Kiss of the Sun

Endless Sanctuary, Highlands NC

Get ahead of the crowd

Go ahead and try it!  It’s fantastic and during the spring, you get to see thru the trees to the forest floor (Spring abundance) and other vistas that are usually closed off after the leaves have opened on the trees later in the spring.  Not to mention 30% off discounts!

I remember my first time I ziplined.  I was so excited the night before, I couldn’t sleep.  Once we arrived and began putting on the zip equipment, the excitement heightened.  I appreciated all the safety equipment and talk… and the experienced guides.  As we began to take our first small ‘get to know you’ zip, I watched a few youngsters go ahead.  HighlandsZiplineWhen it was my turn, I had a sudden flash –WHAT AM I DOING HERE? I’m a retiree who gets car sick!  I can’t do any kind of roller coaster.  WHAT WAS I THINKING!  Then it was off to the races.  Glory that was fun and that was just a small ‘try out’ one.   The excitement was ramping up once again.  I CAN DO THIS! Holy mackerel, about 50 years dropped off me and I was young again; having a blast. Who needs plastic surgery–get thee on a zipline, costs a lot less! and a lot more fun.

I was so proud of the Mother ahead of me with her two teenage girls… she was scared of heights.  And yet this was her 2nd time! It says a lot about why people do it…not to mention the scenery that’s knock your socks off gorgeous. Don’t forget the kiddo’s.. they have a place for them and even Happy Birthday parties.  Hiking and other activities are added all the time.




April 4, 2016 Posted by | Activities-Hikes, Fun Stuff, Entertainment, Family Time, Near-by activities | Leave a comment

Everything and More . . . .

SONY DSCI always hoped  that some day our creekside would host a wedding, preferably my daughter’s. It was the perfect place.

Last year it came true when we decided to have a family reunion and my daughter said, ‘why not throw in a wedding, too?’ It was everything we could have hoped for and More according to the bridal couple and their families!

The bride was stunning in a combination of both her Grandma’s 70+ yr old beautiful patina wedding gowns with a dash of her Mom’s. The Groom was handsome and the hat was perfect.  The weather called for 70% rain and the sun showed in all it’s mountain creek brilliance.  (Tho we were ready to use the ‘Forever Porch’).  Instead the bride and attendants processed down it’s aisle, while the guests looked on.


The bridal bouquet was gathered from wild flowers earlier in the day by cousins and bride.  It was gorgeous.

The banquet was set in the lodge living room with plenty of seating in and out.

The Forever Porch was cleared so Daddy and Daughter could have their special dance while all applauded.

The cake, a favorite of the bride’s from Buck’s Coffee Shop, was cut and everyone loved it.  The stairs were a bridal photo ‘Must Have of all the family that attended.  With guests, there were 32 in all.

The neice flower girl–bunny extra!



May 31, 2015 Posted by | Mountain Magic Outdoors, Norton Creek Lodge, Wedding | Leave a comment

How could I have forgotten my own advice?

ImageWhen the days get rushed, the time flies by and there seems no time to think, I just have to think Mountain Time and I’m transported to Highlands NC.  A breath of fresh air glides by my face; I can hear the water singing over the rocks in the creek and the birds chirping.  I’m reminded of the sign at our mountain rental home, above our front porch swing, Sit Long, Talk Much.  I can’t believe it’s been almost two years since my last blog.  Life happens.

We have a new grandchild -Emma Louise. She’ll celebrate her 1st bday shortly. An incredibly joy! We heard having grandchildren is The Best, but I think it’s something you have to experience to really understand the deep heartbeat flushed with joy.  Or I’m a slow learner on some things!  I’m still working after thinking it’d just be a year of helping out.  It’s such a great job with a great boss, co-workers, it’s too hard to leave.  My husband is still mowing lawns but says it’s time to reflect on his 74th bday–in a few days! And we’re so very proud of our children and all they are and all they are accomplishing in this hurry up changing world. That little boy in the picture below went to pre-school for the first time this week, age 2 group.   Stop the world, I want to get off as my husband and I celebrate 45 years of love, growing up together and our incredible life. We are on our knees thankful to God.

In late May I brought up some of the gals from an exercise class I lead at Tims Church in Lutz. It was a different kind of time than I usually have and I just want to hold it close to my heart as one of the BEST memories I’ve ever had with girlfriends of the heart.  If they weren’t already before, they certainly are now.  Each place we visited and we did a lot in 5 days, is all the more special because of their visit at Norton Creek Lodge.  I almost don’t want to share-it was That special. I encourage all reader’s to do the same.  I’m interested to find out how our next one goes in 2014. I Can Only Imagine.

It’s count down time–2 more days of waking up to 85 degrees and that’s FL humid mornings. Our family is expanding for our upcoming family reunion.  Our niece-in-law and her sweet baby, our great nephew from Atl, wil be joining us as will our son-by-love.


Since Highlands is in the middle of everything, my husband and son will take a day out of festivities and drive to Columbus OH to that side of the family and pick up some heirlooms from my Dad’s side, including a grandfather clock for my niece to take back to ATL.   I am so ready for Highlands.  I can leave behind computers that need to be rebuilt..for the 2nd or 3rd time, new programs.  Grass that needs cutting.  Bills that need to be paid. Groceries that need to be purchased, and a zillion other mundane and stressful issues….  B R E A T H E. . . . I’m making a reservation for that rockin chair in the picture above,  where I can also glance at the Secret Garden below.  ahhhhhh.

September 7, 2013 Posted by | Family Time, Mountain Magic Outdoors, Norton Creek Lodge | Leave a comment

Weather Relapse

This morning I jumped out of bed with acceleration… ok maybe it was a little slower than that. After all it was chilly. I felt like a kid waiting for Santa. Before I could really get my eyes opened, I threw out the sash. And what before my wondering eyes did appear–the water glistening was not from my beloved creek in Highlands. It was the FL swimming pool… brrrr. No wonder I didn’t hear the jingle jangle of water hopping over the rocks. While it’s heavenly to have cooler weather in FL, it is not where my heart is at the moment.

I just finished putting together photos of our Florida Family Reunion in Highlands during October. What an incredible place to have the whole family together at one time. Gorgeous falling leaves, peace, harmony and a baby teething. Can’t get any better than that! Taking our beloved walks around the ‘circle’ with teething grandchild loving every minute of it. Giggling (Brett and us) all the way as our maltipoo was scampering off here and there, joyously chasing those smells that only dogs can.

We even celebrated Thanksgiving a month early. We were so thankful to God to be all together. It’s our sanctuary that we gladly share with those who would love to come and soak up the peace and love that’s a natural part of the area and house. Though we’ll keep the teething grandchild all to ourselves thank you very much! We are blessed that all generations love gathering in the strong arms of the lodge and it’s natural 6-10′ tall rhododendrons and hardwood forest and bouncing creek. That big rock fireplace is just the place to sit back and soak in the warmth. Wouldn’t you like the family to gather here and have Thanksgiving on the Real Day? We rent by the long weekend, week, month and seasonal. Now that we have a gorgeous, wonderful (even when teething) grandson, we now stock Pack n Play, playpen, highchair etc for babies at no extra charge!

November 4, 2011 Posted by | Activities-Hikes, Fun Stuff, Mountain Magic Outdoors, Norton Creek Lodge | 2 Comments

The Promise

I’m so homesick. If I’m going to have temps in the low 30’s in Tampa, then I want to be in Highlands, NC at Norton Creek Lodge hugging the huge stone fireplace roaring its warmth! There is something sad about the ‘burnt’ formerly green bushes here in Florida. We are used to seeing GREEN during the winter months. I won’t even try to describe the huge bouganvillea covering our porch’s front entrance… going toothless with its leaves dropping.

Jeannie and Tucker from Chambers Agency ( sent us some incredible pictures of our house after one of their latest snows. It’s just stunning. You can see our Beauregard lighting the entrance way…into a snow-white wonderland. What lies ahead is: Promise. Not a single footstep, nor animal track mars the Possibilities. Life is what you make it and here’s another chance to start again! Beam me up Scotty! Where are my skiis? Wait a minute I don’t ski! I do have a sled–and the back road hill (in front of Beau by the garage) is perfect! I’m 12 again!

Under that lovely snow lies the moss that will bloom with bluette flowers this Spring..a promise of majesty I can watch by sitting on the bench and drinking in the creek and its surroundings.

If you’ve never seen snow or someone close to you has not played in it: Try Norton Creek Lodge in the winter–This year is definitely ski weather!

January 25, 2011 Posted by | Mountain Magic Outdoors, Norton Creek Lodge, Weather | Leave a comment

In denial

I have an addiction. Well, maybe more than one. I love my mountain house in Highlands but this other addiction shows up each July and lasts through the early Fall months. In Florida, it lasts about a month but not up in Highlands NC, God’s bit of heaven on earth. If there can be an addiction that’s good for you–this is it.. in moderation..

That’s the bad word–moderation. I’ll let you in on the secret.. I learned to love it in the IL farm fields, the earlier the crop was, the better. It has to be young, and it has to pop with sugar and a burst of flavor in each and every part of it. I’m ashamed to say it’s a vegetable (tho I do love black raspberries, too!).

At Osage Farms on Rt 441 between Dillard GA and Mountain City, GA-across from the weekend Flea Market is where I get my fix. The fresh green beans are incredible and don’t even get me started with the fresh apple-blueberry bread. I plead with anyone up this way and heading back to FL to please please bring me 12 ears of Silver Queen Corn on the cob. I have no shame…if I have to get on my knees, I will.

In Denial

My family says I have a technique in eating… leave No Kernal Behind. I have a family of Enablers. How bad is that when you have an addiction to a vegetable? If I don’t eat like a ‘typewriter’ slinging down the keys from one row to the next, without stopping, until the ‘story’ is done, my family reminds me.

It couldn’t get any worse–they now put everyone’s cobs in front of me and take a picture. I am mortified-look, don’t you see! I must say, if that was a plate of fresh steaming, popping with salt and dripping real butter, it’d be all over my chin and I’d be too busy to smile!
Then a few days later I’d be thinking about that word ‘moderation’ again. . .

September 17, 2010 Posted by | Family Time, Norton Creek Lodge | 3 Comments

God’s majesty in small things

Take a step out the Lodge door onto the deck in the cool crisp mountain air. Pull that warm cozy robe tight around you. Everything just seems to be a cup full of joy. Sit down in rocking chair with the hot tea streaming tendrils toward the heavens. Look out over deck and past the trees nearby to look and drink in the cool clear creek. Salute the rhododendrons who wave at you with their green leaves. With that crisp air, a few leaves on the surrounding trees are peaking out in reds and some yellows. Fall is in the air. and then WHAPO-my socks are knocked off my feet.

I was looking so far ahead–terrible trait of mine–that I didn’t see God’s majesty right in front of my eyes. Something I would normally had thought of as ‘icky’ was just gorgeous. The way the sun was glinting thru the trees onto the hanging module and close by rhodi showed the glistening overnight handiwork of a spider. Euuuw I’d normally say-even if I can’t spell it, but this was beautiful. The sun bounced in and around the trees profiling the web as different delicate parts glistened here and there. Try as I might I was not able to get a photo that even came close to what I was really seeing. I guess it’s one of those-you had to be here to see it moments. I’m on-my-knees-grateful that I am!

Module with night's handiwork-spider web

September 15, 2010 Posted by | Norton Creek Lodge, Weather | Leave a comment

Whine Spill

If I hear we’ve hit a temperature record in Hot Humid Tampa one more time, I’m going to cover my ears. I don’t know about where you may live, but this has been one hot summer here. I’m dreaming of our cool tree-covered Highlands house-Norton Creek Lodge. I’m figuratively dipping my toes into that ice cold creek and wading up to the noisy busy miniature waterfall.

I’m getting emails and text messages from my adult children–count down time! The latest is an older text photo of my grand-dog Izzy, cooling and drying off near the cool creek next to the Highlands mountain house. Big ole grin on her face. Children can be so cruel…. As if I’m not already counting down the days til our family reunion, my son has to rub it in!

I’m soooo looking forward to a little r & r. There should be a bit of rocking chair time on the forever deck, a bit of checker time (I’ll be so ‘chilled’ that I’ll even let my opponent win!) and a bit of swing time. I think it’s time to find a hammock to string up, too! I wonder, if I swing back and forth, will I spill my glass of wine down time?

August 6, 2010 Posted by | Norton Creek Lodge | 4 Comments

And there was light…

With all that’s going on, I can’t believe I forgot to add a photo of our updated, newly tiled kitchen! Who says you can’t tile a serendipity floor? Hernandez Construction can.

Re-arranging the kitchen cabinets, to move the refrigerator, turned out to be a much more involved project that I thought! It definitely helped to be there to answer questions. We also learned that finding wormy chestnut paneling can be quite an undertaking and as it ‘undertakes’ our wallet. 1-5″ wide piece = $54! We needed 5 to cover the side of the fridge so it’s not the first thing you see when you look into the kitchen. Thanks to the magic fingers and talent of Eutimeo’s oldest son, we have an amazing transformation that doesn’t even look like the cabinets were torn out from the roots!

Looking into what was formerly a very dark kitchen–Let the sun shine in!

August 6, 2010 Posted by | Norton Creek Lodge, Remodeling | Leave a comment

Changing numbers

First it said, “85”-as in degrees, in the FL garage at 6am no less. Humidity you could cut with a knife, sprinkle on cinnamon sugar and serve for breakfast. A bit later in Gainesville FL it said 77 and we knew were were on our way.

We really start looking in Atlanta.. figuring HOT ‘Lanta but yesterday it was 85 at 2pm and breezy. It actually felt a lot better than 85 at 6am in Tampa. But as they say in the tv commercials… But Wait—Dillard GA said 77 and balmy.. I love going backwards.

After a stop in Franklin NC, Lowe’s, to pick up new tile and grout, we eagerly watched the car thermometer…. drop.. Yehaw. We took Rt 64 up the mountain to say ‘heh’ to the Cullasaja Falls, Bust-Your-Butt Falls a bit farther up, people still at the Dry Falls lookout in early evening, and wow-the sunlight was hitting Bridal Veil Falls in Highlands just right. It was a glistening veil that photographers just love….not to mention people looking at their car thermometer!

As we rounded the turn in our driveway and checked one last time… 68! incredible. I was actually looking for my flannel jamies before we went to bed.
But Wait…. I turned on the electric blanket instead. Ahhh technology. cozy. Ya gotta love it.

June 9, 2010 Posted by | Flowers, Mountain Magic Outdoors, Norton Creek Lodge | 2 Comments