Monthly Archives: December 2012

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Home..Where Ever We Are, There We Are

Where is home? As long as we are together, that’s where it is.

Any Soft Spot Will Do

Any Soft Spot Will Do

Camping Out on a Chapel Floor

Camping Out on a Chapel Floor

  For us at the time being, it is a roof over our heads, a shelter, a place of comfort. Our collections of belongings and things.  Fertile soil surrounds us to grow food, flowers and to enjoy nature..and solitude. The creature comforts are there..a huge cozy couch, multiple beds, clean sheets, a fireplace, thousands of books, heat and air conditioning at the flip of a switch. Closets and dressers full of clothing. And then there’s the excess things.. chotchkies, tools, garden equipment, kitchen clutter, junk drawer mystery items, extra furniture in the attic, saved letters from the past , our old stamp collections and extra linens. More things than we actually need ; vintage china, antiques passed down from the relatives..souvenirs of their lives,  piles of papers, ubiquitous electronic wires and such, scattered toys, fabric, random items that overwhelm us, more piles of things we don’t know what to do with, the stuff of life in a home.

But what is the true meaning of home?

Is it our material possessions and accumulated masses of things? Or is it us, ourselves, being together, that makes up a home?

Lunch together

A Picnic Lunch Together

Take an Account of What Matters Most.

Is it our “stuff” or “ourselves” that truly matter? What is a thing compared to a human that we love ( and are related to)?  So what of the stuff and objects that can not go with us into the next life..the life in eternity. It’s just burdensome and a bondage. Can we be free to be with each other, our family, and not be so attached to physical belongings? We are in this world, but do we really need to be “of it “?

As I go through our “things” and try to decide what to do with them, I think on this. My happiest thoughts and memories are of the moments of us being together. Our experiences, our talks, our nurturing and caring for each other. Not the material gifts we get ..it’s the cherished times. The laughs, the love, the memories. The roof over our heads does not amount to what home is. It’s us. No matter where we are.

Climbing and Growing Together

Climbing and Growing Together

Grow Where You Are Planted.

Some of us tend to yearn to be somewhere else. We need to remind ourselves that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence, yet, there is so much more beyond our safety net that may need to be explored. If it’s our own fears and ego that keeps us stagnant, then we should try to break free of that. This is a big beautiful world. Why not venture out with your family, and see what that means? Home means many things to all of us. It depends on your society, your status, your current lot in life. Who says that it will remain as it is..home? As long as you are together, that is home. Even if it is in transit, in a mansion, in a bamboo hut, in a cozy abode, a house boat, a tent or in a temporary dwelling.

Where ever you are, there you are.

Grow Where You Are Planted

Grow Where You Are Planted

 

Where do you think you live, in a barn? !

Do you live in a castle on 500 acres, or in a mud adobe with dirt floors?  A suburban house with a yard, or a bamboo hut? Does it really matter ( in the scheme of the important higher meaning of life)?  In our town there are barns for horses that are newer and more beautiful than some people’s homes. I’ve even heard of a lady who lived in an outfitted chicken coop.  And friends of ours lived in a barn with their large family while they were building a new home on their land. They were quite content, all of them living simply ( no running water) and making due until one day a big black snake was spotted near the Mothers bed..then they decided to upgrade a bit.

Do You Think You Live in a Barn?

Do You Think You Live in a Barn?

A Governor's Palace

A Governor’s Palace

If you have a mansion and a “museum worthy art collection”, and no love, than what do you really have? If you have a space that comforts you and a lifestyle that serves you, yet no one who cares for you beyond your belongings, what of that? These are things we need to ponder. My “stuff” is not me..the meaning of me. I am thankful and grateful for the home I now live in that houses our family and keeps our children safe. But if I cling to the notion that the” bricks and mortar” are our refuge, then I may be sorely disappointed.  It could vanish in a moment.  An old friend of ours recently lost their home to a fire, due to Hurricane Sandy. In an instant, the structure and belongings could vanish. I try not to cling to the things of this earth. But it is not easy to think this way, and I am not there yet. Loving and caring for people is what really counts.What matters to me is others. Especially my family.

A Good Tree for a Nap

A Good Tree to be Together in

Home is Anywhere, As Long as it is Filled With Love

During this Holiday season I want to focus on our love for each other, our being together and paying attention. Not the frantic searching and shopping for the piles of gifts to be put under a dead tree in our living room. Instead, we are inviting others into our home, sharing a feast with them and family, and spending the time to talk with one another. To care.

We have a roof over our heads and walls to protect us. A place to invite others in and plenty of food and dishes to set a place for them.  Our children are here and nearby. Some day soon I am hoping that we can venture out of the country as a family. Being together, no matter where. They will all be adults before we know it. I want to cherish the times with them, no matter where we call home. 

Home is us together, where ever that may be.

Home on the Beach

Home on the Beach

Other Families Realities of Home

Follow these links below to read of some out of the ordinary places called home. These families are in transit, their homes are scattered across the globe, and can change like the wind. But they are together, and that is what matters.

Bohemian Travelers…Home is Every Where http://www.bohemiantravelers.com/2012/12/home-is-every-where.html

Living Outside of the Box – Where Is Home?

http://livingoutsideofthebox.com/2012/12/20/where-is-home-on-the-road/

Life Changing Year – I Never Thought We’d Be Home For Christmas! http://lifechangingyear.com/i-never-thought-wed-be-home-for-christmas/

A Minor Diversion – A Minor Diversion Comes Home http://www.minordiversion.com/2012/12/a-minor-diversion-comes-home/ ‎

Witness Humanity…. Things I will miss about New York (or a Guide to the Awesomeness that is NYC)

http://www.witnesshumanity.com/things-i-will-miss-about-home-or-a-guide-to-the-awesomeness-that-is-nyc

Simon Says: Where are you from? – http://simonsays2010.blogspot.com/2012/12/where-you-from.html

Gypseekers-Are We Home Yet?: Re-entering Society After a Round the World Adventure

http://gypseekers.com/are-we-home-yet/

Flashpacker Family – My Heart Doesn’t Lie at Home http://flashpackerfamily.com/my-heart-doesnt-lie-at-home/

The Expat Experiment…Traveling Home – http://expatexperiment.com/traveling-home/

Barefoot Nomad… Where’s Home for a Barefoot Nomad? http://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-philosophy/where-is-home-for-barefoot-nomad

The Nomadic Family….I Hate Home, and That One, and That One http://thenomadicfamily.com/2012/12/i-hate-this-home-and-that-one-and-this-one-coco-bungalows/

Discover Share Inspire… How to Always Be Home For the Holidays… No Matter Where in the World You Are

http://www.discovershareinspire.com/2012/12/how-to-always-be-home-for-the-holidays-no-matter-where-in-the-world-you-are

Home.. Where Ever We Are, There We Are

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Don’t Shoot! I am a Hiker…and “Tom Cruise Slept Here! “

An Excursion to Lexington, Virginia, USA

Don’t Shoot! I Am a Hiker

Just got back from a 2 day getaway to Lexington, Virginia, USA. We were given a gift certificate for a Bed and Breakfast a few years ago from my parents and we finally got the chance to use it this week. It was a well needed time alone together, albeit quick. For Thanksgiving we hosted 17 refugees from Bhutan via Nepal, one ESL guest from Brazil along with family and friends. Great feast and much fun, but it was time for us to use that gift card.

I got online and searched all the listings with Bed and Breakfast.com and found one that fit all of the criteria my husband really wanted. Quiet, mountains, wilderness, fireplace and hiking. Since we only had a one night stay over, we could not drive too far. We found just the right place in Lexington, Virginia called House Mountain Inn. House Mountain Inn | Welcome to Destination Relaxation.

Front of House Mountain Inn

Hike, Eat, Read, Sleep, and  Be Allowed to Do Nothing!

These were our goals for the 2 days. From our home it took us about 2 1/2 hours driving. Once we pulled up the steep and windy mountain road ( well paved and with guard rails) and saw the lodge, we knew it was what we were hoping for. We met the owner, Mr. Irvine, who was working on the grounds  and he talked to us a bit and walked us in. He introduced us to Tim Grue, his son in law. The resort is a family owned business and was started in 2003. Check in is at 3 pm , but he let us check in earlier. As we  walked in through the large double wooden doors, it felt as if we entered into a resort in Montana or Colorado.

House Mountain Inn is located west of Lexington, Virginia, and is better than your average uncomfortable and overstuffed Victorian B+B. The 15,000 sq. ft. timber logs lodge is nestled into the slope of Big House Mountain in the Allegheny Mountains and set on a 1000 acre preserve.  The great room is beautiful and spacious with a large stone fireplace with comfy couches and chairs in front of it. There are numerous wild animals of the region mounted on the walls and displayed throughout the lobby, such as fox, wild turkey, deer and bobcat.  A very large moose head is mounted above the fireplace mantle. All of this adds to the mountain lodge style. The inviting dining area blends into the great room and includes pine cabinetry with granite counter tops. Here you can help yourself to coffee, tea, snacks and includes an small fridge, and microwave to use when you’d like.
Wild!

Wild!

Tim spent a lot of time with us while showing us our room, the lodge and all of the details of the place and what we could do. Come to find out, we were the only guests of the entire resort, being that it was a weekday right after Thanksgiving. So technically, our gift certificate afforded us a practical castle to ourselves! Tim told us we could look around the resort at all of the 9 guest suites and large dining and restaurant area. each nights stay includes a hearty gourmet served breakfast ( from your choice of delicious options from a menu). We also could have had a dinner included in the stay with local ingredients as part of the meal. And from 4-5 pm they offer wine, cheese and crackers by the fireplace, complimentary with your stay.
View from the Front Porch

View from the Front Porch

We opted to head out right away and hike up the mountain. At the entryway we saw a sign on the door stating that we needed to wear orange vests before entering the woods. It was hunting season. Conveniently on a coat rack by the door were vests for us to borrow ( and a animal fur stole, just in case you needed a scarf ). In a wood barrel you had your choice of walking sticks ( that we forgot to grab). I had on regular comfortable sneakers..not exactly hiking boots. The only item I had that was practical for our climb, was a water bottle. We love hiking, but have much to learn in being better prepared. We brought along some apples and cheese. I really needed a proper back pack and real shoes that work for climbing up and down a mountain.
Important Advice During Hunting Season

Important Advice During Hunting Season

We hiked up about 2 miles up to get to the observation tower. It was a steady incline for the most part and I found my heart racing and I got out of breath frequently. The trail was clear and wide. So it’s manageable if you are in good shape ( I was not conditioned very well for the climb, but did fine on the way down). Once we got to the tower ( a small portion is a side trail to get to the observation deck..a VERY steep portion ), we took a break to marvel at the gorgeous view. There is a picnic table and a couple rocking chairs to rest on after the rigorous climb. The day was sunny and clear, so it was ideal for us to take in the scenic vista. After having and apple and drinking lots of water, we worked our way down back to the lodge. Being careful and putting on our feet brakes so we did not topple down the mountain!

View from the Tower

View from the Tower

Observation Tower of House Mountain Inn

Observation Tower of House Mountain Inn

Tom Cruise Slept Here

When War of the Worlds by Steven Spielberg was being filmed in 2004, Tom Cruise and his crew booked the entire House Mountain Inn for a whole week. Tim showed us the suite that he stayed in. Never thought that a place we picked out from a list of so many B+B’s would have been chosen as the place to stay in Lexington for Tome cruise. We are so used to visiting places that claim” George Washington slept here”, so I thought it amusing and we took pictures of the room he stayed in. After our hike, our dinner ( that we picked up at Macado’s because we wanted just a sandwich and soup after all that fresh mountain air) and some touring of  the historic part of Lexington, Virginia , Tim told us he was locking up the Inn and that Breakfast would be ready at 9 a.m. Coffee, tea water , muffins and fruit would be out for us earlier. So we settle in by our gas fireplace for the evening ( white cotton and terry cloth robes hanging in our closet if we so desired) and complete peace and silence. The television in the suite offers DIRECTV and as we scrolled through to see if there was anything worth watching ( we don’t have any cable channels at home), what do we find?  Four of Tom Cruise’s movies to choose from.

Tom Cruise Slept Here

Tom Cruise Slept Here

Wine and Cheese by the Fire

Wine and Cheese by the Fire

The Kids Would Love This Place

This typically happens where ever we go. On the rare chance that we have some time alone together ( we have 7 kids, remember), the whole time we are away, we comment on how much the kids would enjoy the destination also and that we want to go back and bring them next time. The area had lots of outdoorsy activities, historical interest sights and hands on educational opportunities. Sam Houston ( Remember the Alamo) Sam Houston Birthplace. grew up nearby, the Virginia Military Institute. and an old mill house museum of  Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the mechanical farm reaper. Also, while driving on the way to the Inn, we saw a large flock of sheep ( and we stopped by the farm to meet the owner ), alpaca , horses ( Virginia Horse Center Foundation ). and cattle farms. So we hope to go back and bring the kids. They would enjoy it all and we now can recommend this area and the Inn to other families.

Big House Mountain

Big House Mountain

Sam Houston Slept Here Too

Sam Houston Slept Here Too

McCormick Mill

McCormick Mill

Historic Lexington

Historic Lexington

Don’t Shoot! I am a Hiker