Such a beautiful place!


Fall Creek Stone Arch Bridge 1/21/17 Payson, IL


My “Southern” Central, IL Home


Our travel inspired space. Pay no attention to the unfinished floor! 🙂

The South is so peaceful. The first thing I thought when we bought our home is, it feels like the South! Maybe it was the gentle breeze that blew by me while I was sitting on the porch after a long hot summer’s day. Maybe it was the far off song of a wind chime that somehow took me to another place… I gazed across the road and, for a split second, a Live Oak stood before me.

The night had a calmness to it, a stillness. Not an easy stillness, one that makes you want to look, but not want to look. The moon was slowly being overtaken by the storm coming in, that far off wind chime still singing. I closed my eyes for a second and I was in the bayou.

I was home!! My Southern home! That happens to be in the middle of Illinois!? I’m not sure how that came to be, but it is what it is.

So, in (unknowingly at the time) keeping with Southern tradition, we filled our home with various shades of blue-green.

My daughter was reading the other day and came upon the legend of Haint Blue. It is said that in the South, Haint Blue is used to ward off evil spirits. Many home owners painted their porch ceilings Haint Blue because it resembled water thus would deter spirits from entering the home.


Not our home.

So, as I said, we unknowingly put this color all over our home. How is that? Did we find it or did it find us? I don’t need to question, I know the answer. Because our home is a true Southern lady, that’s why! In the middle of Illinois!! 😉


“What is Beale?”



So, it’s Friday the 13th and if you’ve watched the news or have been on Facebook, you would see that nearly everyone is worried about this approaching “ice storm of doom” Illinois is supposed to get. Well, maybe everybody, but me!!

I’m relaxing upstairs smelling supper in the crock pot (beef and noodles, yum!!) and listening to my dogs whine because they don’t understand why they can’t go outside. Our new old house is blessed with a heated enclosed sun porch. It’s almost sad to see 3 little faces staring out the window, but I tell them the sun is deceiving, they’d be ready to come in as soon as they went out.

I’ve gotten off track… Where was I? Ahhh, yes, the ice storm…

Last year while the Midwest got hit with mounds of snow and ice, we were enjoying Gulf Shores, Alabama.


And Fort Morgan…


My daughter and neice literally spent hours “rescuing” starfish!!

On the way back, we stopped at St. Jude’s in Memphis with donations and just as we were on the way out of town, knowing we were running a little behind schedule, I made the comment that if we had time, we could’ve gone to Beale. That’s when my neice said, “What is Beale??” Eerrrrrrtttt, brakes on!!! “You’ve never heard of Beale Street?? How are you MY neice??” We HAD to go!!

I love Beale Street! Some will say it’s a generic Bourbon Street, but I disagree. I think it’s better!! They have a drink called “Call Me a Cab” because they say by the time it’s gone, you’ll need one!! The food is amazing! If you’re not sure what to order, just ask! Chances are the person you ask will offer you a bite of whatever they have! This has happened to me 3 times!! Live music and dancing? Yes, please! Feel like singing? Grab a mic!! Just let loose and don’t be shy!!

Be sure to leave your mark at the Rum Boogie Cafe!


They have guitars hanging from the ceiling!!!


Soak up the neon…


And enjoy!!!!


Good Detective Work = Amazing Find!!


I’d seen a picture of it last winter on a local media website, from the comments I could tell it was more than just hidden, it’s location was protected! “You turn down such and such road and take a left, haha!”  How ’bout a big NOPE!! “I’ve been there, it’s completelywrongdirection…” It seemed all were wanting to be sure it stayed hidden, but you know me!!

I’d spent a lot of time in the area when I was in highschool, so while I wasn’t sure where it was, I definitely knew where it wasn’t!! I ended up drawing a map of all the wrongly said locations and drew a big circle in the middle. This was where I’d find the hidden gem!! I first drove too far, but knew almost immediately that I did. Turned around, turned off the radio, rolled down the window, and listened. My ear told me I was close, but I couldn’t see how it was possible. Then it hit me… I’d driven over 3 bridges, it was under me!!!

I pulled over and my daughter and I walked toward the sound. She looked at me as if to read my mind. This was a spot where I will definitely be sure to bring a rope next time. It’s a steep and difficult trek down into the creek bottom, but getting in was the easy part. Even though I’m 5’5″, I had to drop in from about 2 feet.

We found this limb to get us part way down. I briefly felt the sting of the scrape on my arm before my eyes beheld the wow in the pictures below!!




We couldn’t believe all of this was there!! Absolutely breathtaking beauty!

But, like I said, getting in was easy! Getting out, not so much! My daughter is much more sure-footed than I when climbing up, so she usually goes first and I attempt to do what she did.

This is me being directed at hand placement.

Definitely a great find and I promise to keep it’s location an Illinois secret, but that doesn’t mean I won’t blindfold my friends and drag them along on a hot summer day! Props to the guy who photographed it in the winter. He’s a braver soul than I.

Note to self… Put that rope back in the truck!!


Perhaps he just didn’t like the cold…


I sit here both reflecting on the loss of my dad and reveling in the irony of my glorious state’s weather mood swings. I know you’ve heard me say, if you don’t like Illinois weather, wait ’til tomorrow, but really? Really, Illinois?? Record breaking temps just days after I lose my dad??

He left us on January 5th. She’d been showing her wintery self then. She was just plain nasty. Windy, snowy, icy, you name it! By this afternoon, all the remnants of anything resembling winter were completely gone. A warm spring-like sun illuminated the roadway for walkers, cyclists, and bikers. Had it not been for the cool wind, I probably would have forgotten it was even January… But it is January.

Daddy didn’t like January. I look back at the times when he wasn’t doing well before, January 2014, 2015, 2016, and finally, 2017. I can’t help, but be a little pissy with my Illinois. If only she’d forgotten it was winter a week ago. Sadly, she did not.

Daddy spent a good portion of his life in the South, perhaps he just didn’t like the cold. I would imagine that’s where he is now. Somewhere where there is live music and a coastal breeze.

Daddy was much like me, or I guess, I’m much like Daddy. His Southern voice is my Southern voice. His “never known a stranger”attitude is my “never known a stranger” attitude. He made friends everywhere he went and will be missed by so many.

I’m thankful when I’m missing him, I won’t have to go too far. He looks back at me from the mirror or when I look at my son. His voice is heard when I or my children speak. It’s hard to feel sad when feeling so blessed, but again… Really, Illinois? Really?? 62 in January?? Unbelievable!!

Enjoy that Gulf breeze, Daddy! I love you.


Happy New Year!


2016 was like playing a game of Lost and Found. I lost my marriage, but found out how much I was loved. I lost my home full of memories, but found a home with a story. I lost my security, but found my own feet and even though I didn’t want to, they continued to walk me through my days.

I lost all hope… I think that was the worst part. I found the best tissues! Yes, that is something I get excited about saying! When you’ve cried as much as I have, good tissues are essential! I know I’m getting better because I just smiled writing that and let me tell you, it feels so good I could use one!

I found patience. Good things will come when I’m able to accept them. I think I’m ready. Here we are just barely into the new year and I’m feeling hopeful, relieved, and stronger already. It’s amazing how something as simple as changing how you look at something does wonders. Life is now my greatest hike! I may lose my grip again and bloody my knee, but the view is something I don’t want to miss. I’m sure of that now!

Travel plans are in the making! It’s going to be a great year!!