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 touch and feel it... "Through the Lens".

Our Friends

Monday, November 26, 2007

Three Things I Learned From Full-timers

Ok, I know I've learned more than just three things but these are the three I have been thinking about lately.

I think I have bought into the the buzz word of society - to plan for the future, to look ahead and make my long term and short term objectives. The teacher in me is so used to this concept after all we are required to make lesson plans. Those of us waiting to full-time are planning for this future lifestyle. Some are planning on retiring at a certain date, planning to sell their house, planning on what RV they want to purchase. That is what full-timers do don't they? They plan on where they want to travel, what state(s) they want to visit. They plan on when they want to travel, how far and where they want to stop for fuel, lunch or the night. They plan where they might want to workamp and the list goes on. Some full-timers even make an itinerary. Now don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with planning. We certainly need to spend a certain amount of our energies planning but when planning is all we do we are only looking at what we don't currently have. We are looking into a future time but not a current time. Full-timers have taught me to plan well but they didn't stop there they also taught me to live in the moment.

Full-timers live in the moment. They have taught me to look around at where I am at the moment and to explore my environment. They take a walk and hold hands. They might attend a local play or ballgame, shop at a local store, taste the local food and attend a local church service. They might just sit under their awning and sip a cold ice tea and just enjoy their surroundings. They slow down!! It doesn't matter what my future plans might be I need to learn this lesson from my friends. I need to slow down and just enjoy where I am this moment in time.

My full-time friends didn't stop there. They also taught me to look back at the past. Oh I know, society tells you to move forward and never look back. If you never look behind you then you will miss the blessings in your life. It is when you turn around and look at where you have been and the distance your life has covered you realize what a wonderful life you have lived so far. Some things might be hard to revisit, some things hurt deeply, we all have had our share of hard moments but when you look back you realize that you made it, you are a survivor. This is when you really see the grace of God. You find that you might have made your far share of mistakes but for the most part you have been successful at this thing called life. You see the joys and wonderful moments that have defined your life. Full-timers look back! They take pictures and record their journeys in blogs and journals. Have you ever talked to a full-timer? It is not long before they begin to tell you their adventures with great excitement. They tell you where they have been, you know where they are and then they share where they plan to go next. They are excited about all aspects of their life! Isn't it a shame the rest of the world can't feel that same excitement about their life? We all could - those full-timing, those waiting to full-time and those that will never full-time - because we all have been given this wonderful thing called life.

Thank you my friends for your valuable lessons for life! I have made my plans and now will live in the moment till those plans are fullfilled and I will celebrate my past and how it defines who I am. After all it is A Wonderful Life!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mind Games and Reality

In my last post I mentioned that waiting is not one of my favorite things. I don't believe anybody really likes the waiting game. When you are waiting to begin a new lifestyle the waiting begins to get a little weird. One of the journals that I read,, put it best when they said "now the flip flopping begins." Your mind begins to play those little mind games. You begin to ask yourself questions such as, "Is this the right thing to do?" "Do we really want to leave our security blanket and venture out in the world?" "Will I miss my "things" when I can't see them each day?" "What about Stephen?" In my case, I begin to visualize the Ozzie and Harriet kind of existence which is far from reality. Our son is not going to be living in LaGrange, we have no family living here any longer. The closest relatives are in Nashville which is almost 300 miles away. Our son will most likely be living in Nashville upon his graduation in May. We do have some wonderful friends and a super church. The reality is our friends will remain friends. That won't change because our house has wheels. The wheels will enable us to visit these special people whenever we are in the area or feeling homesick. There are wonderful churches everywhere. God speaks to us in different places and locations NOT just one building.
Again, the wheels will enable us to return and visit this special church and the special friends that attend there. This has to be the wonderful advantage to the full-time lifestyle. To go where your heart leads you. To learn about our history, to see and touch the past, to really experience life. The ultimate field trip!!

Will the mind games continue? Will I continue to ask myself those hard questions? Probably. I believe everyone has and does ask those questions whenever they are about to make such a life changing decision. It is how we answer the questions that matter. It is how we answer the questions that determine how we live the rest of our lives. Mike and I want to live fully, we want to experience much and to give back to our world in some way. We want to always thank God for the "freedom 2 roll."

Monday, October 29, 2007


I am not good at waiting! It is a very hard thing to do. You feel like your life is on hold and in fact it actually is on hold. It is hard to know just when to put your house on the market. It is all about timing but the minute you put the sign in your yard the waiting begins. You wait for someone to show the house. You wait for them to finish looking at the house because you have to leave while they look. You wait to hear how they liked the house - or not. Then the wait begins again. In the meantime, you wait to begin this new lifestyle that you have planned and dreamed about. Unfortunately, you wait till the weekend so you might be able to have time to take a short trip in the motorhome. Waiting really demands that you develop patience!

Our hosting position ended October 13th. We had a great time and met many super people. All in all it was a very rewarding experience. When we left the campground we stored our motorhome at Pine Mountain Campground. We had stored our other motorhome there and decided to do it again with our current motorhome. It is a nice, clean campground and most importantly, safe. When we arrived there was not an open spot that we could back into and it was a very busy weekend with most schools being out for fall break. We were told to just park parallel in front of the RVs in storage. We understand full campgrounds and the hassle in moving stored RVs to make room for us so we parked where we were told. The only problem with our spot was the access it had to the road. We both felt a little nervous but decided that it was only temporary and it would be ok. We were mostly concerned about RVs turning the corner too wide and perhaps hitting or scratching it. What we didn't think about were children. I should have since I am a retired teacher but it just didn't cross our minds. When we went to move the motorhome we noticed that it now had a scratch running from the rear all the way to the door! A light, faint scratch just about the height of a child with a stick. We were sick! The good news is that it did not break the skin of the paint and can be buffed out. At least that is what we were told. The campground manager has called an RV service company to come and buff the scratch and wax it out. Now we wait!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Stepping Out

Sunday our son Stephen left to go to Nashville to meet with the public relations firm he will be doing his internship with spring semester and to also interview with another company for possible job opportunities. We had a wonderful evening together Saturday and we began to talk a little about his feelings on these last few months of college and his future. It suddenly occurred to him that he will actually be leaving the college in February. Only about three more months of college life. He looked at us and said, "I am nervous about leaving the college environment but at the same time I am excited about what is ahead."
I thought about what he said for a long time after he left on Sunday. Isn't that how Mike and I feel about full-timing? We are nervous about leaving everything that is familiar to us, a lifestyle that we have lived our entire lives. At the same time we are excited about what is ahead in the full-time lifestyle. I have always believed when one door closes another door opens. It is whats behind the closed door that makes us nervous. I wonder how many people become so scared of the unknown behind that door that they never have the courage to open it? It is easier to just stay in the familiar and never venture out. What joys they might be missing just because of fear.
I taught children for 35 years and the one thing that I always wanted my students to do was believe in themselves and never be afraid to dream big dreams. I even advocated "stepping out of the box" if necessary to achieve your goals. I must have encouraged our son to do this also because he is now stepping out and he is doing it with courage and excitement. Is he nervous? Yes, but it is not stopping him. Are we nervous about full-timing? Yes, but it is not stopping us.
We are stepping out with courage and excitement. What we both know is that what lies behind that door is a wonderful lifetime of adventure.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pine Mountain and the Purple Cow

Pine Mountain, Georgia is not a large place. It really consist of a main street with three stop lights. There is a bank, an IGA grocery store, a couple of gas stops, several churches, a laundry mat and a few places to eat. The main street has some unusual shops and a few antique stores. Then there is the Purple Cow. I just love that name! The building that houses the Purple Cow used to belong to Kimbrough Brothers Hardware/Feed Store. This was a unique place complete with wooden floors and most anything you could think a farmer might need or want. In Pine Mountain, Kimbrough Brothers was an icon, a place every young boy or girl liked to visit because they had the best and most unusual candy and toys you could imagine. But with time comes change. About a year ago Kimbrough Brothers decided to downsize their business and close the hardware store. This is how the building became available for the Purple Cow. What is a Purple Cow you might ask?? Well, it is nothing more than an ice cream parlor and sandwich shop complete with wine and a wine tasting room, although I never actually saw a wine tasting room. The unique thing for a town this size is that they actually over free WIFI complete with a comfortable couch and chairs.
Mike and I found ourselves visiting the Purple Cow most every Sunday evening for our weekly bowl of ice cream. They carry many different varieties but my favorite was the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Mike's favorite was Cherries and Chocolate. They also allow local artist and craftsmen to display their goods. You can actually "rent" a display shelf for your items. Pretty cool. The food was probably good but we never got past the ice cream.
Pine Mountain was not always known as Pine Mountain. It was once called Chipley, Georgia. The story goes that Chipley used to be the target of many train robberies. The train tracks still run right through town. Perhaps the name was changed to give it a new image! It must have worked because Pine Mountain is a very quaint town with some unique places to visit and shop. With Callaway Gardens just right down the road it offers many possibilities for a family to enjoy.
If you should happen to be in the area be sure to visit the Purple Cow and have a bowl of ice cream. You won't be sorry!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Going Home - I Think??

Let me explain. In the process of going full-time Mike and I are selling our house. The cost of keeping the house is not in our budget. Even if we could afford to keep the house and full-time, I believe we would still choose to sell. For us, keeping the house would always cause worry about its upkeep and condition. It would be a weight around our necks. More than any of that, it would always cause us to wonder where is "home?" Is "home" the motorhome or is "home" the sticks and bricks? It is all psychological I am sure and maybe nobody else would ever have this problem but Tuesday I decided to go home for a few days. Now, did I go home or did I leave home? See the dilemma?

The campground has become pretty empty during the weekdays. In fact, ever since school started our section has been empty until the weekend. The weather forecast called for rain Wednesday and Thursday. So with the campground ready for the weekend I took off.

Some things puzzle me! My thoughts about home cannot be explained. The den is huge and the couch is large and comfortable - I missed the motorhome. The TV is a 62 inch HDTV (I can watch without my glasses) - I missed the motorhome. The kitchen has so many cabinets and lots of counter space - I missed the motorhome. I can cook in my double oven - I missed the motorhome. I could take a very long, hot shower - I missed the motorhome. You get the picture. With all the comforts of the sticks and bricks I still missed the motorhome. These thoughts cannot be explained to many people but to those of us who love the full-time lifestyle I don't need to explain it, you already understand.

So did I go home or did I leave home? I suspect I left home for a few days and today I will be going home to enjoy the weekend.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Going From Zero to Full in One Day

Friday morning when I finally got up and going I took our two little Shih Tzus outside for their morning "break." The campground was totally empty. The peacefulness was unbelievable. The sky was that clear blue that you see during this time of the year. The birds were chirping and the Hummingbirds were dive bombing the feeders. You could lift your face up toward the sun and feel its warmth. It wasn't raining!! You could soak in the quiet. In just a few hours that quiet would be broken with the sounds of campers coming to enjoy a wonderful, fall weekend. Campgrounds are nice when they are empty but lets face it, they were meant to be enjoyed by campers. One of the jobs of a campground host is to help the campers get in and settled into a perfect spot for the weekend. It is wonderful to see families playing together and having a good time. By the time it gets dark, the lights have been placed on the awnings and the campfires begin to light up. Ahhh, the wonderful smell of a campfire! Mike and I always love to take a walk around the campground in the evening so we can take it all in.
Saturday morning we only had seven sites left open. Around 12:30 a group of Good Sam members traveling together came into the campground with five motorhomes and a fifth wheel. Wow! Mike got in the "mule" and went around with the lead member of the group and they found suitable sites for all six rigs. Everybody was happy. Right after they arrived a travel trailer entered and took the last available site. We are full! The campground is no longer quiet, at least not like it was Friday morning, but if a campground could smile I am certain this one was grinning from contentment.
It was a great weekend! I hope your weekend was a good one also.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Another Step Closer to Full-timing

Everything seems to come in small steps. Today we sold one of our big screen TVs. Notice I said one of our big screen TVs, we actually own two. Why did we need two you ask? Well, we had to have one of the new HDTVs because the picture is so much better, although I never did see that much difference. It must be a male thing! When you get the HDTV you have to get a different satellite along with a different receiver. One thing leads to another. This reminds me of the story my students always loved so much, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. The story goes that if you give a mouse a cookie he'll want a glass of milk and if he has a glass of milk he'll need something else and so on. This seems to be what we have been doing for years. It seems like we kept buying things to make ourselves happy. Then we found ourselves working harder in order to have those things to make us happy. Does working harder make us happy? I think it just makes us tired. Then why do we do this? Who knows, maybe we feel we should reward ourselves for working hard. Stop the insanity!! This is part of what helped us formulate the decision to simplify our lives- to full-time.

The two young men that came to pick up the TV appeared wearing their military fatigues. They were students at Auburn University. It certainly makes you feel good to meet such polite, well-mannered young men. If they are a sample of our young men in uniform our country is well represented. Thank God for all the men and women in our armed forces!! Because of them we do have the "freedom 2 roll."

Monday, September 24, 2007

F.D.R State Park - A Little History

This is the second time that we have hosted at F.D.R State Park and we have camped here on numerous occasions but we have never really known the history of the park. As with a lot of American history it begins with the Native American. This area was once the home of the Creek Indians. They gave up their land to the State of Georgia under the Treaties of 1825 and 1826. The highway that runs past the entrance to the park, Hwy. 354 ,was the main north-south trail of the Native people who lived in this area. This trail actually began as a buffalo trail. This area later became known as King's Gap after a trader named King who pitched his tent near where the rock bridge spans the highway and the "mountain." He later moved to the location of the Liberty Bell Pool which at that time was an Indian village. The little settlement of King's Gap finally disappeared into history but the spring that once fed water to this little community still furnishes water to the Liberty Bell Pool as well as F.D.R. State Park. The Liberty Bell Pool was designed for the president for whom the Park is named.

Work on the Park began in 1932. It was built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). In the actual campground there is a 15 acre lake named Lake Delano which was dug by hand by the CCC workers. The Park Information Center was once known as Roosevelt Inn. All the stone used to build the inn as well as the pool were blasted out and loaded on mule drawn wagons and taken to the different sites. One interesting fact that I learned was that the arch stairway in the Park Information Center is an unsupported stairway. FDR himself sat in his wheelchair giving directions for placing each rock. This stairway is in the lobby today. He also planned the route of Highway 190 along the top of the mountain. The stone bridge is named Roosevelt Memorial Bridge in his honor. He also designed the Liberty Bell Pool and today at 500,000 gallon capacity is one of the largest and prettiest pools of this time still in use today.

There are 5 camping sections in the campground itself. Most have 30 amp hookups, a few have 50 amps. There is no sewer hookups. Some sites are pull-thrus, some have a view of the lake. Two sections are designed mostly for primitive tent camping. Two bathhouses are new and two are somewhat old but clean. There are three bathhouses that have washer and dryer options. There are about 40 miles of hiking trails in the Pine Mountain Trail system.

F.D.R. State Park is a special place for Mike and I. If you are ever in this area we highly recommend you give F.D.R. a try. Don't forget to visit Callaway Gardens as well as Warm Springs, Georgia and the Little White House.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

If It's Friday It Must Be Raining!!

It seems like every Friday for the past three weekends it has rained. I don't mean just a simple, normal rain but RAIN. Our job as a host at FDR State Park is to make sure all the sites are clean and ready for the influx of campers for the weekend. We work all week on this because during the week we usually have only a handful of people. Those would be the lucky few who do not have to go to W O R K. We feel like proud parents by Thursday, ready for our campers to come in a fill up the campground with fun and laughter. Then it rains hard for about two or three hours and the campground looks wet and messy. You know what I mean, the small rock slides, the puddles and plenty of that Georgia red clay. Last night was no different. Right on time the rains began. Oh well, you can't mess with mother nature.

We had one lady that had just picked up her, new to her, class C and drove down from Atlanta to experience camping for the first time. She drove into the campground and decided she didn't like the direction the pull through was heading, so she tried to turn into the drive out part and go in. Well, did I tell you it was raining? Did I tell you it was dusk? Did I tell you she hadn't driven an RV before? Did I tell you she ended up in the ditch? Well she did!! As we were helping her and trying to get her out of the ditch, more campers started coming into the campground including a 42 ft. Executive. What fun! The wrecker finally arrived, got her out, and all the campers were able to find a perfect spot for the weekend. She learned a valuable lesson in the design layout of campgrounds, how RVs turn differently than a car and why hookups are placed as they are. She did all this learning and thank goodness didn't get hurt, nobody else was hurt and her new to her RV was not hurt.

The rain stopped and the weekend is turning out to be just beautiful. The weather is once again on the perfect side, just right for camping and campfires. We settled back on our patio and enjoyed a nice cozy fire Saturday evening!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Yard Sales or Garyard Sales

What is the difference in a yard sale and a garage sale? Is it that one is in the yard and one is in the garage? What if you have part of your stuff in the garage and part in the driveway? What kind of sale is it then? Ok, humor aside, we had our first yard sale a few weeks ago. This was an attempt to "purge" those small unnecessary items that you accumulate over 25 years. Finding these items is not hard, just stand in the middle of a room in your house and look around. You don't even have to move very much. They are there starring you in the face. You bought that little tidbit 10 years ago when you lived in another house or even another town. You kept it thinking you might use it again somewhere??? There it sits asking the age old question, "Why?"
Then you go to your closet. Wow! Now there is a dilemma. You have kept clothes in every size just in case you are that size again. You have kept clothes just in case they come back in style again . The problem is we now have houses with closets as large as bedrooms used to be. Do you remember when the average house on the market was only 2 bedrooms, 1 bath? Had maybe 1200 to 1500 square feet? Now the average house has 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and is anywhere from 2100 to 3000 square feet and that is the average. We won't even go into the increase in house prices. When I was growing up my closet was a small thing with a single door. We put our clothes up at the end of a season and got out the next season's clothes. At that time we went through them and if they didn't fit we handed them down and got something new (or new to us). It is so easy with the large, walk-in closets to just push those clothes to the back somewhere and keep them. The "old" days were so much more simple and made so much more sense. Hey, much like full-timing. We don't have room in our motorhome for tons of clothes so we keep only what we need and use. We store the seasonal stuff, like coats, in a tub in the basement. Some folks leave their seasonal clothes at a relative's house. The point is we don't keep it unless we use it.
In our house it seems we have been in the business of just acquiring more and more "stuff." One day we looked around and asked ourselves what we were doing. Do we need all of this? Hence, the yard sale. Full-timing makes you evaluate what is most important in your life. Do you need all of that "stuff" to be happy?
Notice I haven't mentioned the treasured items that really do have meaning and memories. What do we do with those items? Do they go into a yard sale also? Well, that is another post altogether and we will deal with emotion later.
In the meantime, we had the yard sale! It was quite an experience. We worked very hard, started work very early and made a little money. The important thing is that someone else now has a new treasure to add to their collection and to one day wonder, why???
It is true - "one man's trash is another man's treasure."

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Ducks Eye View

Yesterday we took the Sea Eagle out for the very first time. It was so much fun! Just as much fun as drifting slowly in our new boat was the ability to view FDR State Park from a different point of view, that of the ducks. It was a simply beautiful day, perfect weather and the view was to die for. Mike and I have always felt something very special for FDR. I suppose most full-timers have a special spot that they feel drawn to. For us FDR will always have that spot in our hearts.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

We Have a Launch!!

Today is Sunday at FDR State Park. This is the day, as Firedude has said, the great Hoover comes to the campground and sucks out the campers. We had a good group this weekend. The campground was about 2/3 full and everyone seemed to enjoy the great weather we had. Fall is finally in the air. We actually turned on our heat pump this morning to take the chill off the motorhome and it felt good. Quite a change from the dry, 100 degree weather we have been having most of the month of August. Saturday evening we had a campfire but the wood was really wet and so there wasn't much warmth but it was still nice.

Today we launched the Sea Eagle!! We actually have had the Sea Eagle for a week and haven't had a chance to get her in the water. We bought the Fisherman's Dream- SE8. We can do most anything we would want to do with this boat. It is light and easy to inflate. I am adding pics of Mike inflating the boat and then pics of us enjoying our first ride. It was a really wonderful day with just enough breeze to make it perfect. We were out for about 45 minutes. We just wanted to get used to the process of inflating and deflating, transporting and enjoying. The enjoying was easy. This is the first time we have viewed FDR from the ducks point of view. I must say it was just as pretty from the water as from the shore. Take a look!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

You Might As Well Know Now

Well I guess some things you just can't hide forever! Mike and I are new to this whole full-time lifestyle. We have so much to learn but each day is a new adventure and there are so many great people that are so willing to help.

Yesterday we got our new sunshades installed by Gordon Brown from RV Sunshade Co. Gordon was so nice and did an outstanding job. We just love our new sunshades. He actually came to our site to install them. He travels in his 45 foot Prevost with his sweet little dog and his mother. What service!! I took pics of the install but as luck would have it our newness came shining through. The camera was on "movie" mode and I am not sure the pics can be posted here. I will take pics of the final job and post those on the blog so you can see the wonderful job that he did. We highly recommend them and his company. It has made our living area cozy, it blocks 98% of UV rays. The coach stays cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. We love them! You can contact Gordon at

The campground is about 2/3 full this weekend. You can actually feel fall in the air. It is just a beautiful day. We will be hosting here at FDR State Park until October 15th. Then we aren't sure what is in store. It depends on the sale of our house. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Our Ship Has Come In - or NOT

Yesterday we finally received our much anticipated Sea Eagle. We ordered the fisherman's style boat and were looking forward to having it for last weekend but it did not come in. Instead we received the boat on Monday. As luck would have it, Monday night we needed to get the house ready for a showing and then Tuesday night we again had to show the house. I suppose there is always this coming weekend. Now we shouldn't complain since the object of the for sale sign in the yard is to actually sell the house.

With the house in mind, we have had it on the market almost 2 weeks and it has been shown about 5 times. Still no offers but then we didn't expect anything this early.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Saturday Night Special

This saturday night was absolutely crazy. We had these Auburn fans at the FDR State Park campground that must have thought they were tailgating instead of camping. They were loud, rowdy, and out of control. Drinking like fish and relieving themselves in the road. I hate the fact that some people do not know how to respect camping, campers, and the whole RV lifestyle. Thankfully though they have left and the campground is once again peaceful.