Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Dear Younger Me

Dear Younger Me,

      How do I start this? Where do I begin?  To be honest I am sort of drawing a blank. There is so much I want to say to you. So many things I want you to realize before you become Dear older me. I don't want this letter to be filled with tacky cliches, but I have a feeling you will find at least a few written among  these lines.

To start, I have to say sleep is a beautiful thing.  I may just be saying that due to the lack of it I got last night, but it is still very important.  I know how tempted you are to stay up late. To hang with your friends until the wee hours of the morning, but trust me your older self will thank you so much for the sleep you get now.

 Also, no matter how good your "genes" are you still need to take care of your skin.  I don't expect you to slather sun screen every time you walk out the door, but you will see the importance of it the closer you get to 40. Take care of what you put into your body and how you treat it. Just don't be to much of a stickler, a cupcake or three every now and then won't kill you and don't feel guilty if you don't eat healthy everyday, some days are just made for junk food. Try to find time each week to get some form of exercise, just walking in place while watching television means at least your moving.    What I am trying to say is remember that your body is a temple of God and treat it as you think he wants you to.

There will be enough things to make you cry so find something everyday to laugh at. I mean a good old fashioned belly chuckle. The kind that makes you cry tears of joy. Laughter really is the best medicine.

Remember to surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. Not every group of people that you know will be right for you.  You will know when you have to let someone go. It will be that obvious. Some people are just toxic to whom ever they are with and you need to put distance  between them and you.  Strive to find the people that make you happy, stronger and give encouragement. Life is to short to waste on stupid people!

Try to understand that giving up doesn't necessarily mean giving in.  There will be times that you have to let go of a dream or idea. Doing that doesn't mean defeat, it just means that you are grown enough to accept the truth.

I hope that you always work hard and don't be lazy, people don't like lazy bums, unless their liberal.
Never be a liberal!! I know that in the world you will feel the pull to leave your Conservative roots and embrace liberalism, please don't.  Always remember that the freedoms we have are bought and paid for with the blood and lives of patriots and they didn't fight for liberalism.

Stay close to your family.  Remember Ohana means family and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten. (You knew at least one Disney idea would be in this and I totally wrote that in my Stitch voice).

Save!!! I can not stress it enough! I am not saying never spend any money, but make a point to save some. It doesn't have to be much, $10 a week starting off is still a start. You can always increase that amount later on.

After telling you to save now I come to the good part. Live! Travel! See the world! There are so many ways to travel on a budget and still travel nice.  Also make sure that you do a lot of travelling before kids. That way you can experience all of your destination without having to worry about keeping a little human occupied. They can be pretty testy sometimes.

I just have two more pieces of advice to impart:

Show Jesus to the world. No matter what may be going on today and in the future people still need to see the love of Jesus.  It is easy to do. Be kind, show compassion, it will make a difference.  I recommend doing three acts of kindness every month. One for family, one for a friend and one for a stranger.  You never know how much one simple little act of kindness can make a huge difference for someones day, week, or even life.

Finally and most important, always seek God's will for your life. There may be plans that you have that are not what he wants for you.  Put him first in your life and you will never go wrong.

Enjoy life!!!!  Go out and grab it by the horns or the tail or whatever you can get a hold of. Don't sit and wait for life to find you, because it will and then it will pass you by.  Don't be the woman who wakes up on her 40th birthday and wonders what she did with her life. Be the woman who can wake up and say look what I have done with my life. Make everyday count and live it to its fullest potential.

It has been rumored that Albert Einstein once said, "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." Be that person who sees everything, no matter how big or small, as a miracle. 
I know there is something important or really philosophical I forgot to say and it will come to me later, but until then just take this advice, go forth and conquer the world. 

*As I was writing this letter I realized that I was in fact writing to two dear younger me's. I have two daughters who will one day be grown and out of the nest. I can only hope that I have prepared them for life as best as I could.


"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Ellis Family Road Trip 2016: The Finale

and the story continues...

Thursday June 30, 2016:

After a very restless night we had breakfast and headed toward Osceola Arkansas. I wanted to find a place beside the Mississippi River to gather some rocks and sand.  During this trip we had been picking up rocks from every state and I wanted sand from the river to put in my vacation sand jar. We found a spot way off the beaten path, got our rocks and sand, then after talking with a local we headed to Sans Souci Landing. What a wonderful place for taking pictures. It was a nice little stop to make and we really enjoyed it. After a little time resting by the river, we decided to head north just a little so I could cross Missouri off my list of states visited.

My feet in the Mississippi 

We then headed back into Tennessee and stopped at the Tennessee Safari Park in Alamo TN. The Safari Park was so much fun and I even got kissed by a giraffe.

We named this camel Snoop Dogg

After our Safari adventure we decided to stop for an early supper at the Log Cabin Restaurant. The food was better than Cracker Barrell!

Fried Chicken steak with collard greens, pintos, onions and mac and cheese. Classic Southern Comfort food!

We decided to stop early for the night in Brentwood Tennessee, just outside of Nashville so the kids could have some pool time. I have to say the Baymont Inn was so nice and we slept much better that night.

Friday July 1, 2016

After a fantastic breakfast we continued our travels east and stopped at The Hermitage, the plantation home of Andrew Jackson. He was never my favorite president, but I learned a lot of new things I never knew about him and gained a new respect for the person that he was.

After a few hours there we headed toward home again and decided to surprise our 10 year old by stopping in Pigeon Forge Tennessee to have supper at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen. The food was served family style and a dessert was included.  Even though it was more expensive than we normally pay for a meal, it was worth the extra to see the excitement on our daughters face.

We could have driven the entire 5 hours home, but that would have put our arrival at about 1 in the morning, so we decided to stop for the night in Morristown TN, at the Holiday Inn Express. We just agreed that would give us some rest and that we could take our time the next day.

Saturday July 2, 2016:

After another amazing HIE breakfast, we hit the road for the final day of our trip.  We went through Virginia and finally saw that wonderful and beautiful Welcome to North Carolina sign. We decided to stop about 30 minutes from home and eat at one of our favorite places, Amigos. It is a small Mexican restaurant in King. The food and service is always excellent and the staff always friendly.

When we arrived home, we were greeted by a very excited Dixie Belle. I have to say I was so happy to see her too.
The following videos shows both of our excitement!



Over all the trip was awesome, extraordinary and tiring.  It was hard for someone like me who always has a plan to step away and just "wing it" but I did. We had an adventure like never before and our girls say they can't wait to do it again.

"Thats my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?" 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Ellis Family Road Trip 2016: Part 2

and the story continues...

Tuesday June 28, 2016:

After breakfast we left Ringgold GA and headed toward Alabama. We crossed over a time zone line and had to set all our clocks back one hour. We decided to stop at The US Space and Rocket Museum in Huntsville. I never knew the interesting history behind this place.  During WWII Germany was already developing a rocket, so our government brought several German scientists to our country when the war ended. Huntsville played a very vital and  important role in the development of our space science and exploration. I never expected the museum to be so interesting.   I would definitely recommend this as a stop if you are ever in the Huntsville Alabama area.

Moon Rock

After leaving Huntsville we headed toward Hartselle to surprise some old friends with a visit. I had been in contact with their daughter and the two of us had kept everything a secret. To say the family was surprised would be an understatement.  The fellowship and hospitality were wonderful and the meal that Ms.Kerri and her girls prepared was excellent.  We spent about 5 hours just visiting and reminiscing. My girls loved the stop as they made new friends. In fact they didn't want to leave, but sadly we did have to continue our travels.  As we left my heart was full of joy from seeing them and empty at having to leave them.  Bro. Patrick and his family are wonderful people and I consider it an honor to call them friends.

We drove a couple of hours after we left their house and ended up spending the night in Fulton Mississippi at the Holiday Inn Express.  It was around 11:30 when we arrived at the hotel and we were exhausted.

Wednesday June 29,2016:

Today we headed toward Tupelo Mississippi and stopped at the Birthplace of Elvis Presley. It was interesting to see the humble beginnings of Elvis and learn about his early life.

After Tupelo we headed north to Memphis and stopped by to visit Graceland. I guess you could say Wednesday was our Elvis day. It was sad to tour his home and know that he passed away in that very house just a few feet from where you were touring.  Elvis was a very talented and giving man. I wonder how happy he really was?

After leaving Memphis we crossed over the Mississippi and headed for Arkansas.

We ended up spending the night in West Memphis at the Days Inn. I have to say I was not super happy with the choice. The room was perfect for spending the night and letting the kids play in the pool.  Unfortunately it was not the quietest place, perhaps due to being right next door to the Dog Track and Casino.  We got what sleep we could and looked forward to the following morning. 

to be continued.....

"That's my 'two-cents worth', whats yours?"