Tag Archives: Everyday Life



I saw this plaque on the website of a store in Raleigh I visited with my daughter awhile back.  It’s called Cat Banjo and they support animals while selling some really quirky and cool things.  I’ve always been a fan of Batman since I was a kid.  He was my favorite superhero.  I even built a Batcave in my bedroom closet, for goodness’ sake!  So my daughter got me this plaque for Christmas, which now hangs on the wall of my bedroom…..to daily remind me to be myself.  But I realized in a sense we can all also be Batman.  We can do those things to help people or make them happy, without personal recognition for ourselves, even completely secretly if we desire, that “practice random acts of kindness” thing.  Not earth-saving, movie-worthy, dramatic things, but simple things like paying a toll or bill for the person behind us in line, leaving notes of gratitude to waitresses, giving change to someone who is a little short in the grocery store in front of us, smiling at a stranger, standing up for someone in a bad situation you are witness to, holding open a door or helping someone pick up or carry things, sending a card to a friend or relative just because, so many little things to brighten someone else’s day whether we personally know them or not.  Like my neighbor slipping in jars of jelly to my mailbox.  It does feel good to receive an unexpected blessing like that, but I have to be honest, there’s a bit of selfishness on my part because it really gives me a kick to surprise someone else that way, too.  It just makes me feel really warm inside to know that maybe I’m a little bright spot in what could be, perhaps, a rough day for someone, or if not, just a little icing on their cake, and who knows what the effects really even are?  So yes, I’m reminded every day by my beautiful sign to be myself, but I want to try this year to be a little bit more Batman, too.



Copyright (c) 2014 by Raindrop Ridge Press

My Kind of Place…..A Very Brief Observation

MDillard in Augusty mom and I rode down to Dillard, Georgia, this morning to have breakfast at the Dillard House.  It wasn’t too crowded, and when we left, it was so quiet and peaceful, a little cloudy and foggy but the sun shining through and starting to get hot.  A nice way to spend an August Saturday morning.

On the way back, in Franklin, North Carolina, we passed a little produce stand with fresh veggies and blackberries, some strawberries, too, and they advertised homemade fresh strawberry milkshakes, something I’ve never actually seen in that setting before, and there are lots of little produce stands in these mountains.  I was way too full from the big family-style breakfast to even entertain the idea of a milkshake, but it sounded scrumptious.   Regardless, that’s my kind of produce stand!


 Copyright (c) 2013 by Raindrop Ridge Press


Even my simple peanut butter sandwich tastes better when eaten out on my front porch.  I’m accompanied by the sounds of birds singing, leaves blowing in the wind, some traffic noise, the wind chime, and a far-off jet…..oh yeah, and the faint scent of my favorite, honeysuckle.  There’s something about eating outside that just makes everything taste better.  I’ve loved picnics since I was a little kid, and eating out was always the best part of camping.  Sitting out here has kind of perked up my senses and made me feel alive, but at the same time I feel lulled into a lazy, comfortable place that I don’t want to leave anytime soon.  A kind of mini-picnic…..and yet afternoon chores await.


Copyright (c) 2013 by Raindrop Ridge Press

Saturday Morning In My Town

I love Saturday mornings in my little southern town of Sylva, North Carolina, especially in the summer. That’s when I do errands like checking my mail at the post office, taking garbage to the recycling center, or going to the grocery store. But it’s so much more than that. Saturday mornings have that pastel haziness of a day still waking up and the promise of magic that only weekends can hold. My world seems to be in a good mood.This morning I stop in at Annie’s bakery and buy a dozen chocolate chip shortbread cookies and debate between a big golden lemon square or a perfect apple-raisin mini-Bundt cake. The cake wins out today. It smells so good in there and people are having pastries and coffee and chatting. Main Street is busy this morning with walkers and bikers and window shoppers, the restaurants setting up for lunches, outdoor tables, and delicious smells starting to fill the air (sometimes I have lunch out on Saturdays but not today). Across the railroad track near the new pavilion at the Bridge Park, tents are set up for the regular Saturday morning fresh market where anyone can bring their homegrown produce to sell, or there’s always Terry’s local produce stand to choose a fresh cantaloupe or some peaches or a juice tomato. Some days I wander into the bookstore or the library (or their associated used bookstore), and then ride on down the road to pick up a couple of homemade snacks for Dag at the dog bakery in Dillsboro and chat with the owner for a few minutes. Businesses have baskets of bright red geraniums and pink begonias hanging out front, and the crepe myrtles have truly outdone themselves this year with their splendid magenta blooms.
On the way home I pass by the swimming pool with a few early swimmers already there before it gets really hot this afternoon and one of the county ball fields where a softball game is in progress. Finally, I stop at the hospital auxiliary to drop off some clothes I want to donate that I can no longer wear, then it’s back home. At the bottom of my hill I see my first Joe-Pye weed of the season. It may be called a weed, but to me it looks like a flower, the tall familiar herald of school starting back soon and autumn not too far behind. This is just real life in my small town and a whole lot more than doing chores, and I’m sure the same kinds of things are going on in many other places all over the world. Saturday mornings make me feel good.

Copyright (c) 2009 by Raindrop Ridge Press

Life Rhythms

Usually when I think of rhythm and movement I think of dancing and music. But today I was reminded that it can be something more mundane, too. My front porch has been newly painted and stained and it looks really pretty. A lot of leaves had blown in on it, and today I was out sweeping the leaves off my looks-like-new blue and white porch. I remembered how when I was a little girl, visiting my grandmother’s house in Asheville, all the ladies in all the houses on her street would go out every morning (maybe not in winter but in spring, summer, and fall anyway) and sweep their porches. It was part of their daily ritual, kind of like fixing up their house to be welcoming and clean and neighborly for anyone who might drop in that day. The houses on that street are close together, so they could talk to each other, too, some related to each other, some just long-time friends. It was a close-knit and comfortable, happy neighborhood, and the daily rituals that went on around there made me feel secure (by the way those houses are in a neighborhood that has been newly revitalized and remodeled and are selling for over $400,000 – I wonder if their new tenants will ever experience that same sense of closeness that existed such a long time ago).

Sweeping my porch today made me feel connected to all those southern ladies in my grandma’s old neighborhood all those years ago. It’s so simple and at the same time so profound for me. Doing the same movements, feeling contented and happy simply being alive, part of the rhythms of everyday life, almost like a daily prayer or meditation to greet the morning and welcome it in along with any other visitors.

I really love it when I feel something so meaningful in everyday “ordinary” things and experience such a jolt of connection and warm memory with another time and other people. It’s funny the effects people have on other people, even many years later; you don’t always even know what those effects are. It gave me a good feeling.


 Copyright (c) 2006 by Raindrop Ridge Press

View From a Train

Riding a train in familiar territory makes me look at my home in a whole different light. Saturday, a special person in my life and I rode the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad (the one featured in the movie “The Fugitive”) from the Bryson City depot over to the Nantahala Gorge….actually the train goes past the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC – a Mecca for whitewater rafting and kayaking in the area) up to near Nantahala Lake, where they then switch the engine from one end to the other, then it starts its journey back and stops for a 1-hour layover at the NOC for lunch, a walk, stretching, relaxing, enjoying the river, taking photographs, etc. At the turnaround, the passengers switch sides with their neighbors so that going back we get to see the view from the other side. There were lots of couples, families, and children, and the train was full of chatter and laughter and a few quieter ones (like us) and even some sleepers. Everyone is pretty friendly and seems in a good mood, full of anticipation as if this were a 5-day cruise instead of a 4-1/2-hour train ride.

We started out about 10:30 a.m. armed with drinks and a backpack of peanut butter and jelly burritos, chips, homemade (sort of) chocolate chip cookies, and my camera. We had the windows open and it was a beautiful day. Some of the pictures I took were terrible and blurry, thanks to most of them being taken from the moving train. Although it wasn’t moving too fast, it was kind of bouncy and shaky (but actually very soothing, kind of like a big rocking chair). On the way back after lunch I almost fell asleep. Some people slept through most of the trip. We got to cross a high trestle across Fontana Lake. We saw houseboats and skiers and boaters, and then once we entered the gorge and the track runs alongside the Nantahala River, we saw lots of rafters and kayakers. Everywhere the train goes, along the river, rafters, picnickers, walkers, and in cars at crossroads, people waved enthusiastically to us, and some of us waved equally enthusiastically back.

Some of the time I knew where I was compared to how the road runs, as I’m quite familiar with the road along this route, but then sometimes we were far off from the road and seeing views and houses and camps and little driveways that I had never seen before, though I had been all over this country dozens of times over the years. I don’t even know how you drive into some of those spots, no idea where the roads are, but some of them were really charming, with the train riding almost through their front yards. One old rock house was built so close to the tracks that you could touch it out the window. I realized yet again what a beautiful place I live in, how amazing it is, and how big the wilderness area is, how little I really know about it. I try to imagine it through the eyes of someone seeing it for the first time and I wonder what they feel. I can see it day in and day out and I’m still awestruck by the beauty of the rushing white water and the vastness of the lake, the trees and the blue mountains and the flowers and the smells. But if you ever feel bored with familiarity and can’t afford to go away on a long trip, take a trip through your own area, take a different route, ride a different vehicle so you see the familiar sites from a different vantage point. It made me appreciate it more and take less for granted. Come to think of it, that might be a metaphor for dealing with lots of things in our lives that get boring or too familiar, to look at them a different way, through different lenses.

I saw ferns growing in huge groups that I never really remembered noticing in the woods so much before, and beautiful wildflowers that inspired me to go buy a new wildflower book so I could identify the beautiful shades of pinks and purples that were unfamiliar to me. The air smelled sweet and felt so good, the sun was warm on my arm as it stretched out by the window, and the movement of the train was like a noisy lullaby.

Then we rolled back into the depot past houses and sawmills and stores and more waves as people in town welcomed us back as if from a long long journey. We got off and walked back to the car, then rode over to nearby Deep Creek for a brief wade in the cold creek, because by then the mid-afternoon sun had gotten hot once we were no longer riding and getting a breeze. Lots of adults and squealing children were tubing down the river trying to cool off in the cold water on a hot summer day, and the smells of grills and charcoal wafted through the air and made me feel so cozy and hungry again too! It made me miss my old camping days.

Each season of the mountains has its own unique specialness, its own feel and character, and its own charm. I would love to ride the train again in the fall when the colors are so bright and the sky such a rich blue and the air with just a little bit of a chill so a sweater feels good.

It was a relaxing and wonderful day.


 Copyright (c) 2006 by Raindrop Ridge Press