Monday, August 25, 2014

Goodbye 58 - Hello 59!

Heartwood - Southwest Virginia's Artisan Gateway
Abingdon, VA - July 30, 2014

Giving a thumbs up to the naming of this blog four years ago, I’ll have to say that my 58th year was most definitely one of “gains and losses.”  At times, it seemed the losses were far outnumbering the gains.  The year began on a high note as we closed on our new condo the day before my 58th birthday.  We were astounded at how quickly and smoothly the process had fallen into place.  We moved on August 6 and even that went flawlessly. 

July 29, 2013
Then things started going downhill….not going into every detail because that isn’t the point of this post, but it all culminated with Bill’s cancer diagnosis in late September.  And no need to rehash that nightmare! 

I cannot even so much as imply that I’d like to forget my 58th year because it has taught me so many things about life, love, perseverance, friendship, patience and compassion.  And that’s just for starters.  But neither can I tell you that I wasn’t excited about celebrating my 59th birthday and looking forward to the final year of this decade for me. 

We celebrated all week long!  But we did it with a great deal of spontaneity, which you might recall, is not one of my strongest qualities.  I prefer things to be planned and organized!  But with Bill still struggling to eat and never quite knowing if it was going to be a good day or a difficult day with respect to his strength/stamina, we just had to take it a day at a time.  We visited several local restaurants that were new to us, found and sauntered along a few new greenways/walking paths in our city that we hadn’t previously discovered, spent some time with family and enjoyed some fun scenic driving to places we hadn’t visited in awhile. 

On my actual birthday (July 30) I asked to drive up to Abingdon, VA, one of our favorite getaway spots.  It’s a couple of hours north of Knoxville and best known for being the starting or ending point of the Virginia Creeper Trail, a much loved former railroad converted to bike path which you’ve read about many times on this blog. (See Note at bottom of post) But Abingdon is also a wonderful town with a beautiful historic district and a very pleasant destination with something for everyone.  Obviously we are not biking right now (plus wouldn’t be doing that in July anyway), but we did enjoy a walk along the Creeper Trail, a visit to the absolutely beautiful Abingdon Winery and our first visit to Heartwood, Virginia’s new Artisan Craft Center. 

All of today’s pictures were taken on that birthday trip to Abingdon and most of them along the Creeper Trail.

I have big plans for my 59th year and they all involve forward progress for me in every aspect of my life.  My 58th year brought a lot of change and it is my desire for 59 to be a year in which I learn from those challenges and become a stronger person because of them.

 Not bad for one old broad and one amazing cancer survivor!
July 30, 2014 - My 59th Birthday!

NOTE:  When searching previous posts to link you to one with more pictures of Abingdon and the Creeper Trail, I had forgotten about our Fall Break, 2011 adventure which also included a visit to Mountain Lake Resort in Pemborke, VA where most of the film Dirty Dancing was shot.  I didn't remember writing that tribute to Patrick Swayze, one of my all time favorite actors, and his very public battle with pancreatic cancer.  Little did I know that exactly two years later, my own husband would be fighting his own battle with cancer.  While Patrick ultimately lost his battle, we are forever grateful that Bill has won his!  Thanks be to God!


  1. Oh how I love that last picture of you two....So happy together!!!! Love it!

    So glad you two are finding ways to celebrate life... I'm sure that life is much more precious to you both --after what you have been through...

    We took the 'old' road last Friday from Cosby to Cataloochee --and stopped at Little Cataloochee and hiked to the Hannah Cabin... Had such a wonderful time... Thought of you since you love Cataloochee so much.


  2. So happy that you had such a great time!

  3. Happy Happy Belated Birthday to you!! Celebrating for a week is just perfect. What a great attitude you have! I so admire you for your tenacity. So glad to see that picture of you and Bill. You haven't posted one as long as I can remember. I too am a great admirer of Patrick Swayze and the film Dirty Dancing. I'd hate to admit how many times I've watched it and wished just once in my life I could dance like that. I have lived in Virginia most of my life and have never been to Mountain Lake Resort. I really MUST do that. And must go back and read your tribute post as soon as I finish this comment. I have been to Abingdon and really love the town. There is something about the atmosphere that just makes me feel at home. Love the Creeper Trail and the Barter Theater too. Your opening picture is absolutely perfect for this great post.

  4. I am all about celebrating for as long as possible. Happy 59th year to you.
    PS today is my birthday but I'm not telling my age!

  5. I've only been to Heartwood once, but I lingered for a long time. I hope to go again someday when I have $$$ to spend. :)

  6. Happy birthday! Glad you got out and had some fun on your special day. Nice photo of you and your hubby.

  7. Happy Birthday!!! *hugs* It was quite a year for you both! I hope this year brings buckets full of blessings!

  8. Happy Birthday! I just know this year is going to be a great one for you!

  9. Look at how cute you are! I see you found one of the Virginia is for Lovers spots.