Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Unexpected Surprises!

Virginia Bluebells - GSMNP
April 3, 2010

I stumbled upon this small patch of Virginia Bluebells during my wildflower ramble last Saturday morning.  They were growing directly behind the Sugarlands Visitor Center and had I not parked in a little known parking area to avoid the crowds, I would never have seen these.  I'd always been told there is only one place in the park where Virginia Bluebells can be found and this is NOT it.  Don't know if someone carried a seed on the bottom of their shoe or what, but when I saw them and squealed with glee, thank goodness the masses of humanity waiting in line at the restroom were too far away to hear.  I've always loved the bluebells partially because the patch I knew about is so hard to find and now, they always remind me of my BlogFriend Tish who lives in Virginia and with whom I spent a delightful few days last fall.  

And speaking of unexpected surprises, it appears that I am finally going to spend some time with another BlogFriend tomorrow.  We began our blogs within a few months of each other and quickly realized we lived fairly close to each other.  A desire to hike together was born and although we had a hike scheduled once, I cancelled because it was near the beginning of my prolonged illness a few months ago.  We are expecting perfect weather tomorrow so, on a whim and very short notice, I emailed and to my surprise, she was able to work it out for us to hike tomorrow.  I'm sure there will be much more on BOTH our blogs along with pictures of the happy trek!
Another totally unexpected surprise has been how quickly my enthusiasm for the Hard Core Left Turn went south.  Now don't read anything into that or jump ahead assuming I've already blown it.  That's not the case at all.  In fact, if anything, I should be pleased that I've hung tough because I'm telling you, the mental part of it is killing me.  Monday was great, but yesterday was one of the toughest days I can remember in a long time.  I was literally having visions of all the things I wanted to eat.  I'd banish one and something else would cross my mind.  I tried every avoidance tactic I've ever known and finally just gave myself a break and faced the fact that it was a form of mental fighting and withdrawal from the things I plan to eliminate from my eating during the month of April.  We all know it takes a few days to banish the cravings and adjust.  Since I was so pumped up, I'd hoped it wouldn't be quite so painful.   Wrong!!

And why should that have been a surprise?  Sometimes I think in all our attempts to be honest about our struggles, we don't admit to each other often enough that this whole thing is just HARD!  And yes, there will be periods where it seems easier than others or we feel we've learned enough to let down our guard, but there will never be a time when there isn't a struggle of some sort going on within our minds and bodies.  I am so grateful for the brutal honesty of my long time maintaining BlogFriends!  

And my last unexpected surprise today is that at long last, I have changed my profile picture.  It's small and even enlarging it doesn't show a whole lot, but Mr. B took this picture on one of our hikes in the Cataloochee Valley area of the park.  And it is so ME!  Perched on a rock with my hiking boots on thumbing through a book grasping a thermos full of hot coffee.  Now I'm telling you, it doesn't get any better than that.  Just for good measure, here's a larger copy of the picture.

She's in the woods - She's HAPPY!

Have you had any unexpected surprises today?


  1. I love this picture! Thanks for sharing it:)

  2. As a matter of fact I have. My daughter took some pictures of me while I was walking today, and I was unpleasantly surprised at how big I still look. Ugh!!!

    I wonder who you're hiking with tomorrow? LOL

    I love this picture of you. Your happiness is undeniable!!!

  3. You are lovely in every way!!!! Hard Core Left Turn...Aggressive April...we're doing this Sharon.

  4. Sharon, I just happened on your blog, but have to tell you that I live in West Knoxville and have a very large spread of Virginia bluebells in my wildflower bed. They come back every year and I think started from a plant purchased at a wildflower sale about 20 years ago. And, I agree that they are beautiful.

  5. Oh, I love this photo! Your favorite things behind and around you and Mr. B behind the camera. Perfect!

    My unexpected surprise today was more leaves on the ground than I realized. Good thing I had set aside today and tomorrow for yard work-as-exercise, because I'm sure going to get it!

    have a lovely weekend, Sharon!

  6. Great picture!! You look so happy and very at home!! Have a wonderful time on your hike - sounds like you will have a great time!!

    Don't be too hard yourself. I will be blogging tomorrow on the bad thing I did today. I have to remember....I'm not perfect!!!

    Keep focused on your plan!

  7. That picture is so perfect! Just as I would imagine you in a moment of bliss.

    My sweet surprise was hubby getting home last night from an out of town business trip with a dozen red rosed in hand for our 32nd wedding anniversary. Surely wasn't expecting that he would think to stop and pick up flowers.

    I was all smiles!

  8. I love unexpected surprises! I love that picture of you.