovered the double hull molded fiberglass trailer called Oliver.  We had ours built equipped with every option available which included 320 watt solar with a 2000 watt Xantrex inverter....yes, we can go off grid now.  The tanks are enclosed and with dual pane windows we are four season.
             
This is the bottom hull with holding tanks.  The inside  hull is placed on top of this.

The inside floor hull...

Our 23.5 ft. Oliver Legacy Elite ll
We can't move around quite as much as many can or as much as we would like.  Since I had an encounter with cancer I have to see my doctor every three months for two years.  This March 14th marks one year.  After two years we become a little freer and I only see the doctor every six months.  This means our travels will be spaced between doctor visits.  That's ok because, you see, we aren't just sitting on the front porch any longer.


Peace comes from the inward, not circumstances
I've discovered that calm is not necessarily the outward circumstances, calm is inside.        

         
We walk in the campground wherever we are and enjoy the beauty God created.  We talk to the people we meet along the way and every now and then we still eat out for lunch.  Old habits are hard to break.  We have even started to capture some of these moments "through the lens."  We sit outside and read and spend quiet time in the Word with God and enjoy a late night fire in the firepit.

I would say our lives are calm but most importantly WE are calm.

Be still and know that I am God...Psalm 46:10
It certainly feels good to be home.  Thank you for joining us on this journey called life and we look forward to following your journeys.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

A Sunny Day Outing

Last week Mike and I found an opening in all the rain we've been having and decided to check out an area nearby on Lake Martin.

We left the campground and traveled northwest for about 45 minutes to Alexander City, Alabama.  This is where Windcreek State Park is located.... sitting right on the banks of Lake Martin.

Lake Martin is located in Tallapoosa, Elmore and Coosa counties in Alabama.  It is a 44,000 acre lake with over 750 miles of wooded shoreline.
It is one of the largest man made lakes in the U.S.   A noted recreation area that sees swimming, boating, camping and lots of nature.  The shores are lined with, not only a state park, but many beautiful homes.
                           

This is taken from an rv site



It will take another trip there to be able to see all that it has to offer.                        

Our purpose for this trip was not only to get out and do something after so many rainy days but to explore the state park campground for a future stay.
                           



Out home base is in Auburn, Alabama at Chewacla State Park where we have full hookups and a monthly rate.   Our son lives in Auburn and it is also very close to our doctors and Mike's physical therapy.   We have been tethered to this area because of this.  I have to see my doctor every 3 months for another year and then I can go every 6 months.  My doctor is located in Lagrange, Georgia.  So we have to be in this area quite often.

Now enters football season!!  Football is very big here in Auburn.   This is the home of Auburn University and the Auburn Tigers.  This year there will be some huge home games.    Two of those being Georgia and Alabama.  We have found out, the hard way, that every campsite is booked and also outrageously priced during football season.  They even raise the price for RV storage during that time.  So we are scoping out alternatives for this time since we want to be nearby for Thanksgiving.   Windcreek is a good possibility.

Windcreek is a huge state park and they offer full hookups and monthly rates November thru February.   It is also a wildlife sanctuary.  We were told there are even some bald eagles nesting in the sanctuary.  Unfortunately, we didn't see them on this trip.

So our trip yielded a nice outing and a great possibility for a November stay.

                       
The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.
Psalm 19: 1

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Early Birthday Present

An early birthday present!!  My birthday is not until March 21st but since spring appears to be making its debut early this year, Mike didn't want me to be without a camera to capture the beauty of the season.                
                           

My old faithful Sony point and shoot was about 8 or 9 years old and I was having trouble getting disk to fit it and getting the pictures off the old disk.  I didn't want a large DSLR mainly because I don't know much about them and I didn't want to carry a lot of extra "stuff" every time I wanted to take pictures.  So for the past several weeks we have been looking cameras, reading reviews and asking a few bloggers that we read their opinions.

I finally came to the conclusion that a small DSLR would be the best choice.   I chose a Canon SL1.  It is about the same size as my Sony, which was a big plus.  I have two lenses, the 18-55 mm and 75-300mm.  I will learn with these two lenses and probably use the 75-300 the most.  I still don't know a lot about DSLR cameras and terminology such as ISO, aperture and speed but if all else fails I can use the automatic setting.  I do want to learn more about how this camera works and how to make it do what it's designed to do.  But even on automatic I get good clear, crisp pictures with good color.

                          

It feels good to have a camera again!!!

I think he is looking for spring

             
Spring is truly right around the corner
                         

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Rains Stopped, the Sun Came Out and So Did We

We have had a few days of rain and been unable to get out and hike more of the trails here at Chewacla but today the weather cleared and was overcast to partly sunny so we decided to do some exploring.  We began not really knowing where we would end up but that was okay. We decided to head down to the lake and see where that would take us from there.  You could tell there had been a lot of rain because the lake was full and brown in color but very calm.  
We could see a couple people out across the lake fishing and hoping they were having luck, so we decided to take the trail around the lake.
                 



As we walked, there were a few john boats on the shore lines below the cabins that the back end of the boat was full of water from all the rains.  
             
 

Luckily they were pulled far enough up on the shore line as to not being in danger of slipping into the water.  As we rounded the back side of the lake we saw a CCC hiking trail that led away from the lake so we decided to follow that path.  As we walked through the woods, we ventured out into an open area and a field in front of us and up on the hill to the left was a pavilion in the park. 
                            
               
             

             

That open area put us on an old unused paved road, so we followed it.  As we walked down that road and started up a hill, we noticed another open area with several rv’s parked and realized they were being stored there.  Wow, it is amazing what you may see as you explore virgin territory.  We continued up the hill on the road and Gerri noticed a few large hawks flying above us so I snapped a few pics, but did not have my large zoom lens with me. 
                 


Soon they flew into unreachable areas, so we continued up the hill.  As we made it to the top of the hill, we could hear massive waters going over the waterfall down below, so that is where we headed.  Sure enough, we had made a long about hike to the waterfalls.  



After we enjoyed the rushing of the water at the waterfall, we decided to take the trail around the lake to make our way back to our rv since it was clouding up again.  When we got home we sat out for a bit and as we got up, we knew we had made a good hiking trek today as we were sort of tired but it was a good tired.  It was a great day and we enjoyed the exploring.
                     

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Making Our Oliver More Home

We are still in the process of making our little Oliver "home."  One of the things we decided to do was add cushions to the back of our benches.  When we ordered the Oliver, we upgraded the material covering the benches as well as their depth.  We chose 6 inches deep instead of the standard 4 inches.  We also chose brown leather instead of cloth.
We liked our choices but wanted to finish it off with back cushions.  Not only does this add to the finished look but is also more comfortable with good back support.

                   



We contacted, Jason, at Oliver and placed our order about 3 weeks ago.  Yesterday our cushions arrived packed neatly in this huge crate!! I'm not sure what I expected them to arrive in but this was a surprise.
                                   

Mike got busy pulling heavy duty tape and unscrewing the sides.
We had them delivered to our son's apartment so once we unpacked them we had to carry them back to our site at Chewacla.

We placed them in their appropriate spots on the benches and then we stood back and took a look.  Yes, we like them and yes, it makes sitting more comfortable.

                                     

We made a trip to Hobby Lobby and found a few items to decorate and make the Ollie more homey.  We especially like the picture board where we can display pictures of family and travel.  This is nice when space is limited.
       

                                       
                     

Friday, February 17, 2017

Naked Woods

Winter in the woods.  I have always been one of those people that never could find the beauty in nature during the winter months.  You know... everything is drab and grey.  Many trees are without leaves so they appear dead on first glance.  I heard this referred to once as the naked forest.

                   


But under all that plainess there is life waiting to burst forth.  If you look hard enough you can see it.

Notice the red buds on the tree in the right corner



There is a sweet quietness about winter in the woods and in the campground.  You can hear the wind through the pine trees if you are still and listen.  You can hear the chirping of the birds and the playful game of chase the squirrels play.
                               





The woods will be waking up soon.  The tiny buds in the barren trees will swell and burst open producing beautiful leaves and there will be many shades of green everywhere.  The animals will be busy finding places to raise their young.  The sun will be warming things up nicely.

Until then we will be enjoying our walks each morning or evening in the naked woods.

               
Notice the chipmunk on the tree stump


                                     "Come to the woods, for here is rest."    John Muir