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!!


The Broken Fence

There’s a broken section of a fence up the road from me. I bet I’ve driven by it 1,000 times. While I’ve noticed it, I’ve never had the desire to stop and fix it or to care how it got broken. I just know it is… and that it’s beautiful!

Sure, I could go to Home Depot and get the stuff to fix it, but then it would be like every other section. It wouldn’t stand out, it would be ordinary, you would never know it’s ability to stand there being visibly broken.

People have told me to smile through my tears, to hide my pain and keep it to myself. While they’re saying that, they’re also saying to be strong.

I don’t think strength is about hiding, I think strength is showing your brokenness. I think strength is showing the world that while you may be falling apart, you’re still standing… That you’re still holding your own even with your broken planks.

Maybe, just maybe, if you stick it out, you’ll have some Morning Glories come beautify your life like that old fence has. Had the plank never fallen, they’d have no place to climb! If there’s no connection between the broken board and the beauty that found it, then how come they’re not climbing on one of the unbroken sections?

Think about that!

Every pain has a purpose. It’s ok to not be ok, just don’t give up!!


Hey, I know that girl!


You’ve gotta love Facebook and their “You have memories to look back on today.” Looking at this picture makes me think I should’ve entitled this blog something else. Perhaps it should’ve been “Journeys with Hollie White”. Trust me, when I decided to write this, I had no intention of literally not going anywhere. Emotionally, I’m all over the map!!

I look at this picture and say, “Hey, I know that girl!” She was fun!!! “Can’t” wasn’t in her vocabulary. She could tackle anything! And she did it in a way that was relaxed and calm. And she didn’t have any wrinkles!!! Her calmness led others to know they could also handle anything. She offered hope to thousands with her cancer support page on Facebook; she donated thousands to cancer fighters. She organized fundraisers in different states. She sent well wishes to cancer patients all over the United States and even to some in Canada. She became someone that embodied the word hope.

But, today, she has none.

Today, she’s just a shell.

In the past few months, she’s lost everything she considered normal. She used to dance. Not well, but she danced! She used to sing. Damn, can she sing! The problem is, she sang with her whole heart… and it’s broken now. She used to write every day. She’s been published 6 times and has a best selling novel on a floppy disc in her top drawer. Why? Well, just like Forrest felt like running, she just felt like writing! Only a few have ever read it, but they read it straight through. No stopping, on the edge waiting to find out what happened! What happened?? The fairy tale came true! Isn’t that always what happens?

Apparently, not in real life…

Real life is learning that just because you mean it when you say, “I promise”, not everyone does. Love can be one sided. Someone else’s version of what love is may not be the same as yours. In fact, it may be entirely different. There’s a difference between loving someone and being in love with someone.

Being in love means to feel fire and passion. The feeling that when standing together, you can face anything. To have your eyes meet another’s and be blown away. Loving someone happens when the fire has died out. When you literally have to stand with that person and, although your heart may not still be completely in it, you’ll still stand to face whatever comes. Loving someone also means letting that person go if that’s what needs to happen.

As I stand on the brink of becoming a single lady, I know there’s still a chance my husband will find “the one” and that it isn’t me. Loving someone means being selfless. My desire to have matching rocking chairs on a front porch when I’m 80 may not ever happen. And that’s ok.

Loving someone means saying, “GO! Go see what’s out there! Please…” It isn’t, “Stay even though you’re unhappy.”


Your troubles don’t define you!!! I look at myself and remember who I was. What the heck happened? Where’s that fearless girl?? Where is she? She’s terrified!! Terrified and selfless. She knows that she tried her hardest to match things step for step, but she just couldn’t keep up. Life’s always gonna happen whether we’re ready or not. It’s already written, babes! Try to just go with it! There WILL be a light!!


May the light find us!


The sun comes up over an Illinois cornfield casting it’s light on every leaf, individually. Funny how a cornfield is seen as just that… a field. It’s seen as one thing rather than many individual plants, but the sun doesn’t see it that way. The sun illuminates every single plant! I hope wherever you are, the sun finds you and shines on you and shows your worth to the world. Even if it’s rarely seen by others, I hope you can see it. We’re often told when going through hard times that we’re a part of a bigger picture. While truthful, it’s easy to feel as if our feelings aren’t justifiable, like we’re forced to put ourselves aside. We’re taught to pass over hurtful times because our loving God knows more than us and what’s better for us and that the hurt is part of a lesson or saving us from future hurt. Personally, I’m caught up in learning that while wanting to scream, “Hey, remember me???”. The light will find me, I know it!! I pray it finds you, as well.