my first time // in boone

my first time // in boone

In October, the family and I went to Boone, North Carolina for a fun filled weekend in the mountains.

my first time // in boone

Boone is a good four or five hour drive from where we live. In true McHenry/Harkness style, we listened to music the entire drive and arrived late Friday evening.

my first time // in boone

Our host was Noah, a former student of Jon’s. He and his family let us stay at their cabin for the weekend. My favorite thing when traveling is to be there with a local. Their perspective is completely different and they know exactly where you should eat, the things you should see, and the cool facts you should know. Also, Noah happens to be a fellow film lover and we spent some good time watching horror films in anticipation of Halloween.

my first time // in boone

For our first day in the mountains, we definitely had to check out a staple Smoky Mountain experience. The Mast General Store. Its floors are properly uneven, with steep staircases and narrow aisles. They display their impressive candy selection in barrels, host antique displays, and even have banjo playing musicians on their rocking-chair strewn porches.

my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone
my first time // in boone

The next day we went on a hike up to Flat Top Fire Tower. It was at least two miles up hill to get there. I might have been severely unimpressed by the lack of fall colors in the mountains had it not been for our hiking locals, Noah and George, or our group’s insatiable desire to take pretty much every “shortcut” we could find. I’m here to tell you, not every shortcut was actually a shortcut. At one point we were climbing on rocks and crawling through tunnels of trees and bracken, laughing and jokingly asking if anyone had food or water, in case we got lost.
(No but seriously, we all had food and water.)

my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone

Flat Top Fire Tower
The winds of Hurricane Matthew were whipping through the mountains. We continued our wise life decisions and climbed the tower anyways. It was a little bit terrifying, and terrifyingly exhilarating. The views were incredible. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really pay attention to the photos or video that I shot because I was clinging to the railing for dear life as my extremities slowly froze.

my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone

The way back down the mountain was much more enjoyable, with many more “shortcuts,” on which we got even more lost.

my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone

Thanks for humoring my need for photos, guys!

my first time // in boone

This photo captures the joy we experienced when we discovered the trail again after being briefly lost in the woods.

my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone

After our exhilarating adventure (AKA: hiking), we ate a delicious meal of barbecue recommended by our locals, and then went to a strip mall where we shopped the sales, Kasey and George got excellent jackets, and we ate some quality ice cream.

my first time // in boone

That night back at the cabin, I took advantage of the wide open skies to take some shots of the stars to work on my astrophotography.
(Can you see Grandfather Mountain in the distance?)

my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone my first time // in boone

Our trip was short, but sweet. I spent a good piece of it worrying about Hurricane Matthew and the devastation happening to our home. Despite that, I know that Boone is beautiful, that the restaurants are amazing, that our host and his friends were very entertaining and welcoming, and that I continue to love the Appalachians.

“There is nothing prettier in the world than a girl in love with every breath she takes.” -Atticus

Until next time,

Jamie

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when i grow up, i want to be an astronaut

I have been fascinated with stars and space for years. Take me out in the middle of nowhere and I will be content to watch the skies for hours. Clouds, storms, clear nights, clear mornings, rain, lightning, moonless nights, harvest moons, full moons. Everything. It holds my awe every day.

In another life I would love to be an astronaut. Just the thought of being out in space takes my breath away—where there is no air and no sound, and there are more stars in the sky than you can even imagine. Behind you is the earth and you can see the side of clouds and storms and land that you rarely get it see, on a scale that you never get to witness, and every film you’ve ever watched about anything at all would be diminished to nothingness because your reality would be so overwhelmingly unbelievable.

How crazy is it that space is unfathomably large, and that it is always expanding? What is it expanding into? And how is it doing it at the speed of light? What is this nothingness that is becoming a space that is so huge that the stars we see might not even be alive any more? Stars that have died years and years and years ago are still smiling at us.

“How crazy is it that some of the stars we see aren’t even there any more? It’s just that their light is still hitting us. It’s like their souls are still with us.” -Ruben.

It’s like how love continues even after someone is gone. Because let’s face it, love—true love—is unconditional. It is not dependent on the actions or presence of someone. It is not an emotion. It is a choice and a lifestyle. It is an impact on your soul—an impact that will radically change you and will never leave you.

When I look at the sky, all I see in all of the beauty and the majesty, is how Great my God is. I think of how infinitely large the world is, how much larger the universe is, and how much greater my God is than that. And then there’s me, watching the clouds billow in the summer sky as I float in an above ground pool in a backyard. So seemingly small and insignificant in relation to everything else. And yet, among all of His creations, God also thought the world needed one of me too. He knit me together, knows the number of every curly hair on my head, and understands every thought and emotion that cascades through my body. He is privy to the hurricane inside of me while everyone else sees the calm in the storm. He loved me before I was born, and He knew everything I would ever do before I ever had the inclination to do it.

He knows the things that have broken me. He knows the things that have strengthened me. He has put words, and people, and books, and music, and art in my life to build me. He knows that I ache for the unconditional love that no one on earth is able to provide. And while I float on my back in the pool that man built, and look up at the skies that are stained with the colors of sunset, I see again and again the promise of forever in the presence of the God who can create such majesty.

“Live from the abundant place that you are loved.” -Lysa TerKeurst

Don’t be overwhelmed by the vastness of the universe, by the size of your life, or by your shortcomings in the face of everything. You have purpose, and that unconditional love that you are craving isn’t as impossible to find as you might think it is.

Live loved.

Until next time,

Jamie

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astrophotography // live loved

the lake house revisited // days three and four

lake house revisited || days three and four

My happy place.

Lake House Day Three
Somehow on this day I managed to sleep fifteen hours and well into the afternoon. I have no explanation. I woke up once at seven AM and then again in the afternoon. There was no in-between. And I was severely disappointed that I missed so many lake house hours.

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After a late start to my Saturday, I got some coffee and breakfast, showered, and didn’t do my face because who has the time at 2pm? Sister and I then went on bike ride number two of the weekend.

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Coco butt continued to entertain us with her obsession with swimming.

lake house revisited || days three and four lake house revisited || days three and four lake house revisited || days three and four

No make-up faced Jamie and her trusty side-kick Coco had a little cuddle time on the screened in porch. Coco wasn’t so sure that the neighbors should be working on their own sprinklers.

lake house revisited || days three and four

Day Four
The final day is always a bummer. We pack up the house, clean, and just generally prepare to vacate the premises. I avoided the fifteen hour sleep this day and was able to enjoy our rainy send-off.

lake house revisited || days three and four lake house revisited || days three and four

Three of my very favorite things. Coffee, photography, and a good book.

lake house revisited || days three and four lake house revisited || days three and four lake house revisited || days three and four lake house revisited || days three and four

Despite all of the things that happened in my personal life the past few weeks, things are actually starting to turn around in a big way. Ever since the lake house, being positive and being excited and moving forward are normal. I’m not chasing my negative thoughts and trying to turn them around. Instead I am working with the knowledge that everything is as it should be and what will be will be. My old, confident, single self is back, ladies and gents. It’s about dang time.

Invest in yourself, in your health, and in your happiness. You won’t regret it.
That’s all for the lake house this time, folks.

Until next time,

Jamie

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lake house revisited || days three and four